Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seasonal Special at Saravanaa Bhavan - $5 South Indian Thali

Saravanaa Bhavan on Urbanspoon

Dropped by Saravanaa Bhavan last Wednesday for their "seasonal special" -- a $5 South Indian Thali -- with the Vancouver Meatless Meetup dining group (run by Earthsave Canada). The Thali comes in vegetarian and vegan versions. With the vegetarian version, you get some yogurt and dessert as well. This may be a limited-time offer, so if you're going specifically for the thali, call first (604.732.7700).
Although a thali is basically a plate with a sampling of various dishes/curries arranged like a bunch of sides around a plate of rice and some roti, it comes out of the kitchen quite slowly. Everything does, it seems -- so it appears that the food isn't mass produced in vast quantities at the start of the day, to be reheated and doled out slowly.

I was also introduced to the yummy Potato Bonda (2 pieces for $5), and it was quite slow in coming out. Hopefully, this meant that it was prepared fresh rather than plucked out of the fridge and plopped into the deep fryer.

In addition to desserts from the menu, Indian sweets can be viewed at the counter. You can either get a tiny portion (1-3 pieces for ~$2) or a sharable-by-three-people portion at ~$5 per half pound of dessert. There is a same-ness to the desserts with the common denominator of it being rather sweet. Although some had nut in them, the simple sweetness generally covered up everything, and ranged from very sweet to almost-too-sweet. Some, like the jaangiri, seemed like dough fried and soaked in sugar water. You really can't go wrong in this way with choosing between them, though for more flavour than sugar syrup for your treat, I recommend asking for something involving nuts.

Some desserts have bits of silver foil (vark) over them. If you're worried about what the composition of this is exactly (it's supposed to be very-high-purity silver), you should just give them a pass or ask your server.

This is food at a reasonable price, and the presence of Indian families there was encouraging of it being authentic and well-made.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kambolis Gives Back week

Got this in my e-mail box today...

Join Us for Kambolis Gives Back Week

Dear Simon

There are a lot of unique and meaningful events coming up at C, Nu and Raincity Grill this week.

The devastation in Japan has moved us profoundly. We find ourselves asking, "How can we help?" The answer is simple: cash donations are quick, efficient and adaptable. They are the fastest, most efficient way to get help to people living in a disaster zone. They allow relief agencies to purchase supplies based on the specific needs of the affected population. Therefore, one dollar from each tasting menu ordered at our restaurants will go towards Japan relief.

Dining Out For Life is BC’s largest restaurant fundraiser, benefiting A Loving Spoonful and Friends For Life. C, Nu and Raincity Grill will contribute 25% of our food sales that day to people living with HIV/AIDS. Join us on Thursday, March 24th for this vital initiative.

Earth Hour is on Saturday, March 26th. Earth Hour asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other appliances for one hour, to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. We’ve done it the last three years at our restaurants: food, wine, and candlelight - the evenings were magical. One year at C, when we turned the lights back on, the patrons booed and asked us to just keep them off. Be a part of the global experience, and reserve at one of our restaurants today! It's a way to show leadership and be responsible for our future.

And, in that vein…

SeaWeb announced Robert Clark and Harry Kambolis as winners of the 2011 Seafood Champions Awards at the International Boston Seafood Show. The annual Seafood Champion Awards honor those who have made significant strides in improving practices and awareness of responsibly produced seafood. Seafood Choices established the award in 2006 to honor those in the seafood industry whose past or present contributions demonstrate a commitment to innovation that leads to change.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Under-$4 Pizza!

Happy days are here! For singles who can't cook, anyway.

Way back, I wrote about massive almost-1-kilogram frozen pizza deal at Superstore or Save on Foods for $5 or a few cents under.

Those deals are sometimes still around, but the latest craze seems to be smaller pizzas which are more or less personal-sized (although 2 pizzas can probably be a moderate dinner for 3 people, especially if you throw in a bit of home-made salad or garlic bread). They have lighter crusts or sometimes thin crusts, and interesting ingredients -- and are on sale for a few cents less than $4.
The up side of this is a slightly smaller serving so you don't feel inclined to polish off a pizza that's normally too much for you, and there's no troublesome leftover pizza to re-heat the next day.
Also, if you still believe in a low-carb diet, then less crust should please you.

So far, I rather like Dr. Oetker's Panebello Pizza, which features a slightly thinner crust, but not exactly flat. The crust is also lighter -- crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. It won't make you feel full on crust alone. The Vegetable and Goat Cheese one is really tasty. The 12-14 minute baking time didn't pan out for us, though -- it definitely needed more time in the oven. The crust survived nicely despite the longer baking time than instructed.
As this brand of pizza normally sells for about $7, now is definitely the time to give it a try.

Also on special right now at either Save-On-Foods or Superstore are McCain's Ultra-Thin Crust Pizza and (of course) if you shop at Superstore, you'll see their own President's Choice competing brand, offering you more or less their version of thin crust pizza, but at maybe 20 cents less.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Social Media shows we are an inherently negative species

Page 3 news in The Province today, if you haven't already got an earful off Twitter: Bing tried to get community involvement and raise $100,000 toward disaster relief in Japan by urging people to retweet this: For each retweet @Bing will give $1 to Japan quake victims up to $100K. More ways to #SupportJapan on Twitter.

The shortened link goes to, and if you actually bothered to go to the link instead of getting caught up in the negative spin around the tweet, you would have seen, highlighted in red, SEVEN ways to donate and help Japan.
IF -- and this is a BIG IF in today's superficial social media world -- the campaign were successful, a lot of attention could have been brought to how people could have donated to help, far beyond a measly $100,000.

But instead, social media once again quickly mobilized a negative spin against anything corporate, this time against everyone's favourite piƱata, Microsoft.

Never mind that Microsoft -- not just "the company", but individual employees -- mobilized millions last year to help various disaster reliefs. For example, "Microsoft and its employees around the world have committed and contributed over $600,000 in cash toward Pakistan Flood Relief. Microsoft matches its US-based employees' charitable contributions up to $12,000 per employee per year, and in the wake of the flooding in Pakistan, Microsoft offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and our Middle East and Africa Region are matching employees' donations as well".

All this on top of non-disaster community involvement and donations.

Yeah, Microsoft makes a lot of money. But since when is anyone entitled to any freebies?

As for the supposed shameless self-promotion spin on the Twitter initiative, you can spin anything into a negative or into shameless self-promotion. Everyone who jumped on the #f--kyoubing bandwagon got their five seconds of internet soapbox fame, didn't they?

Emergency Preparedness Kit

If the recent 8.9 quake that devastated Japan hasn't gotten you spooked about emergency preparedness, you should cancel any insurance you have on your house and person.
After all, it only happens to someone else, right?

Otherwise, you may want to look into an Emergency Preparedness Kit. If, like me, you're too lazy to assemble one yourself with the scores of items you should have in it, you can try the Red Cross or Costco. Yes, Costco.

The Red Cross has personal Emergency Preparedness Kits weighing in at 2.65 kg (5.85 lbs). NO FOOD. NO WATER. It comes with a collapsible water container. There's no size indicated for the container, but as the basic recommendations range from 2 to 4 liters per person per day, you can expect it to be at least 6 liters.

Costco has an Emergency Preparedness Kit for 4 people. It is a single kit that weighs 11.8 kg (26 lb.). This includes an empty 10-litre water carrier, but also includes packages of water with a 5-year shelf life.
Clearly, this is meant to see action, and in the product information it does say, "This kit is used by professional crews and work units in mobile groups of four or less."
If you expect your family or office crew to be together and stay together, then it's more of a bargain price-wise. The pre-packaged food and water could be trouble, however, if the kit sits around forever (or for over 5 years). At some point you may not bother to replace it. One review on the Costco website claims that they can outlast the 5 years, so it may or may not be an issue.

Naturally, in the wake of the tsunami, at the time of writing this blog they are all SOLD OUT. That doesn't stop you from putting in an order, though.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Double dipping scammers?

It's been a long time since I tried an ad on Craiglist personals. As there hadn't been any hot pictures from scammers (actually, not even not-so-hot pictures), that sort of took the fun away.
The last batch of replies was so blatant and bad that I just have to share it, though. Here are the responses I got. Check out the dead-giveaway ending on both e-mails from fake users. The funny thing is how they're both trying to recruit me for the same website -- or maybe it's the same person trying two different approaches, hoping at least one will work?

----- from "Karina Valdez" ( -----


Hi, mister! I liked your ad. How are you doing today? The basics: blonde, way short. Blue eyes behind glasses. A few small tattoos, and a pierced bellybutton. I'm curvy without being thick, 5'4" and 127. Let's see, what else. My biggest secret is that I can pole dance. It's a secret because I'm a pastor's kid. Write me. If I don't answer right away, all apologies; I only check my email once a day. Take care.


Hi Karina!

Thank you for writing me.
It was a busy Sunday for me -- I finally got my dead laptop replaced, but with a desktop this time.

How was your weekend? (^_^)


I just would like to have my hands and lips and cunt on your wang. No, I don't really care if I seem similar to a slut. When will we hook up? Want to see my picx? Of course you do! Go here: your locals match Ready? Cool. So. My user name (and don't laugh) is ekaterinaaa07 Lately I've been going to the gym every day just trying to work off some of this sexual tension. Til next time.

----- email 2, from "Ollie Buckner" ( -----


First time trying out a classified ad, Woohoo! Hope you're the right man described in your ad. No lies, no games? That is what you will get from me. I have dirty blond hair and greenish eyes. Best feature would have to be my cute smile. I am one of those people it's difficult to not smile back at. Do people even trust these stats? I am 36-25-34, 5'7". I do dancing classes so I don't get all musclebound. I think muscly women look horrid. I am going to school part time, working part time, raising my son part time. Wait, I think I just ran out of parts. Write me. If I don't answer right away, all apologies; I only check my email once a day. Take care.


Hi Ollie!

Thank you for writing me.
What are you studying in school?


Wow, many thanks for writing back so quickly! I am hoping that implies you want to get disrobed and possibly horizontal as much as I want to. I would like to go parking, and get completely crazy in the backseat of the car just before we actually bang. I miss the bit when noone knows whether it's really going to happen. this page So join, activate, and search for me. My user name is wildchyld23 I intend to start the evening with chocolate-covered cherries and champagne. I don't know about anybody else, but that's an aphrodisiac for me. I'm still emailing with you, so in my eyes that means we're going to meet. I can't wait to do this!