Simply Biscotti and Betty’s Tea Room (Part I)

What do Betty’s Tea Room in York, England and Simply Biscotti, the independent coffee/bakery/bistro in Little Italy in Ottawa, Ontario in common?

Since I visited both within the past three weeks, thought I’d do a bit of an account of each the two days-mostly done through photos.  This post is the Betty’s Tea Room visit in York, England

 Physical activity and spending time in friendly company

A good walk from the Bed & Breakfast to and around the York City Walls that are mostly still standing and surrounding the old city of York.  York has more intact city walls than any other city in England.  The walls date back to Roman times.


Below is York Minster as seen from the wall walk.  The cathedral is being repaired as you can see.  A message inside the cathedral spoke to the daily cost of maintaining the cathedral-some huge number that (a) I can’t remember accurately and (b) made me happy I wasn’t in charge of fundraising for the parish.

As for Betty’s Tea Room, it is an institution apparently.  It has been around for almost 100 years (first opened in 1919).  Six of us met at Betty’s for tea one afternoon.  I enjoyed a Fat Rascal scone with preserves and clotted cream (of course).  I can see why they have named the Fat Rascal as they have-eat enough of them and you become one.

And finally thought you might enjoy seeing how the Queen’s Jubilee is being celebrated in baking.  We never did eat a Jubilee item.  They look as if they are more for show than eating.

Have you been to York?  What were the highlights of your visit?  The Jorvik (Viking) Centre?  The British Railway Museum?  A Fat Rascal with clotted cream?

An afternoon treat

Simply Biscotti #10

My plan to eat my way through the dessert counter at Simply Biscotti is still in play.  I met friends there recently and we each enjoyed a sweet after lunch.  Two of chose the  dacquoise, one of their new desserts.  Have you ever heard of a dacquoise?  I hadn’t.  If you look around on the internet you will see multiple types with different fillings and toppings. It is a general term for a style of cake of merinque layers with cream or other fillings basically.  Here’s just one of many:

Dacquoise-noisette

I read about someone who saw Julia Child making a dacquoise cake on her television show. It was iced with buttercream.  She said  the joy of the cake was you could slice a piece off the end and enjoy it, then re-ice the cake and your guests would be none the wiser.

At Simply Biscotti, you are served an individual dacquoise, the layers of meringue with praline cream filling.  The topping is lightly toasted almonds.  The result is a variety of textures, some sweetness, some crunchy, some creamy and all very good.   This dessert might have to be tested twice.  Only because I want to report accurately.   I now plan to make a dacquoise.  It will likely be a cake where you can eat some before company arrives and then cover it up.  Have you ever had or made a dacquoise?  What did you think of it?

Dacquoise-Simply Biscotti


Friday Food-Simply Biscotti #9

The ninth sweet treat from the dessert counter at Simply Biscotti

Lemon Meringue Tart

Lemon Meringue Tart

Calories burned: bike ride on a sunny November day to enjoy coffee with friends and the lemon meringue tart= 350

Calories consumed: in a lemon meringue tart=299

Looks good….until I raided the leftover Hallowe’en candy.

Simply Biscotti-number 8 in a series of ….who knows and who cares

Originally before I had a blog site, I had thought that if I had a blog site I would use it only to chronicle eating my way through the dessert counter at Simply Biscotti on Preston St. in Ottawa.  I thought it would be a cool project in this, my life beyond full-time, flat-out work and it would be completed within a relatively short time frame-say six months or so.  I was wrong-headed about it all.  Giving myself a deadline, even an artificial one, makes the whole thing into another job-I have had plenty of work that came with deadlines in my lifetime and why would you want to put a time limit on such an enjoyable experience. 

Simply Biscotti is doing a great business by the looks of it.  Rosa has added more seating by developing the second floor over her shop.  Good thing too for there’s quite a bit of new development planned for Little Italy and that bodes well for Rosa and Simply Biscotti.

This past week my friend and I combined a brisk early morning walk with breakfast at Rosa’s.  We each enjoyed a latte and a nicely spiced pumpkin muffin.  The muffin would be good with cream cheese icing but that’s not really breakfast food, is it?

 


Simply Biscotti-September long weekend treat-the project continues

We finally made it to the Caravaggio Exhibition at the National Gallery in Ottawa this afternoon.  We were not alone.  Many others were heeding the information the exhibition is only with us for another week.  I am no art aficionado and so won’t even try to make a comment.  The linked article gives the history and the significance of Caravaggio’s art and tells you a bit about the man as well.

You can work up an appetite walking 400 meters in an art gallery.  A trip to Simply Biscotti  for my spouse and me was the ticket.  Simply Biscotti was busy too.  All those people stopping in after their visit to the National Gallery.

It was a hot and humid afternoon and an iced coffee with a splash of hazelnut flavoring and a touch of cream makes for a great drink on a hot day.  A chocolate mousse in a cake cup looked like a great match for the drink.

The mousse had an almost mocha like taste.  It was topped with real whipped cream and shaved chocolate.  It was a nice size-not too big and not too small.  The mousse was encapsulated in a fancy looking, possibly prefabricated cup of sponge cake.  In my experience the fancy things like this look better than they really taste.  I’d rather have a from-scratch exterior.  To quote a friend “I’m just saying.”  That said, I left nothing on the plate.

Simply Biscotti- a twofor

I am way off my planned weekly visit to Simply Biscotti (SB).  It has been about a month since the last visit.  Perhaps fall and winter will be better for the regular enjoyment of coffee and treats…just the seasons when the level of exercise can drop off too (must make a mental note to buy pants with elasticized waist).  My friend and I enjoyed a lovely weekday morning cycle this week and we stopped at SB for a refreshment and treat.  And just as I have introduced other people to Rosa’s establishment, my friend said ” I didn’t know this was here.  I’ll be back!”.  

We enjoyed a chai tea latte, a coffee latte, a v-shaped sweet pastry and a cayenne pepper biscotti.  My friend had the biscotti and said it was very nice.  Ah…the good life.  The picture isn’t the best.  If you want to have a real appreciation for the place and its fair, you’ll need to journey to Little Italy in Ottawa.