Wine Varietals Everyone Should Know

Posted on

I was recently researching food pairings for a wine menu.  I thought I’d share some of the links.  This list is a work in progress, hope it helps.  Please add comments and any other helpful links below.  


Light-Bodied Red Wine

Pinot NoirAbout  |  About  |  Pairing  |  50th Parallel Estate  |  Mission Hill Wineries


Medium-Bodied Red Wine

GrenacheAbout  |  About  |  Pairing

Sangiovese:  About  |  Pairing

MerlotAbout  |  Pairing

Zinfandel:  About  |  Pairing


Full-Bodied Red Wine

Syrah/ShirazAbout  |  Pairing

Cabernet SauvignonAbout  |  Pairing

MalbecAbout  |  Pairing


Light-Bodied White Wine

Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio)About  |  Pairing

Sauvignon BlancAbout  |  Pairing


Full-Bodied White Wine

ChardonnayAbout  |  Pairing

ViognierAbout  |  Pairing


Aromatic (sweet) White Wine

GewürztraminerAbout  |  Pairing

RieslingAbout  |  Pairing


Sparkling Wine

Sparkling WineAbout  |  Pairing

ChampagneAbout  |  Pairing

ProseccoAbout  |  Pairing


Rosé Wine

Rosé WineAboutPairing


Dessert Wine

PortAbout  |  Pairing

Ice Wine:   About  |  Pairing



Wine Folly - Learn about Wine
VinePair - VinePair: Learn About Wine, Beer & Spirits.
Decanter - Wine Reviews & News, Learn About Wine
Sunset Magazine - Wine Pairing
Wine Dharma - Created from the Passion for Italy and its Wines
World of Fine Wine - For the Audience of Wine Enthusiasts and Collectors
Matchinf Food & Wine - Web's Most Comprehensive Food and Wine Pairing Resource

GoPro Hero 3 Time Lapse Using Adobe Premiere Pro

Posted on

Let’s look at how to take GoPro recorded footage and import it into Premiere Pro for greater editing control.  This can be accomplished in a number of different ways, but this workflow results in a basic, editable sequence.  It also leaves some options open to your own production preferences.  I am using Windows 10 and Adobe Premium Pro CS6.  You may be using a different OS or Adobe version, but the basic workflow should be very similar.  

The first step is to import the image files and folders from your GoPro to your machine.  You may have already done this when you attached the camera, using Quik or similar software, or you may opt to drag and drop.  It only matters that the images reside on your machine and that you know where they are located.  Premiere Pro only links to these files to create the initial clips.  Unlike other assets in other Premiere projects, the GoPro images themselves can be moved anywhere, even deleted if not required after the time-lapse sequence has been created.

Fire up Premium Pro and create a new project.  Save it in a folder that you will be the repository for all project assets. Although the original images won’t matter when the process is complete, other file locations will. I start with a desktop folder while working on it and move the entire folder when the project is complete.  For larger projects, I usually find a permanent location first.

Next, import image clips into Premiere Pro by highlighting the first image in the folder, ensuring the Image Sequence box is checked and clicking open.

Once all the image sequences are imported, right-click a clip file and select New Sequence From Clip. You will have created a new sequence based the image settings of your camera.

At this point, you can optionally rename the new sequence files as something more recognizable but keep the sequential order.

Close all open sequences except one. Click on the clip name in the timeline to bring focus to the clip and queue the sequence to export it as a video clip: File > Export > Media.  I use the settings as shown above as they render a movie almost identical to settings I use when shooting video with my camera.  Changing the Source Scaling option from Scale To Fit to Scale To Fill will eliminate the black edges but result in clipping of the image. The Stretch To Fill option results in a distorted image.  Click the Output Name field and ensure the file is created in your project folder.  When you are happy with the export settings, click Queue.

If Adobe Media Encoder is not running, you will see it start up and display its queue – we’ll get back to this later.  Back in Premiere Pro, close the recently exported sequence and repeat the export process for each additional sequence.  When finished, open Adobe Media Encoder and ensure only the files just queued have the Ready status, delete all other completed tasks.  Click the green arrow to start encoding the files.

Once complete, the Media Encoder will display Done with a green checkmark beside the encoded video files.  The files can now be imported into the project as shown above.  Note that the previously created files have been placed in their own bins. These can be deleted if not required, as the newly created video files are completely stand-alone.

Create a single sequence with the new video files.  Highlight the new files, right-click and select New Sequence From Clip.  This sequence can now be edited, added to and used as a nested asset or treated as the previous clips and exported as a stand-alone movie file.

Hope this helped you out in creating a Premiere Pro time-lapse project from GoPro Hero 3 footage.  Although this post doesn’t show you how to record time-lapse footage with your GoPro Hero 3, this great this great video tutorial does. 

GoPro Hero 3 Time Lapse Tutorial - This video shows you how to set up your GoPro Hero3 to shoot time lapse photos and how to edit the photos into a time lapse video...
GoPro Quick | Desktop - Import and enjoy your GoPro footage and create beautiful videos with just a few clicks

Food Safety – Where to Get Foodsafe Resources You Need to Know

Posted on

I just recertified my Foodsafe status and thought I’d share some links. Having written many food safety plans, done countless walkthroughs with health inspectors and posted pages of signs, I thought I’d share a list of resources that have helped me out.  I am not a food safety expert but much of what’s needed regarding food safety resources, especially in British Columbia, can be found in the following links. The best tool in food safety is your local health authority – be sure to maintain a good line of communication with them and adhere to your local standards. If you’re anything like me, guest satisfaction isn’t just about our guests’ food, beverage and service experiences, but their safety as well.  Hope these help.

General Food Safety Sites

Writing a Food Saftey Plan

BC Food Premises Regulations

Food Protection Vital to Business

BC Food Safety




West Kootenay Rail Trail

Posted on
Rail Trail Summit Lake, B.C.

Finally had a chance to go for a bike ride – between work and paddling, my two-wheeled friend has been all but neglected.  The Nakusp and Slocan Railway used to run from Nakusp, B.C.  to Sandon, B.C.  The trail follows the same route – some good on a bike, some not so much.

I choose to ride from the west end of Box Lake, just out of Nakusp, to the east end of Summit Lake.  A farm in the middle of the trail was a bit of a downer.  I knew it was there but thought the trail went around it, not through it. There is a way around it that requires a bit of highway time.

The eastern end of the trail is the toad migration.  Although the trail was again impassable, it was pretty cool watching the trail covered with so many tiny toads. - Rail Trail - Nakusp and Slocan Railway - The Western Toad - The Thimbleberry

Best Ways for Restaurant Servers to Earn More Money

Posted on

One of the biggest challenges a food and beverage manager faces is maintaining the quality of service.  Although the product a kitchen produces may be top-tier, it is sadly undermined by poor or inconsistent service.  Food is only part of a guest’s experience – beverage and service make up the other two-thirds.  By not delivering a full experience, we fail to give our patrons what they are paying for, especially in a gratuity-based service culture.   So I offer the following resources as training tools for new servers and as a reference or reminder for the experienced.  Feedback and suggestions regarding tips and tools that may have helped others out in the service industry are welcome in the comments below.


Video Links

Server Steps of Service

  • Welcome guests with warmth and appreciation and break the ice with some pre-business banter (ie. Have you been here before? Are you a guest of the hotel? What plans do you have today?). Make them feel special and important!
  • Give the guests your name in a genuine way. Avoid clichés like “Hi my name is ………., I will be your server today.”  Waiting until the end of the introduction and saying something like,  “… my name is ………………, if there is anything you need, please let me know”,  makes it something that they will remember!
  • Pour water immediately and talk about menus, along with drink and food specials. If they haven’t visited the establishment before, talk to them about the menu layout, feature dishes and your recommendations.  If they have been here before, talk about trying something new on the menu.
  • Be well informed about the wines beer and cocktail menus, in order to assist with drink selection. Do not ask “What can I get you to drink?”  Instead, offer them a pint of beer, cocktail or a glass of wine.  This way, a guest is likely to choose from one of the three options as opposed to make a quick decision for a pop or water.
  • Recommend personal favorites and listen to the likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions of your guests. Remember, you are the expert on the menu.  By asking them what they are in the mood for and how hungry they are, you should have a pretty good idea about what they want.  Guests do not want to make decision about what they want to eat, really they want you to.
  • Inform guests about food preparation details when necessary, while answering questions about menu items – what it tastes like, why it’s special. Create anticipation of what is coming so they are excited and they don’t get any negative surprises.
  • Treat every allergy as if it was your own, and communicate with the Manager or Chef before ringing in special requests. This will allow the guest to see how serious you take allergies/requests and allow them to be at ease.
  • Order food carefully and accurately, being sure to include all modifiers, taking the time to review before sending the order. Be sure to use accurate seat numbers so that others can run your food.
  • Set up the table with everything needed for the food that was ordered. This should be done as soon as possible to assure it is for sure done .  Items like extra cutlery, side bowls, condiments and extra napkins will ensure guests can start eating as soon as the food arrives and don’t have to wait until they can ask someone for the item they need.
  • Ensure water glasses are refilled regularly and additional drinks are ordered before the drink they have is empty.
  • Double-check the food as it comes up, and wait until the entire order is ready before removing plates from the line. Never run food before the kitchen has put up your bill. Food should not get cold while sitting on the table in front of the guest as they wait for everyone else to get their food.
  • Deliver food, ensuring that you are always open to the guest – always aware of your elbows and armpits. Always use the right hand to serve from the right side of the guest and left hand to serve from the left side of the guests.
  • Return to the table after guests have had time to enjoy two bites. A quality check should be specific and focused. Not, “How is everything tasting?” But rather, “Is your steak cooked the way you like it?” or “Is that chicken as delicious as it looks?”  Avoid the guest saying everything is good as it is a conditioned response that doesn’t give us proper feedback.  This eliminates any issues the guest will have later on.
  • Clear plates as they are finished with at the table – this can be identified with the fork and knife placed together in the 5 o’clock position. Avoid stacking plates on top of each other at the table as it looks too casual.
  • Remove anything from the table that is no longer needed, being sure to wipe away fallen food. Giving the guest room on the table allows them to be comfortable.
  • Never offer dessert as it gives the guest a chance to say no.  Instead, bring the dessert menu to the table and let them know your favorite or a “must have”.  Remind your guests of our selection of digestifs, such as scotch, liqueurs, dessert wines or specialty coffees.
  • Review the guest’s bill before presenting it, and process payment as quickly as possible. Do not make a guest feel rushed, but if they do want to leave quickly, this allow them to do so.
  • Always bring change, never ask if they need it.
  • Always take the time to warmly thank guests and invite them to come again. Let them know,  “It was a pleasure to serve you tonight, my name is …………., I hope to see you again soon.”

Humor and Sarcasm

5 Kombucha Recipes You Must Try

Posted on

There is so much more to a brewing a satisfying batch of Kombucha than a scoby, some tea and some great flavor ideas like the ones listed below.  Use the first fermentation to get a great base for a finished product – my recipe has been refined over time to yield a consistent brew.  Although invariable conditions are ideal, tasting at the end of the first fermentation is critical, regardless of whether a second fermentation is to take place.  This takes into account factors such as weather, temperature, and location as well as tea blend, scoby health and age, and other inevitable variances.

So flavors.  Second fermentation.  I recently came across this article that offered some great flavor combinations as well as valuable insights into brewing techniques – definitely worth a read.  Other suggestions? Be sure to use natural fruit juices with as few ingredients as possible, organic is best.  Be aware of pH levels of fresh fruits as these will affect fermentation and may result in exploding brews or non-carbonated ones.  Use whole, fresh herbs whenever possible – dried ones become more ‘generic’ tasting as they age and are harder to remove before consumption.

Blueberry Lavender

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 4 x 8″ lavender sprigs and stocks, cut in half
  • 90 ml natural blueberry juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

Mango Ginger

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 2″ knob of ginger, peeled, thin sliced, cut to fit in bottle
  • 90 ml strained natural mango juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

Strawberry Peppercorn

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp whole pink peppercorns
  • 90 ml strained natural strawberry juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

Apple Mint

  • Each of 8 x pint jars: 
  • 1/3 granny smith apple- peeled, cored, sliced
  • 6 fresh torn mint leaves
  • 60 ml natural apple juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave 1/2″ to 3/4″ at top

Cherry-mary Pomegranite

  • Each of 4 x 750ml Grolsch Style bottles: 
  • 1 x 3″ rosemary sprig
  • 45 ml natural cherry juice (organic)
  • 45 ml natural pomegranite juice (organic)
  • topped with Kombucha – leave a few inches at top

 There’s wiggle room in any recipe and there’s no exceptions here. Be as food-safe as fermentation allows, follow your tastebuds, and have fun. Happy brewing. 

Game of Thrones Season 7 – Winter is Coming

Posted on

What!? Is it really happening? Game of Thrones Season 7 starts July 16 and is likely the most anticipated season premiere of any HBO series, nay, any network series ever. Is it bad that I’m already dreading the finale? Here are a few links to back into it.  Winter is Coming!


Continue reading “Game of Thrones Season 7 – Winter is Coming”

Dark Sky in Weather Master

Posted on

A Brief Tutorial Outlining Installation Steps for the Weather Master WordPress Plugin

Weather Master is one of the easiest weather plugins to install and use.  It integrates well into most themes whose sidebar widget area is active. Once installed, the Weather Master widget will ask you within which location you would like it displayed.  Next, it will ask you a few well explained questions to define the data.  After saving the changes, the feed is live.  Outlined below are the steps used to define a Dark Sky weather feed.  The process is exactly the same for an Open Weather Map feed with the exception of the widget data definition process, which as stated previously, is very well documented.

  1. Use the WordPress Installer, Updater to grab Weather Master.  Alternatively, download and install manually from
  2. Activate when prompted in the plugin info window, or from within the “Plugins” admin panel.
  3. Click the Weather Master widget you wish to use in the “Appearance | Widgets” panel and select the widget area to use. (Instructions follow as Setting Up Custom Widget Areas).
  4. Click “Active Weather Display” and enter a latitude and longitude at minimum in the options available.
  5. Save your preferences and enjoy your feed.

Read more Weather Master documentation at TechGasp or

Setting Up Custom Widget Areas

To define our own widget areas or if the sidebar is disabled, we first have to define the widget area in functions.php:

 * Register widget area.
 * @link
function custom_wp_widgets_init() {

  // Widget Area - Weather

  register_sidebar( array(
  'name' => esc_html__( 'Weather Feeds', 'bourbon-wp' ),
  'id' => 'widget-area-3',
  'description' => esc_html__( 'Add widgets here.', 'bourbon-wp' ),
  'before_widget' => '<section id="%1$s" class="widget weather-widget-area">',
  'after_widget' => '</section>',
  'before_title' => '<h2 class="widget-title">',
  'after_title' => '</h2>',

add_action( 'widgets_init', 'custom_wp_widgets_init' );

And now to have more control as to where Weather Master will diplay its widget, we can easily create a new widget area.  Simply place the following line of code where you wish a widget area to appear:

<?php if ( (!function_exists('dynamic_sidebar') || !dynamic_sidebar("Weather Feed")) ) : ?>
<?php endif;?>

You can even conditionally display it:

<?php if ( is_page( 'projects' ) && (!function_exists('dynamic_sidebar') || !dynamic_sidebar("Weather Feed")) ) : ?>
<?php endif;?>

It really is that easy. The only drawback is that since the display is contained within an iFrame, any refining of styles except the basic outer layout is not possible.

You can read more about “Widgetizing” at

Chris Cornell – Dies at Age 52

Posted on
Chris Cornell, Soundgarden, Vancouver 1992 by Lance Mercer

Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Blind Melon, STP: bands that make up a huge portion of the soundtrack to my young adult life.  Chris Cornell was instrumental in the evolution of  the Grunge era of music, my music.  His influence on the evolution of Rock as we know it today is undeniable.  The only thing positive that comes from the death of an icon like Chris Cornell, is the personal nostalgia that come with the remembering the artist and his music.  RIP Chris Cornell, and thanks for the mix tape.

Sources: CBC, CNN, Billboard

Kootenay Foraging – 10 Edible Reasons you Should Take a Hike this Autumn

Posted on

Back before life had responsibilities, I did not look forward to autumn because it marked the end of summer.  It marked the end of endless days of sunshine, swimming, bike riding, building forts.  Family vacations, hanging out with friends, BBQs.  Summer was a time of freedom from responsibility, a time for fun, for play. And winter, the time for snow, for hockey and for Christmas.  Winter was still so far away.

At some point though a change in my mind set occurred.  I can’t remember the exact date but I most definitely do remember the catalyst: surfing.  Tofino is dubbed Tuff City for many reasons.  One such reason alludes to how much fortitude one needs to live year round on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in a temperate rainforest that receives about 130 inches of rain annually, over about 210 days.  It’s about mid to late October when the swell starts picking up. This coupled with decreased tourist activity, especially on the beaches, was very much something to look forward to.

Although I haven’t lost my love of the ocean, the beaches are no longer just down the road.  And despite the abundance of beautiful lakes in the area fit for paddle boarding and canoeing, they don’t give up much in the way of waves to ride.  (Although I have heard of a break on Okanagan Lake, just out of Penticton.)  What the Kootenays lake in waves, they make up for in snow.  Wow!  Some of the nicest powder in the world some say and I wouldn’t argue.  The Monashee, Selkirk and Purcell Mountains have some back country terrain that is breathtaking – covered in snow for riding or carpeted green or muddy for biking.
Autumn though, the bit of time between warmth and cold, between sun and snow. This special time of year in the same mountain ranges mentioned above offer even more if you’re walking or hiking in their forests and trails. After the rains start, so do the mushrooms.  Pines, chanterelle, porcini and lobster mushrooms are some of the more sought after.  However coral mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and puffballs are out there as well. Even walking around the neighbourhood looking around the backyard, fairy ring and meadow mushrooms abound.  I find it akin to fishing: fishing is called fishing not catching as foraging is not necessarily called finding.  What is guaranteed is fresh air and an abundance of nature. Being attuned to flora and fauna that I share my time with on a hike is meditative.

A few things that make up my foraging ethos:

  1.  Be bear aware, and other other creature aware too.
  2.  Wear bright clothing.
  3.  Be careful how to pick/cut mushrooms when I forage.
  4.  Always cook what’s picked and never in the field.

To really explore the world of mushrooms, both edible and not, mushroom guides and references are handy.  The internet is the best repository for imformation but can sometimes be hard to sift through.  The 4 sources I usually refer to are Mushrooms of Northwest North AmericaNorthern Bushcraft,, and