Monthly Archives: June 2010

Random Sunday Thoughts

I feel guilty, not about anything in particular, I just do. Maybe because I haven’t written anything in a while? It’s not like I get paid for this though so the guilt is a mystery to me. Work has been weird this week as far as lunch is concerned, the only place I went was Moxies. The food was good but I am trying to avoid writing about big chains unless I find something really great.

So what do I have to say? Not sure but this is my blog and I’ve got to say something right?

We’re having dinner at my in law’s place,seafood pasta mmmmm. Hayley got to meet her Great Grandma and Uncle Charlie for the first time, it was pretty cool to have 4 generations in one room. I’m still amazed at how fast things are changing and how quickly Hayley is growing. It seem like yesterday that Lyndsey told me she was pregnant.

For those of you who don’t know my daughter Hayley was born fourteen and a half weeks premature. We brought her home on Mothers day after 93 days in the Neonatal intensive care unit. She is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I would give up everything for her.

We have some good friends that are expecting a daughter in August and I can’t wait to have someone close by to hang out with. They have no idea how much their lives are about change and they will realize that they have no idea what love is until they look into their child’s eyes for the first time.

Awe look at me, all sappy and in love. I started writing a book about Hayley but I’m really having a hard time writing about the time we spent in the hospital, it’s very personal and hard to talk about but it will be good for me to share it. I hope it will help other dads with premature children. Dads are an afterthought when it comes to the care of their children in a hospital and it was very frustrating to me as I’m sure it is to other dads. If I heard the words “why don’t we wait until mom gets here” one more time I was going to cry.

I found out last night that a really good friend of mine got engaged. I couldn’t be happier for her and her husband to be. They are awesome people and I can’t wait to see them at baseball to congratulate them.

Well I guess that’s it, nothing else to say. I know it wasn’t about food but I don’t care. Like I said it my blog and I can write about whatever I want.

It’s pretty cool to be me.


“The Buffet” @ The Wynn Hotel & Casino

Flying at 30000 feet above the desert with the volcano’s of the pacific rim towering over the horizon, one can’t help but stare in awe at natures beauty. A similar feeling of amazement washed over me as I gazed at the massive buffet at the Wynn Hotel and Casino on my recent guys trip to celebrate the upcoming wedding of two great friends. Though this is no ordinary Vegas feeding trough, with deli meats and cheeses that cost more than most steaks, veal, lamb, prime rib and enough Alaskan King Crab legs that it makes you wonder if all the crab from The Deadliest Catch comes directly here.
It also costs a little more but for forty bucks I have never had a meal even close to this and I doubt I ever will again (until the next Las Vegas weekend)
Simply called “The Buffet” this over the top Vegas eatery takes all kinds of gourmet cuisines and drops them all in one spot.  Let’s run down the list of everything that I sampled, shall we? Aged Gouda & Edam cheese, prosciutto, grilled sea bass, seared red snapper, grilled mahi mahi, veal scallopini, hand carved veal loin, lamb osso bucco, veal short ribs, gnocchi, cheese ravioli, Roasted rack of lamb, hand carved prime rib, Thai beef salad, pot stickers, prawns,  nann bread with hummus and Alaskan King Crab legs with drawn butter. I feel full again just from writing it all down!
I don’t even know where to start, The lamb was fantastic both ways and the osso bucco had marrow in the bones that was incredible (don’t knock it until you try it). The prosciutto would be at home on a meat and cheese platter in Italy, the veal short ribs were as tender as melted buter, however the scallopini and the hand carved veal loin were quite tough. the red snapper and the mahi mahi were great but the sea bass was out of the world, with a texture similar to pork tenderloin. both pasta dishes were very good.
The prime rib was also very good but the highlight for most people at “The Buffet” is the alaskan king crab legs. I’m not a crab leg kind of guy as they are a lot of work for a comparatively small amount of crab. Don’t get me wrong, they were really good, it’s just that the sight of people piling up two full plates of them just because they know they’re expensive only to eat five of six and throw the rest away makes me a little sad. Vegas by in large is an incredibly wasteful place, with no recycling anywhere on the strip, 5 ton trucks driving up and down Las Vegas Boulevard for the sole purpose of advertising prostitution and millions of gallons of water wasted every year so that people in a taxi line stay cool under mist sprayers. You’re in the desert people, it’s hot!!!!
Those are the kind of people that buy Time Shares and play $5 blackjack and take it seriously. But enough about the sad state of humanity, lets talk about dessert. I tried the chocolate mint mousse, the Oreo chocolate mouse, the tiramisu and a chocolate chip cookie. I have mentioned before that I’m not big on sweets but the Oreo chocolate mousse and the cookie were terrific.
Sorry there’s no pictures of the meat, I forgot to take one before I ate it all. So go to Vegas and go to this buffet because it’s totally worth the price of admission, just don’t be greedy for greeds sake, try to walk as much as you can when you’re there and  don’t believe anyone who says they can get you into a club for free, they’re lying.

BLT Burger @ The Mirage Hotel & Casino

There is something about burgers that really speaks to me, especially if they are something a little less pedestrian than your average fast food burger. BLT Burger located at The Mirage Hotel and Casino on The Strip in Las Vegas takes the art of the most iconic american food to a new level. BLT Burger offers premium burgers made with top ingredients and a menu developed by a world renowned French Chef.

BLT stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel, the Executive Chef / Partner of BLT Restaurants. Tourondel has worked as Executive Chef to the Admiral of the French Navy and Executive Chef of the three-star Michelin Relais & Chateau Troisgros in France. Upon moving to New York he set about the challenging task of making American food up to French cuisine standards with the opening of BLT Steak and BLT Fish, a take on two classic american eateries, the steakhouse and the fish shack. With BLT Burger Tourondel aimed straight at the heart of America. The result is stunningly good.

Being in Vegas is heaven for a food lover like myself and stumbling upon BLT Burger was fantastic. With burgers made with a combination of certified Black Angus Sirloin, Short rib, Chuck and Brisket as the standard along with other selections including 100% American Kobe beef, Lamb Tandoori, Falafel, Turkey, Salmon and BBQ Brisket this was going to be something special.

I ordered the American Kobe Burger with a grilled Portobello Mushroom, skinny fries (shoestring) and a pint of Guinness. All of the burgers at BLT are served medium unless you want it cooked differently. Usually I am a well done only kind of guy, trying to avoid the whole “undercooked ground beef” thing but let me make this very clear, if made with quality beef by people who know how to handle and prepare ground beef it is very safe. Steak tartare is very safe and i suggest you try it someday, it’s awesome.

My burger was cooked to perfection and the grilled mushroom was just right as an addition. The beef is from Snake River Farms in Boise, Idaho and is certified American Wagyu (Kobe) Beef. If you don’t know what that is I suggest you Google it, a must for any beef lover. The fries were really just fries, nothing too exciting really. I suppose I should have ordered the waffle fries or onion rings…next time. As for my Guinness, you really can’t go wrong with stout when you’re eating beef.

There is one major problem with BLT Burger and that is its location in relation to where I live!!! Las Vegas is a two and a half hour flight away from Vancouver and the other two locations are in New York and Hong Kong. I suppose it’s a good thing that my wife lets me go to Vegas on an annual basis and I’m glad I was able to find BLT while on a trip with great friends. It was truly the start to a great night.

No pictures though, no camera’s allowed on Vegas trips…check out my links page for BLT Burgers website and if you’re in Las Vegas, New York or Hong Kong and want a burger, run there as fast as you can!!!

Just a quick warning, I have read a few other “foodies” reviews of BLT Burger being too expensive, and at $12 for the standard CAB burger and $17 for the Kobe, it isn’t the cheapest burger joint in town, with fries an additional $5. Remember that quality costs money and if you want an ordinary burger then this might not be the place for you, however I suggest you try it anyways because as gourmet food goes this place is a steal.


Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar-The best coffee in Vancouver?

Yes, I can honestly say I have found the best coffee in Vancouver. Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar, located at 1319 Robson St in Vancouver, is a revelation in the coffee landscape of this city. Specialty coffee made with care using locally roasted beans roasted to Michi’s specifications, all priced very favorably in relation to the prevailing giant coffee chains of the world.

My wife, daughter and I decided to head to Robson street to give Michi a try. Once there we were greeted by a very modern, cool coffee house with great atmosphere, smooth jazz and the great smell that only an espresso bar can give. The food was displayed in a glass case by the cash register, and everything looked very good, especially after I learned it was all made in-house from their own recipes. I ordered a waffle platter, a 12oz Americano Misto, and a piece of espresso cheese cake to share. My wife had the Breakfast Waffle Platter and a double espresso.

The coffee was made by the owner, Michael, and is truly a work of art. My Americano was so good I didn’t need to put sugar in it as I usually do and my wifes espresso was amazing. Our food arrived very quickly, my waffle platter complete with Banana slices drizzled with chocolate, strawberry sauce, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The Breakfast waffle platter had scrambled eggs with cubes of ham, cheddar cheese and a fruit bowl. Everything was great, the waffles made with imported Belgian powdered sugar, the espresso cheese cake was perfection and the eggs fresh and hot.

Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar is exactly what I set out to find when I started this Blog, a local, unique spot that Vancouver can be very proud to have. Everything is local and/or organic whenever possible, the owner is a hardworking guy dedicated to his vision of great coffee, great food at a good price. If you live downtown, get up and go there immediately, if you are going downtown soon you need to go there first. Make sure you go before the end of June for a $2 Tall (12oz) Latte.

I’m in love.


Bon’s off Broadway

Located at 2451 Nanaimo street in Vancouver is Bon’s, a run down old cafe/restaurant that is a local favorite for it’s all day breakfast. For $2.95 you get a real breakfast with 2 eggs any style, pan fries, toast and bacon or sausage. That beats a golden arches breakfast any day.

Judging from the graffiti on the walls it seems that this place would be best suited for people in need of nourishment after a hard night of partying. But there are some life lessons up there, such as “don’t ride yo couch without a alligator belt”. Need I say more?

I ordered the all day breakfast and a coffee. Eggs over easy, bacon and white toast. The egg yolks weren’t broken which was a good start and the bacon was nice and crispy. The pan fries were a little greasy but I suppose that the regulars here like it that way, grease does have some magical hangover limiting qualities.

The coffee was coffee, that’s it. Good, not great and perhaps a little stronger than I was looking for but for a dollar who cares!!! For five bucks you get coffee, breakfast, good reading on the walls and a full belly. If you go there do me a favor, leave a couple extra bucks for the wait staff, there’s usually only two of them and they keep the coffee coming and are quick to take your order always with a smile.

Trully the best breakfast deal in town.


Las Vegas Looms

I am a lucky man. Not only do I have a wonderful new baby girl, next week I am headed to Las Vegas for a bachelor party for my good friend Lee. I love Vegas, and usually spend at least one weekend a year there putting my liver through its paces. Where else on earth can you find 5 star restaurants, world class shopping, giant buffets and amazing hotel/ casinos.

As usual there is no planning involved, Vegas is a show up and see what happens kind of town. Nine times out of ten it works out and I come home with unspeakable memories and a sore head, but every now and then the trip is a little less than expected. I think you need to go with different people sometimes so as not to get stuck in a rut doing the same things time after time.

I can’t wait to see the new City Center development now that it is up and running, looks pretty impressive. Shame they tore down the Boardwalk to build it though, that place was the best scam in town. Throw down $20 on single deck blackjack and with very little skill you got free drinks for hours and then left with the $20 you started with.

Hopefully I will post from the road and it will make sense, we’ll have to wait and see. I’m really looking forward to eating some food at some celebrity chef’s restaurants and seeing if they’re good or if they coast off their name.


Office Life

How many of you have ever worked in an office? Now out of those people, how many have worked in a Head office of some sort? If you work for a large company there is probably some sort of cafeteria, and if the company is “employee centered” this cafeteria might even be half decent.

Take for example my former life as a Sales Manager for a very large electronics retailer. Their Canadian Corporate Headquarters (CHQ) is located here in Vancouver. Their cafeteria had everything from soup and sandwiches to a sushi bar, made to order pasta bar, Starbucks coffee, steak, chicken, salads. You name it, it was there. I looked forward to the days when we had meetings at CHQ, not so much for the meetings but for the food. Maybe that explains why I’m not there any more? It wasn’t the most amazing I’ve ever had but it was good and it was cheap, nothing over $10.

Every now and then in the current wrench turning portion of my life I get the opportunity to visit these giant ant farms and fix the things that people who work there take for granted, like not having to take the stairs to the eighteenth floor. This week is one of those times and the food at this particular building is better than most.

Do I miss the days of corporate life? The days of being in charge and having a great team of people to work with, being a role model and clawing my way to the top? Sometimes I do, but then I remember the hours I worked and my days off being spent glued to my Blackberry. Somehow it was enjoyable at the time, it must have been the people I worked with.

Being a very proud new dad has made me realize that life is too short to be consumed by your job. I already regret every second I am away from my daughter. Work is a means to an end, and that end is providing a life for my family where they want for nothing but still appreciate what it means to work for what you have.

So today when I head down to the giant corporate cafeteria for lunch I will enjoy the food and marvel at what some people think passes for business attire, the whole time knowing that I have it so much better than all of them. After all the reason companies pour so much money into their CHQ’s is to make the hours seem more bearable. They can’t fool me anymore, the real world is where I have found true happiness.