Friday, November 04, 2005

Ottawa Wine and Food show (worst episode ever!)

This Friday, I've spent a few hours and a lot of money at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show and it was a terrible place to be!

The food served by the restaurants who wanted to attract new customers was bad and overpriced. Most of the dishes were all prepared in advance because cooking space was limited... which is quite normal and expected in such circumstances. But some dishes were terribly wrong: rubbery shrimps, grainy sauces, overcooked pasta, cheeses that were still unripe, soggy croutons, …

I know I am a tough critique when food is concerned but I’m not a food snob either: I’m quite happy with hot dogs as long as they are cooked properly. I mean, who like to eat a burnt sausage in a soggy bun? The same rule apply to “fine cuisine”, no matter what you cook, you should cook it properly, especially if you are to serve it to clients who pay good amounts of money for your food. I do a lot of bad cooking here at home, my readers should know by now that I did failed many of my experiment, but I would never ask people to pay for my bad food, especially if I want to promote my products!

Bad cooking, however, was not the only thing that bothered me there. The atmosphere was actually quite nice in the afternoon but right after 5PM, a huge crowd of people engulfed the congress centre chit-chating here and there. It was like one of those huge after work look-at-me cocktail party. God knows how much I hate these things! Some people smelled perfume so much that wine tasting near them was impossible. There was no way one could just relax and try new things without being elbowed by someone or being annoyed by that weird resurgence of valley-girl talk.

With that kind of bad food and annoying crowds, no matter why most people in North America end up avoiding good food, prefering the much simpler and quieter fast food joints and industrialized frozen rubbish they find at their grocery store. When you ought to have bad food anyway, you'd better pay less and avoid the snobish and idiotic hordes that crowd the supposedly fancy restaurants.

Ok, I have to calm down now! Breath... Breath... Breath... Ok, I feel a lot better already!

By the end of the day , I was still able to try a lot of different wines, vinegar and olive oils available in the Ottawa area. I even splurged on expensive wines that I would never dare to buy by the bottle and discovered some pretty good local wines at very reasonable prices. One of my favourite was a Riesling from Ontario (I unfortunately forgot the estate; I was a bit tipsy at the time and annoyed by the crowd). I am slowly starting to discover some of the wines of Canada and I do find that although there is still a lot of crap around, we can find little gems for very little money.

Although visiting these kinds of shows are good ways to discover new products and new restaurants, I don’t believe you’ll see me going back to such events in the near future. I don’t see why I should fight a crowd full of snobbish individuals who pretend to like everything (maybe they do but that would be a very sad thing) in order to pay enormous amounts of money to get tasteless food and tiny glasses of wine.

Sorry for all the rant, but I really needed to vent a bit before going to bed.

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