Great places to stay in Almonte this summer?


We recently had guests from out of town that we couldn’t put up at our home (all the other beds were full!) so we made arrangements for them to stay at two of the local Bed and Breakfasts in Almonte.  They are both located on one of the main streets in Almonte – Queen Street – across the road from each other, and located along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Menzies House is an 1850’s home, originally constructed of stone, with a white frame house built overtop.  It was once a Merchant’s store, and had a blacksmith building at the end of the property.  The House is of Anglo-Norman design which features a long verandah entranceway and dormers.  This style was more popular in Quebec.  The hosts, Pat and Frank Vetter, are a delightful couple who have owned the B&B for many years.  Included with the delicious breakfasts that Pat serves up for you are tales of the town.  Pat and Frank are very social – and are happy to tell you all about Almonte.  This was a first B&B experience for our guests that stayed here, and they couldn’t have been more delighted.

Menzies House has 3 rooms of various sizes and prices are quite reasonable.  There aren’t any hotels or motels in Almonte, so this is an excellent option for out of town guests visiting you.

The rest of our guests were housed at The Almonte Riverside Inn.  The innkeeper, Rob Prior, has owned the Inn for about 5 years, and although it started out with a quaint little restaurant this has since closed and now just serves up breakfast to the guests.  The Inn has 6 rooms of varying sizes with comparable pricing to Menzies House.  ARI is a beautiful stone home that was previously known as the “Judge’s House”.  The grounds are simply beautiful and Rob is an equally friendly host.

If you weren’t going anywhere this summer, it might be an interesting idea to play “tourist” right in your own community…  a night way to enjoy the town as a visitor can do a lot to restore the soul….  Hmm… something to think about!

Joanne’s visit to Black Tartan Kitchen

Out and About…


Carleton Place is home to a new restaurant, one that is sure to give The Heirloom Café in Almonte a run for it’s money! We recently had the opportunity for a “Friday night celebration” and decided to try The Black Tartan.

Located in Carleton Place at 132 Bridge Street in the former Saigon Delight – aka the only Vietnamese restaurant west of Kanata, Black Tartan opened late in 2016. They describe their food as “Contemporary Canadian” – and although the menu isn’t large, it offers a lovely variety from a vegetarian main, to a fish dish, duck, lamb or beef. We sampled three of the entrees on our night out and they were equally delicious.

We sampled two different starters – the French Onion Soup with a veal broth was out of this world, and the Escargot was unbelievable.  And because it was a celebration night, we felt compelled to try the dessert as well. The Crème Brule did not disappoint, and Mr. B was also happy with his choice. And because it was Friday night, it was fair game to also sample the wine. Not a huge variety, and I can be a little fussy with my wine, but again I was thrilled with our choice.

Welcome to Black Tartan in Carleton Place. It’s worth a drive out from the city to try this little restaurant. I would recommend reservations – not many tables – and don’t be surprised if Chef Ian delivers your dinner to the table, and then checks in later to see how you are enjoying it.

Welcome Black Tartan…  Now just need another occasion for a date night!Joanne Beaton visit Black Tartan Kitchen

An idea to for your next party

Client appreciation party

Client appreciation party!

I recently hosted a “Client Appreciation” party in our home in Almonte and while I love to entertain, I really needed to make this a “hands-off” party for me, so I looked local to see what services we have that I could make use of for my party. That’s when I found Anna Lianga and her company, Bouffage.

Bouffage is an obscure French word meaning “a satisfying meal” and to Anna this meal encompasses both food and family. Anna was raised in a close knit family in a creative and artistic community just outside of Perth, where everything was made from scratch and all vegetables came from either her parents or a neighbours garden. For Anna, the dinner tableis a place where the cook creates and shares their food and the guests get to share a little of themselves and everyone leaves a little fuller, both in body and spirit, thoroughly satisfied.fifteenyear in the restaurant industry.

Travelling has always been an integral part of Anna’s life and an inspiration for her cooking. She considers her Asian dishes, inspired from her two years teaching in Taiwan, as her favourite to cook and eat. Anna also attended George Brown College in Toronto in the Culinary Management program and has spent over fifteen years in the restaurant industry.

Throughout the years she has shared her passion for local/fresh and globally inspired cuisine with those around her; developing her own unique recipes and satisfying cravings with her creative and tasty dishes. Her versatility in the kitchen makes her very unique; from pot stickers to home-cured salmon, quinoa salad to jalapeno poppers, delectable cookies to artisan truffles, it’s hard to find something you don’t like.

Anna has finally settled in Almonte with her husband and two young daughters. When her youngest started kindergarten in September, Anna finally had the time to do what she has always wanted to do, start cooking for people. And thus, Bouffage Kitchen was born.

Interested in learning more about Anna or her services?  She is very versatile and has done various small intimate dinner parties, a vernissage for 60 people, a cold platter drop off for 100, heat and serve.

Anna can be reached on her cell at  (613) 601-1327 or emailed at  And don’t be afraid to tell her that I recommended her to you!

New family traditions.

Out and about…

lg-santa-outsideIan’s Christmas Tree Farm

It’s that most wonderful time of the year – when there are so many things you can do with your family in celebration of winter and Christmas. I am sure your family has some favourite things to do during the month of December, but I wanted to let you know about a place that we discovered a few years ago.

It’s Ian’s Christmas Tree Farm, just off Richmond Road – between Carleton Place and Smiths Fall, close to Franktown.   It’s a great place to take little kids – 12 and under – and especially magical at night.

Our first visit there was on a Sunday evening – there was hardly a soul there – which was perfect for us! The park is open until 9:00 p.m., so we headed out after an early dinner. It was a starry night, and not too cold – perfect weather.

We took a stroll down Candy Cane Lane, enjoying the night air, and discovered Santa’s reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. The little ones were delighted to see real reindeer!

We found Santa warming himself around the bonfire, but our little ones were too shy to approach him. They weren’t too shy, however, to slide down the toboggan hills we discovered – (take your own sled!)  We took a wagon ride around the Ho Ho Lake, and then enjoyed a hot chocolate around one of the campfires.  We ended our visit by purchasing some pre-cut trees, but you do have the option of cutting down your own tree as well.

We have plans to do this again this December – and will hopefully get a chance for the little ones to visit Santa this time.  According to the website, there is no charge for the park activities providing you purchase a tree – so if you are looking for a fun outing with the family, you should check out Ian’s Christmas Tree Farm!


804 Richmond Road

Beckwith, ON


North Market Chef Amanda delicious creations.

North Market

North Market Almonte, Ontario

Chef at home

A couple of weeks ago we had a special dinner to celebrate with some friends.  Occasions have to be celebrated with amazing food, by my rules, so I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to make an amazing dinner for our friends, after a full day of work… and then one of the guests suggested “hiring a chef to cook in home”.

Amanda and Rick Herrara, owners of North Market Almonte, have just launched the next phase of their business.  They have had a food stand at The Almonte Farmers Market in Almonte for several years now, offering breakfast and lunch items. Their focus is to use ingredients that they have grown themselves, or sourced locally. They also sell preserves and sauces and homemade hand-cut pasta.

Amanda has just recently left her employment to become a complete entrepreneur. She has rented a commercial kitchen space and has plans to prepare “pre-ordered take-away” meals for pick-up at her new location, 3 days per week.  She is keeping some availability open for the rest of the week to be able to focus on her “in-home chef” side of the business – and that’s what we had hired her for!

She prepared an amazing meal-plan for us, after some consultation about preferences, and then sent us a customized quote based on our wants and needs.  Here is how it played out…

I arrived home at 5:00 p.m. to find Amanda already settled into my kitchen, comfortably working away on our dinner.  As our friends arrived, and glasses of wine were poured, a fire in the fireplace (okay – it was a gas fire but still you get the idea) – Amanda served up a Charcuterie Board featuring local cheeses from Peche and Poivre (mainstreet Almonte) including Elizabeth Blue from Quebec, Lankaaster Aged Gouda from Ontario and Ash Veined Brie (nutty and dirty – just like one of the guests), with crostini and a home-made fig/cranberry chutney and pickled asparagus previously prepared by Amanda.  This plate alone would have made me happy – it was both beautiful and delicious!

Then we moved to the table where she served a Cured Rainbow Trout Arugula Salad with pickled red onion, cucumber and the most delicious lemon-poppy seed vinaigrette I have ever tasted. She cured the rainbow trout herself – using cumin as the feature spice. I can’t wait to try this myself!

Finally, she served us plates of Sage-Butter Mashed Potatoes, Honeyed Carrots, Roasted Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Brussel Sprouts and Apples, with a Whisky-Mustard Gravy.

The dinner was amazing, the experience was even better. I would highly recommend Amanda and this experience.  You don’t even need to have a special occasion to hire her! Her contact info is attached.  If you do decide to try her out, tell her I sent you!

North Market
63 Mill Street  Almonte ON

Planing a summer Staycation this year?

person-beach-holiday-vacation-mediumSummer has officially begun and Joanne is planning a staycation this year. Why leave this beautiful area when it has so much to offer? Throughout the summer we will be sharing daily posts of local events, attractions and many more ideas for your own staycation this year. Like the facebook page and find out a what the Ottawa Valley has to offer.