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I Can’t Make It

"Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other belong to themselves."
“Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other belong to themselves.”

Today I had to send regrets to an event I’d been looking forward to for months, and I felt awful about it.

Yesterday, after much planning on my part, and much coordination of transportation based on the almost impossible traffic situation in the GTA, four out of 7 of us arrived at our Summerlicious ladies lunch destination.

I was disappointed that there were only 4 of 7 of us there, and I had a serious self-talk in the morning about why I would never bother to organize a bunch of women again. “Like herding cats,” I grumbled to myself.

Some cancelled last minute, an other was the victim of the traffic-hell that we have become so apathetic about in Toronto.

But the dynamic of the group never ceases to amaze me. For every situation, whether it be social or professional, no matter who shows up, it’s always worthwhile.

For the press, these dining events have become a battle of dining between what I consider to be ignorant servers, and customers;

For you, it is a chance at a satisfying meal at a restaurant you might not typically be able to afford.  For the people who get your meal to the table, it means weeks of unpaid overtime, exhaustion, unforgiving diners and crummy tips.” by  Siobhan Morris , as posted at Newstalk 1010.

In any business, there are going to be customers you want to kick out the door, and in some cases, you should absolutely take your patent-leather stilettos and shove one up a backside or two. Employers should also be paying fairly, but this just isn’t a mark on the food-industry, it’s a symptom of greed at-the-top in every industry.

Despite the spin the press puts on these events, it’s usually been a lot of fun.  And these events are meant to be fun.  We want to be there. We want to know about your restaurant, your menu, your wine list, and we want to find a place that we can depend on to offer excellent food and service.

Yesterday one of the gals tried a wonderful grapefruit, rosemary cocktail, one stuck to a juicy cabernet, and I tired a micro-brew lager that was delicious.  We all ordered coffee, and left better than the minimum expected, 15% tips.

Yesterday we dined at Destingo, and the menu did not disappoint. More importantly the atmosphere and the service were beyond welcoming.

As in; the staff didn’t look down their noses at the middle-aged table of women who were only half in number of their initial reservation size.

As in; the staff were knowledgeable, polite, prompt, and seemingly unrushed, despite hosting a packed house.  That is a mark of good management, and happy employees. We all know that happy employees create happy customers.They were smart enough to realize that we’re tired of cooking and coddling, and we’re the market who doesn’t just celebrate events, we’re experienced lushes who prefer to have someone cook for us. We are good business.

menueBravo Destino! After 16 Winter & Summerlicious dinners with groups ranging in number from 3 – 16, you were the best experience yet!

So, to the chefs and servers out there who don’t want our business, don’t worry, we won’t’ be knocking on your door any time soon.

For the folks at Destingo, I know that they will have repeat business from our group who were so well treated and well-fed yesterday.

Finally, for the ladies who tried to make it, but got caught in traffic hell, and the ladies who couldn’t make it; we missed you, and we understand.  Winterlicious is only 6 and a half months away.

And for my impatient, overworked – self; remember it’s ok to change plans once in a while to keep oneself on that sexy-even-keel, remember what a wonderful feeling it was to have everyone together yesterday. I think I’ll go  ahead an organize a Winterlicious that’s wonderful.

 

 

 

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Savoury Sundays: Cioppino

English: Map of Italy and its districts.Every Sunday ANDSHELAUGHS will post a savoury recipe for you to prepare for the ones you love.

***Please leave a comment  and reblog if you make the recipe. Let us know how you liked it!***

This very first  Savoury Sunday, I offer up one of my very favourite recipes: Cioppino.

It takes me back to a visit to San Francisco, and indulging in a classic Italian dinner at Alioto’s overlooking the bay.

Perhaps not a traditional family meal, Cioppino makes an easy, light meal ideal for a quiet night in with your sweetheart.

I recommend serving this Cioppino with fresh bakery bread,butter and a bottle of  Luccarelli Primitivo to enjoy as well.

Cioppino

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes ( I use my own home preserved tomatoes)

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (don’t skip this, parsley is a key ingredient)

1/4 teaspoon dried basil ( I prefer t use fresh – just a few finely chopped leaves)

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf

10 oz boneless whitefish cut into 1.5″ chunks

12 littleneck clams, scrubbed

12 medium mussels, scrubbed and debearded

8-12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

*Add crab if it’s available* Yum!!!

Method

1. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat the oil, and saute the onion, pepper and garlic until softened.

2. Add tomatoes, wine and tomato paste, spices, herbs, bay leaf and 1/2 cup water.

3. Combine all ingredients well, and bring to a boil.

4. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Add the fish and simmer uncovered for ~5 mins.

6. Add the clams & mussels and simmer ~3 mins.

7. Add the shrimp and simmer uncovered for ~5 mins until the clams and mussels are open and the shrimp are pink.

*** Discard any unopened clams and mussels as well as the bay leaf***

***When preparing this meal, beware of the timing. It’s not something you can leave on the stove top and keep warm until your dinner guest arrives. Prepare your ingredients, and enjoy a relaxed conversation over a glass of wine while you’re cooking.***