Booze Reviews, Jura Superstition Scotch Whisky

Jura Superstition is a blend, there I said it, I am drinking blended Scotch. Usually I am a huge snob when it comes to Scotch Whisky, single malt only and nothing less than 12 years old unless it’s Ardbeg or Strathisla. Jura Superstition is my one and only exception to my own rules. Jura is a Scottish island located to the north east of the more famous island know as Islay. Islay and Jura are roughly the same size but Jura’s population is a mere 200. The Isle of Jura Distillery is the only one on the island and produces its own unique single malt whisky line ranging from 10 to 40 years old. Superstition is a blend of both old and new single malts which gives it a unique marriage of peat, smoke, sweet and spice that is unlike anything else I’ve had.

On the nose the peat is quite mild joined by mild smoke and a hint of orange zest. In the mouth the peat and smoke continue their mild ways and are joined by citrus notes and a distinct tobacco flavor that is very similar to a good Cuban cigar. The finish is long with more tobacco and smoke flavors. This is the ultimate pairing with a good cigar. The color is a rich amber.

All told this is a great blend for anyone looking to step away from the mild highland whisky’s and move up to something more sophisticated. It’s not a huge leap like a Lagavulin or Ardbeg would be for the casual Scotch drinker. Jura Superstition will make a nice addition to your  collection.

Cheers!

Scott.

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Thank You.

This has been one crazy year, easily the most rewarding of my life. I learned a lot, met some great people and became a father. I have learned that Fish Sauce tastes awesome on everything, Bristol Palin lists one of her qualifications for paid public appearances as “unwed mother” and at the risk of upsetting most women and teenage girls I have discovered that the true message of the Twilight book series is that all men are monsters who crave young flesh. That last tidbit was revealed to me on a new TV show called Community staring a much older looking than anticipated Chevy Chase, and it’s really not that funny. Well done Stephanie Meyer, you have solved the mystery of men once and for all.

As the year approaches its end I feel like I have really found a rhythm in my life, one that has really never been there before. I have a great family, wonderful friends, a good job and the coolest dog ever who is soon to have a little sister, sorry Cooper but you knew it was coming. To top off all of that awesomeness I have THIS. This blog has given me a release for some creative energy that my day job can’t provide. I have met some cool people, found some great food treasures and figured out that I am a total social media junkie. I am hopelessly addicted to Twitter and I find myself scanning my Twitter feed looking for tweets from my favorites. They include @therealcabbie, @SandraOldfield, @jminter, @hummingbird604, to name a few. I also have some ACTUAL PEOPLE I KNOW who I follow on Twitter such as @HeatherVince, @eye_candy_photo and @dylan_redekop.

I love the local blogging scene and without my old pal Dylan I wouldn’t be doing this at all. His Blog, More Than A Feeling Music, was my inspiration and I still read every post he writes, really good stuff. My friend Erika was inspired somewhat similarly by me! Totally flattered and I think she is an amazing photographer. Her blog, Eye Candy Photoworks, has some great stuff, including some shots of yours truly and my little girl. There are some other local blogs that I read on a regular basis as well such as Miss 604 by Rebecca Bollwitt and Hummingbird 604 by Raul Pacheco-Vega. I have discovered that this city has infrastructure to support freelance writers and bloggers in the form of co-working spaces like The Network Hub.

This year has been full of great food discoveries like The Roaming Dragon, Argo Cafe, Nuba, Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar. I have received great feedback about my posts from all over the world and I am continually evolving my writing style and content to try to make it as appealing and user-friendly as possible. I have also launched a new company, Ninety3 Days Media, to oversee this blog and act as a promotional arm for a book I’m writing about my daughter Hayley.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading this blog or following me on Twitter or Facebook. It still amazes me that people take time out of their busy lives to read what I write. This will be my last post this year so that I can take it easy over Christmas so whatever and wherever you are celebrating this holiday season I hope it is fantastic and I look forward 2011 and everything it will bring.

Cheers,

Scott.

Movember, fighting prostate cancer with the power of a moustache.

This Movember, the month formerly known as November I’ve decided to donate my face to raising awareness about prostate cancer.  My donation and commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of Movember, which I know will generate conversation, controversy and laughter.

I’m doing this because 4,400 men die of prostate cancer in Canada each year and one in six men will be diagnosed during his lifetime. This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to Prostate Cancer Canada.

This year my cousin Kurt and I are stepping it up a notch by not shaving our heads, which have a cul-de-sac appearance, for the entire month leaving us with a sweet horseshoe up top and an even sweeter moustache warming our upper lip.

To help, you can either:

*  Click this link http://ca.movember.com/mospace/31977/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
* Write a cheque payable to Prostate Cancer Canada, referencing my name or Registration Number 31977 and mailing it to: Prostate Cancer Canada, Suite 306 145 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit: http://ca.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs.

Thank you in advance for helping me to support men’s health.

Scott. 

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts & Coffee

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, are they still around? The answer is yes, but it seems they’re only hanging on by a thread. Brought to the Canadian market riding on a publicity high in 2004 followed by a quick move into bankruptcy protection in 2005. Out of a planned 32 Canadian locations there are only 4 that are still operating in this country. The only BC location is in Delta at 7153 120th Street (Scott road) and is the only location west of Mississauga, Ontario.

So what went wrong? There are a few things that Krispy Kreme did wrong when entering the hotly contested Canadian coffee/doughnut market. Tim Horton’s and Starbucks control a staggering percentage of the coffee market sitting somewhere in the 70% range combined. When Krispy Kreme came to the party they thought selling doughnuts would be the marketing strategy that would bring Canadian success, this was most certainly not the case. Coffee sales drive both Tim Horton’s and rival Starbucks with any additional product being a spin-off of coffee sales. In Tim Horton’s case they have greatly expanded their product line in recent years but coffee remains the key metric in their business plan and without it they would sell very few doughnuts, or anything else for that matter.

Krispy Kreme sells coffee as well, but know one knows if it’s any good because that’s not what they’re there for. The doughnuts are as good as advertised though and are 50% of if you buy a dozen after 9pm. There is a red neon sign that gets lit up when there is a fresh batch of glazed original doughnuts fresh off the line but rumor has it that it doesn’t get turned on very often these days. The only thing that really sets Krispy Kreme apart from the competition is that they make their tasty treats on site, which Tim Horton’s stopped doing a few years ago, opting to truck in pre cooked frozen doughnuts and reheat them on site.

If you like sweet, airy doughnuts that are almost as addictive as crack (not scientifically relevant or proven) then head over the Alex Fraser bridge and have a doughnut, before it’s too late.

Scott.

Who likes beer?

OOOOhhhh a poll, fancy! Click your answer and read on, beer wants you to…

Beer, a beverage best enjoyed with friends. Dating back to 9000BC it is the one of the oldest prepared beverages in the world. What makes it so good? What gives it world-wide appeal? Simple, it’s readily available and relatively inexpensive. It also comes in handy single serve cans or bottles perfect for parties or tailgating but most of all it is the incredible variety of beer that is available. There are thousands of brands of beer all around the world, the actual number is impossible to determine, so finding the right beer is possible if you know where to look.

The picture above is my humble home PC where I write my blog, unless I’m on the road in which case my trusty Blackberry fills in. You will notice that to the left of my keyboard there is a frosty mug of Okanagan Spring Porter, a dark beer that has an alcohol content of 8.5%, a little stronger than the industry average of 5%. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea but that’s ok, there are so many choices out there and I would like to know what your favorites are?

Normally my drink of choice is Single Malt Scotch, an acquired taste to say the least. I’m not sure where I first tried it and I’m not sure why I enjoy it so much. I am very specific when it come to the types of Scotch I drink, usually Highland or Islay, not Lowland as I find it too earthy or too smoky. The problem with Scotch is that it is inconvenient. It comes in a large bottle, you drink it from a glass…no good for most “party” situations.

Beer for me is very similar. I have my favorites but the cool thing about beer is that even if it isn’t that good people tend to finish it. Take for example the Clover Ale at Big Ridge Brewing Company. I really wasn’t a fan of it during my last visit there. Kurt reminded me that it used to better and it made me wonder why they would change it? I finished it because that’s normal right? Sure it is, how else would the serving staff know you’re done and come to ask if you want another.

Some of my favorites are Sapporo, Sleeman Honey Brown, Guinness, Original Coors (?), OK Spring Porter, the list goes on longer than my emerging carpel tunnel syndrome wants to type. I guess what I’m getting at here is a question, what is your favorite beer, or beers? Why do they sit atop of your beer kingdom? Please feel free to answer these questions in the reply section at the bottom of this post, I would really like to here from you!

Scott.

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.

Scott.

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.

Scott.