Monday, December 04, 2023

Eating off the Hill: Gooney's in Ottawa

Meeting a friend for lunch in Ottawa recently and they brought me to a lunch spot I hadn't tried before: Gooney's.

It's a modern-looking place at the corner of Kent and Albert in downtown Ottawa that apparently just moved from a smaller space down on Laurier, and it has a loyal lunch clientele. I joined the line one Thursday afternoon and it was pretty full with people both dining in and taking out.

They serve a selection of arepas, as well as sandwiches and bowls. An arepa is basically a South American sandwich. To quote wikipedia, "arepa is a type of food made of ground maize dough stuffed with a filling, eaten in northern parts of South America since pre-Columbian times, and notable primarily in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela, but also present in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Panama."

While it was a busy place, they run an efficient operation that puts the sandwich artists at Subway to shame and I quickly had my sammy in hand, paid, and found a table.

After careful pre-scouting of the menu, as I usually do, I landed on the "sweet Isabella" which said menu describes as as arepas with "Roasted Pork, Coleslaw, Cheddar Cheese & our house coriander sauce." I also got a side Caesar salad, as I wasn't sure the arepas was enough to satisfy my hunger.

To dispense first with the salad. The dividing line between a good Caesar and a mediocre Caesar often comes down to the dressing. This dressing was creamy and garlicky. It was a good Caesar.

Now, the arepas. The pork was plentiful, not dry, and had tasty char. The sauce was good, and not all the arepas had slaw but this one did and I choose it because I wanted that second note to complement the meat. It did and it was good. My only note would be the cheese shread. It would have really elevated the sandwich were it melted.

Overall, a good lunch, will be back.

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