Archive for October, 2007

Seven bucks for a beer!!!!

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Quick shout out for the Giants who beat the Dolphins 13-10 yesterday, in the first ever NFL game played outside North America.  As you might expect, I was at Wembley, and sampling the beer and food (the wine available looked very ropey indeed).

Dolphins’ Cheerleaders - well hot….

Whilst at the counter, the guy in front (American) was asking the server what note he had in his hand.  “£20” replied the server and (trying to be helpful) “that’s about $40 at the current exchange rate”.  The American guy did not think that particularly helpful as his brain computed that he had just paid $7 for a beer.


Rapsani 2000 – an Olympic record?

Monday, October 29th, 2007

The Olympic Games are coming to London in 2012.  Like most Olympic preparations there are rumours of delays, accusations of bribery and corruption, confirmation of massive cost increases, and public doubts that anything will be ready on time.

This is all entirely normal in the run up to any Olympics.  However, unlike other recent hosts, we have contrived to produce the most astonishingly inept logo, and at £400,000, it looks about as cheap as a Northern Rock mortgage.

Rapsani from Tsantali Winery claims to be “The wine of the Gods of Olympos” but I take this with a pinch of salt since, elsewhere on the bottle the label breaks out into a nasty bout of francophilia, claiming the wine to be “Appellation d’Origine de Qualité Supérieure”.

Rapsani and a Private Lives programme….for some reason


Bistro les Bergues, Geneva

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Being in Geneva, on the Swiss/France border, we called Alban, our mate from Grenoble for a recommendation.  Alban has business contacts in Geneva so he would know a decent restaurant.  Better than that, he came over to meet.

Bistro on the quai…..with a Croation background for some reason


Pillastro Primitivo 2002

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

I was once served Salice Salentino at the Flying Pizza “from zee heel of Italy’s boot, signor”.  I loved it, and later discovered the heel was, in fact, Puglia.  Since then I have looked out for wines from the area and spotted Pillastro Primitivo 2002 at STWC for less than a tenner.  Robert Parker awarded this wine 88 points apparently.  I don’t award points as (a) I am no expert; (b) wine is too subjective and personal; and (c) I can’t be arsed.

Pillastro with some brie…for some reason

This Pillastro at 13.5% was full bodied and displayed red cherries, nutmeg and some leather.  Quite a serious wine for only slightly more than the cost of a Blair family holiday.  Drinking this wine is a bit like eating a rich fruitcake but I’ve already made one reference to Tony Blair so perhaps I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

Manchester’s Curry Mile

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Growing up in Manchester, I remember when Moss Side and Rusholme were “no-go” areas, except of course on Saturday afternoons when I was happy to pay some kid on a bike a couple of quid to “look after my car” whilst I went to Maine Road to follow the mighty blues.

Come to think of it, they have not been all that mighty since the mid seventies….until recently.  Third in the premiership and playing like Brazil (not soooooooo surprisingly since Svennis signed two Brazilian players).

For the benefit of George Dubya Bush, I ought to explain that a “Brazilian” is not in fact, a huge number, or a “hair” style, but a national of the S.American country, Brazil.

Curry favour



Friday, October 19th, 2007

Eating healthy - Mondavi and Bran Flakes…for some reason

I’ve been a bit healthier than usual recently.  Walking up mountains in Switzerland; exercising on my cross trainer at home; eating lots of fresh fruit; cutting down on fried food; and even eating Bran Flakes.

I used to think that Bran Flakes were disgusting but, like a lot of things in life, you grow into them as you get older.  Olives, oysters, snails, mustard and Armagnac were all off my list until at least my thirties but now I love them, (not sure I will ever pick up a taste for anchovies though).

You may recall the last time I tried a Zinfandel, it was awful.

So I wonder if Zin is one of the things I will grow into after a number of tastings?


Brasserie Bavaria, Lausanne

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I am thinking of nominating Lausanne as the most boring city in Europe.  Before you ask, yes, I have been to Brussels, but I think Lausanne is to European city life, what Accrington Stanley is to the English Premier League.  Lausanne was so boring that our two night stay necessitated a lot of public transport – a train to Morges for the afternoon, a day trip on the ferry to Evian, an evening train to Montreux before waking on the final day and taking the early train to Geneva.

So why stay in Lausanne then?  It’s a fair question, thanks for asking.  On a previous holiday we had stayed in Evian and done the ferry trip the other way.  In doing so, we found a resto in Lausanne which did the most fabulous rosti ever tasted.  As I was not running this blog in those days, I had no record of the name or location of this establishment.

So we asked around for the best rosti shop in town and a random camera retailer recommended Brasserie Bavaria.

Bavaria, er Lausanne actually


Le Raccard, Haute-Nendaz

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Our last day in Haute-Nendaz involved a lot of walking.  After a lot of walking, refreshment is essential.  On the way back to Le Déserteur hotel, I wanted to put in a lost property report at the Police Municipale.  Richard had lost a camera and, whilst he didn’t care too much for the money, he was sweating lead bullets over the contents of the digital flash card.  For a man who has recently given up biathlons, still goes bull fighting barefoot, and is rumoured to be The Stig you will understand that he doesn’t sweat – ever.


Valais wine tasting during the vendange

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

Some people claim to learn something new every day.  Poor them!  I make it my point to learn at least 5 new facts every day.  Fact two on September 29th 2007 proved to be a stunna for me.  I can’t count the number of times I have been to Switzerland and drunk Dôle thinking that it was a local grape.  D’Oh!  Marie-Bernard Gillioz Praz was the evil person who gate-crashed my ignorance.

Marie-Bernard Gillioz - charming


Le Grenier, Haute-Nendaz

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I’ve got a question for you.  Should one review an establishment when invited there to a party?  When one’s hosts settled the bill?  When the resto had to cope with 36 covers contemporaneously?

The answer is that it’s perfectly acceptable, as long as you have more cheek than a side of pork.

And so, we find ourselves in the 4 Vallées resort of Haute-Nendaz on the occasion of Alan’s 50th birthday party, where the great and the good (and for all I know, the not so great, and the not so good) assembled.  You see, Alan’s friends fall into a number of categories:  business; rugby; golf; parenting; Cobham neighbours; bob sleighing; paragliding; shark bating; interplanetary exploration; and the most fearsome Scottish walkers.  For the record, I fall into the first category, and aspire to be fit enough one day to be measured alongside the latter group.