Usually, when I’m looking to go out for dinner, I tend to choose somewhere close by, and familiar, ordering the same old thing most of the time. I was recently gifted with a Samba Days gift box, and I have to say, the thing I liked best about it was that it made me go out and try a restaurant in the heart of my own hometown that I had never been to before!
Samba Days offers gift experiences themed by lifestyle, offering tons of activities across Canada including indoor skydiving, golf, exclusive spa packages, wine tours, and perfect for me – food! I’m always happy to go out for dinner, and I thought the Table for Two experience would be a great way to take out one of my girlfriends who’s been having a rough time lately, for a little girls night with great food and catch up conversation. I chose Coasters, a casual seafood grill in downtown Ottawa, and booked a table for us last night.
We headed downtown after work, and lucked out on traffic being light – and even though we were almost a half an hour early for our reservation, we were able to be seated right away in a corner, near the cosy fireplace with a view overlooking the ByWard market streets. We settled back into our wood-panelled booth and checked out the menu. With this gift experience, you get a choice of one of two things, for 3 courses: appetizer, main dish, and dessert.
We both had the spicy crab cakes to start, and since neither of us were drinking, we swapped out the bottle of wine for a few fruity virgin daiquiris. The crab cakes got spicier as you ate more, and the tartar sauce was a nice tangy compliment on the side. I’ve never had crab cakes before – they were fried golden brown, almost melting in your mouth.
The seafood theme continued with our main courses – salmon encrusted with herbs for me, sitting on a bed of jasmine rice, and seasonal vegetables, including delicious parsnips, and for my girlfriend, a spicy pasta dish brimming with shrimp and mushrooms. We dug in and did a pretty good job at polishing them off!
I rarely bother ordering dessert in a restaurant even though I love it, but there was something perfect about capping our evening off with more gossip, girl talk and a sweet treat. My crème brûlée was maybe my favourite part of the meal. It was sweet and custardy, then crunchy on top, a caramelized sugary concoction that made me close my eyes for a second to make sure I savoured it. I snuck a few bites of cheesecake too, drizzled with raspberry, and it was smooth and creamy – just right to the last bite.
I had a wonderful night out, enjoying good company and indulging my inner foodie with the chance to try a new restaurant that I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. This fits right into the way I have been trying to live lately: making ordinary moments, everyday life choices, into something memorable.
Looking for a gift to make a lasting impression for that person on your list who loves adventure, new experiences, or great food? Check out the Samba Days website for a full range of options and info. You can also pick up the gift card boxes at local stores like Shoppers Drug mart, Metro, Rexall Pharmacies or Hallmark, or with Aeroplan miles.
Disclaimer: I was sent a Samba Days gift card to try out the Table for Two experience. All opinions expressed here are my own.