Archive for February, 2009

No Dessert Orchid

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I was going to title this post “Give me a Thai five”.  There are at least that many restaurants of the genre in Manchester.  I love Chaopharaya, the offshoot of the Leeds original.  But that only opened recently.  The longest serving Thai dates from 1985.

Siam Orchid, Manchester's first Thai


Cono Sur Viognier 2008

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

At some point in your life, birthdays stop being beacons shining light on a promising future and instead become lamp posts illuminating yesterday’s gloomy streets.  A time to look back longingly at your youth and wonder what might have happened if you hadn’t bought that Ford Escort with the faulty brakes, or kissed that fat bird with dentures behind the bike sheds at school.

But the lacerations eventually healed and I was able once again to enjoy eating the sweets of my generation without the nightmare of that mousetrap snog to haunt my tongue.

Cono Sur and some retro sweets....for some reason


Nuit-Saint-Georges Jean Chauvenet 2004

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Jean Chauvenet and some trainers...for some reason

It seems that people haven’t stopped spending after all.  January 2009 retail sales in the UK were actually 0.7% higher than last month and a whopping 3.6% higher than Jan 08.  Analysts (who are these anonymous experts?  It’s like reading about comments from “community leaders” after a local riot) suggest that deep discounting in the January sales was the cause.  Whatever.  It shows that if you can get your value proposition right, people will still buy.


Don Luigi – Lord of Liversedge

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

There is no shortage of choice in West Yorkshire when it comes to Italian restaurants.  But they are known to change hands occasionally.

I recently wrote up a posthumous review of Marco’s Ristorante in Hightown, Liversedge and a correspondent advised that this place has morphed into Don Luigi’s, run by Marco’s former head waiter, Fabrizio.  Having eaten there recently, I was delighted to agree with MG that several improvements have been made.  The cooking, decor and even wine list are all superior.

Don Luigi's exterior - can you see the name?


Ch. Teyssier Puisseguin St Emilion 2004, 2005 and erm….

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Have you ever been haunted?  The name Teyssier has been my stalker recently.  It has bought out the best of Virgin Wines and contemporaneously the reason why they often ever so slightly under-achieve.  Well, nobody can please everybody every day!

Teyssier from St Emilion


Twin towers no match for boiled eggs

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I have some empathy with John Major and his propensity to give her a pubic service.  Edwina Currie, in her prime, was almost certainly a foxy chick, and she sure has the personality to entertain a Minister of State.  However, her period of public service is not remembered fondly by the British egg trade.

Now though, it seems eggs are safe after all – hoorah!  Boiled eggs are one of my staple dishes and I eat far more than the three a week that most of the public (including me) used to think was safe.

But is there a wine that matches my eggy soldiers?  Will two bell towers stand proud to the challenge?

Two bell towers and three eggs...for some reason


My sassenach sun shines in Glasgow

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

My own sun in Glasgow - just as well - it's minus 4!

I wonder what went through Claudio’s mind when I asked how warm the wine was.  I reached out my hand to touch the bottle.  Claudio winced.  Another stupid and ignorant Englishman?  Even worse than an ignorant Scotsman.  I grinned.  The bottle was cool.  Claudio nodded approvingly.  He had served the Primitivo Da Castello di Puglia at the recommended 16-18 degrees.  Probably even cooler actually, which suited the wine rather well.  Sweet flavours of cherries, cherry lips and bubble gum collided with the not unexpected tannic youth of the Italian stallion.


Satnav-Lavières 2004 Camus-Bruchon 1er Cru

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

I’ve had a couple of marketing lessons recently.

The first was pulling into a service station with my iPhone flashing a “10% power” warning.  A FoneBitz franchise saw me coming (and presumably had the pictures).  It was more than irony that they stiffed me for £24.95 for an in-car charger.  When the assistant saw me laugh out loud (LOL), she didn’t.  The iPhone cost less than that, I giggled.  “Do you want the item, sir?” said the straight-faced lady.  I had 20 phone calls to make and 200 miles to drive, so I handed over the dirty ransom.

Savigny and a marketing lesson...for some reason


Snow business

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

On a day when a small flurry of snow brought chaos to most of the UK, and notably the South East, one has to look for small pleasures.  My amuse-bouche du jour arrived in the form of a quote from our capital’s Lord Mayor.  Not one red (or bendy) bus was used in anger today.

Snow way!  Weigh hey!

Parodying British Rail excuses from days of yore (when us Northerners dug ourselves out of a snow drift most Januaries just to escape our beds) and sporting a cheeky smirk, Boris Johnson reflected on how well Londoners had faced up to the snow.  “This is the right kind of snow, it’s just the wrong kind of quantities”.

Ever said that about a bottle of wine – red or bendy?

Mia Millennium mild malaise, mostly muddled moveables

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

I really wanted to like Casa Mia Millennium.  My recent experience at Casa Mia Grande in Chapel Allerton was unparalleled.  Also, Marco, ex Flying Pizza and Marco’s is running front of house, so I had high hopes of the Leeds city centre branch of this popular family run restaurant cluster.

Unfortunately, it is almost, but not quite there.  For a start there is too much furniture in the awkward shaped rooms.  Getting to the bar is a mountaineering challenge if there are more than 3 people in a room that should have capacity for 25.

Millennium madness?

Upstairs the main dining room’s tables sit uncomfortably together like patients at a busy clap clinic.  It was almost impossible not to participate in the birthday celebration next door.  By contrast, the service is a bit uncoordinated and, although there appeared to be sufficient staff, we did feel a little neglected.