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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Two Cowboys are Pulling Some Pork with No Sleep at Porkapalooza in Edmonton, Alberta

Father's Day


You are a Dad. Where would you like to be on Father's Day?

There is a happy place for the Cowboys on any given day. It is right next to a cooking fire, with a cold beverage in hand, surrounded by our favourite people. It doesn't matter what day of the year it is, the weather, or what we are supposed to be cooking and eating. Simply, there is no fun in cooking or drinking alone. We treasure barbecuing, braai or merely preparing and sharing food. This ancient social ritual and tradition come naturally to us. 

When it is Father's Day, the one day we as fathers can choose what it is we want to do, then it is only logical for us to look for the biggest celebration we can find of our primal right of passageDuring 24 hours, we want to congregate with well-lubricated bacon and smoke-reeking fellow devotees around open fires, and our favourite cooking machines. These are folks, that know what it takes to patiently savour every moment tenderizing Pork Butts, melting Briskets and crisping Pork Ribs. 

It is a bonus if we can also have our families with us on the day. That is why we salute Alberta Pork and Porkapalooza's organizers for making our Father's Day an extra special day for us this year. We attended our first ever Porkapalooza, which included all the above, and we lived to tell the story.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 


Porkapalooza Ep1


Porkapalooza Ep2

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Porkapalooza


The festival was a free two-day event that celebrated all things BBQ with one of Canada's largest KCBS sanctioned BBQ competitions. Porkapalooza is one of four Alberta Cup BBQ competitions taking place year.

Anyone was welcome to attend (even the Vegans), and it included plenty of activities for families and food lovers to enjoy. Guests were invited to check out guided tours of the competition area and cooking demonstrations from professional chefs. While the parents submerged themselves into the BBQ underworld, the kiddies were kept busy in a play area and a Kids’ Zone.

The competition featured over $15,000 in prize money with almost fifty teams vying for the prize money. It also included a chef’s challenge and special young chef event.

The festival is organized by the Porkapalooza BBQ Festival Society, a non-profit organization, with generous financial support from Alberta Pork and other amazing sponsors.

Observations


Everyone in Western Canada BBQ land has their own reasons why Porkapalooza is the highlight on their annual calendar. For many, it is a chance to learn, catch up with friends, hang out with mates, be serious about cooking, have fun, or compete to win. Vendors bring their latest BBQ gadgets to try, and producers showcase their meat, sauces and other ingredients. Teams compete to validate their skills, test their equipment, eat good food, and generally solicit favour with the KCBS gods.

We are glad that we had a chance to be part of Porkapalooza 2019. Even though we've been hanging around the Alberta smokers for a few years now, we could never fit this pinnacle event into the calendar. We are glad we finally did.

We are also glad we got to know more of, and about, the people passionate about BBQ. We are thankful for the new friendships and appreciate the support they've shown for the Cowboys. We feel like we succeeded in getting a seat at the smoker!

Enjoy the highlights of the event as we introduce you to a few of our new BBQ friends and catch up with others. Sincere thanks to Darcy and Porkapalooza that made it possible for us to be there. We look forward to seeing you all back in 2020. Who knows, maybe the Cowboys will compete and win a few prizes next year. Maybe we should also throw a hat in the ring...

Hendrik
Cooking Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Hot Hot Hot

Love Affair

Happy Man!

Wors Cowboy

Precision!

Two Cowboys Sinks a Put for the Canmore and Area Healthcare Foundation in Canmore, Alberta

More Than Expected


Communities are defined by how well its people take care of each other. However, we don't always appreciate or is aware of who these "caretakers" are that we rely on so leisurely. 

In our "modern world", we've become so far removed from the people that make our civilized lives possible that we no longer appreciate who they are, and what they do. How well do you know your neighbour? Do you know the name of the kid behind the coffee machine that served your Espresso this morning, or your fries for your poutine last night? Dare you ask and care about how your pharmacist's day is going?

Let's make it serious. Do you know who paid for the heart monitor used when your wife was at the hospital's emergency room? Who bought the chair in the waiting room you slept on outside the maternity ward while waiting for your son to be born? What is the name of the Doctor who treated your daughter when she fell off her bicycle, on her way back from school?



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Community for Community


We go through our days often unaware of the people behind the scenes that make a difference to our lives. Sages are touching us and shaping our every day, positively. We will never meet them.

It is easy to take the little things for granted. Marriages and friendships fall apart when we no longer pay attention to the value of what is often considered trivial. Relationships suffer when we stop saying "good morning" or forget to ask, "How was your day, my love?". In the same way, it is even easier to just assume that someone else is taking care of the big things. Our roads, water, hospitals, schools, sanitation and our safety. Isn't it is the Government's job? People are getting paid to do it. I pay taxes, that is why it is there. That is why I am entitled to it.

Herein lies the problem. Government, our taxes, and public servants don't always take care of things. It becomes quite evident when the system breaks down. The world is full of examples where bureaucracies misbehave, fall apart, or abuse their role with catastrophic consequences for the societies they are meant to serve.

In South Africa people in towns are no longer safe, no longer have clean drinking water or electricity. Municipalities no longer remove garbage and streets and sidewalks haven't been maintained in years. The "system" fell apart. Public servants became more interested in serving their own bank balances and exorbitant mortgages, than serving the people that are funding their purpose and existence.

With towns in peril, local community members came together to take care of each other. Neighbours are now patrolling streets and keeping each other safe. Areas are generating their own electricity and neighbours are collecting each other's garbage. People are taking care of each other. They know who is making their town livable and they take responsibility for each other.

Canmore Community


In Canada, we are fortunate to have public healthcare. There is a massive system of bureaucracy somewhere in Edmonton, Vancouver or Toronto, with Billions of Dollars responsible for being there when we get sick or have a health emergency. We assume that the Government fits the bill for our much needed and essential health services. We certainly pay a fair chunk of our income in taxes with the belief that our public servants have our best interest at heart and will be there when we need it most.

However, there are cases when our system fails us, and much-needed resources are prioritized elsewhere. This is when the luxury of leaving our salvation to someone else costs us personally and our community in much-needed services or resources. It simply leaves us with two tasks. To put pressure on the health care system to prioritize resources our way, and coming together as a community to take on the responsibility of taking care of each other.

The Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation is a community organization that is tasked with these two crucial asks for the people of Canmore, Alberta. Their mission as a community-initiated organization is to obtain and provide charitable financial resources for the continuing improvement of the health facilities and services of the Canmore General Hospital. They encourage philanthropy and guard these financial resources to benefit the community's health needs.  It is the people of Canmore taking care of each other where the public health services don't meet requirements or fall short.

Observations


Soulafa Al-Abbasi invited the Cowboys to be part of this year's Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation's annual charity golf fundraiser. The goal was to have fun, entice more charitable giving, and more importantly, to tell the story of the Foundation's existence and the vital work they do.

We were residents of Canmore for eleven years. All this time, we used the Canmore Hospital and its facilities not knowing about the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation. We've always assumed that thanks to generous public funding through our taxes, of Alberta Health Services, that Canmore has an excellent healthcare facility. Now we know that we also benefitted from the work of the Foundation. More importantly, we benefitted from the charitable contributions of our neighbours towards access to better healthcare.

Every resident of Canmore is likely to come in contact with the Canmore Hospital sometime during their lives. Here is the ask, when you know that the hospital is in your future. Don't you want to be sure that the Canmore Hospital will be ready and able to treat you, as you would like to be treated when you need it most?

If you do, then make the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation part of your charitable contribution. If it is not a monetary contribution, give your time. You will get back much more than you give thanks to your neighbour, who is also contributing for your collective benefit. This is the community looking after each other, in its purest and basic form.

We thank Soulafa and the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation for the opportunity to share this positive story. We thank them more for the heart monitor they bought for my wife to use when she was in the Hospital's Emergency Room on Friday, 20 July 2019.

It reminds me of a sign I once saw on the wall at one of our best clients. It said, "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." We implore you to give generously!

Hendrik
Canmore Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Perfect Day

Sinking a Put

Canmore

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Good Food is Food You Cook Yourself - BBQ and Grilling is as Basic and Easy as it Comes in Alberta, Canada

What You Are Eating


"Fast food" is everywhere. It means, unfortunately, that bad food is too. 

Because it is easy to get cooked food fast, many people are forgetting how to prepare it themselves and are probably unaware of what they are really eating. I know this is a gross generalization. It may upset some people. These may be the very people that never paid attention to how grandma boiled potatoes or pulled a roast chicken from the oven. I bet they can't even fry an egg.

There is a whole generation of Millenials that think milk comes from a factory and burgers should be made in laboratories. Most of what they regularly consume comes from an oil fryer, and they have their local restaurants, and food establishments on speed-dial through technology like "Skip the Dishes" and "Uber-Eats". No wonder they gravitate towards veganism! They are unlikely to be eating enough good food.

Here is the revelation. Whatever you order from a restaurant is probably sub-standard. You can buy better at the supermarket, cook it yourself, and it will ultimately taste better, and perhaps be even cheaper. By cooking for yourself, you may learn something. You will definitely also make a few friends along the way when you also share your work with those around you. 

If you don't cook your own food, you are probably not eating well. Let's take a closer look at the economics of a food establishment in today's world.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 


Heritage Heat Ep1

Alberta BBQ Ep2


DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Buy vs. Cook


This is the scenario. It is a case that will probably be out of reach for most people. However, it will put in context what good restaurant food may look like. What will be a fair price at an upmarket downtown establishment, when we order a 450g rib steak, scalloped potatoes, another green vegetable and a salad?

Without the trimmings, side dishes and drinks, and excluding tip and tax, the steak alone will probably set you back around CAD$45 - CAD$50. How did they get to this price? Consider that you have the cost of the slab of beef, the skill of the chef/cook, some seasoning, the overhead of the facility and the margin built in as cost to the price of the meal?

According to "Forbes" magazine, the average gross profit margin for a fine-dining restaurant is around 60% with a food cost percentage between 38% to 42%. Because we are looking a premium piece of produce, there is a good chance that the portion of meat that is served in this scenario set the restaurant back around $21.

Remember that the meat is the star of the meal, and clearly, it is the most expensive part of what is served, so everything else should contribute to pay the rent and wages. The potatoes, vegetables, salad, wine, etc. must deliver substantially better margin than the 60% (charged over and above in this case).

Here is the surprise. The price the consumer is willing to pay ultimately determines the profit a restaurant can squeeze out of a meal. If you and I are eager to slap down $50 for a steak, then a good restaurant will creatively engineer their food and overhead costs to maximize the return from that $50 of wallet spend, without diminishing their brand or upsetting customers with a sub-par experience.

The question is, what can they get away with?

This is where creativity starts in the restaurant business. Either they have a heck of a deal to get prime produce really affordable (because they buy vast quantities, know the farmer, grow their own beef, blah, blah, blah, or let's just say it is where the cook/chef's talent come to shine. They likely take an average (or below-average) cut and dress it up to be served as a prime cut for a top dollar.

Now, think what you get served at a fast food restaurant. Where is the margin coming from in a $10 Happy Meal? Not so happy anymore, are we? No wonder, they try their best to obscure what you are really eating from the fryer.

You can cook for yourself. Visit the grocer or butcher and buy a prime piece of meat. Drop it on a hot grill for 4 minutes a side. Slap it with some garlic butter and a little S&P and another couple of minutes in the oven. See how that compares to your $50 barely adequate rip-off restaurant steak.

I cannot fathom why I would choose the restaurant's steak over my own unless I have money to burn or masochistically feel like tendering for a round of prime indigestion. The point is, you may ultimately spend the same money if you want to (if you pick the 90-day, dry-aged, prime cut that is actually the 90-day, dry-aged, prime cut). However, you will be eating better, because you know what you're cooking, and you have no incentive to cheat yourself out of a perfect meal.

Which brings us to barbeque and grilling.

Observations


We cannot wait for the BBQ season to start. Granted, we BBQ, grill and cook year-round. We are die-hard braai boere from South Africa. Before we came to Canada, we didn't know there was another way to prepare food!

The good thing about BBQ season is that there is a season for it. As with most things in Northern America, there is no half-measure. It is done with complete commitment, enthusiasm and dedication. Rain, snow or shine, the cookers will be running with brisket, pork, sausage, chicken and for the really adventurous they even do baked cheesecake, bread, and desserts, in what is really just a big woodfired oven.

The best part of the BBQ season is that you get to do something primal with good friends. You gather around a fire and prepare food as it was done for thousands of years. It is where every cooking adventure should start and where it ultimately provides one with better eating and a better quality of life.

If you cook your own food and do so with friends, you will be a better person. You will enjoy life more and likely to be happier and healthier. This is the Two Cowboys guarantee.

Come along. We'll show you how we do it.


Hendrik
Cooking Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Pork Chop

Steaks

Original

Beast

Salad!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Brewing Craft Beer in a Lucky Camper Van While on the Road with our Partners Black Rock Brewing and iKegger, New Zealand

It Should be Simple


We've set ourselves a challenge. Can the Two Cowboys brew craft quality beer while on the road in a campervan? We tried it out this summer in New Zealand with mixed results. We've learned a lot and saved ourselves quite a bit of money not having to buy beer in New Zealand.

We enlisted a group of beer friends to take the beer-show on the road. Brewers Coop provided us with our favourite Black Rock Concentrated Wort, Hops and the right Yeast for a juicy Riwaka IPA. iKegger New Zealand provided the gear to show how simple it is to pressure ferment and serve beer in simple kegs and we travelled with Lucky Camper Vans

We have three installments documenting our journey below.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 


Ep1


Ep2


Ep3

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Some Background


Riwaka Hops (Riwaka™) is a real standout. It has powerful grapefruit “citrussy” characters that are literally breathtaking. If you want to say “New Zealand Hops” in your beer, then this variety says it all. The pure weight of the oil character experienced during selection carries right through to the glass. It is a punchy addition to the new world styles of Pales Ale and  New Zealand Pilseners.

We combined additional Riwaka Hops with Black Rock's specialty crafted Riwaka Pale Ale kit as if it didn't have enough of a hop kick already. Black Rock Crafted Riwaka Pale Ale is already dry-hopped with Riwaka hops. This kit is quite scarce to get because the hop is so in demand all over the world and it means if Black Rock can get their hands on it, then they brew a batch. Usually, all the kits are sold long before it comes out of the brewhouse.

We brewed the recipe with a specialty US ale yeast, Safale US-05. To get closer to the hazy ale style and a creamy finish with more volts, we also added a kit of unhopped concentrated Wheat Wort.

Our strategy was to use two Cornelius kegs with a spundling valve similar to our Beer Cowboys Brewing Kit bundle. Obviously, these are in Canada, so Andrew from iKegger stepped up with the gear, taps, connectors and whatever we needed to get on with the job. He runs a neat business that brings people closer to kegging and transporting their beer, which is in our opinion a much better strategy than bottle maturation. It also means you can drink your beer as soon as it is done fermenting. It stays carbonated.

We knew at the outset that temperature control was going to be a challenge. Lucky for us, it is summer in New Zealand with mild sunny days, and it turned out not to be too hard to get the beer fermented and carbonated under pressure. The fact that it was an Ale that wasn't too sensitive to hotter temperatures also helped to speed up the process. To do the cold-crash we had to borrow a fridge for a few days, which meant we could pay a visit to some good friends in Onemana with a promise of fresh cold beer at the end.

Observations


New Zealand is not just the land of milk, honey and sheep. It is also a hotbed for craft beer. We are amazed every time we visit just how passionate kiwis are about their beer and about making their own beer. We would be too if we were charged up to $25/litre for beer. Thanks to astronomical excise and overbearing duties Kiwis stepped up to liberate their beer by finding all kinds of ways of making it themselves.

We see the taxation burden grow in our country (Canada) too and we cannot be happier than to introduce our friends all over the world to making one's own beer. As we've discovered, making your own beer actually also means creating a better beer. We've had misfires. It doesn't always go to plan. Most of the time though it is pure deliciousness.

Thanks to our partners we can continue to push the boundaries of excellent beer brewing and our travel experiences along with it. We thank them for it.

Hendrik
Beer Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Hop Shopping

Beer Machines 
Cowboy Growlers



Blankies!

Best Place to Bew!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hacking All Grain Brewing with Kiwi Ingenuity and Simple Affordable Tools at Bevie in Auckland, New Zealand

Hacking Our Beer


How do you take the beer brewing process, and make it accessible to the average Joe? Simple, you hack it!

The processes for brewing quality beer have been refined over centuries and continues to evolve even today. From an outsider's perspective, it appears to be safeguarded by an eclectic club of weird scientists set on excluding ordinary folk from the inner circle. They mumble of gravity, sparging, yield, steeping and other incomprehensible nomenclature. They keep their brewing secrets close, their recipes even closer, and their influence as wide as it can go within their brewing circle of friends. 

While brewing good quality beer used to be a regular kitchen affair, a couple of hundred years ago, it slowly evolved into dark science, out of reach for ordinary people, like the Two Cowboys. Now, with the help of some simple equipment like a kettle, a pump, some tubes, and good ingredients like grains, yeast, hops and water, a company called Bevie, in New Zealand, managed to apply modern-day control-flow systems, and a mobile app, to unlock the highly complex all-grain brewing processes for ordinary people.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


They call it the Grainfather. It takes the best brewing practices from craft breweries and puts them into a simple to use, all in one system, to ensure anyone can brew a professionally produced craft beer, no matter their brewing experience.

You can also turn the Grainfather into a microdistillery by changing the top parts and adding the Still Spirits Alembic Pot Still Attachments. It is highly illegal to distill liqueur without a license in Canada, while pot smoking is now allowed (...go figure!). We are just saying that you can make fuel for your car or truck from your Grainfather brewing activities if you should ever need it. If you store the fuel in an oak barrel lying around, to keep it safe, it is between you and the RCMP to work out who gets what share when they come knocking.

There are many all-grain brewing equipment manufacturers and lots of equipment for brewing beer on the market. If you buy quality, it is expensive. People are spoiled for choice if they know what they are doing. Herein lies the problem - you need to know what you are doing! Short of learning from an expert or enrolling in beer school, it takes time, trial and error, and lots of learning to work out the best way for brewing beer from grains.

The innovation of the Grainfather is that it is a highly affordable, all-in-one system, for producing an excellent quality wort that you can ferment in the ways you prefer. It also drastically reduces your learning time and eliminates many costly brewing mistakes.

The one-pot brew system may not even be the most innovative around because there's been many that copied the approach and tried to improve on it. Some may also claim that not even Grainfather can be credited for coming up with the approach, although Kiwi's have been known for their innovation in all kinds of industries.

What struck us about the Grainfather is the innovation that Bevie put into the control of the brewing process. The smarts are in the software, not the pot! It offers the ability to a brewer to dial in an exact recipe and then execute it flawlessly, with a built-in controller, and the help of a mobile app on their phone or iPad.

Good brewing's foundation is precision and repeatability. Couple this with good ingredients, great water, and perfect fermentation, and you are on your way to consistently delicious craft-style beer and the envy of the neighbourhood. Not only do you get to execute the brewing tasks flawlessly, but you can also collaborate with other users, all over the world, on recipes and outcomes so that you have a massive database of brewing information on hand for your perfect beer. It gives new meaning to brewing with your mates!

Apparently, Bevie also has an answer for fermenting and serving your beer and provides you with another shortcut by having portion perfect fresh ingredient packs ready for a variety of standard brews. That is a story for another time.  

Observations


The brewing process is getting hacked. People are now liberated to brew their own craft quality beer consistently from grains with simple equipment and software that not only dramatically reduces the learning curve but assist in controlling the quality of the execution.

I don't want my beer to be made for me. If I did, I will just go and buy it from the next brewery or liquor store. I want to make my own beer, simply, affordably, consistently, and deliciously from available ingredients. That is what true beer liberation is about.

There are no gimmicks with the Grainfather offering a "one-push button dark magic beer brewing box". It is old-fashion grain brewing done right. They should have called it the "BigBrother" of beer. The whole solution comes in under $1,000 with free support and an ever growing database of brewing/distilling knowledge and beer recipes. It allows you to make a batch of 23 litres of beer with the ingredients of your choice.

Herein lies the problem. We want to brew more during the few weekly hours we can dedicate to this delicious hobby. Apparently, Bevie is working on a system that can do three times the volume of the existing Grainfather, and it will likely still be an electric system you can use in your shed. Yeehaaa!

The Two Cowboys has been on a journey for the last three years to liberate our beer. Bevie is giving us another option with the Grainfather to get closer to drinking what we make ourselves. We cannot wait to tell you what more they have installed for average people like us, on our beer and do-it-yourself journey.

Hendrik
Brewing Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Smart Pot! 

One Pot

Learning Fast!



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hot Chefs, Cool Beats, and a Good Cause with Alberta Pork in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Ode to The Chef


"My happiest place is when I am "in-the-moment". The world can go by when I am in the kitchen. Cooking makes me whole. It is my passion and purpose. It is what I am and what I do.

I am amazed by the chemistry and the intricate processes that take place when food ingredients are combined with energy. My knowledge and skill transform it into culinary perfection. I have no care in the world other than to watch steak grilling, sauce thickening, cake rising, and pork crackling transform into golden crispy bits of sunshine. 

My moments are complete when I witness precise olfactory, taste and visual symphonies of well-plated food. It becomes a magnum opus of culinary glee to see it, an experience that is only topped by the primal moans of pleasure coming from a loyal patron as they bite into a course I carefully prepared. 

This is what I am dedicating my life to. It is my vocation."

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Hot Chefs Cool bEats


We recently attended the "Hot Chefs Cool bEats" event in Edmonton, courtesy of our partner Alberta Pork. It featured interactive food stations from Edmonton's top culinary talent. Attendees could also sample wine, beer, & spirits from Canadian wineries, local craft breweries and distilleries. If that wasn't enough, it included performances from DJs, dancers, street performers, and live musicians.

The initiative began in 2011 as a fundraiser for The High School Culinary Challenge's Canadian Culinary Fund, and after a short break, it was back with a new home at Edmonton's Mosaic Centre and a restricted guest list of 200 privileged patrons. It meant that not only was the food top-class, there was also enough so that you didn't go home hungry or thirsty. Most importantly, it introduced you to some of Edmonton's more innovative chefs and their talents. You could sample a variety of the best creations like litchi moose, mini ice cream cone tacos, pork on a bun, and more.

Some of the highlights for the Cowboys were the Pork Coppa and Prosciutto made by the young chefs Peter Keith (himself an alumni beneficiary of the scholarship) and Will Kotowicz of Meuwly's Charcuterie, Sausage and Preserves. They promised us it was only BertaPork! Then there was Scott Downey from the ButternutTree's deep-fried Canadian moss. If we knew that these vegetables were so delectable, we would forage our forests until they are empty! Apparently, the moss was from Back East.

However, the start performance of the evening was Paul Shufelt's (The Workshop Eatery, Edmonton) collaboration on a Wagyu Holstein Beefetta. It wasn't pork. However, it was BertaBeef, and so they were forgiven for rekindling our love for meat on a stick. You just needed a large stick for this one and a massive appetite! They did promise us a suckling pig for next year, to honour their loyal sponsor, Alberta Pork.

All proceeds from ticket sales and silent/live auctions benefitted the Canadian Culinary Fund and its main program, The High School Culinary Challenge, so it was all for a good cause.

Observations


Being a chef is not an easy job, and to venture into the culinary industry requires guts and you to be a little bit crazy. It is a lifestyle and a vocation that continues to draw attention for its opportunity, but also for the harshness, low wages, and extreme physical and mental demands on the individual.

Contrary to the glitz and glee of television programs like MasterChef, it is far from glamorous. Most of what chefs do is monotonously droned behind the scenes, in hot holes, spending long hours with equally weird and crazy people feeding the masses with basic fair. Only a few become "rock star chefs". Even less survive as small businesses and entrepreneurs.

However, the culinary industry provides endless opportunity for creativity, learning and mastery. These are the opportunities that the Canadian Culinary Fund attempts to unlock for young people when they introduce and lure them into the possibilities in preparing food.

We salute them for it and congratulate them on a Hot Chefs Cool bEats event that set the bar high. We look forward to the next one. We travel the world for food, and we are entitled to our opinions. Edmonton's chefs should get more attention. They surprised us. It will get more from the Two Cowboys for sure if this is the standard we can expect.

Now, if only there were more pork...

Hendrik
Alberta Pork's Cowboy

P.S. We thank our partner Alberta Pork for making this work possible. Now, go eat more pork!

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


On a Plate

Moss Discovered

Canadian Ceviche

Double Trouble

Epic!


Monday, April 22, 2019

Movies and Eiffel Tower Burgers at the French Toast Coffee and Cafe in Hartbeespoort, South Africa

In the Moment

People in South Africa are forever trying to escape reality. 

Caught between yearning for a greater tomorrow and memories of a much better past, they are masters at creating a different world from the one they have and perpetuating cliches about times and places they would rather be. 

It is probably the only place on the planet where you can have a hotdog better than one in New York, pizza that is done better than in Italy, and Swiss cheese made better than in Switzerland. It only fits then that you also have a little bit of Paris in Hartbeespoort that is in some respects better than the real deal.

It is called the French Toast Coffee Cafe.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


South Africans are an industrious bunch. Regardless of geographic isolation and years of culture detachment and division, they don't shy away from the challenge to innovate and create something in the image of what they think it should be.

They are masters of cliche. If they think Texas is about barbeque, then they will make it more barbeque than Texas. If they believe Paris is about love, South Africans will make it more about love than it can ever be. If they think the French eat French Toast burgers, then that is what you will get at a French-themed coffee shop in Harties, and it is likely to be better than even the best French Culinary Master would be able to make.

On our recent trip to South Africa, we met up with our long-time friend and fellow movie maker, Paul Kruger. He is the maker of the Eiffel Burger, proprietor and creator of the French Toast Coffee Cafe, and initiator of a series of destination-themed dining and weekend experiences in Hartbeespoort Dam.

His business came about because Paul's invested in movie sets. Hartiwoodfilms, another of his companies, is responsible for a mini-renaissance in Afrikaans language movies with successful productions such as Liefling, Pretville and you guessed it - French Toast! The dining experiences became an extension of the movie brands, and the investment he made in the film settings was repurposed to continue beyond the movies.

While the movies were doing a phenomenal job at exploiting the cliches in the Afrikaner mind, Paul seized the opportunity to turn an average financial return from moviemaking in a small and niche market, into a popular merchandising and destination themed-experience goldmine. Disney's been doing it forever. Trust a South African to try and do it better!

If his Eiffel Burger and the line-up of people waiting to be served on weekends is a testimony to his success, I think Paul hit the jackpot.

Making Milkshakes


Paul showed us how to make his monster Eifel Tower burger at French Toast Coffee Cafe.

We tried to finish one while we discussed the perils of entrepreneurship and owning a business in a country ready to confiscate your property at any moment. "It is about job creation", Paul said. The more people you include and involve in your enterprise in South Africa the more people can have an opportunity to benefit from your work.

While government corruption in South Africa is as rampant, as it usually is in the developing world, the ultimate focus for these businesses and their entrepreneurs, on the ground, is job creation and upliftment. Regardless of the country's difficult circumstances, and the hardship of movie makers and content producers to get paid in South Africa as it is anywhere in the world, Paul convinced us that there are still opportunities with the right approach.

In his own words, "I make movies to sell milkshakes". Herein lies the most important lesson for us, the Two Cowboys. It should be a lesson for most fellow content producers. We should use our content production and promotional power to sell our own 'milkshakes'!

Observations


There is merit in trying to convince clients of the power of good online content's ability to build their businesses and promote their products or services. However, it's getting harder and harder for us, as content producers to make a business of it.

Instead, the value of good production and storytelling have been destroyed as a result of factors such as the proliferation of high-quality cameras, the ease of basic editing tools, online self-publishing and an avalanche of social and other media content. Even robots are in on the act of stitching together a few images, music and some text in a 'video' or a news 'article' for so-called publishers.

Gone are the true journalists, producers, directors, editors and publishers. Now, 'anyone' can be a writer, videographer and a publisher, and the real professionals are poorer because of it. So is the audience when their intelligence is insulted, and their time wasted. However, that is a story for another time.

As marketers, we know that good and well-made content, delivered to the right audience, works to build a business, sell wares, engage customers, entice prospects, and grow a brand. In a world where advertising and promotions moved online, a successful business has no choice but to have good, engaging, positive, informative, authentic and well-produced content, and lots of it. It gets and holds customer attention.

Having no content is fatal when a prospect's attention comes at a premium. Simply, out-screaming your opposition no longer works either. Audiences merely click or swipe away. Poor content like bad reviews, meh pictures, amateurish or meaningless slow motion feel-good music videos on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, is equally compelling in destroying budgets and damaging brands.

For an excellent example of how not to do it, have a look at Tourism Associations' online marketing efforts. They are the last to discover how a colossal and useless waste of time and money meaningless feel-good content is for marketing. It is because they don't spend their own cash on it. If it was their own money they would have already been confronted by reality, and most probably fired their social media managers and supposed 'content' departments and 'influencers'.

With online media consolidating, the Facebooks and Googles of the world are again making it harder for businesses to get access to, and communicate with prospective customers. There are solid examples and their own admission of how they actively force businesses to buy the attention of prospects. They do it by lowering search rankings and limiting content access within people's social media feeds. Heck, they are even paid to manipulate national elections!

Unless a business is prepared to put out for a few AdWords or pay for Boosting a post, you can kiss communicating with your prospective and existing customers goodbye. These companies are not in the business of giving you free access to prospects, and they are not charities. Look at their profits. Selling access to users' attention is how they make their money! When you spend money for eyeballs with these elephants, you better be sure that the eyeballs you get have something enjoyable, engaging, and informative to see.

We predict that there will be a time again when access to an audience becomes so expensive that businesses will no longer hesitate to invest in good quality content to draw and keep prospects' attention. Then there will be demand again for good content producers like the Two Cowboys.

Until that happens, we should use our capabilities to produce content about, and sell our own milkshakes, burgers, beard oil, brewing ingredients, tours, cabins and RV's. That is why a movie guy became a milkshake guy.

We congratulate Paul for setting the example.

Hendrik
Milkshake Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Paris, Really?!

Movie Making

Tourist

Movie Maker

Heartburn!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Dogs are Getting Groomed - Not Cowboys - at Country Suds in Greenwood, BC

Lifestyle Change


What if the end is only the beginning?

People are often confronted with significant changes and choices in life. We've all been through it. The start of a new job, the loss of a friend, sickness. Moving away from home or moving in with someone you love. Buying a car or choosing a house. Starting of a new business. Some changes are forced upon us due to circumstances. Others, we do to ourselves. 

Whenever a significant change occurs, we are confronted with at least two perspectives. The one view is a feeling of loss, decline, powerlessness, and the lack of control. The other a sense of gain, re-birth, strength, and a new beginning. 

It doesn't matter how small or large the change is. The key to success in life is how well we deal with changes. How good are we at moving away from what we had, towards something new? 

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Nature is in a constant cycle of decline and renewal. It should be natural to us as humans too to easily let go of the old and to welcome the new. Why is it so hard then for people to embrace the same fluidity of life?

It is because we trap ourselves in temporal illusions. Our imagination creates time, circumstances and places in distorted realities. In our silliness, we fear losing things long gone, while holding on to things that may never be. Our perspectives define our reality. The hardest task then is to tie our reality down to the truth of where we are now and what we need to give up to move forward.

When we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that every change is a goodbye to get a hello, an end for a beginning, letting go for something new. Without this realization, we risk being trapped in an illusory twilight of despair. It will destroy our spirit if we cannot say goodbye. We won't have a future if we do not say hello.

Greenwood


Greenwood City in British Columbia has been saying goodbye since 1918 when the copper mine and smelter closed. It's been saying goodbye for such a very long time that it became trapped in a very real twilight of despair and decay. Old buildings crumbled, people moved away, and businesses left town despite the city seeing an average daily traffic pattern over 3,000 vehicles during the summer months (Traffic Patterns, 2011). It may well be on the road to oblivion like its predecessors Phoenix, Bridesville, Sidley, and others if it doesn't embrace a future.

Because of the city's rich history and its record resistance to change, Greenwood also attracted people fearful of letting go. You can see it in the junk of the yard collections. The failed upkeep of its small houses, and the prevailing rust of the old clunkers in the driveways.

We think that Greenwood and the area are poised for change and on the verge of a millennial renaissance. It is the right time now for the City to move towards its tomorrow as more and more people drop out of big-city life, avoid daily commuting, expensive mortgages, and having too much meaningless stuff.

Greenwood could and should say hello to young families, college graduates, entrepreneurs, crafters, makers, small houses, new buildings and people that embrace lifestyle, simplicity and old-school authentic values. The mine won't give it a future. Instead, it should court producers, makers, and telecommuters - the foundation of a new economy.

The last thing Greenwood needs is a Mickey D's on the corner, Starbucks or a Safeway parking lot. Instead, it requires a butcher, doctor, grocer, candymaker, woodworker, cabinet maker, knifemaker, weaver, and it needs more people that realize that it is an affordable place to work and live - really live. It has the required vehicle traffic. Greenwood just needs to give people more reasons to stop, and some will even choose to bring their dreams, hobbies, businesses and jobs to stay.

Observations


Tammy Bowering moved to Greenwood and established her Country Suds Dog Grooming in 2018. She just realized that Greenwood has dogs that need grooming. Her love for dogs compelled her to say hello to her future, and she started her small grooming business. It's been growing steadily, and we are proud to feature her as part of our portfolio of Boundary Country stories.

Tammy is so passionate about the future of the City that she is now heading the Greenwood Board of Trade. It is an organization that was incorporated in 1899, just two years after the city itself was incorporated. The chief goal of the Greenwood Board of Trade is to promote economic and community development, networks with local and regional businesses, and to provide small business support.

The Cowboys are glad that we can throw in our support too for the future prosperity of Greenwood. It gives another opportunity for people to find a better way to work and live in the Boundary Country of British Columbia. It is a chance for us to have our chosen lifestyle.

Hendrik
Boundary Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


City Hall

Powder Room

Grooming

Doggy Love!

Doggy Wash!