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14/11/08

Permalink 08:52:59 pm, by Brad Email , 580 words   English (UK)
Categories: General

Cafe Anglais Review

I've been meaning to check out Le Cafe Anglais for ages. It's just around the corner from where I live.

Had some of their porky belly on broad beans at the London taste festival, and it was damn good. So have been meaning to check them out.

Going with Lana, but Lana's Dad ended up joining us for a bit.

To start with, decor is like you're on a 1920's cruise ship, like the Titanic. Which is pretty cool.

Had a bloody mary to start, which was damn good. But they had the other thing that pisses me off, 100 different wines, and 2 types of beer. Budweiser (who the fuck drinks this shit?) and Becks (which is okay).

Came time to ordering, a few things were missing from the menu, sardines, oysters & they ran out of radishes half-way through service. These were only things I was interested in, so who knows what else was missing. (And btw, there is a reasonable fishmongers in the same damn shopping centre as them (and 2 kick arse ones around the corner - Fish Shop in Notting Hill and James Knight). So I don't know why the fuck they couldn't just run downstairs. Very weird).

I had mussels to start. Which were pretty good, and a large portion for a starter.

Had the chicken with a garlic sauce. There was no pork on the menu, but they seem to do a different roast for each service during the week. It was pretty damn average. The tell for me was I didn't even come close to finishing my plate.

Lana had the Sea Bass, which was okay. But also order the spinach, which was just way too overcooked.

Service was erratic, but okay. An annoying thing with this bill as well, all automatically added on (the amounts aren't huge, but for them, it prob all adds up). £1.50 cover per person, £1 donation to charity, plus the 12.5% service charge. Cover? In a restaurant? And then a service charge? I've never had to pay a cover before.

Thanfully Lana's Dad had bailed early & Lana had gone to the bathroom when I asked for the bill, so they only put 1 cover and 1 suggested charity donation on.

All up, I give the place a 6/10. And 3 points of that were for the bloody mary, with the other 2 points for the decor.

Place was full though.

BTW, I have an irrational annoyance at people who are 40+ who have toddlers/babies/pregnant. Don't know why, it freaks me out. Especially grey haired people with their own kids. That really freaks me out. Not grandparents, that don't freak me out. Just parents do. There were a lot of those people eating lunch there. I should do a post about my irrational annoyance at some point.

One of the other things that annoys me is people in their profile pictures who have a picture with them and their partner. Or a picture with their kid. Don't care if it's elsewhere, just when ppl use it for profile pics on facebook or the like, it annoys me.

And women/men who change their surname to their partners when they get married. That bugs me as well.

All irrational. Really couldn't explain why they bug me. Just does. I also do have a list of rational annoyances.

bah, and after reading this post it's a bit of a blather. I've been baking cookies this afternoon for poker tomorrow night, so the fumes might have got to me.

12/11/08

Permalink 02:21:06 pm, by Brad Email , 218 words   English (UK)
Categories: General

Cholesterol

So I went in for my 2 year eye test the other week.

Nothing too bad, my left eye was slightly worse (.25 worse). Right eye the same.

But the optometrist was looking in my eyes and said, you better get a cholesterol test done, as I see a lot of fat in the veins in your eyes.

So off I go to do that.

First the good news. Blood pressure perfect. Liver perfect. Sugar a little high, but only marginally.

Cholesterol bad.

I got a print out of the results, so I could google it to make sure they weren't just freaking me out.

Serum HDL Cholesterol level = 0.99 mmol/L
Serum LDL cholesterol level = 3.87 mmol/L

LDL is high according to wiki

and HDL is too low again according to wiki

The ratio is meant to be important as well, and my ratio sucks. HDL is good, LDL is bad, so need high HDL, low LDL.

I made the mistake of taking Lana along with me to here the results. Now I've been banned from steaks, and I've got to eat this stupid little yogurts every day to boost the HDL.

Got to take another test on December 19th to check if it's better, otherwise I've got to take some pills. And I really don't want to do that.

09/11/08

Permalink 11:47:24 pm, by Brad Email , 635 words   English (UK)
Categories: General

Paris

So Lana was going off to Paris on her lonesome, while I was off in Scotland.

The weather was shite, the cold was annoying me, so I decided to join her.

First up, Lana travels cheap, while I have champagne tastes. So upgraded the Eurostar to first class, and her backpacker 30 euro a night hotel, up to a 5 star place on the Champs Elysees.

First up, the Eurostar. This thing is sweet. Miracle of modern engineering, couple of hours and you've gone from the heart of London to the heart of Paris. Now I haven't travelled in cattle on the Eurostar, but first class was pretty good. Going there I went light on the booze as I wanted to do things that arvo, coming back drunk as a skunk and fast asleep. Food was pretty good as well.

Hotel was Hôtel Elysées Régencia which I heartily recommend. We were in deluxe double room, as with Lana's sleeping habits, I need a king size bed. Room was huge, lots of nice touches. Like cookies to welcome you, rose petals in the bathroom etc.

And every night the bed got turned down with a chocolate left behind. The front desk staff were fantastic as well, very helpful, handed over a bunch of maps etc, when we got there. Not cheap, but not obscene. Only downer was one night we were exhausted so got room service. The food sucked badly. But that was a minor quibble.

Only place I wanted to really check out was the Catacombs. Lana thought I was joking when I said they were dead bodies in there. She was very freaked out. I spent the rest of the day trying to touch her with a finger I touched a skull with....not to her amusement.

Spent a few days just wandering around. Paris is a damn pretty city. Especially with the autumn colours.

Checked out the Louvre. Which was cool. Spent about 2-3 hours there, which was no-where near enough time to see even a tenth of it.

Notre Dame was interesting. But way too crowded. But it was also free.

Visited Berthillon twice for ice-cream. Damn, damn good.

Obviously checked out the Eiffel tower. Didn't go up it.

And finally went on a boat cruise, which was cool.

Food wise, bit of a mixed bag. Went to L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. Which is a cool restaurant as you sit at a bar area around the kitchen, so you get to watch what was going on. Bit of a mixed bag, some of the food was great, some was pretty damn shite. Presentation was fantastic though. Highlights were the Brittany lobster, the crab chip thingy. Major disappointment with the Longoustine ravioli and the pigeon. Sorry, I'm not clearer, I've only got the french list, so not sure what the english equivalents were. Deserts were damn good. Service was erratic as well. Again continuing with my whinge about beers in a restaurant, one crappy beer, and sommelier got pissed I wanted beer, so all I got was one beer all night.

Also ate at 24 steak place the hotel recommended, La maison de l'aubrac. Wouldn't return. Lana asked for a well done steak (and I knew it wouldn't be), it came out bloody as well. My steak was crap, risotto was crap. I had steak tartare. Which was good, but since it's the first time I've ever had it, can't compare. Place was packed to the gills though.

All in all, I enjoy Paris. Very nice looking city, and the locals against all expectations were very, very friendly. I didn't have to lapse into school boy french once :)

Next up, unless something interesting happens in the meantime, I've got a visit to the Fat Duck planned on tuesday, so I'll fill on the food porn then.

28/10/08

Permalink 02:52:14 am, by Brad Email , 916 words   English (UK)
Categories: General

Scotland

Finally had some free time, so decided to do a bit of touring on the bike.

2 weeks off, and the plan was to head up to Scotland, and if I was freezing my nadgers off, swing down to France instead.

Few tweaks to the bike, finally got some panniers added. Metal Mule ones. And so far, they are doing a damn good job. Only problem, bloody heavy to lug anywhere, but that's a good thing.

Had also recently added risers to the bike, which proved to be a mistake. I've got a bad shoulder, risers normally sort them out. This time though the risers made it worse. I could ride for about 2-3 hours, before the pain got too much. So I need to remove them, as I was in much less discomfort when I did the 500 miles in 24 hours, vs the 200-300 miles I was trying to do.

As usual, this might be a little disjointed, but screw you, it's mainly for my enjoyment :)

Headed off on Thursday. Booked 2 places to stay, York and Edinburgh. This turned out to be a mistake. I thought in October it would be dead, so I could just rock up and stay wherever I want. Even in the off season, most places, including travelodges were booked out.

Bad accident on motorway, 6 cars, still taking people out of the cars when I went by. Lanesplit up to it for about 10 miles, traffic at a stand still.

Made a mistake of inflating the tyres. BMW fucked up on this one, but not making the nozzle thingy horizontal to the tyre, and with the spokes it's impossible to fit the pump onto it. I spent half an hour juggling, before managing to inflate. Also in the UK, service stations charge 60 frigging pence to inflate your tyres. Fuck that, I'll buy a hand pump and be done with it.

Got to York. Stayed at a B&B, Barbican House. Great place, friendly hosts, with free sherry in the rooms. Good breakfast as well.

Went on a Ghost Walk. Called The Ghost Hunt in the Shambles(http://www.ghosthunt.co.uk. Good, but more theatre than stories. My enjoyment might have been down to the fact he decided to pick on me for the whole night, and I was the butt of all his jokes, but anyway.

I am turning into a food snob though. My notes have detailed descriptions of each meal I ate, and ratings of restaurants, but I won't bother mentioning them apart from a couple.

York is also surrounded by a city wall still. Which is damn cool. As you can walk on it as well.

Next stop was Edinburgh. Rode past Hadrian's wall. Crossing the border, the Scots love speed cameras. Also the roads were a little more fun, but still no-where near the fun of Aussie roads. Wet and rainy.

Also there are no public toilets on the road anywhere. And the rest stops are pitiful, just a couple of car lengths. No where to even get behind a tree to take a piss either.

Got to Edinburgh, stayed at the Apex International Hotel. Good place, friendly staff. Pointed out a few good roads for me, and gave me free parking. Also got a free rubber duck, jelly beans and internet as well. The restaurant in the hotel was also pretty good. Only downside, the main portion was way too small. I had 2 entrees, one main and desert and was still hungry.

BTW, here's my big whinge. I don't drink wine. I like fine dining. I get extremely pissed off when there is only one crappy beer on the menu. It's beer, it takes a year to go off, buy a frigging case of the good stuff and put it aside for me. I don't care if it isn't on tap.

Edinburgh castle was great. I really like castles. It's the boy in me. And the "where would I go to hide from zombies?" in me as well. Great castle, great displays. It's also in a great spot, where everywhere you look it's there.

Also every single male Scot tried to short change me. 3 petrol guys, 2 newsagents and the castle dude. Yes, it's a small subset, and maybe just coincidence. None of the women did. If that comment sounds racist/sexist, that's your fault. I'm just saying what happened.

Went to the museum, it was cool as well.

Tried to book accommodation in Aberdeen and this other town (can't remember the name now), near the distilleries. No luck. Lana was going to France on thursday, so went fuck the cold & the rain (winds were also at 30 mph, which made riding lots of fun), and decided to call short the trip a little and go join her instead.

Went up to Dundee, and stopped off at Glamis Castle. That was cool, though a little too snotty for me. Also you weren't allowed to take pictures inside, which was annoying.

Ride back to London was uneventful. Apart from the Travelodges being full up. Stopped off at one on the way, very weird place. So short trip, Thursday to Tuesday. Spent 5 days on the road(2 nights in Edinburgh), only did 1300 odd miles.

Next post, spent 4 days in Paris with Lana. Lana was going on the cheap as usual, she had booked into a 30 euro a night place. I bumped that up to a 5 star place, and yeah, we went first class on the Eurostar as well. Yeah, I'm spoilt.

17/10/08

Permalink 10:58:48 pm, by Brad Email , 158 words   English (UK)
Categories: General

Paddy Power declares Obama the winner

A while ago I placed £5 on Barack Obama to win the US elections with Paddy Power.

One day ago (16th October), I received this e-mail.

Paddy Power Customer Service - Obama Payout!

Dear Bradley,

Well, after John McCain failed to land any punches worthy of the name during last night's debate, we've decided to pay out on Barack Obama as next President of the United States.

We figured it was only a matter of time - and punters might as well get their winnings now rather than wait three weeks for a result that is pretty inevitable. So if you were wondering what that money in your account was, now you know!

Enjoy!

The team at Paddy Power

Only got £8.33 back (the odds were 1.66 to 1).

But there you go, when Irish bookmakers are paying out in advance, you know it's a foregone conclusion.

PS I'm on holidays at the moment, so may be slow in responding to anything.

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