He eats, he scores!
There are few days of the year I look forward to more than Hockey Day In Canada. For the past four years, with the exception of last year when there was no NHL hockey (but let us never speak of that time again), my friends and I have celebrated the day with a get together. One of the hallmarks of our celebrations is good food in large quantities. This year was no different.
The orgy of food began at lunch, when my friend Dave shared his (Polish) family's homemade pierogies with me. His mom had made two kinds: potato, with its rich texture, were excellent with sour cream and melted butter; and mushroom, which were transcendent, with a woodsy flavour and a richness that belies the fact they were boiled. As a pasta fanatic, I was also impressed with the pierogie dough's texture, which, though tender, wasn't at all soggy.
Supper is usually a heavy, meat-laden, homemade affair on HDIC. This year we decided that two out of three ain't bad, and focused all our energies on eating a meal as heavy and meat-laden as we could make it (without, well, actually making it). I'm proud to say we succeeded.
Since we had two other people joining us for the evening games, we picked up BBQ from Phil's Original BBQ. Now, I know it's hard (hell, some might say impossible) to find good barbecue north of the Mason-Dixon line, let alone north of the forty-ninth parallel (okay, Toronto's more like the forty-third parallel, I know), but Phil's is very, very tasty. We split a pound of pulled pork, a pound of brisket, and a full rack of pork ribs, as well as slaw, potato salad, and beans between the four of us.
Phil's meat is slow smoked over low heat for hours, and the care shows. The meats are all juicy, tender, smokey, and wonderful. I become almost giddy whenever I think about a big mess of pulled pork between a couple of hamburger buns, and Phil's delivers the goods. By the way, why is it that pulled pork sandwiches are, in my opinion, better on cheap grocery store buns than artisanally baked breads? I know this sounds odd, but I had a party once where there were stacks of "good" bread and one small package of grocery buns, and everyone noticed how much better the pulled pork sandwiches were on the buns.
Phil's beans are good too, with subtle smokiness and big hunks of pork, though I do not find the slaw and potato salad to my taste. In the interests of fairness, however, I must add that I find neither particularly exciting in the first place, regardless of preparation.
After recovering from dinner, we enjoyed a first dessert of Sticky-Spiked Double-Apple Cake with a Brown Sugar Brandy Sauce (I've described this little slice of heaven in another post). I skipped the brandy sauce, and added a large scoop of Oreo ice cream. Damn that's good.
What good is first dessert, you wonder, without second dessert? Exactly. That's why we also partook of some spicy chili. This is one of Dave's specialties, and it is yummy. I think his now not-so-secret secret is to roast the vegetables in his chili prior to adding them to the pot and simmering it all for hours. He's a fine man and a good friend, and as long as he keeps making cake and chili, I intend to keep parking my ass on his sofa to watch his 42-inch flat panel television and play his PS2 (ed. In the interests of journalistic accuracy and Dave's pride, he insists that I clarify that he does, in fact, own a 52-inch television. I've tried to tell him it's really the quality of the picture that's counts....).
Ahhh... pleasurably debilitating fullness.
Of course, what kind of fan would I be if I didn't keep the "hockey" in Hockey Day In Canada? On days like this, it's important to remember the people that are most special, the ones that bring us joy: captains like Mats Sundin, defensemen like Bryan McCabe, and goalies like Mikael Tellqvist, whose netminding saved the Leafs bacon on this, the most special of days.
HDIC is passed, but the fond memories of a Leafs' win and a Senators' pounding continue to bathe me in a warm glow. Until next year....
GO LEAFS GO!