Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Wolf nipple chips. Get 'em while they're hot. They're lovely."

On Sunday I had an experience that reminded me very much of a bit in Monty Python's Life of Brian

I wonder if you remember the scene where Brian is a food vendor at a gladiator match, selling exotic finger foods to the spectators, including Reg, Judith, and Francis of the People's Front of Judea:

BRIAN (calling out his wares): Larks' tongues. Wrens' livers. Chaffinch brains. Jaguars' earlobes. Wolf nipple chips. Get 'em while they're hot. They're lovely. Dromedary pretzels, only half a denar. Tuscany-fried bats.

BRIAN: Larks' tongues. Otters' noses. Ocelot spleens.

REG: Got any nuts?

BRIAN: I haven't got any nuts. Sorry. I've got wrens' livers, badgers' spleens...

REG: No, no, no.

BRIAN: Otters' noses?

REG: I don't want any of that Roman rubbish.

JUDITH: Why don't you sell proper food?

BRIAN: Proper food?

REG: Yeah, not those rich imperialist tit-bits.

BRIAN: Well, don't blame me. I didn't ask to sell this stuff.

REG: All right. Bag of otters' noses, then.

FRANCIS: Make it two.

Well, I didn't nosh on otters' noses, but I did get to sample some really delicious and, in some cases, very creative and/or exotic cuisine.  I won tickets to the Ottawa Humane Society's Summer Harvest Garden Party fundraiser. Lots of the top chefs from Ottawa restaurants, as well as the chef from the Prime Minister's residence, and chefs from the Algonquin College Culinary Arts program were there, cooking for the guests.  The event raised more than $35,000 dollars for the shelter!

My friend Debby and I dressed up in our best garden-party outfits, dispersed our children to various other events, and set off into Ottawa.  Of course nothing goes off without a hitch, and when I got to her house to pick her up, I managed to fall down her front steps onto the patio stone pathway, grazing my knee and hurting my wrist.  Fortunately there were no grass or blood stains on my dress.  Two extra-strength Advil gelcaps later, and we were on our way, with Deb driving, since my wrist hurt.  We decided that if an ER visit for wrist X-rays was necessary, we would do it after stuffing our faces at the party.

I felt a bit like a Jim Carrey character as we drove up behind a Lexus and a BMW to the valet parking area in my tan 1999 Mercury Mystique with the big dent in the passenger-side quarter panel, but soon we were accepting a glass of Prosecco and gliding (Debby) and limping (me) gracefully into the shelter where the Garden Party was being held.  The shelter is only a year old and is a beautiful facility!  It's clean, bright, and spacious, with plenty of room for each dog and cat, and no cages in sight.  The hallways were filled with tables of goodies from each chef or restaurant, and we were soon sampling all the deliciousness on display.

The gorgeous Deborah.

I snapped these pictures surreptitiously with my Blackberry, which doesn't have a flash, so they aren't the greatest. These sesame-crusted chicken sausage bites with Asian slaw and beets were from the Algonquin College Culinary Program:

and these phyllo port-soaked strawberry cup thingies too:

And then it was on to oysters!  From Whalesbone Oyster House.  Raspberry Point oysters (from Prince Edward Island) with a squeeze of lemon.  Mmmmmmm:

We filled our plates with appetizers. (I ate the shrimp out of the shrimp étouffée before it occurred to me to take a picture of my plate.)

And that's when things got all Monty-Python-otters'-noses-y:

Yes. Smoked duck tongues with spicy mayo.  They were in a tempura batter and deep fried and were quite tasty.  Though I did prefer the Kentucky-fried quail legs.  (I can't believe I just typed 'Kentucky-fried quail legs', or ate them for that matter.)  They were really, really good.  Not Tuscany-fried bat, but still, pretty close. :)  The food in the picture above was from Atelier, except for the gazpacho.

I didn't take many pictures of the main courses -- it was hard to juggle the plate, the utensils, the wineglass and my Blackberry, but these were good:

And so was this (from Urban Pear):

But my absolute favourite dish was this -- deconstructed sushi from K.W.Catering:

I was one happy camper.  And kind of red-faced since it was really hot.  I imagine the air-conditioning doesn't usually have to deal with a few hundred extra people, some of whom were cooking.

Laureen Harper, the wife of the Prime Minister, (below, in the blue-and-white dress) is a long-time patron and supporter of the shelter.  She was there chatting to all the chefs and shelter people. Not in the picture is her RCMP protection officer, who was very good-looking -- really tall, nice hair, ice-blue eyes and cheekbones you could cut paper with. He caught me staring at him a couple of times, but his attention was purely work-related. I was tempted at one point to throw myself at him yelling "Frisk me, I've got a knife", but I thought better of it.

We managed to leave without taking home any animals.  Though it was touch-and-go for Debby and a year-old German Shepard called Sasha.

So, thanks to 93.9  Bobfm, who ran the caption contest that I won the tickets on:

Just put the spray bottle down, and no one gets hurt.

It was a lovely afternoon.  And we didn't have to go to the ER after all.


  1. Anonymous3:20 PM

    Smoked duck tongue? You are making this up. Admit it!

    1. Am not! I ate smoked duck tongue. I did wonder though, when I was tasting it, was it tasting me back?

  2. I must be a really unadventurous eater. You could never get me to put duck tongue in my mouth, no matter how it was prepared! I wish I could just forget that duck have tongues now.

    Also, I find it sort of creepy that a fundraiser for the humane society wasn't purely vegetarian. I mean, what are the animals thinking?

    Also, I really love your caption :-)

    1. I'm pretty adventurous, but I refuse to eat lima beans or pumpking pie. And since the dogs and cats at the Humane Society are carnivores, I didn't feel bad about eating meat there. Except when I was standing next to a window into one of the dog rooms and a German shepherd was watching me eat and then I felt kind of bad eating in front of him.

    2. Um, that would be 'pumpkin pie'.

  3. "Frisk me, I've got a knife"


    You and Debby both look lovely, absolutely chic and fabulous. If Debby happens to read this, I'd love to know where she got that hawt dress.

    As I was reading about the food, I was drooling. Thank you for describing it so thoroughly so that we all can experience it vicariously.

    Seriously, you looked terrific and I am very glad you didn't get blood on the dress. Did anyone get a full-length photo of you?

    1. Thanks, Jen.

      The food was totally drool-worthy. And no, Deb snapped that pic of me with my cellphone, and it's the only one. I love her red dress too. She told me where she got it but I don't remember.

    2. Thank you for the compliment. My lovely, hawt red and whit polka dot dress was bought on a whim at none other than Wal-Marr for a mere $12.00. I think it was my best purchase of the entire summer! I

  4. Oh Gary they were fab... Phyllo pastry drizzled with dark chocolate, filled with wine-soaked strawberries and then topped with a spoonful of ginger foam. Debby may or may not have compared them favourably to sex. :)

  5. Sorry you fell down the steps beforehand. That sounds like something I would do too. But looks like you had an amazing time and you should totally have thrown yourself on the bodyguard. That's what they're there for. :D

    1. It was an amazing time. With my co-ordination, if I had thrown myself at the bodyguard, I probably would have missed and crashed into the dessert table.

  6. How fun. I'm only slightly disappointed by the lack of kumquats.

    1. It was. And there might have been kumquats somewhere in one of the dishes. I had never heard of a yuzu before eating the sushi dish, and the chef told me it was a Japanese citrus fruit that tastes like tangerine and lime, so that's sort of kumquatesque, isn't it?

  7. I've temporarily removed internet privileges from my ducks Martha and Stewart until this post is no longer current. As you can imagine they are quacking mad. They think it's because of wet footprints on the office chair. The truth would give them nightmares.

    Would you mind if I used the photo of the Daniel Craig garden gnome on my blog. Full credit of course.

    1. I am sorry if I caused any dissention in the household. Poor Martha and Stewart! (Love the names, by the way.) Yes, it was a lovely event, but not for those of the duck persuasion. Thank you for dropping by and commenting, and yes, you may use the Daniel Craig photo. Sigh. Daniel Craig. Sorry, where was I? Oh, I will have to pop over and check out your blog.

  8. Robin2:09 PM

    Hey there. I plan this event and loved your post. Could you please email me at We do a whack of foodie events each year and I enjoy meeting bloggers who can write about food, make it funny, but still do justice to what's going into your mouth. I'd love to add you to my guest lists.


    1. I'm glad you liked my post! and your offer sounds really interesting! I will definitely drop you an email. :)

    2. And kudos on planning the event. It was lovely and ran so smoothly. The food was really something special.

  9. It's not fair.
    I'm sitting at my desk at the school with nothing to eat by dry crackers and a mini-tin of tuna and you post all these lovely photos of gorgeous food.
    *sob, grinds teeth whilst salivating copiously*

    It did look like you had a lovely time.

    Any pate de foi gras?

    1. No, no foie gras, but after duck tongue it probably would have seemed a bit pedestrian. :) I really did have a lovely time.