Friday, October 28, 2022

Eating up the Hill: One Tuesday, two receptions, lots of seafood

Someone told me there were 13 receptions around Parliament Hill on Tuesday night. That may well be true, I don’t keep an exhaustive list. But I did delay my nightly collapse onto my couch to venture to two that had caught my eye: Restaurants Canada at Riviera and Pacific Salmon Foundation and Sport Fishing Institute of BC at the Marriott.

I started off at Riviera, a few blocks down Sparks from my office, at Elgin, a fancy spot where I had lunch once – a decent steak frites – but is rather bougie and generally out of my price range. It was dimly-lit and pretty packed. Two drink tickets were provided on entry, and it was a challenge to get to the bar. Like when you get your drink, move away from the bar people!

Anyway, I got a glass of a Niagara pinot (everything was specifically tied to a geography) and moved about the crowd. A tuna appy was offered, but I passed. I don’t care for tuna. Although I have been told that maybe I do, and to not judge tuna by the smelly canned stuff. Still, trying the good stuff will need to wait for another day.

There were a lot of pass-appies, and a tray of what looked like sliders was done and dusted well before it got near me. Being both hungry and on the clock, I made a strategic decision to move near to where the appies come from the prep station, to maximize my app chances.

Up first for me was a little bowl with shrimp, scallop and oyster from Newfoundland in a broth – so, a seafood chowder of sorts. Delicious, flavourful, could have ate four more.

Up next was beef tartar on a kettle chip from Alberta. Usually, I steer clear of uncooked meat – yes, even you sushi to the shame of my BC brethren – but as it was a small amount I took the plunge and wolfed it down. It was fine.

Finally, an arancini ball. Delicious, creamy, hearty, satisfying. Would eat again.

There was a table with various meets and cheeses, but it was warm in there and the siren song of wild British Columbian salmon as calling me, so I ventured outside onto Sparks Street, handed my leftover drink ticket to an entering staffer, and walked a few blocks down to the Marriott.

I arrived mid-speeches, so for 10 minutes I stared longingly across the room at the table of appies while the sponsors spoke about salmon spawning, habitat and species restoration efforts, and different politicians voiced their support. As a BCer I’m well-versed in these issues and very supportive of efforts to revive and protect the wild stock – its massive for tourism, the commercial industry and the Indigenous community with treaty rights and a long historical ties to BC’s best fish.

So during the politicians’ spiels I quietly snaked through the crowd to the table which was getting sparse – and ran out not much later so good call by me.

There were no labels so I cannot offer you specific informed descriptions. But there was smoked salmon, some sort of pate, and a very fishy fish. So assorted tasty seafood stuff. 

I could have done with a whole fillet but that would have been challenging. Maybe salmon sliders? But it was tasty, and confirms West Coast is the Best Coast for fish.

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