Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Orange Crush

Alberta has had a long history of essentially one party rule, with sudden over night switch to new party:
1905–1921 Alberta Liberal Party
1921–1935 United Farmers of Alberta
1935–1971 Social Credit Party of Alberta
1971–2015 Alberta Progressive Conservatives
2015-present Alberta NDP

So, following the trend, NDP in power to about what, 2065?

Fascinating to see Prentice abandon his seat immediately upon realizing he couldn't be premier anymore. Shows he was never interested in representing that riding, never interested in advocating for deeply held beliefs, just interested in the top job. Completely irresponsible flight from his responsibilities. Foisting the cost of yet another byelection on his followers. Slap in face of PC volunteers in that district--would not want to be the PC guy who has to run there next.

Fascinating to that his exit speech was all about how none of it was his fault. "No one expected a drop in oil prices, no one expected 50,000 job lost as a result, no one expected..." Yeah, he expected to be parachuted into top job and to run a province effortlessly. It was mean of us to expect some actual leadership, for him to actually have to do something more helpful and constructive than to save a few million by cutting the charity tax deduction. Mindboggling hubris. Alberta may be way right wing, but the thing about right-wingers is, hubris does not sit well with them. Under another leader, the PCs might well have slipped a bit in the election, but it takes a real effort for a party so entrenched to collapse this far in one go.

Lethbridge Food Show (Review)

The 1st Annual Lethbridge Food Show: the food wars arena

Well, that was good.

The first Lethbridge Food Show was not the first of its kind in Lethbridge--in fact, the field is getting a little crowded. 5th on 5th has been running a Taste of Lethbridge as a fund-raiser for several years, and it has been a huge success--it runs in April. More recently, the Galt Museum has been running A Taste of Downtown, which also runs in May. It was sufficiently successful that it sold out before I could get tickets. So hoping that this new commercial version doesn't compete to the point where it hurts either of those charities, but there's probably room for this one too. But maybe a little coordination to spread themselves out across the calendar wouldn't hurt.

This one was reasonably well organized, and had a number of added features that appeal.

First, the venue allowed for actual food trucks to participate, in addition to the usual spread of tables. Nice to know Lethbridge has some food trucks these days!

Second, the food was really good. That's kind of important. We spent $60 for the two of us which is roughly what a good meal costs, and we feel we got our money's worth sampling this and that till stuffed. What I like about sampling is the opportunity to discover new places in town. Who knew that there was an excellent chef (Chef Express) renting the kitchen at the Legion? I loved his butter chicken fusion dish--butter chicken adapted, he said, for white guys. (*Laughs*) But I have to confess I am less interested in authentic than in yummy, and his butter chicken was creamy goodness! The chocolate coated bacon also dangerously good, though obviously a gimmick. Other food highlight: deep fried pumpkin pie. Seriously amazing. But a number of really good resturants were featured, though I didn't bother sampling those from places we eat regularly. I could see the food show growing much larger, given the success of this initial outing, and can think of several places that weren't represented that might well do well (like our Korean place) were they to participate. So lots of room for growth there, but already worth the price of admission.

Third, having a big name guest Chef -- in this instance, David Adjey-- was kind of cool idea. Comes across a little different in person, so that was interesting.

Fourth, Lethbridge Chef Wars was good idea, though implementation needs to be refined a bit. The idea of doing a live, local version of Chopped TV show has definite potential, and the set up was excellent - photo shows the large arena space dedicated to it, with three quite generous cooking stations laid out, judges table, and etc., and a camera guy running from table to table, projecting cooks and their dishes up on two giant screens. That was handled quite well. The tiny problems were the sound system was echo-y so that it was often difficult to make out what the judges were saying, and there were very long periods were contestants were cooking without any commentary...TV generates excitement by having a host narrating the battle, constantly commenting on chef's choices, progress and techniques, etc., so long silent stretches sapped a lot of the energy out of the thing. Not sure if that was inexperience on part of MC/host, or whether they'd given up on the sound system. Minor fixes, though, so we'll see what happens next time.

Fifth, looked like a good size beer garden, but being a non-drinker I didn't check out the displays there.

Sixth, child-friendly! Kids under 12 free admission, so that allows for some families to get out, parents to participate, that might not otherwise be able to get to the 'Taste of' events. Ice sculpting events and food likely to appeal to kids too.

Overall, I'm a satisfied customer, saying congratulations to the chef from the Italian Canadian Club who organized it all, and hope it really does become an annual event.