Friday, November 14, 2008

You've gotta kiss a few Frogs

Disaster stuck our house about 6 weeks ago when our venerable House Wine, La Chamiza Shiraz/Malbec, disappeared from the BCLDB shelves. My sources at the board indicate that it will return in late November but we've been forced to take drastic measures in the meantime. House wine is essential to wife and I because we work opposite schedules so we only sit down to dinner together two, maybe three, times a week. The rest of the time wife may grab a glass while dining with daughter and I'm always going to have a tumbler full upon returning from work. so we need something that will hold up to being open for 4-5 days or more and is cheap enough to be used in the pasta sauce while still being drinkable.

The above mentioned La Chamiza has filled the bill for about three years now, it's reliable, tasty enough and sells for $16 for a magnum. The inability to have access to our "House Wine" for two months was like being handed lemons, so I set about to make Lemonade. I decided to work my way through the "cheap and cheerful" section of the BCLDB catalogue in search of a suitable replacement. The requirements were that the wine should be red and price out at less than $9.00 per 750 ml., things did not go well. I have tasted a half a dozen "House Wine" replacements and only one has really come close to matching "The Venerable Chamiza", that being Concha y Toro's Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot CSPC#286187, $15.97. The wine is medium bodied with little tannins but reasonable balance in that it's not over the top fruity and has the bonus of being under Stelvin Closure (screwcap) to aid in lasting for up to a week. This wine will tide us over until TVC returns, but I tried some bad alternatives in the meantime. Potential House Wines to be avoided include, anything from Tocornal, anything from Italy and Stanley's 2L. bag in a box Cabernet-Shiraz. All in all this was an exercise I'd rather not have to go through again in the near future.

I'm suffering from "Going to the Pollsitis" having voted in both federal and provincial elections recently and now I'm forced to vote on the Vancouver civic slate tomorrow. In all honesty my choice for mayor is probably "none of the above" as neither "Ken Doll" candidate has impressed me much but I'll make an informed choice sometime tomorrow morning, assuming I can find my voting card.

Business at the restaurant where I work is, to say the least, slow. At this time of year we depend strongly on traffic from the hotel beside us, along with local corporate business, and the economic slow down has basically seen both sources dry up. Not quite sure what I'm going to do about it, maybe 6/49 will do the trick....... yeah that's it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Well I don't know if anything is scarier than the current economic picture but last night was Halloween.

I generally work Friday nights, my token appearance on an "amateur night", but booked off last night to involve myself in the festivities. What a night it was. Daughter is nine now so Halloween has become a simple commercial venture, make as many calls as possible and maximize your return of "free sugar".

At 5:30 we sat down to pasta with daughter, daughter's BFF, BFF's mom, BFF's mom's boyfriend, McGyver, T-money, wife and I. Simple bolognese to maximize carb intake for the upcoming marathon. Shortly past six all others head out leaving me to side the table, start the dishes and dole out candy to visitors.

Daughter and BFF are witches, as is BFF's mom, T-Money (age 5) is a King, wife is a monk/priestess from another planet, quite disturbing actually. McGyver and BFF's mom's boyfriend are plain clothes, or dressed as Dad's escorting their kid's trick or treating if you will. The weather has actually broken, the rains gone and it is a mild overcast evening - perfect for massive acquisition of candy.

Over the course of the next hour and a half we are visited by close to 100 kids and just around 7:45 daughter and BFF return with bags full, T-Money packed it in after about 45 minutes and has just been wandering around in a sugar induced zombie state for the past hour insisting that his candy stay on the floor - better to select his next victim.

McGyver has planned a neighborhood fireworks display, permit obtained online at 5:30 pm, so the kids are now running around with sparklers while the "Wheelbarrow of Excitement" makes it's way into the front yard. A solid ten minute display of pyrotechnics wraps up the evening's entertainment before we close up shop shortly after 8 bells. Guests, and neighbours, depart and while I tidy wife and daughter sort the loot into various piles, sours here, chocolate there etc.

Daughter is always generous with her bounty, though she doesn't share her sours, so she offers up some KitKats and then is finally prodded into bed at 9ish. We've always gone with the "let her gorge" theory so sleep comes slowly but does come.

Soccer is at 12:45 today, it'll be interesting to see if the buzz has worn off by then.