Tag Archives: “Queen Street West”

Get Your Freak On – Horsemeat Restaurants (And the Companies That Should Sponsor Them)

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hungry enough to eat a horseAs an Anglophone,  it`s sometimes second nature to make fun of the French,  after all,  they awarded Jerry Lewis the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award.  To me,  this is proof of French ridiculousness.  No offense intended to my actual French-Canadian friends though.  It has  also become somewhat second nature for me to make fun of hipster celebrity chefs who not only make endorsements for eating horse in particular,  but also promote other rather disgusting,  gross,  or cruelly derived animal products, in the name of french cuisine.  So many of them claim it`s OK to serve raw meat,  because it`s “grass-fed” (note to insufferable foodies – that`s sarcasm).   It`s widely known that the so-called celebrity chefs are victims themselves of “food fashion”and that they know squat about food safety.  The majority of celebrity chefs are food safety imbeciles and foodie fanaticism  continues unabated,  from Toronto to New York City……….

I`ve taken a sample of such menu offerings from some of these restaurants in Toronto,  not far from where I live,  and paired them with potential corporate sponsors and spokespeople who can benefit mutually by exploiting these opportunities.  And although not located in Toronto,  I`m going to include the now infamous M. Wells (All`s NOT well at M. Wells) who pretty much cover all the bases by offering horse,  marrow,  foie gras and other notably and unapologetically fatty foods.  Wherever possible I’ve used actual pics of the food provided by the restaurant.  Bon Appétit!

Blood Custard at The Black Hoof

Suggested SponsoBlood Custard at The Black Hoofr – United Horsemen`s Group

Suggested Spokesperson –  Author Jennifer McLagan – “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal”

Since the pro horse-slaughter contingent advocates consuming their own horses,  why wouldn`t they eat blood?  They hate to waste anything,  and they already eat meat and horsemeat,  so what not just add some cream,  egg yolks,  and a little plasma (pick your favourite species) for a little dessert?  Lord knows that Sue Wallis is always preaching that the blood is the most valuable part of the animal.  Maybe Sue knows something that the rest of us don`t – perhaps blood could be the new king of condiments!  Chef Olsen at The Black Hoof certainly isn`t squeamish about it “I enjoy blood.  I think blood is a great vessel for culinary expression. When I look at The Learning Channel, at all those surgery shows, that’s when I get squeamish. But working with animals, no.”   Chef Olsen even tells us that horses don’t get parasites because they don’t graze the part of the grass stalk upon which eggs are laid.   Buy Jennifer McLagan`s book if you`ve ever wondered how to cook bellies, brains, cheeks, combs, gizzards, hearts, hocks, kidneys, lungs, marrow, necks, shanks, spleens, tongues, trotters, and, oh yes, testicles.

Bone Marrow at the Black Hoof

Suggested Sponsor – Legal teBone Marrow at The Black Hoofam at Monsanto

Suggested Spokesperson – Fred Flintstone

People who eat bone marrow frequently describe sucking the last bits of marrow out of the bones.  So obviously,  this isn`t a first-date kind of food – much like green salads,  which can get caught in your teeth and embarrass you later in your date.  This is the kind of food that the Monsanto legal department regularly chows down on (and sucks dry),  so  they should wholeheartedly endorse marrow.  However,  I`m not entirely sure  that one shouldn`t be cautious about eating parts of cows that may carry BSE.  FSIS in the US considers these to be the brain,  tonsils,  spinal cord,  parts of the nervous system,  and part of the small intestine.  If oxtails are suspect,  so too is bone marrow.  There is some confusion about bone marrow because it has been reported to potentially carry the infection.  Since bones were certainly around during the Paleolithic period,  and hence,  are available for inclusion into the Paleo diet,  I`ve chosen Fred Flintstone as the spokesperson.  Despite not having any dairy,  grains,  sugar,  legumes,  potatoes, processed oils,  or any other food grown after agriculture started,  Fred is still overweight and at least a 40 on the BMI scale.

Foie Gras and Nutella at The Black Hoof

Suggested Sponsor:  TotFoie Gras and Nutella at The Black Hoofal Gym

Suggested Spokesperson:  Paula Deen

I wonder what celebtard chef thought this up?  It seems like a finalist for the “Cruellest Dessert” category.  Just looking at this makes my arteries cry.  Paula Deen,  famous for the Krispy Kreme burger,  should endorse this one.  Therefore,   I suggest also incorporating a Krispy Kreme donut into this lacquered mess so you can have another sweet fat with a savoury fat – it`s a great big blessed matrimony of fat!  Adding mucho expensive (and ethically dubious) fattened duck liver to a dessert isn’t necessarily unusual. But to add some fibre to this meal I`d suggest adding a diamond-encrusted tennis bracelet and perhaps some other country-club condiments that Paula might be familiar with.

batifoleLe Tartare de Cheval Bien Relevé at Batifole

Suggested Sponsor – Merck and Co. Inc.

Suggested Spokesperson – The Geico Caveman

So this is a “well-raised” horse?  I wonder if the staff at Batifole can lay any claims to whether it was “well-killed?”  Excuse me server,  what breed was this horse?  I understand that wine painings with different breeds can be a bit tricky at times.  Perhaps to be safe,  you`d like to recommend a nice Chiati?  What wines are complementary with Trichinosis?  Foodies who embrace the new and the outré, might also embrace a dose of Trichinosis as well,  since it`s an acknowledged fact that horses carry Trichinella spiralis,  the parasite that causes the disease,  which occurs with some commonality in France.  That`s why I`m suggesting this is a sponsorship Merck might be interested in,  since they manufacture Mectizan,  the human version of Ivermectin wormers we are all using on our horses.  You might need some if you’ve eaten a horse with Trich……And our postmodern spokesperson,  the Geico Caveman, would no doubt have eaten some food raw,  at least before the invention of fire.  At least cavemen knew how to progress beyond the Paleozoic era…..

horse heart and tongueEscabeche Chevaline Niçoise at La Palette

Suggested Sponsor – FEI Dressage Rider Patrik Kittel

Suggested Spokesperson – Jasha Lottin

We`re really going to push the boundaries of good taste for this one – all around!  For the uninitiated,  this plate consists of horse heart and tongue,  with quail egg tarted up with  red wine Dijon vinaigrette.  I am presuming it`s cooked, but knowing La Palette,  you can never be too sure.  And if you`re not familiar with Jasha Lottin, she is the infamous Oregon woman who killed her horse,  gutted it,  and crawled inside the carcass, gnawing on various organs for photographs,  who was then endorsed by Wyoming Representative “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis.  Apparently Lottin thought she was recreating the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Luke killed a tauntaun,  to keep from freezing to death.  Bear Grylls did the same with a camel.  Hey Jasha,  want to be “one with your horse?”  Go see Cavalia.   And of course,  even though video is available of  Patrik Kittel`s horse`s blue tongue,  he was cleared by the FEI from actually using rollkur at the Olympics,  since it was really only LDR (Low,  Deep, Round).

Foie Gras at La Palette

Suggested Sponsor –  ThFoie Grase American or Canadian Liver Foundation

Suggested Spokesperson – Anthony Bourdain

Odes to its “butter-soft texture and rich, subtle taste” appear regularly in the New York Times magazine.  Cruelty aside,  there may be another reason to pass on the foie gras. Scientists report that these livers of overstuffed waterfowl contain abnormal proteins that, when fed to laboratory mice, caused them to quickly develop the protein clumps themselves.  Various human diseases – among them Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and rheumatoid arthritis – are associated with these clumps, known as amyloids.  Foie gras is a traditional food in France and throughout Europe – where, interestingly, amyloidosis is more common than in the US. So why is this heavy, fat-rich delicacy also rich in amyloids? Put simply, force-feeding makes animals sick. To produce the succulent livers, tubes are inserted into the birds’ throats and corn mush is pumped in, massively inflating the animals. Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef-author-famous-TV-food-bourbon-swilling guy, should stand up and personally sponsor this entree.  He looks like death warmed-over,  quite frankly,  so it`s a fitting match.  And kudos to Wolfgang Puck for quitting the foie.

Quack “n” Track at La Palette

Suggested Sponsor – SQuack "N" Track at La Palettechering-Plough Animal Health Corp.

Suggested Spokesperson –  Banned Thoroughbred horse trainer Mark Wedig

Mark Wedig has had a symbiotic relationship with La Palette it`s true;  had it not been for the efforts of many individuals,  more Wedig trained horses would have ended up on the menu,  replete with all the usual drugs that racehorses typically run on.  Cactus Café and Canuki,  fresh off the track at Buelah Park,  were practically in the kill box at Richelieu slaughterhouse before they were miraculously retrieved after conscientious individuals presented their DRUG HISTORY to management at the abbatoir.  Not that their drug history is any different from almost any other racehorse.  Does Shamez charge extra for pharmacologically active horsemeat? Schering-Plough is one of the companies that distributes/manufactures phenylbutazone,  one of the major ingredients in horsemeat mains served in restaurants in Quebec,  Toronto,  and the OoogaMooga food festival in New York.

Tongue on Brioche at The Black Hoof

Suggested Sponsor Tongue on Brioche at The Black Hoof– Boston Scientific Corporation

Suggested Spokesperson – Andrew Zimmern,  host of Bizarre Foods

First off let me say that even when I was not a vegetarian,  I could never have overcome the mental barrier involved in eating something that had already been in somebody else`s mouth.  When fat and refined carbs are glued together in blessed matrimony, a heart attack can’t be far behind. Enter the Boston Scientific Corporation: It’s sold over a billion dollars worth of coronary stents since just 2009.  Of course,  Andrew Zimmern`s show includes a precautionary announcement, which explains that some of the foods featured on the show could cause death.  Hearing such an announcement must be the equivalent of a wet dream for Foodie Freaks.

Horse Tartare at M. Wells

Suggested Sponsor –   Horse TartarePfizer Pharmaceuticals Inc.,  makers of Premarin®

Suggested Spokesperson –  Bear Grylls

Thank god I do not have a penis,  therefore,  I`m unconcerned about repeatedly trying to demonstrate how big it is.  Chef and co-owner Hugue Dufour is soon to be spending more time than anyone else apologizing,  well except for Canadian conservative politician Rob Anders perhaps!  The manufacturer of Premarin®, Pfizer, maintains that this drug is “exclusively from natural sources.” Yes, they are correct. Horse urine is natural, but so is manure. Premarin® is so widely used because it was the first product of its kind for estrogen replacement therapy. It continues to be used, not because it is superior to the other available therapy but because it is what doctors are told is the best. They are told by a company with a huge advertising budget who has a lot to lose if doctors begin prescribing other estrogens,  or simply telling women that menopause is not a disease that requires treatment. The mares on these farms are placed in a urine collection harness and rarely taken off the “production line” for exercise or any other reason.  Straps firmly hold a rubber cup on the mare’s urethra to catch every drop of the precious urine. The continuous standing on concrete causes swollen legs and crippling. Urinary tract infections are not uncommon and many of these horses die as a result of the stress, only to be replaced by another “disposable” horse that might soon come up as a menu item at M. Wells.

Bear Grylls is not only notable for eating virtually everything raw,  from spiders to grubs to worms,  but to giving himself an enema with fetid water just to keep himself hydrated.  Dufour may already know his spokesperson Grylls, since as sous chef for Montreal`s Au Pied de Cochon, Dufour appeared in a TV show called “The Wild Chef”a couple of years ago,  travelling through La Belle Province (otherwise known as Quebec) in search of unique food experiences.  Raw oysters on a bed of jellyfish?

m. wells equadorian cuyCuy (Ecuadorian Guinea Pig) At M. Wells

Suggested Sponsor – La Molina University in Lima,  Peru

Suggested Spokesperson – Michael Vick

Here’s a guinea pig fermenting in some sort of curry bath – reminds me of United Horsemen’s “Rescue and Rehabilition” program for horses – only it’s nothing like a spa treatment.  I have to admit I was shocked when I saw this pic on M. Wells Facebook page,  since I consider guinea pigs to be children’s pets.  Secondly,  I am shocked since I strongly suspect that this animal was never USDA inspected,  and since the proprietors imported it from Ecuador,  as per their own comments;  I wonder how they got it here?   Clearly,  since it’s a menu item,  they had more than one.  I know there’s an entire black market industry revolving around the import of animals and I’ve seen many pics of people caught in customs with animals in their suitcases or strapped inside their pant legs,  bound and silenced or even sedated.  Even if it arrived frozen from Ecuador,  how is a small animal such as this “dispatched” in that country?  Any meat that is not state or federally inspected may not be served in restaurants or sold in any way.  Selling uninspected meat is a serious crime.  Even wild meat that is processed by a butcher must be stamped “not for resale.” Our sponsor,  La Molina University, wants to exploit their genetic engineering of guinea pigs,  since they have taken an animal that normally weighs a pound,  and engineered it to weigh 2.5 pounds.  Makes you wonder what they have done to more than double the size of the animal.  Michael Vick is the celebrity face of pet cruelty,  and an appropos spokesperson considering that most people in the west consider that guinea pigs are pets.

How about we just go back to Meat (if you eat it) and plain old white potatoes. Maybe a green salad with a tomato or two.  But if we did that what would happen to the Celebrity Chefs? Oh yeah, they might just go back to cooking decent food instead.  I’m ready for this cruel macho eating to finally go away – along with the restaurants and chefs responsible for it.  Oh,  and another foodie freak habit I hope goes away real soon – taking photos throughout the meal and posting them on Twitter and Facebook – the rest of us don`t need to see your documentation of your food,  OK,  well I did,  at least for this blogpost.  Blackberries and iPhones are not as necessary on a table as are knives and forks.  `Nuff said.

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Not Rah-Rah about Raw – La Palette Protest – September 21, 2012

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Written by Heather Clemenceau

Not Rah-Rah about Raw Meat

Just not feelin’ raw meat…….

Hello dear readers,  and welcome once again to our version of the Occupy movement,  on Queen Street West in Toronto!  A couple of recent protests with a smaller number of advocates in attendance have proven to be about as pleasant and soothing to the nerves as trying to shit in a public bathroom when the stall door lock is broken and you have to keep it shut with your hand.  La Palette co-owner Shamez Amlani no doubt  feels that when our attendance is in smaller numbers,  he is free to resort to douchebaggery,  and when the numbers are larger (more witnesses?) he retreats inside where his only offense is to scowl determinedly from behind the bar.

One recent attempt to get under our skin consists of having someone stand out in front

La Palette serves up raw horsemeat on Queen Street West

La Palette serves up raw horsemeat on Queen Street West (photo courtesy of Frances)

of the resto with crackers and a plate of horse tartare – uncooked horsemeat.  While some may not appreciate this tactic,  it personally bothers me very little – you know what they say about “loss leaders.”  Each sample of horsemeat that Shamez hands out free on the street is one that he cannot sell.  If I were going to recommend another tactic that works equally as poorly,  I’d suggest he also start using Groupon,  which has been shown to be an ineffective acquisition tool for customers,  primarily because curious, cost-conscious  people try a service once,  and never return.  IMO,  freebies and deals like Groupon don’t work for restaurants because while you’re devoting your time servicing a discounted customer base,  any people willing to pay top dollar for any service are often left unaccommodated.  I’ve no worries that Shamez would ever follow my business advice,  because if he did he would have gotten out of horsemeat for all the reasons I’ve accounted for in previous blogs.

“I run a small India restaurant and we were busy right after the groupon, but very few of the customers came back to eat. Plus, those that did visit spent the minimum and barely tipped our staff.”

Returning for the moment to the wisdom of offering uncooked meat to anyone who passes by – any meat,  including horsemeat of course.  I wonder how many people were initially aware that they were eating raw meat,  since this information wasn’t being provided to passers-by who took a sample?  This info might have been even more meaningful in the context of La Palette’s failure to achieve an unconditional pass from the Toronto Board of Health – Dine Safe Program.  Toronto Public Health also offers an advisory on food handling,  particularly as it concerns raw meat and cross-contamination.   IMO,  the serving of raw meat should not be allowed anywhere,  and municipalities are beginning to crack down on this practice,  because there will always be people who are determined to treat their bodies as a garbage dump, at least until they come down with a parasitic infection,   as evidenced by this comment from a foodie freak on a food blog:

“Until we fight the battles necessary to establish the fact that what ever we decide to put into our bodies regardless of perceived risk, is our decision and our right, the battles will never end. There will always be a new perceived risk with the psychopaths in government there to save you from yourself. Even if they kill you in the process. If you continue to fight each of these issues as an unique event, and try to argue the unique merits of a practice you will still fighting new battles that the system creates when the end of time arrives. Asserting your rights to what you put into your body and your absolute right to contract, is the only sane tactic and the only way we are going to win in the long run.”

Raw meat glorifies food porn and features terrible food safety.  Caveat emptor,  dumb-ass.  And it’s not a “perceived risk” either,  there is a quantifiable risk on several fronts.  From an expert:

“Raw meats or undercooked foods leave you at risk of infection of parasites or a slew of other illnesses,” says Dr. Michael Mansour of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to NYC’s Department of Health, restaurants must notify diners when food isn’t cooked to required temperatures — either verbally or by printing this on the menu. Basically, it’s buyer beware — though the DOH says it will investigate complaints of people getting sick from eating raw food.

Of course,  New York isn’t Toronto,  and despite my trepidation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),  I give high marks to Toronto Public Health.  Toronto Public Health

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." Brillat-Savarin


“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
Brillat-Savarin

received the Crumbine Consumer Protection Award, consisting of a bronze Crumbine medallion and engraved plate, at the Annual Educational Conference of the National Environmental Health Association, on June 19 in Columbus, Ohio. This was the first time in its 56 year history that the award was presented to a local food safety jurisdiction outside of the United States. As a Crumbine Award winner, Toronto Public Health joins an elite group of local public health agencies that have demonstrated “unsurpassed achievements in providing outstanding food protection services in the community.”

The selection jury noted that they were particularly impressed by:
➢ Innovative and new ideas in the realm of consumer protection with technically savvy items like a phone application for consumers
➢ Transparency, with daily website posts
➢ Internationally recognized program with strong impacts felt across the United States and elsewhere

Toronto won for its restaurant inspection disclosure system – red, yellow, green signs on the doors.  La Palette is acutely aware of how this system works.

Toronto Public Health - La Palette earns a conditional pass

Toronto Public Health – La Palette earns a conditional pass

And congrats on that, because on the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking restaurant inspection disclosure program, Toronto Public Health has become the first non-U.S. health department to win a prestigious award for “unsurpassed achievement in providing outstanding food protection.”

The city’s health department will receive the 56-year-old Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award for DineSafe, an internationally recognized program that posts inspection results for Toronto eateries online and in their front windows.

So while Shamez is busy handing out the pharmacological version of Canadian horsemeat on the street (the EU will decline to accept American and Canadian sourced horsemeat come August 1, 2013,  but it will still be good enough for his customers)  I’ve been busy promoting this blog and the concept that horseslaughter and horsemeat are poor consumer and humane choices.  Case in point – this blog,  at the time of writing,  has received over 2,000 hits on La Palette related subject matter only,  not including Facebook penetration or hits on the individual images.  Some of my La Palette blogs rank higher in Google than the restaurant website itself,  depending on search terms and the geographical area of the searcher.  It’s the Queen Street West version of the Occupy movement.  Social media plays a huge role in shaping the views of society on a myriad of issues, and those media are also playing a role in shaping people’s opinions of dining establishments.  Social media has dramatically changed the world of protesting.

Weirkick“Things like spreading a message and amplifying a message to lots of people are really effective when done online,” said Matt Stempeck, a research assistant at MIT’s Center for Civic Media.

“Centaurs” of Attention? La Palette Protest – August 17, 2012

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Tonight is the first night we’ve been back at La Palette  after their self-imposed “holiday” to catch up on repairs and renos,  you know,  just like the french do in France (after they have a humiliating experience with a restaurant inspector).  The announcement on their web page left me wondering exactly what renos they might be undertaking,  given that they’ve had an adversarial relationship with the protesters who have been camped out front almost every week since February 2012.

I can tell you that more than once I glanced upwards towards to the roof of this former horse stable,  to see if co-owner Shamez Amlani was standing up there with a boiling hot cauldron of bacon grease,  rather like those medieval “anti-personnel” fortifications that consisted of incendiary devices  or other flaming projectiles lobbed at enemy combatants during castle sieges.  Alas,  the “renos” did not consist of gunpower, quicklime,   flame throwers,  or napalm,  but Shamez is forever inching those plants out closer towards the sidewalk,  trying to push us further away from the front façade of the restaurant and towards the collection of derelict pre-WWII bicycles,  which he probably believes creates “shabby chic ambiance.”

I’d have to say that,  IMO,  the bikes  offer all the ambiance of  an episode of “American Pickers”  of the “Jersey Shore” meets “Hoarders.” You don’t want to brush up against this rusty junk – there are sharp bicycle fenders pointing

I Want to Ride My Bicycle!  Shabby Chic Elegance or Eyesore?

I Want to Ride My Bicycle! Shabby Chic Elegance or Eyesore?

out at right angles towards pedestrians as they walk by.  The Queen Street West drunks are particularly uncoordinated tonight,  snatching a protest sign  and lurching uncontrollably  into storefronts,  falling into pedestrians,  faceplanting on the sidewalks,  and narrowly avoiding that rusty tangled mass of junk.  I hope anyone coming into contact with these pre-industrial relics has recently had tetanus shots,  although I suppose when you’re drunk and lurching along Queen Street West late at night,  your physical well-being is already a low priority.

Anyway,  our protest group had speculated that at least part of the reason for the temporary shutdown was due to the excitement of the protest immediately prior,  where protest devotee Bob

Mounted Division

A Supporter from the Mounted Divison

was again manhandled by Shamez.  Shamez is really teetering on the precipice of arrest now – that bad boy can’t seem to keep his temper under control,  and Bob’s defenceless sign was mangled once again – now it has a permanent crease down the middle after La Palette’s chief horse-hater struck at Bob through the sign.  You’d expect that a clean air/bicycle activist would be a peaceful sort of person,  no?  I also wouldn’t blame you if you opined that it seemed like a direct conflict for such an activist to turn around and serve non-food animals who have been treated with prohibited drugs and then transported long distances and cruelly slaughtered, to his restaurant patrons.  Shamez seems to confirm,  as recounted in this blog since April,  that he’s hardly the zen-priest of pacifism,  logic,  or reason.

By definition,  assault  and/or battery consists of physical contact with another person without their consent.  An injury need not occur for an assault to be committed, but the force used in the assault must be offensive in nature with an intention to apply force,  which is surely does.  Typically,  people with bad tempers accompanied by poor life skills and/or coping mechanisms find themselves making physical contact with someone  as part of their argument.  Just sayin’


By now,  you may be asking yourself, dear reader,  WWBD  (What Would Bob Do)  after yet another altercation in front of the restaurant?  Bob and the other protesters conferred and in the end,  cops attended the scene,  and had  convo with Shamez that fortunately for him,  did not include a taser, handcuffs,  or a late-night phone call to a sleazy lawyer in a banlon suit.  The cops concluded their visit by advising Shamez that if he causes another physical altercation with a protester,  he will be charged.

Although we have no still pictures of this event,  we do have this incredible,  remastered, eyewitness video:

I guess this means that Shamez will now longer be mistaking the protest as a “Pro- La Palette” event,  as he has claimed in the past?

Modern Marvel?  You be the judge.......

Modern Marvel? You be the judge…….

In case you were thinking that Shamez was always the “Centaur of Attention” at his restaurant,  guess again.  It seems that his chef may also hold delusions of grandeur.  Don’t all chefs have delusions of grandeur though?  It is only food, after all, and chefs are not deities.  So whenever you see those big white plates with microscopic portions on them, you can feel validated for thinking that chefs take themselves far too seriously.  On his Facebook page,  Chef Brook Kavanagh makes the rather unbelievable  claim he is teaching a National Geographic course?  Seriously?  I thought a Discovery show on French topics might discuss the Maginot Line,  the French Revolution,  or Churchill on the Battle of France,  but no,  Brook claims he is TEACHING it.  This is a show about technology.

I know that some of these programs have teaching modules, but how could horsemeat possibly represent the subject matter for this show? Judging by the Facebook pics, it looks more like the History channel featured *something* on horsemeat.  Or perhaps it was a show on trichinosis?  I wonder if it was a segment dealing with the ramifications of leaving meat out at room temperature and consequently barely passing their Public Health inspection?

Try as I might,  I couldn’t find any independent verification of the claim of teaching a Discovery Channel show,  so I’m am throwing shade on this claim,  even though I totally believe that he is telling anyone with a pulse that horsemeat is just fab.  But when Teacher Appreciation Day rolls around,  I’ll have to give you a pass – sorry!

And now,  for a revelation that will give any attention whore pause…………wait for it……….

The last and most interesting development for the evening  is that an anonymous tipster,  who ate at La Palette and saw our protest outside,  reached out  to me via the blog.  One half of

La Palette Receipt

La Palette Receipt

the couple who dined there described Shamez’ demeanor as “perpetually pissed-off” on this evening (weekly jousts with protesters and cops might have that effect).  Ventilation was also terrible – the tipster described the place as being full of greasy smoke – the host apparently discourages patrons from sitting up front where the air is fresher,  because of the protesters!

I guess there’s nothing like greasy smoke for shabby-chic ambiance – but if it were me Shamez,  I would have made “improved ventilation” one of the “renos” that you were going to complete during the shutdown.  Other notable comments were that these diners felt that,  although they enjoyed their entrees,   they were overcharged for tiny portions  (there must be an inverse relationship between the size of the chef’s ego and the portion size – the bigger the ego of the chef – the tinier the portion?) and that the place was generally “underwhelming”  for various reasons. No wonder Amlani feels that he has to rely on the serving of horsemeat to prop up the resto – perhaps $18 for an entree “the size of your fist” isn’t going to cut it.

Shut Up and Let Me Eat My Pony in Peace! – La Palette Protest – July 13th

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La Palette protest - July 13th - Summerlicious

La Palette Protest – July 13th – the Toronto Summerlicious dining festival

Written by Heather Clemenceau ©;  all artwork ©

PISS OFF - is this a Urologist's office or what?

PISS OFF – is this a Urologist’s office or a message to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? Just a shopfront I saw while making my way to La Palette,  which also seems to foreshadow the prevailing sentiment for the evening.

We’re part way through the Summerlicious dining event in the city of Toronto.  It’s hot as Hades,  and in typical Toronto style,  streets are closed-off for no apparent reason,  other than to inconvenience drivers.   You really cannot go downtown without a functioning GPS system of some sort,  because you are forced to weave through one-way arterial streets,  driving several kms out of the way and then doubling back,  and coping with other drivers who see well in advance that their lane is closing, but wait until the last second to butt in front of you.  And don’t even think about attempting a right-hand turn without checking in your mirrors and blindspots because cyclists shoot up on the right side of your car while on their iPhones.

It seems that co-owner Shamez Amlani has taken a pass on participating in Summerlicious this year,  which is probably a good idea considering that the resto only received a conditional pass in the Dine Safe program,  and there are anywhere from 5-15 protesters in front of the place each week.  It also might not be a good idea to feature raw meat dishes in Toronto as they’ve done in the past,  since it’s become apparent that the CFIA is cracking down on restaurants serving raw meat.

Toronto Public Health Report - obscured behind a plant

Toronto Public Health Report – obscured behind a plant

With the street closed-off in front of La Palette (again,  for no apparent reason),  we have much less street traffic than usual,  and less honking.   In the last few weeks we’ve seen that La Palette has a new “strategy,”  which consists of  sending out trolls to either confront us or try to get us to make damaging statements of opinion about the food at the resto.  We’re totally onto the practice of sending a troll out to talk to us under the guise of seeing if we will tell potential customers to eat elsewhere.  This can only mean that,  contrary to Shamez’ earlier statements that he loves our “marketing” efforts,  he is quite desperate to find a way to incriminate us.

Here’s how it works in practice:  a “covert agent” prodded into duty by Shamez,  walks up to the restaurant and expresses consternation about eating there in light of the protest.  After a quick minute,  that person approaches one of the protesters and asks for information.  We duly oblige.  Then the prospective diner (tonight it was an older gentleman) says he is meeting a date here for the first time and doesn’t know her very well.  “How can I explain to her?”  “What should I tell her about eating here?”  Sorry,  we’re NOT falling for THAT!  One thing we are very cognizant of not doing while on protest duty is telling anyone not to eat at the restaurant.  A few weeks ago it was a woman walking down the street, who suddenly flew into a rage at the site of the protest,  and was compelled to call the police.  Sadly,  she had no cell phone,  so she had to go INTO the restaurant to call the police.

It is not our place to render our opinion on whether the staff is friendly,  the food is good, or safe to eat.  We have NO opinion on that – patrons are free to eat there of their own free-will and we are not there to encumber them in their decision.  If you want to know whether it’s SAFE to eat at the restaurant,  check out the Dine Safe review and form your own opinion.  Of course,  it’s a dead giveaway that the person isn’t asking legit questions when he goes  inside the restaurant “to check and see if his date has arrived,”  and doesn’t emerge while we’re there.  I guess he found his dinner companion inside where he left her.

Is Shamez bribing these people to come out of the “dark, dusty” establishment to start arguments with us?  It sure seems that way. Which leads us to the Toronto Public Health report…………..where has that report been hiding?  It’s on the window where it’s supposed to be,  but it’s now somewhat obscured by a flowering plant,  which is a no-no.  To help patrons out,  one of our protesters holds an actual picture of the Dine Safe report so that passers-by can actually see it.  See how courteous and helpful we are?
La Palette Yelp Review

Yelp Review of La Palette – to be fair, the resto has many positive reviews, along with this and other negatives. Yelp throws out the highest and lowest ratings and those made by Yelp reviewers who made only this one review, as they deem them “statistically irrelevant.”

Confrontation at La Palette

Confrontation at La Palette – notice that the patron has gotten all grabby with Bob’s sign.

Tonight we’re plagued by an insufferable troll who moves from person to person trying to incite us,  under the guise of wanting to know why we’re here,  why we’ve chosen La Palette,  and what else we like to do on Friday nights, etc.  After listening to this guy for 15 minutes,  his “voice” sure sounds like one of the familiar trolls I’ve seen appear in the comments section of various Toronto newspapers for a while now.  He’s been eating horse all his life (explains a lot) and he wants facts.  Well actually,  he doesn’t,  he just wants to argue,  and he sets upon poor Bob again.  Another faux-pas is committed tonight when he grabs Bob’s sign and tries to wrench it away.  Bob,  we don’t know why everybody wants to start sumthin’ with you,  but we’re there for you buddy! Abuse of signs is not going to be tolerated. 
.

Everybody seems to be getting a turn in the cage with this guy.  When he demands that I explain my position,  I just tell him to read this blog.  But that isn’t good enough,  which is surprising since he claims to have a PhD in journalism – one would think that he would have enough education to realize that War Horse was not a cooking show.   Because he leans forward towards me to argue,  and I interpret this as a Defcon 3-type threat,  I raise my camera to take a pic (little does he know I already got one of him grabbing Bob’s sign) and he sticks his hand in front of the camera, as if he’s Sean Penn and I’m a papp at TMZ.  This troll hung out with us so long that he probably needs his own protest permit!  We ignore him for as long as possible,  but can’t resist an

Go home and let me eat my pony in peace!

Go home and let me eat my pony in peace!

occasional poke at the bear,  who paces up and down in front of La Palette chain-smoking and just generally being a douche.  Shamez comes outside to observe the scuffle and stays long enough to make some oblique comment about “negros and plantations.”   Finally our journalist skulks back inside after demanding that we all 1) shut-up and 2) leave.  I hate to point out the obvious but we have a legitimate right to protest on the street and we don’t have to go home because you don’t like it.  You’d think a journalist would know that.  You’d also think a journalist or any other person possessing common sense would realize that if he weren’t out on the street arguing with us,  we wouldn’t be “talking.”  Cause and Effect – they don’t teach that in the Perez Hilton School of Journalism.

Some of us did have an exchange with a young woman who apparently works at La Palette.  She was overheard asking what many people ask – “Why horses?”  “Why not GMO foods?” etc. etc.  This young woman wasn’t offensive and did seem to be genuine,  even if not convinced based on her employer’s stance,  so I handed her an information sheet that explained that about 30% of horses slaughtered for food in Canada were racehorses who were likely to have received a compendium of drugs in their racing career.  Here’s what was on the list:

Table 1.  Therapeutic Medications Routinely Used and Identified as Necessary by the Veterinary Advisory Committee — (Racing Medication and Testing Consortium [RMTC] draft list of therapeutic medications, 2005) 

1. Acepromazine 17. Dipyrone  33. Omeprazole 
2. Albuterol 18. Flunixin  34. Pentoxifylline
3. Aminocaproic Acid 19. Fluprednisolone 35. Phenylbutazone
4. Atropine 20. Fluphenazine 36. Phenytoin
5. Beclomethasone 21. Furosemide 37. Prednisolone
6. Betamethasone 22. Glycopyrrolate  38. Prednisone
7. Boldenone 23. Guaifenesin 39. Procaine Penicillin
8. Butorphanol  24. Hydroxyzine 40. Pyrilamine
9. Cimetidine 25. Isoflupredone 41. Ranitidine
10. Clenbuterol 26. Isoxsuprine 42. Reserpine
11. Cromolyn 27. Ketoprofen 43. Stanozolol
12. Dantrolene 28. Lidocaine  44. Testosterone
13. Detomidine  29. Mepivacaine  45. Triamcinolone
14. Dexamethasone 30. Methocarbamol  46. Trichlomethiazide
15. Diazepam 31. Methylprednisolone
16. DMSO 32. Nandrolone 
 
Keep Calm and Stay Classy La Palette

Keep Calm and Stay Classy La Palette

The above list is not even inclusive – there are documented cases of racehorses being dosed with Viagra, cocaine,  cobra venom,  and Dermorphin (pharmacologically similar to morphine and derived from South American frogs).  Not only are these drugs an abuse of horses,  there is no way to confidently assert that these drugs and their metabolites do not enter the food chain.  Obviously,  the most commonly cited drug is Phenylbutazone.  On Pubmed,  there are over 8500 references to phenylbutazone,  so it has been frequently tested in case-controlled,  cohorted studies for many years.  It is a documented fact that even oxyphenbutazone residues,  the metabolite of bute,  can cause aplastic anemia,  and this fact is not in dispute.  Note to Shamez – slaughterhouse veterinarians and managers are in no way qualified to render an opinion whether horsemeat is safe to eat because they are not versed in toxicology or xenobiotics.

There is no incentive at this point in time to test bute any further since the FDA has removed approval for its use in humans,  it is no longer protected by patents,  if indeed it ever was,  and therefore,  no monetary value could be accrued to the patent-holder after roughly 40-50 years on the market.  We likely know as much as we ever will about the effects of bute on horses as well as humans.

Horses in Canada received at slaughterhouses are held for a maximum of 4 days only, and in mosts cases not even that,  so even if they were given bute the day before and this was not disclosed on the EID,  this is insufficient withdrawal time by even the most lax (Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis) standards.

In addition to ALL that, bute has been found in meat shipped to the EU, and has been withdrawn long AFTER it has reached the consumer, further evidence that EIDs and passporting do not work when you are trying to jury-rig a system of slaughtering and consuming non-food animals for food consumption.

Yes,  many horses are treated very poorly,  and as you can read,  they are hardly “organic.”  To regard them with reverence or sentiment is not simply a matter of emotional response.   I contend that horses merit better than to be mass slaughtered and served-up to grab-happy journalists who have not informed themselves as to history, civil liberties,  the right to freedom of association, and especially the sciences.

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Honk If You Like Honking! La Palette Horsemeat Protest – June 15th

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La Palette Horsemeat Protest June 15th

La Palette Horsemeat Protest June 15th (Thanks as always to our vegan supporters)

Written by Heather Clemenceau

All artwork/photography copyright Heather Clemenceau (use with permission only please)

Queen Street West  in front of La Palette –  where protesters against horsemeat have revived the lost art of honking.  Here,  tonight,  honking is no longer interpreted as something hostile, like a rude gesture, or a jab in the side in a crowded elevator. Tonight,  honkers in cars and on bicyclettes honk to reach out to us,  and show support.  We have determined, via direct scientific observation of the La Palette subjects,  that the management DOES NOT support the social compact between us and the public.  It does not seem to matter whether the honking is delivered via the delicate jangle of a bicycle bell,  the tentative toot of a car horn, or in a full blast of a transport truck,  they do not appreciate it.  In fact,  they roll the patio doors closed – on a sweltering hot June day – the patrons are being slowly cooked,  quite unlike the tartare!  La Palette co-owner Shamez enquired,  rather like a host asking his guests who have overstayed their welcome, when we might be leaving?  Normally,  when I want my guests to leave,  I start putting on the “showtunes,”  but I have no intention of alerting Shamez to this tactic (unless of course,  he happens to read about it first-hand here).

Queen Street West,  near La Palette

Queen Street West, near La Palette

The news this week is that we became aware that La Palette received a “conditional pass” by Toronto Public Health,  results of which are in the public domain and can be viewed as part of the “DineSafe” program. As a customer, the best thing to do is read up on any premises’ DineSafe rating before choosing to patronize any restaurant/grocery etc. Toronto Public Health publishes an Interactive map of every restaurant,  grocery,  cafe and take-out joint that’s been closed by Toronto Public Health since 2001. To sum up,  below are the findings for La Palette,  which led to the conditional pass:

  • INADEQUATE FOOD TEMPERATURE CONTROL (This is rated as “critical” by Toronto Public Health)
  • IMPROPER MAINTENANCE / SANITATION OF FOOD CONTACT SURFACES / UTENSILS /EQUIPMENT
  • IMPROPER MAINTENANCE / SANITATION OF NON-FOOD CONTACT SURFACES / EQUIPMENT
  • IMPROPER STORAGE / REMOVAL OF WASTE
  • FAILURE TO PROTECT FOOD FROM CONTAMINATION
  • BY-LAW #574-2000 INFRACTIONS
la Palette Inspection by Toronto Public Health - page 1

La Palette Inspection by Toronto Public Health (click to jump to the official source document)

Jim Chan, head of Toronto Public Health’s food-safety program,  explains that Toronto Public Health uses a risk-assessment system to figure out how frequently to inspect any given establishment, whether it’s a hot dog cart or a hotel kitchen. Here’s how it works:

“HIGH-RISK PREMISES (Inspected three times a year or more): The more complicated the food preparation, the higher the food-safety risk. “Think of a restaurant with multiple items on the menu, with raw food and ready-to-eat food,” says Chan. “Think of a hospital kitchen, or a long-term-care-home kitchen. If these operators are not careful, it increases the risk of food poisoning.”

MEDIUM-RISK PREMISES (Inspected twice a year or more): “Lots of people think McDonald’s would be high-risk, but it’s medium-risk,” says Chan. “Everything is generic: You have frozen patties, and there’s one way to cook them and one way to serve them.” Other medium-risk establishments: most pizza places, bakeries, sub shops and cafés.

LOW-RISK PREMISES (Inspected once a year or more): “When you look at a 7-Eleven, where all they have is a few hot dogs on a rotisserie, or they sell chips, pre-packaged sandwiches, stuff like that, they’ll be low-risk.” Ditto for Starbucks and most convenience stores.”

According to the inspection schedule,  It seems that La Palette could perhaps reduce the number of inspections required for their resto from three to two per year by eliminating raw food such as horse or venison tartare,  for example.  Eating raw meat is asking for a parasitic infestation –  it’s a fact that raw meat may contain harmful bacteria, including salmonella, listeria, campylobacter and E. coli that can cause food poisoning. These bacteria are destroyed when meat is correctly cooked.  Unless you’re Anthony Bourdain, who quite often treats his GI tract like a toxic-waste dump,  most people wouldn’t consider  eating raw meat and it’s not recommended for young children, elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.

When I think about eating raw meat,  I feel an eating disorder coming on.  Personally,  I don’t eat meat,  not only because of the cruelty to all meat-producing animals,  but because pro-slaughter advocates are very cavalier about drug toxicology,  about which they know NADA,  and Big Ag is equally as cavalier.  Pro-slaughter horse advocates whine about “wasting meat” but what they don’t understand is that euthanized horses (or any animal) which are composted or buried become part of the carbon cycle,  without which life on earth would cease.  Also,  having an education in biology,  I get a little panicky when I think that people,  perhaps unknowingly,  are eating food I’ve been taught to avoid.  It seems every day there’s another recall of tainted meat,  or in the case of horsemeat – a recall due to contamination by phenylbutazone.  It’s little wonder that health authorities go apoplectic when they hear stories of consumers willingly chowing down on raw meat. You can get really, really sick. Or worse. Cooking meat is a safety issue.

Sometimes people will say, “Show me a horse that’s got trichinosis,” or “Prove to me that anyone’s ever gotten sick eating horsemeat.”  I usually suggest those people go to Pubmed and start poking around,  where there is plenty of evidence.  Most disease is actually “idiopathic” – without known or attributable cause or mechanism.  Case in point,  if you ask a person who is suffering from cancer to define the cause of their disease,  in all likelihood,  neither they nor their oncologist will be able to precisely pinpoint a cause.  While scientists know that Parkinson’s disease is caused by cellular death,  they don’t yet know what causes that cellular death.  Hence Parkinson’s is another one (of many) examples of idiopathic disease.  But many of the Pubmed entries you can find about diseases associated with consuming horsemeat or meat in general are very precise in arriving at their conclusions – these case studies have pinpointed the cause and effect.  All you need is one serving to make you really ill – especially if you’re eating it raw.   Anthony Bourdain, who explains the philosophy or eating,  well,  pretty much anything that humans can catch and kill,  in his book Kitchen Confidential, “Good eating is all about risk. ”  Yes,  I suppose the way Bourdain eats,  that’s completely true  – it’s about as risky as a dalliance in organized crime.  I propose that we send Bourdain and other foodie freaks into the animal’s natural habitat,  and watch them cope with their natural defences – that’s an assumed risk that would be quite entertaining.  Even an animal experiencing its death throes is still capable of one final insult to the person attempting to eat it.

Toronto Public Health - La Palette earns a conditional pass

Toronto Public Health – La Palette earns a conditional pass

If we review the recent history of La Palette’s food inspections,  we can see that they have passed their inspections at least since July 2010.  We know that the management hasn’t changed,  so we can only speculate as to why they have only received a conditional pass in May 2012.  Shamez Amlani probably had no idea that La Palette’s  “Scandalicious” menu,  named for the “Winterlicious” dining festival,  would transition into such an ominous foreshadowing.  The proverbial heat is on – for food safety and for horses.  We will continue to respectfully request that La Palette remove horsemeat from its menu,  thereby reducing its impact on cruel animal slaughter practices and the possible unintended consequences of supplying their clientele with veterinary drug residues. But in the meantime,  we will do what protesters do – get the word out,  and continue to solicit support for our message by encouraging honking – we love it even if Shamez does not.

La Palette tweet - the heat is on

La Palette tweet – the heat is on

Information on Phenylbutazone contamination in horsemeat

Information on Phenylbutazone contamination in horsemeat

Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting? La Palette Protest – May 12, 2012

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Conscientious objections to horsemeat

Conscientious objections to horsemeat

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

(All images copyright Heather Clemenceau – use with permission only)

Again we are joined by many supporters from Toronto Pig Save who I’m sure also feel our pain.  Unlike the protest on April 27th,  La Palette co-owner Shamez Amlani only interacted with us long enough to politely ask some protesters to move away from the door.  The glass partition at the front of the restaurant was down tonight as the weather was spring-like. I can’t imagine that the continual honking of support can be pleasant for diners with the glass partition removed,  but again,  most customers tonight are bar patrons and not dinner patrons.  And it’s Queen West, so they’re likely used to honks and  the screeching of tires on asphalt as accompaniment to their Belmont Steaks and Seattle Slew Stew.  Fine dining doesn’t get any better than this!  Bone Appetite!   (pun intended).

Peaceful protest at La Palette

Peaceful protest at La Palette – we are conscientious – we avoid blocking the street and the entrance to the restaurant.

La Police at La Palette

La Police at La Palette

Tonight, we also had a non-confrontational visit from the police.  They either happened by, which would be one hell of a coincidence, or they were called by someone.  They chatted with a few of us for a few minutes and then went inside to talk to Shamez.  In short order (pun intended) they went on their way without any further questions.

Aside from one restaurant patron and a couple of drive-by hecklers, we experience only positive comments.  I spoke at length with a man and his teenage daughter about why many people are opposed to horse slaughter.  We’ve also seen Shamez get frazzled by a lone protester who showed up nightly through the week, where patrons were seated at the front of the restaurant with a good view of the protest signage.

La Palette wasn't expecting a mini-protest through the week......

La Palette wasn’t expecting a mini-protest through the week……

Showing support for the horses

Showing support for the horses

The mini-protest continues

The mini-protest continues

All opposed,  please say "neigh" to horsemeat

All opposed, please say “neigh” to horsemeat

Normally,  we don’t interact with the diners at La Palette when we protest.  The vast majority of disquieting interactions are due to the customers trying to provoke an argument. But on this Saturday,  one pugnacious patron is wearing his pugilistic proclivities on his sleeve, literally.  Notice the T-Shirt.  Well,  I’m hardly offended,  but the FCUK brand has been controversial in the US,  with the Mayors of various cities telling the FCUK people to remove their ads from billboards throughout their cities.  The brand also features female models engaging in physical fights.  So I’m guessing this particular patron is the kind of asshat who likes to go a few furlongs (pun intended) with people to deliberately yank their chains.

It's the customers who always wanna be startin' sumthin'

It’s the customers who always wanna be startin’ sumthin’

In any case,  this guy arrived with a female partner,  and they proceeded directly inside without any conversation with any of the protesters.  After about 2 minutes, he marched outside and ponies (pun intended) up to Bob (poor Bob – why does everyone want to start something with him?)  He turns to Bob and asks him if he’s a vegetarian.  Bob “assumes the position” – sign over head,  perhaps an evolutionary strategy to appear bigger to the person on the offense?  Why do people assume that we must be rawfoodists living entirely off-the-grid in order to be able to ethically protest against horsemeat?  Granted,  most of the protesters are at least vegetarian,  if not vegan.  He proceeds to grill (pun intended) Bob on whether he eats this or that,  and when he receives his response,  our customer announces that it’s all “bullshit.”  “How dare you come to my restaurant on my night?”  Well duh!  It’s always going to be “someone’s night” at La Palette,  isn’t it?  Why not yours?  The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in Canada’s constitution, guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly in section 2(c),  but it says nothing about refraining from protesting on any Saturday night that might conflict with your own personal plans.  Get over yourself.  A few terse words are exchanged, and then the guy lets better judgement prevail and goes back inside, and fortunately we don’t see him for the remainder of the evening.

If Shamez soon does not find himself a better class of customer, we may perhaps see La Palette portrayed on this show.

La Palette Protesters and Street-scape

La Palette Protesters and Street-scape

La Palette Protest – April 27, 2012

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"La Palette",  protest,  toronto,  "Queen Street West" , "french restaurant", horse,  horsemeat

Some members of our group, relaxed and chatting prior to the shitstorm soon to follow.

Written by : Heather Clemenceau

(All images copyright Heather Clemenceau – use with permission only)

On Friday, April 27th, I attended the protest rally in support of Canadian and American horses, held at La Palette restaurant in Queen West, where many conscience-driven protesters have maintained vigil for about two months now.

"La Palette" , "horse slaughter",  "animal cruelty"

While we love and enjoy horses, there are many irrefutable facts surrounding the inhumanity of their slaughter, and their status as a “non-food” animal.

La Palette, co-owned by bike-culture enthusiast Shamez Amlani, is one of the few holdouts in Toronto still serving horsemeat, other restaurants having capitulated long ago that horsemeat was at best, of “indeterminate origin,” and at worst, a chemical cocktail of cruelly-derived meat that by Shamez’ own description is “offensive to the English population.” Having encouraged other French restauranteurs to boycott American booze, Shamez now finds himself on the receiving end of this very effective form of expression, which now includes the Humane Society groups of Canada.

"Toronto Police,"  "Mounted Unit" "La Palette Protest,  horse,  horsemeat

We’re pretty sure this guy is pro-horse…..

While we’re unsure of La Palette’s customer demographics, Queen West itself is home to an eclectic mix of dodgy and/or unique retail shops, and the occasional art gallery and vintage clothes stores, primarily patronized by aging skinny-jeaned hipsters who have not quite retired from the 80s punk sub-culture scene. Most patrons tonight are sitting at the bar rather than eating, and appear to be made up of the local community rather than epicureans from old-world horse-eating countries.

"la Palette",  vegan,  protest,  horsemeat

Tonight we’re joined by vegan protesters….bringing our group headcount to about 15.

"la palette" horsmeat,  protest

Pro-Horse Supporter stops by and shows pics of horses he has rescued.

I’d been forewarned that tensions had flared recently. While Shamez and some staff members were primarily confined to making sarcastic remarks or occasional outbursts, the worst invective actually came from their customers, who had in the past tried to taunt the protesters with horsemeat or stories of their own animal cruelty. Peaceful protesters were taunted about their weight and appearance etc. and on the 27th, these taunts reached critical mass.

"La Palette" , horsemeat,  "Queen West" , confrontation

What starts as a heated discussion…….

The first 2 hours of a 3 hour planned protest (all protest-related paperwork is duly prepared by the organizers and forwarded to the proper authorities) were uneventful – protesters politely engaged various passersby who expressed a mix of curiosity, skepticism, and often outright endorsement of our cause. We’ve even attracted a few “groupies.” At the start of hour 3 the ad hominem attacks went positively nuclear when two regular patrons, not known for swimming in the sane side of the pool, left the restaurant, walked directly and purposefully towards a group of vegan supporters and uttered a loud “Fuck You.”

“On second thought, I wouldn’t fuck you, because you are un-fuckable.” “I would rather fuck your dog.” This declared by an aging, pot-bellied misogynist asshat known for making these drive-by slurs, to a young woman, who didn’t even engage him verbally. Hell no – like any of us would waste our womanly charms on this sleazeball – not even if we’re faced with a fucking apocalypse.  Anyway, while we’re accustomed to opposition or disagreement (which we handle with a quiet dignity), we stood by in astonishment while he continued his expletive-filled tirade, and his red-haired companion deciding to make her argument more emphatic by grasping a protester’s arm while arguing with her. And that folks, is an assault. In contrast, and with palpable coolness, the accosted protester did not react.

"La Palette",  CHDC,  "Canadian Horse Defence Coalition" ,  protesters,  Toronto,  "Queen Street West" ,

We Serve Horsemeat Steaks This Big……..

How far down the rabbit hole will we go tonight? Batten down the hatches folks, because it ain’t over yet – the shoutdowns now going nuclear, Shamez makes a dash outside just as the customers beat a hasty retreat (note to Shamez – you’d be proud, at least they left on foot and didn’t get into a gas-guzzling car). According to Shamez, the protesters have all increased his business three-fold via our “marketing efforts,” so he very theatrically pulls out his wallet and with a flourish, starts handing out money (one protester scores a $20) before he abruptly stops. Shamez, you had a $50 bill in that stash – where is the love?

provocateurs,  "La Palette",  horsemeat,  CHDC,  protest,  horse,

After a seriously misogynist rant, these provocateurs retreat on foot. Protesters are regularly harassed by this couple.

At times raising his fist close to a protester’s face, Shamez completely abandoned any past pretense of politeness; he attempted to shout down our $20 recipient, invaded his space, and made many of us fearful that he was about to either pop a blood vessel or pop the protester. I’m left wondering if his protest against American booze went down like this?

"La Palette" , horsemeat,  protest,  "Queen Street West,  "French Restaurant"

From here it’s all downhill….

"La Palette",  protest,  horsemeat,  CHDC,  "Canadian Horse Defence Coalition" , Toronto

Rock, Paper, Scissors…..

"La Palette" , protest,  horse,  horsemeat,  Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, CHDC,  "french cuisine"

Lines are being crossed and boundaries are being breached here…..for some unknown reason, the dude at left, a friend or associate of Amlani, finds some hilarity in the confrontation.

chdc,  "La Palette", "french cuisine" , toronto, horse, horsemeat,  protest,  CHDC

Cause for Concern

After we make it plain that the customer started the incident, Shamez broke down and apologized on behalf of his clientele – “that should not have happened.” Of course it shouldn’t, but he needs a better class of customer. In the interim, the rest of us will be committed to getting in our six-cylinder SUVs to drive down to La Palette instead of riding our environmentally low-impact equines – those same ones he would like to serve up with a side of oats and carrots, under the guise of “multiculturalism.” Which of course begs the question, since horsemeat is purported by Shamez to be an ethnic dish, is this something that the ethnically-diverse Toronto should embrace?

"La Palette"  ,  CHDC,  horsemeat,  protest,  horse

First He Argues, Then Shamez Apologizes for Customer’s Behaviour

Personally, I think this is a red-herring, because this is not what mutlculturalism means to me. While a lot of vegetarians, vegans, and horse lovers would not want to contemplate it, why not open a restaurant in any of the European countries that serve horse, because the vast majority of Canadians won’t eat it. Sure Shamez, we know your Canada includes Quebec, where horsemeat is popular in certain regions, but you’re not in Quebec.

cfia,  "La Palette" , horsemeat,  horse,  "Toronto french restaurant", foodies, "Canadian Food Inspection Agency"

The CFIA is Not Transparent About Testing Horsemeat

And please, let’s be honest about what multiculturalism is not – it is not a defense of ethnic narcissism – whereby some groups appear to hold the opinion that they possess exclusive identities that are superior to other cultures. Multiculturalism is NOT an apology for limiting human rights or excusing cruel practices to either humans or animals. Canadians have universally shown that we do not accept Sharia law in our country, nor do we tolerate practices brought to our country that promote oppression, sexual harassment, genital mutilation, or oppression of those who express their sexuality or orientation differently than the majority. There are many viewpoints imported into Canada which should be left in the “old country” as they only serve to reinforce popular prejudice.

While I’m not suggesting that eating horsemeat is on a par with these crimes, I am making a point about multiculturalism and incrementalism as it applies to food handling and consumption, and the practice of desensitizing people to the eating of unusual foods without regard for how they are raised, obtained, or killed.  Should Canadians be willing to accept the eating of dogs and cats in Canada,  merely because it is accepted practice in some other locales in the world?  Should we be afraid to critique the eating of Bear Paw soup because to do so  might subject us to cries of “racism?”  Witness the deluge of horsemeat-related opinion pieces coming out of the Toronto Sun (also noteworthy for it’s “Sunshine Girl” – another cultural anachronism). In the past few months we’ve observed numerous horsemeat articles by Toronto based newspapers, seemingly intent on softening up the market for horsemeat. Is it a mere coincidence that they are timed to coincide with the re-introduction of horsemeat to the La Palette menu? In my opinion, these articles have been published to attract attention. The authors of these opinion pieces have likely never spent a single day with a living horse, which is regrettable.

horses,  horsemeat,  "La Palette" , protest,  democracy.  "Occupy Toronto" , CFIA,  CHDC

Horses Deserve Respect – They Are Not Food Animals

If they had, they would perhaps “get” much of the message we have been getting out to the public – that not only is horsemeat cruelly derived, it is not safe to consume non-food animals who have received drugs not intended for food animals, despite what the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has asserted. That they do receive such drugs, not exclusive of Phenylbutazone (horse anti-inflammatory) is not in dispute. Claude Boissoneault, CFIA National Specialist, Red Meat Program, indicated to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) in October 2010 that in the past 5 years, 698 samples of equine meat was submitted for phenylbutazone testing. According to Agriculture Canada slaughter numbers, that is 0.18% of 385,339 horses slaughtered in 5 years – an abysmally weak cross section of testing. If the CFIA hasn’t had a single positive in eight years it doesn’t say much for the accuracy of their test. You can’t find a substance you’re not looking for.

On the other hand,  the EU is doing a better job finding Phenylbutazone in their horsemeat supplies,  a finding which is made all the more striking and relevant due to the “passporting” system in place in some EU countries.  The passport system is intended to keep horses that have been given non-permissable drugs out of the food chain entirely,  however as we can see from this link,  even that system doesn’t work  perfectly.  Not only has drug-tainted horsemeat entered the food chain in Europe,  it has been recalled long AFTER reaching consumers.  What do these incidents in the EU suggest to you about the horsemeat supply in Canada,  which uses the deeply-flawed EID document to “track” horses?

The writers of these articles may choose to consume meat that is not properly tested for safe consumption, but they are wrong to advise their readers to do the same, and the Toronto Sun and other papers should conduct better research. And of course, it goes without saying that we believe that Shamez is wrong to serve it.

"La Palette"  ,  horsemeat,  horse,  CHDC,  Toronto,  multiculturalism,  protest, "French Restaurant"

In Speaking with Onlookers, We Provide Factual Information

Disagreement on this subject matter is unavoidable. This post is not about where you live or what you prefer to eat. Incrementalists and foodie-freaks equate strong criticism of their ideas with the idea that such criticism is a move to stifle their rights to eat whatever they wish. But the majority of people polled in Canada are opposed to horse slaughter – that’s where La Palette chooses to serve its horsemeat. So we will be there, asserting our right to peaceful assembly, until such time that reason prevails and perpetual hypocrite Shamez Amlani realises that our position on horsemeat is not much different from his position on cars or American liquor. Except of course, when you consider that horses are sensitive, sentient animals who generally start their lives as private pets, carriage horses, performance horses, children’s ponies, and cowboy steeds. So why is he still serving this product to his clientele?

(All images copyright Heather Clemenceau – use with permission only)