Oh, Canada. Hockey. Moose(s). Busloads of American senior citizens desperate for your cheap meds. Not to mention two lovely ladies named Nancy Spain and Tanya, from Nelson, BC and Calgary, AB, respectively.
For a brief moment in the late 90s, we were the North American roses of the Sugan Hostel in Killarney, Ireland. Drinking pints, kissing the Kerry boys and grooving to David Gray at Yer Man’s Pub. Sigh, my life has changed so little. But I do miss those lovely Canucks! Luckily (thanks, interweb!) we’ve stayed in touch, in spite of the fact that I broke up with Facebook. (It was time.)
I haven’t had much to say here lately — perhaps you’ve noticed — and Tanya, bless her, offered to pull me out of my druckin’ rut by sharing the highlights of her scrummy birthday dinner at the Longview Restaurant in Longview, AB with me. (Side note, when my sister and I traveled in Ireland, we passed a “Scrummys” restaurant, but the “r” had burnt out, so instead it read, “Scummys.” Fits of hysterics ensued.)
She started with a Moroccan chicken pastilla, sort of a cross between a chicken pot pie and a tagine, with cinnamon, almonds and (in this recipe) dried fruit:
YUM. And probably easy enough to make yourself with store-bought puff pastry. For her birthday main, she had herb-encrusted halibut, seared to perfection, served with a brown butter emulsion over veg & baby potatoes. (Her own lovely description AND photo!) What can I say, I have great taste in friends.
I never eat fish on my birthday, for some reason, even though I now consider sushi a carb-laden cheat treat. (That means I love it.) So GO YOU, Tanya, for splurging on the savories of the sea. I generally eat pizza, Jack-in-the-Box or corn dogs on my birthday. But if I was getting all FANCY, I’d go with steak. So did Dylan, Tanya’s dining companion:
They don’t call Calgary — home of the infamous Stampede — cow-town for nothing. That steak looks MONEY. And I’ll bet Canadians are nicer to their cows than we are. Which makes me feel better about eating them.
Alas, she has no pictures of the Moroccan Date cake or the pumpkin cheesecake, but I make a nice one at the holidays sometimes and I think I even found it for you. Recipe here, pic here:
My favorite part of Tanya’s awesome review was this line, “Lady, you know that I will be bringing you there if you come visit!” and I so hope to make that happen in the near future. Thank you to every single reader I have left for staying with me through my prolonged absence. To quote from the movie Juno, “If you’re still in, I’m still in.” See you next week.