Savour the Tulips, an event hosted by FoodMODE Magazine and Groovy Grapes. You also get lots of pictures, lots of notes, and a good time.
That is what I spent yesterday afternoon doing, with my friend BC of Beans and Caviar. Thanks to this man, Robin Duetta, publisher of FoodMODE, who invited me to join him for this event, a fundraising event for the Tulip Festival. Robin has good reason to look so happy, even though this might have been the only tasting he ended up having for the afternoon. More than 500 people filled the tent and enjoyed wonderful food samplings from local restaurants, along with a variety of wines and beers.
Lets get on with the food now....
Chef Robin Bowen of LAGO Bar and Grill was very popular, with his Lamb Popsicles, served with a mint and pea pesto. Despite constant carving for well over an hour, he took the time out for a smile and a friendly word with me. The people in line behind me were kind enough to be patient, even though I'm sure they were drooling for a piece of that juicy, melt in your mouth lamb.
Btw, you can find the recipe for Chef Bowen's lamb right here, in the Ottawa Citizen.
The staff at ARC Lounge & Restaurant provided us with a beautiful display for their smoked salmon rillette on horseradish crackers, with a fresh herb "salsa". Lovely and tasty. I think I should have gone back for another of these but there were so many things to try.
Yes, I was doing the same each time I sat down. It is good to be in the company of someone who understands why I do things like pull out a pen to write down the details of what is on my plate as soon as I sit down. Must write it before I eat it or I won't remember!
There were so many things to try, and while I did take pictures of everything, if I put a picture up for it all, we would be here looking at pictures of delicious food all day! Okay, not a bad way to spend a Sunday, but since I can't spend all morning writing, I'll move on an highlight some of my favorites:
At the top of my list is this unpretentious little cup of soup, a Curry Sweet Potato soup served by the ladies of The Red Apron. Jo-Ann and Jennifer captured me with this offering, the soup was sweet and creamy and I could have had a pot load myself. My first sampling was warm and melted into my tastebuds. Later I was able to try some more, but took my time to savour it, a little taste, try something else, another little taste. Cold it was just as wonderful.
Sharing a table, as they share space in the same building on Gladstone Ave in Ottawa, The Red Apron's soup was served beside some wonderful breads from True Loaf Bakery. Included were four kinds: a traditional baguette, a date and fennel bread, rye and walnut and my personal favorite, a seed bread. I love bread, I really do.
Driving past the bakery on our way home, I told my husband I thought the date and fennel bread would be a wonderful accompaniment to a prime rib roast, but thinking about it now, it would make one amazing stuffing for a chicken or a turkey. (Hmmm I see a trip downtown in my near future!)
I could go on and on and on, so here is a quick round up of some things on my plate: an asparagus and beef salad wrap along with a "grown up" rice krispie square (dark chocolate, cognac and dried cranberries, yum!) from Toss It Up; double smoked mackaeral cake with lemon creme fraiche from The Whalesbone Catering; Smoked salmon and a warm Double Smoked salmon from the Pelican Fishery and Grill.
One thing I haven't mentioned is the beers and wines. Well, there is a reason for that. I don't like beer or most wines. But I did something yesterday I never, ever do. I tried a beer. I even tried three different types of wines! (Oh the things I do for my blog. Hehehe) And I can say, with a totally unprejudiced opinion, that if you can find it, go try the beer from Beau's All Natural Brewing Company. Served ice cold, it was mild and didn't have the "kick you in the teeth" aftertaste I find comes with most beers.
Such a lovely time!
Thank you again Robin, FoodMODE and Groovy Grapes for a lovely afternoon.