Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Boston Pizza VIP Tasting Event

Some people ask me why I am on Twitter. I have to admit, sometimes I feel guilty for being a part of something associated with inane celebrity banter and supporting an ADD culture. But beyond the tabloid updates and pointless chatter, there is something of value. My recent trip to Boston Pizza Orleans proved two of the three things I like about this social media tool.

So what are the 3 things I find Twitter useful for?

  1. News & information updates.
  2. Specials, deals and coupons not available anywhere else.
  3. The foodie community.

Sometimes all three can be combined. But #3 is by far my favourite feature. I like hearing what a local chef has to say, a new special a restaurant has to offer, or what a fellow blogger had to eat that was good/bad. My Twitter community is a rich and diverse web of food and while I don't Twitter frequently, I know when I go on there will be lots to take in.

So it was great when I was able to go to Boston Pizza Orleans' VIP Tasting Event, where they showcased their new menu items for the first time. AND it was filled with various foodies that I know from Twitter and the Blogosphere. Actually, that's how I found out about the event in it in the first place.

Leslie Scott is the Community Relations Coodinator at Boston Pizza, and let me tell you, she knows how to use social media to the fullest. Through Twitter, Facebook, and Blogger, she's getting the word out on what is going on at BP as well as putting a human face to this giant Canadian chain of restaurants. Leslie gets "it" when it comes to businesses using social media and I have been really impressed with how she uses it to reach out to the Internet community. She was super friendly and this tasting/meet up was her creation. There were about 30 of us there, which is a good turn out on a Monday at noon!

For the first part of the event it was kind of meet-and-greet. After talking with Leslie, I got to meet 1/2 of the duo from foodiePrints, Don, who was such a great guy. Not only friendly, but he was great at helping to introduce me to people at the event. I was also impressed with his plate- in-one-hand-while-taking-photos-on-a-DSLR-with-the-other-hand, all while maneuvering through the crowd and food. The other big blog I follow regularly is Chris over at Nachos At Midnight, and it was great to talk to him in person about moving to Ottawa from Toronto and wings and nachos. He's also got a blog post up right now about the event too. I also spent some time with Ottawa Mom & Tom Hofstatter who were fun to sit, chat and eat with.

It wasn't long before the food was brought out and the photo foodies (including myself) were out snapping shots. A line formed quick and people were sampling some new menu items. Everything was on the house (including my cola beverage, but alcoholic drinks were a cash bar). Unfortunately there were no wings on the new menu :(

Here are a few of the items added to the new menu:

SPINACH SALAD: "Every chef’s favourite! Fresh spinach leaves tossed with poppy seed dressing and topped with sliced mushrooms, smoky bacon, diced tomato, chopped egg and crumbled feta cheese."

BAKED CHIPOTLE BACON PENNE: "A spicy mix of chipotle seasoning, smoky bacon and creamy alfredo sauce all tossed with fresh mushrooms, green onion, diced tomato, cheddar and pizza mozzarella, mixed with penne noodles then topped with more cheddar and pizza mozzarella then baked to perfection. "

FETTUCCINI CARBONARA: "A true pasta lover’s delight. White wine alfredo sauce sautéed with smoky bacon, roasted garlic and parmesan cheese then tossed with fettuccini noodles. "

CHOPPED CHICKEN SALAD: "Garden greens with tomato, julienne carrots, celery, red and green peppers all tossed in our poppy seed dressing then topped with a grilled chicken breast and green onions."

BAJA THIN CRUST PIZZA: "It’s muy bueno! A thin crust pizza topped with pomodoro sauce and chipotle seasoning, pizza mozzarella and a blend of roasted corn, red and green peppers and red onion. Finished with parmesan and fresh cilantro."

NEW YORK STRIPLOIN STEAK: "A 10 oz New York striploin steak, aged a minimum 28 days to the peak of tenderness and flavour, charbroiled the way you like it and served with your choice of side dish and garlic toast. Garden greens with our signature sun-dried tomato balsamic vinaigrette to start."

PEPPERONI & FETA THIN CRUST PIZZA: "A thin crust pizza made with our signature pizza sauce and layers of pepperoni, plus sun-dried tomatoes, feta, cheddar, pizza mozzarella and finished with green onion."

PEPPERONI CLASSIC: "Signature pizza sauce, pizza mozzarella and pepperoni." (WK: which I believe was made with Gluten-free dough).

SICILIAN THIN CRUST PIZZA: "A thin crust pizza brushed with extra virgin olive oil and topped with Genoa salami, pizza mozzarella, chopped red and green peppers, olives and seasoned with pizza spice. Finished with parmesan."

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING: "A warm and sweet treat featuring traditional toffee pudding served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and smothered with rich caramel sauce. "

I was busy taking photos (most of which didn't turn out) so by the time I went through the buffet, there wasn't a whole lot left. I missed out on Sliders, Crispy Chicken Wrap and some pizza. My highlights that I did get to taste were the classic pepperoni pizza on Gluten-free dough, the poppy seed dressing on the salads, and the NY striploin.

Oh, and the Sticky Toffee Pudding. The pudding was spongy, the toffee was caramelly good, and the vanilla ice cream completed the dish. Later I saw that someone was eating a full sized order - good move!

We also got a grab bag full of goodies from BP: coupons, VIP cards, mints, balloons, golf tees, tattoos etc. It was like being at a birthday party, and I didn't need to bring a present!

I want to thank Leslie for the food and the great hospitality (as well as the friendly and excellent service staff). Mostly I want to thank her for letting me finally meet many of these bloggers and tweeters. I didn't catch everyone's name (real name or their Net identities) but here are some of their Twitter handles and blogs - it was great meeting everyone!

@nachosatmidnight - nachosatmidnight.com
I know there are more out there - if I missed you or you know someone I missed, let me know.
I really was among friends at Boston Pizza Orleans!


Brenda (@Ottawamom) said...

Great recap of a great event! It was great to meet and chat with you as well. Love meeting fellow tweeters and bloggers.

Don (foodiePrints) said...

Good post on the event!

So happy to have had the opportunity to meet you.

On the way to Boston Pizza, I told @spoonsie, "I do hope you were invited!"

Going to have to join your for wings sometime! I know you know where to get some good ones :)

Lord of the Wings said...

Brenda - Thanks, it was fun!

Don - It was too long a wait to get together. We will have to go out for wings sometime!

Chris said...

Awwww, you sacrificed getting your plate full just to get us pictures ;)

Very cool event to be a part of, I bet you enjoyed it!

CHINI said...

mostly people like social media and tool for help
VIP cards

Lord of the Wings said...

@Chris - yes yes I did.

@CHINI - um, yes.