Good Will (Hunting)

It’s scary to hear that a lot of you will die without a will. People who pass through the pearly gates without a will are known as ‘intestate’. I know what you are thinking. Everything you have owned will go to your spouse and family, right? Sadly, no.

According to the laws in this country, if you are intestate then all your belongings on earth will be decided by the court. They will assign someone to take care of it and if you like the way our province is run then you will like the way they will use your money. I know it sounds bizarre but it’s true. Google it if you don’t believe me.

After I found that more than 56% of Canadians will die without a will, I started wondering how I could change that. I thought, ‘hmmm, I have a blog that I can use to communicate this.” So here I am, communicating it to you. I plan to change my email signature to get the message out too. I think you should do the same. You know, tell 2 friends and they will tell 2 friends and so on.

I know my excuse up to now was pretty lame. What is your excuse? Too busy? Too expensive? No time to see a lawyer? Too young? No assets? No house? No car?

Well, I made it easy by finding an online service that will let your create a will in 3 easy steps, print it and store it in their vault for up to 10 years. After that, you can extend the time or print it out and move it to your own safety deposit box. Keep it online if you plan to change it over time or if you win the lottery and need to change the beneficiaries.

To make it easy and affordable, I have made friends at (Canada), (US), (UK), (Other) and they will give you 10% off their prices when you enter the reference code ‘a1040285444’. I hope you do follow up and get yourself a will. Lets lower that 56% to 0%. Pass it on.


Shanghai Morning Surprise

Dumplings with Chives

Dumplings with Chives

There are so many restaurants in Richmond and so little time to try them all. Today we tried a new Shanghai restaurant on Alexander Road in Richmond for breakfast and dim sum called Shanghai Morning. Like all Shanghai restaurants, they serve the famous Shanghai dumplings. When it was served, it was a steaming tower of not one but two containers of dumplings. The trick in eating it is to delicately pick it up with your chopsticks without puncturing the dumpling. If you do, the soup inside the dumpling will leak out and destroy the eating experience. If you have master the chopstick control, you can pick up the dumpling with the soup intact.

Now to eat it, you place it on a spoon and nibble at it. You bite a bit of the skin off and you sip the soup through the opening. If it is made right, the soup will be delicious. Once the soup is sipped out, put the whole dumpling into your mouth and chew. The dumpling has pork in it and the skin is a little thicker than the won ton wrapper.

Next came a steamer with green dumplings in it. These were made with chives and hence, gave the dumplings a nice green colour (pictured). These dumplings could be my next favourite because they were light and scrumptious. I have never had these but I will definitely order them again.

Lastly came the deep fried slice buns that are served with condensed milk. These are nice dessert items to round off the meal.

Top Disappointment Shanghai Restaurant

Chicken Balls in Spicy Sauce

Chicken Balls in Spicy Sauce

After an enjoyable round at Green Acres Golf Course in Richmond, BC, we asked our playing partners for their restaurant picks. The first restaurant they recommended to us was the Top Shanghai Restaurant on No. 3 Road in Richmond. I couldn’t help but to ask Sylvia Wong for her favourite dishes. I told her we have tried many Shanghai restaurants in Vancouver but we always order the same old thing. The dumplings of course, is standard Shanghai but they are almost the same wherever we go. Sylvia insisted that we order that if we were to go to that restaurant. Along with that, she recommended us to order a roasted duck or whatever duck was on the menu. I asked about a fish dish and she didn’t advise anything special.

When we arrived at the restaurant, it was jam packed. Everyone in Richmond was there. I found the atmosphere almost deafening. There was laughing and loud conversations going on several tables by the wall. When the menu landed on our table, I was impressed. Did I tell you that I love restaurants with huge menus? The menu was like a large coffee table book with pictures. Oh, I love menus with pictures, especially when I don’t read Chinese.

We went through the menu and decided to find the duck that Sylvia had recommended. Instead of a crispy chicken dish, we found a crispy duck dish. We ordered it. Then came the chicken. The name intrigued me. It was something like Chicken balls in spicy sauce.

Out of tradition, we ordered the Shanghai dumplings, even though they were dim sum items. When the food came, no rice was served so we ordered two bowls of it. The chicken balls was a disappointment. First of all, they weren’t ball shaped. I don’t know where we went wrong. The crispy duck was a disappointment too. It was salty, very salty and it reminded me of wax duck that I had when I was a kid. FYI, wax duck is preserved in salt and smoked.

Overall, the dinner was ok. And for the menu, we found out most of the dishes are obsolete and they don’t serve it anymore.

Butcher’s Block in Chestermere

Butchers Block

Butchers Block

I like meals that you can share with a friend or with your spouse. On my last golf outing to Chestermere, we settled in for some dinner at the clubhouse at Lakeside Golf Course. It was a pleasant day for golf with some friends but after being rained on and bitten by mosquitos, it was time to chow down.

On tap, there’s always a nice selection of beer but I wanted Sapporo, a nice bodied beer from Japan. To complement it, I ordered the Butcher’s Block for $55. On Friday’s, the price comes down to under $50 and it is worth every penny of it. The meal comes with an ultra tender 8 oz steak, cut up in slices, a rack of ribs smothered with a bbq sauce and half a rotisserie chicken. You also have a pick of 2 sides which include a salad, sweet potato fries, regular fries, mushrooms or cooked vegetables.

I’ve ordered this meal twice this summer and both times, it was delicious. If you are in for an all-meat dinner then I would highly recommend it. The ribs are fall off tender and the chicken is nicely seasoned and cooked to perfection. My favourite is still the steak and I would eat that by itself if my wife didn’t beat me to it.

Something Dark and Wicked

Funnel Cloud over Calgary

Funnel Cloud over Calgary

Something dark and wicked rolled our way on Wednesday. I was in line at the Richmond Registry in Westhills when an Alberta alert came over the television screen that warned us of a tornado. Minutes later, I heard the rumbling in the line as some lady was talking about a funnel cloud outside. Everybody in the registry was getting nervous.

When I stepped out to the parking lot, there were a bunch of kids with their smartphones pointed west. I walked up to my car and looked over to the west. There in plain sight was a large funnel cloud that was halfway to the ground. This was the closest I have ever been to a funnel cloud.

I took a snap of it and jumped into the car. It started hailing as people bolted out of the parking lot. The roads were getting busy as people were hurrying out of the area. The winds started to pick up and the hail became larger. I drove east to get out of the way of the tornado that was forming behind me.

For once in my life, I felt for my friend Todd, who lives in Oklahoma City (right in the dab of tornado alley) and works as a Senior Claims Adjuster, helping people pick up their lives after a tornado rips through their home.


Combo dish at Tooloulou's

Combo dish at Tooloulou’s

There aren’t any restaurants in Calgary that serve Louisiana cuisine like crawfish boil, etoufee, dirty rice, hush puppies and seafood gumbo. If you want that kind of meal then head west to Banff where you can find everything including alligator bites. The place is called Tooloulou’s and it is goooood.

My recommendation is to drive out in the morning, walk around Banff then around 2:00pm, sit down for a late lunch. They have 3 menus, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch menu is pretty much the same as the dinner menu except for a few dishes and is less money.

I had the combo dish that gave me a sampling of three dishes including gumbo, jambalaya and creole. I expected three separate dishes but they cram it all on one dish and add a piece of cornbread on the side. The gumbo was a bit on the dry side and the red jambalaya was tasty and it had a lot of shrimp but it needed more hot sauce which you can add to by visiting their ‘hot sauce shelf of pain’. There by the bar is a shelf full of hot sauce ranging from scotch bonnet to jalapeno sauce. Take your pick along with the jug of water to douse out any flame.

Next time I’m going to save room for the bread pudding dessert. Be sure to walk off the carb meal before driving back to Calgary.




Scout’s Honor

American Idol

American Idol

When it’s cold out, it’s nice to stay indoors and watch tv. And it looks like it’s time again for Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr and J. Lo to hear America sing and to choose a winner on American Idol. I just saw the trailer yesterday and I can’t wait.But again, there’s the Voice that still echoes in my ear from last night. Ryan Sill really did a nice job on Duran Duran’s Ordinary World, didn’t he? I hope America voted for him. I would.

Do you think you can be a judge? Show up and listen to someone sing? You hear a few bars then you give them your opinion. Maybe it’s a little harder than you think with no music training or an ear for good sound. But if you find yourself making comments and critiquing after every song then I think you’re up to it.

I’m gathering a list of people who are interested in listening to music and giving an honest opinion on the song, artist and arrangement. If you’re up for the challenge, please drop me an email and I will forward you to a music scout that will pay you for a review. There’s no obligation whatsoever nor any cost. There’s no limit to how many songs you have to listen to or set a quota. It’s all good and fun. Scout’s honor.

Sushi BBQ – Cold Rice, Bad Service

Sushi BBQ

Sushi BBQ

I’m guilty of not trying new things out but after my experience last Monday, I see why. I had an eye appointment with Dr. F. Adatia in the SE and decided to give Sushi BBQ a try. What a mistake!

The All-U-Can-Eat lunch special is a decent $15 per person price. Nigiri sushi includes salmon, tuna, shrimp, masago and tamago (or egg). Kitchen dishes include chicken teriyaki, agedashi tofu, chicken karage, salmon teriyaki, etc. And they have pizza bites too. A slice of salmon on top of spicy shrimp on a fried rice ball. (It was not as good as it looked and it didn’t look so hot either)

Sad to say, the nigiri rice was cold. And the fried eel maki had a taste of moldy bread in it. When I complained to the waiter, he brought it in to the sushi chef for examination then he came back and told me it was fine. Did the chef try it himself? I doubt he did.

They also had a Korean cooktop and Korean meat for you to cook your own. If you decide to order that, make sure you give yourself plenty of time because you are allotted 1.5 hours to eat and get out.

The decor is run down and dirty. I was surprised not to see a cockroach here and there. The service was horrible and they wouldn’t serve you a free cup of hot water. Instead they gave us an excuse that they don’t have hot water on the premise. Interesting. They do serve hot tea, don’t they?

My advice: stay away.

Earn 5 Air Miles

Sobey's Coupon

Sobey’s Coupon

I know it takes some pride swallowing to use coupons but I have to collect enough air miles to keep my Gold status. Today was the last day to use my Sobey’s coupon to get 5 whole Air Miles. To have done this, I would have had to buy at least $20 worth of groceries at Sobey’s to earn this. Sometimes it’s hard to add up enough groceries at Sobey’s because the selection isn’t quite there in certain departments. For example in the fresh veggies section. I think it’s pretty lame there. And the seafood counter isn’t much better. And since we’re at it, I might as well say the international food section too.

If you’re hunting for air miles like me, go and pick up a coffee at your local Shell station and earn yourself 5 air miles. It’s more cost effective than buying $20 worth of groceries.

Lava not Flowing

Lava Souffle

Lava Souffle

It’s no comparison between Joey’s at Barlow and Roy’s Restaurant when it comes to their lava souffle. The one at Joey’s, is like an upside down cupcake that tastes like a brownie. It is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis but it’s nowhere near the quality and taste of the Lava Cake at Roy’s.

When you poke your spoon into Roy’s Lava Cake, the chocolate (lava) oozes out. Not here at Joey’s.