La Casita

Mexican food!! I’ve said it before, I am not an expert when it comes authentic Mexican food having grown up in a culture that considers Taco Bell “Mexican” food. I hear there are a few places in Vancouver that offer up true Mexican food and one of those places is La Casita in Gastown.

Raul Pacheco, aka Hummingbird604 has said he likes La Casita and he’s from Mexico so that says a lot. My wife and daughter met me downtown recently and we ended up at La Casita mostly due to convenience. We grabbed a table by the window so Hayley could watch the world go by but we still ended up be the people in the restaurant with the randomly screaming baby…joy.

I ordered the Chorizo Chimichanga which may or may not be authentic Mexican but it was damn good. A deep fried tortilla filled with cheese, beans and chopped Chorizo sausage and covered with salsa and sour cream. The presentation was 100% better than any “Mexican” restaurant I’ve been to, it looked like someone cared how the plate looked instead of being a pile of rice, a similar pile of beans and a tortilla on a plate. The sausage was mild and tasty and cooked just right with a nice crunch from the tortilla. The beans were good, not great and the rice was the same, not outstanding but very good. The vegetables were really quite good though, usually an after thought in a dish like this they were fresh and seasoned with a savory salt and spice mix that took them above and beyond what you would expect from a side of veggies.

Unfortunately we forgot to unhook Hayley’s toys (rattle, ball, rings etc. ) from the highchair when we left. Oh well, I’m sure a less fortunate little one can benefit from them as they are easily replaceable for us.

Mexico, I like the way you cook.

Scott.

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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.

Scott.

Alta Bistro Tweetup for Andrew – May 3rd, Whistler

Event number one is booked! Alta Bistro in Whistler and I are having a Tweetup on Tuesday May the 3rd and 5% of sales are going towards getting Andrew his Liberation Treatment in Seattle. Please spread the word to anyone and everyone who can come out!!! Karma Tuesdays is something that Alta Bistro does regularly and I can’t thank them enough for their support!!

Please share this on Twitter and Facebook and whatever other way that you can!! Event number’s 2 and 3 will be announced shortly and promise to be AWESOME!!!

Scott

Helping a friend, Liberation Treatment fundraising

My friend Andrew Kristoff has Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew is 32 years old and has had MS for over 5 years. He is a great guy who, with his wife Theresa, has twin 1 year old boys. Andrew hasn’t been able to work for a few years now, he’s an electrician by trade but MS has made it very difficult for him to live a regular life and enjoy the little things like being able to chase his boys around or mountain bike which is a passion of his.

Liberation Treatment is a new and exciting development in the fight against MS and has shown amazing results in patients living with the disease. You can get the low down on the treatment here. It isn’t available in Canada but it is available in Seattle and I would like to help Andrew get the treatment so he can live the life he so badly wants and deserves to live.

It costs around $7000 and I want to use my social media connections to help him make this happen. I’m asking for your help in whatever way you can. We would love to hold a fundraising event, maybe get some local bands to perform and donate the proceeds from ticket sales, food and drink sales etc to Andrew. We would also need a venue and some auction items or whatever anyone wants to donate. I know everybody says this but Andrew really is one of the greatest guys in the world.

Please feel free to contact me with any ideas/suggestions you have, let’s make a difference for Andrew and his family.

778-808-4928

whatsforlunchbc@rocketmail.com

Scott.

Take the stairs you lazy bastards

As some of you may or may not know when I’m not out on the town eating, drinking and taking pictures I fix elevators for a living. I am also a dad to a super awesome 1 year old girl named Hayley and since she’s in a stroller I find that I am taking elevators a lot more then ever. I didn’t really use elevators much before Hayley unless I was in a high rise or the stairs weren’t accessible but now it’s a necessity. I have noticed that a lot of perfectly healthy able bodied people take elevators up or down 1 or 2 stories and it has really started to bother me. Elevators are for people who can’t take the stairs, parents with small children, the elderly, people with physical disabilities etc. not for lazy assholes.

The part of my job that makes it all worth while is making buildings accessible to everyone but somewhere along the way people have decided that taking the stairs is far too much work. Escalators are often within sight of mall elevators but there is almost never enough room for my daughters stroller in the elevator let alone a wheelchair. Minus 10 points for modern convenience.

Thanks for reading my little rant, now back to regularly scheduled programing.

Scott.

Vancouver food bloggers, throwing stones and naming names.

Oh my goodness what a childish mess. For those of you who don’t already know there was recently a very “aggressive” post on a local food blog calling out all of the big players in the Vancouver food blogging community. It’s a long winded post but read the whole thing, it’s shockingly detailed with the writers opinions of other peoples blogs, their motives etc. Thankfully I was not a part of it seeing as I don’t blog for Urbanspoon and I really don’t give a rats ass how many people read my blog. That’s the real issue here, blogs as a business.

I write because I want people to have a laugh and find some good places to eat, not because I get free food (which does happen from time to time) or because I make money from my blog. I could put ads on my blog and to be honest I might at some point in the future but my main reasons for blogging have stayed the same since day one, I like to eat good food and want to share it with others. To name each and every person who you don’t think is “qualified” to write about food is very immature. The fact is that every single person on this planet likes to eat different things and to say someone shouldn’t be writing about food because they don’t like something is ridiculous.

As far as Urbanspoon goes I’m not interested in my ranking, it seems like a popularity contest, so I have decided that Urbanspoon isn’t for me. It works for some and that’s great but don’t criticize others because you don’t think they should be ranked higher than you. People read blogs because they are interested in their content and if they enjoy the content they will keep coming back for more. A blogs popularity means that people like it and to tell the readers that they’re wrong and shouldn’t like it because you say so is offensive. Free speech is a basic human right and I applaud Kim for having the courage to say what he was feeling but at the end of the day he looks like a spoiled little baby who can’t handle someone getting more attention then him.

I am a huge fan of EVERY Vancouver food blog and as a blogging community we offer the people of this city something truly special and I can’t wait to see future posts about great restaurants from great people. So to Richard, Raul, Melody, Sherman, Mijune, Erin, Diana, Mary, Ben, Suanne, and everyone else who writes about food in Vancouver, whether it’s for a blog, a website, a magazine or a news paper keep up the good work, haters are going to hate but the world keeps on eating.

Scott.

Mi Mexico in Bellingham

Ah Mexican food, for most people it consists of burritos and tacos stuffed with ground beef and dripping with cheese “sauce”. I admit that I am no expert on central american cuisine but I know that what passes for Mexican food in Canada is actually Americanized dishes not typically found in Mexico. Mexican food actually rarely contains beef, instead focusing on pork, chicken and in coastal areas, seafood. Mi Mexico, located at 241 Telegraph Road in Bellingham, Washington right across from Bellis Fair mall, offers a lot of traditional and “Americanized” Mexican dishes for very reasonable prices.

The decor in Mi Mexico is eclectic and very colorful to say the least which was a welcome sight after a long afternoon of outlet mall shopping. The staff are all fantastic, everyone called me amigo and they all smiled or tried to make my 1 year old laugh every time they walked passed, always stopping to see if we needed more chips and salsa or water. The chips and salsa were average, nothing that most Mexican restaurants don’t have, warmed chips and fresh salsa, with a choice between thin or chunky salsa.

For my main I ordered Tacos Al Pastor, Marinated pork loin flame broiled and sliced with onions and cilantro on warm corn tortillas. The pork was very juicy and tasted fresh with a little heat but not as much as I had hoped for. Over all though they were really good and it’s nice to have a GOOD corn tortilla unlike the ones I’ve had in Canada. The sides were rice, beans and coleslaw. The Rice was quite fresh but I’ve heard from others that this varies by what time of day you eat here…The beans were a little runny but tasted good and the coleslaw was crisp and fresh and very mild. The cheese on the beans seemed a little pointless as it didn’t have any taste, the real star was the tacos.

My shopping companion had the Chipotle Chicken Fajitas, it came with the same sides but she chose flour tortillas over corn. These are “build it yourself” fajitas and came on a huge platter, half of which was chicken and mushrooms in chipotle sauce. The sauce was nothing like chipotle I’ve had before, it actually tasted like smoked jalapenos, which is what chipotle peppers are. If that’s what real chipotle tastes like then I will never eat the stuff we have here again, this sauce was so smoky and savory with a nice amount of spice, amazing. She couldn’t finish it so I had the leftovers when we got home.

The Canadian dollar is high, take advantage of it with cheap gas, outlet malls and Mexican food, you know you want to.

Scott.

Iron Grill in Surrey – AYCE Sushi disaster

Sushi in Surrey is always going to be a gamble, but for $12.99 All You Can Eat how could I say no? Iron Grill is a 5 minute walk from my house and I had been wanting to try it since it opened about a year ago. I rounded up some good friends and we all met there at 6:30. We were greeted somewhat promptly and were told a table near the door was leaving in 5 minutes and that we could have a seat and wait. We were a party of 6 and over the next 35 minutes 3 other groups of 4 came in and were seated right away. For the whole 35 minutes that we waited no one spoke to us again and I was left holding my one year old daughter without being offered a highchair. Needless to say we left and will never go back.

We ended up a few blocks away at Il Uk Jo, a sushi and Korean BBQ place that has been around for a long time but I had never been to. The sushi was ok, nothing spectacular although they do offer a few special rolls on the AYCE menu which is rare. The non sushi dishes were also just ok with the highlight being the BBQ beef done at the table by the diners on a grill with broth in its outer edge. I’ve eaten similar Korean BBQ before but the grill was different, more like an actual BBQ. The broth added a little flavor and prevented the charing/burning that usually comes from regular grilling. The prices at Il Uk Jo are also a little high, $19.99 for AYCE but the service was great. We didn’t wait long for our food and just as we thought they had forgotten an item it showed up at our table followed by a smiling man making funny faces at my daughter.

I will probably go back to Il Uk Jo, I will not go back to Iron Grill, especially with my daughter as they don’t seem to care about families or groups of more than 4.

2011 Variety Show of Hearts

Wow, what an amazing day. We woke up, got Hayley ready for the day and headed for the Red Robinson Show Theater to meet with Chris Graham, Special Events Manager for Variety BC. Lyndsey had met Chris through emails exchanged in preparation for Hayley’s birthday party and our fundraiser. When we arrived we were taken to the upper lobby where Chris was waiting and were introduced to a few people including Lexa and our tour guide Paul.

We gave our pile of cash to the appropriate people and headed off on our guided tour of the inner workings of the Show of Hearts Telethon, getting to see where the money is counted, where the phones are answered and where the cheque presenters are readied for their time on stage. It was there that we found fellow Tweeter Jen (@jenthebakedlife) who got to meet Hayley and Lyndsey, it’s always great to meet my social media friends and it was really great to meet another person involved with this great cause.

We then watched an on air cheque presentation from the side of the stage and I turned to Paul and asked who the person was who was hosting that segment. “Oh that’s Tammy, she’s been with us for over 30 years, she was a Variety kid when she was younger”. Funny thing is I know Tammy, I went to school with Tammy and I had no idea that she would be there let alone be such a big part of the show! We talked to her after she was off air and she took us in to the area off set where the host relax and get ready for the show and we were introduced to numerous Global BC TV personalities including Lynn Collier, Randene Niell, Robin Stickley and Steve Darling. We told them all about Hayley and her journey and they all wanted to steal Hayley because of her absurd cuteness (just kidding). Steve Darling also has a daughter whose name is Hayley who was also born premature at Royal Columbian Hospital, crazy right? We talked to him and his wife and daughter before he had to go on stage, it was great to meet you “Mound of Sound”. I’ll never tell anyone how I know that…It was great catching up with Tammy and her family and I’m sure we will see them there in future years and other Variety events.

Thanks again to The Roaming Dragon, Tinhorn Creek Winery, Paul Stirfry and The Loden Hotel for helping us reach and exceed our fundraising goal, we couldn’t have done it without your help.

Next year we will be on the air doing a cheque presentation, and we will raise more than the $4200 we raised this year. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring. Over the past few months our daughter has shown us that although she started out life causing us heartache and pain she will spend the rest of her life inspiring us to be better and to do more. She is my hero and I love her more than she will ever know.

Scott.

Questions about the future

Hello faithful readers, I hope all is well in your world on this somewhat chilly evening. I am writing this post because I need your help/guidance/honesty about a conversation that Lyndsey and I had today. While enjoying our favorite guilty pleasure, Jersey Shore, we started talking about our daughter Hayley’s first birthday and the fundraiser we had for Variety the Children’s Charity and how much fun we had doing such a great thing for kids and families that need help and support.

The truth is we want to start our own charitable/non profit foundation and raise money and awareness for charities like Variety. We were able to raise a pretty large chunk of change with our fundraiser and I think that we could do so much more with our own foundation.

I would like to ask anyone and everyone who reads this what they think about this idea, are we crazy, does it make sense, does anyone have any advise for us or some expertise they could share? Hayley’s party was a great day for us and I think both of us realized that this may be what we were meant to do, and we also realized that this was the reason Hayley came into our lives. She has shown us what is really important and what true love means. We want to spend the rest of our lives making sure that other kids have the same opportunities that Hayley had and that other families know that there is hope.

Please give me your feedback, don’t be shy, good or bad I want to hear it.

Scott