Monday, August 26, 2013

Art-Is-In Bakery (Review)

Do not despair…Lola and I are still blogging and eating our way through Ottawa and beyond! We have just been busy with our underground search for new recipes and great tastes, but we are now ready to share them with the world!

Recently, we had the opportunity to try Art-Is-In Bakery…which is actually much, much more than just a bakery. Not only do they sell an assortment of fresh baked goods, breads and traditional pastries, cakes and cookies, they also serve a wide selection of gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads, daily flatbread pizzas, as well as a variety of hot and cold drinks.

Tucked away in an industrial warehouse on City Centre Avenue, Art-Is-In is a showcase of modern ambiance and artisanal values. Kevin Mathieson, the mastermind behind this gourmet hot spot, uses only the purest of ingredients and does not believe in rushing perfection. All of the breads sold here are made by hand from start to finish.

When Lola and I first pulled up to this concrete haven, we immediately noticed a long lineup of hipsters, fawning foodies, and in-the-know locals and visitors stretching out from the front door. Clearly we came to the right place for lunch!

Once we made it in, we were engulfed by a divine scent of pastries, breads and espresso. The ambiance was thrilling, with patrons enjoying their food at mismatched tables scattered throughout the loading dock.

The elaborate menu and mouth-watering display of fine pastries, desserts and rustic breads and baguettes made it very difficult to pick just one item. Although I wanted to try it all, I decided to go with the Buttermilk Brined Chicken Caesar Sandwich for $10.95, which consisted of chicken pieces with bacon, havarti, tomatoes, arugula and homemade Caesar dressing. This heavenly creation was served on their special Dynamite cheddar, jalapeno and chive bread, which to my opinion, made the sandwich! The chicken was tender and moist and the bread was perfectly crunchy. This was by far one of the best sandwiches I have tasted in a very long time.

Lola decided to go with the Salmon Gravlax Sandwich with dill, cream cheese, arugula and avocados, which was an item from the Specials menu for $11.95 (specials change daily). For those of you who are new to the word ‘Gravlax’, it is a traditional Nordic dish of raw salmon cured with salt, sugar and dill. Lola’s sandwich was delectable, which was also served on the Dynamite bread.

To satisfy our hearty appetites, we also shared a side salad of mixed leaves and house dressing, and a classic cream soda. We couldn’t resist getting something sweet, and so we ended the meal with a signature cookie. We went with the Trio of Chocolate with Almond – a cookie of white, milk and dark chocolate chunks with toasted almonds. As we enjoyed our meals outside in the sun, our cookie was perfectly heated for optimal enjoyment!

Other lunch items that caught our eye include the pulled pork mac & cheese, crispy pickle melt, flatbread pizza and clam chowder! The Old Fashioned Potato Donut also looked amazing!

It is very clear that many have fallen in love with this culinary gem, especially with the crusty loaves of hand-crafted breads—each one a culmination of careful, patient steps. You too can enjoy their breads without venturing to City Centre, as they are now available at Farm Boy locations across Ottawa. In addition, Art-Is-In participates in various Farmer’s Markets throughout the summer every Thursday through Sunday.

For bigger events, Art-Is-In also provides office catering, as well as rents out the warehouse space for a range of events, whether it be a sit-down dinner or stand-up reception.

Lola and I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch, and will definitely be returning for their Sunday brunch, which is served every Sunday from 9am to 1pm. Apparently, the brunch burger—a fried-egg-crowned beef patty served on a brioche bun—is a must-try!

Verdict: delicious, fresh and pure ingredients combine to create signature creations; raw industrial hipster vibe

Cost: Lunch items range between $6.50-$13.95; pastries range between $2.50-$4.95; cakes $20-$50

Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 7am to 6pm, Thursday to Friday, 7am to 7pm, Saturday, 8am to 5pm, Sunday 8:30am to 4pm

Art-Is-In Bakery, 260 City Centre Avenue Bay 114, Ottawa Ontario

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