A message from a true friend of Andrew

Hello faithful readers! I wanted to share a message I received from my friend Kelly who lives in Toronto. If she can see the big picture I hope all of you can as well. Kelly has never met Andrew but knows every ticket sold means Andrew is one step closer to his goal.

Hey Guys,

I think what you are doing for Andrew is wonderful. I know what it’s like to feel helpless health-wise. No one should have to go without something they need because they can’t afford it.

It is heartbreaking and I’m going through the same thing right now. I have to skip my next treatment because it won’t be covered under our new insurance yet and our credit is maxed out from all the other times this has happened. Skipping a treatment can cause a lot of problems for me but, unfortunately we have no other option. So, I completely understand how Andrew must feel and my heart goes out to him. I feel if everyone helped him out, even if they could only give a little, it would definitely add up! With that said.. We can’t afford a lot and I’ve been waiting until the next time my hubby gets paid but, we would like to buy at least one ticket.

Again, I think you guys are amazing for doing this!!! I wish your friend only the best and my only hope is that everyone will buy at least one ticket! I’m not sure everyone sees it that way but, I hope people realize that when you add that up over and over.. The total goal can be reached!

Love you guys! xo

If Kelly can spare $20 who can’t?



Why should you come to Andrew Palooza?

Most of you don’t know Andrew Kristoff (most of you don’t actually know me!) so I would like to tell you about him. Andrew is 32 years old and lives in Maillardville in Coquitlam with his wife Theresa and their twin boys, Alex and Aaron. Andrew went to BCIT and became an electrician but hasn’t been able to work for some time now, I first met Andrew in 2001 and we have been friends ever since even though for the longest time he called me Steve (haha sorry Andy!) As time passed Andrew began to notice that he wasn’t able to do things as well as he used to and was soon diagnosed with MS. The disease progressed fairly quickly and for the most part Andrew is now forced to use a wheelchair to get around. One of my fondest memories, not just of Andrew but but from my entire life, was on a cruise for a friends wedding in 2007. Andrew wanted to go down the water slide so a few friends and I carried him up the stairs and fired him down the slide, his smile was totally worth it.
Andrew and his dad pulled me aside at Alex and Aaron’s first birthday party and asked me if I could help them raise money for Andrew to get Liberation Treatment in Seattle. Having just raised over $4000 for Variety for Hayley’s first birthday I was honored that they would ask me to help. Recent studies have shown that MS in not a disease, it is a malformation of the veins that allow blood to drain away from the brain and back to the heart. The veins are too small so the blood doesn’t drain as quickly an the heart pumps it in and this causes iron deposits to form on the brain which turn into lesions which cause MS. Liberation treatment is a procedure which enlarges those veins allowing the blood to drain and lessening and in some cases reversing the effects of MS.
Andrew Palooza is what we’ve come up with to get him this treatment. Dale from Red Room Ultrabar, who knows Andrew and his family has been very generous by letting us have this event and keep all of the ticket proceeds. The Red Room holds 500 people at $20 a ticket that’s $10000 enough for the treatment plus a little extra to allow Theresa to take a couple weeks off to look after Andrew and the twins.
Behind Sapphire, Bodhi Jones, Nadia Von Hahn and Sweetheart are all playing this show for free, Carmen Cruz is emceeing for free and we have some talented comedians, Ruven, Ryan Mutama, Al Hassam, Goldie Hoffman and Chris Gaskin to lighten the mood a little. We have received awesome graphic design for our logo and show poster from Rohit Tandon and lots of social media love trying to spread the word.
So now the only thing left is to sell tickets. Please come and join us, meet Andrew in person and help change his life. Andrew can be a beacon for those suffering with MS that  a better life is just over the horizon. Let’s show the Canadian medical system that this is a better solution than pumping patients full of medication. If you’re on Twitter use the hashtag #DoItForAndy or #AndrewPalooza for all Andrew Palooza related tweets. You can follow the event @AndrewPalooza. Please buy a ticket, invite your friends to do the same and come have a great night with amazing local music and good people.

Arturo’s Mexico To Go

Sunny days, short shorts and street food, a good day in my opinion. The short shorts were on other people of course as elevator repairmen have to wear pants. A couple of days at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Place (250 Howe street) meant I was within smelling distance of Arturo’s Mexico To Go, another of Vancouver’s street food vendors. Taco trucks are a regular sight on the streets of LA and have a reputation for being very hit and miss. I had my fingers crossed that Arturo’s would be as good as the rest the street food I’ve had since I started writing this blog.

Arturo’s is run out of a trailer which is spacious compared to any other street food setup I’ve seen, wide and easy to get around. It makes me think that this trailer would be better suited for something more labor intensive and complicated than tacos and burrito’s. I had a Sirloin Beef Burrito ($7) and the Tacotino ($4). Being a sunny day the lineup was long but moved along quickly. I’m not one to normally carry cash so I appreciate street food vendors who offer debit/credit but it really slows down the payment process and I make a point of always paying in cash so I don’t hold up the line.

The food, the Tacotino, rotisserie pork with chipotle and lime sauce in a tortilla was not what I was expecting. The meat had a strange texture that was a mixture of crunchy/chewy/dry which was overpowered by onion and chipotle flavors. The taste stayed in my mouth for hours after lunch even after some water and a tictac. The Burrito was much better, the beef was tasty and the other fillings were nicely seasoned. I especially liked the use of corn which added a nice summery sweetness to the dish.

One winner, one loser. I’ve been told the Gringas are quite good, I’ll have to try them next time I’m in the neighborhood.


The Bright Side

Today started out with a bang, Lyndsey set off to work for the first time since our daughter Hayley was born and was promptly fired as soon as she walked in the door. I had planned to write a ranting diatribe about the mistreatment of women returning from maternity leave fueled with extra venom given our situation with Hayley being 3 and a half months premature and all of the emotional and financial hardships we have been through, but I have decided to remain positive. There’s way too much negativity in the world and I fear my words would be lost to those who didn’t want to hear more stories of downtrodden souls.

So positivity is the theme of this post, we will move onward and upward from this minor speed bump and and focus on what makes us happy. Item number one, Hayley crawled for the first time on Saturday! She’s now motoring around the house causing the dog to run for cover and making me put up baby gates and other baby related safety devices. This is a huge developmental step for her as her gross motor skills are delayed due to her prematurity. I cried some very happy tears when it happened. It’s also the first milestone that I’ve seen happen because they usually happen while I’m at work.

Item number 2 is Andrew Palooza!! Things have come together quite nicely for this event with Behind Sapphire and Bodhi Jones performing, Carmen Cruz emceeing and some great local comedians and another local band confirming their participation any minute. The event is at the Red Room on June 11th at 8pm and all ticket $’s go to Andrew and his Liberation Treatment in Seattle. I’m not making a penny from this event, same goes for the bands, comedians, emcee and the Red Room isn’t charging us because the owner knows Andrew and his family. It feels pretty good to be able to pull something like this together for a friend. Please come and have some fun for a great cause and a great man!!

Well that’s it for now, thanks to all of you for reading this blog, caring about what I have to say and for being awesome.


La Brasserie Street

Everyone knows how much I like street food and a sunny Friday means that eating some is an inevitability. La Brasserie has recently launched a mobile food trailer and has nabbed a prime spot at the corner of West Georgia and Granville near the City Centre Canada Line station. I’ve heard great things from my fellow blue collar workers who have tried the Brass Chicken Sandwich and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one!

Being the first sunny day in some time the wait was a little on the long side but that’s a good thing for street food vendors. La Brasserie Street’s Twitter account claimed 45 person line ups that day, awesome! I ordered my sandwich and payed my $7 and patiently waited as the smell of delicious chicken filled the streets. There’s an added bonus at this location, while you wait for your food you can watch a very spunky little 3 legged dog chase a small rock that his owner throws for him. Seems like a good scam as tons of people were giving him money… Anyways, back to the food. After receiving my sandwich I loaded it up with hot Dijon mustard and took a big bite. My face appeared from the sandwich looking like a tennis ball that had been left out in the rain, covered in gravy and mustard. I’m sure there were many hot ladies walking back to their offices who thought “who’s that hot bearded elevator guy with the messy face?” It’s ok to look ladies but I’m taken.

The sandwich was really good, beer braised rotisserie chicken, rich and well seasoned chicken gravy and crispy onions on a fresh buttermilk bun. Very simple food is amazing when done right. This ain’t no Sous Vide truffle infused gastro wonderchild, it’s a really good chicken sandwich at a good price. That’s what street food is all about and La Brasserie Street totally gets it.


What’s new?

Hey everyone!! I just wanted to let you know that the food reviews will be returning very soon to this blog. I’m currently working 2 jobs, one full time and 1 part time, and haven’t had much time for restaurant reviews. Also I’ve been approached with a number of fundraising requests and I have really taken a shine to raising money for great people and great causes. Once the post maternity bills are caught up I will be back to my old eating and drinking ways!!

Thanks for all the support flowing in for AndrewPalooza, it’s going to be awesome!!! Make sure you follow AndrewPalooza on twitter for all the latest news!


Shark Fin Soup

There are things that are acceptable in other parts of the world that horrify me and vice versa but Shark Finning has to be the most disturbing and useless act in the modern world. Catching sharks, cutting off their fins and throwing them back in the ocean to drown is barbaric. There are other unsustainable fisheries in the world but the big difference is the treatment and use of the fish.

Shark Truth (http://www.sharktruth.com/) is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver working to stop the consumption of shark fin soup in Canada within the next 5 to 10 years.  They work on community education and outreach, and they focus on supporting Asian wedding couples to help them choose not to serve shark fin soup at their wedding banquets.

Shark Truth is running the Happy Hearts Love Sharks Wedding Contest (http://happyheartslovesharks.org/) to raise awareness to stop the soup, and they’re looking for wedding couples to make the pledge to not serve shark fin soup.  Entering couples will have their picture posted on the Shark Truth Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/sharktruth) and couples will need to get as many Likes as possible to win.  The grand prize,  a trip for 2 to Hawaii, will go the couple with the most Facebook Likes.  A second prize for a camera will be drawn randomly.

Big thanks to Teresa Lee and Liv Hung for providing me with the info on Shark Truth and the Happy Hearts Love Sharks Wedding Contest!

Let’s save some sharks!!!


Correction and sincere apology

My previous post regarding Derek K Miller has been removed as I have learned from his wife Airdrie that he is still with us but is in the final stages. Sometimes things you take as fact from social media aren’t facts at all. My sincerest heartfelt apologies to Derek, Airdrie and anyone who read my previous post as fact.

The message remains the same however, I will be truly inspired by Derek and his family for the rest of my life. I will hold my daughter a little tighter when I see her tomorrow.