Lucky in friendship (and brunch)

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You know that one friend in horror movies who is like, “Here’s a dumb idea: Let’s split up and not be safe.” That friend is an idiot. You are not that friend. — Daily Odd Compliment • Pushing myself out of the house in the winter can be tougher than a two-dollar steak, but the chance to catch up with my pal Carolyn yesterday over a leisurely brunch made it well worth the effort. For months she’s been working harder than a squirrel trying to bury a nut on a marble floor, and a long chat was even longer overdue. We went to Origin Trade, a coffee house and lounge in the Byward Market. Brunch was on the house in exchange for a review and since neither of us had been, we thought we’d check it out. 

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The main part of the restaurant feels light and airy with its high ceilings, brick accent wall and distinctive concrete bar to pull up to with a drink and a friend (or a laptop and the free wifi).

A darker room at the back has several two- and four-tops for eating and there’s a cozy hallway/lounge area with leather chairs and couches to sink into and stay awhile.

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The restaurant sources its food from Ontario farms, wine from local wineries and beer from local breweries. The coffee is locally roasted Single Origin.

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The menu is small with a few sandwiches, two salads, cheese and charcuterie boards and a few other things both vegetarian and non, but still plenty enough to choose from even with a few items scratched out. (They’re in the process of changing the menu so if you’re looking for something in particular, maybe check the site first or call ahead.)

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Carolyn had a latte and I had a tea, both served super fast and our food soon after. Maybe a dozen people came and went in the hour and a half we were there, which suited us just fine. (No need to feel guilty about hogging the window seat up front.)

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Carolyn had one of the breakfast sandwiches, this one with egg, bacon, aged cheddar, alfalfa sprouts, hot sauce and maple syrup on a toasted english muffin. “This is the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had,” Carolyn raved between bites. “It’s the perfect combination of spicy and sweet.” And a great buy at $4.50 ($6 paired with a medium coffee.)

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And I tucked in to a market salad with arugula, quinoa, grape tomatoes, pickled red cabbage, hummus and roasted chicken, with the homemade sweet garlic balsamic vinaigrette on the side ($9). The ingredients were fresh, the combination of flavours delicious, and the assembly appetizing. It was the perfect serving size for me but maybe smaller eaters would take some of it home.

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I do love a good nook. This one’s in the more lounge-y area where a few people were happily camped.

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Origin Trade is at 111 York Street, just east of Dalhousie. (And not suprisingly, on the opposite side of the street than I thought it was, even after checking Google maps. Honestly, I couldn’t find sand if I fell off a camel.) It’s a cozy little place with fresh food (some might say the best breakfast sandwich ever!), quick service and reasonable prices. We’ll be back. And if the milder weather holds up, sooner than later.

Have you been to Origin Trade? What sounds good to you?

Origin Trade comped our brunch in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. 

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