Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Be funny and get to the point... Don't point, it's rude...

Good morning early readers, I have no idea why I'm not hung over right now; sure it's a Wednesday and you probably shouldn't be hung over on a Wednesday but sometimes life creeps up on you and says "hey, time to have some fun on a weekday!"

Anyway, I wanted to get these thoughts on paper... screen... before they float away on the torrid sea of my mind.

We had a get together, four people, drinks laughs and a plan to head out to one of Waterloo's finest places to eat Bhimas Warung. A real hole in the wall but world class quality, they have amazing everything and although pricey it's well worth a visit. Anyway, they were closed when we finally arrived so we had to make the game time decision. Bauer Kitchen or Rude Native, we knew the Bauer was going to be dead, so Native it was. The place had live music and the band was drawing people in, so it didn't seem bad. How wrong we were, the staff was busy serving drinks and drinkers and it was about 10:30 at this time so we're much more hungry than thirsty. Our first waiter had no time for us and the second waitress had many more tables than ours to worry about. In English, service was slow... Hard to blame them but really that's poor planning on management's part and a simple acknowledgement from the waitress that our service was sucking would have been nice... Didn't get it... Just sass... More on that later.
The appetizer menu is the only menu at night like many restaurants, every app has a deliciously alluring description and they're all $11. We order 5 things and assume they'll be plenty for four people to eat.
Problem 1) the food takes forever to show up, we were starving when we arrived so by the time the food came we're nearly eating the table dressing.
Problem 2) We get 4 of things we wanted and samosas, we didn't order samosas we ordered steamed clams, I can understand the mix up they may sound the same in a loud environment.
Problem 3) the overworked waitress is sassy and sass is a pain in the ass when I'm the one tipping you not the other way around. "We didn't order samosas" "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm sure, we ordered steamed clams" "Well it's for your table" "Understandable but we didn't order them"... Let's pause here, people in the service industry ATTENTION PLEASE, if you fuck up an order the best way to impress the customer into granting  you a good tip is to give them more than they wanted. In other words, leave me the samosas and get the clams too and I'll tip you...
Problem 4) Instead of that, this happened, she grabs the samosas and says "we won't charge you for these" sweet, because I didn't order them and you're taking them away from us so if I were a mathematician, nothing plus nothing equals more frustration points for this service.
Problem 5) the portions are small, 6 apps wouldn't have even come close to filling us up and for $11 each that's a big deal.
Problem 6) the food sucks, as in we only finished the burnt breaded shrimp out of all of the items, I could go on about this point but I'd rather say I'm plainly disappointed. I've been to the Rude Native before for great meals but that was several years ago. Out of the 5 appetizers we had not one was up to the calibre of food I'd expect from an Applebee's let alone a restaurant with prime real estate in Uptown Waterloo masquerading as a fine dining establishment.
Problem 7) we ordered the bill as soon as the food arrived because we wanted the hell out pretty early on, the waitress chose the end of the meal to tell us that our crappy-apps were only $4 each, which makes me think, why are regularly $11 apps $4... Is this the food that's going bad or the C team in the kitchen? If the shoe fits...

Counting back from 10 I give this service a whopping 3 tin stars... Craptacular!

We left, hungry, went to McMullan's which always has great pizza and many great beers on tap, get a wheel and finish it off just in time to catch a cab back home to go to sleep because it's late and we're tired. Two great revelations at McMullan's... In the washroom, where I do a lot of thinking...

A) The urinal pads they use are shaped like the Cobra Insignia (that's right, the G.I.JOE Cobra insignia)

B) Some vandal scrawled "Relax... Just Pee..." on the wall in front of the Urinal. It worked and the light bulb in my head flickered to life. These in-your-face-while-you're-peeing advertising companies should capitalize on this concept. Blank white page, black text "Relax... Just Pee..." some sort of logo for the product that you're plugging in the bottom right. Ingenious, or so I'd like to think. Motivational Pee-vertizing! TM, MD, PHD ESQ


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Researching good blog title advice is frustrating...

From July 10, 2011

The mother behind me is telling her son off "Don't eat your snack yet, eat your dinner first. You finish your chicken nuggets before you eat your apples, you don't want to mess with your blood sugar buddy." I can tell I’m back in Chicago.
Well I'm on my way to Euphoric Eau Claire WI for a couple of day, just leaving O'hare right now. Other than super mom nothing has caught my attention on this trip yet. I had an AMAZING day yesterday; my wonderful girlfriend and I visited one of our favorite places to be, Niagara on the Lake to try out some new wineries and experience Hillebrand Jazz at the Winery. We had a quiet Friday night at the Falls and an early Saturday morning on our bikes (not motorcycles, the things with pedals, ding ding!) riding from winery to winery to buy some new wines to sample. We hadn’t really checked out a lot of the wineries on the west side of Niagara on the Lake so off we went. MAP


Sunnybrook Farm Estates: So freakin’ cool! They’re not a very large operation and their products seem to turn off most visitors as soon as they walk in and see no grape wines, but make no mistake they are great at what they do. Sunnybrook produces a cider which blows import ciders away; it’s not blindingly sweet which is a BIG plus. Their fruit wines are also unique, certainly not some sugar laden strawberry zinfandel swill, quality fruit wines! 3 thumbs up!

Konzelmann Winery: I’ve been here before and their wines are okay, I did buy 2 bottles this go round, but what I love most about this winery is how engaging their sommeliers are. Really passionate and knowledgeable people that like to talk wine, and not just their own. A consistent Gold Star performance!

Palatine Hills Estate Winery: Probably my favorite underdog; if your estate winery tasting pavilion in is a warehouse instead of some well groomed and magnificently manicured vineyard and wine castle then you’re the underdog losing the aesthetics battle. In any case, their reds are bold, bold, bold, and they have one great dry 2006 Cab that tantalizes my taste buds. Two more bottles…The glass isn’t half full here, it’s full to the brim with excellence!

Stone Church Vineyards: Passionate people and more great wines, what can I say, this winery is a must visit and I’m disappointed that I haven’t been there before. The sommelier that was working with us brought out the salami; no that's not a euphemism but it was a nice treat with the wines. Two more bottles… and 150 bonus points!

Pillitteri Estate Winery: A) it’s off the highway, which is pretty inconvenient B) two words, BUS TOUR, so we’re just another glass to fill, no fun C) We had little selection and the new kid pouring the wine, snore. In and Out, nothing nice to say about… them… sorry…Exceptionally flashy bottles and web site though.

The Jazz festival starts at three so we gotta go, lunch on the water… Oh yeah lunch.

Recipe time: Picnic Baskets…

Picnic baskets are outstanding, you can build up a simple collage of your favorite things and mix and match your flavours. I love cured meats, cheeses, olives, and crackers; try some of these next time your want something savory.

Raincoast Crisps – I haven’t found a flavour that I don’t like, they’re the best.
Almond, blue cheese, or jalapeno stuffed olives – all so good and a great way to accent a martini too!
Cured meats, salami, supressata, shinker mager, etc.
Applewood smoked cheddar – My favorite cheddar, I’m going to make some soon
La Sauvagine – eat your heart out brie cheese
Blue Haze – so blue so good
Fresh cherries – thanks fruitland!


…the Jazz Festival far exceeded my expectations and involved an act-of-too-nice-edness story. We were new, never been to one of these before but excited nonetheless. We got lawn seats, nobody told us that you would need to get there super early and sit inches from another listener sprawled out with lawn chairs and coolers of? So when we showed up late without chairs the abbreviated letters S.O.L. were the only thing that came to mind. I explained it as clearly as that to one person working there, then their boss, then her boss and then I was shown to my new seats, in the Trius Red lounge where we’d have our own chair, a waitress, and an umbrella, now we’re talkin’. They mentioned it would be on the house and I was touched. The jazz was amazing and wine complimented it well. FUN AND 1/2, highly recommended and I shall return!

Still waiting for some member of the flight crew to arrive so that we can fly to Minneapolis (ps. Travelling to Minneapolis really helped me type Minneapolis much more quickly, practice makes perfect.). Tangent over… time to fly!

Ever in Eau Claire??? Eat at the Green Mill, better yet stay at the Holiday Inn next door too because the food is soo good and soo cheap! Some of the better pizzas I’ve had.