When I meet people for the first time they often tell me how it seems I have an adventurous life - eating plates of never ending foie gras, traveling hours to attend food or beer events but the truth is those things don't happen very often. The only reason why it seems like I spend all of my time drinking beer or eating poutine is because I make a really big deal out of it on social networks when I do. In reality, I spend the majority of my evenings holed up in my 15th floor apartment, listening to podcasts, thinking of excuses as to why I shouldn't go to the gym and working on making a dent in my beer stash.
Last Wednesday, things were going as planned - if not better. At 5:30pm I was already in my pajamas, beer at my side and hard at work peeling potatoes for the mashed potato part of the hot chicken sandwich I was making for dinner. I was about to dump a bunch of potatoes into a pot of boiling water when my phone started buzzing with text messages from publicist extraordinaire, Catherine Landry. She was asking me what I was doing and if I wanted a spare ticket to Martin Picard's Pop Up Dinner that was opening the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival. She didn't have to ask twice, of course I wanted the ticket - the mashed potatoes were quickly abandoned.Sala San Marco, a banquet hall in Little Italy, I was pretty proud of myself. In under an hour I managed to find fairly presentable clothes, shellac my disheveled hair into place and carefully apply mascara to my eyelashes without also applying it to my forehead. Before I could admire my togetherness in my Android screen I heard my name and was whisked into the dining hall to meet my fellow table mates. To my surprise my table was filled with chefs, restaurateurs and others connected one way or another to the business. I was really happy I went the extra mile with the mascara because even though I had problems forming sentences, at least I looked good.
What followed was one of the most unforgettable meals of my life. Dishes that contained ridiculous levels of foie gras, amounts of pork that had you praying that Sala San Marco had a portable heart defibrillator and desserts that caused even those with the largest appetites to tap out after a few bites. It would be hard to describe a meal from Martin Picard, even with a photo. Imagine your favourite comfort food taken not just to the next level but five levels above that and then stuffed with foie gras, rolled in pork belly and then shoved in a can to cook. It gets a little ridiculous but in a good, I can't stop eating this, kind of way.
And did I mention I was with a table full of chefs? I'm happy to say that our table probably drank the most (limoncello shots anyone?) and we were probably the loudest; cheers-ing the foie gras bites, swearing at the floating foie gras chunks in the pea soup and loudly devouring everything edible on the pigs head. In my mind, we celebrated the rowdiness and overindulgence that Chef Picard and his Cabane à sucre is known for.