Ottawa, Canada
Zara, 37
Video Editor
see her Ottawa city guide

What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a video editor by day, creative ninja by night. I love anything fun and creative so I do quite a lot of freelancing. I project visuals as a VJ for events in Ottawa. I also have a passion for photography which led to the development of a photoblog about cyclists that dress in style. If I travel somewhere, I make sure to take portraits of people who love cycling.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

I must be in a good place now - Bobby Charles, Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler, Breathe Again - Toni Braxton, Believe-Cher, The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding, Twenty four hours from Tulsa - Gene Pitney, Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye, All I have to do is dream- Everly brothers, Islands in the Stream - Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers, The Most Beautiful Girl - Charlie Rich, Where did Our Love Go - Supremes, You Can Get It If you Really Want- Desmond Dekker, Don't Stop - S Club 7, Happy Boys and Girls - Aqua, Sunny- Boney M, Call Me - St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Hands Up - Ottawan, I Got My Mind Made Up - Instant Funk

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Mind your Language, Family Matters, Arrested Development, Rick and Morty, Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, Stranger Things, Breaking Bad, Golden Girls, Portlandia, Broad City, The Mindy Project, Master of None, MadTv, Late Night with Conan, Colbert Report, Chappelle’s Show, Fawlty Towers, Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Office (British Series), Animaniacs, Orange is the New Black, Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Sesame Street, Curb your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, MASH, Freaks and Geeks, The Daily Show, Black Mirror, Planet Earth, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, The Awful Truth

Name some spots in Ottawa that are good for a Tinder date.

I'm all about experiences and activities so I would definitely start off with a slow bike ride adventure through the city. I would start downtown getting sandwiches and antipasti from Luciano's and then biking to the pond in Rockliffe. After that bike over to House of Targ for perogies and pinball. If the date lands on a Friday night there is rollerskating at Carleton University which is always a fun/embarrassing time. If the date lands on a Sunday on the last day of the month, a trip to the Manx pub is a must to watch Remi Royale sing sweet tunes and watch people throw and stick coasters on his back.

Who’s your hero and where in Ottawa would you take them out for a serious hang?

Oh I would take Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, MIA and Malala Yousafzai to the Concord Motel Inn basement to play pool.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I buy a lot of my clothes online because I love unique and crazy pieces. I also love visiting vintage stores so a lot of my clothing and accessories come from there. My favourite Canadian designer is Hayley Elsaesser so I've got lots of pieces from her collections.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

While the suburbs have a few interesting spots to check out I don't think I would be caught dead in Kanata. It's too conservative for me.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Dress up and go to the NAC to hear the orchestra or watch a ballet, ride my bike all day, or just visit all the galleries, restaurants and coffee shops.

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Ottawa and where did you get it?

Duck poutine from Oz Kafe. So Delicious!

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Ottawa that you particularly like?

Wandee Thai located on Beech street has great Thai food. The combos are a good starting point if you want to try a curry and a stir-fry. I'm there so often that they now know I love my food extremely spicy so they cut up Thai chilies for me :D Also Cafe Caco in Vanier is pretty hilarious for karaoke.

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Ottawa? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

The most expensive restaurant I've been to is Riviera In Ottawa. We ordered pretty much everything on the menu so that's why the bill was expensive. The most expensive hotel in Ottawa? I don't really stay in hotels in my hometown but if I did, I would stay at the Andaz in the byward market or Alt Hotel on Slater.

What restaurant in Ottawa looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

My favourite is Ben Ben in Chinatown. It looks like the place hasn't been updated in a long time but the food is just amazing. Try their hot and sour soup.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Ottawa? Which one do you like?

I don't really drink but I will vouch for the Sake Sour from Datsun and the Caesars and martinis at Oz Kafe. The Buzz also has good martinis!

Where would you take your partner in Ottawa if you wanted to really pamper them?

Depends on how special this partner is. Partner 1) Nordik Spa for baths and massages. Dinner at North and Navy or Oz Kafe. Trampoline at Skyzone or a hike in the Gatineau. Partner 2) provide credit card, order takeout, watch sports and chill while I pamper myself in the tub. lol

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Ketchup Chips, taffy in snow and beavertails

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Ottawa?

What I think is overrated in Ottawa might not be overrated for someone else! Try everything!

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Ottawa?

Les Grillades. Try their Kafta, fish, hummus and tabouli. Also PEROGIES on Baxter road!

What are the Ottawa spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

You can pretty much see all the key spots if you travel by bike. The graffiti walls are always fun to look at as they change constantly (Dunbar Bridge and Tech Wall). Chinadoll's karaoke night at Shanghai restaurant is also something you can't miss because it's a hilarious experience. Remic Rapids is also a lovely spot to watch the sunset and see rock art that changes every year. Visit Chinatown, Golden Triangle, Glebe and the Market areas for independent stores and restaurants.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Ottawa. How do you spend it?

A full day of biking around the city to go on an intense food crawl. Definitely will spend time eating a giant bowl of poutine(Chips and Dairy), eating a chicken shawarma (Shawarma King), having a Caesar and bar dancing at Oz Kafe (bar dancing is me sitting on a bar stool and dancing). Oh yes also watching the sunset near the Ottawa Locks.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I just spent my vacation on the Amalfi Coast and loved staying in a lemon orchard in Minori. I'm sure my favourite vacation city in the world will be Tokyo..and I still haven't been yet!

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