It’s a love hate relationship

 

Just thought I’d drop by and share a quick buzzfeed video with you guys – This one on the love/hate relationship of working in the industry. I would say that 99% of the video speaks truth. Honestly though, like every job, who isn’t in it for the money? Those who work in the restaurant industry have to deal with the best and the worst customers. The reality is, not every table will give you the best attitude – sometimes, customers take it out on their servers when they’re not in the best of mood, and it could be the same for the server as well. But you know.. it’s a job and every server should respect their customers, and every customer should respect their servers. I really like this video because I’m sure everyone has many restaurant dine-in experiences and everyone who has worked in the industry can relate to this video. 

 

I was also blessed with the opportunity to have a semi-heated discussion with some of the viewers on YouTube (I’m glowinstarlight, btw). Some people are so dense.. it’s actually pretty interesting.

 

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Anyway, here are some of my love/hate of the industry:

HATE:

– the rush which seems endless when you’re living it

– the angry customers who treat their servers like crap because they think big of themselves

– the bad tips/NO TIPS

– the customers that act like they’re going to tip you big but end up not tipping you AT ALL

 

LOVE:

– the people i work with

– the good/big tips

– the friendly customers that are actually enjoyable to serve because they joke around with you

– the perks! (food discount, free food, free ‘after work bevi’s’

 

What are some of your WORSE and BEST dining experiences?

Top 5 – YouTube Cooking Channels

I apologize in advance for slacking on the restaurant review updates but for some reason, those types of posts take me a long time because I’m not very skilled in adding pictures into the post – yes, I’m kind of handicapped like that. Anyway, I thought I’d try something new do a series of posts of my “Top 5s”. If you know me personally, you know I’m a huge YouTube fanatic! I don’t think there’s a day where I don’t watch YouTube. I mainly watch beauty, makeup and cooking videos. Over the years, I really feel like YouTube has expanded and created a wonderful online community for quick tutorials and tips on everything. I can’t imagine life without YouTube and I’m sure many would agree with me that YouTube has become an essential part of our lives!

Without further adieu, I’d like to share with you my Top 5 favourite cooking channels:

As a Chinese Canadian, I have grown up tasting many Asian cuisines and if you were to ask me what my favourite cuisine is, I’d definitely say JAPANESE! Cooking with Dog is by far my favourite cooking channel on YouTube. The channel belongs to a Japanese Chef who cooks while being accompanied by her cute little dog, Francis, the host of the show. I love their tutorials simply because they look so simple and delicious. I’m a huge fan of Japanese cuisine and Chef makes these recipes look so easy to make. She definitely inspires me to do more cooking and experimenting in my own kitchen. What’s great about Chef is that she has tutorials on almost everything – desserts, shabu shabu (Japanese hotpot), curry, Japanese inspired American cuisine (such as the above video), and much more!

Maangchi is another one of my favourites because the Chef is a cute Korean lady who makes Korean cuisine simple yet elegant. Her videos are all so interesting. She pops a cute joke here and there and I find her absolutely adorable. Her videos honestly make my mouth water .. I can sit there and watch her tutorials for hours on end. Maangchi collaborates with other YouTube chefs in the US and has tutorials on almost every Korean dish you can think of!

The Aimless Cook or Jay del Corro is a Filipino homecook that’s based in Calgary, Alberta. I love the fact that he’s Canadian and from Alberta (so close to home as I’m from Vancouver, BC) and how friendly he comes off in his videos. He owns his own restaurant called Eats of Asia which I’m definitely going to try when I make my way to Calgary in the near future. Another amazing thing is that he makes a variety of recipes and cuisines such as Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese – YOU NAME IT. I feel like he’s super duper asian-washed because of his love for all types of Asian cuisines. His recipes look hearty yet delicious. I really want to try making Ginataang Bilo Bilo (recipe above) because it looks do delicious!!

If you’re up for guilty pleasure recipes, Divas can Cook or Monique can definitely help. Her tutorials consists of a lot of baked goodies (cheesecake, cupcakes, cookies and MORE), hearty recipes such as jerk chicken/fried chicken and healthy recipes such as salads and skinny girl pasta. I love that in her recipes, she’s not afraid to make them “unhealthy” as long as it’s delicious – but who’s complaining anyways right? Her videos also make my mouth water and I almost want to eat my screen when I’m watching her tutorials. They just look so amazing.. *drool* But if you’re on a diet or a health streak (since summer is coming), then watch Divas can Cook at your own risk.

Clean and Delicious is a recent channel I discovered when I opted for healthier and cleaner lifestyle. I enjoy how informative Dani Spies is in her tutorials as she’s a certified Holistic Health Counsellor. If you look at her videos, she tends to post a series of 2-3 videos on different themes like oats, quinoa, lentils, etc where it includes 101 videos that gives basic information on the different types of say lentils, followed by healthy recipes on how to prepare them. I like that she never lets her clean and healthy recipes deprive our palettes! Her recipes are simple, nutritious, fresh and delish! I’ve learned a lot about health and looking after my body from her channel and her blog. She’s definitely one you wouldn’t want to miss!

 

So here it is folks, my top 5 cooking channels on YouTube. Hope you enjoyed my share and if you have any channels you’d like to share with me, I’d be glad to check them out too.

The Art of Tipping

I saw this video on Youtube the other day and wanted to share with everyone and perhaps get everyone’s two cents on the culture of tipping. As many of you may not be aware, individuals who work in the Front of House of the restaurant industry receive a minimum wage pay. Bartenders and Servers in particular receive lower than minimum wage because their “tips” are supposed to compensate for their wage. Depending on the tip out rate of the restaurant, servers and bartenders may end up with less than 10% tip of their entire sales of the night. This means, if they sell $1000 during their shift, and their tip out rate is 5% to the kitchen and 1% to the bar (typical casual fine dining tip out rate), and they receive 10% tips from all their tables that night, they will make $90 tips that night after tipping out. Therefore, it is detrimental that customers tip at LEAST 15% or above for average service.

I don’t understand why some people tip less than 10% or don’t tip at all when they receive average to above average service. Either they do not care about servers or they are too cheap to pay the extra $5 tips. it is honestly no fun when people don’t tip. You don’t achieve anything besides telling the world that you’re a cheapass. Not to be racist or prejudice or anything but Brown people and Black people tend to never ever tip – I don’t know why but that’s the way it is. Remember, when you don’t tip, it means that your server is paying to serve you because they have to tip out to the kitchen and the bar. Unless you receive rude service and none to minimal service throughout your dining experience, there is no reason NOT to tip at least 15%. 

 

So, How much do you tip your server on average?

Barcelona Eats – DRY MARTINI BAR BARCELONA

Before Christmas, i had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona, Spain as a getaway from the boring city of Leicester, UK. I had such an amazing time in Barcelona. The locals were friendly and polite, the scenery was beautiful and the food was spectacular. I wasn’t very familiar with the city as I was only there for five days but I must say, no restaurant/cafe I stepped into disappointed my tastebuds. The food was simply divine. If you are unfamiliar with Barcelona, it is the sixth most populous European city filled with historic monuments and cathedrals. They are famous for tapas, which are various different side dishes including skewers, croquettes, paella and etc. Sangria is also a must try in Barca which comes in hot or cold.

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I will do a series of reviews on restaurants all over Barca. First on my list is Dry Martini, which is quoted to be one of the most famous bars in Barcelona. Not only do they serve martini – the Dry Greygoose Martini to being the most famous (and dangerous), they also serve a variety of other cocktails such as mojitos, margaritas and fruity drinks. The bar is separated in two different sections – the fine dining restaurant portion as well as the fancy, chic bar portion. This place is classy and you can easily imagine a tuxedoed James Bond sipping his perfectly made Martini in these chic surrounds. It is located in BCN’s Eixample district, ironically right beside the hotel I stayed at. Its walls are peppered with pictures of the eponymous drink and its banquettes are filled with a grown up, content crowd sipping the smoothest of cocktails.

The staff are multi-lingo so I had no problem communicating with them in English. I found their service to be above average. Not only were they willing to provide drink recommendations, but also recommendations for tapas. The only critique I have about the server we got was that he was a little antsy and rushed us several times for our orders but not in a pushy way.

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For the first round of drinks, we got Grapefruit Margarita and Passionfruit Mojito. Both were made with fresh ingredients of fruit juices and higher tier alcohol. In the Passionfruit mojito, the mint was fresh and you could find traces of real passionfruit pulp. The Grapefruit Margarita was sweet and not too tart – it was simply just right. Super refreshing as well.

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Just a little cam-whoring – it’s customary!

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For our second round of drinks, I got the Dry Martini and my friend got this red fruity one, I’ve forgotten the name of. The glasses were chilled to keep the cocktails to stay chilled longer. Both were smooth and spectacular and garnished perfectly. The classic dry martini was super strong but super strong. I felt kind of Bond Girl-like as I was enjoying it.

Overall, the experience was amazing. The staff was friendly and was willing to provide recommendations. You could tell he was experienced over the fact that he knew when we needed him and when we wanted our space. The only thing that would have made our experience more enjoyable was if we weren’t sitting beside a drunk couple who gave us flowers and would not quit making conversation with us with her drunken broken English. The lounge was clean and sanitized. The tables were not sticky and the environment was super chilled and comfortable – perfect ambience for after work bevi hangout, or simply catching up with friends. Tables were flipped, cleaned and wiped down within minutes of guests leaving – this shows dedication and professionalism from the staff.

Rating:

Overall experience: 4/5
Staff Professionalism: 4/5
Quality: 4.5/5
Cleanliness: 5/5

Revival

HI Everyone!

I admit, I have been MIA. I’ve abandoned this blog for a long long time for several reasons: (1) I felt uninspired, (2) I wanted instantaneous fame, (3) i forgot about it.

I think when I first started this blog, I had the aspiration to start a food blog and saw myself as a foodie but I lacked the incentive. I am aware that fame isn’t instantaneous and I wanted to achieve it without the help of major social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and etc. I am still striving for fame without broadcasting the blog to every platform because I fear judgement and opinion from others. I’m not the greatest writer in the entire world and I do struggle coherence in my writing but this is something every blogger/writer encounters. Nevertheless, I have decided to revive the blog mainly because, I love food and I want to capture my finds and share it with the cyberworld, this time with a better attitude and being more organized about it.

I know there are plenty food blogs out there but mine is different. I want to critique restaurants and food finds through my lens and perspective. I’ve worked at restaurants for 4 years and I have a different idea of customer service and food quality than a lot of other people out there. I’m not saying that my opinion is the only one that matters. I’m just saying it will be different than many others. 

In this blog, not only will I critique the food quality, I will also critique customer service, restaurant cleanliness as well as the staff presents themselves in front of their customers. 

Here are a few guidelines which I will base on:

Food quality – food must come out fresh and piping hot. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the food hits your table and it’s either luke warm or there’s a layer built up over the sauce? This is how you know the food is DEAD. Food must be sent to the table within 30s of being “sold” by the kitchen. Hypothetically, it should only take another 30s to reach the table making it a total of one minute for food to hit the plate and to your table. Restaurants that ensure a good bill time = they’re serious about their food quality.

Customer Service – First impression is everything. There are several “first impressions” when you go to a restaurant: First impression of the restaurant (both outside the building and the entrance); first greeting from the hostess; first greeting from the server. If the front of the restaurant lacks liveliness and tidiness, one may feel that the Restaurant Manager does not manage the restaurant seriously. If the hostess does not give you a big warm welcome to acknowledge your existence, the restaurant is pretty much a joke. Hostesses are also expected to inform you who your server will be tonight as well as informing you the recommendations of the day/night. If the server fails to greet the table in a friendly manner within 30s-1min of you (customers) being sat, they better redeem themselves later in the night if they want the average 15% tip from you.

Staff Presentation – Clean, crisp and professional. If the Front of House (FOH) staff looks frumpy and messy and you can see crumbs and food stains in their apron or uniform, chances are, they are not taking their job seriously and they’re just working for the tip. I generally give my servers a bigger tip if they make small talks and are able to read my body language – that is, they can tell when I need something from them or when I want time to me and my guest. A lot of newer servers tend to be afraid to interact with their tables and based on my experience, 90% customers that dine out enjoy interacting with their servers. The other 10% blatantly show they are not interested and want privacy. It’s all about reading the guests’ body language. 

Restaurant Cleanliness – Clean Back of House = clean food. How many times have you been sat on a dirty table or in a booth with crumbs in the seat? If your answer is 70% of the time, chances are the restaurant cleanliness is not up to par. If the Restaurant Manager fails to keep the FOH spotless, you best expect that their BOH kitchen and staff will be filthy. A filthy kitchen = filthy BOH staff = filthy food! It’s as simple as that. 

 

I hope these guidelines aren’t too harsh. After all, if you’re out to dine, you expect good service, good food and to have a good time. 

 

 

 

So here’s a little bit of an update about me:

– I quit my jobs about five months ago.

– I’m currently living in the UK for Law School.

– I don’t eat out as much as I used to due to lack of selections in the city I reside in. 

– I can’t wait until I go back to Vancouver, BC, Canada so I can blog and share my food adventures with my readers.

I hope you will stay with me and my food journey.

TOUDALOUUUU

Whistler getaway!

You know how sometimes you work too much for an extended period of time you feel like you have no break to catch a breath and enjoy life around you? I get that feeling all the time.. =_=

I decided to take a short trip to Whistler as a mini break from work. I’m actually pretty darn excited cuz I have four days off this week. This seems super rare but you know.. Everyone needs a break once in awhile. I’m just so tired of all the shenanigans all day everyday.

Anyway, back to the trip in Whistler. I’ve never been to Whistler except for bungee jumping. I was quite disappointed with delicacies around the village as my friends and I decided to play it safe and go to more “common” food places. Please let me know if we’ve made a mistake on this.

For lunch we had the Old Spaghetti Factory. I’ve been to the ones in New Westminster and Gastown – both left me somewhat content but the one in whistler is seriously disappointing. The pasta was bland and the seafood was.. Fishy? Although the portion was big, it doesnt justify how bad it tasted. Also I ordered the Mango Iced Tea to drink; not only was it not refillable, it was filled it a super small water glass, definitely not worth $3.25.

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– Seafood linguine marinara (The Old Spaghetti Factory)
I guess the only positive part about the meal was the service, except for the fact that the guy got the seat numbers wrong and gave us the wrong food. Also the guy seemed lifeless and tired of his mundane job, which possible explains really boring and original service. Overall the service was good though.

For dinner, my friends and I decided to play it safe and oped for another original restaurant to try. We went to the Keg for some steak as it was just across from the hotel we were staying at. The service was satisfactory and the food was…. I donno. Okay? It’s not as good as the other Kegs out there. The meat wasnt all that tender and it was super hard to chew. The only good part of the meal was literally the complimentary bread which was soft and warm.

I would also like to comment that the hostesses at the door seemed lifeless and disappointed and customers were entering into the restaurant. The hosting technique was nonexistent and they just weren’t friendly. I honestly think everyone who works at Whistler truly hates their life and don’t give two shits. Even at Starbucks in the afternoon, the service remain mundane, boring and unenthusiastic.

Below are pictures of the 16oz steak and the Crab and Shrimp sirloin which is found on the feature sheet.

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Although the presentation looks good, it’s super deceiving.

Next time I come to Whistler, I’m definitely bringing my own food instead of spending all this money on disgusting food.

Terrible!

After work pig-out diaries #2

This is gonna be a quick one!

I was super hungry the other day after I got off work and wanted something warm. I didn’t wanna have expensive pub rub at Boston Pizza and was too tired to drive to Burnaby for Cattle Cafe. Since I work right across from Korean Town on Lougheed, it makes sense to go for a late night Korean run!

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– Pa Dak (Dasarang)

This is crispy boneless chicken drenched on House special sauce topped with loads of green onions and jalapeño peppers! The chicken is super duper juicy and seasoned perfectly. Also, the chicken was lightly breaded so it was able to lock the natural juices of the meat. The house special sauce was delicious! It was not too salty and had a citrusy element to it making it a perfect match when you eat it with fresh green onions and the chilli peppers.

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– 1/2 1/2 chicken (Dasarang

If you’re familiar with Korean fried chicken, you will know that this is a must! The sauce is sweet but not overpowering of the chicken flavour. Even though there is bones in this, I found that there was a ton of meat! The other side is just the same lightly breaded chicken found in Pa Dak but with bones.

Overall, it was a delicious and filling meal. Although it can be quite pricy per plate; roughly $15-18 per dish, it was extremely satisfying! In fact, the three of us were unable to finish the two plates. Haha! My favourite was the Pa Dak because of the sauce and jalapeño.

Dasarang is located on Lougheed and North Road in Coquitlam. I believe there is also a location in Surrey!

Until next time piggies!

After work pig-out diaries

So you guys know I work a lot and I never have time to pack my own lunches and dinners. I tend to eat a lot before work and even more when I get off. On some days, I don’t have the time to eat before work because I need that time to doll up. You could argue that one can wake up earlier to prepare their meals but why do that when you can use that time for beauty sleep. 🙂

In short, I’m lazy and I’m hungry all the time. I would rather spend my tips of the day on food than starve myself. You are gonna see a lot of these pig-out diaries because what’s there to do after work than to eat? HAH! Today I’m featuring food from Earl’s.. yes it’s like I’m advertising for my own company. =.=

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– Tuna sushi salad (Earl’s)

This is a scrumptious salad with tuna that’s torched rare, tossed in maple soy reduction and togarashi mayo. Under the tuna and greens lies a bed of brown and jasmine white rice. It’s like a sushi roll flipped inside out. Because I’m not a huge fan of rice, I got mine with no rice. It’s seriously one of the best salads at Earl’s. The tuna is cooked just perfectly, the greens are fresh, mangos are fresh and sweet, and the dressing is not overpowering. I can argue that this is THE perfect spring/summer salad. Too bad they’re taking it off the menu. If you have the chance, I urge you to give this salad a go!

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– Sticky toffee pudding (Earl’s)

Of course, being fatass me, the salad wasn’t enough to fill up my bottomless pit, so I oped for dessert! This sticky toffee pudding is seriously, the bomb. Its really a warm cake with walnut n toffee bits inside covered in chocolate and caramel sauce. The vanilla ice cream really compliments to the toffee cake. And the candies basket is crunchy and delicious. Although it’s a very rich dessert, the flavour is not too sweet or overpowering. It’s just so amazing…. *drools*

After all the food, needless to say, I went home and food coma-ed.