Friday, January 30, 2009

CSBA

Thursday night, I attended a Chinese New Year dinner hosted by the Canada Shanghai Business Association. It's an association of businesspeople, mostly from Shanghai, that maintains ties with the Chinese consulate here, with members both in Toronto and Shanghai. We were kindly invited by a family friend, to whom we owe a thanks.

Let me be honest - straight up and down, I didn't want to be there. What the hell do I have to do with any kind of business association? And these types of get-togethers are so fake. Come on man, everyone knows you go to hand out your business card and hope to attract some business. People on commission have to go get that money, especially in this kind of market.

The dinner was hosted by the new restaurant at Highway 7 and Warden, same ownership as Casa Imperial on Steeles and Warden. I've been to Casa before - very impressive. Kind of tacky decor inside. Come on, faux Roman columns inside? Please.

Not in a good frame of mind when I went in. Snowing like it's Alaska outside, room less than half full, dinner looked to be several hours away. I got dressed for this shit? And look at this character standing up front:



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Kind of a slap in the face. We really shouldn't be stereotyping ourselves. A big WTF.

Anyways. Some local Chinese press going around, doing interviews. I guess we're supposed to be impressed with some of the guests? Madame Deputy Consul-General of the People's Republic of China to Canada was here. Mayor of Markham was here as well. There's such thing as a mayor of Markham? If they can have one, we want Mayor Mel back.

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By the way, in the top photo, the man on the left? He's apparently one (of the many) directors of the CSBA. Just a good old Shanghai playboy. Burberry scarf, camel overcoat, lapel pin. A pity he carries himself with such pompousness. You're not that well-dressed, just dressed like what the average lowbrow crowd considers to be well-dressed.

Sorry, getting well off track. The food, in a word, was delicious. Absolutely delicious, very creative flavour combinations, excellent presentation, exceptional service. Traditional Cantonese food, which is absolutely my favourite region of Chinese cuisine, but always with some creative aspect that I've never seen before. Take the sweet and sour roasted fish. Everyone's seen that before right? But the sauce was put together with canteloupes, for the sweetness. Perfect amount, the high acidity really balances the dish out. Beautiful.

What upset me was the wine they served, if you can call it that. This f*cking nonsense was a disgrace. Some home-made shit. I testify, I'd rather drink f*cking paint thinner. How many bottles did this f*cking fraud have to donate, for them to allow him to advertise like that? I am so pissed. Pissed because a quick look around the dining room showed that a bit more than half of every table was drinking it. Look at this shit. If you ever come across a bottle like this, don't touch it.

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But you know what, I'll put myself through any injustice for great food. And this restaurant serves fantastic food. You're looking at a dining room of around 200 people, and ALL the dishes coming out piping hot. Just think about how hard that is to pull. On top of that, the service was immaculate. The type of service that if I was a restauranteur, I'd have put in place. Because if you havn't realized by now, I have lofty dreams of becoming a winemaking restauranteur. So all in all, it wasn't a lost night. Bravo to the kitchen, and to the wait staff. Just lose the gay pseudo-tuxedo shirts, with the frills going down the front.

If only they condensed all the speechmaking. Come on, it started sounding like a Comintern address. A not-so-subtle reminder that while it's cold and white outside, our hearts fervently beat Communist red.

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