Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blog Review: Sybaritica

Photo courtesy of  http://sybaritica.me

The purpose of this site is to focus on bloggers from Ottawa and surrounding areas.  Over the past couple of months, however, I have become a regular reader of Sybaritica, a great blog that merits an exception to my geographic rule.

Created by lawyer C. John Thompson, Sybaritica offers recipes and reviews of Ottawa restaurants.  Thompson notes on his blog that he is neither a professional Chef nor works in the food industry.  Fortunately, this lack of formal training has not impacted his ability to provide intriguing culinary suggestions.  Neither does the fact that he lives in IqaluitNunavut, on the southern end of Baffin Island, which is pretty far from any foodie hotspots.

On his blog bio Thompson writes the following:
For five years, I lived in the small hamlet of Pond Inlet, which is the fourth most northerly community on the whole Continent and sits some 600 km above the Arctic circle.  Now, while living below the circle, I am still in a fairly remote location which means that most of my culinary adventures happen in my own kitchen.  I am hoping, in this foray into the blogosphere, to include restaurant reviews wherever possible, but since there are so few restaurants within 2,000 or so kilometers of my home (less than a dozen, in all), I will only get to do restaurant reviews in the couple of times a year that I get to travel south.
Photo by C. John Thompson
So why am I reviewing a site by a blogger from Nunavut?  Well, because Thompson has written numerous reviews of Ottawa restaurants following his trips to the National Capital Region.  In fact, since starting his blog in January 2012, it's possible that he has written more reviews of Ottawa food establishments than many, if not most, local food bloggers.  As such, Thompson can be described as an active member of the city's culinary scene, albeit from afar.

To give you a sense of his foodie journalism, he has written reviews of such Ottawa eateries as Spiga, Whalesbone, Brothers Beer BistroMust Wine Bar, E18teen, Lunenburg Pub & Bar, Koreana and Bangkok Thai Garden, just to name some of the establishments that he has visited.  His reviews state when he ate at the restaurant/pub in question, contain a description of the food and atmosphere, have photographs that accompany the review, and conclude with a rating out of five.

In addition to restaurant reviews, he also posts numerous recipes, some of which I have included in my Recipe Sunday posts.  Previous posted recipes include sesame prawns with pineapplechili cumin jumbo shrimp, mussels steamed with black beans and Thai-style pineapple fried rice.

Sometimes I take the Internet for granted.  Other times I have to stop and marvel at the amazing connections that the world wide web can create.  Thirty years ago it would have been unthinkable for a lawyer in Iqaluit, Northwest Territories (Nunavut did not exit then) to offer cooking tips and food recommendations to Ottawa residents.  Now, from the comfort of my own living room, I can be inspired to visit restaurants in my own city, and try new recipes that I never thought of, by reading posts that were written more than 2,000 kilometres away.  That is pretty cool.

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