Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dinner at "Earl's"

Monday night we dined at Earl's.

My mother, yes she's still here, really wanted to take wife and I out for dinner while she was here. My mother likes Earl's, don't know why but she does, so we chose Earl's for the dinner out. Auntie Margarethe was roped into caring for daughter and with Mother, and older sister, in tow we headed out to our local Earls.

It was game seven of the Stanley Cup final so the noise level around the entrance , and bar area, was higher than usual (who the hell goes to Earls to watch a hockey game ?) but I was able to convey our desire for a table of 4 to the hostess who promptly led us into the diningroom. I asked for a free standing table, as opposed to a booth, as I prefer the freedom of my own chair to bench seating and we were given our choice.

Menus are placed, so large that 4 barely fit on the table, and what menus they are - adorned with pictures of young girls just havin' fun. I see no correlation between the menus and a restaurant but that's OK, sister comments that the menus look like "magazine covers in a bad hair salon". Server arrives and takes drinks order, then brings drinks and water in timely manner.

A short discussion ensues as Mother wants Alfredo sauce with Seafood, which sounds easy enough as they have a "Shrimp Alfredo Penne", Pasta A, and a "Mixed Seafood Penne in Spicy Tomato Sauce", Pasta B. I explain to server that my mother would like the "Seafood" from Pasta B with the saucing from Pasta A and no chilis - it takes a while but we get it figured out.

Dinner orders are placed and I ask server for a moment with the winelist, housed in the giant hair salon menu. Server departs and I determine that, since wife and I will be the only ones drinking, a 1/2 litre of red will suffice - 1/2 litre is ordered.

Dinner arrives, wine not in sight. A monstrous bowl of penne in Alfredo sauce with no chilis, a chicken dish for sister, a quesadilla with salad for wife and a full rack, 11 bones, of ribs for me. Tastes are had, wine not in sight, and pronounced fine - more on that later- wine finally arrives. Dinner is finished, my rack of ribs were perfectly cooked yet had virtually no flavour, and monstrous hair salon menus returned for "Dessert Menus". Desserts are ordered by 3 females and a cappucino for me.

Desserts arrive - HUGE all brown presentations of Ice Cream Sundaes and a "chocolate sticky bread pudding" that tastes remarkably like the packaged brownie mix wife uses for kids birthday parties. Desserts are mostly consumed and bill arrives.

1 beer, 1 softdrink, 1 1/2 Litre of wine, 4 entrees (1 pasta, 1 quessadilla), 3 monstrous mounds of ice cream and brownie mix and a cappucino............... $130. That's right $130, now I know the economics of the restaurant better than most but I'm sorry the value just isn't there.

Earl's, and their offshoots, are regularly lauded as shining examples of "casual fine dining", one local writer talks of European restauranteurs falling over themselves to resurrect the concept in "the old country". I have a piece of advise for the Euros - stick with the bistros and trattorias.

Earls felt as tired as an old hair salon and for $130 just nowhere near the value I could have received in any smaller regional restaurant on the Main Street stroll. There was nothing innovative or exciting in the room, time for a change Earl.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Colour Yellow

It was my birthday last week and Father's day on Sunday. My birthday saw a quiet family dinner but Sunday was a bit more of a boisterous affair, wife decided to combine my birthday with Father's day and have an outdoor party for 30 or so, but that's another story.

I arrived home from work Saturday night and toddled into the kitchen for a beer ............ and there they were. Our Dining Room, or Eating Room as we refer to it since Dining Room seems a bit grand, floor was covered in yellow balloons. I was surprised at the quantity but not the colour, you see yellow is my favourite colour, sort of.

I never really had a favourite colour until the day Daughter, about 2 1/2 at the time, asked me what my favourite colour was. Now one thing I can say for certain is that it is pointless to try and explain to a 2 1/2 year old that you don't have a favourite colour, so I arbitrarily chose yellow. Ever since that day yellow has been my favourite colour, and it will be forever I suspect. I now own yellow shirts and socks and now a lovely yellow tablecloth whereas before I had virtually no contact with yellow.

The funny thing is I really do like yellow and it may, in fact, be my favourite colour.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Random Thoughts

My Mom is in town for the next three weeks so my blogging will be even spottier than usual, having a 147 year old Scot underfoot leaves little time for writing. I've got a couple of minutes now as I told her I saw a quarter in the next door neighbour's yard.

1) I've stopped "The Marj Watch" - it's just not as much fun when the guy is unemployed.

2) What kind of odds could you have got in September on an Oilers-'Canes Stanley Cup Final

3) Newspapers are referring to "trendy Whyte Avenue" - c'mon it's in Edmonton.

4) World Cup is fast upon us. I'm going way out on a limb and taking Brazil, I also expect Italy and France to under acheive and Spain to finally do something.

5) I haven't had the heart to tell Ed that Ireland didn't qualify - but at least I haven't made him bet on Ireland yet either.

6) June just got better, my birthday, Father's Day and now ......... Pilsner Urquell King Cans are on sale.

7) Butterflied Leg of Lamb on the Weber with Pinot Noir.

8) I can't believe Ricky Williams didn't sign with the B.C. Lions - c'mon Ricky go to the source.

9) George and Ben are still alive.

10) Bodegas Piqueras, Marques de Rojas Almansa - CSPC#317008, $9.99 - 100% unoaked Garnacha Tintorera (Grenache), nice deep purple colour with a bit of black pepper/cassis and just a touchy of minty, sage on the back end. Very good with grilled ribs or chicken.