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Does bad service still get 15 percent tip in Vancouver?

Charles Macurdy
Apr 9th, 2013

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Recently, I went out for a few drinks with a couple of friends. I suggested that we try somewhere in the neighborhood because I like to support nearby restaurants. My friends agreed, and off we went.

It was about 8:00 on a Friday night. When the four of us showed up, the restaurant was very busy. Every table was occupied. Understanding that we would have to wait, we stood patiently by the door and waited for a server to approach us.

And waited...

It was several minutes before we were acknowledged by the staff. It was several more before a server approached us. I expected one of them to come over and apologize for the wait, maybe offer to take down our names for the next available table. In my experience, that’s what you do. Even though it is out of your control, you walk over to the customers at the door and say,

“I’m sorry for the wait. We will have a table ready for you shortly.” In other words, “Please don’t go. I live off my tips.”

I don’t expect my feet kissed, just a simple but professional act of courtesy.

Buy Our Cluckin' Birds: BC Chicken Farmers Unite in Campaign

Jordan Yerman
Feb 13th, 2013

Ginger from 'Chicken Run'. Still from the Dreamworks/Aardman/Pathé film.

The British Columbia Chicken Growers' Association is receiving public funds to provide a marketing package touting the health and vitality of its member farms' chickens.

Below you can see key excerpts from the  BC Chicken Growers' Association press release, along with annotations from a self-appointed consumer advocate, i.e. me.

VICTORIA - An educational video, which will provide consumers with factual information on how chicken is produced in British Columbia, is receiving Buy Local program funding.

The BC Chicken Growers' Association will receive $15,500 to help with the cost of producing the short movie and the literature to support it. The video will showcase B.C. family-run chicken farms and the responsibility and care they take in ensuring animal welfare, bio security, food safety and the environment.

An easy three-course Valentine's Day recipe to get from stomach to love

Jessica Brunt
Feb 4th, 2013

Screenshot from I am Love

A lot of people are down on Valentine’s Day. The most common complaint I’ve heard is that it seems too manufactured to be genuine: why should we love each other on this one particular day any more than any other day? I for one find Valentine’s Day endearing. If I’m attached, I like to do something creative and special for the person I’m with, and if I’m single, I like to buy yellow roses for my friends and eat chocolate with them.

I completely don’t agree that you should feel lousy on Valentine’s Day if you’re not attached. That’s just programming, and frankly it’s a little self- absorbed. It’s not all about you, ya know. Plus, the day is an excuse to go out and find someone to sleep with. Make it work for you.

But it’s a particularly odd spot to be in if you have just begun dating someone and Valentine’s Day pops up.

Haggis and bagpipes at Vancouver's Floata Chinese Restaurant

Jenny Uechi
Jan 28th, 2013

Haggis gleams fatly on a plate at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in the Floata Restaurant in Chinatown. 

It's a surreal sight for most first-timers at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner: inside the bustling Floata Chinese restaurant, a blaring procession of bagpipe players and drummers comes marching in, weaving through the rows of round tables. At the centre of everyone's attention is one man in a kilt holding a silver platter, on which rests a steaming plate of haggis. 

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made of the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep mixed with suet, oatmeal and seasoning, boiled in a sheep's stomach (or sausage casing). It's as essential to Scotland's Robbie Burns Day as dumplings and nian gao cakes are to Chinese during the lunar new year. 

Reactions to haggis ranged from loud whistling and spirited cheers from the Scottish-Canadians at the tables to to nervous smiles and shifty eyes from people who had never seen haggis before (a similar reaction that many have to first-time tastings of boiled chicken feet). 

But how does the stuff taste?

Glowbal Group's 2013 Dine Out Menu preview

Ariella Fong
Jan 16th, 2013

All photos by Ariella Fong

Right after the winter holidays and right before the bustle of Valentine’s Day, the restaurants of Vancouver offer a selection of three-course prix fixed meals, highlighting Vancouver’s freshest and hottest culinary offerings. Glowbal Group of Restaurants is no exception and on January 14, food writers and bloggers alike were treated to a food tour to preview the menus for Coast Restaurant and Black + Blue

Please note, suggested choices are based on: personal preference, size portion and quality of ingredients.

Coast’s feature menu ($38) offers a selection of west coast flavor with an assortment of seafood and comfort options as add ons.

First Course Options:

Bay Scallop & Clam Chowder – roasted parsnip, Yukon potatoes

Tarts Bakery brings tasty comfort food in a small package

Justin Tan
Dec 3rd, 2012

photos by Justin Tan

When I think about tarts, it conjures images of sweet morsels of delectable pastry goodness, forked over good conversation and washed down with a hot cup of tea. Tarts Bakery near Broadway and Granville Street offers such an experience, with a mouth watering selection of both sweet and savoury tarts. 

Run by sisters Lisa and Shawna Coen, Tarts Bakery appears to be Vancouver's only retail bakery specializing exclusively in tarts. Having studied at the Northwest Culinary Academy, Lisa handles of the baking, while Shawna tends to the shopfront.

Shauna presenting a delicious sweet meat tart

Vancouver's newest movers and shakers in the food industry share stories at Food Talks 3

Ariella Fong
Aug 18th, 2012

All Photos by Ariella Fong

Continuing his successful Food Talks series, Richard Wolak hosted a third edition of his speaker events featuring experts from the Vancouver's food scene.

At Westin Hotel Vancouver's Pop Up Patio, guests were treated to an assortment of canapes prepared by Executive Chef, Matthew Richmond.

Watermelon with feta and olives

Westin's feature slider with bacon, avocado and chipotle mayo

Braised short ribs with vanilla scented peaches

Grocery Showcase West celebrates 50th anniversary

Ariella Fong
Apr 25th, 2012

All photos by Ariella Fong

The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) brought together established brands, first-time manufactuers and distributors for two days of insight into the food industry, as well as product launches, at Grocery Showcase West. This year's trade show and conference, which took place from April 21 to 22, also marks the 50th Anniversary of the CFIG.

The showcase, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, helps grocery entrepreneurs connect with distributors, retailers and industry leaders that can take small products and transform them into household names. Here are a few products to look for at a grocery store near you.

Cedar Creek Estate Winery celebrates 25th Anniversary with release of new aromatic whites

Ariella Fong
Apr 18th, 2012

As one of the first pioneering wineries in the Okanagan Valley, CedarCreek Estate Winery released its first wines in 1987. Twenty-five years and two "Winery of the Year" awards later, proprietor Gordon Fitzpatrick and winemaker Darryl Brooker celebrate with the release of their 2011 white wines at Salt Tasting Room.

Joining the CedarCreek Team in 2010, award-winning winemaker Brooker caused a bit of stir when he decided to implement style changes to the 2011 white aromatics from previous years. The result? Sure fire crowd pleasures.

The 2011 Vintage Reisling challenges the traditional notion that more sugar equals to more flavor. CedarCreek's reisling is a focus on preserving the natural flavor of the wine. At first taste, there is a confusion between sweetness or tartness. That confusion, as Brooker explains, is intentional because the taste changes as the wine matures. Over time, the sugars integrate and the flavors intensify. At a price point of $17.90, this wine contains citrusy flavors which pair beautifully with BC's fresh seafood.

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