The Long Road to Atelier Restaurant

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Ottawa, Canada

Despite the dramatic start, Chef Rouge and I had an awesome time in Quebec City and it was the first time in a long time I felt like I was on holiday rather than just another day of traveling. At the spur of the moment we decided to prolong the trip to Toronto and stop in Ottawa to eat at Atelier Restaurant, which was only 5 hours away.


Easy peasy, right?


Umm not so much.

Our good humour was tested again. We stopped in Trois Rivieres de Loup for gas and to pick up cheap beer and were feeling smug.

Until we turned on the truck. Well tried to turn on the truck.


It was dead.


We had been driving for over an hour so completely unsure why the battery would be dead but we knew we needed a jump. Normally this would be an easy request but we were in the heart of French country and while I took French all throughout school and university, when I tried to recall phrases all I could speak was Spanish!

But the Quebecois hospitality continued to shine and we learned to ask for le boost and finally got it.


Concerned that it wasn’t the battery, we also discovered there was a service station just a few blocks away so I dug deep into my brain to think of how to communicate in French there was a problem with the battery and we thought it was the alternator.


This was good because Sylvain was kind and offered to look at the truck immediately but shook his head to Parlez Anglais? He was unsure of the issue, agreed it wasn’t the battery and offered the sage advice in English to keep going and don’t stop.

swiss hotel

And we didn’t stop, not even for gas because we feared we would need another boost in rural Quebec. And when we parked at the Swiss Hotel we didn’t worry about it for the rest of the evening.

At that moment I wanted to just enjoy the room, but as it had taken us so long to arrive we were late for our dinner reservation at Atelier Restaurant, the reason we decided to stop in Ottawa as Chef Rouge knew the chef and really wanted to try his menu – a 12 course tasting menu.

Atelier Restaurant Ottawa

Atelier Ottawa

fruit leather balloon

Atelier Restaurant was just what we needed. A playful tasting menu with gorgeous courses and whimsical items like a fruit leather balloon course which stuck to my face and made it appear that the balloon was attacking me, and a dessert Chef Rouge declared was the best he had ever eaten – porcini mushroom, chocolate and pear.


porcini dessert

Another full day of travel, we headed home content but also lurking in the back of our minds was worry – would the truck start tomorrow???



Want to know more about food in Canada’s capital city?
Check out my previous post: 48 Hours of Food in Ottawa.


Disclosure: I was a guest of the Swiss Hotel for the evening. They didn’t ask that I write a positive review but we had a whirlwind tour of Ottawa and I definitely plan to come back and stay here another time.

Join the Conversation

  1. Martine @ Chompchomp says:

    Oh no! I hope the truck behaved itself for the rest of the holiday. Love the sound of the ballon! Madness!

  2. Kae Lani | A Travel Broad says:

    WOW! What an adventure! But at least you got there and had what looks like a unique and delicious meal 🙂

  3. But how lucky was it that you were that close to someone who could help – even if it was to say keeping going and don’t stop. You could have been in the middle of nowhere! Love the look of the hotel room and the food looks like it was worth the worry!

  4. Porcini mushroom as a pudding?! That’s sounds so amazing. But glad to hear that all u-haul/vehicle related obstacles were overcome. Fingers crossed your next trip isn’t so eventful!

  5. The food looks so delicious! I love tasting menus, and this one looks wonderful 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love them too, I just want the chef to tell me what to eat.

  6. It is such a good idea to make food playful! This puts a new spin on the way we eat!!

  7. I’ve had that happen to me before in Alberta on the first day of my vacation … in my case, it was the battery though :/

  8. The dishes looks yummy and appealing! I hope we don’t encounter the same problem you’ve experience on the road because I have no clue what to do if that will happen.

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