Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ikea = Good Meatballs

Last night my wife and I had a hot date at Ikea!.  O.k.  not really a hot date but a decent shopping and dinner trip to Ikea (200 Interchange Way, Vaughan, ON).  While there we stopped off at the Ikea Restaurant for dinner.  
The restaraunt is set up in cafeteria style serving where the patron gets a tray and walks by all the food Ikea has to offer in their restaurant.  This includes hot meals served up in their kitchen served by two or three Ikea chefs.  

So we ventured forth, looked at the menu posted and were on our way to gather our dinner.

The Order: 15 piece meatball dinner (includes mash potatoes and gravy), Hot Salmon Plate (stuffed salmon filet with vegetables) and two glasses of Pepsi.

We took our tray and sat down to eat and drink.

The meatball plate was delicious as usual.  The meatballs were good in constistancy but could have been a tad warmer.  The mashed potatoes was decent for the priced paid (i.e. this is no gourmet plate nor restaurant). 

The stuffed salmon filet my wife seemed to enjoy and of course the Pepsi, being fountain, was the normal watered down fountain pop you would find anywhere in a fast food setting. 

Overall the Ikea Restaurant is like a Swedish style fast food cafeteria that serves it's purpose of refueling the Ikea Customer before the shopping trip ahead of them.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thumbs Down to London Pub

On Friday night my wife and I headed over with a coupon to London Pub (9724 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario). We arrived to be shown to our table in the dining room by not one but two Hostesses.   It wasn't until much later, as in going out the door, we learned that they were both trainees. 

FULL STOP....first mistake...2 trainees working the door on a Friday night approaching the dinner hour?  HELLO!  Not a good thing.  How about pairing up the trainees with someone who knows what their doing.  No, not at London Pub!  They put the two trainees together to figure things out on their own. Awesome...simply AWESOME THINKING.

The trainees promised our waitress would be right with us.  We perused the menus and chose what we wanted.  However, there was just one problem,  where was the promised waitress?  Hmmm....ten minutes later she arrives. She inquires if we would like to order drinks and if we need a few minutes with the menus. I confer with my wife and say we are ready to order.

The Order: Milano Panini, a Pound of Honey Garlic Chicken Wings and two Cokes.

The waitress disappeared off to the kitchen to place our order.  How do we know she made it to the kitchen?  Our food came twenty minutes later. 

The food arrived being delivered by the two trainees.  Again how do we know they are trainees?  A clue included they brought the food out and then disappeared not noting the lack of cutlery and napkins on the table.  Napkins would be an obvious need as there were chicken wings that anyone who has had chicken wings knows, napkins - and lots of them - are not an option, but REQUIRED.  The cutlery should also be expected, heck this is English style eating establishment, the English are known for being prim and proper with their cutlery.

My wife whisked over to the waitress station and scored a handful of napkins and some cutlery to resolve that issue.

The food was nothing to write home about either.  The wings came with a single carrot stick and celery each.  The Milano Panini sandwich was different but then again nothing special that I would rave about.   The sweet potato fries were also pretty basic as well.   

While we were eating a waiter came by and decided to adjust the lighting levels in the dining room.  The place turned into a disco for a couple of minutes as the dimmer switches on the lights were turned high then medium then low then back to medium again.   Weird. What ever happened to having a nice quiet dinner in peace? 

Then our waitress never checked on us.  Half way through my Coke glass was empty.  Thank goodness my wife doesn't drink that much Coke.  I got to finish off half of hers too. Where did our waitress go?  I still don't know where she went a day later.  Perhaps the London Pub management should have sent a search party for her. 

We finished our meal and yet a different person came by to clear our plates.  By my count this is the fourth different person to serve us (cout'em: 1. Trainee, 2. Trainee, 3. Waitress 4. Waiter/Busboy). 

He asked if there was anything else we would like?  We requested the bill.  A few minutes later he brought back the bill.  At least the bill was correct.  We had used a coupon from a local publication that gave us a free entree with the purchase of two beverages.  London Pub didn't charge us for the Milano Panini sandwich but did for the wings.  In total it came to $17.20.  

On leaving we noticed the two Trainees were at the front door with another coworker.  The coworker was explaining how to properly place the menus on the table when seating patrons of London Pub.  I rolled my eyes and left.  They let two Trainees with little to no training seat people on one of the busiest nights in the restaurant industry?  What a fine establishement this is.

Overall, we give the London Pub a thumbs down.  The first impression of the Trainees requiring both of them to seat us at a table was the first clue trouble might be at hand.  Then allowing these two to serve the food was yet another mistake as they didn't inquire if anything was missing or if we needed anything. The Trainees simply dissappeared back to their perch at the front door.  We will definately not be visiting anytime soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Barbara Suddard A Eulogy

It has been a week since my mother passed away from Breast Cancer.  It was a week of mourning the loss of my mother, celebrating her life, meeting new people and reconnecting with people.    We had visitations on two occasions on Wednesday and a funeral service on Thursday followed by a celebration of life at T.K's Restaurant & Bar in Aurora. 

To put things in perspective, my wife a week ago after we were leaving Southlake Regional Hospital that a lot of people knew, loved and visited my mother in her last days.   My response to this was simple:

"You've seen nothing yet..." 
My words at the hospital that day rang true all week this past week.  The first visitation at Aurora United Church was jammed with people from mother's past (university friends and old family frinds) to the present (coworkers and friends from Aurora and afar).  I also got to meet a lot of people who my mother had never introduced me to before.  I met her coworkers from Silver Pines Public School and other people from around Aurora. 

During the Visitation with the family I had produced a slideshow of my Mother through the years.  There was great interest in it.  So for those of you that missed it, it can be found here.

Following the first visitation on Wednesday we were invited to eat a pizza dinner along with fruits and vegetables.  This was delicious and refershing after a long two hours of meeting close to one hundred people. 

The evening visitation saw even more people come into Aurora United Church.  Another awe inspiring showing of how important my mother was to the church, the community and to her friends. 

Perhaps the best indication of how much my mother was loved was at the funeral service where we celebrated her life.  Reverands Lorraine Newton-Comar and Andy Comar led the service.  My sister, brother and myself and my aunt (my Mom's sister) provided Eulogies of my mom's life (mine can be found here).  The Aurora United Church choir provided an anthem and Rev. Lorraine a meditation on my Mother and who she knew my mother to be. The participants in the service spoke of how great my mother was in battling cancer and as a person in general.  

Not only were the participants noticeable, but the number of people who chose to attend the service numbered easily over 250.   I easily noticed and was amazed at all the faces I knew staring back at me smiling.  It brought a smile to my face. 

My mother deeply cared about others and Aurora United Church the most. That is why, as a family we decided if people wished to make a donation it should go to Aurora United Church or the Canadian Cancer Society.

Thanks to everyone this week that helped out.  Mary Smith for aranging the volunteers to help out at the visitation and funeral at Aurora United Church, Rev. Lorraine Newton-Comar, Rev. Andy Comar, Carole Rose-Kudelka for leading the funeral service along with the Aurora United Church Choir, Aunt Nancy Young for being like a second mother to me and my family at Southlake Regional Hospital and at my parent's place and everyone who sent flowers, made a donation, sent food and just simply gave me a hug.  It was all greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Busy & Sad Week last Week

Last week I returned from Vancouver.  The plane ride was the longest trip I've ever taken mentally.  

The previous night my father had interupted dinner out with my Mother in Law and her family to say that my mother wasn't doing well and was in hospital.  My wife and I quickly returned to my Mother-in-Laws place and moved up our flight time at no cost to us courtesy of Air Canada (kudos to them). 

We arrived back at Toronto airport and got our bags for 7:00 P.M. and headed to the hospital.  My Mom was pale and whispering.  She lasted through Wednesday night and into Thursday.  We stayed with her all of Thursday alternating between my Dad, my brother and his wife, myself and my wife and my sister. 

My sister, my wife and I went to my parents place Thursday night for dinner.  After we had eaten and did the dishes we got a phone call, my Mom had turned for the worse.  I stayed with her throughout the Thursday night.  However, my mother wouldn't quit until the end.  She passed away Friday night after battling breast cancer.  

All the info is below as published in the Toronto Star

Suddard, Barbara -- after living with cancer for 5 years, Barbara passed away peacefully on Friday, August 6, 2010 at the Southlake Regional Health Centre. Barb, beloved wife of 38 years to Bill. Loving mother of Michael (Yvonne); Peter (Alice); and Christine. Dear sister of Nancy and the late Terry. Memorial visitation at the Aurora United Church (15186 Yonge Street, at Mosley) on Wednesday August 11 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm. Memorial Service in the Aurora United Church on Thursday August 12 at 2:30 pm. A Celebration of Life will be held immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Aurora United Church or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated. Arrangements entrusted to Thompson Funeral Home, Aurora, 905-727-5421. Online tributes may be left at

Monday, August 02, 2010

Dis is Denny's

Vancouver - Tonight my wife and I headed over to one of our favourite restaurants that we don't often get to, Denny's.  Denny's is one of our favourite restaurants but we haven't visited one in a year.  Why?  There simply isn't a Denny's location within the Greater Toronto Area where we live.   Why is that?  Why does the Ottawa area have at least one and Toronto, with many more people, have none? What is up with that?  The last time we were at Denny's was in Las Vegas and we loved it.

Tonight we ventured over for some dinner.  We were quickly seated and our drink order was easily taken.  The waitress left us with the menus so we could peruse them.

The Order: The Super Bird Sandwich with Fries and a Coke and the Grand Slam Breakfast.   

The food came within ten minutes of ordering (what service).  My fries were hot and so was the cheese in the Super Bird sandwich. The sandwich was hot, well melted and delicious swiss cheese and the turkey tasted fresh.  Nothing wrong with the sandwich.  The fries were an interesting crinkle cut.  The fries weren't the traditional golden brown, but were more white in nature, different but still good. 

My wife slowly worked through her Grand Slam Breakfast but did remark that the portion size, from what she can remember, has shrunk.

However, on this visit I felt there was just enough food, not too much, just enough.  Has Denny's portion sizes shrunk?  I'm not sure as it takes about a year apart for us to visit one, so we are unable to keep good tabs on this.  Is it true or is it a phenomenon?

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