Environmentally & Socially Responsible Event Planning * Consulting * Staffing * Catering

What our clients say about us...

  • “You have extraordinary attention to detail. You took care of the little things (like the place setting utensil twine and the food platter you sent up to the girls’ room) that we didn’t even think about. We’d be able to tell future clients to feel confident that everything will be taken of with style, even the things they may not have thought of beforehand.” – John, on his wedding

Thursday, December 9, 2010

L'Espressing my impressions...

[Possible RANT Alert!]

I have to admit that being in the catering industry for a while tends to make you a food snob and a especially a service sob. I think we often discount real service and what a good waiter is. But I'm digressing.

Variety is the spice of life and I recently went for an Americano with J at a local place down the street. After a day of grinding out proposals and quotes I really was chomping at the bit to get out of the home office and surround myself with fellow hunams and grab a cup o joe somewhere with good company. So, J recommended we go to L'Espresso. We ended up shelling out $45.00 for a chicken panini, salad, Earl Gray tea, Americano and a chocolate pear tart. OUCH.

I wouldn't have minded swallowing the $45.00 for experience. But then the treat pretty much went down hill from there.

The ambiance was indeed nice, its a VERY pretty place. Yet the Americano was quite frankly pathetic and lukewarm. I'm quite sure this is not representative of Italian cuisine. (To put it in comparison, I had a stronger, more full bodied Americano at Aroma later that night just to erase that first Americano from my pallet. - a Franchise-made Americano!)

The chicken breast in the panini was decently juicy if plain. In my humble opinion there are plenty of things you can do to three slices of chicken breast, even while grilling them. Such juicy breasts were dying for some tender culinary love. Ahem. Pesto? Pepper? Anything? Even a light rub of herbs would be lovely. ESPECIALLY for $10.00! It was spicy. That's it. No hint of Italian basil to compliment the tomato bits, and one maybe two sheafs of lettuce just to say they were actually present and accounted for. Not even something to compliment the juiciness of the chicken or detract from the dryness of the toasted panini bread.

What really got me was that I feel we really got profiled by the waitstaff. We didn't even have the waitstaff visit to check up on us, refill my water, or refresh J's tea. Perhaps it was the fact that J was knitting or I was dressed down from my daily biz ware. Service was pathetic. I almost felt like tipping myself for the last bit I am about to mention.

First, I think the sad that this fine dining/ cafe establishment completely forgot the dessert. After nearly bussing the ho-hum waitress came by and stacked dishes our fine china like it was Denny's and was off. (I guess we're just not worth revisiting because we laid down a measily $45.00 bones)

So I went up to get J's dessert. The head waiter ends up realizing that he forgot and simply hands it to me from the fridge, completely cold.  (I guess we're doing self-serve now!)

(For those that don't know, today it was -9, -16 with the windchill. Why the HECK would I want to have a cold dessert with my lukewarm, weak and defence-less Americano?) The end result? A hard tart with equally hard chocolate filling, and clammy slivers of pear in it. Room temperature or even a slight warmth would have really brought out the butter (if any) in the tart crust or even made the chocolate and pear pairing enjoyable.

The saddest part was that I had to get my dessert myself!   The head waiter even unceremoniously handed the cold plate to me direct from the fridge (hint of pre-prepared earlier that morning, since the whip cream that was suppose to accent it was a shapeless white blob.

Above: Bleh.  Its almost like home-style dessert.  Self serve, direct from the fridge and cold

Perhaps if you want a nice place to sit and watch the world go by, go here.  I simply don't think I'd come back here for the food nor the service.   Perhaps it would be a nice venue, I'd just have to ensure that the there was a taste test before spending a dollar and having outside staff for service.  The service at L'Espresso simply was shameful. The food was nothing to write home about and the price was certainly not representative of the experience.

(Sigh.  I guess that's a - YES. I am a food/service snob!)

200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

Well, math has always been my arch-nemisis. But Hans Rosling's real time illustration really does show how far we have come in the last 200 years, and, how far we will go.
It gives me hope for the future (Watching some of the CBC Doc Zone Documentaries was getting me rather down) and above all I'm glad I and Simplicity are trying to do our part.

We can never rest on our laurels, as there is still much to do. Anyhow. On with the show!

200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh noes. Getting sick. Again.

There is nothing worse than that "froggy" feeling in the back of your throat. I absolutely hate getting sick, mainly because of the down time and that fact that it takes me close to 4-6 weeks to get rid of the resulting cough that comes along with whatever I've caught.

The number one way to get sick? Stress. Or rather the release of stress. Don't get me wrong, stress can actually be good. But after the completion of an event or surviving a blitz you're more likely to get sick. Exam time? Definitely a good time to get sick right after you finish.

Thankfully J was completely inspired by Julia Child and made French Onion soup. (Swoon) Melted Gruyere is so yum with the soup.

Anyhoo, here are pictures of the "gang" in action. I will admit I do sometimes refer to them as my "kids". It's a terrible habit sometimes. It's especially ironic as I often seem to forget the age difference when I speak to some of them. "You're how old?!"

Anyhow, here are the photos: Simplicity staff in ACTION! (Merge to form DevasCater?!)

Above: Did I mention we do private house parties?
J, Bridget and Rick help a client take the stress out of having guests at a house warming

Left & Below: Bridget sets up the spread for the Trudeau book signing reception

Above: Here's the staff during a bit of down time before the start of an event