Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Great BBQ, good Spanish Red and poor stolen kitties

Friday past, the 13th for those with Paraskevidekatriaphobia, saw witness to one of the great outdoor food events of this summer.

Dinner at Dieter und Heidi's was unbelievably good, from the prosciutto and melon to start right through to strawberry shortcake to finish. Main course was about 10 pounds of T-bones, grilled perfectly medium rare then sliced and drizzled with balsamic a la Toscana accompanied by cedar planked scallops as big as a small child's fist and fresh heirloom tomatoes bathed in nought but salt, pepper and good olive oil.

Bubble and Guinness to start then an incredibly delicate Reserve Cabernet from Nederburg vintage 1982. When first tasted I was worried about the old wine but 45 minutes of air brought out the fruit and it was a delight, sour cherry and prunes to be sure but still lovely with the beef, next up was a 1998 Single Vineyard Malbec from Valdevieso - the last from my cellar - and it was still vibrant and ballsy and a perfect compliment to grilled beef.

I doubt you would be able to find either of these wines anywhere but they did show the complex beauty of older wines as opposed to the full throttle wines we tend to drink regularly. Also served a bottle of Penny's Hill Red Dot Shiraz-Viognier which is available in limited distribution in BCLDB stores for $21.95 (CSPC#151670) which would have benefited from another year in bottle but is perfectly acceptable for those who like the "fruit Bomb" style.

Later in the weekend I had a bottle of lovely Spanish Red - Espelt Saulo 2005 from the Costa Brava in north-east Spain this blend of Grenache and Carignan was perfect with Bison burgers. The wine has lots of red fruit flavours and soft tannins with a great mouth feel and nice finish. The Espelt retails for $14.99 (CSPC#151332) and has wide distribution. I'm beginning to think that Spain is the new Australia in that I am constantly impressed with the quality of wines in the $12-$18 range, and also that the wines are becoming popular very quickly so the prices will rise accordingly.

On another, entirely unrelated note, the local newspaper group is raising the subscription prices of Vancouver's two daily papers. Well worth it I say, after all one of the lead features in today's Province (page 4) was a quarter page story, with colour photo, about four stolen kittens and the heartbreak it is causing a Surrey teenager - that's right folks world hunger and damaged nukes in Japan take a backseat to stolen kitties ......... well worth the extra dollar a month I say.

Friday, July 06, 2007

'Roid Rage Customer and the "Pool Pool"

Amazing scene at work last night as our patio was virtually held hostage by an absolute Asshole.

This guy is well known, and loathed, in Vancouver restaurant circles and is a former (failed) restaurateur who now peddles stocks and spurious "internet lottery/gambling" sites. Unfortunately he has money and so is pandered to by many establishments, ours included. Among his many attributes are a loud abrasive, aggressive personality couples with years of cocaine and steroid use to go along with an impressive physique, a violent temper and extensive martial arts training.

As I arrived at work last night around 4:30 he was showing up with a group of rounders to hold court on the Patio, generally the worst you have to put up with is mild to medium abusive language, lots of "advice"( "at my restaurants we used to ....", to which I always want to reply "And is that why your restaurants went broke?" but never do), the occasional noise complaint from surrounding tables and a 20% tip. Last night however things went sideways as an inexperienced server tugged on Superman's cape.

In the vicinity of "The Asshole" was a group that included an attractive woman dining with her husband, this woman apparently struck A-Hole's fancy and his leers were less than subtle. Around 9 pm the woman mentioned to her server that AssHole's unwanted attention was making her uncomfortable ........ and this is where it all unravels. The server, female, approached Asshole and commented to him that the woman was uncomfortable with his actions and would he please refrain.

Asshole leaps up and starts screaming at the server drops the "C" bomb and generally reduces her to a shambles in 30 seconds.

Now the "correct" course of action would have been to get a manager involved as soon as the woman complained, not talk directly to AssHole, that's what the suits get paid for. But you can't go back in time so the fuse was lit. This is doubly problematic as we have an inexperienced manager on the Patio and our General Manager doesn't immediately grasp AssHole's condition ( 5 hours of cocktails on top of his surly disposition and likely a line of blow or two) and thinks he can reason with him.

The upshoot is we have to stop seating our principle revenue source to let AssHole vent, leave him at his table, transfer waiters and piss off dozens of guests. Now don't get me wrong, our GM chose the correct course in "discretion is the better part of valour" , had we tried to remove AssHole or called authorities things would have been even worse and physical damage would have occurred but the scene was surreal to say the least.

What also amazed me was that the other people at AssHole's table, with one exception, just sat there continuing their evening including the women at the table. Now I'm sorry but if I'm a woman and some nutjob at the table I'm at stands up and calls our waitress a cunt loudly in public then I'm out of there, but these bimbos just sat there giggling and drinking the cocktails the "Broker boys' kept buying.

We all know that "AssHole" is past redemption but the women should've walked immediately and the "Men" at the table need to grow a pair and set "AssHole" straight.

On a happier note the sun is out again today so daughter and I will be going to the pool again, making it 7 days out of 8 for the summer holidays. "Slightly deranged expeditor" has suggested that I take bets on the pool visits so I will consider setting up an over/under line on Summer 2007 pool visits ........... my advice is take the over.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Summer Times and the Blogging is (even more) Infrequent

Well summer is officially upon us which means daughter is out of school and I have virtually zero time to blog. I'll do what I can but it's not going to be pretty.

Canada Day was a tremendous "Tuscan Grill' at the home of "West Coast Insecurity" Columnist and Celebrated author. Antipasto, superb Carbonara and grilled lamb combined with a mish mash of Italian and Okanagan wines. The 2003 Kettle Valley Reserve Pinot Noir was outstanding, the 2002 Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir was indifferent - the Italians were all over the map but highlights included the ever reliable Valpolicella Superiore 2004 from Zenato - CSPC#476572, $18.95 - reasonable availability.

I liked the Zenato a lot more when it was $14.95 a couple of years ago but for full flavour and great balance as a partner to pasta or grilled poultry, beef or lamb it is still a great choice. There was also a nice Morellino de Scansano but I have no idea who it was from.

Monday was grilled chicken and veg with Valdivieso Cabernet Sauvignon (#412841 $11.99 in reasonable distribution), Valdivieso have always been one of my favourite Chilean producers and this entry level Cabernet is full of red and black fruits, with a bit of tannins and a decent balance - not the pick for steaks but fine for burgers or poultry.

As a side note - daughter has been out of school for six days and we have been to the pool five times, including the first day of vacation when we swam in the rain and were forced out by the life guards after thunder rolled.