On June 12th, Eating in Vancouver & the World was invited to join the rest of Vancouver’s blogging finest at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House for a cocktail tweetup! For those not familiar with tweetups, they are a relatively new social marketing strategy that involves hosting an event around a specific Twitter hashtag ie. #JFtweetup. Throughout the course of the event, attendees are encouraged to regularly tweet out photos, status updates etc. from the event using the aforementioned Twitter hashtag to their followers. Through matrixed interactions which then web out through retweets and other linked social networks ie. Facebook, the event host is able to gain an effective level of exposure with a large demographic in a very short period of time. Anyway, schoolbook definition aside, Eating in Vancouver happily joined in the festivities to help celebrate two wonderful years on Twitter for the Joe Fortes business group.
Now, originally the JF tweetup was meant to be hosted on the beautiful Joe Fortes Patio. This being Vancouver in the Spring, Mother Nature chose to be a little sulky so the celebration was moved indoors. Thankfully the poor weather outside did nothing to dampen what quickly became an extremely enjoyable event. Upon entering the main foyer area, I was pleasantly surprised to have my coat checked and a beautiful white sangria placed into my hand. Before I forget, a big thank you to the Beverage Manager at Joe Fortes, Jennifer Hennessey, for putting together such an amazing cocktail menu for the event. To be perfectly honest, I am not a big cocktail person at all but I must say the drinks were delicious. My glass of sangria was very well balanced between the fresh fruits and alcoholic elements. The cocktail went down VERY smoothly and actually complimented the presented appetizers very well.
Walking around the event with my glass of sangria in hand, it was very nice to run into so many familiar faces! I think Joe Fortes did a very good job in keeping the event simple, warm and intimate. The area was busy but did not feel suffocating. I found the photo booth by Photostar the most amusing part of the evening as it allowed attendees to loosen up a bit and get a little silly. There were fun pseudo-awards like “Most People in a Photo” which led to a few very amusing moments. A quick comment about the event staff: they were very friendly and helpful. Seemingly every time I had a question or request, a staff member was there to help me. Throughout the entire evening, I had my plate and glass changed probably a half dozen times over 2 hours which is pretty impressive.
One of my personal highlights of the evening was meeting Oyster Bob. For those not familiar with Oyster Bob, he is a virtual institution at Joe Fortes having been with the restaurant for over two and a half decades! Not many people may know but Oyster Bob has won numerous awards including the World Championship for Oyster Shucking in 2008. Not able to meet a world champion every day, I asked Bob for a few pointers and he kindly obliged. You will have to visit Joe Fortes yourself to get the full story but basically strong oyster shucking technique is all about the specialty carving tool. Bob said that it takes a LOT of time and practice but eventually you will self-customize an implement that works uniquely to your shucking style. Bob also kindly showed me how to pre-tape your supporting shucking hand to prevent nasty cuts. Definitely a great experience I will not soon forget, thanks so much Oyster Bob!
Ok so this site is called Eating in Vancouver so let us get down to the food! There are so many highlights to discuss but a couple of my favorites were the miso glazed sablefish on spoons and the amazing salmon sliders. I was actually quite taken aback by how much food was offered at the event. I knew there would be food but the sheer amount and quality served was honestly staggering. I really enjoyed the crab croquettes which were served to us piping hot. The two tiered seafood platters were also extremely impressive in both selection and freshness. There also were these cute waffle cones of albacore tuna tartar that I shamelessly popped into my mouth all evening. A dish that surprised me were the lamb satay sticks. Being from Malaysia, I am quite familiar with satay but I don’t think I have ever had mutton satay before as I usually have beef or chicken on the stick. After tearing into a few lamb satay, I tried to be a little healthy and took a few sticks of beef wrapped asparagus. All in all, a very diverse offering of dishes that really showcased Joe Fortes’ strengths as a seafood and chop house.
Final thoughts? The event was without a doubt a success. Tweetups are not easy to organize as there are a lot of things that need to go just right but I think JF knows they did well. Everybody I spoke to left very happy and full of praise for the food and cocktails. Reviewing some of the photos as I write this entry, I must admit even I have a hankering for a little Joe Fortes soon. Thanks again to the wonderful staff at JF for the invite and putting together such a delicious and fun social event! We will definitely be back soon for another amazing meal on the Patio, cheers!