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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Best sandwiches ever

Whenever I'm in Ottawa, my partner and I try to make an effort to eat lunch at the Art Is In Bakery - they have, hands down, the best sandwiches I've ever eaten, served cafeteria-style in a funky industrial space. All the food is carefully and lovingly prepared; it's an unusual dining experience.

The bakery is located at City Centre - a bleak industrial building featuring a long row of loading docks facing onto a nondescript parking lot overlooking LeBreton Flats.  It's near Albert St. and Preston, not too far from the Canadian War Museum. They've taken over one of the loading docks and outfitted it with a retail and seating area out front, with the main bakery and kitchen in the back. It's not unusual to see bakers hauling huge bags of flour side by side with customers eating lunch. In the summer, you can eat outside at picnic tables set up in the parking lot.

They're famous for their bread, but I go for the sandwiches. The AAA Angus Striploin sandwich, my favourite, is thinly-sliced tender medium-rare Angus beef piled on half of one of their signature loaves, with cheese, grainy mustard and arugula. It's unbelievably delicious.

On Saturdays only they feature an incredible hamburger - it's grilled to perfection outside on the loading dock on a Green Egg barbecue, then served with thick-cut bacon, grainy mustard, white cheddar cheese, tomato and arugula on one of their toasted house-made sesame buns. It's accompanied by a side of delicious house-made cole slaw. It's not for picky eaters and at $14 it's not cheap, but it's worth every penny. Wash it down with one of their unusual Dry Sodas, like my favourite rhubarb flavour. You could go the rest of the day without eating and still have a smile on your face at the end of the day.

While you're there, try their baked goods if you have any appetite left (or take them away for later). They have rich buttery cookies the size of your head and delicious flaky pastries - my favourite is the PBJ Danish - a huge Danish pastry filled with peanut butter and jam and loaded with sliced bananas.

The restaurant is crowded with patrons every time I visit - people drive from all over the metro Ottawa area. It's a testament to the quality of the food that so many people will travel to their out-of-the-way industrial park location just to eat there. Check it out next time you visit Ottawa - you won't be disappointed.

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