Hog Times at Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q

Last Wednesday I was allowed to go behind the scenes into the heat and hurry of the kitchen at Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q to record the their first-ever Hog Times dinner celebrating going whole hog and eating nose to tail. I set up my digital SLR on my tripod and tried to stay out of the way of the controlled chaos. With my iPad at hand, I clicked and tweeted and tried not to drool all over my equipment.

While I didn’t get a chance to taste the deliciousness, it was obvious that the crowd really enjoyed it. The best part was seeing the pig paraded around to the table while everyone took photos. There are more photos on Fat Dragon’s Facebook Page.

They’re already planning to do another Hog Times in January and this month they are doing a shellfish themed dinner called Shellfish Mania!

Here’s the menu:

Barbecued Sloping Hills Pork with Condiments

-Bean Sprout Kimchi

-Iceberg Lettuce

-Citrus

-Korean BBQ Bar-B-Q Sauce

-Scallion Sauce

Jalan Alor Chicken Wings

Papaya & Napa Cabbage Salad, Smoked Steelhead

Stir-fried Japanese Eggplant with Sambal & Crispy Onions

Pit Beans

Stir-Fried Noodles with Smoky Drippings

Steamed Jasmine Rice

Butter Lettuce Salads

Advertisements

Video: Lunch Lovers

An unofficial part of my position as Event Coordinator for Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q, Campagnolo and Campagnolo ROMA is being an on call photographer. Truly, there is little I like more than packing up my gear and heading off to snap images, especially if the subject is delicious food that will probably need to be eaten afterward! With nine new lunch specials being debuted at Fat Dragon it was the perfect opportunity to snap some images of the dishes and maybe pull together a video to show off some of the options.

With Youtube becoming the 2nd largest search engine on the web, if you want to be found you need to be in motion pictures. Now, you don’t need wind machines, sound stages or a Steadi-Cam to get the job done. You don’t even need to shoot video! That’s right, you can create a share a slide show of your still photos to give them the reach and dynamism of video.

While I was snapping away with my digital SLR, I supplemented the high quality images with short HD video clips shot with my iPad. This video was made on my iPad with iMovie using still images as well as the video.While it’s not going to be showing up on the silver screen anytime soon, it’s a great engaging way to share what’s going on at Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q in the lunch department!

Do you prefer watching quick videos to clicking through image after image?

MT: Mountain or Molehill

In the Twitterverse, RT means ReTweet and MT means Modified Tweet. So, what makes a tweet modified and when should it be used? Good question so glad you asked. Since I learned about Modified Tweets, which is a higher level of Twitter etiquette, I’ve tried to use them whenever appropriate. To start, I’ll give you an example of when an I would have appreciated an MT instead of an RT.

Back when I attended Blog Her Food 2012 in Seattle, I attended a very interesting and provocative morning keynote entitled: The Intersection of Brands, Bloggers, Ethics and Opportunities. As with the rest of the conference, I used the tweets from Twitter account for my food blog @kitchenettefind  as a way to keep shorthand notes of thoughts and quotes I found insightful, useful or thought-provoking. It was an excellent way to interact with other attendees without being disruptive and to keep track of what was going on in the other areas of the conference as many people were tweeting throughout.

Though there were many interesting moments and thoughts, it seemed that Alicia McGlamory from Masterbuilt (makers of fryers, grills and smokers) stirred up the most controversy. She was representing the point of view of brands that are often approached by food bloggers and she generated quite  a strong response in the room and on Twitter. One of my tweets that quoted Alicia got a small reaction as well.

When @mizmaggieb quoted my tweet she took out “your blog”, but she also took out the original quote attribution to @Masterbuilt (Alicia McGlamory’s corporate Twitter handle). Now, all the people in the room with us knew that these were not my words. But, given that @mizmaggieb has more than 6 times the followers that @kitchenettefind has, there would be a lot of people who would read her re-tweet of my mangled quote and assume they were my words. Now this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, or even in the little petty plan of things, but if you want to make friends in the Twitterverse treat their words with respect and acknowledge when they’ve been edited.

When should MT be used instead of RT? Anytime the re-tweeter shortens, replaces, corrects or inserts anything into the original tweet. That way, if you have changed the meaning in any way (intentionally or not) you are taking responsibility for the adjustment. I use it all the time when I’m shortening a tweet so I can re-share it with an addition or if I’m only interested in part of the tweet. I also sometimes add hashtags or remove links or other Twitter handles. The MT also lets other Twits know to check the source material (i.e. the original tweet) before they take the quote as verbatim.

The strength of the online community is based on respect and the etiquette that we create and conform to as a group. I will always use MT when it is appropriate to show my consideration for other’s words, thoughts and ideas.

Have you been RT’ed when you should  have been MT’ed? Do you or will use MT?

Soda Social

Some people jump into Social Media and make up the rules as they go along, some people fall in and flub the rules as they go, others are lucky enough to have someone to guide (read: drag) them in and teach them the ropes. At different times I have filled all these roles: Jumper, Flailer, Dragee and Guide. That’s the thing about social networks, we all have to start somewhere and the more the merrier. I’d been pushing my friend to be more active on Twitter and a weekend trip to Seattle seemed  the perfect time to give her a gentle shove.

She’d recently discovered Instagram and with her visual arts and design background it was a more comfortable fit than just simple text-based Twitter. One night, while enjoying a delicious dinner at Lark in Capitol Hill neighbourhood, we were really impressed by the flavour of the cucumber soda from a local company called Dry Soda:

We were so taken with the one Dry Soda we’d tried that we tracked down a sampling of their other flavours and hauled them back to our hotel room. After polishing off the Wild Lime, I arranged the bottles on the window ledge, my friend shot and shared through Instagram and the image above went out on Twitter:

A couple of days later it was retweeted by @drysoda:

After getting her permission, they then shared the image on their website. This is something they do regularly and is a great way to encourage and connect with fans of their product.

I retweeted the image with my food blog Twitter account, which was then re-re-tweeted by Sharelle Klaus the CEO of Dry Soda on her Twitter account, @CEOdry:

I just think this is a really fun example of how brands can interact and build relationships with fans and customers on Social Media.

Have you had any interesting online run-ins with businesses or brands on Twitter or Instagram?

The Business of Blogging

Last month I drove to Seattle to take part in the BlogHer Food 2012 two-day conference. It was a weekend packed with information, opportunities and, of course, lots of delicious food. While I met lots of amazing food bloggers (celebrity and just plain folk), I found the brands (and the people who represented the companies) that participated and supported the conference equally fascinating. During the keynote breakfast we were encouraged to get to know our table mates, so I had the pleasure of chatting with Cindy from Land O’Lakes butter, she is their test kitchen manager and a contributor to their test kitchen blog. We had a lovely chat and it was interesting to hear about her viewpoint as a brand blogger.

All throughout the conference there was a lot of discussion about independent food bloggers working with brands, for brands and sometimes working against them. What this really reinforced for me was the need for brands and companies to have their own blog to make sure their perspective and voice is shared truly with the blog world and not only through the lenses of individual bloggers.

Here’s what a blog can do for your business:

Educate: A blog provides an interactive and informative platform to tell potential customers about the benefits of your products and/or services.

Examples: A series of tutorials on how something works or a behind the scenes piece on how your product is made.

Engage: The episodic nature of blogs is a great way to keep people coming back and keeping them up to date.

Examples: Seasonal posts or weekly features 

Entertain: Blogs are informal, they can break down the barrier between a faceless business and people who want a piece of it.

Examples: Share the stories about your company and the people who make it special. Are you pranksters, volunteers or triathletes?

Create a blog that is the source and the resource for your business.

If you have a business blog, how has it helped your business? If your business doesn’t have a blog, what is holding you back?

Facebook Fan Page Possibilities

Facebook is the virtual place to be for businesses looking to engage with customers and keep them up to date on the latest and greatest. Since it is free and easy to set up there is no reason you shouldn’t have a Facebook Page, unless of course you intend to do a poor job of setting it up and then never check it. But you wouldn’t do that, right?

Let’s take a look at a local foodie business’s Facebook Page and see what they are doing right. I recently checked out Soirette Macarons & Tea based on a blogger Joseph Mallozzi’s recommendation . The man knows his macarons.

Overall, the page is well done with lots of interaction from the fans and, fortunately, macarons are highly photogenic!

Strengths

  • Posting frequency: updates almost daily
  • Photos: lots of them!
  • Interaction: likes and replies to fan comments

Areas for Improvement

  • More “About”: Include the story of Soirette
  • Include Twitter and Pinterest links: @soirettemacaron & Soirette Macarons & Tea
  • Video: Maybe a little something like the following that I shot and edited on my iPad:

Do you think a video tour of the store and products would bring a certain je ne sais quoi to Soirette’s page?

Is Your Business a Big Wheel?

“What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.”
―Martha Graham

Agreed! But what the people in the world think of your business IS your business. There are people discussing your business online right now. Good, bad, ugly or totally untrue you need to be aware of the conversations and decide whether you should take part as well.

The interweb is a big place, so first you need to track down the chin wags that affect your business specifically and your industry in general. Fortunately there are free tools at the ready:

  • Google Alerts – email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your queries.
  • Monitter– a real time search tool that monitors a set of keywords on twitter. Able to search a geographic location.
  • Addictomatic – searches for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images.
  • How Sociable – measures the magnitude of your brand.
  • Twitalyzer – Twitter’s most powerful and popular analytics application. (free for first 7 days)

OK, so you’ve tracked down the Chatty Cathys, now what are they saying about your business and what do you do with it? Using Big Wheel Burger in Victoria, BC as an example we’ll see if the chatter is positive (+1), negative (-1) or neutral (0).

Let’s take a look at what Monitter pulled out of the Twitterverse:

(+1)

(0)

(0)

(0)

(+1)

(+1)

http://twitter.com/LittleLeagueYYJ/status/213832901446479873

(+1)

(0)

(+1)

(0)

The final tally for 10 tweets:

5 neutral

5 positive

0 negative

According to this quick survey, Big Wheel Burger is a pretty big deal in Victoria with a loyal fan base. You can see that they are actively monitoring and participating in Twitter conversations about their brand, which they do on their Facebook page as well. They also have a feedback form on Facebook as well, great idea!

What are you doing to make your business a Big Wheel? Are you listening? Are you replying? Are you asking for feedback?

Leave Dad Alone Day?

campagnolo-roma-20120520-DSCF4130.jpg
campagnolo-roma-20120520-DSCF4130.jpg (Photo credit: roland)
Apparently, what Dad’s want for Fathers’ Day can cause controversy beyond neck tie vs. fishing rod. The Social Media Release below suggest leaving Pops the heck alone for the day. Is it just dad’s who work in restaurants that feel that way?
LEAVE DAD ALONE DAY

Sunday, June 17 is Father’s Day and the CampagnoloCampagnolo ROMA and Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q family of restaurants encourage guests to give dad a break – leave him at home and dine without him. All three restaurants will give 50% off take-out orders to families who dine-in without dad and take something to-go for him following their meal. When posed with the question, “what do you want for Father’s Day?”, the answer was unanimous (amongst dad’s who work at these restaurants) – “a day off with no obligations and no responsibility.”

For dads who would prefer the company of their family, some special dishes and deals are available for dine-in at each restaurant.

Father’s Day Dine-In Dishes & Deals:  Date: Sunday June 17, 2012

Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q (566 Powell St.)
– Crispy Dry Beef Ribs and a R&B Draught beer for $19
soy-brown sugar glaze, fried garlic & scallions

Campagnolo Restaurant (1020 Main St.)
– 12oz Rib-eye Steak with choice of contorni $38
– Roast Porchetta Dinner $25
potato terrine & market fresh vegetables

Campagnolo ROMA (2297 Hastings St.)
– Porchetta and a R&B Draught Beer for $28
with garlic rapini, soft semolina & salsa verde


Reserve
: Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q, Campagnolo and Campagnolo ROMA are walk-in only restaurants. Advance booking is available only for parties of 8 or more.
Please visit individual restaurant websites for hours of operation.

Father’s Day Take-Out Details:
Families are encouraged to dine-in without dad at Campagnolo, Campagnolo ROMA and Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q. Following their eat-in lunch, brunch or dinner, families can order something to-go just for dad. All three restaurants will give a 50% discount on his take-out order.

Facts

  • Celebrated in North America on the third Sunday in June
  • First celebrated in 1910 in Spokane, Washington
  • Made a US Holiday in 1972 by President Richard Nixon

About Campagnolo Restaurant:  Campagnolo offers affordable, casual Italian dining in a warm and welcoming space. Campagnolo is located at 1020 Main St. and is open seven days a week serving lunch from 11:30am – 2:30pm, and dinner nightly from 5pm. For more information please call 604 484 6018, email info@campagnolorestaurant.ca and visit www.campagnolorestaurant.ca

About Campagnolo ROMA: Campagnolo Roma serves dishes inspired by Roman cuisine in the heart of the old Italian district of the East Village. Located at 2297 East Hastings St., Vancouver B.C., Roma serves dinner seven days a week from 5pm – 10pm and lunch Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30am – 2:30pm with brunch served on the weekend. For complete menus and more information call 604 569 0456, email info@campagnoloroma.com or visit www.campagnoloroma.com

About Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q: Where East Meets South! Fat Dragon cooks up bold American southern barbeque complemented by delicate Asian flavours. Dine-in or take-out. Located at 566 Powell Street, Fat Dragon Bar-B-Q is open from 11:00 am — late, seven days a week. For more information email info@fatdragonbbq.com, visitwww.fatdragonbbq.com and call 604 558 0880.

Multimedia Links

Fat Dragon Image Gallery

Pig Head Preparation Video

Relevant Links                                                                                                                         

Campagnolo Roma Transitions to Zero Waste Eatery

Fat Dragon & Campagnolos Primed for Mother’s Day

Tags

Campagnolo, Campagnolo Roma, Fat Dragon, Fathers Day

Social Media Takes the Cake

Can Social Media take the cupcake to another level? Cupcakes have been a food trend ever since the Magnolia Bakery in New York was featured on Sex and the City and this hilarious SNL video. Since then cupcake specific bakeries have been popping up all over the world. Some have disappeared and others have managed to outlast the fad. I have tried to sample as many as the cupcake offerings in British Columbia as possible, it’s only fair to the cupcakes. While all were very attractive, there is only one bakery that has cupcakes so good that I think about them daily and will pay a bridge toll just to taste them again: Frostings Cupcakery in Langley. Part of the reasonI think about them every day, besides their sumptuous cupcakes, is their presence on social media.

I shared the photo below on Twitter and Facebook through Instagram last week and it was retweeted by @frostingcupcake with the comment “Hey, we recognize those :-)”. While I did pay for the regular size ones, the little mini red velvet cupcake at the bottom was a freebie I earned by checking in at their store using FourSquare. They have three specials set up through FourSquare, including 10% off for the mayor (it pays to be important). On Frostings’ Facebook Page they share their daily line up of flavours, so because I’ve “liked” their page, it pops up in my home feed tempting me every day.

Using Social Media to engage, reward and remind their customers, Frostings has created a loyal following. Let’s compare the stats for Frostings to another more established cupcake bakery in Vancouver: Original Cupcakes on Denman.

Frostings Cupcakery Vs. Original Cupcakes

2009 – year established – 2002

1449 – Facebook Page Likes – 527

98 – people talking about them on Facebook – 21

2736 – number of Tweets – 602

1355 – Twitter Followers – 3702

618 – Following on Twitter – 46

233 – FourSquare Checkins – 338

40 – Klout Score – 37

Though Original Cupcakes has been around seven years longer and has more than double the amount of Twitter followers than Frostings Cupcakery, Frostings’ followers and fans are much more engaged with their more active and interactive Social Media presence. If you think that’s impressive, wait until you taste their cupcakes!

Update: June 13, 2012

When I tweeted this post I included Frostings’ Twitter handle @frostingcupake and got the nicest reply:

Video: Hootsuite: Owl You Really Need?

I’ve used HootSuite to manage my social media profiles for a while and I recently upgraded to the Pro Plan, going from free to $5.99 USD per month. The limit of 5 social profiles was feeling constricting and I was becoming more interested in the custom analytics available. I love that HootSuite is a local tech company in downtown Vancouver and that they seem to be committed  to staying here. Not to mention that the owl mascot is adorable! Go ahead and “like” the Meat of the Message Facebook page and you’ll be in the loop with my latest scoop (I promise they won’t all rhyme).

Do you use HootSuite? If so, what do you like about it? If not, what’s holding you back?