Just got alerted by a Facebook friend from Austin, Texas that the Georgia Straight online reported BC liquor prices have risen by $1 on 750-millitre bottles of hard liquor.  Here’s how she let me know:

“Dammit, Ed!  The province raised liquor prices! What the hell!  you already have to sell your first born child to get a fifth of Jameson, what is it now? Two unborn children?”

You see, in the States, liquor is about 30% less expensive than it is in Canada, so I think that reference point contributes to her frustration.

I should point out that beer and wine prices remain unchanged, though for some this is little consolation.

US beer is generally more watery and the alcohol affects you less than it does in Canada.  For example, drinking 24 US Pabst Blue Ribbons, which would cost you about $18.00, affects you about the same as drinking 18 Canadian Pabst Blue Ribbons, which  would cost $25.00.

While these numbers are not referenced from any official data, they are based on personal independent studies I conducted while at University.

In some ways, it’s good that the province controls liquor prices, but as the Georgia Straight article sites, some politicians believe it’s part of a bigger scheme of “gouging consumers in the province of B.C.”

Next on the list:  Hashing out the liquor service policy in Vancouver.  Stay tuned…


Interesting Health Study

March 5, 2009

Hello out there in food, beverage and hospitality land.  You’ll want to put down that Harvey’s burger when you hear this new study.

In a survey of 52 countries, it was reported that people who eat diets high in legumes, vegetables and whole grains are 30% less likely to suffer a heart attack.

Conversely, people who eat diets high in sugars and fats are 35% more likey to have a heart attack.

A number of schools throughout the province have began aggressively replacing fatty, salty cafeteria fare such as pop and chips with juice, vegetables and other healthier options.

In Vancouver, schools have hired a nutritionist to fill the snack void by introducing foods that are comprobable in taste but healthier, thus tempering the transition.

Oriental food is said to be excellent because it is flavourful and heavy on essentials such as soy and rice.

Vancouver is the fittest city in Canada, with a 10.9 per cent obesity rate.

The sixth annual Gold Metal Plates competition, celebrating the trio of premiere local cuisine, internationally-acclaimed Canadian wines and some of our most revered Olympic athletes, was held Wednesday, November 5th at the Westin Bayshore in downtown Vancouver.

The seeds for this enormously popular national event were planted right here in some of our local pubs, and its grassroots organizers have seen it grow to include six cities and hundreds of restaurants and athletes across the country. To date, Gold Metal Plates has generated a combined total of $2.3 for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

All hands were on deck as the venue was bulging at the seams to host what may go down as the city’s most elite event of 2008. Front and centre as we walked in was a large round table featuring all the judges for the competition. They worked from this spot all evening (maybe I’ll send them a resumé) as the event unfolded.

The wine available for auction was beautifully presented in the centre of one of the rooms, and some of the other available prizes in the raffle included a Napa Sonoma Wine Country Cycling Experience, an amazing Grand Canyon Adventure, and the chance to meet and dine with Canucks legend Trevor Linden and retired coach Pat Quinn.

I think it was all the winning energy in the room because all twelve of the competitors brought their “A” games to the table, which, fortunately for the attendees, translated into offerings which put a whole new meaning to the term, “culinary arts.” The dishes were a dream to behold, and I sincerely hoped my eyes wouldn’t become too big for my stomach (I myself trained for the event by leaving my wallet at home so I won’t be tempted to buy lunch).

For the chefs and their crews, who worked from behind white tables which lined the circumferences of two large rooms, it must have felt like a busy evening dinner service. They showcased their masterful multi-tasking skills by seamlessly preparing and plating the dishes while simultaneously entertaining the jovial and eager crowd. And when the athletes weren’t meeting with and kindly offering personal photos to the guests, they managed to jump behind the line and help prepare food.

Drum-roll please…After much difficult deliberation, the judges selected Frank Pabst and Blue Water Café + Raw Bar as the 2008 Gold Metal Plates Champions! Their beautifully prepared ocean harvest cuisine wowed everyone in attendance, as they’ll add this award to their already impressive list of accolades.

The Silver Medalist was “The Island’s Project”- featured chef Hidekazu Tojo. Tojo’s creatively presented dishes and wonderfully magnetic personality wowed the judges and once again proved that the conversation on great Japanese cuisine starts and ends with him (no wonder I have to wait so long in line to get a table at his restaurant – but it’s worth it every time!)

And last but certainly not least, the Bronze Medal was awarded to Andrey Durbach of Parkside, Pied a Terre and La Buca Restaurants. Chef Durbach also made winners of Olympic rower David Calder and Stag’s Hollow Winery, whom he was paired with for the competition.

Over 500 people came out to enjoy the spectacular creations from some of the finest chefs and winemakers in the country, and also rub elbows with our elite Olympians. With all eyes now squarely on Vancouver and 2010, it’s appropriate we continue to show our support for the men and women who dedicate their lives so that Canada is always proudly represented on the world’s stage.

So congratulations to Frank Pabst and everyone at Blue Water Café for reaching the top of the podium this year, and to all those who gave so generously of themselves to make the evening a resounding success. Our British Columbia representatives will now head to Banff in February, 2009 for the Canadian Culinary Championships. Good luck to all, and by next year the Winter Olympic Games will only be a few months away!