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Good Morning from Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Canada!

PHOTO: My morning view from the lovely Fairmont Chateau Laurier (c) Sery Kim

What is it about waking up to fresh snow that makes you so happy, particularly on a weekend day? Maybe its the rejoinders of a childhood where you hope and pray for snow so that school would be cancelled and you wouldn't have to turn in the homework you hastily put together? For me, having grown up in Texas, those snow days never happened but thankfully as an avid skier I have managed to make up for the lack of snow days by finding myself in beautiful places all around with world with plenty of snow, including the under-rated Ottawa, Canada.

What I knew of Ottawa, prior to coming to Ottawa, was that it existed.

That literally was the sum and substance of what I knew. Otherwise, I knew nothing -- and my short bus ride from the airport to the hotel -- about 30 minutes -- did not expand my understanding of all that Ottawa had to offer. For those who really want to explore the city, visit the Ottawa Tourism Board here:

As for my hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier has the historic charm of an institution. Having been built around the same time at the Parliament buildings right next door, this limestone edifice truly does look like a magnificent French Chateau with its limestone edifice, turrets and general masonry.

Inside, the hotel is darkly grand with none of the contemporary flashes of more modern hotels. Elevators are still original to the building though, obviously, updated for modern day safety and efficiency including the all-important security of having to scan a hotel card to be able to punch a floor (why every hotel doesn't do this boggles me as I find it quite comforting to have this feature). The quaintness in its design is its history, but much like the elevators the rooms are fully updated if not fully modern. However, one should really come and visit for the food.

We had a rather epic family-styled dinner last night at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Our host and hostess transformed a ballroom into a setting for a media group of nearly 60. Cocktails, Canadian based naturally, started the evening right as did the biggest cheese and charcuterie board I have ever seen in my life! It required two people to carry and had so many varietals of cheese, meats, veggies and sundries, they literally ran out of space on the program. My favorite thing in this course was the mustard, which was spicy and maybe the best mustard I have ever had (including the time I was in Dijon, France ... probably some fighting words from me!). The staff are looking to find me the exact company who bottled it so, maybe, it is French after all!!

PHOTO: The enormous cheese + charcuterie board (c) Sery Kim

Second course, the main, was a mix of seafood, veal, and vegetables, in yet another family style service. This course was solid but not spectacular. The fish was over-cooked and the temperature of everything was 5 degrees too cold, but that probably had a lot to do with volume rather than actually cooking. The sauces were very nicely done, even if they were overlooked, as they were placed on the long table without any fanfare. It wasn't until I mentioned there are sauces the others in the group poured it over their seafood and meat -- I can't imagine how dry their food must have been if mine, with a generous portions of sauces, was dry!

I do wish they had more potatoes but this is my personal preference.

PHOTO: Main course at Fairmont Chateau Laurier (c) Sery Kim

Thankfully, the final course -- dessert! -- made up for the tepid main course. Again, I am going to find out everything on this dessert plate for the fuller review, but the hunk of maple fudge was fantastically the best thing on the plate. Maple and Canada, go figure! ;-)

PHOTO: Dessert course, the delicious hunk of maple fudge is in the near ground (c) Sery Kim

Again, many thanks to Fairmont Chateau Laurier for starting the weekend off right! We are headed to another property in a few minutes for some serious outdoor snow activities! Can't hardly wait!!!

OH. And how cute is the welcome gift?! Look at those mittens!! Merci beaucoup!

PHOTO: my welcome gift from Fairmont Chateau Laurier (c) Sery Kim

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