Friday, March 30, 2007

A Couple of Decent Reds, Spring Break, Mats and a "Bad Regular"

Well I survived, barely, spring break. It freakin' poured every day but we survived thanks to ScienceWorld, the Aquarium and a "Craft Day" at Anna's house.

Daughter is back in school now and I should have blogged earlier this week but tragedy befell me, I have taken on the responsibility of "Interim Wine Director" which has meant a week of scrambling to make sense of the previous paperwork system, install "Par Stock" levels, contact agents etc. - this is a temporary situation until we find a sommelier but it has still cut into my slacking off ...... oops I mean blogging time.

Tasted a couple of decent value red wines this week - Valdevieso Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Chile , #412841, $11.99 - widely available and Robertson Winery Shiraz 2005 from South Africa, #586149, $11.99 - widely available.

Both these wines are "new world" in style with fruit being more prominent than tannin or acidity, but both are well made and enjoyable. I can easily recommend either of these wines as we move forward into "Grilling Season".

As the NHL season grinds to a close I am in wonder at my beloved Leafs. This is team is more schizo than any bad girlfriend imaginable, capable of beating New Jersey and Buffalo within a 5 day span but also losing to Washington, blowing a 3 goal third period lead in another contest against Buffalo and being worse in shoot-outs than a decent Bantam A squad. What is particularly strange is that they are hanging in the race without any appreciable cobtribution from their Captain, and spiritual leader, Mats Sundin - with 5 games remaining and needing to take 9 out of 10 possible points (by my reckoning) it is time for #13 to "put the biscuit in the basket" a few times.

As a last thought I have a truly bizarre situation brewing at the restaurant, I have cultivated a "bad regular". This gentleman visits Vancouver on business about once a month and never fails to bring a table into the restaurant when he is in town. The man is courteous, spends well, orders well and always requests my section when booking his table, the problem is he tips 10%, which after tip-out leaves me with less than 5%. On Wednesday I saw his name in the book and did every thing in my power to avoid him but he specifically requested me so I was stuck. The scenario played out as I expected, easy to serve $342 tab for 4 people ,,,,,,,,,,,,, and a $35 tip with lots of "Thanks, it was great" as they left.

Any suggestions on how to correct this problem would be greatly appreciated, and please don't suggest poisoning or flatulence , there are some lines I will not cross.

On a sad ending note a comrade in arms fell this past weekend, a waiter I knew from 25 years ago died of a massive coronary at the age of 57. far too young. We were not close and did not socialize but it made me sad ...... there will be better days and when the memorial is held we'll raise a glass to Barney.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Just an average Fortune 500 phone Call

I'm sure this happens to you every day, you are sitting at home downloading some Live Rolling Stones tracks when the phone rings. At the other end is a partner in a major Canadian company who immediately says "Hey, how many points did Kelly Kisio score in his career?"

I give a low ball answer, and Major Company Partner replies that "Other Major Company VP" said Kisio had "like 800 career points" - I google Mr. Kisio and determine that his career point total was, in fact, 658.

We bounce back and forth on Kisio's career before I ask "Do you know where he was born?"

MCP replies "Calgary - right ?"

"No, Wetaskawin" I answer

"Oh that's where WP Kinsella was born" replies MCP

I hang-up.

It's good to know that two scions of industry rely heavily on a waiter for their vital life information.

Had a decent bottle of Italian red last week, a Montepulciano D'Abbruzzo, Caldora, 2005.

Back in the day Montepulciano D'Abbruzzo were always cheap and provided a nice inexpensive alternative to Chianti, but as with most things Italian the prices have gone up rapidly over the past 3 years and now most decent ones are in the $15 range. Typical of the variety the Caldora is medium bodied with nice herbal notes and a bit of dried cherry in the taste, the acidity level is fine for battling it out with Pizza/Pasta or grilled poultry.

There is limited stock on this product as it is currently discounted by a buck to $9.95 but if you find it grab a couple of bottles - CSPC#418335.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekly Ramblings - Daughter's Birthday, Cigars etc.

Yeah I know I said I'd blog more but .............. Anyway much has happened since last we blogged, the biggest event was Daughter's 8th birthday.

We have always down played birthdays in my family so daughter's "gathering of the coven" was mild compared to others, still the volume of shrieking that 6 little girls can produce is mind boggling. My ears were ringing as though I'd been at a Metallica concert and the sugar buzz carried right through to Saturday's final soccer game.

The current rage among the 8 year old set are "littlest pet shop pets" which are benign, and stuffed animals that make noise - there's a special place in Hell for the people who market these things.

U-8 girls soccer season came to a close on Saturday. This was daughter's first foray into organized team sports and it was a resounding success. The team was very close to being Hitler's dream - mostly tall blonde waifs who ran like the wind. The quantum leap in skills from September to March was amazing to watch, by year's end the squad was a well oiled killing machine and were the only team in the league to defeat the Italian Cultural Centre's entry "The Angels".

In fact the Daring Dogs owned the Angels with a 2-1 season record (not that we're counting, of course). They played two weeks ago in freezing rain and not one complaint did I hear from daughter...... but ask her to clean up her room - but that's for another day.

Don returned from Cuba, where the All Star was cancelled, with a renewed belief in Capitalism and some cigars. I was offered some cigars but declined, because I personally think that smoking cigars is really stupid. I mean isn't the whole idea of smoking to ingest nicotine into your system ? I smoked for years, only the birth of daughter made me stop, but even when I was a smoker I thought cigars were dumb. All they do for me is make my mouth hot. Smoking cigars is sort of like buying cocaine, separating out the narcotic and snorting the Baby Powder.

According to "Toronto is a Bad Place" columnist, the Vancouver Canucks don't get enough respect outside of Vancouver - maybe that's because watching the Sedin's cycle brilliantly while Roberto Luongo stands on his head is an acquired taste. Last night's game was a $10 "pay per view" game, I mistakenly thought they would be paying me but apparently not.

Had a nice bottle last night with marinated leg of lamb, Thorn-Clarke Terra Barossa 2003 Barossa Cuvee, a tasty blend of Shiraz (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (33%) and Mourvedre (7%). Nice black fruit flavours with spicy oak and a touch of licorice, the tannins have softened nicely making this a good "Drink Now" selection - on sale for $17.99 with limited distribution (CSPC#323758).

My House Wine is also on sale this month - La Chamiza Shiraz-Malbec , from Argentina, is discounted by a buck to $14.95 for a 1.5 Litre, soft fruity juice but with enough acidity to accompany pizza, pasta, burgers, roast chicken etc. - widely available (CSPC#567941).

By the way - Did you know you can order energy efficient "blacklight" bulbs from California ? It's true.