Living In Convenience

When the ‘easy way’ wins, we all lose.

Every day, millions of people all over the world choose to eat fast food over a home-cooked meal. The reliance on ‘quick’ meal options has grown steadily, and far from being healthy choices, this has led to an increase in obesity and the overall unhealthiness of our society. Beyond this, we are at risk of losing the enjoyment and beauty that comes from cooking real food.

There is no question that cooking good food takes time. When is the last time you cooked a meal for your family, using real food and fresh ingredients, and were able to serve them in under two minutes? I think we can all agree, that this would be an impossibility. Yet, nobody seems to complain when they frequent a fast food restaurant and purchase an entire meal that arrives within minutes. In fact, people complain when their food isn’t ready quickly.

Consider what you’re eating, and then, consider what you would have to do to recreate that meal. It would take you significantly longer to cook a hamburger and fries, for example, and yet, people simply accept the fact that their food has been pre-processed, pre-cooked, and pre-heated, so that it can be ready for when they make it to the front of the line.

The lure of convenience has converted millions of people into an almost Orwellian group of fast food automatons. Consistently standing in line, complacent and obedient, and accepting of the factory-made meal being provided by a multi-billion dollar corporation. Constantly looking to reduce costs and improve profits, these mega-corporations are not looking to improve the quality or taste of their food, but rather, find what food people will accept, at the smallest cost to produce.

Considering the number of fast-food options available to us, the pull is hard to escape. We are easily tempted to gobble up the simple option of drive thru, when faced with the fact that we may have to spend time cooking and preparing a proper meal.

Memories start with great food.

Food creates memories. Gathering with friends and family, sharing in the preparation process, and sitting around the table, talking and socializing, make for a perfect memory. If you ever doubt this fact, consider the last time you were at a fast food restaurant. What memories do you have of that?

It has been said time and time again, by experts and others, how we should all try to make better choices when it comes to the food we eat. Beyond that, what people don’t seem to talk about are the many benefits of the social aspect of food. (Sorry, Foodies. We’re not talking about visiting the newest “hot spot” restaurant, or that chic new bar downtown. This is more about food as a life-improving journey, not simply a trendy destination.)

As a society, we should not trivialize the positive impact of cooking good food. Skipping the convenience of consistently dining on fast food, in favour of choosing healthy cooking not only creates healthy changes in our attitude and body composition, but the social aspect of cooking improves our overall well-being.

Certainly, there are times in life when fast food can be important. Having easy access to food, when your schedule simply does not afford you the time to eat, can be better than going hungry, however, we seem to have set aside making the time to create a meal in favour of the quick fix. If we can make the change, and instead, set aside the time to cook, to enjoy, and to be involved with our food, then we will be on a better, healthier path.

As John Lennon wrote, “Love is all you need.”

There is no question that there is an art to cooking. From the simplest of meals, to the most complex food preparation, there is delicious beauty in every action when preparing food.

Whether you’re chopping crisp vegetables on a wooden cutting board, placing a thick, porterhouse steak to sear on a well-oiled grill, or dispensing fresh penne pasta into a pot of boiling, salted water, there are sights, sounds and smells which are, in their own way, art. The changing colour of fresh bell peppers as their skins soften under a broiler, the sizzle and pop of the meat as it cooks, and the smell of home-made pasta sauce simmering in a pot… …each example can make for a great memory, and one you can call upon when you want to remember a simpler time.

For each time that you cook something, you’re putting a part of your soul into every action. Even if you’re not feeling it, you are. You’re consciously making an effort to build something special, whether you know it or not. It may be for your own enjoyment, or for a family meal. Either way, the art of creating something takes time, skill and patience.

There is something cathartic about cooking, and when you become aware of the feeling, it can grow even stronger. This is a result of the feeling of inner pride, and brought on by stimulation of the senses. You can argue that it’s hard to feel inner pride when you’re cooking up a grilled cheese sandwich, but I disagree! (As you may be able to tell, I’ve made some pretty delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.)

Cooking real food – for yourself and others – is art. It should be enjoyed and shared as much as possible, as life is simply to short to be stuck in the drive-thru.

Editor’s Note: I can’t recall any “memory” made while waiting in line at a drive-thru fast food restaurant, unless you call kids fighting in the back seat a “You two stop it right now, don’t make me come back there – I will turn this car around!” moment. If you do, well, I guess that counts. Happy Holidays!




Pilar’s Signature Takeout Holiday Cocktail Party

‘Tis almost the season!

We are making holiday entertaining a wrap with our new Pilar’s Signature Takeout Holiday Cocktail Party.

So, keep calm and party on! with Pilar’s Catering this season! Enjoy stress-free entertaining while enjoying a gourmet culinary experience. Nothing gets your party started quite like great food, and there’s nobody who knows gourmet food better than the staff at Pilar’s.

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Warm up this holiday season with a selection of chef prepared hors d’oeuvres, and be a chic and stylish host by serving your guests our creative and unique delicacies:

Cocktail Party Takeout

Includes the following three (3) stationary platters, choice of six (6) hors d’oeuvres, platter garnish (winter greens, rosemary, cranberries), plus our “1-2-3 platter garnishing tips”, heating instructions and cocktail napkins, all wrapped up in our brown craft packaging.

Gourmet Cheese Board

Artisan cheeses, Vine Ripened Grapes, complimenting Fruit Compote Jellies
Rustic Breads and Crackers

Charcuterie Board

Assorted cured meats, house marinated olives, gherkins, stone ground mustards, and rustic breads

Bread & Dip

Roasted garlic and chick pea hummus
Tangy spinach and cracked black pepper
Mediterranean roasted red pepper and feta
Grilled pita wedges, pumpernickel, and sourdough

In addition, select six (6) of the following delicious sides:

Mini Tourtieres with Cranberry Apple Compote
Golden Panko Crusted Chicken Skewer with Asian Sesame infused Cilantro Aioli
Warm Soft Pretzels with brown sugar rosemary Dijon
Goat Cheese Truffles
Mexican Pulled Chicken, Queso, Black Bean and Corn Empanada with Avocado Crema
Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Asian Tempura Shrimp with Sweet Soy Dip
Caribbean Coconut Shrimp with Mango Pepper Salsa
Asian Grilled Hoisin Beef Skewer
Spinach Turkey Sliders with lemon yogurt sauce
Hickory Bacon, Apple wood Smoked Cheddar, Caramelized Onion Mini Quesadilla with Avocado Crème
Pomegranate and Cranberry Bruschetta
Panko Crusted Smoked Cheddar and Chive Mac N Cheese Bites with Spicy Siracha Ketchup
Chevre Stuffed Mushroom Cap with Chardonnay Sautéed Leek and Sundried Tomatoes
Cranberry and Feta Lollipops
$39.99 per person (minimum 10 guests)

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Add additional holiday cheer!

Exotic Fresh Fruit Tray

A colourful, elegant display of precisely cut melons, pineapple and berries, garnished with fresh picked edible flowers on a chilled slate tile that is sure to steal the show on any occasion!
add $4.50 per person

Garden Vegetables & Dip

A gorgeous and healthy selection of crisp garden fresh vegetables, served with your choice of our tantalizing buttermilk dill or peppercorn ranch dips
add $3.50 per person

Italian Cured Meat Platter

A fantastic spread of some of Italy’s best imported cured and smoked meats, with slices of sharp aged provolone cheese and our house made sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade, pesto aioli and crusty mini panini. Everything you need for an amazing gourmet sandwich!
add $8.99 per person

Shrimp Tree

This exotic modern day twist on a pineapple tree almost looks too good to eat, with its fresh jumbo shrimp, sweet pineapple, vibrant edible flowers and kale leaves it is served with our spicy lemon zested seafood sauce and chipotle aioli.
add $6.99 per person (minimum 30 guests)

How To Order

Call us today, and you’ll receive everything you need to serve a delightful dinner celebration this holiday season, all included in this convenient package! When it’s ready, come pick up your complete dinner, which will be packaged in oven-ready foil containers and disposable serving dishes. Your dinner will be provided to you, ready to heat, and with easy step-by-step instructions for storing and heating.

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Why Local Business is better!

When you support Local Business, everybody wins.

Working with a local business can have a number of advantages over trying to manage the alternatives. From quicker response times, to faster service and improved support, local companies usually work harder to keep your business.

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When you deal with a local company, providing they have good quality products and services, you can usually expect a good return on your investment. In the catering industry, specifically, we deal with local companies every day to provide us with the freshest ingredients, and we always work with businesses that provide us the best service. We also recognize that, as a customer, working with a local caterer has many advantages.

When time is a factor, Local is faster!

When planning an event, it makes more sense to work with a local catering company that can be responsive to your needs, and be able to adapt to any issue which may arise. Even the smallest event can come with it’s challenges, and if you’re hiring a caterer from out-of-town, they are often ill-equipped to manage if something comes up.

Whether it’s not knowing the local resources available to get a much needed item quickly, or having to travel great distances to bring in new equipment, there can be significant delays in finding a solution to a problem.



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Shopping Local simply makes sense

Local companies can be the best choice for those looking to save money. Dealing locally means lower delivery costs, less travel time, and an improved familiarity of the surrounding area. Local business is where it’s at!

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Chipmunks Roasting On An Open Fire… (Oh, Wait. That’s Not It.)

It’s Time To Book Your Holiday Party!

With the Holidays on the horizon, we are ramping up to deliver our Annual Holiday Party-In-A-Box promotion. Book today, as orders are limited!

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We’re ready for the Holidays. Are you?

It’s that time of year again! As the days get shorter, and the weather is getting colder, we’ve put away our summer clothes, and have prepared our winter wear for the first sign of snow. With the Holidays right around the corner, it’s time to plan your get-togethers with your friends and family.

To simplify your holiday meals, we recommend Pilar’s Signature Holiday Party-In-A-Box, with everything to feed your hungry guests.

Pilar’s Signature Holiday Party-In-A-Box Take-Away Roast Turkey Dinner

Slow Roasted Turkey, with both dark and light meat, in a delectable homemade turkey gravy, comes pre-sliced and ready to serve.

Served with…

Sage, Onion and Roasted Garlic stuffing,
A side of Rich Turkey Gravy (1 liter),
Homemade Cranberry Apple Compote (500ml),
Buttery Yukon Gold Whipped Potatoes,
Buttery Green Bean & Yellow Beans with Toasted Almonds, and
Herb and Garlic Roasted Root Vegetables with Caramelized Julienne Onions and Fennell.

Add ons:

3L Spiced Pumpkin and Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – $45.00
Add a maple glazed black forest ham with spicy grain mustard sauce 6-7 lbs. – $54.00
Seared, then Slow Roasted Pork Loin, Stuffed with Hickory Smoked Bacon, Aged Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Sautéed Shallots and Cranberries, with Calvados Apple Jus Lie – $64.00
Aged and Slow Roasted, Hand Carved AAA Strip Loin Beef, with Bordeaux Wine Beef Demi- Glace and Fresh Horseradish – $84.00

Additional Sides

Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts with Crispy Bacon – $40.00
Buttery Mashed Turnips with Brown Sugar and Heavy Cream – $40.00

Desserts

Raspberry Almond Tart with Fondant Holly Leaf and Berry Decoration – $35.00
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Cake – $35.00

(Desserts are provided by Kake Kreations, and each dessert serves 8-10 people.)



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How To Order

Call us today, and you’ll receive everything you need to serve a delightful dinner celebration this holiday season, all included in this convenient package!

On Saturday, December 24th, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., come pick up your complete dinner, which will be packaged in oven-ready foil containers and disposable serving dishes. Your dinner will be provided to you, ready to heat, and with easy step-by-step instructions for storing and heating.

Cost: $225 + HST (Serves 10 Guests)

Please provide confirmation of your orders by Friday, December 16th by 12 p.m.

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Call Us!

Call Pilar’s Catering today at 905-556-0087, or click here, to order your Pilar’s Signature Holiday Party-In-A-Box!

Thank you!

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Editor’s Note: Please note, that our Holiday Party-In-A-Box promotion will not provide you with the opportunity to prank your friends, even though our image obviously shows a turkey exploding from a gift box. While we try to provide you with a realistic image to showcase our products, we do not, in fact, condone the use of combustible waterfowl to entertain your guests. Please enjoy your Holidays responsibly.




The Results of our Gourmet Giveaway are in!

Thank you to all who entered…

At Pilar’s Catering, we would like to offer a huge thank you to everybody who entered our Gourmet Giveaway. Of course, we can only have ONE winner, and that means we now get to say…

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Congratulations!

The winner of our Pilar’s Signature Gourmet Giveaway is Susan Dunn, of Ajax, Ontario!

Susan will be enjoying our hearty and delicious Spiced Pumpkin and Maple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, a salad made up of Mixed Baby Greens with Candied Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese, and dressed in our famous Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette.

For the main course, we’re ramping up the delicious flavour with our Chicken Supreme, stuffed with Hickory-Smoked Bacon, aged Applewood-Smoked Cheddar, sautéed Shallots and Cranberries, with Calvados Apple Jus Lie. As a side dish, Susan and her guests will be enjoying Pilar’s Signature House Mini-Red Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Buttery Field Fresh Asparagus, and Herb and Garlic Roasted Root Vegetables with Caramelized Julienne Onions and Fennell. And finally, for dessert, we have a delectable Double Chocolate Mousse Bombe.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter, and share this post with your friends and family, to be kept up-to-date with our future promotions. You never know when you may win one of our giveaways!

Thanks to everybody who entered!

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Editor’s Note: Although it may not be clear, in our description of the meal, we mean to say that the salad will be dressed in our famous Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette. We cannot comment as to what Susan will be wearing. Congrats again, Susan!




We Remember

To our veterans…

…our fallen, and to those who have served, Pilar’s Catering would like to give our heartfelt thanks for continuing to keep our country free.

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On November 11, we provide silent reflection in honour of those soldiers who fought to keep Canada free from oppression, and to give respect to those who still stand and give their unwavering support in service to our country. In recognition of the brave men and women who gave their lives, we stand, in silence at 11 a.m., and recognize the end of World War One that occurred at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.

The wearing of a red poppy on the lapel to commemorate Remembrance Day on November 11 was due to the poem “In Flanders Fields”, which was written by a Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, as these poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, and their brilliant red colour became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

To our veterans, and to those who have served, we offer our respect and undying gratitude.

Thank you.

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We’re working hard to stay #1!

Help us to improve our content!

Pilar’s Catering is the #1 Catering Company in Durham Region, so it’s only natural that we want to be the best at delivering great content as well! (Hey, what can we say? We’re overachievers at heart.)

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Tell us what you think.


We’ve come up with a very short survey to get your feedback, so that we can continue to deliver you the best content. We will use the results from the survey to improve our current offerings, and to provide new content that our visitors want.

Would you like to see our posts more frequently? Want to see more information on a certain topic? Do you have ideas to help us to improve our content? Just want to give us a big, virtual internet hug? Complete our survey, and let us know!

Click here (or on the Survey Monkey icon to the right) and a new window will open, with our brief survey. (It’s all anonymous, and you won’t have to enter any personal information.)



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We’re always looking for new and exciting ways of delivering you the freshest content, and we sincerely appreciate your feedback! If you would rather send us a comment through our website, you can click here for our contact page.

Thank you!

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With Autumn upon us, the inevitable is already happening.

Like Michael Meyers in Hallowe’en, the horror of Pumpkin Spice has returned!

Pumpkin spice gets into everything. Tell people “Autumn is on it’s way”, and watch their shoulders droop, as their memory is immediately conditioned into remembering that smell.

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It’s everywhere. You can’t go past a bakery, or into a coffee shop without being inundated with “pumpkin spice this” and “pumpkin spice that”, and it seems that there is no end in sight. There are coffees, cookies, snack bars, and even Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. CHEERIOS?! (And would you believe you can even get pumpkin spice flavoured dog treats, now? We’re even sharing this trend with our pets.) This is pumpkin spiced madness!

And I think we all know who’s to blame for this…

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All kidding aside, the pumpkin spice craze is in full effect, and we just have to ride the wave until the next big trend – Christmas decorations taking over the stores. (Who am I kidding. I was in a store over the weekend, and the decorations are already making there way into the stores. So, it seems that the pumpkin spice will have to be content with sharing the limelight. The oh-so-tiresome limelight.)

I think a lot of the draw is because of the colours. With the changing of the leaves, we’re in awe of the beauty of the season. And there’s no doubt, pumpkins definitely make for an attractive display, and photograph beautifully.

Case in point:

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That looks delicious. (And personally, I don’t even like pumpkin pie!) But, you see what I mean. Even though they’re unattractive on their own, pumpkins do have that quality that people are drawn to.

(Ok, so I just showed the above post to the Boss, and I’m told I’m “contractually obligated” to start saying some nice things about pumpkin spice. So, here goes…)

Pilar’s Tips for spicing up your Autumn Flavours

When making your pumpkin pie, add a touch of cracked black pepper to your pumpkin pie filling mix, to help punch up the flavour. It will give your pie that extra little touch of flavour that your guests will love. And what would pumpkin pie be without fresh whipped cream? To add another layer of flavour, try adding a hint of dried ginger! (Both of these flavour additions should be included “to taste”, so that you don’t overpower the dish.)

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Generating millions of dollars in revenue for companies that can successfully infuse the flavour into their already popular products, love it or not, pumpkin spice is here to stay, at least for a little while. So, if you’re currently dunking a pumpkin spice cookie into your pumpkin spice latte by the light of your pumpkin spice candle while reading this article, strangely enough, you may actually be in the majority. (Bonus points if your dog is also eating pumpkin spiced dog treats at the same time.)

For me, I would much rather enjoy a nice walk outside in the brisk Autumn air, followed by relaxing by the fireplace with a nice seasonal craft beer. I have simple tastes, and won’t be swayed by a ‘fad flavour’. *takes sip* Hmm, this is pretty good beer. I don’t think I’ve had this one before…

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Well played, Pumpkin Spice Lobby. Well played.

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* The opinions expressed in the preceding article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Pilar’s Catering. (You may love Pumpkin Spice, and if so, hopefully you found some humour and possibly some information you didn’t already know in the post, above. If not, and you’re like me and cannot stand pumpkin spice, please accept a virtual fist bump. Please drink responsibly, and do not drink and drive.)

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

Let’s just get this out of the way right now…

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Yes, it’s true. The holidays are on their way.

As hard as we try, we can’t stop them from coming. Pretty soon, we’ll all be in the same place. We’ll be in our kitchens, faces covered in flour, stepping in the sticky mess that we spilled hours ago, all while the smoke alarm is blaring because our turkey lies as a burnt husk in the stove.

What happens next? DING, DONG!

Yup. That’s the doorbell. Our guests are arriving! We are nowhere close to being ready. (In fact, if you’re like me, you’re still wearing the jogging pants you wore to bed and the “What-me-worry?” t-shirt you sent away to Mad Magazine for in 1983. No? Just me? Ok, then.)

For many, it happens the same way every year. We’re caught by surprise when our guests arrive early, or worse – when they arrive on time, and the food is nowhere close to being ready. (I can personally tell you of one time when my family had to order pizza during the holidays, after finding out too late that our stove wasn’t working. Salmonella turkey, anyone? Yummy.)

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I would love to say it gets easier. In fact, every year, I say the same thing. “Next year will be DIFFERENT! Next year, I’m going to get everything planned ahead of time, and get everything done in time for my guests arrival.”

Unfortunately, even when there’s all the time in the world, we can rush around as much as we want, but we will never achieve that perfect vision we’ve set for ourselves.

We dream of beautifully arranged snacks laid out on the coffee table, and the smell of turkey wafting in from the kitchen. Drink in hand, we approach the door as we hear our guests’ cars arriving – one at a time – and greet each at the door, perfect parents with their perfect children in their perfect outfits, with their perfect smiles and perfect hair… All, just… Perfect.

But that’s never what happens.

Our guests arrive, usually as frazzled as we are, with their children (usually the “of the corn” variety) in tow, disheveled and tired from the drive, and in search of some respite. Before you know it, they’ve got their shoes off, their well-worn socks perched atop our coffee table, and we’re desperately trying to stop their kids from seeing who can swing the cat by his tail the longest. Well, isn’t that… perfect.

We always rush around, trying to get everything right, and hardly ever getting the chance to enjoy the holidays. There’s shopping, cleaning, cooking and so much preparation, that we can’t get ahead. It happens the same way, every year. We’ve conditioned ourselves to want what TV has sold us for years – the “perfect holiday”.

We want “It’s A Wonderful Life” and not “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.

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For all of the added stress that the holidays bring with them, there’s still hope. Have no fear, you will survive, as you have for countless seasons before. You are strong, and no matter what the holidays throw at you, you have the strength to power through! (Or, you could just admit it. The holidays can be rough.)

It’s okay to ask for help! We’re here for you.

At Pilar’s Catering, we’re all about simplifying your holidays. We have different catering options that we can provide – from quick pick-up, and ready to heat meals, to full catering services – to give you at least a couple of hours of enjoyment through the holidays. You may not have the perfect holiday, but you can have the perfect gourmet meal.

So, while we can’t save you from being overrun by your guests, we can at least give you some time back into your day to relax, enjoy a drink, and enjoy some delicious food. And who knows, maybe the food will distract the children long enough to give the cat a chance to hide. Maybe. (I’m sorry, but while we do provide the best gourmet food in Durham… …as for the kids, we can’t promise a holiday miracle.)

The Management and Staff at Pilar’s Catering would like to wish you a pre-emptive “Happy Holidays”!

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Editor’s Note: To assure your complete enjoyment this holiday season, you need to call us as soon as possible. No, seriously. Call us. Don’t get caught without a stellar meal, especially when your guests arrive with their kids, their three-legged dog, and Weird Uncle Ernie, because “the retirement community is investigating where all of the silverware keeps disappearing to”. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!




Announcing the First Annual Wine ‘N’ Whiskers Gala!

Come out to support this worthwhile cause!

On the evening of October 21st, 2016, the Humane Society of Durham Region will be hosting the First Annual Wine ‘N’ Whiskers Gala, an event to raise funds to support the animals being cared for, as well as the ongoing delivery of their programs and services.

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The evening will consist of a feature cocktail, reception, complimentary bar service, silent and live auction, live entertainment and a delicious meal taking place at the Jubilee Pavilion. After dinner, you can enjoy dancing to Durham Region’s own “Two for the Show.” This fantastic Gala Event is not to be missed!

If you are not able to attend, but would still like to make a donation, please visit the Humane Society of Durham Region’s website at www.hsdr.org/donations.

We hope that you can come out, have a great time, and support this very worthwhile cause.

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