Carisse Studio Cafe & Photography Gallery is a little oasis on Elgin Street: quiet, welcoming, and chock-a-block with art. The long, narrow space has a few café tables and comfy chairs, a short (licensed) bar, and walls covered with the political photography of Jean-Marc Carisse (on them now, “My Trudeau Years”). You can wander around with a cappuccino or sit with a book, but what is really special about the Carisse café is the pie.
A Trudeau-mad friend and I dropped in for lunch the other day, and while she toured the exhibit, I ordered our lunch. A Cuban panini on a nice grainy bun and a half chicken sandwich on marble rye hit the spot — simple, homespun, tasty. The option of ordering a half sandwich is brilliant, because it leaves space in the tummy – and conscience – for dessert. And it was where the murmurings of pleasure really began — over a square of blueberry cheesecake, infused with the gentle scent of lavender, and a truly exceptional slice of key lime curd pie, on a ginger-graham crust. Pungent with lime flavour, sweet but not cloying, the key lime curd pie was rich but not so rich that we couldn’t finish every crumb. It was so good that my friend fell silent, and I was spared the Justin-this and Pierre-that for a blessed minute or two.
274 Elgin Street, 613-862-4398
Open Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 6pm, Saturday 11am to 4pm