Friday, March 19, 2010

St Patrick's Week at The Ceili Cottage

Ok, maybe 5 days of St. Patrick's was a bit over the top to attempt for the first time out of the blocks for a new Irish Local. But, If a guy can't have fun at his own pub, then what's the use? From Saturday the 13th to Wednesday the 17th, The Ceili Cottage put on a bit of a show, all things Irish. - go to the link on the Facebook page to see some pictures!

Saturday - St. Practice Day was a great start to the week, despite the foul weather. Actually, it was near perfect Irish weather just a wee bit colder.

Sunday - Post Parade Family day played to a host of Children pounding about the place, and eventually getting their face the evening we had a great visit from the Fire Department - after their parader march, and before they were off to NYC to do the same - Hope you all had a great time!

Monday - Ah yes, Industry Night, and the soon to be famous St.Patrick's Open Oyster Shucking Contest. What a format! Head to head, on the floor for all to see! We had 11 shuckers, and in the end Philp Ho (Philip shucks at The Cottage Thurs. to Sat. nights) finished the 24 oysters in 2:40 minutes & very clean (Lawrence David of Starfish was the cleanest of all) to win the newly coveted St.Patrick's Staff Trophy - it will reside at The Ceili Cottage, and the winner gets to carve their name in the staff!! In all we went through 500 oysters, free for the audience to enjoy! Thanks to all for a wonderful Monday night. Now, I have to add that the evening wouldn't be the same without the sounds of The CeiliGrass Band - Bluegrass at it's finest! I look forward to having the boys play again for us VERY soon!

Tuesday - Session night - as always, another wonderful, Trad-Music session, hosted by Ena O'Brien. The frenzy of St.Pat's was felt as everyone was getting ready for the next day. Thank you Ena & friends for the calm before the storm!

Wednesday - March 17th - St. Patrick's Proper. Now, In my mind, to do St. P's proper, you need a few things. The Setting, The Friends, The Music, The Food, and las but not least, The Drink.
The Setting - The Ceili Cottage, is already set to feel, and look like you are away in a place, small and comfortable, about 50 yards from the Atlantic, off of a Connemara drive.
The Friends - 120 of your closest friends, and 150 of your in-laws waiting to join you as soon as they could be allowed. I thank you all for the two hour waits, the suggested dismissal at 9pm (so that you can still enjoy the evening) and 1pm as I had to close the tent then.
The Music - The Mere Mortals 1-4pm, a local group of the Beaches/Leslieville area and Celtic Cross 9-close kept the people dancing where they could thruought the evening! You will see them soon at the Cottage! To be Sure, to be Sure.
The Food - Kyle Deming, Chris, Sean, and Greg all helped out on this over the week, but in the day proper, Kyle Deming making "Guinness-aged farmhouse cheddar" (thanks to Afrim of the Cheese Boutique) Grilled Cheese Sandwiches - and served them to the folks in line!! Now that is class! Thanks Kyle, and I hope your fingers grow back, after they gobbled your 'wiches,
The Drink - what can I say - 5 days - 35 kegs of Guinness, Harp, Smithwick's, and Kilkenny. Not the mention the other beer we serve. But St. P's would not be the same without the support, and drive from the Diageo (Guinness Group) folks! Thanks for spinning this out of control!

I would like to thank my staff at The Ceili Cottage for making this possible. Without yourselves, I could not do this on me own - it is a Team Effort, and I could not ask for a better team!

I would also like to thank the patrons - you. Yes, you. You and all who attended managed to pay $10 at the door that went to the Gilchrist-Canavan School of Irish Dance, and after all of the debauchery that happened, you managed to drain 35 kegs, 8 bottles of Bushmills, and broke only 6 pint glasses. That shows a great respect for the product, and the establishment you are in. You are the best group of patrons a proprietor could hope for! Keep up the good work - and don't tell everyone, only tell the friends that you like about The Ceili Cottage!

Shuckingly yours, Paddy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentines Day

V-Day is coming. Are you ready? In some minds, Valentine's (V-Day) should be everyday - time to express your love for someone should not be left up to one day out of the year, but celebrated at least for one moment of every day.
That being said, it is a nice little treat to pay attention to that special someone just a bit more than normal. One of the special treats lots of folks tend to flock to this time of the year is the Oyster.

Historically speaking, the Oyster has always been considered as an aphrodisiac - something eaten to increase the libido - wink,wink... Casanova was reputed to enjoy over 50 oysters a day to keep himself at the ready. There are many different reasons, why this might work as an aphrodisiac, but as with most love potions, if you believe it will work - shazam!

On the other hand, there are scientific reasons as to why "oysters work". The main reason is the Zinc. Oysters have the highest levels of naturally occurring zinc in any food source. Zinc, as you know, not only boosts the immunity in the human body, but also helps release testosterone in the system, and that my friends, drives the libido. Testosterone is present in both boys and girls, but in differing amounts, which is why the Oyster may "help" boys more than girls.

Not to be left out ladies, there is one other item in the oyster that may hold aphrodisiac qualities for yourselves. There is a report out that indicates the smell and taste of cucumber helps women get the heart racing. The Pacific Oyster has a flavour range of sale, sweet-cream, melon and cucumber - which means the west coast oysters may have a double whammy for yourselves!

Now however you want to take your aphrodisiacs this Valentines day, I can definitely make a couple of recommendations. Book your reservation early, book any day but Valentines day (I'll back you up on this one boys - very busy, and you want a little more romantic joint...), and enjoy your oysters while gazing into each others eyes. This may do the trick to spark a little romance, but no guarantees - I just shuck oysters, I'm not a miracle worker..

Shuckingly yours, Patrick

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Dinky Rink at The Ceili Cottage

When the patio closes in the fall, what do you do with an area of 25'x30' in front of your pub? Just tarp over the tables and chairs, and hope for an early spring?

Heck no! Embrace the winter, and build an Ice Rink!

Well, that's what I thought anyways. I built a 2x6" wall around the patio, not taking into consideration the grade for allowable drainage. Added a tarp, to keep the water in the patio, and flooded as soon as the weather dipped below 0°C.

Who would have thought that I would have spent the next 35 days hoping for colder wether than what we were given. Don't get me wrong, this has been the best winter you can hope for as a human being, wandering around downtown toronto.

But if you are trying to make an ice rink, it was a little difficult at best. It was like i Lost the recipe for ice, as I kept filling the cement pond, it kept leaking away, drop by drop - like my salty tears...

Well, I found the recipe again, and the rink is last.

Folks are invites to use the rink as long as they wish. We open at 5 on the weekdays, and 12 noon on the weekends, but if you want to skate or play before that you are most welcome, we just ask that you keep your enthusiasm to a dull roar, in respect of the neighbours, and let the kids play through. Rules are posted

The added treat of the Rink, allows us to offer a small version of curling to be played whenever you wish. I have junior rocks, from the Royal Canadian Curling Club, and on Wednesday evenings, there will be a host from the Club to offer lessons on the fine art of "Hurry hard!!" See you soon, Paddy

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Irish Breakfast at The Ceili Cottage

Come and get it!
Green grass, misty mountains, black Guinness, and a rainbow every day. The colours of Ireland are renowned worldwide. Before you can explore the countryside, you must first wake up and have a hearty breakfast.
My favorite treat every year that I go the to the Galway Oyster Festival, is the Irish Breakfast on a bun - 8am, after 2 hours of shucking with "me mates" - Oyster shuckers from around the world.
Breakfast sausage, blood sausage, bacon and egg all wrapped up on an easy to handle bun. Mmmm warms the cockles of my heart.
At the Ceili Cottage, we are going more home-style, by putting our breakfast on a plate. Kyle has made all of the sausages in house, pork breakfast sausage, blood sausage, bacon rasher, potato scone, beans, mushrooms, grilled tomato and topped off with a fried egg. This is the hearty breakfast that will set your day, and fill you till supper. Which is what I always do when in Ireland, the big breakfast, a wee pint 'round lunchtime with a few oysters, and a nice supper to finish out the day.
Today marks the first day of the Lunches at the Ceili Cottage. 12noon 'til we close, Saturday and Sunday. We'll see you soon.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

MOvember at Starfish & The Ceili Cottage

Hello Boys and Girls. This is the month of MOvember, and the crew at The Ceili Cottage, and Starfish are going to participate!!
What is MOvember you ask? Great question, MOvember is an awareness, and fundraiser campaign for the month of November, gents are asked to grow a moustache to promote Prostate Cancer awareness. There are fundraiser parties you can attend, or you can donate at the website - , or just grow a moustache just for fun!!

I will be growing (with great difficulty) a "freestyle" MO, I'm calling the full-on ClownShow. Come on down and see for yourself, and feel free to comment - for $1 - you can try to make me cry with your comments - it all goes into the pot.

MOnday, MOvember 30th, The Ceili Cottage will be hosting the final MOvember Party, DJ MVP, MOustache rides, prizes for best MO (ladies included - be creative) and Oysters for Donations - $1.00/oyster will be donated to the cause. Pencil it in, and start growing!

Shuckingly yours, Paddy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guinness 250th

Well, well, well. I'm just back from Ireland, and it slips my mind that the 250th is upon us and on the 24th of September the world will be celebrating the dark stuff. (Un)fortunately, I will be on a plane to Ireland. Instead of missing all of the parties, I thought that I would have one of my own.
Sunday September 20th at The Ceili Cottage, and you are all invited.
$5 Guinness & Harp, Lobster supper, oysters at 12 for $15, music, dance, contests & prizes. All set up in under 7 days.
It looks good in my heat at least!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

All Canadian Oyster Eating Championship 2009 - results

Well, it's been a wildly wonderful event. The thought of an eating contest and oysters do not normally meet in my mind. Hot dogs, pie, spaghetti all come to mind for the contest world, but not oysters. That is until recently.
The lovely folks at Tourism Ireland asked me to put together a little something to get someone over to Ireland, for one of their many festivals, and for some reason The Hillsborough Oyster Festival just popped into my head. I haven't been there before, and they had an eating contest - something for the Oyster lovers out there, not just the pros who open them.
So I came up with he idea of holding the All Canadian Oyster Eating Championship at The Ceili Cottage, qualifier for the World Championships.
The main contest is how many oyster can be consumed in 3 minutes? The record...233! A staggering amount, and how would I conduct a contest of that amount of oysters?
I came up with the idea of $20 = 20 oysters, timed to see how fast one could eat the 20. The top 6 times would compete head-to-head on the three minute format to get them used to the event. Over the two weeks, we had about 12 eaters vie for the spot. for the 20, the best times were: Mike-23.9 sec, Linda 24.7 sec, Shawn 27.0 sec, Peter 28.3 sec, Rod 28.8 sec, and Darlene at 35.1 sec.
On August 20th I had the competitors pop by to The Cottage and get all geared up. I put them 3 on 3 on the customer side of the bar, and we, the crew, fed them plates of oysters. I had pre-shucked 1200 oysters reserved the shells and put the oysters into containers - to make sure that the oyster was severed from the bottom shell, and that all of the work was done ahead of time.
Once we had the oysters stacked 15 per plate and 10 plates per person=150 oysters, we were ready to go. 5,4,3,2,1 go! and the shells were flying. Each person had their own method to the madness - one-hand, two hands, tilt and slide,and suck all soft things off the hard...Cheering and madness ensued. All kept their oysters down, and kept on pinting afterwards!
In the end, the video (thanks to Rich) can explain all.
Linda Li - ate the most oysters at 148 in the three minutes. She will be joining me to attend the Hillsborough Oyster Fest next week. We will be training on Sunday at The Cottage, so come and cheer her on!
We will leave Sept 3 and be back on the 8th. I will keep in touch while away!