We've just come to the end of another great year of eating in Vancouver and as I review various media outlets reviews of the year in food, I notice one event was conspicuously absent. No one listed their fave dinner of the year as the time time they spent $569 to eat dinner while suspended from a crane. Which is odd, because plenty of people seemed happy to gush about the event at the time. Ditto that ridiculous Lego bar.
And while I appreciate I'm on the verge of becoming a full on crank, I do think that there's a problem with the attention given to these stunt restaurants that's problematic. Firstly, they vary from insanely to annoyingly expensive for food and drink that no reasonable person seems to be willing to say is worth the price. Secondly, they're run by international companies who come in, hire a small staff for a brief period, then quickly depart for the next town of suckers like Lyle Lanley selling a Monorail to Springfield. But mostly it's that there are a legion of great restaurants in this who are dealing with huge monthly rent, and am insane shortage of staff who could really use your help.
Who had a turtle growing up?
Which brings me to the latest head-scratcher of a food event: Dinner With a View. Here's how the describe themselves on their website: A completely luxurious dining experience in a highly unexpected setting. The adventure begins as guests are ushered into a unique outdoor space—a wondrous environment perfect for sharing via social. Translation: you're eating dinner in a plastic dome on Ambleside Beach. That's right: the beach, without the benefits of nature. For this highly Instagrammable moment you will pay $99.99 (it was originally $199.99 but appears to be on sale right now) to rent your dome (it can seat up to 6) and then $109.99 per guest for food. Wine and spirits extra. Whoa. That's not cheap.
Toronto's take on Dinner with a View
That being said, it's cheaper than that crane dinner (which, to be fair, did provide actual views, something that Dinner With A View might have a trick doing, being on the ground and all). Also they appear to have Chef Paul Moran from Tofino's excellent 1909 Kitchen doing the cooking and that's a big draw—the guy's a major talent.
But really, who's this event for? Who wouldn't grab a bottle of Champagne and a pizza from the North Shore's Farina a Legna or Bufala and have an actual picnic on the beach with the sea air and the sounds of nature and the like? Or if you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, visit Mak N Ming or Torafuku or Farmer's Apprentice or any other number of the hundred of hard-working restaurants showing up for work day after day and working their collective asses off to make good, thoughtful food for the citizens of this city.
The new year is just starting out: let's collectively decide to eschew BS gimmicks like this for 2020 and instead focus on helping our own restaurant industry make a go of it in difficult time.