I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because of the amazing people i've met here in Ottawa. There are a few dates every year that I look forward to, and although i'm not Irish, St Patrick's Day is on the top of that list. Why? Because of my friends Tony and Cathy. Every year they throw an amazing party and put together the most exquisite spread. What they do is unique in that they serve the best comforting food, but they do it in the most chic way. It's not a sit down meal, there's a beautifully decorated table of mouthwatering awesomeness that makes you think for a moment you should be curling up in a blanket with a bowl of hot stew, but you're surrounded by such fun and interesting people that you couldn't possibly do it. I tried my best not to eat too much during the afternoon because I knew what kind of feast was in store for me. And despite all my efforts, I still didn't have enough room for everything.
The beginning of the table started with some sweet, miniature bundles of heaven, cupcakes modeled to represent the Irish flag. I ate an orange one. Next were some black olives and cheeses, spinach dip and veggies. The tray of veggies were also a representation of the theme of the evening. Carefully placed was a row of green peppers, followed by a row of cauliflower and finally, a row of carrots. Next is my favorite, a large pot of mashed potatoes. Now what makes these mashed potatoes so fabulous are the accompaniments that go with them – sour cream, chives, homemade bacon bits and my personal favourite, caramelized onions. If you've never had mashed potatoes topped with caramelized onions, you have no idea what you are missing. It is fantastic. And in this situation, I added to my onion and potato mixture with the next item, the rich and comforting Irish stew. This stew was so satisfying and delicious I had to eat it in two parts. Some on my mashed potatoes and caramelized onions, and some on its own. The meat is so tender and just falls apart between your teeth.
The last items on the table just made me want to jump up and down for joy – dumplings and egg rolls. I'm a sucker for dumplings, I just think they're one of the best foods ever. Along with the dumplings was some hoisin sauce and plum sauce for the egg rolls. Now you may be thinking WOW, I can't imagine being faced with all this food. Well, it didn't end there. As the night went on, Cathy came out with DiRienzo sandwiches. In case you don't know, they are known to have the best sandwiches in Ottawa. I did not have any. I couldn't possibly. And then even later came some pizza from the Prescott. Yes, I did die and go to heaven.
Before I end this post, I must also make a mention of some pretty fantastic “Kiss me i'm Irish” cupcakes my friend Teresa brought to the party. She made these moist and dreamy cupcakes from scratch! I held onto them for a moment in the car on the way over and I literally thought about them for 2 hours before I finally broke down and had one. Did I explode before bed? Almost.