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Archive for April, 2011

I’m a Groupon Junkie. There, I have said it. It’s out in the open now. They say that the first step to recovery is admitting to yourself that you have a problem and then to seek help for said problem. But what if I don’t want any help? What if I like being a Groupon Junkie?
Let’s start at the beginning shall we? February began like any other month with work, play, sleep,and more work but it was that month that I noticed on Facebook that some of my Canadian friends were posting special deals for spa treatments,restaurants  and other exciting promotions from a company called Groupon. I was curious so I “googled” them.  For those of you who are not familiar with Groupon take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with them here. In a nutshell they offer great local daily discounts for a myriad of businesses. Now, I was even more interested as who doesn’t appreciate a good deal? I then wondered whether Groupon was available in Mexico? Much to my delight it was so I immediately filled out the registration form and signed up for their daily email.

Cancun Groupon

At first it all started our rather innocently I would get up in the morning start working, check my emails respond to clients and then open up my Hotmail account to see whether I had any personal emails and I would read about the deal of the day.My first purchase was an introductory package for salsa classes for 200 pesos (less than $20) for 4 classes! We bought a coupon for my Mom, my Mother-in-law, and girlfriend. We had a great time and we learnt the basics steps of cuban salsa. My next purchase was for a discount at a restaurant. After that I was hooked!

Some of my Groupon Coupons

I first began to suspect that maybe  I was in over my head when I realized that after opening my eyes in the morning the first thought that crossed my mind was “hmmm I wonder what today’s deal is on Groupon?” I would fire up my computer and go straight to their website (which I have saved in my “favourites” list) and with great anticipation wait as the page loaded. After scanning the day’s deals I would either hit “BUY” or sit back with a deep sense of disappointment if the deal just wasn’t for me. Then, after buying our tickets to Vancouver for our 1 month vacation in July, I signed up for Vancouver’s daily Groupon email. Now I was really addicted! Deals, deals and more deals to choose from every day!!!

Vancouver Groupon

I finally realized that I had serious problem when I allocated a file to my ever growing stash of coupons. I even added a divider to separate the ones in Cancun from Vancouver. Since February, aside from Salsa lessons, I have bought fondue restaurant discounts (twice), yoga classes, Pilates classes, facial treatments, French, Thai, Brazilian and Japanese food discounts just to name a few. Now, sometimes I don’t even wait until the next morning to check the daily deals. If I am still awake at midnight, and this is hard for me to admit, I will actually turn on my iTouch and go to, you guessed it, my favourites section to check Vancouver’s and Cancun’s deals.

I tell myself that my addiction is harmless. I’m not hurting anyone, it doesn’t affect my work or my relationships so what’s the big deal? I get to try different activities and eat great food at new and familiar  restaurants at a discounted price. In fact, one could even say that Groupon has enriched my life and enabled me to get to know my city(ies) better (one of their slogans by the way) for a very reasonable price. I have read the various articles out there that talk about the possible downsides for businesses who become involved with Groupon but for me, as a consumer, it has been a great opportunity to try new things. I even convinced my reluctant  husband to take some yoga classes with me.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that yes,  I  confess that I am a Groupon junkie and  I accept the fact that I have a problem but for now  I am not ready to do anything about it. It has been 3 days since my last purchase and that ever-present “itch” to click on BUY is growing and growing and I can only hope that tomorrow’s deals will satisfy my dark urges.

Groupon file

Have you used Groupon before? Do you have any confessions that you would like to share with me?

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Thai Combo

I apologize in advance to all of my non-food obsessed readers. I had planned to write about our recent trip to the Yucatan and not food again but since hubby and I just came from dinner at Dragon Chi-Thai I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to promote this great little downtown restaurant while the dining experience was still fresh in my mind. This was our second visit to Chi-Thai and we were not disappointed. They have a varied menu that features Chinese food as well as some Thai dishes and their speciality is duck with 7 different styles to choose from like Cantonese, Mandarin and the ever popular Peking duck.

Cantonese Duck

The food is paired with classic Chinese restaurant decor of brightly painted walls, Chinese lanterns, umbrellas, fans and the odd Buddha and elephant. They have comfortable seating both inside and out and a friendly staff, as well as a Chinese chef ,which is always a good sign when you choose to eat Chinese food. On both occasions we started off with a cold beer while we discussed which dishes to order.

On our first visit we ordered the shrimp Vietnamese rolls to start, which though very tasty were rather bulky and not as nicely rolled as I am accustomed to in Vancouver, and  then we shared a steaming hot bowl of  Mandarin soup which was very similar to one of my favourites—Hot and Sour Soup. We then ordered the Cantonese duck which was tender and moist and served on a bed of sautéed vegetables. The sticky sweet sauce had us licking our lips long after we had finished. Our friend, who had joined us, opted for one of their very reasonably priced combos. She chose a Thai combo of chicken in a tangy garlic ginger sauce accompanied by jasmine rice and a roll.

Tonight hubby and I started off with fried wontons stuffed with minced  shrimp and then we ordered a mixed chow mein and Mongolian chicken. Both dishes arrived piping hot and with two bowls of fried rice. We quickly realized that our eyes had been bigger than our stomachs. After eating less than half we asked our waiter to wrap up the rest to go and while we waited the chef came to our table with a furrowed brow and asked us if we had enjoyed our food since we hadn’t finished it all. We quickly assured him that everything had been delicious and I pulled out the folded take-out/home delivery menu from inside my purse, that we had requested from our waiter, to further convince him that we had enjoyed his food and planned to come again.

Chi-Thai is a great choice if you are looking for reasonably priced food and craving something with an Asian influence. It isn’t the most authentic tasting Chinese and Thai food that I have eaten to but then again I hail from Vancouver ,where you can find some of the best ethnic restaurants around, so I am a little biased especially when it comes to reviewing Asian food;however, it will definitely satisfy your Chinese food cravings.

Mandarin Soup

*Dragon Chi-Thai is located on Bonampak Ave. across from SEAT Car Dealership tel: 252 2259

**** I wrote this review a few days ago. I would like to add that we ordered home delivery on Sunday from Chi-Thai and unfortunately we were very disappointed in the food. We ordered 2 combos that arrived cold and several of the dishes were absolutely devoid of any flavour whatsoever.My husband ordered a Thai dish that supposedly comes with jasmine rice but he received regular rice instead. We had to throw out half of the food because it was inedible. The only reason that we could think of for such a difference in food quality was that perhaps the chef was off that day and his helper was on his own.We were also very disappointed that when we called the restaurant to voice our concerns over the food the woman who answered had nothing to say to us. We will try them again one day but we definitely won’t be ordering home delivery next time.

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