Friday, June 27, 2008

Why hasn't Anthonys in Leeds got a Michelin Star?

The other night we celebrated me not being that ill from pneumonia by going out for dinner at Anthony's in Leeds. We've been meaning to go for quite a while, since trying other restaurants which had been recommended by word of mouth to us which were frigging awful. This place, our 'social network' had told us, was not worth going to. So I enthusiastically booked it. We're also enthusiastic converts to 'molecular gastronomy', aka foam. El Bulli allegedly started this off - the World's number one restaurant. And as I learned from the web, chefs at Anthony's were trained at El Bulli.
Aesthetically, I have to say it is stuck somewhere in the early nineties. Those, what have to be considered now revolting brown leather high backed chairs, with matching brown oil paintings, which looked like they were picked up on Ebay. Husband quite liked the velvet underskirt of the tablecloth, I felt a bit like a footballer's wife. The restaurant is in the basement which is a questionable marketing technique. There was no natural light to appreciate the colour of one's plate. Our first encounter with the wine list was not as good as such an experience should be. As we both wanted the taster menu (which can't be that unusual) I was expecting, like at other expensive establishments, that we would have a recommended glass of whatever for each - or every other- course. This was one of the most blinding experiences on honeymoon in the Loire- the Vouvray perfectly matched the Foie gras for example. But nothing was specifically recommended. So we settled for a Sancerre and Fleurie for simplicity's sake.
We weren't given a menu of what we had chosen, until the end.
But the food was impressive. We had eight courses. I love small, numerous courses. The first course, pig cheek - nice but should it have been the first course? For the first course you want something refreshing which cleans the palate, not the heaviest, richest dish on the menu. That was a mistake. The second course was marvellous - risotto in expresso foam. You wouldn't think this would go, but it was delectable, the cheesey parmesan contrasting with the foamy and bitter coffee and succulent grains of rice. Too much of it if anything though - but this is Yorkshire. Then a wonderfully diverse course. And I could hear Gordon Ramsey shouting down my ear as I devoured it - How many flavours on one plate? I disagree with his bulliness on this. He says one can only take about four flavours at once. Anyway this course was duck (such dainty slices, microscopic) tobacco rhubarb, avocado. And there were grapefruit flecks. It looked a picture. The tastes were divine, there were more than four. And refreshing. It's a dream come true when one looks at a plate and thinks ' should I eat that?'. I didn't want to disturb a work of art. Then there were two fish courses, better if anything or at least on a par. Again the slitherist of slices of ox tongue with tuna and horseradish. Gorgeous. Followed by Red Mullet, filo crab sandwich and passion fruit foam. Divine. The Lamb dish which followed was perhaps again too quantative but delicious. Then two desserts - cucumber and cheese cannelloni. Nice. And apple pork and sage (parfait, filo and icecream) respectively. Lovely. But the cheeseboard was perhaps the highlight of the evening. There were about 30 cheeses to choose from - they had their own menu. We picked seven. You could pick eleven or thirteen. Then they went off and printed our own little cheese menu. So I've got a little list here if ever I want to get our favourites - bit of a problem as they all were. They were served on a thin long platter with plenty of accompaniments, nice breads, pickle and grapes. It was a perfect finish.

I think if they improved the wine selection, training for the sommelier, order of the taster menu and ambience of the place then it wouldn't be just deserving of one Michelin star but two. And at two hundred pounds for what was a great example of Northern creative genius - worth every penny.

Why hasn't a feature film been made about cats?

Quite often, especially when watching films with Russell Crowe in them, I think that I would rather watch a film with my cats as the leading roles. They are highly amusing and one wonders how much one influences one's pets, in much the same way as one wonders how much one's parents has influenced one. Today we had a bit of a drama. Marmite had brought in a blackbird chick which Trotsky then pounced on and Phil eventually saved in a tupperware sandwich box, releasing it to the relative freedom of next door's sycamore, which it apparently flew into with ease, so another happy ending. The yanks would love it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

There's nothing that could happen that hasn't happened

Perhaps when I've done my MA I will write stories of the lives of people who I have been in dreams:
1) A happy North African boy aged 11 in the sixteenth century close to his smiling father
2) An unhappy young Caribbean woman trapped by her aunt looking after chickens at the turn of the century
3) A Nazi soldier running down a sunsoaked avenue shot dead, after hunting for someone, in a canal overlooked by warehouses
4) An old Greek intellectual who loves talking in the shade of the pillars overlooking a grass running track
5) A ginger haired German student studying philosophy at the Sorbonne in the 1820s
6) A crazy and depressed unhappily married French rich woman who doesn't like leaving her bedroom, with lots of jewelry
7) A Russian tenement child from a violent relationship

Friday, June 13, 2008

Practicing what you preach

For almost two years now I've been 'meditating', or what I think is meditating on a daily basis. And I've been teaching people how to do it everywhere I go. Basically you breathe in through your nose on a count of one to ten, breathing out through your mouth saying calm.

To cut a long story short, it works. I was going to precede that with a long moan about all the things that went wrong today, but because I feel calm-ish after meditating for hours, I won't bother and I'll go and make myself a cup of decaff tea.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Anti-capitalist rant

No, not from me believe it or not, but from the Bishop of St Albans. We visited our lovely friends who are on the verge of becoming parents any second, and I did the honourable thing and attended Church with them on Sunday. Watching Bewitched. Had forgotten how good it is. Note to self. Get it on DVD.

Friday, June 06, 2008

There's no such thing as coincidence

Was about to prove everyone right and resign from my new role this morning. One particular client and her carer urgently needed reassessing in my opinion. Anyway I reported this to the Physiotherapist, the Community Matron and to the private company I now work for. By lunchtime they had a new house. Champagne cocktails all round.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Picking your battles

It was the first day of my new job as a Domiciliary Care Worker yesterday and so far, so good. I was the delighted recipient of so many horror stories prior to the start so the fact that I didn't come across one morsel of excrement was a matter of great elation on my part. I had forgotten how well I get on with older people, and they appreciate the attention, generally have very good humour and one is generally contributing to the overall improvement of humanity which can't be sniffed at. The other thing which I hadn't truly appreciated is that you are more or less your own boss. There isn't some ogre of a manager inspecting your every move, which is a great pleasure, something I am shocked to say I haven't ever experienced before. The person I was shadowing though, told me that I really needed to shadow her this evening at 7, as there is a particular client who, apparently once you can look after her, you can do anything. So this is the real test.

Other news, I am supposed to be completing another application as we speak. My excuse this time is that I'm too depressed. Heroin is still a problem in my home town, as it probably is everywhere, however, my coping mechanism to pretend it isn't didn't work at the weekend as we had a little visit there. And then they had some numbchuck from 'Migration Watch' on the Today Programme which was preceeded by a debate on commodity prices which didn't mention the levels of speculation, followed by a debate about Care for the Elderly which is not examining how to pay for it. That's the problem. The thing that upsets me about politics isn't so much what happens, it's the feeling of absolute powerlessness. And the today programme exemplifies this. People get misleading, uninformed claptrap and then they're expected to make the right decisions. If you start off with some good information, then we might not get Boris as Mayor, or an increase in BNP seats. And that's another thing making me depressed. The BNP has infiltrated one of my favourite websites -'Daily Mail Watch'. What can you do? Actually nothing. If you're a left leaning liberal pacifist champagne anarcho feminist socialist like myself, then you can either 1) have an argument with them 2) Tell them to shut up. I prefer option 2, but then everyone bleats off about free speech. And then I start thinking well actually it is better when they shut up. Perhaps I'm not in favour of free speech. So after all that I'm thinking I'm a communist and I'm going to move to Venezuela. I mentioned it to my life coach - how do you pick your battles? She said pick ones you can win. Application form vs Heroin Addiction vs Fascism vs moving to Venezuela . Application every time.