Restaurant Review: The Woods Alehouse

The Woods Alehouse in Saskatoon

I used to hate going here.  The only time we went here was when The Rook & Raven, The Congress Beer House and State & Main were all packed.  Each time I regretted it.

Then things started to turn around.  They changed the seating arrangements.  The food improved to the point where it was edible.  There seemed to be a better attitude by the serving staff.  Instead of just having a wide selection of beer, they understood that a pub needs more than that, it needs to be a place where people enjoying going to.

They now have several good things on the menu from some excellent fries to some kind of nacho thing they do with fries instead of chips.   It’s pretty incredible.

There are good sandwiches and wraps as well.  The atmosphere has changed and the serving staff is now pleasant and fun to talk with.

There is a little less seating now then there was.  It makes the place more open, relaxing and more flexible as it is a great place for game nights, poetry slams, or as a place for a big gathering.

Normally places that suck don’t turn themselves around but The Wood’s Alehouse has and in the process has made a lot of us big fans.

The Wood’s Alehouse
148 2nd Ave North 
Saskatoon, SK S7K2B2

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Restaurant Review: Alexander’s Restaurant

Alexander's Restaurant

I have been eating at Alexander’s Restaurant for 20 years and it has remained one of my favourite restaurants from the first time I entered the restaurant.  Alexander’s manages to keep what is good while updating and reinventing itself in areas that need improvement like almost no other restaurant I have ever seen.

Long time favourite meals have been the nachos, quesadillas, excellent burgers, sandwiches, and of course their desserts.  Another staple of the Alexander’s dining experience has been excellent service which remains the same no matter how many waitresses and waiters come and go.

Over two decades, the restaurant has changed.  Five or six years ago this would have been a different review as the quality of even the appetizers varied from visit to visit.  Over the last couple of years the consistency of the food has returned which is what you want from a restaurant which serves up some excellent comfort food.

The prices is right, the food is good, and it is fun to go back to a place that brings me back to my college days while still remaining pristine and current.  I love it.

Alexander’s Restaurant & Bar
414 Cumberland Avenue North
Saskatoon, SK
S7N0W7

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Travelling the World with One Lens

Outdoor Photographer has a neat article on a professional photographer travelling the world with just a Canon 40D and a Tamron 18-270mm camera.

Vietnam

I brought a Canon EOS 40D and the longest, most versatile lens then available for that camera, a Tamron 18-270mm ƒ/3.5-6.3. This outfit gave me the 35mm equivalent of 29-432mm with a stabilized (Tamron calls it Vibration Compensation, or VC), reasonably fast, autofocus lens. Sure, sometimes I wished for more wide-angle when under an architectural masterpiece, and sometimes I wished for more telephoto reach when we saw elusive wildlife, but 99% of the time, that 29-432mm was all I needed. My only accessory was a polarizer for my lens. I also had two extra batteries and a good-sized JOBY GorillaPod tripod. We photographed every day, almost all day, especially when we got to a new place and didn’t need to “move on” till we decided it was time. My equipment held up fine for the entire 21 months. 

Of course if it was me, it would be an Olympus PEN EPL-7 and an Olympus 14-150mm lens but you get the idea. 

This is how broke Guyana is

To even provide basic needs, it needs foreign aid from other countries.

Guyana’s president says India has pledged USD 60 million to help the South American country buy a large ferry and build a four-lane highway.

President Donald Ramotar says the highway is to connect Guyana’s main international airport to a large highway near the capital of Georgetown that runs to the coast.

He said late Thursday that USD 10 million of the amount pledged will be used to buy a passenger and cargo ferry that would operate between Port Georgetown and remote jungle communities near the border with Venezuela.

India and Guyana have collaborated on other projects in recent years, including a cricket stadium and a hospital.

About 44 per cent of the 736,000 people who live in Guyana are descendants of people from India who came as indentured workers.

About that hospital.  It isn’t going well.

Another controversy has erupted in relation to the design and construction of the Specialty Hospital at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara. This time, the government announced its intention to terminate the contract with Surendra Engineering Corporation Ltd on the grounds that the contractor had submitted a fraudulent document purported to emanate from the Central Bank of Trinidad. The government has also asked the police to investigate the matter and is pursuing legal action to recover some US$4.3 million it paid to the contractor.

Surendra Engineering has, however, rejected the allegations and accused the government of seeking to back out of its commitments and of being responsible for the stoppage of work. The contractor also stated that it was entitled to recover from the government amounts expended on the project that it was committed to see through to completion.

Now it is getting worse.

The Indian contractor which was sacked by Government in early September over the US$18M Specialty Hospital is in liquidation.

This latest development would bring uncertainty into legal proceedings filed by the Government of Guyana to recover over US$4M.

According to information seen by Kaieteur News, the company which was incorporated on September 8, 2008, is an unlisted public company which has its registered office at Mumbai, Maharashtra. Its last reported annual general meeting, according to records, was held on September 28, 2012. The company has eight directors.

According to Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, the Surendra contracts in Guyana have continued to raise shocking questions over the manner in which Government goes about its businesses. SECL was awarded the contract to build the US$12.5M sugar packaging plant at Enmore.

Government then, in 2011, turned around and awarded another contract to the company to supply 14 fixed and mobile drainage pump, for US$4M. That contract was under fire as SECL had no immediate history of dealing with pumps.

Under questionable circumstances again, Government awarded SECL the contract for the Indian-funded Specialty Hospital that is being built at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.

There were objections by another Indian firm over the award of the contract, with a complaint later filed with Indian parliamentarians.

“I want to go this far and say that the Bank in India is responsible in not screening the participants accessing its funding;  or doing at minimum a due diligence or minimum scrutiny of the awardee as recommended by these ‘Chatrees’ in Guyana.

“Even a fourth grader could find out the company’s activities from their web site.  It is so appalling to see monies getting misappropriated and images of the people and of the country, Guyana, getting tarnished.” The Parliamentarian made it clear that it will be nigh impossible for Guyana to recoup the monies it paid to SECL for the Specialty Hospital.

“Is it coincidence that the Surendra is in liquidation now? I am not sure what chance, if any, will this corrupt PPP Government or any future Government will have to recover the sum of US$4.5M that Surendra was paid upfront.”

I am not sure what to think.  Obviously Guyana has almost no engineering capacity in the country and that is exploited by either corrupt or incompetent companies overseas.   Of course spending some of that money to get a highly qualified engineer to help with these kinds of projects like cities all across the world do, might stop them from being exploited.  I hate to blame the victim but Guyana seems to be taken advantage of a lot.