Ringing in the New Year with a convenience store supper!

flag-at-canada-us-game

The "Flag Wave" at the opening of the Canada vs U.S. game at the World Juniors on Dec. 31st! The huge flag started its trek around the arena in the section where we sat. It traveled "overhead" around the arena a couple times.

It was a New Year’s Eve to remember.

Instead of the usual evening of fondue or munchies and a movie, this year I travelled back to Ottawa on Dec. 31st – this time with Murray – to watch the much-anticipated Canada vs US hockey game in the World Junior series.

We were there along with 20,000-plus crazed Canadian fans who screamed and cheered noisily through most of the game. Although things started out shakily with the U.S. quickly racking up three goals in the first period, the Canadian boys worked hard and won the game 7-4.

We were back in our hotel room at the Marriott by 10:30 p.m., the hot dogs we’d eaten at the game a distant memory. (Thankfully, as they weren’t that good!) After Murray took some painkillers to help with a headache he’d been suffering all evening (probably from all those screaming fans), we decided to try the Toulouse Bistro in our hotel for a bite to eat. But we were out of luck. Although the restaurant was scheduled to be open until 1 a.m., when we arrived at 11:15 p.m., the kitchen had just stopped serving food. Something about being really backed up with orders…..

There weren’t too many other restaurants in the immediate vicinity of our hotel. But, there were a couple other options.

We could order pizza from one of the flyers that had been shoved under our hotel room door while we were at the game.

Or, we could head to the Byward Market area where there were lots of restaurants. We weren’t really interested in pizza, and it was so cold out (-20-ishC with a strong wind) that wandering through the Byward Market held no appeal either.

Instead we decided to dress up warmly and dash over to a 24-hour Hasty Market convenience store and deli about a block away on the main floor of the Minto Suites where I often stay when in Ottawa on business.

After a search of the short aisles of the Hasty Market, we chose a small container of tuna pasta salad, a couple of buns and slices of Swiss cheese and cooked turkey, single-serve packets of mayonnaise, a bag of Snack Mix, and a tub of Haagen Dazs Triple Chocolate ice cream! Back in our room by 11:45 p.m., we devoured our late-night New Year’s Eve supper, toasting in 2009 with a diet Coke and orange juice. It may not have been the finest New Year’s Eve food we’d ever eaten, but that night, everything seemed especially tasty.

Although the following Nicoise Pasta Salad does not have the same texture or all the same ingredients as the creamy tuna and pasta salad I enjoyed on New Year’s Eve, it shows another delicious way to enjoy the combination of tuna, pasta and veggies.

Nicoise Pasta Salad

(Makes 4 servings)

3 cups (750 mL) penne or fusilli
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 sweet green or yellow pepper, cut into strips
Half of a red onion, sliced
1 can (7 oz/198 g) chunk tuna, drained and broken into pieces
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced black olives
3 tablespoons (45 mL) red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup (75 mL) olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh basil
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

Cook penne in a large pot of boiling water until tender but firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well and place in a bowl. Add tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, tuna and olives.

Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt and garlic. Gradually whisk in oil. Pour over pasta mixture. Add basil. Toss gently to combine. Garnish with egg slices.

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