Tag Archives: Canada

Boston’s Gourmet Pizza Brings Canadian Pizza To Encinitas

It seems when it comes to pizza, you often are faced with several choices, such as New York Thin Crust style verses Chicago Deep Dish style. Then it’s often between mom and pop locations and the “chain” places. And even within the “chains” you get a choice between the cheap and mediocre places, like Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Domino’s, and Little Caesar’s which are to pizza what McDonald’s is to hamburgers. And there are even more premium chain places like Round Table Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizzas, and Chicago UNO, that offer better pizza experiences. Joining the foray of the premium style chains, one of Canada’s most popular pizza chains, Boston Pizza, are expanding into the United States branding these locations as “Boston’s Gourmet Pizza” and positioning themselves as a restaurant and sports bar offering two experiences under one roof.

You may be asking, if Boston’s Gourmet Pizza originates from Canada, why do they call themselves “Boston’s” instead of some city in Canada? Well the answer to that lies in its history, as Boston Pizza was started by a Greek Immigrant to Canada in 1964. When he was looking for a name for his pizza place that he was starting in Edmonton, Alberta, he felt with The Boston Bruins, The Boston Red Sox, The Boston Celtics, and even Boston Creme Pie, the name Boston was recognizable and established. In the words of founder, Gus Agioritis, Boston meant “Big Leagues.” The company grew quickly through franchising quickly and today has over 325 locations throughout Canada and over 50 in the US since the company first expanded into the US in 1998.

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A&W Root Beer Served The Way Root Beer Should Be Served

On my way out of Palm Springs along Interstate 10, I found an A&W Restaurant just outside the Morongo Hotel And Casino. This was not a combination A&W store with another one of Yum! brands like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Taco Bell, Long John Silvers, etc. This was an A&W restaurant that was just an A&W restaurant. This was exciting since all the San Diego A&W’s were combination stores and all of them withdrew the A&W portion of the stores, it means the only chance to sample A&W is on the road outside of San Diego.

When I got there, it was about a half hour before they opened. I was surprised they weren’t opened earlier as it was 10:30 am when I stopped by. I didn’t want to just find the next A&W because I might not see another one on the road ahead, so I went for a quick fill up on gasoline at Morongo’s gas station and then just waited for the A&W to open. At about 10 minutes left to go before the placed opened there was a line forming outside the door. Apparently I wasn’t alone in my want for A&W Food. Sure it’s not what I really should be eating but it’s an out of town treat.

Once it opened, I opted to get a burger combo and removed the bun, like I usually do at burger joints. But I was interested in the upgrade of the fries to Wisconsin Cheese Curds. Thanks to my friend Caroline Bender for introducing me to what Cheese Curds really are, I was anxious to try these. I had never tried Cheese Curds until Caroline introduced me to them because I didn’t know what a curd was and it sounded disgusting. So now that I’ve been corrected and know that cheese curds are delicious plain, let alone deep fried like they were here at A&W.

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Trying Out A Sonic Drive-In In Vista

To most of the rest of the country, Sonic Drive-In restaurants are a common, everyday sight and experience. Perhaps, one hardly worth taking note. However, they are relatively new here in San Diego, with their first store appearing in Santee about a year ago. I still have not visited that location, but on my way to my Post Office Box in Carlsbad I was driving through Vista and found they had put in a Sonic Drive-In near the recently redeveloped Main Street area. In fact, it’s really close to the old Peppertree Frosty shop that has an amazing variety of milkshakes and other ice cream treats.

I decided to give Sonic a try as I haven’t done a “drive-in” experience in years and thought it might be fun. I pulled into an open stall, decided on what to have then pressed the button to call the store to let them know I was ready to order. Once the order was placed, I loved the fact I could just pay with my Debit card (using it as a Mastercard) right at the menu board right next to the speaker and within a few minutes a young girl on roller skates was out to deliver my order and receipt. It was really cool. I know once the drive-thru was introduced, the drive-in’s were pretty much existing on borrowed time and nearly disappeared permanently, fortunately Sonic has been able to revive the format and make it accessible to folks who might never know the concept ever existed.

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Assisting My Mom To Purchase A New TV

I stopped by to visit my parents yesterday at their new home in Temecula. The main reason for my visit was to spend more time with my Grandfather before he flies back to Canada on the January 4th. While there, my mom starts telling me about the adventures she and my dad have been through deciding on a television for the family room of the house.

They had visited the local Best Buy in Temecula and spent some time in the Magnolia section within the store. Magnolia is kind of like a store-within-a-store as it’s Best Buy’s “high end” shop so you’re going to find the fancier home theater equipment in that section. In the demonstration room they saw a Mitsubishi 52″ LCD TV that had a built-in soundbar and they were really impressed with it and the model in the store was on sale for $2,399.99 and they were including a free subwoofer with it. Well my dad isn’t quite so keen on spending that kind of money and I can’t say I blame him, that’s quite a bit of money.

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Ryan’s 10 Most Incredible Things About About 2009

Now that 2009 has come to a close and 2010 has begun, I can safely say that it’s a year that has been very challenging and although I am not the least bit sad to see 2009 go, it certainly was not without some really incredible experiences for me that I would like to highlight before wipe the slate clean and start fresh with 2010.

This list was especially difficult to narrow down since 2009 was the year I kicked my blogging into high gear. I had started Ryan’s Incredible World in 2007 didn’t actually start blogging until 2008 and I would maybe make no more than five entries a month. So picking my highlights of 2008 was relatively easy since there wasn’t so many blog entries to go through to pick out the defining moments.

I had joined a couple of 30-Day blogging challenges which requires 30 blog entries in 30 days and it essentially got me into the habit of making almost daily blog entries. Now it’s pretty safe to say that each month sees about 25 new blog entries. The constant blogging has actually helped bring a bigger audience to my blog, so if your first time reading any of my writing has been in 2009, then no doubt something I wrote in 2009 caught your eye and is why you’re here reading this entry now. I am grateful for the many folks who’ve read my blog and left me comments, it’s been a pleasure to hear your feedback throughout the year. In any case, I looked through every post of 2009 to select what I feel were the 10 Most Incredible Things about 2009 that happened for me. You’ll note I combined a few complimentary things to narrow it down to 10.

I do hope you enjoy my reflection on 2009 and continue to join me on my quest to find the most incredible things of 2010. Without further ado, in no particular order.

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Where Have All The A&W’s Gone?

Every once in a while I get a craving and generally nothing really satisfies it until I get what I’m craving. And today I was just getting the bug to have some food from an A&W restaurant. I grew up in Canada and A&W’s are one of the first and larger fast food chains in Canada. I’d even go so far as to say they are far more popular in Canada than I’ve seen here in the United States (using in Southern California anyway). Usually when I get a craving for A&W its due to nostalgia for the Canadian A&Ws. I know the last time I got a craving for A&W and went to one of the ones here in San Diego I was disappointed because American A&Ws are nothing like the Canadian ones. The menus don’t offer the same items and the food doesn’t even taste the same. So I knew I was probably setting myself up for another disappointment but it’s been a couple of years since I last went to A&W but I was willing to chance it.

These days A&W is one of the “brands” of restaurants part of the YUM! Corporation which consists of all the restaurant brands bought up by the Pepsi Corporation. (In Canada, A&W’s were started by the American A&W’s but were sold off in 1972 and have no ties to the American A&W operations) I’m not sure if YUM! is just a new name for the division, a spun off & separate company, or even sold off, but anyway, they are home to familiar restaurant names, like Kentucky Fried Chicken (or KFC), Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W, and Long John Silvers. Pepsi originally bought up these restaurants so they could ensure these restaurants served only Pepsi products as beverages. One of the concepts YUM has been doing in recent years is putting in single locations that offer more than one brand in one restaurant. Usually it ends up being a KFC or Taco Bell co-branded with one of the other not quite as popular brands.

In any case, all of the ones in San Diego county were KFC/A&W’s and oddly enough all of them are in the South part of the county, none of them were in North County. So none of the locations are conveniently located for me. So I headed off to the closest location that Google maps pointed me to. I even checked it on the street view to see the location before going there and sure enough, there was a KFC & A&W combination store. However, when I got there, the signage for the A&W was gone, just the KFC remained. From the dirt on the walls where the signs used to be, it looked like it must have been a recent removal. Continue reading Where Have All The A&W’s Gone?

Target’s Interesting Packaging For Star Trek DVD & Blu-Ray

Star Trek Target Blu RayAs retailers coerce manufacturers into getting exclusive versions of products to try and attract buyers without having to actually compete on price. In a way it’s kind of a dirty way to get fans to buy multiple products when exclusives are offered to multiple retailers and to extort the highest prices on the “Limited Edition” versions.

In the case of the latest Star Trek film, here in the US, Paramount Pictures, authorized several exclusives options. One set of retailers, FYE, Coconuts, & Suncoast, (all owned by the same parent company) offered the film in a collectible steelbox shell, Hollywood Video is offering a chance to win an autographed poster with a purchase or rental of the movie, Best Buy is offering a set of four pins to cover the various departmental delta shields seen on the uniforms in the movie. CVS Pharmacies are offering the chance to buy the movie for a discounted rate with the purchase of an iTunes gift card. Allegedly Wal-Mart is or was offering a Blu-Ray set that included the standard DVD as well, but I’ve not been able to confirm that one. And both Amazon and Target are offering Enterprise models as their exclusives. The Amazon one is certainly the higher ticket one, made of solid metal with chrome, textured steel and pewter finishes as well as being limited to only 5,000 pieces but at $100 a pop, a little too pricey in my book, albeit very nice looking.

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Trying Hodad’s, One Of CNN’s Top 5 Burgers In America

Hodad's BurgerIn one of those the truth is so strange it sounds like fiction moments, I was listening to Mary Occhino on my Sirius Satellite Radio because I woke up fairly early this morning. Her show now airs here in California between 4 am and 7 am due to the recent addition of Rosie O’Donnell to the Sirius XM Stars channel lineup. I decided to give Rosie O’Donnell’s program a try and stayed listening to her show.

During the Rosie Radio show, she was discussing how she and her daughter are addicted to one of the coffee style drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts. So I ended up checking out Dunkin’ Donuts webpage and on a long shot checked to see if any were in town. And it came up with no results. But a Google search yielded some different results, and so I ended up on Yelp.com where some local reviewers of some local donut shop were reminiscing about how that particular shop used to be Dunkin’ Donuts at one point in time. On the right hand side of the page was a Canadian Maple Leaf that caught my eye. Naturally as a Canadian, I had to see why there was a Canadian Maple Leaf on this page of reviews for a local donut shop that used to be a Dunkin’ Donuts however many years ago.

The Maple Leaf image was basically being used as a profile picture and it was tied to a list called “Comfort Foods” that was under a header called “Related Lists.” So whoever this person is had prepared a list of locations on Yelp, that he or she felt were great comfort food locations in San Diego, so out of curiosity, I clicked on because I’m assuming that he or she is also Canadian like me, so maybe they would have similar tastes.

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America Needs To Lighten Up And Get A Sense Of Humor

Mr. T SnickersWhile this is technically old news, I just heard about it for the first time today through an article relating to advertising considered to be offensive. The commercial in question here that I am writing about is what I found to be a hilarious commercial for Snickers candy bars that uses Mr. T to poke fun at the supposed lack of masculinity when it comes to speed walking.

The commercial was widely regarded in the humorous spirit the ad was intended to be viewed. According to the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK the ad barely ruffled feathers and a spokesperson for Mars, the parent company of Snickers candy bars, the ad was meant to be funny and was positively received in the UK. If the commercial is designed to be funny and the intended audience of the commercial does find it funny, what is the controversy?

The controversy is that some American organizations took great offense to the commercial and have caused such a ruckus about it that Mars has opted to permanently retire the ad and no longer show it anywhere in the world. Keep in mind the commercial was made for the UK market, it wasn’t shown in the United States at all prior to the controversy. The parent company of the advertising agency responsible for the ad received an open letter challenging the ad in a US advertising industry title and the Human Rights Campaign declared the commercial offensive to the gay, lesbian, bi, transgender community by implying that the speedwalker was a homosexual and the attack on the speedwalker both verbally and with Snickers Bars being shot out of a machine gun, is essentially a hate crime.

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Amazing Sugar Free Cheesecake From Junior’s Cheesecakes

Junior's Sugar Free CheesecakeMy mom is an avid fan of QVC and about a month ago, I somehow ended up on QVC’s website and one of the items that popped up to look at was a Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse Cake from Junior’s Cheesecakes of New York. I ended up clicking on it just to check it out and it looked amazingly good. There were endless reviews of how wonderful the cake was, so I was intrigued. I saw they also had a Sugar Free Cheesecake listed that also was highly reviewed. As I am on a low sugar program I thought it might be worth trying one of these, but I was a bit hesitant to spend $30-$35 plus another $11 for shipping for a whole cake and QVC also charges tax, so a few more dollars on top of it for something I haven’t tried. Plus that’s a huge chunk of money for a single cake.

Well since I had an upcoming trip to New York, I decided I was going to wait on these expensive cakes and take advantage of the fact Junior’s has restaurants in New York and hunt one of the restaurants down while in New York and try a slice of their cheesecake. I looked up Junior’s website and found they have several restaurants in the New York area and it looked like for my visit to New York, my best option was to find the one in Times Square, so I added it to my agenda for New York.

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