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Archive for the category “Sociable”

Surf vs Turf, Blues Kitchen

Last night, I went with a friend to one of my favourite places, Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch.  I’ve been going there fairly regularly over the last eighteen months or so, but usually on a weekend. This time was different though – they had organised a three day “Surf vs Turf” event, bringing in the chef team from Extra Fancy in the US to ‘do battle’ with the team from Blues Kitchen, with a special menu (including cocktails)  to play with.

And it was epic.

Once it had been announced on Twitter, I had booked in straight away. For me, it was a no-brainer, I wanted to try it. And I am so glad I did.

As well as the food and drinks, it meant we got to spend time with some of the people we’ve been talking to on most of the visits, talked about what was good on the menu, what they should be keeping, and even got introduced to one of the owners of the group that owns Blues Kitchen. For me, that’s what makes Blues Kitchen stand out from every other place in a similar vein – the people make it, even more than the food.

Between the two of us, we had everything on the menu – including the cocktails. Plus a couple of things that were so good we had two…

I’m hard-pressed to even decide what the best things were – it was all good, and most of it was great. Hell, even the cocktails were awesome.

All told, a great night, and a type of event I hope Blues Kitchen repeat – there’s plenty of opportunity, with lots of different kitchens and teams that would be up for it, I’m sure.

Home From The Holiday

So, after a week in Cornwall, I’m back in the land of the living.  It’s been a good week away, with a lot done, and a lot of thinking out of the way. (Still more to go on that score, but it’s been good)

I’ve driven over a thousand miles in the last seven days, visited a bundle of places, had a great time, and even managed to build up some sleep.  (That’s one of the things that needs some thought for the future, but it’ll take a while)

A rough itinerary of the last week is :

  • Saturday 24th Sept – Head down to Oxford to meet the friend I was going with, then down to Truro. A four-hour drive door-to-door from Oxford (about 5½ from home). Having made good time, an exploration of Truro city (and their Cornwall food festival)
  • Sunday – visiting the Eden Project. First time I’d been there, and found it thoroughly interesting. Well recommended
  • Monday – visiting Newquay. Another place I really liked.
  • Tuesday – down to The Chocolate Factory, a craft-based place with a whole range of different things, including (unsurprisingly) a chocolatier, but also galleries, glass maker, jewellers etc. Then on to St Ives for an explore (including seeing a seal in the harbour) and then back to Helston to meet up with other friends.
  • Wednesday – Lost Gardens of Heligan.  I’ve been here before (about ten years ago, admittedly) and it’s grown and improved significantly since. Again, thoroughly enjoyable, and a lot of walking
  • Thursday – St Mawes and Falmouth – two more places I’d never been before, we went down to St Mawes, and got the ferry over to Falmouth. It’s somewhere I’ll go back to, and want to explore more, although it was full of bell-ends on the actual day, but I suspect being a bit more out-of-season, or earlier in the day, and it’ll be better.  St Mawes is lovely, a much smaller place, but somewhere I could happily stay for a proper visit
  • Friday – Wheal Martyn China Clay museum, which was interesting. I didn’t know the history of china clay in Cornwall, so it made for an interesting morning. Followed up by a visit to St Austell (frankly, never again – it’s like the retirement village of The Damned) and then a much better visit to Charlestown, which is really pleasant and attractive – another place I could happily stay longer.
  • Saturday (today) – Driving home, again via Oxford. Another good run, four hours door-to-door to Oxford, and then onwards to home.

As well as driving that 1,000 miles, we’ve walked about 40 miles all told, visited a bundle of places, and had a good time.

I’ve got a bundle of stuff lined up now for the next three months, as well as a load of stuff to think about for the future. Next year’s looking interesting already.

A Sort-Of Slowdown

This is the last of my properly busy September weekends – next week I’m driving a lot, but it’s not properly idiotic. Indeed, even this weekend is a bit more sensible than the last few – still busy, but with a big dollop of domestic sorting, rather than being out’n’about quite as much.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean it’s sensible – indeed, it’s just the finale of a fairly mad week.  I’m back in London today and tonight, for food and another theatre visit.  This week I’ve already been to the cinema after work on Monday, been to see friends in London on Tuesday, and to the theatre for Little Shop of Horrors on Wednesday. Safe to say, I’ve been busy, and got a lot done.

After this, it’s a bit quieter.  The coming week is less frantic (well, until Friday) and the rest of the year, while busy, isn’t quite as hyper as the last three months have been. Indeed, I’ve still got things booked for pretty much every week, but it still feels like a kind-of slowdown.

Note, I’m not complaining. It’s been a hugely busy and hectic year through my own decisions, and I’m enjoying it loads, but some quieter time is also sounding pretty bloody great right now…

A busy week

Suddenly, it’s a week since I last updated anything here – and there’s a good reason (or ten) for that.

Mainly, the good reason is that I’ve been sodding busy.

Since last I wrote here, there’s been (in no particular order)

  • Driving to Marlow for a late lunch at the Hand and Flowers
  • Driving to London (Saturday at ungodly o’clock)
  • Visiting Meatopia – on the Saturday, along with several friends
  • Seeing The The’s “Infected” film at the ICA in London on the Saturday evening
  • Staying overnight in London
  • Visiting Meatopia on the Sunday, just me, but ended up meeting several other people, as well as starting some business discussions (Win!)
  • Driving home from London, having walked 20 miles over the two days
  • A vaguely normal Monday, with added shopping and faffery
  • A normal Tuesday working, then meeting friends and going to the cinema to see Hell or High Water – heartily recommended
  • A semi-standard Wednesday, and then cinema to see Morgan – also recommended, for different reasons, and thoughts on both films will follow
  • And tonight, being at the Milton Keynes Geek Night, just to top things off.

So yes, not much going on at all.

It’s been pretty positive all round, but it has left me feeling like a stunned monkey. So there’ll be more writing as and when I get round to it.  I’m back in London this weekend, but look like having one day that’s (currently) quiet, so that’s at least vaguely promising…

Planning Stuff

As well as slowing down a bit for the second half of 2016, I’m also starting to plan stuff where possible for the first half of 2017. For me, that’s scarily organised.

Part of it is looking at stuff I want to do – and places I want to go – and starting to put things in place for those to happen. I’ve got a couple of breaks booked for the second half of 2016, a week in Cornwall at the end of September, and a weekend in Dorset at the end of October (in which I’m hoping to break the back of some writing ideas – that’s the current plan, anyway) but I’m also looking at what I want to do in 2017, and starting to book it up where/when I can.

So far, that’s looking like a long weekend down around Bath and Bristol (an area I like, don’t know enough about, and want to know more) and potentially a week each in Lake District and somewhere in the North-East. I may do something abroad as well, but we’ll see.

I’m also looking at things I don’t want to carry on – in particular the restaurant project I’ve been doing this year, with at least one Michelin-starred place per month for the year, part of my whole thing about eating alone. I’m still really enjoying it for this year, and I’ve no intention of giving it up completely – but it might go down to a quarterly thing, rather than monthly.

There’s a bundle of other stuff getting prepared for next year – but not stuff I’m going to write about just yet. Most of this is just in the contemplating and planning stages, rather than actually happening, but I’m going to spend time this year sorting out next.

Which, for me, is disgustingly organised…

 

Another Quiet Week

This week has been another ‘quiet’ week – or at least one where I don’t seem to have stopped long enough to do a decent post. Which means ‘quiet’ here and… less so in reality.

It started off well – driving home on Monday from a long weekend in Dorset. A ‘quiet’ ‘break’ that resulted in 600ish miles of driving – but also enough necessary downtime and peace to have made it worthwhile.  In fairness I could’ve split the driving, or whatever, but it’s never the driving that tires me, so *shrug*

The place in Dorset will definitely be re-visited though – it was great, and all told thoroughly enjoyable.

The rest of Monday was less fun – once I’d got home I started feeling pretty rotten, and ended up having a sleep on the sofa. Felt a bit better when I woke up, but rapidly got worse again, and ended up with gastric explosions of an epic standard. At least it had the good grace to wait til I got home, rather than expelling my innards into a hire-car.  Thankfully, there was only the one major dollop, so I was able to sleep etc.

Tuesday was a day on-site with my current client – could’ve done without it, but needs must and all that.

Wednesday and Thursday were back to almost-normal, but also included taking the bloody Saab back to the garage (another Engine Management light issue, which was why I had the hire care for the weekend) and going to the cinema, as well as a day where it seemed like people were all trying to kill me. (More of that in another post, perhaps)

And now Friday, and back on-site, as the boss is then away for two weeks.

And that, my friends, is a ‘quiet week’…

Slowing Down – Allegedly

Last week, I wrote about how things were slowing down a bit at last from the madness of January. And that’s true – well, kind-of.

As it is, before the end of February I’ve got scheduled (in no particular order)…

  • A very fancy meal in London, which I’m looking forward to (and for the faffing about I’ve had to do, had bloody better be worth it)
  • A birthday event in Oxford  (it’s hard to call them birthday parties when the person isn’t a child!)
  • A gig in Manchester (another mid-weeker, I must be fucking mental)
  • A gig in Oxford
  • The final bit of work on the car for this session (I hope)
  • New glasses to collect
  • A full weekend break on the South Coast

So yes, not really all that quiet after all…

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