Friends In Need Food Bank’s Most Wanted

Yesterday, as I was shopping at our local Save-On Foods, I came across a small laminated notice on the shelf, under the Peanut Butter.

The sign was small enough, and the print tiny enough, that it was almost invisible, amongst the bright and gaudy labels on the jars, but as I bent to read it, I thought about how blessed my wife and I are… able to go to the grocery store, and be able to buy whatever we want and need.  The list is from the Friends In Need Food Bank, (supporting Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge) and was a reminder of their most wanted (and needed) items:

  • Campbell’s Soup / Chunky Soup
  • Side dishes (Hearty Noodles, Ramen Noodles)
  • Canned Fish or Meat (salmon, tuna, ham)
  • Prego. Pasta Sauce or Canned Tomatoes
  • Meal in a Tin (Chunky. Chili, stew, pork and beans, ravioli)
  • School Snacks (Goldfish)
  • Pasta & RIce
  • Peanut Butter
  • Meal replacement drinks (Boost)

Friends In Need - Food Bank in Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows -

If you are blessed to have enough food on your table, then the next time you are shopping, why not grab a few of these basics, and share your good fortune with your local food bank ?

If you don’t have the extra money, but you have some time, most Food Banks can always use volunteers.  Why not stop by ?

Or, if you have a few extra dollars, why not share with the food bank, so they can purchase the supplies they need ?

However you help, the folks at the Food Bank are always grateful !!!



Big Feast Bistro in Maple Ridge…

A few days ago, I was driving through Maple Ridge, and on the North-East corner of 227th & 119th, I saw Big Feast Bistro & Catering, which had tweeted about their Grand Opening a week or so earlier.  As it was lunchtime, I felt compelled to go and do some “research” !!!

Big Feast - Fine restaurant in Maple Ridge - BobBlahBlah.comLocated right on the corner, it has lots of windows, and a bright, airy venue inside.  There are eight or nine tables of varying sizes inside, and a couple of bistro tables outside for nicer days.  There was a generous amount of space between all the tables.

I walked to the front counter, and was greeted by the Chef, who happened to be passing by.  As all the other Staff were busy with customers, he led me to a table, took me through the Big Feast menu, and said one of the Servers would be with me shortly.  Prices for breakfast appeared to start at $6 and the lunch entrees seemed to start at $11.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, a young lady appeared, asking if I was ready to place my order?  There were choices for Breakfast or Lunch, and, after some serious deliberating, I chose the “In House Pepper Crusted Roast Beef Panini with Blue Cheese Crème Fraiche, Carmelized Onions and Arugula” with a side of “Citrus Infused Fresh Fruit Salad.”  For a drink, I decided to go with “English Breakfast Tea.”  She left, and I took another look around my table.  The Bistro was quite busy, with most of the tables being occupied.  There were four Servers, plus the Chef, from what I could see, and they were all friendly, and, it seemed to me, the perfect balance between attentive and obtrusive.   In one area, tucked in a corner was a small play area, to keep children occupied.  There was bright music playing softly enough that it didn’t cause the murmur of customer conversation to raise itself in competition.

Before I had a chance to look any further, my Tea was back, and although I was by myself, it came in a large pot, which was delightful.  I had barely finished putting the bag into my pot, and sugar in my cup, when my sandwich arrived.

First bite, and I was in Heaven.  I cannot recall a time when I have SO enjoyed a sandwich, as much as I enjoyed that Panini.

I was raised to mind my manners, and when in restaurants, I TRY to behave better than I sometimes do when I am at home… but there was nothing for it… I took my finger, and licked every drop of the Blue Cheese Crème Fraiche off the plate!  (And I raised my Fruit Salad cup in toast to Chef Mike.)

So, if you are out and about, in Maple Ridge…

No, strike that !!!

Make plans, to ensure that you ARE out and about in Maple Ridge, and drop by the Big Feast Bistro and Catering Company.  They are located at 11920 227th Street in Maple Ridge.  They are open every day of the week, from 8 am to 4 pm.   According to their website, they also have classes available, in addition to the Bistro and Catering businesses.

Their tag line says “Feasts for the everyday”.  Check it out, it will be well worth your while !!!

Firefly Fine Wines & Ales…

I don’t know what I’m doing.

When it comes to wine pairings… I don’t have a clue.

My usual practice, is to ask our guests if they would like wine with dinner, and if they say yes… to tell them what we are having for dinner, and ask their preference.

However, those days are behind me, because there is now a store to help folks like me, out.

Firefly Logo   Firefly Fine Wines and Ales has opened a store in Maple Ridge, and they organize their wine the traditional way (by Country), and also  by suggested food pairings (chicken, fish, steak, etc).

They are also refreshingly current in Social Media, being present on Twitter and through their Blog.

Of course, they also have a website…

But, in my mind, what sets these folks apart, is their connection with their customers.

I had been in the Maple Ridge store about three weeks after it first opened, and was there on a bit of a fact finding mission.  As regular readers of the BobSongs Blog will know, I like the odd Dram of Scotch, with a predilection for Single Malts.

When I walked in the store, I was struck by the friendly helpful attitude of the staff, and the unique way of organizing the wines.

As I perused the shelves, I was again asked if there was anything they could do to assist me… and as I had almost made my way entirely around the store, I confessed I must have missed the Scotch section, and sure enough, I had… despite being a quite substantial selection.

The lady who guided me suggested that Eliana would be better to assist me, as she knew more about Scotch, and she surely did !

She spent quite a bit of time, asking my likes and dislikes, and discussing with me the different tastes and finishing of some of their selection.

With a lot of information to absorb, I left with my head feeling like I had been drinking, rather than discussing Scotch… but it was a good “buzz” !

A few weeks later, I got this Tweet…

Firefly Tweet announcing a complimentary Scotch tasting on January 15th.

As luck would have it, I was available that evening, and dropped by.  The Robert Burns Scotch was relatively “young”, but mature for its age, and Firefly had brought  in Michelle, a Representative from Blue Note Wines & Spirits, a Distributor, who was very knowledgeable, and delighted to share her information about many different regions, finishes and the resulting Scotches.

When I left that evening, I brought with me a Welsh Whisky, Penderyn Single Malt, with Madeira finish, which I am enjoying tremendously.

They seem to have events and tastings quite regularly… as I write this, there are three coming up in Maple Ridge, in the next while… January 22nd, 23rd & 24th.

Next time you are wondering what to get, whether it be Wine, Beer or Spirits, I suggest stopping by Firefly Fine Wines and Spirits to see What’s In Store !

For selection, product knowledge, and customer care with that little bit extra…  I think they are pretty tough to beat !!!

Firefly Fine Wines and Spirits is located at 21755 Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge.

Check it out, next time you drive by!



Lighting A Fire In Our Community…

Olympic Torch

2010 Olympic Torch

On Monday, February 8th, the Olympic Torch Run will pass through Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, on the way to the Opening Ceremonies on the following Friday.

There will be celebrations held in both communities.

Maple Ridge will “go” first, with their Party running from 6 am to 9 am… (although the exact time the Torch will be arriving is still to be announced).

There will be an official ceremony at Memorial Park, with some entertainment, an Art unveiling, and refreshments.

There will also be a Pancake Breakfast at the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

After Maple Ridge, the Torch will continue to Pitt Meadows, where the party will run from 7 am to 10 am, taking place at Spirit Square, next to City Hall.  Similarly, the Pitt Meadows celebration will have entertainment, a Spirit of Wood carving presentation and breakfast.

Different Torchbearers will be carrying the Torch through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and onto the Opening Ceremonies on February 12th.

Come on out, and help light up the Town !!!