Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sailing sandwiches

Three-layer tea sandwiches of tuna mayo and cucumber and picnic ham on buttered bread, kind of inspired by the Fosters incident.

Tea at Foster's Holland Village

Smoked salmon and buttered tea sandwich, hot freshly-baked buttery scones, rich tea cake. The tea: A creamy Earl Grey.

Late lunch at Ananda Bhavan's

(Plus my first masala thosai since coming home.)

Fast-food for a late lunch, opposite Mustafa's, with a new jazzed up for the well-to-do jewellery-buyers, while us proletariats shimmy over to the side door entrance. Glad to see that part was unchanged. Picked up a few good old MDF masala mixes for the wintering in Japan.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The airplane gourmand

To say that being upgraded has a certain thrill is a massive understatement. If I'd always looked forward to Economy Class food times (nowadays just for the heck of something interesting happening in the 14 long hours), Business Class mealtimes were even more special. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, but oh what a refreshing thing smoked salmon is to have on the plane, accompanied by not-third rate cold sliced ham and just a delightful little quarter of grilled portobello topped with brie. Having spent most of my life in avoidance of salads, I could not identify the vinaigrette, but it was delicious. Even the Caesar dressing did not disappoint. I was surprised at the decent Chilean white that went with the meal.
The main course sent me back to earth. Of course the Japanese Bento had already been pre-ordered, pre-flight. What I got was a tough rock of a fillet mignon posing as meat, terribly overmicrowaved. The menu described the hunk of beef as wrapped by a slice of 'apple-smoked bacon'. I couldn't even tell if it were bacon, let alone apple-smoked. To add fuel to the flaming fillet was the accompaniment of insipid green beans. It was probably forgivable if not for the fact that I had already developed an aversion to them after eating dinner at a West Virginia truckstop.

Oh what the hell. I'll be critical just for the heck of it - who's really complaining when you're in Business Class heaven? :)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Due Amici

Black Pepper Fettuccine with Shiitake and Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

67 East Gay Street, Columbus, OH 43215-3103
Phone: 614-224-9373

It's one of those places reeking of bourgeois hipness, but so irresistable: high ceilings, industrial-modern red-brick-meets-steel, simple but exemplary contemporary Italian food without the clashing of tastes so often found in American cuisine. And here's the weird part: it doesn't cost as expensive as it looks, with pastas at $9.99 and wines starting at $5 a glass. The list of Italian wines is well thought-out and extensive but not overwhelming. The service is iffy: I've had relatively good service but it's pretty inconsistent: the staff isn't too well-versed in the wines, at one point recommending a fizzy Frascati over more well-bodied types suitable for the entree, and another time committing the travesty of dispensing a different wine into half-full glasses of a previous wine for our table of six. Otherwise, the decent prices and experience of a wonderful Friday night out have kept me recommending it to friends. For some reason conversations always tend to flow as fast as the wine. And I've never ventured beyond my favourite of the black pepper fettuccine with shiitake and sundried tomato cream sauce. The bread, always hot, comes with a dish of fresh-grated parmesan and black pepper in olive oil.