12
May
09

Entertaining… at home in the sky

Last year’s Vancouver Bombay Sapphire promotion took place at Lumiere, one of the city’s tonier restaurants. For this year’s, the booze reps booked a night on the 58th floor of the city’s newest upscale hotel/residence, the Shangri-La.

The view was spectacular; after a mostly overcast day, the clouds dispersed, leaving the city to shine as the sun made its way to the horizon.

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Merlin Griffiths, the London-based “global brand ambassador” for Bombay, was back on mixing duties, showing us the proper way to make martinis (well, one way, anyway), and making ginger mint drinks and Sapphire Collins in the suite’s island kitchen, while servers brought out a steady supply of hors d’oeuvres. The theme was entertaining at home, specifically for guys who want to do more than break out the Pabst and Pringles when a date comes over, and food stylist/entertaining expert Murray Bancroft whipped up some food pairings, such as crostini with Parma ham and a dungeness crab topping, to go with the drinks. An even mix of male and female media reps—the usual suspects—watched attentively, trying not to think about the playoff game in Chicago between the Blackhawks and Vancouver’s beloved Canucks.

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Though there’s nothing I enjoy more than taking shots at people who get swept up in hockey, especially those who plant little team flags on their vehicles, I have to admit I found myself watching the last 10 minutes of the game at Circa. A new restaurant & lounge on Granville (which, because of ongoing Canada Line construction, is looking more apocalyptic than ever), Circa is a 192-seat room, including a mezzanine area and “a private dining room edged in gold leaf and elaborate woodwork” (okay, I’m reading off the PR bumf here). The menu is based on a shared-plate theme, with an emphasis on local ingredients (mushrooms, salmon, tuna) and wines. The moment I walked in—last night was the grand opening—I was handed a sample of the pulled pork with poutine, and my pants exploded.

But even that, along with Absolut vodka drinks and pretty minglers in fuchsia dresses, wasn’t enough to distract hockey fans as the Blackhawks pounded their precious Canucks into submission. Oh well, at least I won’t have to listen to any more hockey pool drivel at the office.

We—including former wingman Wingy, who brought his phone co. rep (!) along, and who spent much of the evening wondering how he was going to get out to a suburb where his car was getting fixed as some sort of contra deal—ended up, as is often the case on nights like this, at Bin 941 on Davie. The gin and wine must’ve gone to my head by then, because I recall having a conversation  about God with a Ukrainian. And then I blacked out.

Okay, not really—more like passed out (at home, not at the Bin). Today I’m taking it easy and tomorrow, well, tomorrow I’m packing; Thursday night I’ll be in Zurich, singing “Reunited” with the Texas Twister. Can’t hardly wait!

Thanks to Almira Bardai and the folks at Jive Communications, Merlin Griffiths and Bacardi/Bombay Sapphire, and Ayesha Khan with Optimum for putting up with me.


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