work (kinda)

Food and work (kinda)11 Mar 2009 11:40 am

Journal food writer Liane Faulder finally launched her blog today. It’s naturally about food and eating in the area – and beyond – if the post I spied yesterday while helping her is any indication! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this moment for some weeks.

Any Edmonton or Albertan food blog fans might like to go check it out: Eat My Words. The alpaca meatloaf she describes in her first post sounds outstanding. I’m off to scout some!

Food and Food: Edmonton and work (kinda)09 Feb 2009 08:51 pm

Out for a review dinner, Mike wanted to visit Grandma D’s. It’s a BBQ joint in the west end of Edmonton that serves up great big burgers and pretty tender ribs. It’s the place I go to when my dad is not in town to provide for my BBQ cravings.

Well, it used to be the place I went to.

Sadly, Grandma D’s closed a week into 2009. Without a backup plan, we drove down Mayfield Road with Mike’s parents and stopped in at Vic’s Steakhouse. It’s a relatively new outfit at the Mayfield Inn, of all places. I had noticed it a few weeks previous for the first time while driving past, and thought we could check it out.

While I am not the reviewer, but only a chef in our house, I will post some photos. I will also say the appetizers were amazing.

The bison short ribs buried in berry sauce convinced me to order them as an entree when we go back, and the crab, lobster and cheese dip was outstanding. We were even served an amuse bouche: pan seared scallop with boar bacon. I think the only place in Edmonton I have ever received an amuse was the Blue Pear. Impressive and unexpected.

It’s not as stuffy at Sage can be (although the food is amazing), and they really emphasize good ingredients. It’s not as mechanical as the Keg, and more consistent than Von’s. I think it might be my mid-priced steakhouse of choice in Edmonton.

Innisfail lamb with mushroom risotto

The simple modern decor of Vic’s. These photos are deceiving as we were one of the last tables to leave. It was surprisingly busy in there for a Monday evening.

I love the look Mike’s mom is giving his dad.

Pumpkin panna cotta. No replacement for the heaven on a spoon the now defunct Il Portico used to serve, but still nice.

Save room for the complimentary cheesecake pops on a stick they give out in lieu of mints. Dinner, with appetizer and dessert came to about $50 a person.

(for my vegetarian readers, they do serve many different salads and a pasta dish as a main)

Vic’s Steakhouse
(part of a small chain also in Canmore, AB and Victoria, BC)
16615 – 109th Avenue, in the Mayfield Inn
Only open for dinner, 5:30-10pm Monday through Saturday

Food and Food: Home Cookin' and work (kinda)30 Jan 2009 09:12 am

At work, it seems I am always eating. From the “lighten up candy” served up 24/7 in the business section, cooking experiments I bring in for my favourite coworker to snack upon, or trying something new which we receive to sample. Nougat, noodles, teas, St Viateur bagels, I’m always eating.

I have long been wanting to order bagels from the famous St Viateur in Montreal. However, they only ship in multiples of 72. I couldn’t fathom getting that many, or even finding enough people to share them with. And what if they weren’t even good?

Although the website tells you to store them pre-sliced in the freezer until ready to toast, I suspected that the bagels might lose their trademark crisp chewiness after sitting overnight in a plastic bag in a shipping box. The chewiness comes from being poached (in honey water, which adds the distinctive sweet taste) and the crisp bite from being wood-fired. It is highly coveted. It is the true essence of a Montreal bagel.

One of our writers is doing a piece on bagels coming up soon, and ordered a box to sample. When it came time to photograph the famous bagels, the bag was “left behind” for “someone to enjoy.” THAT SOMEONE WAS ME.

I inhaled the one we cut for the photo right there at work. It was still a bit cold, and I was not impressed. The chewiness was there, but the crispness from being wood-fired WAS mostly gone. All that was left was a doughy, slightly sweet mass. Still better than the wheels of wheat we get here though. Bagels are one instance where size does not matter and Albertan bagels are mammoth.

However, I brought them home and toasted them, applied cream cheese and they recovered slightly. I’m not sure I’d spend the almost $100 for the bagels and overnight shipping though. I guess it depends how hard I’m jonesing. I will be sure to eat many the next time I visit Montreal however.

General and work (kinda)28 Nov 2008 09:31 am

FINALLY, the remainder of the newsroom tour. You can see part one here.

This is down on the library floor. They archive every story we run and keep back copies of not only our paper, but most of the ones in Alberta for a year or more.

I think this is the first 6 months of the year, set into piles by date.

The proof reader whiteboard. For ease of work and quick reference, they keep common acronyms, phrases, terms and names on the board.

R.I.P. ed magazine. These are the covers of the section. It was an insert that ran in the paper for a number of years, slanted towards younger readers. A few faces in the newsroom got their start writing in the section as well. I got a piece published in the final print run of ed.

The last few weeks worth of major Albertan papers, as well as national ones. We maintain a separate reading room for the less frequent papers like those from Vancouver, Montreal and New York City. Reporters and photographers often reference these to see if their stories or photos ran in other papers.

From the sports section. I think the “O word” reference is to not wanting a game to go into O.T. Sports deskers usually work the latest, because they have to get the last minute stats into the paper from the west coast. Overtime can really mess with their sleep schedules.

The book section editor pod. All of these books are here for a reason by the way; they suck. The good ones are snapped up quickly.

This is where our editorial cartoonist works. He has a few TVs in the room, which he is always watching to catch last minute stories or something to draw inspiration from, I think.

Photo files in the library. They have all our archive photos, from visiting royalty to file photos of John Lennon. Good for use in a pinch when photo researching.

Reporter pods.

TVs to watch the noon, 6’oclock and 11’oclock newscasts on. Just in case we missed something.

Sometimes, I sharpen just for the hell of it.

General and work (kinda)15 Nov 2008 10:47 pm

When I tell people where I work it’s natural for them to ask “oh, are you a writer?” I have no shame when I tell them I am not, but that I am “just” a desker and love my job.

The other day I really started to think about why I do not write and I think it’s two things; 1: I really dislike using the phone, and journalists are on the phone a lot. And, 2: This story, which I re-remembered after reading about it on my old blog archive (from 2003):

I had to interview the VP of Finance and Administration on the campus today about something I’m writing for our University newspaper. I get in early to see him, breeze through the interview, using the handy dandy tape recorder lent to me by the lovely News Editor, Jhen. I take the elevator up to the newspaper office, and as I step off the elevator, my papers and the tape recorder go flying.

The tape recorder sprung open, and THE TAPE WENT DOWN THE ELEVATOR SHAFT. I dropped to my knees and screamed NOOOOO! while shaking my fists at the sky and asking Maxellina, the patron saint of lost audio tapes, WHYYYYYY!

I was about to go all Matrix and retrieve it, but it just didn’t seem worth it.

No one lend me anything for the next few days. I’m gonna lose it. In other news, my toque is still MIA. Come home, little one!

I still miss that toque dearly every winter, by the way. The lost career in news journalism? Not so much.

General and work (kinda)29 Jul 2008 12:15 am
So I’m still recovering after my super long weekend (not a long weekend in the good sense, either) but here’s a few things to pre-post about my weekend at Indy.
The team on site

The team on site! One of the photographers is missing because she was off shooting video, but here we are on our golf cart. Sexy, I know. Look at all those lenses!

I spent almost 12 hours at Indy on Saturday and then another half day editing video the next. Here’s the panoramic I took with the camera I borrowed.

General and work (kinda)11 Jun 2008 08:57 am

I was able to get a few shots this past week from work. But it’s hard to do when you work with naturally curious people, and so I missed some things. Plus, I actually had to work, and this weekend was a bit busy.

I have quite a few photos, so I’ll probably split this post up into a few. Today, the old cop room and photo desk, mostly.

The cop reporters used to be in a room at the back of the news room, mostly because their police scanners are quite loud. They’ve moved into the centre of the room now, but a lot of their old notes and things hang in the old room (which is becoming our recording room). Here, a tracking list of the fatalities in the city, and numbers to call for info. Reporters spend a lot of time on the phone.

Again, an old map showing victims from murders. Sadly, a lot of murdered prostitutes are found in and around the city. During the years this was happening, they were keeping track with pushpins and a map.

Yeah, always on the phone. These are yellow pages from last couple decades, hanging around. Some from Edmonton, but some from other parts of the province, too.

My desk! We get the Sunday Times, so I was reading that and having a tea.

I hadn’t actually been inside the old photo studio and processing lab before.

Photographers keep all their concert passes and stick them on our supply cabinet.

Most of the time, if you see a shot of a product in the paper (for a contest or giveaway) this is where it was shot. I’ve been meaning to replace that shabby paper for some time now.

We have our own negative library, and everything from 1985 on is kept in here. I can’t remember exactly when we switched to digital, but it was a slow process over a few years. We archive our stuff on discs now.

We go through a lot of batteries. There are three bins for batteries. Reporters use them for recorders and digital cameras, and photogs for their flashes and camera bodies.

General and work (kinda)07 Jun 2008 09:00 pm

I haven’t been posting lately as I am trying to gather enough photos for a post on the newsroom here at work. It’s an oddly fascinating place, but I feel somewhat self conscious snapping photos as everyone works. So I will probably return at a less busy time and get the remaining photos.
For now, an introduction to the snappy, witty personalities I work with. A message on the soda machine at work:

Hopefully I’ll have a photo package ready to go next week.

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