Boston Pizza Turns 50!

On August 12, 2014 Boston Pizza will be celebrating their 50th birthday! It all started in 1964 in Edmonton Alberta when Greek immigrant Gus Agioritis opened Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House. His goal was to focus on franchising, and by 1970 the brand had 17 locations throughout Western Canada. One of the first franchisees was Jim Treiliving, an RCMP officer at the time. Jim went on to build a chain of 16 restaurants with his business partner George Melville. In 1983 the two purchased the company from Ron Coyle, who had purchased the company from Agioritis just 5 years earlier.

During the last 50 years, many different dishes have graced the menus of Boston Pizza. Until August 17th Boston Pizza head chef Chef Michael Gray has brought back some of these menu items and you can find them on the menu right now. These include fan favourites like the Popeye, a spinach loaded pizza topped roasted garlic, pizza mozzarella and feta cheese and The Sombrero, which is essentially a taco on a pizza.

I had the opportunity to taste all of the new pizzas and have to say I enjoyed them all. If I had to pick a favourite though I would have to say the Kung Pao Chicken Pizza really stood out among the competition.

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Cooking With Rosa at 7 Numbers

Walking in the door to the Cooking With Rosa evening at 7 Numbers, we were immediately greeted with a glass of wine. Not in a fancy wine glass, in a cup, just like they do it in Italy.

The table was set for about 15, in a long family style setup with many of the my other classmates already in their seats. Beside me was a young couple that received the cooking class as a gift from a relative. After quickly getting familiar with my surroundings, we were invited to the kitchen to meet the special lady whom the evening was all about, Rosa.

Before she even spoke, she began looking for her wine, which someone had forgotten. “No wine, no fun!” were the first things she said, and I knew it was gonna be a fun night. Continue Reading »

How To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Weekend Authentically

St. Patrick's WeekendSince St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Monday this year, Guinness Canada has taken it on themselves to make the celebrations last all weekend long. This year, instead of just calling it St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness has created St. Patrick’s Weekend.

Did you know that over 13 million pints of Guinness are enjoyed around the world on St. Patrick’s Day? Or did you know that around ten million pints of GUINNESS are drunk around the world every day; or almost 2 billion pints a year!

To help Canadian’s have a more authentic Paddy’s Day experience, Guinness Canada has flown over two awesome guys from Ireland, Mark “Happy” Rossiter and David Tunney. I had the opportunity to meet the guys last night at The Ceili Cottage to discuss some ways for Canadians to “do St. Patrick’s Weekend right”. Here are some of their suggestions:

Eat and Drink Authentic Irish Fare – This means starting your day with a good Irish breakfast (ie. eggs and bangers (Irish sausage), grilled tomato, and rashers (Irish bacon)) and washing it all down with some authentic Irish beers and whiskies like Guinness, Harp & Bushmills.

Choosing an Irish Venue – Find a real Irish bar. This guarantees you a much more fun experience than a bar just trying to ride the popularity of the weekend. Personally, I am hoping to make a stop in to The Ceili Cottage as they really do things great!

Singing and Dancing – A good Irish bar should have lots of singing and dancing going on, and it is proven that a little Guinness will actually make you a better dancer ;)

Don’t Drink Green Beer – If the bar is using food colouring to make their Molson Canadian look more Irish, run! Embrace the black beer. Not only is it delicious, it is also one of the beers with the fewest calories! It is one of my all-time favourite beers.

Guinness Canada have also gone to great lengths to make St. Patrick’s Weekend amazing this year, including flying the kegs in from Ireland then having them delivered to bars around the GTA with police escort!

So, if you see the Irish guys around this weekend, be sure to say hello! Have some Guinness and of course, party responsibly!

GUINNESS CONTEST

To get your St. Patrick’s Day started, I am giving away a couple of cans of Guinness, two Guinness t-shirts (size large) and some awesome Guinness Glassware (see photo). All you have to do to enter is tweet the following without the quotes:

“I promise not to drink green beer this weekend @GuinnessCanada! Now give me FREE Guinness @beachrockinc! http://www.cheapdude.com/drinks/how-to-celebrate-st-patricks-weekend-authentically #GuinnessSPW”

Here are the contest rules:

1) Must be following @beachrockinc on Twitter
2) Must tweet the phrase EXACTLY as shown above without the quotes
3) Must be legal drinking age. ID required.
4) Must live in Ontario and be able to meet in Toronto to collect the prize.
5) 1 entry per person.
6) Winner will be selected on Sunday, March 16 at 6pm.
7) This contest is not endorsed by Guinness Canada in any way.

Prize is as shown:

guinness-contest

Here are some more pictures from the event and some from Guinness Canada, good luck!:

When Is The Best Time To Do Holiday Shopping?

According to the 2013 Holiday Retailer Outlook survey by Deloitte, the most important attribute of a retailer for Canadians is PRICE.

If you are looking for a deal this holiday season, then timing your shopping is very important. There are certain times where you can get the best deals leading up to Christmas, the end of shopping and holiday season for most retailers. Here are some tricks you can use to save you lots of money this holiday season:

1) Buy EARLY, or anytime you see a deal throughout the year – While I don’t suggest you start shopping for the next holiday on Boxing Day, this actually is a great time to stock up on things like wrapping paper for the following year. Stores are generally trying to clear this stuff out so they can make room for the next holiday, likely Valentine’s Day, on the shelves. In the months leading up to the holidays, if you see something at a great deal for someone you will be buying for anyway, why not get it a bit earlier while you have the deal there. If it goes further on sale, most credit cards these days offer 90-day price protection.

Deloitte’s 2013 Holiday Retail Outlook

Deloitte’s 2013 Holiday Retail Outlook

2) Anytime you are in the United States – While Canadian retailers are becoming much more competitive, the US still has WAY better pricing on most items. If you happen to find yourself across the border already, take advantage of the savings and maximize your shopping allowances. Heck, don’t even be afraid to go over a bit if the deal is really good because duty isn’t really that much anyway. Just make sure you are honest about it and claim everything at the border, because if you don’t… well, good luck, but it will not be worth it.

3) Black Friday – For those who don’t know, Black Friday is THE BIGGEST shopping day of the year in the United States. It always takes place on the Friday following Thanksgiving, and besides being known as the most deadly shopping day of the year, it is known for having the best deals of the entire year. Over the past few years Canadian retailers have felt the pinch in their pocketbook from Canadians crossing the border for these deals, and have started offering their own Canadian Black Friday deals. While our deals still aren’t as good as our neighbours to the south, they are getting much better every year.

4) Leading Up To Christmas – In the past, the closer you got to Christmas, the more money you paid for items. Fortunately, this is changing. Over the past few years Retailers have been forced to compete with the American retailers, which means they are keep their “sales” (I use quotations because unless it is over 40% I don’t consider it to be a deal) running longer. Consumers who participated in the Deloitte survey mentioned at the start of this article also said they plan on spending less money this year which will also contribute to the longer sales. While you will likely spend more as you get closer to Christmas, you won’t spend as much as you would have in the past.

5) Boxing Day – In Canada, boxing day was our version of Black Friday. The only problem, you had to buy gifts after the time when you wanted to present the gifts. The way this is changing is gift cards have grown massively in popularity, so if you want to get your special someone more bang for your buck, give them a gift card over the holidays and your cash will likely go a bit further. The downside of Boxing Day shopping is it is a complete NIGHTMARE! Long lines, no parking spots, limited selection and often the deals aren’t even that much of a deal. For those still reading, you can still find deals but you gotta dig.

6) Boxing Week Mid January – Since these are historically the worst shopping times for retailers, many have extended their deals post boxing day for a few weeks. This is the time where they clear out everything to start making way for the spring clothing. Deals can be amazing, but you are gonna have to really pick through the scraps left over from all the previous sales. If you aren’t super picky this time is great for finding a really good deal.

7) Shop Online – While this has nothing to do with when to shop, it is a tip about where to shop. Shopping online is a great way to find deals on everything. eBay is still an awesome site for getting a deal on ANYTHING, and always look out for sales from your favourite retailer’s online store.

8) What You Buy – If you are looking to stretch your dollar a bit further these holidays, check out my Cheap Christmas Gift Ideas article from last year.

If you have any questions or advice about holiday shopping for Canadians, let us know in the comments section below.

Deloitte’s 2013 Holiday Retail Outlook

Deloitte’s 2013 Holiday Retail Outlook

The Ballroom Bowl Review

This review is LONG OVERDUE as The Ballroom Bowl is one of my favourite bars in Toronto. Not only do they have great food, awesome staff and a variety of fun things happening and to do there, they also have lots of great deals!

Opened in 2011, The Ballroom Bowl (I just call it Ballroom for short) is located at the corner of Richmond and John, in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district. The venue is essentially an adult playground, with a long list of activities on site, including:

– 10 Pin Bowling
– Ping Pong
– A stage for live bands
– 60+ LED TVs & Projectors
– Foosball
– 2 Patios
– 4 Bars
– Pool Tables
– Bubble Hockey
– An XBOX corner

Here are some pictures from some of my visits:

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