Saturday, March 19, 2016

Eating up the Hill: Produce, consumer products, grain-fed beef on grain-fed buns and Canadian actors

Having caught up with work after a well-timed constituency week, here's a round-up of a few receptions from the last few weeks. Getting these out of the way before budget season next week.

Canadian Produce Marketing Association

Produce is getting really expensive these days, or so it seems on my very ocasional trips to the grocery store. I paid $3 for a red pepper last week. $3! It's like you people don't want me to eat healthier.

I didn't talk about produce pricing with the produce marketing folks, but I did confess most of the produce I'm eating at home lately is frozen and tossed into a lazy man's stir fry -- good and non-judgemental folks that they are, they were fine with that. Produce is produce, after all.

I did sample some of the produce on offer at their reception at the Chateau Laurier -- for example, that celery right there beside the pita bread smothered in spinach and cheese sauce -- but hey, spinach is produce too. Delicious, cheese-smothered produce. Also had some flatbread there that was kinda meh.

I also enjoyed some chicken satay with peanut sauce and ,to keep the produce theme going, two very tasty mushroom risotto balls.

To digress for just a moment, how good is risotto? So good, right? Thing is, when I see it on offer in a nicer restaurant, I always feel like I'm squandering the dining opportunity if I order the risotto instead of something more substantial, like steak or prime rib.  Maybe risotto should be a more common side option, as well as a main?

Anyway, the produce folks also had a Canadian celebrity chef on hand to demonstrate healthy cooking  techniques with MPs Celina Caesar-Chavannes and Bruce Stanton as guest chefs. I watched them dice and toss vegetables into pots for a few minutes, and then headed to the next reception.

Food & Consumer Products

Apparently ketchup is all the talk at Queen's Park, but if the ketchup lobby was present at the Food & Consumer Products reception I didn't hear about it. But I did have some more of those mushroom risotto things.

Primarily I was concerned about getting a photo with Don Newman -- and on that, I can declare mission accomplished. Great to have met the broadcasting legend who largely eschewed the yelling MP panel format for much more substantive stakeholder interviews.

Random scallops

I can't remember where I had these bacon wrapped scallops, but they were scallops wrapped in bacon and they were delicious. Because they're scallops wrapped in bacon. Of course they were delicious. Bacon makes everything better.

Grain Growers of Canada

I stopped in at this reception in Centre Block before an evening meeting, and there was a buzz throughout the halls of parliament -- there is beef on buns down the hall and holy crap, it is so good.

And so good it was.. Canadian grain farmers had brought their finest rolls to Ottawa, and between those beautifully baked buns they added a bounty of beef that was succulent and tender. I was going to have just one as I had shawarma-related plans for later in the evening -- then one became two, and then three.

Then it was back into the halls to spread the word. Yes, there was beef on buns, and it was good.

ACTRA on the Hill

Canadian actors held a reception over in the East Block to make the case for supporting Canadian arts and culture, and I think I even recognized a few of them.

I only had time to take a quick graze over the appetizer table and primarily focused on the veggies and dip, which came in very cute little cups. More things should come in little cups.

I think the Chicken Farmers have a wing ding next week. Will there be chicken fingers? Chicken wings? Chicken sliders? Random lamb chops just to break with convention? I'm looking forward to finding out.

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