Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Tip Outrageous

On a not so pleasant summer evening, this July my wife and I and five of our closest friends were taking in a Theatre Under the Stars performance, an annual outing for us. To start the evening off we gathered at Stanley's Park and Grill restaurant located next to the theatre in Vancouver's famous Stanley Park.

Parking was pricey at $13.65 with a 5-minute walk that leads to the rear of the restaurant.  Following the signs we went up to the back entrance onto the patio, there was a reception desk but no one in attendance. We were forced to dodge waiters and make our way to the front of the building to the outside deck where we did find a hostess.

While the rest of the group were being seated I made use of the washroom facility, there was only one, which was surprising with the size of the restaurant, what a mess it was! It beats me how a place that serves food can get away with such a dirty washroom.

Once seated, it was a few minutes before the waiter arrived. He was a very nice young man but English was not his first language. He struggled to take our drink order apparently pinot grigio was not in his vocabulary. When he returned with the wines he had trouble remembering who ordered what and again had trouble identifying the wines.  I mention this only to show why the tip was outrageous.

The restaurant features a very short menu of five entres, the wine list is extremely short. The waiter again struggled with English when taking our food order. We did not have long to wait until he returned carrying three dishes, we all thought, wow that was fast! He placed my order of a sirloin burger ($22) down first, I immediately went for the french fries, turns out it was not our order at all, but because I had touched the food it became mine! There were errors on a couple of the other orders that had to be corrected but all in all, the food was great, everyone enjoyed their meal.

The waiter also blew the dessert order. Only one of us ordered dessert Placing it in front of the wrong and later asking a different member of our group if they enjoyed the dessert.

On to the finale, the arrival of the bills! There was confusion as to whose bill was who's. I received ours and noticed the suggested tip amounts, 15% 18% or 20% wow. I am a senior living on a pension wow again.

Then I noticed that 18% had been automatically added to the bill. If one of the tip suggestions was added to the 18% the tip would have come to more than the meal itself, give me a break! Makes me wonder how many customers miss the mandatory tip charge and add more.
The service did not come close to us subsidizing staff wages. We estimated that approximately 90.00 was added to the tip jar from our table alone.
In preparation of writing the blog I took a closer look at our receipt and noticed we had been charged for two speciality coffees when we only ordered one, an extra 4.00 added

In fairness to the Stanley's Grill, auto-tipping is standard practice. It may work well for the working class of but for seniors on a fixed income based on the cost of living from days gone by it's far too much! We are not against tipping for good service but it would be nice if there were a seniors rate.

The restaurant at this time as not responded to our e-mail

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Not all Wines are Good!

Back in Spring, I attained Bloom  the BC VQA Spring release. Its a wonderful event providing an opportunity to taste wines from over 100 wineries. I was quite excited. In fact, I went to the event even thou I was enduring the pain of three kidney stones.

As I toured the event I spotted one of the Okanagan's newest winery. I had not tasted their wines nor had they responded to my information requests. Opportunity knocks.

I approached the table and said hello receiving the most uninterested look and a mumbled response. It was if they were bored and just wanted to go home. I tasted a few of their wines.
The whites all tasted the same, like an over sweet Gew├╝rztraminer.

Was it just me? Were those kidney stones affecting my tasting ability? Did their lack of hospitality affect my judgement? It was time for some water and a quick snack.

Now fast forward to a few weeks ago when friends came over for dinner. They just happened to bring along a bottle (a white blend) from this same winery.

Once again an opportunity to reflect upon a winery that was most noted by me for frequent Facebook postings. Surely the wine would taste better now than at Bloom. Bloom just had to have been an off day for me.

However despite being a blend that did not include Gew├╝rztraminer, the wine taste like a very sweet pop. Reminding me of Baby Duck. Needless to say, the wine went down the drain.

Not the first time wines in our home have been poured down the drain. It is extremely rare!

If your looking for a little assistance in selecting a good wine please see Robert's Selections

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

July2 2019

There is a hidden gem on the Golden Mile of Oliver. British Columbia.

If you were a tourist driving through Oliver and the Okanagan you will spot some pretty impressive looking wineries. Such as Tinhorn Creek and Burrowing Owl. You might even have heard of some of the wineries that have made their reputation of the years such as Gehringer Brothers and Hester Creek Estate Winery setting your sights on visiting them.

If you are paying attention and driving the speed limit you may notice a small rather unimpressive winery by the roadside. You ignore them,  they are not as big or fancy as those other wineries but what a mistake you will make.

My wife and I have been following  Castoro de Oro Estate winery since Bruno Kelle and Stella Schmidt purchased the winery. Bruno and Stella believe they found a diamond in the rough when they located their winery on the Golden Mile south of Oliver. The couple fell in love with the wine region while touring the area in 2005.

The winery known as the Golden Beaver back then was not anywhere close to been a diamond. But with passion, dedication and hard work Castoro de Oro (renamed in 2011) now produces some of Okanagans best wines.

Their Viognier 2016 won a peoples choice award in 2018. Their Radiant Rhapsody highly rated by wine writers across the nation. The Crimson Red Rhapsody 2014 winner of 2017 Lieutenant Governor Award of Excellence.

Their 2014,15,16 and 2017 Merlot has collected numerous awards in a number of events. Barbara who loves Merlot rank their 2016 and 2017 among the very best BC has to offer.

A true family winery, their son helps with making unique wines. They produce 14-16 small batch handcrafted wines per year.

Do not pass this winery by! That would be a mistake!

A comfortable patio with picnic tables provides a spectacular view of the Okanagan Valley.

You can see how I reviewed their wines in Robert's Selections.  In the next few weeks, Barbara and I will be looking forward to  tasting additional wines from Castoro de Ore