09 November 2008

A “sort of” quiet Sunday…

Today I’m taking a break from the maddening weekend pace, if you don’t count cooking two entirely different meals in the span of a few hours. No I’m not mad; I had a an old bag of potatoes that was starting to turn so I salvaged what I could and made Shepherd’s Pie to freeze for quick weeknight meals down to road. I still have tonight’s meal to make - low-fat kielbasa paella. Once again, I’m turning to my trusty slow cooker for inspiration. This should give me a few blissful hours of downtime to work on more Christmas ornaments later this afternoon. Yes I know, I’m still being productive but it’s about as relaxed as I get.

And now, I shall regale you with a recap of the past few days…

Ottawa Food and Wine Show

’m so glad that hubby and decided to leave work at noon on Friday to attend the show. We had no lineups to contend with and we got to talk to a lot of the different vintners. In particular, I loved the France exhibit which was very well conceived and attractive. They built a large two sided-bar with stools. You could take a seat, give your wobbly legs a rest and sample some twenty-plus wines displayed along the bar. Spain, California, Chili and Argentina also had decent representation. I was, however, upset to see that Italy was next to invisible. I was hoping to find out more about different wineries in Tuscany and the Chianti region seeing as hubs and I will be doing some touring there in April…no such luck.

The one complaint that I have about the Ottawa Food and Wine Show, although not surprising in the least, is that it is an absolute money-making racket. On top of paying $20 each for general admission into the show, we also had to pay 50¢/ each for sampling tickets to try the wine. While this doesn’t sound too unreasonable, we soon discovered that most of the decent wine samples cost 2-6 tickets / $1-$3 per tiny sample. It doesn’t take long to use up your tickets or burn through your budget, especially when you’re hungry and also have to use your tickets for overpriced and under-portioned food samples. Hubby and I went through 120 tickets…you do the math… Don’t get me wrong, we had an amazing time and it was a fun experience but the value for $$$ sucks! The individual country wine evenings often held at the Government of Canada Conference Centre are much better in terms of wine and food/ ticket price. $45 dollars at one of these events will give you three-hour access to roughly 20-30 wineries from a featured country, special tasting seminars with vintners and unlimited samplings of an assortment of catered goodies. Another benefit of the smaller country events is that they only sell a limited number of tickets – the crowd is a little more exclusive and you tend to encounter more wine enthusiast s rather than nineteen-year- old, scantily-clad, gaggles of girls trying to pick up men. Yes, I realize that this makes me sound old and crotchety, but I take my imbibing very seriously.

If you are an Ottawa native and want to find out more about local wine evenings, I highly suggest checking out the Groovy Grapes website or the Local Wine Events page.

The “World-Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions

On Saturday, hubby and I brought my parents to see the Lipizzaner Stallions at Scotiabank Place. Daniel won the tickets in a draw at work and I figured that it could be interesting (because I love ponies!), especially for my father who used to train for the RCMP Musical Ride.

While the breed of horse is beautiful and their strength and agility are undoubtedly impressive, I wasn’t blown away by the show. Most of the routine was much of the same - classic dressage with repetitive movements and a few tricks thrown in for good measure. While I can fully appreciate the amount of dedication, training and trust that goes into this style of riding (4-6 years), two hours was a bit much for my liking. The end of the show featured some 8-horse figures, but it truly paled in comparison with the Musical Ride’s precision. The “swinging gate,” while beautiful, did not measure up to our own national show. It was still a fun afternoon out with the family and I was content even to stare at the beautiful horses, but I also walked away feeling just a wee bit thankful that our tickets were free.

Despite a few complaints, I truly did enjoy myself this weekend. Hubby and I are looking forward to returning to box again on Tuesday night for the NIN concert. On the other hand, I’m not looking forward to the second-hand pot fumes that will undoubtedly be drifting up to us from the crowd below. I may still enjoy rock music, but I don’t particularly enjoy the smells or ‘interesting’ characters that accompany them. Yeah, I’m a fuddy-duddy!

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