What do you do when you come up with an idea for your next blog post but along the way your perspective changes and you lose direction? This is how I felt while brainstorming how I would write this blog post before actually writing it. Originally, my plan was that I was going to write about this restaurant grand opening media event that I was invited to attend, however, the event did not go as planned for the restaurant and its organizers so halfway through it had to be stopped. The event managed to serve food up until before the main course so I still have a couple of photos that I want to show, but I don’t have much to say about them. I do however, have things to say about my experience and the event itself.
I have mixed feelings about my experience of the event. There were 80 Vancouver food bloggers/instagrammers that were invited to attend. The amusing part was that although I was only friends with one of the 80 guests through a previous event, I knew more than 70% of the people there even though I had never seen any of them before. They were essentially complete strangers to me in the real world, but in the online world, we mostly all follow each other. On these kind of instagrams, not everyone posts photos that aren’t of food so its not surprising if you don’t know what the owner of an account looks like. The weird thing about this was that even though I didn’t know any of their real names, if we had exchanged instagram handles I would instantly know who they were. I even got somewhat starstruck at one point when I saw a food instagrammer that takes consistently beautiful photos of their food, which is a weird concept because they’re not a famous celebrity; they’re just a normal person that takes photos of their food, just like me.
As I mentioned earlier, the event did not go as planned. We were served a few dishes but in a very spaced out amount of time between each dish. The good thing about this restaurant was that it was a very well-lit space that encouraged food photos. A side note, have you ever been to a restaurant and laughed when someone stood up to take top-down photos before eating? Food photos from a top-down angle always look very well composed. However, I always feel really awkward standing up in the middle of a restaurant to get these photos. In this setting/environment, once dishes were served, practically everyone would stand up to get their shot. I felt a sense of belonging (and lack of embarrassment because I wasn’t alone!) This is a starter dish for the table, it’s a whole roasted suckling pig. Before serving it, there was a “show” of the chef bringing out a whole roasted pig and cutting it up for serving. I decided to do a bit of quick research as to why a whole roasted suckling pig is served at events like grand openings and celebrations in general. In Multicultural Cookbook of Life-cycle Celebrations, it states that “eating pork is reserved for important celebration feasts […] every important life-cycle celebration means the roasting of a whole suckling pig. […] the pig is a prized possession and a form of wealth” (Webb, 348). The piece of pork was about 80% bone, 10% meat and 10% crispy skin, which wasn’t the greatest, but I’m not really that big of a pork fan in general.
Is this considered as a break between appetizers? We weren’t given menus for this event so most of the time we didn’t know what we were getting and when we were switching to the next “round” of courses. Another side note, I mentioned that I follow around 70% of the guests on Instagram already and all 80 guests were grouped into tables of 8 and some were served quicker than others. I devised a strategy to figure out what dish would be coming out next; many of the attendees posted photos onto Instagram right after they were presented to them which meant that I could see what we were getting a couple minutes before I was served the same thing as well! It was not the best strategy but it was amusing to me because in a room full of strangers, I actually “followed” a lot of them. This was milk tea with coconut jelly (left) and pearls (right).
This dish was dumplings with chili oil. The only thing that made this dish stand out was the way it was served to us. Like a flower with petals that we all individually break apart! I learned that the rotating surface that this was served on is called a Lazy Susan! Who is Susan and how could she be so lazy that she has this named after her?
When I drink juice I want it to be as theatrical as possible, that includes bowls of dry ice under carved out fruit! This was literally just juice but the smoke from the dry ice and fruits hollowed out made it look more appealing.
Overall, the experience made up for the satisfactory food. Also, who can turn down free food?
Webb, Lois Sinaiko. Multicultural Cookbook of Life-Cycle Celebrations. New York: Oryx, 2000. Print.