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Everything posted by merlin

  1. The "love/hate" relationship with the BC LDB is of course not something that we here in Alberta have to contend with anymore with the demise of the ALCB. No question we have significantly more stores open for extended hours so from a convenience perspective matters have improved. No more long line-ups extending out into the parking lots like the "bad old days" of Christmas' past. Selection has improved although a lot of the "ma & pa" stores essentially carry the same products that will "move". Service and expertise at some stores is outstanding. Mind you, if you lived in Edmonton and could get to the "flagship" ALCB outlet on 106th Street service, expertise [William Bincoletto, Ed Fong to name two] was top notch and was the inventory. However privatization has not necessarily meant lower prices. Perhaps an abberation but increasingly I have seen big price differences between Ontario and Alberta. Sometimes I see this from comparisons in publications like Wine Access othertimes personal experience. One example of this came to me this week-end. I had had the d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz/Viognier recommended to me. It was about $41 to $46 at various stores [you do have to "shop around" in this city] and I picked one up. Then Saturday as I was reading through the Style Section of The Globe & Mail I noticed Beppi Crosariol's wine column. One of his "picks" for Aussie wines was the same one I had picked up. However, its price in Ontario was a "jaw dropping" $25.95. Even when taking into consideration some post-purchase adjustment upwards for GST/PST and recognizing the institutional buying power of the ON Liquor Board this seemed to me to be an extraordinary price differential. I noted the same thing a few years back when the Petit Verdot from Pirramimma was first released. It was $30 + [has dropped to about $26] but when I saw it in an Oakville shopping centre outlet, the ON Liqour Board had it prices at $18. I checked with the owner of the wine shop I usually go to and he confirmed that his wholesale price from the agent he had to buy from would no way permit that type of pricing. Same thing with the d'Arenberg which I was told had an agent price in the $30 + range. So privatization is not necesarily a boon for the consumer.
  2. Vancouver Lee wrote in part: I did have one very memorable meal in Regina several years ago, but I can't remember the name of the restaurant. It's on Victoria, I think, just down the street from the SaskPower building and the Hotel Regina. Right next door to Golf's, I think. Had a fantastic Kenwood Zin and a tremendous sea bass. mmmmmmmm - maybe I'll have to spent 2 nights in Regina on my next trip there... You may be thinking of Danbry's. Former "gentleman's club", now a restaurant. I certainly think the Creek would fit the bill. Much more electic menu than most spots in Regina with a limited but pretty well chosen wine list. Funny you should mention Golf's. I arrived in Regina on a Sunday and after walking all about ened up there as the Creek [which at that point I had not been to] was closed. Ordinarily an old style steakhouse is just about the last place I would eat but out of the process of elimination and some desperation I ate there. Turned out to be good quality and very good service.
  3. Vancouver Lee: I think you mentioned in an earlier post that your work takes you to a number of spots in western Canada. Have you tried The Creek in Cathedral Bistro in Regina? It was my favourite of the Regina spots I tried during a convention there.
  4. ...Coop...if Larionov was a "thief" I hate to think of how you would describe his linemate Krutov Mind you he did end up looking like quite the advertisement for dining out in Vancouver....of the three on the famed "KLM" line I thought Krutov would have fit in the easiest into the NHL style of play...shows what I know about hockey!
  5. Jamie: A few years ago a number of local restauranteurs were asked about this issue by one of the food writers for I think the Edmonton Journal. Peter Jackson who owns one of the better spots in town, Jack's Grill remarked that he was going to implement the credit card deposit system....it prompted quite the furor. I do not think he actually did go that route in the end.
  6. Looks like an intersting spot for a future visit. Interesting that they have gone the Riedel "O" glass route to serve their wines.
  7. The "electrician" [?] took the proverbial cake....I thought good trades were hard to come by on this side of the Rockies...was that guy getting paid in "B.C. bud"? Those bugged out eyes, goofy grin....cannot figure out what switch works what light...no dimmers to be found in Vancouver...then Kerri hands him the phone from the supplier and a goofy,"...that's a good one, getting him to give me a call directly"....yikes, hope their fire insurance is fully paid up....
  8. Ling: Certainly did. The show is terrific entertainment. I, like eatBC, have laughed hard throughout the two shows that I have seen thus far. I though Ramsey was uncharacteristically restrained when served that pomegranite risotto. Chuckled at the director's good way of ending the show with the chef walking away muttering about the risotto. I certainly hope FNC does not edit or horrors, stop showing all of the remaining episodes. This show, Into The Fire and Opening Soon are about the only shows I now watch on the channel
  9. It was Jamie Maw's post here that alerted me to the prospect of two more Fuller Family et. al. concepts opening up in Edmonton. We tried Publik several months ago and got to OPM last week after returning to Edmonton from B.C.. I submitted this to another site: ...................................................................................................................... Yesterday, my wife and I ventured to that chaotic hodge podge of box stores and fast food restaurants with possibly the worst traffic intersection in the city, South Common. We went because I had heard that the folks who have brought us Earl's, Joey's, Cactus Club and the like had finally opened OPM. I had read a column by west coast food writer Jamie Maw in the Spring that the Fuller Family intended to try out Publik Taphouse and OPM in Edmonton with the intention of building others in Calgary and the lower mainland. Publik opened earlier in the year and I am not sure if its concept will work. I did not mind it. My wife on the other hand was less than impressed. Not many patrons the last time I was in but the "lights were still on" when I passed it yesterday. OPM is an asian influenced effort. I have never been to the American chain P.F. Chang's but I understand that this is the concept that OPM is at least roughly based on. It sits adjacent to a Joey's World Cuisine outlet much like Publik which is close to an Earl's at the Whitemud Crossing location. Open kitchen with a line of woks and water, waterfall-like, streaming down the stainless steel. Airy, bright lounge and comfortable dining room. The "look" is more Japanese and the food predominantly Chinese with some Thai and Indonesian thrown in. The menu is divided into categories of : -"Dim Sum & Then Sum" [appetizers that you will largely recognize if you have frequented Earl's, i.e. Cantonese lettuce chicken wraps {$9.50}, chicken gyoza {$7.50}, Indonesian chicken satay {$7.50}, general tsao's chicken wings {$8.50} and various other rolls, wraps, won tons and the like] -"From The Fields" [salads including a green papaya and prawn one {$11.25} that I will order the next time I am there], -"Curry, Noodles & Rice [sort of self-explanatory, singapore noodles, curried chicken and prawns, pad thai, chow mein ranging from $10.50 to $14.00], -"Hawker Woks" [purporting to mirror the food vendors of southeast asia - beef, chicken, seafood and pork dishes that will be familiar to anyone who has eaten in a Cdn. Chinese restaurant - kung pao chicken, orange ginger beef, cantonese prawns, sweet and sour pork for $10.50 to $14.00], and -"From The Sides" [garlic snap peas {$5}, Hong Kong Style eggplant {$6.50}, etc.]. The drinks list has a varied number of "exotic" cocktails, the usual "suspects", beers and a pretty decent, varied wine list. They offer two "house beers", a wheat beer which they call [i kid you not] The Big Wang a "hefty-weisse" and a darker variation, China Black. I asked for and tried tasters of each. Not too impressed. The former might be ok in the summer but I would prefer even Big Rock's Grasshopper wheat ale or better still, Unibrue's Blanche de Chambly. Our server explained that their concept was to share plates and that is what we were interested in. I was going to order the wok-fired squid {$8.50} which was supposed to be flavoured with ginger, garlic, red chilies and lime. However, remembering a dish I had had at Publik and again at the Beach House at Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver I inquired if the squid was battered. When told that it was, I decided against it. I do not "get" the idea of battered squid, no matter how crispy sitting in a puddle of sauce. We decided on the szechuan charred spare ribs, braised pork ribs wok-tossed in a sweet and spicy szechuan glaze {$8.00}, the kung pao chicken, spicy szechuan chicken wok-fired with red chilies, scallions and roast peanuts in a black vinegar soy sauce {$12.25} and the asian grilled beef salad, sweet chili dijon glazed to filet served on a bed of asian greens with marinated vegetables and a citrus soy vinaigrette {$11.75}. The spare rib appetizer came first attractively stacked and plated. They were delicious finger food. Meat was tender and fell easily off the bone and the glaze had just the right amount of "fire" without being too hot. The kung pao chicken [my wife's choice] was better than I had expected. A sort of "back handed complement" I know but I had initially resisted the suggestion as this a "staple" on so many local restaurant menus. Again the sauce had more spice than I expected and was thinner, less corn starch, than most I have had in the past. Both good things in my estimation. It was accompanied by a bowl of steamed rice. The beef salad was good as well. The beef, thinly sliced and barely cooked was delicious. The glaze worked with the flavour from the grill. The "asian greens" somewhat disappointing. More chopped lettuce than anything else with a few of the offerings from the "From The Sides" section added. We intially wanted to try a bottle of Evolution from the Sokol Blosser Winery in Dundee, Oregon. We had not had it before so I went to the lounge where the bartender was more than pleased to pull a bottle from the fridge so that I could check out the label. It indicated that it was a blend of nine unspecified varietals but we ordered it in any event. Unfortunately it was badly corked and we sent it back and decided to go the "tried and true route" with an Alsatian pinot blanc, Pierre Sparr I think, that was delicious with the somewhat spicy food we had ordered. Service was "young" but very friendly. Server, bartender and manager handled the return of the wine very professionally. One thing which I did find curious was that when we chatted with our server he volunteered that during his training he had not tried the ribs and other dishes on the menu. That surprised me as usually the Fuller family is pretty good at insuring that their servers try the menu items and even the wines so that they can make recommendations to the patrons. My wife who has become "addicted" to the edaname beans at Earl's would certainly get a side of the garlic snap peas on a return visit. I spied a neighboring table having the vanilla prawns, battered prawns infused with madagasgar vanilla beans and topped with sweet pineapple {$12.75} that looked and smelled inviting. Overall assessment. Pretty good. More likely to go back if it was not in that "gulag" of South Common. Like Publik would be better to go with a group and be able to order a lot of dishes to share. At least I know that there is a lounge where I can eat some ribs and have a drink when my better half just has to shop at IKEA or the like
  10. Sara, first of all congrats. Sorry to go "off topic" a tad but had to comment concerning Chefrodrigo's anecdote. Oysters all taste the same? What a strange thing for a server to say especially at a spot known for its oysters. I cannot think of a much more memorable spot to Honeymoon than Vancouver Island. Mind you I am hopelessly and admittedly biased as we head to Tofino annually. In fact, during the time we used to stay at the Wickaninnish Inn we met two couples from the States who were honeymooning, at least in part, there who first got the idea from reading my raves on other lists or newsgroups...never did a "cut" from Charles McDiarmid Yes as chefodrigo mentioned it can be expensive but if you are not intending to be there for an extended period of time several days would be great to be astonished by the sheer beauty and pampered by the Wick's staff. I'll leave the Vancouver recommendations to others but agree with Daddy-A's advice with regard to Victoria dining. Affordable and delicious with an emphasis on local products.
  11. Thanks for the reminder Laughed through it and also enjoyed the Opening Soon episode and Into The Fire to boot. Ramsey reminded me of one of my old soccer coaches, F#$%^en Hell this and F#$%^en Sh*te that....... How the heck did that unfortunate soul get the head chef [?] position in the first place? Burning the croutons in Mom and Dad's place.....
  12. Have to chuckle as this topic always generates discussion. Just head over to the Montreal list and scroll back to when last year's announcement was made. The indignation and sputtering that some "canteen" i.e Lisa Ahier's SOBO in Tofino, had been listed as one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada by Amy Rosen was something to behold [smile]. Looks like the Montrealers got their share, fair or otherwise, of the selections this year. Agree with Coop with his congrats to Cru...nice spot. However, please, please do not mention Celine Dion here...it will ruin my appetite. I have enough trouble with those nauseous Air Canada ads...mind you at least with domestic flights it is probably better to avoid AC's food. Just back from a couple of weeks on Vancouver Island. Did not get to the Arbutus Grille and Wine Bar but from what I had heard, Shelora has not exaggerated. Did however enjoy Glow World Cuisine in Nanaimo, the Wick and Shelter in Tofino and old time favourites and still darn good spots, Brasserie L'Ecole, Cafe Brio and Zambri's in Victoria. Only 11 more months to our next trip back out to "paradise" to use Tofino's term.
  13. merlin


    Hey there Tofino...just stepped out of the "monsoon" and into the internet cafe across from Beaches. Stopped by the Wick Sunday afternoon and yesterday. Missed you yesterday...imagine, a day off in Tofino? [smile] Renewed acquaintances with Ike and Ali on Sunday and enjoyed a bottle of Black Hills Alibi on Corey's [?] recommendation with a pizza snack in the lounge awaiting a chance to get into the home on Chesterman. Yesterday, we wandered up the beach and after asking after you enjoyed a nice lunch and the stunning views in the restaurant. Nice to see another friendly familiar face in Rose. Nice gal. Good lunch washed down with some more Alibi and tried that port-like wine from Alderlea, "Hearty Hearth" or something to that effect...like that "big time". Will try to get in touch later in the week. Don't expect to try Shelter until the week-end or next week...supposed to be saving money by cooking myself...yeah, yeah right...been here two days and have to the Wick each day. [grin]
  14. merlin


    Sorry to hear that Paul. Oh well, another visit perhaps. Looking forward to getting to the coast regardless. cheers
  15. merlin


    I think I have successfully "put to bed" the last business file I have to attend to before holidays. Now looking forward to putting the kennels into the van, loading up "da boyz" [my golden retrievers] and heading off to our annual relax,refresh and revitalize holiday in Tofino. Chris aka Tofino are you going to be around this visit? We'll be staying about 1/2 way down Chesterman from the Wick. Missed you last year. We will arrive Sunday afternoon and stay until the 27th. Do not think we'll come up the beach for dinner but certainly am looking forward to a nice lunch or two complemented by the wine list at the Wick. Paul, if you are still out there will phone to see if you are still doing lunches and dinners. Hopefully the weather co-operates. Mind you, rain or no rain, if you are out in "paradise" enjoying life who gives a @#$%.
  16. I "resemble" that remark Before Daddy-A's explanation I too was perplexed. Had to chuckle since two of those posts Steve/Stovetop linked were/are mine. With that mea culpa...can I still "play" here?
  17. Shelley G: Anything new in the Hlfx area? Someone at another web-site mentioned Seven. Have you tried it? I had hoped to get back to the Maritimes this summer but that did not work out but next year is a definite possibility.
  18. 1. Koutouki Ouzeria Taverna style lamb. Slow roasted typical "melt in ones mouth"lamb served with lemon potatoes. Greek salad. Great Greek red wine and a side order for me of their grilled octopus. 2. Four Rooms Bulgogi with good rice and a liberal serving of kim chee. More fusion than typically Korean in style but very good. Tender beef, good rice, excellent kim chee. 3. Wild Tangerine Started with their "killer" popsicle shrimps with wasabi mayonaise and then the grilled octopus salad....outstanding! Edmonton not Van
  19. Daddy-A: Thanks for the post...I was laughing so hard my wife called out from another room inquiring what was going on. As soon as you mentioned "Mr. Entertainment" I thought, "oh, oh one of THOSE evenings"...glad it worked out fine as I had a sense of foreboding [smile] when you mentioned those "Italian standards"....did he get in George McCrae's Napoli classic "Rock me baby"? With that atmosphere, the menu and the clientele probably should have been a video.
  20. After having read MrGourmet's review I am decidedly more envious of you Vancouver "eGulleteers". Chambar sounds superb and well worth the wait. Nice room, good interesting food and nice people according to Jamie...quite the combo.
  21. Jamie: Cannot let this one go by. While I would argue that the Charlevoix and Malbaie areas have a more distinct regional cuisine than Quebec City per se I can see why you might mention it in this context. However, your selection of Charlottetown perplexes me. We were in the area for two weeks a few summers ago. Terrific food at the Inn at Bay Fortune near Souris, good mussels at the Inn at St. Peters, nice salmon at Dalvray By The Sea but Charlottetown was pretty "grim". Apart from traditional lobster dinners which were usually outside of Charlottetown what was the regional or distinctive cuisine you found in Charlottetown? Not many of the restaurants even had malpeques or other oysters from the waters of the island. Do not get me wrong. We did have some good meals but they did not differ much from what I would see in any other city. We tried the Merchantman Pub, Kim's Bistro, Sirenella, The Gahan House Pub, Off or On Broadway amongst others. Did miss unfortunately the Water Prince Store and the Pilot House had not yet opened. Unfortunately we found that "island cuisine" was heavily dominated by deep fried this and that washed down with Jackson-Triggs white label Chardonnay.
  22. Thanks for the review Hal. Too bad PM disappointed...sounded like a fairly dreary meal all in all. I know where I am going for a good espresso...thanks for reinforcing what other EGulleteers have already said. Our last visit to Vancouver it was a "coin flip" between Cru and Parkside. We had a terrific evening at Cru but it sounds like Parkside should be on the bill for our next trip to the coast.
  23. merlin

    Sparkling Shiraz

    Carswell et al: Have enjoyed this thread and am heartened that so many North Americans do not like sparkling shiraz....leaves more for me! I enjoy it very much. I see Wattacetti is from Calgary. Years ago I was down in Calgary and wanted a bottle of sparkling wine rather than champagne to celebrate an event. Dave Osbaldiston at the Richmond Hills store [he was formerly with Bests Winery in Oz and the shop had and perhaps has, as I have not been to the SW corner of C-town for some time, the best variety of Australian wines likely in the country] recommended a bottle which he commented was, "a sparkling wine to be consumed with a steak". It was a bottle of 1991 E. & E. Black Pepper Shiraz. Made from the same grapes as the still bottle of the same name. I poured it and it came out all frothy and mauve. I thought, "Baby Duck?" and then sipped and tasted chocolate, leather, tannins...it was a "heavyweight" with bubbles. It has aged gracefully like the still wines. I have a couple of bottles left but opened one about a year ago and it was delicious. I love to serve it with barbequed ribs with a smokey maple glaze. The wine goes great with the smoke and sweetness of the sauce. It is worth the "price of admission" just to see the perplexed looks on folks' faces when they get the glass and no doubt expect, as I did it, sweet and simple and get big and complex. More recently I have tried the Knappstein "Chainsaw" Sparkling Shiraz. It comes from the Clare Valley of Oz and is apparently so named because back in the '80's they "chainsawed" a vineyard of old shiraz rootstock and grafted chardonnay which they in turn "chainsawed" again in '96 re-grafting shiraz to the its original knarly roots. It is less "big" than the E. & E. but more affordable. I think if you really want to try sparkling shiraz you have to go up the scale a couple of knotches like Wattacetti has done to get the real taste. Mind you, of course at that price point I can understand why someone might prefer the still wine to what others might consider the "novelty" of the sparkling. If you do not like shiraz in the first place, I would not expect you would like the sparkling especially at the lower price levels. The latter I think are great antipasti, barbequed chicken, cold cuts and picnic wines when you want something simple and refreshing but not cloying like the dreaded "white zinfandel". I use them where I might otherwise a chilled dry rose or off-dry fruity red like rotberger from Gray Monk in British Columbia. As the Knappstein web-site says in part, a wine "to be quaffed enthusiastically, chilled, at all times of the year" Cheers
  24. James...you really know how to hurt a guy! That sounds like my customary regime when staying on Chesterman...sounds grand indeed...in fact I think I have seen a few sun rises with a glass of Blue Mountain Brut too Enjoy yourself, I am envious "big time".
  25. jhiroshi: If you are heading to the Tofino area you definitely do owe it to yourself to stop into the Wick even if it is merely to have a drink rather than dine. The views of Chesterman Beach are awe inspiring especially if the winds are up and the surf is churning. This time of the year will be busy so your dinner options may be limited but I have found that lunch is a better value in any event. Their prices are high [resort standards] but with a nice bottle of wine from their extensive selection I can think of few other places where I would prefer to while away some time in a so totally relaxing environment. As other posters including Tofino [Chris, you are such a diplomat ] have pointed out the other thread covers most of the emerging and developing dining scene in the area. We will try Shelter this year and look forward to lunch at the Wick and perhaps getting together with Paul for a sail up to Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge. 2 more months to go. Please post your observations if you do go
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