Warm up your Swing, Now

Before you head out for spring golf, you might want to warm up your swing in an indoor driving range first. You know, there are two indoor ranges in town. One in the SW and one in the NE. Both offer golfers the ability to hit golf balls indoors.

But I have a great deal for you. For the price of a large bucket of balls, you can hit as many balls as you want in an hour of time. Why be limited to the number of balls in a bucket? Get an hour for $16 instead of the original price of $29.40 in the NE dome. Click here to get this offer. But hurry before it sells out.

Not Surf and Turf but Reef N Beef

Prime Rib and Pork Ribs Dinner

Prime Rib and Pork Ribs Dinner

I’m cutting back on red meat but I found myself ordering the Prime Rib and Port Rib dinner at the Reef N Beef restaurant in the NE. We wouldn’t have chosen this restaurant to go to but having a fantastic coupon from TeamBuy certainly helps.

From Monday to Thursday, there are a lot of locals that come in for a nice sit down dinner at this snazzy restaurant because of their Steak and Lobster special. At $29.95, the price can’t be beat.

Because we used a coupon, the daily special was not available to us so we had to order something from the menu. It’s a pretty decent menu with lots of good dishes to order. Being both a seafood and steak restaurant, you can expect to see a variety of dishes from the sea to the turf.

After serving drinks, the waitress brought a basket of garlic bread which helped calmed the hungry nerves. Next came our salads which had a fresh head of iceberg with tomato and cucumbers. Soup followed and we had both chose the French Onion soup. Surprisingly, it didn’t have the cheese baked on but instead, the waitress came and sprinkled it on.

My dinner arrived along with more garlic bread. The prime rib was good, not fatty like I’m used to but it was a little more cooked than medium rare. It was a nice generous serving and tender as expected. The pork ribs were good too, almost fall off the bone tender but I’m glad it didn’t. I chose a baked potato but there were also rice pilaf, stuffed potato or french fries. The carrots and broccoli were nicely steamed and seasoned.

Does it warrant a next time? Most definitely and the next time, we’ll try the Steak and Lobster special.

Reef 'n Beef on Urbanspoon

Golf Balls for Sale

Mesh of Golf Balls

Mesh of Golf Balls

Summer is out and Fall is in. For those golf die-hards, be sure to bring plenty of golf balls if you decide to play a course with lots of trees because it will be hard to find your balls if it happens to roll underneath a leaf. There is no coloured ball that you can buy that is going to be easier to spot in the leaves. Forget the yellow ones. They will just blend in nicely like a chameleon. Forget the orange ones too. Some leaves turn orange and reddish brown. If you’re going to insist on a coloured ball then choose blue, silver or stay with white.

Losing a golf ball these days is ridiculous. Why not spend $20 at Wal-mart and buy yourself a mesh bag of 40 balls? They are used balls but what the heck?! If you lose one, so what?

Btw, all city courses in Calgary (McCall Lake, Confederation Park and Shaganappi) have a sale on driving range balls – save $4 off a jumbo bucket when you purchase tokens after 3pm. Regular price is $12.75 so with the sale, it’s only $8.75.

TRS for Land Rovers

If you are like the Queen of England and own a fleet of Land Rover vehicles then you probably pay exuberant prices for parts and service for your Land Rover Discovery, LR3, Defender, Freelander, Series I, II and III or the new Evoque. An oil change at the only authorized Land Rover dealership in Calgary will run you about $250. For that, you get to wait in their comfortable sales centre on Glendeer Circle among all the new Land Rover vehicles. At your leisure, you can walk around and see what the new ones cost and how slick they look when they are new. If the car wash boy is available and doing nothing, he will wash your car but that’s not a guarantee.  They say it’s weather permitting but many times, they opt out doing it because of some lame reason such as it’s too late or they can’t find the sponge.

If you have a nagging problem with your Land Rover, don’t sign up for a ‘search and rescue’ appointment with them unless you have deep pockets. They charge a whopping $139 per hour for service and charge you a minimum of one hour for a road test before peeking underneath the hood. And there is no guarantee that they will find it. Remember that they would have to find the problem first before they can assess the damage. The time clock will continue to wind down until they ring up the register. A simple hourly fix can easily turn into a half day charge. An oil charge service with a 10-point inspection is easily a $350 bill.

In Calgary, we are lucky to have TRS or The Rover Shop. Owned and operated by Vern, their bread and butter totally involves repairing Land Rovers and nothing else. They are not authorized by Land Rover Canada but Vern uses Land Rover authorized parts and he knows a lot about Land Rovers. For starters, he charges roughly $120 for an oil change and you will get an inspection of the vehicle as part of the service. His shop opens at 8am and if you drop off your vehicle overnight or first thing in the morning, he can get you out of there in half an hour. If you want him to find your nagging problem, you’re only paying $100 per hour and he will probably find it.

Hopefully the Queen of England sees this post. With the amount of Land Rovers she owns, she can save a royal mint on car maintenance.

 

Peruvian Ceviche is Delicious

Peruvian Ceviche

Peruvian Ceviche

There’s always a debate going on between my two friends, Daniel and Pablo when it comes to ceviche. Daniel is from Mexico and he claims Mexican ceviche is the best. Pablo is from Peru and he claims Peruvian ceviche is the best.

I’ve tried both and think it’s a toss up. Two things missing in Peruvian ceviche is tomatoes and avocado but I find it lighter and tastier. I like how the fish is cooked in lime juice and seasoned with sea salt. Red onion slices and corn husks are served on a Peruvian ceviche instead of a slice of avocado.

Inti Restaurant - Peruvian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Where can you order this delicious appetizer? Try the Inti Restaurant in the NE behind the Husky station on the corner of 32nd Avenue and Barlow Trail. Head east on 32nd Avenue then turn right on 26th Street after passing Barlow Trail. The restaurant is to your left and there’s plenty of parking in the mall.

Aside from the delicious ceviche, you might find the menu is a little small for a Peruvian restaurant. There’s only a few entrees to choose from. We chose the Escabeche de Pollo and Lomo Saltado. Both entrees came with a scoop of white rice. My escabeche was delicious but was a little small for my appetite. (We ended up eating at Fat Kee next door to satisfy our hunger before heading home.) Inti has both drinks that are traditional Peruvian, the chicha morada and Inca. The chicha morada is made of purple corn and is homemade. Inca is a popular soft drink that tastes like cream soda but is golden in colour.

Fresh Rambutans available

Rambutan

Rambutan

I love summer across Canada because of all the available fruit. Among the local fruits, I enjoy shopping at T&T in the NE for exotic fruit. This week, people are scrambling and loading up on rambutan.

Rambutans are from Thailand and are hairy looking fruit. To eat it, you have to peel away a shell to reveal a white skinned fruit. It’s a lot like lychees, another exotic fruit but from China. The rambutans are more firm and less sweet. Some people rather have rambutans than lychees but I think it’s close.

This time of year, we are lucky to have these fruits flown in fresh. Most of the time, they are only available frozen. It’s not bad eating rambutans that way but fresh is always better.

 

 

Buy Groceries at Sobey’s and Fly Business Class

Sobey's at Strathcona

Sobey’s at Strathcona

One of the best ways to fly internationally is in business class. There you are invited to the front of the plane where individual pods are assigned to travellers like you. It’s nice on a long trip to be treated like royalty or you can adjust your seat and convert it to a bed. You can either sit up and watch your personal entertainment device or lie back and sleep the miles away. Have I convinced you to fly business class? If so, sign up.

The place to sign up is at Sobey’s in their club Sobeys program. Every time you shop there, you can earn Aeroplan points. The thing I like about shopping at Sobey’s is when they have promotional days such as their Dollar Days. I have to admit, I hate broccoli, however for a buck a bag, I can stomach that. It’s actually pretty good in Chinese dishes like Beef and Broccoli or a hotpot with chicken, tofu, celery, green onions, carrots and mushrooms.

Many times a week, Sobey’s will have sale days where they will encourage some bulk buying on your part. As a reward, they will give you additional points. Last week for instance, I purchased two bottles of salsa verde (to make chili verde with pork). From that purchase, I earned 25 points. If you like tea, they were giving you 100 points if you bought 4 boxes. My pantry is full of tea and coffee so I skipped this deal. Bottom line is that everyone needs groceries and a vacation. It makes perfect sense to shop for groceries, earn your Aeroplan points to fly business class on your vacation.

Scavenging Road Kill

Black billed magpie

Black billed magpie

Since coming back from California, I’ve seen a lot of Black Billed Magpies around. They seem to be circling my yard. And out on the road, they seem to be bolder than ever, swooping down where there’s road kill. Cars go around them because (considerate) drivers don’t want them to be the next road kill.

When I moved to Calgary, someone told me that magpies are like vultures. They appear when something is dead. In other words, they are scavengers and they eat dead things like dead rats, gophers, mice, birds (ie. roadkill).

I see them waiting at street corners so that when the coast is clear, they fly in and eat. When a car gets near, they hop around instead of getting out of the way. They are quite the pedestrian.

And as scavengers, they help clean up the roads and our yards. Without them, we would have carcasses all over the place. Magpies, keep up the good work!

Awesome Meat Pies

Village Pita Bakery

Village Pita Bakery

Since the first introduction to a pita pie, I’ve consumed thousands of these tasty morsels and introduced many people to this awesome bakery called the Village Pita Bakery in the NE. When  it opens in the morning, there’s already a trickle of people coming in and ordering the famed pita pie. I’ve been there as early as 10am and had to line up for a fresh meat pie.

The original meat pie is a flat pita bread with ground beef, tomato and herb mixture spread on it and baked. To eat it, drizzle lemon juice on it and eat away. Fiery eaters would want to try their homemade hot sauce which is great on the meat pies. When ordering, tell them you plan to eat in and they will serve you up a bowl of fresh olives with your meal.

Village Pita Bakery on Urbanspoon

Other tasty treats include the cheese pie which uses a variety of cheeses, baked on the flat pita bread dough. When fresh out of the oven, the dough is crispy. They will fold it in half and serve it to you. Watch out for the drippings because they come out juicy and hot. If you’re eating with your spouse or a coworker, order 6 and get a break on price. Better yet, order 12 to share it with your family and save some money too.

Complement your meal with a baklava and drink and you’re good for the day. Once you’ve tasted this, you’ll be back for more and hopefully, you’ll bring your family and your friends too.

No Drips – Irvine Pumbing and Heating

Business Card

Business Card

This weekend, I wanted to wash our cars. I went down to the basement and turned on the water so that the outside faucets would work and water started sprinkling down on my head. The faucet had sprung a leak and there was no way to stop it from dripping. I knew this required a plumber.

I had the pleasure to meet Caleb Irvine of Irvine Plumbing and Heating. Caleb is a master plumber and master gasfitter. Caleb charges $39 for a service call which is very reasonable. Basically, it pays for his time to assess the situation and provide you an estimate for the fix. Before starting the work, Caleb will show you a chart that he has devised. Starting from the bottom of the page, he will tell you the level of complexity of the work required of him to perform. The more complex, the more money he has to charge. Caleb notes that the homeowner is always uneasy about what the work will cost, so he came up with this system that eases the homeowners’ mind. Frankly speaking, I wish all trades would follow Caleb’s chart.

To qualify for the WaterSense government grant of $50 per toilet, Caleb recommended the Toto-Drake toilet. He provided a very good quote to remove the toilets in the house and replace them with brand new Toto-Drakes. I can’t say enough about his recommendations and his work. It really speaks for itself. These toilets are quiet, efficient and the lids don’t slam when you accidentally drop them.

Today, he came and replaced the faulty faucet downstairs with a new unit for $99 (btw, he waived the $39 service call). It’s spanking new and looks great. On top of that, he asked if I drain my water line in the winter and I said no. He recommended a three step plan for me to take in the fall, showing me how to unscrew the drain plug and telling me to drain the line before winter. If there was a homeowner’s manual, Caleb would have written the chapter on plumbing. His advice is free and it will save homeowners like me, costly repairs in the future.

This is why I trust and recommend Caleb Irvine at Irvine Plumbing and Heating. He is fair, dependable, honest, upfront and very professional.