Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Diary: Weekend 03-05 October 08

Fri 03 October
  • Met J at The Spotted Horse in Putney for an after-work pint. One of my favourite pubs. So cosy.
  • Dinner at old favourite Il Mascalzone. Any wishes for a cheap meal went out the window when she saw the Lobster Linguine on the menu.
  • Headed home kinda early, but a full-on Guitar Hero tournament with J and L meant sleep was some time away...

Sat 04 October

  • J had a full-day course, so a quiet day
  • Had a birthday dinner for a friend at Blue Elephant. As I've said before, I can't honestly tell the difference between cheap and expensive Thai. Nonetheless, it was great. The banquet made ordering easy, too (always a hard thing with a big group)
  • Wandered from there to the Cock & Hen - definitely one of the nicer pubs around Fulham Broadway. Good weissbeers on tap too. They kicked us out at closing time (midnight, I think???)
  • We could have left it there, but the group was up for more, so we went to the Sugar Hut. It definitely wasn't this loud last time, was it?!?! Had a good laugh, though, but the drinks were terrible (Russian-babe bar staff weren't hired for their bartending skills...)

Sun 05 October

  • Bugger all!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Diary: Weekend 26-28 September 08

Fri 26 September

  • Was travelling back from the North-West during the afternoon
  • Dinner at Reun Thai, Fulham. Nice, but I have to be honest and say that I can't tell the difference between cheap and expensive Thai...
  • Drinks at Distillers, Fulham for Angelina's going away. I like this place, despite what the review said

Sat 27 September

  • Was up far too early to watch the GF. Great game, brilliant to watch. Well worth getting up at 5:30 on a Saturday.
  • Had planned to go to the DMC World Champs, but couldn't rustle together a group.
  • Instead, we finally visited Wandsworth Bridge Rd, which we'd ridden past on the bus a million times. We settled for Il Pagliacco. This place is almost a caricature of Italian restaurants (waiters shouting, pizzas getting thrown etc). It feels a little contrived and a bit "Menu Turistico", but the actual menu isn't too bad, with a couple of dishes out of the ordinary. We might come back, but I wouldn't rush back (we can get similar quality food without the histrionics at Il Mascalzone)

Sun 28 September

  • Nice and quiet...
  • Plenty of TV (including a Weeds marathon)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Diary: Weekend 19-21 September 08


Fri 19 September
  • A quiet one in preparation for a loud weekend...

Sat 20 September

  • Got to Heathrow about 14:00, snuck in a quick pint before boarding the plane
  • Arrived in Munchen about 18:00 (local), train to the hotel, checked-in and met the crew (10 of us) for dinner
  • Grabbed the first stein at Augustiner Keller about 20:00, and followed it with an awesome roast pork, another stein, and another 2 pints downstairs in the (very cool) cellar. Unsurprisingly, the night decended towards farce quite quickly (see Facebook photos for proof) and stumbled out just after midnight. A quick Burger King run before bed (but made the mistake of not downing any water)

Sun 21 September

  • Up at about 07:00 and felt like death-warmed-up
  • Breakfast was an apple. That was enough...
  • Dozily wandered down to the festival grounds, and grabbed a table about 09:30.
  • Very quickly succumbed to peer pressure and grabbed the first stein of the day pretty much straight away, and the fun began
  • Such a weird, surreal, random experience. Brass bands, strange singing, cheeky waiters and waitresses, odd people everywhere and, of course, a shed load of beer. Merry...
  • After the 3rd stein, our table needed to be vacated, and I very strangely broke out in hives. Feeling worse-for-wear, we went back to the hotel room for a 2-hour nap, and returned to meet the crew about 19:00. What a mess!
  • Goodness knows why, but we ended up at some Chinese restaurant for dinner...

Mon 22 September

  • Got a decent lie-in, thank god
  • Visited the "new" art gallery (the "old" one was closed on Mondays)
  • Met the crew for lunch, again at an Augustiner hall (this one in the city). More beer, more roast pork. Sated...
  • Boarded the plane in the afternoon, and walked in home about 21:00

Diary: Weekend 12-14 September 08

J wandered off to Phuket, leaving me by my lonesome for the weekend. So, apart for the standard cocaine and hookers, the only thing of note was Sat 13 September:
  • Watched Bledisloe Cup decider at a classy joint with a bunch of kiwi mates. Cracker of a game, even if the end result was disappointing
  • From there, went looking for somewhere showing Liv v Man U. Rafa's first win over the neighbours up the road, but didn't get to see enough of it due to time spent in transit
  • A late lunch at Queen's Head Brook Green. Nice mackeral salad in the sun in the beer garden (possibly the last of the summer...)

Diary: August 15 - September 10

A f*cking awesome trip...
  • V-Festival Stafford for 3 days
  • Istanbul for 3 nights
  • Skopje, Ohrid and Bitola, Macedonia for 4 nights
  • Thessaloniki, Greece for 1 night
  • Santorini, Greece for 4 nights
  • Mykonos, Greece for 2 nights
  • Belgrade, Serbia for 2 nights
  • Sarajevo, Bosnia for 2 nights
  • Mostar, Bosnia for 1 night
  • Hvar, Croatia for 3 nights

See Facebook for pics. Unforgettable experiences.

Diary: Weekend 08-10 August 08

The last weekend before our big trip...

Fri 08 August
  • Can't remember...

Sat 09 August

  • Can't remember...

Sun 10 August

  • A lazy Sunday, so much so that we couldn't even be bothered cooking dinner. We had the bright idea of finally going to one of the places on St John's Hill that we pass every morning on the bus. The best laid plans...
  • Il Cantuccio di Pulcinella was closed for renovations
  • The Cuban had closed down
  • Out of the Blue looked a little imposing with a Jazz night going on
  • We didn't feel like any of the Thai options, so caught the bus to Battersea Rise, Clapham Junction, and went to Say Pasta, a failsafe we'd been to before. Nothing spectacular.

All in all, a pretty quiet weekend, which suited us fine, given the month we had coming up!

Diary: Weekend 01-03 August 08

Fri 01 August
  • Can't remember...

Sat 02 August

  • L's brother and gf were in town, so we met them in Soho. A quick pint at a typical Soho pub, then a couple more at Waxy O'Connors (which is still a great place for a visit, even if it is tourist central)

Sun 03 August

  • Can't remember...

Diary: Weekend 25-27 July 08

J's Birthday Weekend

Fri 25 July
  • 2 months later, can't remember!

Sat 26 July

  • A great night with a crew of about 10, celebrating J's birthday
  • Firstly, tapas at Salvador & Amanda. Set menu, but still good. Plenty of chorizo, gambas, meatballs, wicked Sangria and, when we were all full, paella
  • From there, moved to Lab, a cocktail bar we've enjoyed before. Tasty cocktails for everyone. If anything, most of them were a little too sugary and juicy (and not alcohol-y enough), but I moved onto the "man-tails" like Manhattans and Classic Martinis.
  • Got kicked out at closing time (thankyou Westminster), and we went looking for a minicab. This turned into an extraordinary exchange where the driver completely flipped out when we tried to arrange a 7-seater for us all. Faced with the possibility of being driven home by this speed-freak, we opted for the night-bus - which was hilarious as always!
  • Top night

Sun 27 July

  • Late to rise, which timed perfectly for brunch at Konnigan's on Old York Rd, Wandsworth. First time we've eaten there, and was pleasantly surprised. Excellent poached eggs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Diary: Weekend 18-20 July 08

Absolutely terrible week at work, so there was never much chance of a big weekend...

Fri 18 July
  • TV, guitar and sleep. Forget about anything else.
Sat 19 July
  • Toured the Battersea Power Station site, which is open for just a few weekends. You've got to love that building, so it was nice to see it up close. However, the display office of the redevelopment left me feeling sick. So much bullsh!t in one place is too much for me to handle. Perfect example:
                    Travelled out to East London, to finally visit the Vietnamese strip. Went to the best-rated place of the bunch (Song Que) and was completely sated. Pho was excellent, and even found a new dish (Crispy Pancake with Chicken, Bean Sprouts and Herbs - delicious!)
                  • Stopped in a couple of bars around too-cool-for-school Hoxton Sq for some quiet ones before heading home

                  Sun 20 July

                  • Nothing. What a relief...

                  Monday, July 21, 2008

                  Diary: Weekend 11-13 July 08


                  Fri 11 July
                  • I was in town for work, but didn't manage to log-off until about 21:00, which wasn't so bad compared to J's 1-hour-delayed train that also took an additional 1/2-hour longer. Poor thing didn't arrive until 22:00, just enough time for a panini and drink in the lobby of our hotel (great hotel, by the way!)

                  Sat 12 July

                  • We needed some sleep, so didn't step out until about midday. Took the tram to Salford Quays to visit the Imperial War Museum North. Interesting, but wouldn't say it was thrilling. Those Year 11 History classes covering Germany in the 30's taught me too much so none of it new anymore!
                  • Not many inspiring options for lunch, so Cafe Rouge will do.
                  • J and I split up; me to Old Trafford and her to the Lowry. Dissapointing for us both unfortch (mine was booked out, her's was just plain depressing).
                  • Dinner was surprisingly good. We tried to go to a cool place in the Northern Quarter but it was booked out. So, walked back to Chinatown, wandered the streets (spotted the least-convincing transvestites since Emily Howard, and the world tour of the Bangkok Lady Boys!), and eventually ended up at a Chinese restaurant. Expectations were low, but this was great. Spare ribs were brilliant, and it got better from there.

                  Sun 13 July

                  • Checked out and went through the Millenium Shopping District. Very flash. Lunch at Yo! Sushi in Selfridges food hall. First time in ages - and totally enjoyable. Finished off with baklava from the patisserie.
                  • Back on the train at 15:00, and back at Hardwicks about 19:00. Nice weekend, but either we went to wrong places or had too high expectations

                  Diary: Weekend 04-06 July 08

                  Valencia! See pics

                  Fri 04 July
                  • 14:20 flight from Gatwick to Valencia. Arrived and walked into the foyer to feel proper warmth for the first time in ages

                  • Checked into Hotel Vincci Palace, quite a sight with flowing drapes, dark wood and wallpaper, minimal lighting. Dropped the bags, put on shorts and thongs and headed straight outside.

                  • "Early" meal at tapas joint across from Mercado Central. Cold (and I mean, Oz-cold) beer went down a treat in 32 deg heat. Topped up with Pulpo Gallegas and meatballs.

                  • Wandered around the old town, went back to the room to get changed and back to the old town for dinner.

                  • Couldn't get an alfresco table at El Rall, but soon forgot about that once the Jamon came out. Ordered a shellfish Paella, which was fantastic (except for the nice looking but painfully difficult Langoustines). Lovely Pinot to boot.

                  Sat 05 July

                  • Morning coffee nextdoor and a wander to the Cathedral. From there, walked to the Art Gallery. Possibly below expectations (the literature mentioned Goyas, but there was really only 1 worth seeing), but on Perth-ratings it was still a pleasure

                  • Took the tram to the beach. How long had it been since I'd seen that! Weighed up the possibility of buying bathers and a towel from the shysters on the beach, but eventually settled for beers at a quite dodgy looking place. The "waitress" had the look of a heroin addict and strange cans to match. As a result, we relocated to a (quite pretentious) beachside bar for a couple more beers.

                  • Took that tram back to the hotel, as the sun went down, got changed and headed to the busy part of town. Was a nice relief to see some crowds (the area where the hotel was far too quiet for this city-boy).

                  • After much deliberation, we went to a ham specialist restaurant (Palacio de la Bellota), knowing we were having Paella - but what an inspired decision. Possibly the best meal we've had in about a year!

                  • Took another late night wander around town, before retiring.

                  Sun 06 July

                  • Checked out a little late, but managed to get to the Mercado Central. I love these places - not just the exotic food, but the "real" food which you don't see anymore around our way (like proper, big, greenish tomatoes).

                  • Headed down to the beach, this time with full intent. Bought a cr@p towel for about €5, rented a sunlounge for about €2, and finally swam. Water was so warm, I could have stayed there all day. Even managed to convince J to have a dip.

                  • Dried off, dusted off and walked up the beach to the same strip of restaurants as yesterday, but for tapas at a respectable joint. Last meal of Pulpo Gallegas, Jamon Serrano and Gambas Ajillo.

                  • 17:10 flight back to arrive back at Hardwicks around 20:00 local time

                  • Fantastic short break...

                  Monday, June 30, 2008

                  Diary: Weekend 27-29 June 08

                  Fri 27 June
                  • "Hat Party" at Hilton and Mandy's. Plenty of beers and silly chatter

                  Sat 21 June

                  • Protein overload at Santa Maria Del Sur, an Argentinian Steakhouse in Battersea. Huge steak, sausage, black pudding and cheese grill platter. So satisfying. A bit pricey, but worth it given we haven't had a decent steak in a while.

                  Sun 22 June

                  • Quiet day (like Saturday), organising holiday plans.
                  • Watched the Euro2008 final (ESP-GER) at Brook Green Hotel, around the corner from G's place. Overpriced beers (£4.10 Peroni pints) and food, and took an eternity to arrive after they messed up the order. Good result in the game, though.

                  Tuesday, June 24, 2008

                  Diary: Weekend 20-22 June 08

                  Fri 20 June
                  • Exhausted upon getting home. Quick dinner at Spur, a "family" steak restaurant. Mediocre (except the price wasn't!)

                  Sat 21 June

                  • Met up with a Perth cousin, Julie, who's been in town a few days
                  • Went for dinner to Cha Cha Moon. Fantastic. Awesome noodles, really really simple and ridiculously cheap. Everything on the menu is £3.50. Can't argue with that. Thankyou TimeOut. I will now be taking everyone here.
                  • A quick beer at the old tourist favourite, Waxy O'Connors. Too packed with football watchers (NED v RUS)
                  • Cocktails at Lab. A winner. Brilliant cocktail menu (although their signature martini was just too harsh for a softc*ck like me). Thankyou again, TimeOut

                  Sun 22 June

                  • Dim Sum!!! Hell yeah, it's been about a year. New World again, brilliant again. Salt + fat + wrapping = best brunch ever.
                  • Another top discovery. The beer garden at my local (King's Arms) is absolutely massive. A couple of quiet pints with J and L in the sun. Top stuff.
                  • Watched FRA v ITA with G and sister at The Northcote. Nowhere to sit, unfortch, and the game itself was dire. Good beers anyway

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                  Diary: Weekend 13-15 June 08

                  As I said before, just scroll down and ignore it...

                  Fri 13 June
                  • Quick dinner at Cafe Bugatti. Completely empty as always, but good pasta at good prices. And by "good pasta", I mean not just some lazy menu of Carbonara, Bolognese, Arrabiatta, Napelotana, Primavera, Lasagna, Cannelloni, Ravioli, Tortellini Alla Panna, and some crap "chicken with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce. I mean some actual imagination. Let's hope it manages to stay open for a while longer when there's no customers (although we all know it's just a front for some scam anyway).
                  Sat 14 June
                  • Linda's 30th Birthday Party at her place in Fulham in the afternoon. Beers punctuated by lollies, and a lot of Kiwis.
                  • From there, straight to Brixton Academy for a N*E*R*D gig. Got there late (as always), with the main act already started. Sound was strangely crap, so couldn't even work out what songs were playing at times. Good show nonetheless, with nice bonus of hearing Frontin', although minus Jay-Z

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                  Coming Soon: Boring Minutae!

                  If anything is more pathetic than a blog with no readers (and, based on recent production, no writer either!), it's when the content is meaningless.

                  And since I've never been afraid of dredging the depths of the pathetic, I've decided that I'll now use this blog to record the boring events of my life in London.

                  It will probably just be dot points and maybe a few links. What it definitely will be, is completely ignorable. So, my suggestion is, just scroll down when you see it.

                  Thanks for your patience