Thursday, April 30, 2009

Candyman's breadHe's off the candy and on a carbs diet as he is preparing for a tri-athalon and needs to bulk up. The candy drawer is looking lonesome!

Back from the land of Turks with lots of food stories. Istanbul is a beautiful city, if they could remove about 100 bus loads of tourists from the centre it would be even better - or at least give tourists lessons on where to stand when taking photographs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2010 European capital city of cultureThat's where I am heading for work, Istanbul, Turkey. Not looking forward to the early morning travel but interested to have a quick glimpse of the city and try out some Turkish food. Bronnie made some homemade Turkish delight on Saturday so will see how hers compares with the real thing. I have ordered a vegetarian meal on BA so let' see what they deliver, I may have to do the morning Pret a Manger order: popcorn, water and a sandwich. Yes, lightly salted popcorn at 6am is the best!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Prague's Imperial breakfastFrom the website of the Imperial Hotel:
Famous for its original ceramic wall tiling and mosaic ceiling, the light and spacious open-plan setting ensures unique and delightful ambiance for your business and social meetings. Whether coming for a tempting breakfast menu with a morning newspaper, arranging a productive business lunch, taking a rest over a refreshing afternoon cup of coffee, or having an evening cocktail or dinner with friends, you will enjoy the timeless elegance of the place, amplified by stunning views of the buzzing streets of Prague provided by large, elegant windows.

An accurate description indeed! The hotel opened in 1914 and I am told is constantly busy, so they must be doing something right. It is located in the UNESCO protected historic Prague city centre. Bunky joined the gaggle of girls at breakfast after the big night out in Prague. There were a few peeps feeling rough but luckily, and since we didn't have a reservation we were seated at the 'bad' table. It was behind a big pillar and hidden away from the posh diners; it was like the 'toilet' table at a wedding, where you put all your hated relatives or work friends who may get raucously drunk. I think there was someone whistling from a table like this at Rexi's wedding? Who was it Rexi? Her wedding was at an art deco venue like the Imperial Cafe.

The Imperial is located at the base of the 5* Prague Imperial Hotel and has a stunning interior with the most amazing mosaics on the ceiling. I would definitely visit the cafe again to just enjoy the environment of great art and design. Maybe the artiste Paolo can make me a mosaic for my next bday; although I am still waiting for my painting to arrive from 2006!
Presentation of the English breakfast could've been a bit better, but our eyes were on our surroundings.
The intricately mosaiced ceiling - these photos don't do it justice.
The ceramic decor on the walls

Friday, April 24, 2009

Allium sativum (a.k.a. garlic!)There was girly dinner party last night at one of the 8 Maroush's on Edgware Road last night. We all enjoyed our meals and the lovely garlic paste that came in an inconspicuous little dish on the side of the platters of food. Since Ali swallowed all the parsley, the rest of us will be emitting a lovely garlic smell today. What is the cure to remove the garlic smell? There is a Swedish vampire movie playing in Notting Hill, maybe that might be the place to go tonight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

La 'Strada' di risate
(La Strada di risate /the street of laughs)
I have never seen a waiter like this, they write novels about guys like this; a true Casanova who can work the whole restaurant and make every woman feel light headed while making every man try a little harder.

He was funny, dramatic, well built (wearing snug trousers and shirt) and had such flair for everything he did - it made you feel like you were in a small trattoria in Capri by the seaside instead of being at Strada restaurant in Clapham.

I think he must be an actor (or should be) as he floated around, flirted and flamboyantly served the meals like he was a dancer at an elegant ball. He was also funny; there were hilarious mini chats on love, age and food mixed in with jokes about who supported what football team in Italy as the table was full of the Italian gang.

Casanova is a true gem in the waiting profession, he embodied the spirit of a true restauranteur and maitre d. I think there are a lot of repeat customers due to Casanova's presence. I can't recall his name but it was hilarious to witness his antics at points, but most of all it was great to be at the beautiful Fiorani's bday party. She is the beauty in the pic - it was a great birthday treat for her to be showered with love, attention and champagne - all the things girls love!

Well enough about Casanova, the food was great too, the pizzas and desert were fantastic. I was very impressed, I never watned to go to Strada as I thought it would be a horrible chain with fake Italian food but was definitely surprised. Bravo for a great performance.

Buon Compleanno Cara!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Excuse me sir, there is a worm in my goulashIt was Czech equivalent of the the Tim Horton's bread bowl! Except this one had a teeny tomato in it with a hole and mysterious black stuff inside. Either the worm escaped and left some baggage or it died in there and it got cooked up in Palmer's goulash dinner - same venue as Wendel's fried cheese.
Need to get the name of the place, as all Czech words are incomprehensible to me. I could not tell you where we ate or drank except for when I was at our hotel which was easy enough; the Four Seasons it wasn't that nice, but my boss stayed there while we stayed near the lovely castle.
Mmm...worm-y soup! This was washed down with some lollipop infused beer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The cheese!People watching in Prague is always fun as you can get to see a whole spectrum of people and post communist fashion still seems to be stuck in some kind of 80s time warp. There is a lot of cheesy fashion and odd people hanging around which is quite amusing. I wish I could've taken pictures of some serious acid wash action, peroxide blonde hair disasters, women who looked like men in drag and some serious tight fitting chav outfits but I thought I might get beaten up! I could only take this one below, while pretending to take a photo of Bunker; witness the hot and sexy outfits of some young Czech-ers going to a wedding.

And above the gorgeous Wendel eating fried cheese, the lady loves the fried cheese! It is also a staple after a big night out drinking - a sandwich of fried cheese from some 24hr cheese dealer. I hear it is fantastic but have yet to have one, will try and post a picture of it from Wendel's archive.

And speaking of bizarre occurrences, Heather found this 'lady bag' in the toilets which has an image of a gun at the top of it. Hmm...what does a pistol have in common with a women's sanitary bag, and who ever needs or uses a sanitary bag of that size?!

The Czech Republic is oh so very strange, but interesting and beautiful. If they just got rid of all the miserable and rude people it would be a fantastic place!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ice cream cakeMomma Dolce's home made ice cream cake that was served at Easter lunch (I think Zia Chuza made it and my mother supervised but she passed it off as her own anyway!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Back from the sunny skiesBack from sunny and fantastic TO and less than 24hrs of laying my weary head on my pillow I am off on a business trip to Praha (Prague). I am at a business dinner tonight so it should be better than what Wendel and the gang had the other day after their amusement park experience (they went on these crazy ass rides with little to no safety restraints, I think I would've cried if I went on that upside down thing they went on with only a bar going over your lap).

Gotta love the health and safety rules, or lack of them, in other countries! Not sure what they ate after the fair but the pic above shows some kind of green, creamy concotion on one plate and some french fry extravaganza on the other. I think I can smell the garlic from here. Am on a serious diet starting today as I wore my 'fat pants' yesterday, and they fit!

Too much Momma Dolce home cooking and too much indulging in Easter lunch/dinner, well we ate the whole afternoon as I heard most of you did too. I started with healthy sushi yesterday and resisted eating any biscuits although the Candyman bought me a popsicle as it was so warm and lovely outside.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter
Easter greetings from sunny Canada! So far the food and vino have been great, even the plane food on BA was decent. The one sad piece of news is that I tried to get some bagels for my British guest to test out and good ol' Gryfe's Bagels on Bathurst Street is closed for a few days for Passover. I will have to have them next time but we did have some lovely oysters and fish at Rodney's Oyster Bar on Good Friday. 

The mixed oyster platter was fantastic, bar the few mini oysters that JK said 'punched him in the stomach'. No one liked these small fat and round Japanese oysters; it was like swallowing a mushy plum -they were too hard and round, not thin and delicate like oysters should be. Since we could not return them (I asked) Sista Dolce took the last few down with loads of sauces to ease their descent. 

Easter lunch tomorrow (after the Easter egg hunt) Momma Dolce has the lasagna ready and Quinn Senior is on the BBQ - I should be even rounder than when I first arrived! The image of the eggs is from the net but they reminded me of the Easter markets in Prague where they were selling similar eggs at each stall. Happy Easter to you and your families.   xo

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Luv it!They didn't have any more of the Pesca e Amaretti on the dessert menu. This was not only on mine but on a few of our menus, so funny!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Wahaca chilis
I've been a slack blogger this week but I promise to get better - I just had dinner with the Oakville Quinns and will have dinner on Friday with the Toronto Quinns! I have to update you on the Thomas Cubitt pub visit (below) too. For now, have a look at these photos, these are the chilies that I planted on the weekend. The seeds are from the restaurant Wahaca and they are the first batch of planting that I did for my summer vegetable garden. I also planted some mint which needs to germinate for 21 days, hopefully something takes!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Chew don't swallow!Those were the orders barked at us by Mr. Cigar when our oysters arrived. More to follow on our interesting evening at the wonderful The Thomas Cubitt pub in Belgravia.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Candyman goes for jellyThe Candyman thinks he is in good nick, but hasn't had a cholesterol test lately. He goes to the gym and still fits in his Christmas trousers so I guess he is healthy as any other Northern lad.

This week he managed to plow through some of his Vegas-themed sweeties and almost finish all the jellybeans left in his bowl- at one point he randomly pulled out a fresh, soft jelly doughnut covered in sugar! It looked sooo good I wanted to grab it and eat it whole but resisted as it would go straight to the hips - I haven't done any exercise this week. The j-doughnut was from Marks and Spencer - they do nice things in their fresh bakery section.

Am going for a run today to work off the chocolate cake I indulged in last night and to prepare for the karaoke extravaganza tonight with the Chandler

( that a bottle of champagne on his shelf?)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Candyman Blogs for us!(Dear foodies, the Candyman wrote this post for us today -I love guest bloggers - anyone else want to write pls let me know)

Who decided that Blue should be raspberry? It's just this kind of 'creative' thinking that tempers my enjoyment of eating jellybeans. As a child growing up the confectionery rainbow seemed to adhere pretty rigidly to the rules of nature - at worst red could equate to a couple of berry-related flavours, both of which I liked. Everything was right with the world. Yet at some point in the 1980's some bright young spark hoping to make a splash at a marketing agency threw out the bizarre notion that colours should not necessarily equate to the flavours they historically represented. Down was the new Up.

The paragon of this blatantly dishonest attitude is distilled in the bowl of jellybeans sat in front of me. Red could now be any number of flavours: Cherry, Fruit Punch, Cinnamon or in a truly mind-bending post-modern twist a flavour called simply 'Red' which I guess could strictly speaking taste like the scarlet paintwork of a 1994 Nissan Micra.

The true horror of this situation only becomes apparent when you reach the last third of the selection when you find yourself unwittingly playing Russian Roulette. Right now I am hoping not to be the one who bites down into a green and blue bean which taste of Java, or a pink one which when chewed reminds me of a pavement in Edinburgh.

It's Skittles for me from now on.

Thank you Candyman! xoxo