#Tweettoeat: a Social Experiment

24 Mar

People tell me on a nearly weekly basis that they find Vancouver a difficult place to meet friends and a place where people seem cold and withdrawn. Each time I hear these words uttered from the mouths of friends and strangers, I often wonder where that perception comes from? I certainly do not have that experience here, overall. There are days where the weather isn’t as nice as it could be, and maybe some angry faces are peering back at me as we sardine can our way home together on the skytrain or #3 Main st. bus (transit, now THERE is something to complain about!). BUT overall, my experience is Vancouver is that I meet a lot of people, a lot of kind, generous, loving people that I have a hard time not welcoming in to my life with open arms.

This perception people seem to have of Vancouver got me thinking. What can I do to showcase the generosity of other people, on a very simple level. Not showcasing people doing extra ordinary things, no, that has been done before. I need something that fundamentally shows that regardless of the benefit to the people of this city, there are people out there who care, want to meet new people and want to help others out, right here in our own community. I wanted to do something a bit crazy, a bit unusual. #Tweettoeat… read on if you dare!

For two weeks, starting on April 15th (Ending on April 28th), I will attempt to eat nothing but what I can source from friends and strangers on twitter. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Food that is unwanted from your fridge or cupboard
  • Generous invites to have dinner or pop by to grab some breakfast!
  • Coupons for free food
  • invitations to go for sushi, ramen, whatever!
  • Tea & coffee donations will be greatly appreciated!

I want to take this opportunity to meet people, to welcome new strangers in to my life and to prove to everyone who lives here that this city is filled with compassionate people, people who care and want to help each other out (and don’t want to see me starve).

A single disclaimer! I am vegetarian. This is the only issue… we will see how that goes.

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I will be documenting the entire journey here, on my Twitter (@VancityAmy) and on my Facebook page and instagram (@VancityAmy).

This terrifies me, so you know. The only reason I am putting this blog post up now, is so I don’t back out of this! Please let me know if you want to participate and help me out (Through Twitter please!) I am really looking forward to this terrifying and exciting journey!

I will be using the hashtag #Tweettoeat follow it to follow the adventures!

Contact me at amyelderkin [at] gmail [dot] com

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Secret Garden Event on TONIGHT – Fundraiser

27 Feb

Almost a year ago I gave a presentation on social media to this group of PR students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Every year, as a part of their course curriculum, the Public Relations students host an event for a non-profit organization; this year they have chosen the Richmond Society of Community Living. 

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Richmond Society for Community Living is a great organization committed to providing community based programs and support for children and adults with developmental disabilities. This organization enables these individuals to participate and contribute to the Richmond community and be recognized and accepted as valued members. 

The PR Students have organized a cocktail style garden party at Tapenade Bistro with the hopes of raising $15,000 for their cause.

For more information on this event visit www.oursecretgarden.ca. Good luck with the event tonight!

Grand Villa Casino and Ebo Restaurant in Burnaby

4 Jan

I had the pleasure of being invited to sample some of the fabulous cuisine and try my hand on the slot machines at Grand Villa Casino. Being the fairly veggie eating, music loving West Coaster that I am, I actually had never been to a casino before. I was curious, so I decided to see if I would be a lucky winner and made my way out to Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby.

First stop, Ebo Restaurant. I have been hearing a lot about this restaurant lately and was excited to see what all the hype was about.

We were greeted with a very friendly hostess who took us straight to our table which was a cozy booth in the back.I noticed some larger circular tables in the back which were sort of tucked away and looked perfect for larger groups or birthday parties.

Our server, Sarah quickly came to let us know a bit about Ebo and ask us if we had any special dietary concerns or if we would like recommendations. I mentioned that I don’t eat meat, or gluten and Sarah immediately brought over a special celiac friendly menu! She also suggested that perhaps I would like to try a 3 course tasting menu featuring something that was not on the menu with some items that were. How could I refuse?

We ordered some lovely BC cabernet/merlot  and were brought some gorgeous olive bread and some house made rice flat bread (which the chef later told us is actually a pizza dough) to start us off. This flat bread was a standout! It was covered in oil and garlic, the bread was somehow flaky (which is not something you tend to find with gluten free) and the flavour was just amazing. I could have just eaten that bread and wine all night. Another rice flour bread came out which was more of a typical, less appealing rice bread that was quite dry, as is typical with most gluten free breads.

She started me and my wonderful company off with the Beetroot and Goat Cheese salad. This was truly the standout of the meal! The salad features local Marinated Baby Beets, Goat’s Pride Camembert, Textures of Orange (an orange foam and orange pearls) & a Pine Nut Granola. The flavours were really wonderful and this is something I would definitely get again.

We each had a different second course. I had these gorgeous corn cakes (an off menu item) with mozarella and pineapple, my company had the Roast Scallops which came with Vanilla Scented Cauliflower Puree, Jamon Serrano, Capers & Raisins & squid ink Aioli. Both were standout items. The corn cakes were completely vegetarian friendly and gluten free!

The final course for me was a smoked tempeh and vegetable risotto (off menu item), and for my guest, steak!

The risotto was nice and so was the tempeh but it was nothing terribly special. A bit bland but still had some good flavour, just nothing that stood out and no melting in my mouth.  The steak was served with Sautéed Seasonal Mushrooms, Asparagus, Garlic and Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Truffled Herb Compound Butter, Dijon Mustard and was also perfectly cooked. The only criticism is that the potatoes the steak came with were a very over salted.

All the vegetables were from Hazelmere Organic Farm in South Surrey and the goat cheese from the salad was from Goat’s Pride Organic Dairy in Abbotsford.

We were also served some unbelievable truffles to finish off the evening!

The prices were very reasonable and the food was great. Ebo is a great place to visit for a birthday, date or special occasion. It is a bit of a trek for me (I live in Downtown) but I would definitely head out to Grand Villa again for a special occasion.  The atmosphere is nice but does still have a bit of a ‘Hotel Restaurant’ feeling. Their fabulous chef, Daniel Craig came out to say hello at the end of the evening! They have something to most certainly be proud of at Ebo.

After dinner we headed over to the casino and played some slots. I have never done it before and it was fun but your money will go quickly! I think next time I’d like to try some of the other games (will have to learn some card games I guess!).

It was like night and day being in the Casino and in Ebo. The casino staff didn’t seem as friendly and it was a very tense room (as one would expect with so much money flying around). Ebo was relaxed and the staff were so knowledgeable and friendly!

If you have a chance to head out to Burnaby I would recommend trying out Grand Villa & Ebo! It is a really fun experience and Ebo is a great place to try if you want to experience some great local cuisine.

See the full Ebo restaurant menu by visiting their website.

Learn more about the Grand Villa Casino  by visiting their website.

Please note that my meal was paid for and all views expressed are my own. I was not paid to write a positive review.

Vancouver Aquarium Features Luminesence Nov. 24th-Jan 2nd

7 Dec

I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of Luminesence at the Vancouver Aquarium a couple of weeks ago to see the amazing Jelly Swarm! As part of Luminescence- a celebration of aquatic light, the Vancouver Aquarium commissioned Tangible Intervention and origami artist Joseph Wu to create and art installation that would awe our visitors. They created Jelly Swarm, a masterpiece of over 100 origami jellies with LED lights covering the entire ceiling of the entrance gallery.

This installation took three months of detailed planning, plus 15 hours of overnight install shifts! The software for the lights and the complex structure that the jellies hang from are all completely unique and bespoke and made entirely for the Aquarium.

Take a look:

Check out this amazing video of the making of Jelly Swarm

We also got to experience their awesome 4D theatre! Without revealing too much we got to wear awesome 3d glasses and were sprayed with SNOW! It was amazing!

They also featured two electric eels who were lighting up a Christmas tree!

Of course I had to get in on the action.

Luminesence – A celebration of aquatic light is on from November 24th to January 2nd

From the Vancouver Aquarium website

“Looking for new and unique ways to enjoy the festive season this year? Then visit Luminescence and discover how animals create and reflect light through special exhibits and shows.

Visit the Aquarium’s traditional holiday tree, powered by the help of two electric eels! These amazing animals are one of only a few species in the world that can discharge a huge jolt of electricity. See the eels in action at one of the daily shows and witness a dazzling display of light each time the eels feed.

You can then immerse yourself in Jelly Swarm, a unique light installation created by Tangible Intervention in collaboration with origami artist, Joseph Wu. Over a hundred jellies with LED lights will fill the entire ceiling of a gallery. Control the lighting yourself at the touch of a button and create beautiful patterns of light throughout the amazing swarm hanging above you. Then take part in glow in the dark arts and crafts activities or make your very own origami jelly decoration to take home with you.”

It was awesome to walk around the aquarium and see some of the other animals too!

The whole experience was awesome! Who doesn’t love the aquarium? Make sure to check this show out over your Christmas holidays!

For more details visit their website

Charm Modern Thai Closes it’s Doors

15 Nov

One of my favorite places to get panang curry has closed! I didn’t even get to say goodbye! Owner Desmond Chen, announced today that Charm Modern Thai has been sold. The restaurant’s last day of service was Sunday November 13, 2011.  The new owners take over on November 16 and the room will reopen on a later date with a totally different concept.

“It’s hard to believe that it was only three years ago that I opened CHARM Modern Thai,” said Desmond Chen.  “Although located on a notoriously difficult stretch of Hamilton Street, we developed a loyal following. Although the restaurant was not on the market, the new owners recognized CHARM’s success as an asset and they presented an excellent offer and quick completion.”

Key staff and management from CHARM will find employment within the Thai House Restaurant Group. CHARM executive chef Samnan Kamonroek will make the move to Pink Elephant Thai joining chef Parichat Poomkajorn in turning out traditional Thai favorites and innovative Thai creations.

I will have to just stick to Pink Elephant Thai which is really delicious so I don’t mind!

#FF Feature on…@Phanyxx

26 Aug

I have been privileged enough to get to know and work with (www.gopopcorn.ca) the very talented @Phanyxx as he is known in the twitterverse. mHe is known to the local Vancouver community as a Social Media King, fabulous graphic designer and great guy who refuses to smile in photos. Take a read and learn a bit about him.

1) Twitter handle?
@Phanyxx

2) Real Name?
Nick Routley

3) How long have you been on twitter?
A couple of years.

4) What do you like most about social media?
Meeting awesome new people in my city. And infographics. Oh, and people’s random food photos.

5) What do you typically tweet about?
Honestly, I’ve never been able to answer that question. I guess I just tweet about whatever’s interesting to me at the moment. I get a kick out of sharing my day-to-day experiences with other people.

6) Best place to meet new friends in Vancouver?
Definitely Twitter/tweetups! That answer’s too easy though. Many people say Vancouverites are unfriendly, but that’s only true on a superficial level. Get involved in an activity, meetup or class with like-minded people and you’ll see how fast you make friends.

7) Favorite place to grab a late night bite in Vancouver?
Fritz! What’s better for late-night food than poutine?

8) Favorite summer activity in Vancouver?
Walking around Vancouver. Love to just stroll and randomly hit restaurants and coffee shops.

9) Best Sunday Brunch?
The Five Point (on Main St). I love their hash and you get mini-doughnuts with your meal! 100% win. I also love eating pho for brunch.

10) Name another tweep we should all be following and why.
If you’re not following @AY604, then do it. He’s pretty hilarious.

Nick is a great guy, has some great tweets and will always give you ideas of new places to go in the city. Follow him for your #FF FUN!

The 2011 Aritzia Warehouse Sale is coming September 1st

23 Aug

Aritzia is having their annual sale from September 1 to 5, 2011 at  142 Water Street in Gastown.

HOURS:

Thursday Sept 1st: 8am to 8pm
Friday Sept 2nd: 8am to 8pm
Saturday Sept 3rd: 9am to 6pm
Sunday Sept 4th: 10am to 6pm
Monday Sept 5th: 10am to 6pm

will you be there?!

#FF Feature on…. @AspiringMedia!!

19 Aug

@AspiringMedia is one of the first “Twitter Peeps or Tweeps” I ever met! He is an inspiration man, having survived cancer, and he is truly a kind person. I wanted to let people know (if you don’t already) that this is a great person to follow. He does a lot of great work and you should know about it!

His twitter bio says: Vancouver based artist | Photographer | Railfan | Fuck Cancer

I wanted to know more about him… check out his answers to these HARD HITTING questions!

What’s your twitter handle? @AspiringMedia

Whats your real name? Stephen aka StevieG

What do you like to talk about on “the twitter”? Almost everything. Music,News,Cancer related events

What part of Vancouver or surrounding areas do you live in? Surrey,shhh tell everyone EastVan. Yeah

Favorite thing to do in the city? Photography,The seawall,ahhh Vancity

Favorite hole in the wall restaurant in the city? Bon’s off Broadway. $2.95 breaky and a great place for people watching.

Best place for a weekend getaway? Victoria. The Ferry Ride will blow you away. Instant stress reliever

Best place to make a new friend in the city? This is a trick Question Amy..sheesh. any good club with a vibe such as the Anza. because everyone loves music

Fav thing about twitter? meeting interesting people.

Someone we should all follow? Fav tweep is actually @letsfcancer because they are a great bunch of people out raising awareness of Cancer detection

Make sure to check out StevieG’s profile and follow him on this gorgeous Friday!

Adult Pirate Paks are back on August 17 & Giving Back! ENTER TO WIN!

15 Aug

Last year, White Spot launched the special edition “Adult Pak” to give guests of all ages a chance to indulge in a childhood favourite to raise money for a good cause, and they’ve decided to do it again this year.

For each kids and adult Pirate Pak sold on August 17, White Spot will make a $2 donation to longtime B.C. charity Zajac Ranch for Children, an organization dedicated to giving children with life-threatening illnesses and chronic disabilities an unforgettable summer camp experience. With more than $105,000 raised over the past three years, White Spot has sent a total of 50 kids to camp since 2008.

All adult pirate packs include creamy coleslaw and ‘endless’ fries plus a soft drink, White Spot’s famous chocolate coin and a scoop of their new premium rich ice cream.

In celebration of the Adult Pirate Pak day on August 17th, White Spot has graciously donated 3 gift $10 Gift Certificates! I am going to do things a little differently, you have TWO WAYS TO WIN!

1) I am going to give 2 to the person who posts a comment on this post telling me why they love the adult Pirate Pak at White Spot below (worth 1 entry towards 2 $10 White Spot GCs)

2) Retweet the following on twitter: “I entered to win an Adult Pirate Pak from @White_Spot & @VancityAmy to celebrate Pirate Pak Day Aug. 17th http://ow.ly/633aW RT to enter” (worth 1 entry towards one $10 White Spot GC)

Learn more about Pirate Pak Day on August 17th and be sure to stop in to help show your support for the Zajac Ranch Children’s Charity

NOTE: I will be doing the draw on August 15th at 6pm, all winners must be able to be reached by August 16th at 8am or a new winner will be selected.

#FF Feature on… @vanessadtam

12 Aug

It’s #FF and I wanted to do a little feature on one of my fav girls, Vanessa Tam! This girl is amazing and has great tweets worth following! She will let you know what’s hot in the city and give you a giggle at the same time.

What’s your twitter handle? @vanessadtam

Whats your real name? Vanessa… Tam. Haha.

What do you like to talk about on “the twitter”? I talk about fashion, beauty, art, design, travel, tech, food, stupid things that happen to me during the day… You know, the usual.

What part of Vancouver or surrounding areas do you live in? Richmond, city of good food and bad drivers.

Favorite thing to do in the city? Eat, shop, and chill with friends.

Favorite hole in the wall restaurant in the city? Au Petite Cafe is a little place on Main owned by an old Vietnamese man that serves the best Vietnamese subs in the city! (in my opinion).

Best place for a weekend getaway? Tofino! Because it’s so quiet there and you can either do active things like surf, or posh things like the spa. Also, anyone can appreciate the beach.

Best place to make a new friend in the city? I don’t know if this counts… But tweetups! Because everyone is so nice and open to meeting new people.

Favorite thing about twitter? I love how open and helpful everyone is on twitter! I think out of all the social media tools I use, and there’s a lot of em, my best connections and friendships are have come from Twitter.

Favorite Tweep to follow? My favorite tweep to follow is definitely Natasha (@nneale). She is an amazing chick who does it all! I admire her ability to connect with amazing people, do amazing work, and still manage to share what she does with us on Twitter. Follow her!

Thank you Vanessa and Happy Follow Friday EVERYONE!