Thursday, November 26, 2009

Inside Local Public Eatery

Executive chef Chris Mills takes Vancouver magazine on a tour of the newly opened Local Public Eatery on Kits beach and demos a signature recipe.

Tim Tam does a Tim Tam Slam

Tim Tamashiro, host of Tonic on CBC Radio 2, demonstrates the Tim Tam slam. That's passion for your biscuits.

Monday, November 23, 2009

2010 Hour Olympic Countdown

Elettra's Stephanie Miles (far right) & Kelly Aldinger (second from left) celebrate the 2010 Hour Olympic Countdown at YVR with Trevor Linden and the YVR Communications team.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kitsilano Blog: Local Public Eatery opens today

Posted by Frances on November 20th, 2009

When Malone’s closed down last year, much speculation was made over who would take over the popular beachfront spot at the intersection of Cornwall and Yew. The rather unassuming name of Local Public Eatery popped up, and we have eagerly waited for interior pictures and outdoor signs and finally– opening day this Friday!

For a gastro pub with franchise origins, Local Public Eatery surprisingly lives up to its “local” label. While Local is a part of the Joey’s restaurant group, it manages to leave out the formulaic feel of chain restaurants. Instead, great consideration has gone into making sure that Local reflects some aspects of the neighbourhood– and no, I don’t mean the many flat screens showing the latest Canucks game (though there’s that too).

Right at the entrance it’s obvious that Local Public Eatery considers the importance of its location: an entire wall is decorated with a blown-up map of the city. And then there’s tiny charming touches, such as their personal take on Kits landmarks printed on the backs of menus. So, just in case you’ve forgotten that Vanier Park makes a good makeout spot, the cheeky menu will be happy to remind you.

Local’s menu is more reasonably priced compared to most chain restaurants, and the drink selection is as wide as it is affordable with nightly drink specials ranging from $5-6. As for appetizers, their Duo of Dips ($11) features a platter of oven-warm crisp tortillas served along with guacamole and cheese. While this sounds like another ordinary sports game snack, Local quite exceeds those expectations. The guac is guaranteed fresh as the server actually mashes those avocados right in front of you, mixing along jalapenos and aromatic cilantro with a dash of lime and a special salt (imported from France, the server confides).

Another seemingly humble side dish that wowed me was the bucket of Yam Fries ($7 a a starter, but free with the burgers). What sets Local’s yam fries above the rest are the evenly crisp fries and the corresponding creamy tangy dip (three words: truffle lemon mayo).

The main course revolves around their burgers, and I was actually intimidated at the size and the construction of my towering Kits Beach Burger ($14) when it arrived. I briefly considered the logistics of fitting half a pound of ground chuck patty inside my stomach. Thankfully, this was an amazing burger. Note that the patty was made of ground chuck as opposed to the usual ground beef, which meant that the patty was much jucier and flavourful than the common burger. The golden brioche buns, with the flaky and buttery crumb, also contributed to the overall richness of the burger.

The menu states that my Kits Beach burger is also known as a “gritty Greer burger.” Apparently, Kits beach used to be known as Greer beach, after Sam Greer the pioneer who battled CPR for the rights to build a homestead on the beach. A quick Google research proves this true. Incorporating a piece of obscure Kits history wins Local some brownie points!

Speaking of brownies, the Caramel Toffee Cake ($6) comes highly suggested by the waitstaff. However, the Gooey Chocolate Brownie ($6) arrives instead, perhaps just so I can make a “brownie points” pun. This dessert is presented warm with a huge cold scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I don’t know how I managed to eat even more after eating the burger, but I knew I could not miss this one. Drizzled caramel sauce and crushed pecans made the dessert even more decadent. I would definitely come back just to try out the caramel toffee cake, however.

Since Local Public Eatery is still in its earliest days, it would be interesting to see how it will continue to shift to better fit the neighbourhood dynamics. I hear they’re playing the Canucks game tonight. The gorgeous wooden patio will be opening up in the summer, and I hear there’s a takeout shack in the works when beach season comes. Well, when Kits beach is your front yard, you can’t go wrong.

Local Public Eatery opens in Kits

Yay! It's open!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Airport plans - CBC

Kirk Williams reports on Vancouver International Airport's plans for the Olympics.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Atlanta’s Cobb County CVB Selects Meetingmax

Online housing reservation system to help deliver southern hospitality

Vancouver, BC; November 10, 2009
Meetingmax, provider of the travel industry’s most flexible and cost-effective online housing reservation system, today announced the signing of an agreement with Cobb County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Through the agreement, Cobb County will use Meetingmax’s system to manage convention housing bookings for more than 13,500 rooms in 120 hotels.

“In today's market, meeting planners need reliable housing management and accurate pick-up reports for their events,” says Abbey Harwell, Communications & Marketing Technology Manager, Cobb County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We were impressed by Meetingmax’s secure, 24/7 access to online inventory, room block management tools, and useful reports.”

Located just 10 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, Cobb County is a destination for conventions and trade shows. With 80% of the U.S. population within a two-hour flight, Atlanta is accessible via direct service from most destinations.

As part of its selection process, Cobb County CVB looked at several other housing systems. The organization primarily selected Meetingmax based on its user-friendly software interface.

“Meetingmax’s software simplifies the reservation process for attendees and decreases reporting time for planners,” continues Harwell. “Users get an instant confirmation when making, changing or canceling their reservations. This will add up to better hotel bookings and happier attendees.”

“One of Cobb County’s differentiators is its southern hospitality,” says Jeff Duncan, COO, Meetingmax Systems. “We are proud that our system has been selected to play a key role in facilitating first impressions with their guests.”

Using Meetingmax’s system, delegates can quickly search for a participating hotel, explore its features and book a room. Hotels can efficiently search, process, summarize, and report on all rooms and reservations for each delegate group. CVBs use the Master Control Panel to easily create an event, assign hotels, set rates and manage inventory.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Condo marketer promises Escape from Boringville

By Eve Lazarus

West Vancouver based Larco Investments has kicked off an unusual print and outdoor campaign to flog condos in their latest development, Morgan Crossing.

Called “Escape from Boringville,” Fingerprint Strategies, a real estate marketing firm, and Spring Advertising have created a billboard art installation, online banner ads as well as print and classified ads meant to make new home buyers think twice before buying a generic condo.

To launch the billboard execution, Spring bought a 1992 Plymouth Voyager and five mannequins and had everything spray painted beige. The mannequins have left the car and are positioned scrambling up the billboard desperate to get a glimpse at life in Morgan Crossing, said Rob Schelycher, creative director at Spring.

A print ad running in local papers shows two beige people outside a row of beige houses and the caption “There’s a ton of stuff to do, if you have a full tank of gas.”

Larco figures that house buyers are looking for more than just a front door, garage and mini van that they have to drive to the corner store.

“It’s a very European style in that it’s a walkable community where everything you want to do is right outside your door,” said Schelycher. “We are taking the people who would ordinarily buy a very generic condo in a generic community and showing them that it’s not a very exciting way to live. We’re giving them Morgan Crossing as an alternative where they can have a life and have fun in their neighbourhood.”

Schelycher said the campaign targets first time home-buyers, people downsizing and those moving from smaller condos in the suburbs.

“So much real estate advertising tends to assume that people are interested in the message. This work is meant to get people interested and paying attention to an alternative real estate message which is not to buy a regular condo but to live in a community,” said Schelycher.

Morgan Crossing offers buyers an escape from Boringville

Real estate developer Morgan Crossing wants home buyers to consider a life outside the suburbs with its attention-grabbing new campaign, "Escape Boringville."

Seeking to grab the attention of suburban home buyers who might not have considered a more urban lifestyle, Morgan Crossing has launched a new media campaign featuring an almost post-modern installation-style OOH exhibit located near the up-and-coming development in South Surrey, BC, Spring Advertising account manager Kevin Cornista told MiC.

The installation portrays a beige minivan releasing a group of frantic-looking beige mannequins, seemingly anxious to scramble up a billboard in order to look enviously at the community depicted within. The idea was a collaboration between Vancouver-based Spring, Barlow Media and Fingerprint Strategies.

The goal was to promote the idea of an alternative lifestyle through the medium itself, says Cornista. The display went live on Nov. 2, 2009, and will stay active until Nov. 23. The campaign also includes a website and a whimsical classified advertising buy in Vancouver's Metro, 24 Hours, Black Press community papers and the Home Buyers Guide. The ads appear to be selling the now-unnecessary goods, such as the minivan, that are supposedly leftover from people's former dreary suburban lives.

"Real estate advertising has a habit of sameness which we wanted to move away from," Rob Schleycher, Spring Advertising CD, told MiC of the creative strategy."The creative dictated the use of alternative media because we were making a statement that this is an alternative to the typical suburban lifestyle."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mannequins, Humans Make the Escape from Boringville

Vancouver, BC; November 3, 2009 – Recently, drivers in a Lower Mainland, BC community were witness to a strange sight: a dull, beige minivan with a group of mannequins pouring out of it and scrambling up a billboard. The mannequins- tired of the dull, beige confines of life in Boringville- were desperate to get a glimpse at a life worth living.

The installation is part the Escape from Boringville campaign for Morgan Crossing, a residential and retail village development in South Surrey, BC. Vancouver advertising and design firm, Spring, developed the campaign in partnership with Fingerprint Strategies, Morgan Crossing’s sales and marketing firm.

“Morgan Crossing appeals to people who are looking for an antidote to a boring, suburban life. The village concept captures their imagination,” says Bryan Woolley, President, Fingerprint Strategies. “We needed an approach beyond the traditional condo marketing of print ads and direct mail, something that would tell potential buyers- as they are driving by in their cars- that a life without total dependency on their vehicle is possible.”

Morgan Crossing is inspired by European villages and traditional Main Streets, places where amenities are a walkable distance from home, and was designed so that living, shopping, exercising, hanging out can all happen in the same place.

“With the Escape from Boringville campaign, we wanted to demonstrate that buying a home is not just a choice about where to live, but also how to live,” says Rob Schelycher, Creative Director, Spring. “The mannequins are simply a metaphor for the desire to escape suburban sameness and find something better.”

A video and photos of the making of the Escape from Boringville mannequin installation can be viewed on the Morgan Crossing website:

Media strategy and buying for the campaign is handled by Barlow Media, and PR is handled by Elettra Communications.