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The Aulde Dubliner

December 30, 2014

After having spent a cool, overcast afternoon in Ottawa exploring Rideau Hall, home of the Governor General of Canada, as well as wandering through some of the exhibits at the National Gallery of Canada, my husband and I were in search of something simple and quick and good to eat.  We didn’t really have anything planned, so we knew we’d just have to search something out and hope that it was good.  After a bit of a debate, we headed over to ByWard Market assuming we’d be able to find something there.

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We settled on a cozy pub called the Aulde Dubliner that was part bar and part restaurant, a gastropub, as it were.  Located at the gateway to the famous ByWard Market the Aulde Dubliner is connected to an upstairs, second floor restaurant called the Pour House which together form an authentic Irish-style pub.  Authentic too in the fact that the Aulde Dubliner & Pour House combined with other well-known Irish pubs in ByWard Market all owned by a couple of Irish immigrants who came to Canada in 1992 with a dream to bring a bit of their Irish homeland across the Pond.

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Aulde Dubliner had both an indoor seating area with some tables around the bar and an outdoor, patio dining area that looked out into ByWard Market.  Though it was a bit chilly in the early evening, my husband and I both had jackets with us and decided that we’d sit outside where it was a bit more quiet and relaxed, the type of atmosphere we were looking for.

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After looking through the pub’s drinks menu, my husband decided to order a pint of Smithwick’s.  I was a bit surprised at this as we were at an Irish pub and I assumed that my husband was going to order Guinness, because, is there anything more Irish than ordering a Guinness at a Irish pub?  I guess there is.  This shows you my lack of knowledge for beers as I had to be informed by my husband that Smithwick’s is actually an Irish ale, brewed in Ireland since 1710.  Who knew?

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Since it was a bit of a cool evening, I decided to start my meal off with a cup of the soup of the day.  That soup happened to be potato & bacon soup.  Works for me as I’m a fan of potato soup.  It’s filled with potatoes, and I’m a meat and potatoes kind of gal.  The soup was creamy and thick, and a bit more of a chowder than a chunky soup.  Instead of having chunks of bacon or potato or other vegetables, it was more a thick, creamy chowder.  But the flavors of the creamy potato and the salty bacon came through loud and clear.  And a cup of hot soup was exactly what I needed on this cool evening.

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My husband, not a soup guy himself, decided that fried food from a pub sounded much better and ordered a basket of onion rings served with chipotle mayo as a starter.  Served in a traditional pub-style, newspaper lined basket, these thick and crispy, and golden brown deep-fried onion rings are just what the doctor ordered for my husband.  He devoured them, sans chipotle mayo, with such gusto, I was surprised I was able to get my fingers in there to grab up one tiny onion ring for myself.

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For his meal, my husband ordered a hand-crafted market burger with a side of animal fries.  The market burger was a fresh half-pound Canadian chuck patty, Canadian cheddar, grilled bacon, sliced tomatoes, butter lease and signature burger sauce on a toasted brioche bun.  My husband said that the burger was exactly what he was looking for, good, simple comfort food.  The kind of food you’d expect to find in a gastropub and done the right way.  The burger was juicy and delicious and hit the spot.  The side of animal fries was described as crispy lattice cut potatoes topped with spicy caramelized bacon and onions with queso cheese sauce, Russian dressing, jalapenos and green onions.  The description of the animal fries sounded so good and it looked so good on his plate that I wanted to snag a fry, but after a bite, my husband told me I better be hands off since he knew that the spice would be just a tad bit too much for me.  The scent of spice hit my nose and yeah, I knew it would be too much for me too.  But, at least my husband enjoyed the burger and fries and was properly satiated.

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Since I started my meal with a cup of soup, I decided to order a salad for dinner.  I think my husband promptly laughed at me wondering who in their right mind would order a salad at a pub?  A burger, sure.  A sandwich, yeah.  A salad, no way.  But that’s exactly what I did.  A beef salad was my order.  Described as soy-ginger marinated beef over Romaine lettuce and cucumbers with green onions, marinated tomatoes, crisp noodles and a lime-cilantro dressing, the salad was actually much better than I ever expected.  The beef was tender and flavorful in the soy-ginger marinade and the greens with the lime-cilantro dressing had both an earthy flavor, but also that punch of tang from the lime.  It was exactly the light kind of meal that I was looking for and quite filling as well.

Dining at the Aulde Dubliner turned out to be a nicer, more filling, meal that either my husband nor I had imagined it would be.  At the end of a long day of walking around and sightseeing around Ottawa, we were ready for a good, old-fashioned comfort food kind of meal in a relaxed setting.  What we found was an old-fashioned Irish pub with great outdoor seating in a relaxed setting where we could unwind for the evening while doing a little people watching over ByWard Market.  A pint of beer, a cup of soup, a tasty burger and a salad later, we walked away from the Aulde Dubliner full and satisfied and ready to call it a day in Ottawa.  Just what the doctor ordered.

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