M is for Makita

This past Saturday I went to Makita Kitchen & Bar in downtown Ottawa with my friends Hetal and Manasa. One of my New Years Resolutions for 2018 was to visit 10 Ottawa hotspots (but as my cousin Hiten said – “Isn’t ‘Ottawa’ and ‘hot spots’ an oxymoron?!”). I am venturing to prove him wrong.

Makita was recommended to me by my brother Raju, who went last month and said it was excellent. The restaurant is easy to miss, but you can spot it by the fancy “M” jutting outside of the roof’s shingles.

Makita Kitchen & Bar, The Glebe, Ottawa

The name “Makita” means “Due North”, and the restaurant is located in the North end of the Glebe. The cuisine is “Pan Asian” or “New Asian”, and they successfully combine elements of Asian cuisine with dishes such as gnocchi, steam buns, and falafel.

Manasa and I arrived a little late (due to the snowy weather) and we found Hetal comfortably seated, enjoying a glass of white wine. She looked amazing in her pink sweater, dangling earings, and bright smile. We soon joined her and each ordered a Cab Sauvignon.

A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to start the evening

For appetizers, we shared the Fried Tofu, Steam Buns, and the Sesame Tuna. I absolutely loved the Sesame Tuna, it might’ve been my favourite dish of the evening.

Fried Tofu
Sesame Tuna

The steam buns are the restaurant’s specialty – freshly baked doughy bread with a tasty filling. Initially we weren’t going to get them, but then we thought that we couldn’t get the full experience without them, so we changed our minds. Hetal and Manasa had the shrimp shui mai flavour, which was inside a squid-ink bun, and I had the falafel vegetarian version, sans squid.

Sticky buns, a Makita specialty

For the main course, Hetal and I shared the Thai Gnocchi and Manasa had the Ramen noodle dish (not your $2 grocery store kind, but a sophisticated blend of pickled shiitake mushrooms, nori, pork belly, soy egg, scallion, and togarashi).

Enjoying our meal and the company

We had a blast laughing and catching up, discussing life in general, networking events, and politics.

Our waiter James was super nice, and even danced for us. And of course we had to take a few fun selfies!

The ambience was great – not too loud, cozy, trendy, and outside was beautiful with the snow falling gently.

View of Bank Street, Ottawa, from Makita Restaurant & Bar

Hetal joked that the restaurant would get full points for its bathroom, which had a small men’s room, and a larger women’s one (makes so much sense).

My bill came to $52 (not including tax and tip), which is not bad at all considering the amount and quality of food, and the two glasses of wine.

Overall I would rate the restaurant 8.5/10, and I would definitely go back! Can’t wait for Hot Spot #2!

Keep Calm and Skate On

Yesterday afternoon I went skating near my house at the Kanata Beaver Pond. There is something about the motion of skating that is meditative, going around in circles, over and over and for some reason never wanting to stop. I even played with the hockey stick and puck that were left there by some kids, pretending I was Wayne Gretzky, racing across the ice, hoping to score that big goal.

The sun hits the ice
My skates glide smoothly along
Oops! – Was that a bump?

Here is a video of my first skate. (There is also another one of me spinning but watching it makes me dizzy!).

Later I went for a walk and basked in the beautiful weather.  A little chipmunk put on a show for me while I snapped a few photos:


Scurrying away to gather some nuts:


I encountered a mother and her daughter walking their dog across the frozen pond:


The woods near my house always make me reflect, and have a haunting effect as the sun rays peek through the treetops:


A beautiful afternoon in solitude, nature, and surrounded by beauty. When life gets a little overwhelming, keep calm and skate on!



A Walk To Remember

It was a gorgeous day today, sunny and only -3 degrees! (balmy for January in Ottawa). In the afternoon, my Mom and brother went shopping, my Dad took a nap, and I decided to take a long walk. Well initially I thought it would be a short one, but I ended up walking and exploring for over an hour and a half.

I walked through trails and along roads, to the Beaverbrook plaza, through puddles, and across a little bridge over a stream. I saw many people along the way – a woman out for a walk with her young daughter, a couple taking pictures of the sky, and a girl walking her dog.

At Beaverbrook plaza, I saw that CHEO Autism Services is opening soon. It’s so great that the plaza has become a hub for community services – there is the Lotus Centre which offers music therapy for special needs children, Main Street Community Services, and now CHEO Autism as well. It’s amazing that there are so many resources available for special needs kids and low-income families, and I can only imagine the synergies that will be created between these three organizations.

I walked over to Kumon, hoping to run into my friend Sanjit who runs the centre, but it was closed for the day. I guess the kids get a well-deserved break on Saturdays!

Eventually my legs started to tire and I walked home, snapping photos and selfies along the way. Here are a few:

When I got home, my Dad was in his PJs making tea. I went to my room and lay down on my bed to relax – just as I was getting sleepy, the doorbell rang (my Mom and brother were home), and I heard “Mitttaaaaaa….. I need you in the kitchen!”. Then the real fun began. ;-)