Blue sky thinking

Why cats dont like waterCardiff has a researched reputation for being the wettest city in the UK, but any cats put off by a little water need not worry about visiting the city. For a start, 60% of days in the year don’t experience any rainfall! What’s more, on a few of these Cardiffians have even been known to recognise the sun as some mysterious bright sphere in the sky.

So that got me thinking about all of the wonderful sights around the world that are framed by a deep blue sky. And, you know what, Cardiff can rival each of them on its day.

Take Dubrovnik in Croatia, for example. The old port looks quite stunning when viewed on a sunny day…

Old Port [8]But then, so does the old port in Cardiff, given a chance…

Cardiff Bay sweep 6As for a view of the Sponza Palace framing the blue stuff…

Sponza palace [2] Just try out the Millennium Stadium for size…

Inside Millenium Stadium [1]

Then there is the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, or the Bell Tower in Hydra (Greece); all very perpendicular, or phallic, depending on your outlook…

Koutoubia Mosque [2]Bell Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But any unsuspecting seagull soaring over the Bute East Dock in Cardiff had better maintain supreme surveillance, if a headache is to be avoided…

Sit and spin on that

As for historic finery, the Duomo in Milan has few rivals…

Duomo from bus tour

But don’t underestimate the majesty of Cardiff City Hall either…

City Hall [2]

Raffles City in Singapore and the Lippo Tower in Hong Kong may stake their claims for attracting the awe of passing visitors…

Raffles CityBank of China & Lippo Tower 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, be prepared to be stunned when you meander around Cardiff Bay to see the Pierhead Building

Pierhead Building

Until we speak again, enjoy your travels, but don’t forget to admire the beauty that exists closer to home!

 

Advertisements

Milgi: a vegetarians dream

Rear viewCarnivorous cats have had plenty to salivate over through several posts in this blog. But the vegetarian proclivity is not one often pandered to. So, with a dearth of cat-like influences at present, and a visit from a friend of the veggie-persuasion, it was an apt time to transgress (as Juno and Bella would no doubt see it).

What can Cardiff possibly offer that could satisfy a committed carnivore in the meat-deficiency sector?

Milgi [2]

 

 

 

An award recognised establishment would be a good starting place, particularly in the atmospheric Roath area of the city. City Road is the location and Milgi is the destination.

Milgi [3]

If you are a young bicycle riding vegetarian student type, step in, as this is a place with a welcome for you. If you are an older hunter-gatherer type with a liking for your meal to have had legs and a quaint name in a recent incarnation, step in, as this place will have more than a few surprises for you.The cafe style of decor provides a very informal atmosphere…

Milgi [4]The anxiety-ridden carnivore (as if such a beast exists) need not worry about needing a translator for the menu. It may vary occasionally, but this is a place that wants to provide  small range of high quality options. The three starters are platters of Moroccan, Peruvian and Indian origin. On this occasion we chose the Moroccan & Peruvian to share between us. Beetroot humous, harissa roasted parsnips, hangout chickpeas, cauliflower cos cos, avocado tartare, red quinoa & kale pattie, wheatgrass vinaigrette and omega 3 toasted seeds provided a positive plethora of tastes…

Milgi [5]5 main dishes presented the nicest of problems, choice. On the evidence of the starters this carnivore fancies more of a meze of all 5 options. Previous reports of the excellent chips (thats UK chips not US chips!) influences the final choice, as we both go for the ‘beer battered haloumi, chips and minted garden peas’. These are minted peas, not to mixed up with the carnivores bent for mushy peas. The chips lived up to the reputation, and again the contrasts of tastes complemented each other, taking away any potential drifting of the concentration to visions of animals in search of a grill.

Milgi [6]34660_dia_1425_950_don_julio_mojito_37_$$069A0000001gyNVIAYThe pinot grigio complemented the meal, and not being a dessert fancier, there was a wonderful Mojito to finish off the whole occasion. As so many of the published reviews begin with “I’m not a vegetarian but…” I can add to the list. Rest assured Milgi will not turn you into a vegetarian ion you’re not one already! But, this is a place you will want to come back to.

Until we speak again, may all of your vegetables satisfy.

Culinary cats on tour

B and JBella and Juno were never slow on taking any opportunities for adventurous dining; usually giving me the dead eye as I was trying to eat, but on many occasions just camping down near the fridge lest I forget there was plenty of cat-friendly contents lurking inside. The question is whether the spirit of culinary adventure was lost on me or not. A recent opportunity arose for a trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia, and when in such a fabulous place there was nothing better than taking the Juno/Bella challenge of trying to eat your way out!

First stop is Dubravka 1836, a delightful restaurant located just outside the Pile Gate of the old city…

Dubravka 1836 at night

 

 

The interior decor is a reflection of the historic surroundings…

Dubravka 1836 [3]

Dubravka 1836 meal [1]

 

So, the next challenge is to decide from a mouth-watering menu what to eat. Check out reviews in advance, as they can often point you to signature dishes. On this occasion a Dubravka beef steak coated in cheese presents discerning cats with a rich source of flavours. The Dingac local red wine is a perfect companion to, well just about everything!

After a necessary nights sleep, just to allow the previous feast to settle, and gentle strolling around the old city (see future blog posts), it is time for a satisfying afternoon snack. Restaurant Arsenal is located overlooking the old port… Restaurant Arsenal [2]… and where better to sample some of the local seafood delicacies. You can almost see the anchovies, calamari and shrimp queueing up to leap onto your plate! A glass of the Posip white wine compliments the seafood salad perfectly…

Restaurant Arsenal [3] food

Koloseum [2]Most cats will let you know that fish is the dish of choice every time, so suitably instructed an early evening call into the Koloseum restaurant provided the perfect opportunity to relieve the establishment of one of its delicately grilled Tuna Steaks. Oh, and a glass or more of the Grasevina white wine doesn’t go amiss!

Koloseum meal

 

 

 

 

Most places in Dubrovnik old city are back streets, but a meander around the narrow passageways presents an enormous choice of places to re-fuel. One such establishment is Domino restaurant, serving up a tender and juicy steak to interrupt the flood of sea-based sustenance…

Domino [3]

Domino [1] food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can only eat so much in a few days; a statement that neither Juno or Bella would ever have understood! There comes a time when you need to consider the return journey to the local airport. But not without a lunchtime visit to the starting point of the whole culinary adventure. Dubravka 1836 has its signature pizza dish, and who am I to leave without sampling it? This also gives me an opportunity to see in daylight that which had drawn me in so seductively as a beacon in the darkness.

Dubravka 1836 [1]

Dubravka 1836 daytime [2]

Dubravka 1836 daytime [3] food

Going back to apartment [5] cat

Strolling back through the old city to the apartment one evening, following an inevitable feast, I had this strange sense that Juno and Bella had arranged for eyes to be kept on me. Or perhaps that was just my over-excited imagination coping with the volume of fabulous vittles.

Until we speak again, eat well, drink well, and don’t feel the need to keep looking over your shoulder!

My Thai

Is it a religion? Is it a form of martial arts? Or is it a flippant reference to the other half? No, it’s time to satisfy that hunger with some exotic cuisine. When you’ve exhausted your mental and physical faculties sitting down and watching a couple of rugby matches in the Millennium Stadium you can really work up an appetite. So, the question is whether you follow the neanderthal hordes to the nearest burger van, or maybe hit Cardiff’s infamous chip alley down Caroline Street?

Those of us with an ounce of forward planning capability realise that restaurants will be full, unless that is you book in advance. And if you book in advance why not go that exotic extra taste bud or two. The Thai House is a well established Cardiff institution, conveniently located close to a range of other unique eating establishments that eschew (that’s a nice word borrowed from the TLF blog!) the chain mentality. If you like your eatery to have a Portuguese flavour then you will have to walk a whole 3 yards to that place below draped with a Welsh flag. If you like your nosh with a touch of the art insulation, or even a religious backdrop, then you will have to muster up the energy to walk a further 20 yards (all of which are reviewed in other posts on this site).

Strangely, this is a Thai restaurant that boasts a Rugby addition to the menu, but this is no time for a theme park trough. Dynamic flowing rugby needs to be followed by something a little more exquisite.

Thai House [1]

The Thai House menu is a navigational challenge in its own right. But after you have spent 10 minutes with the verbal gymnastics, guzzling a Singa Beer for inspiration, you pluck up the courage to order using the Thai wording; only for your ethnic waitress to look at the menu and ask if you mean 4, 9, 21, 22, 51 and 54! The Sate (tender pork and chicken) and Tord Mun (Spicy Thai Fish Medallions) both offer delicately spiced and succulent starters…

Thai House [2]

Then it’s time for something that no burger van or famous fish and chip shop in the world is likely to serve up. The crispy duck comes with an even more crispy kale, to offer contrasting assaults on the taste buds. Then the Emperor prawns deliver an unexpected undressing challenge, to remove the hard shell in order to reveal a juicy sacrifice within; made all the more rewarding when enveloped in a spicy coconut sauce, with lime and mushroom additional flavours…

Thai House [3]

Don’t go here on a busy day expecting rapid service. This is a place you come to to absorb the culinary offerings in a more relaxed mode. Neither Juno or Bella were enamoured with my liking for the prawn. But I’m sure that duck and the earlier fish and meat combinations would have taken some swiping off unguarded plates.

Until we speak again I will be taking a tour of fields way beyond Cardiff, sharing some Cardiff Cool Cat reflections on ‘elsewhere’.

 

[Football explained, or not!] Z is for…

ZANY…

Watching Cardiff City FC over the last 9 months is nicely summed up in the following quote: “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller-skates; you’re guaranteed movement, you just don’t know if it is going to be forwards, backwards or sideways.” [H. Jackson Brown Jr.].

Untitled

But Z is also for ZEITGEIST… and the spirit of the local fans and the team has been repeatedly summed up in a phrase that means little to anyone else not in the know…

Do the Ayatollah [2]

As another season comes to a close it becomes abundantly clear that Z is for ZILCH… on too many recent occasions team members have embodied an oft used cliche as a season draws to a close… their ZONKED demeanour suggests they are already on the beach.

40676960_ml

So, finally Z is for ZUGZWANG… i.e. nothing of any advantage emerges from the last few displays, as the team occupy firstly the uncoverted 7th position, the highest of the meaningless places; but then contrive to slip even further with a final draw in a game they shouldn’t be drawing.

25006877_ml

For the record the final score was Cardiff City 1 Birmingham City 1, with the home team finishing the season in 8th position with 17 wins, 17 draws, and 12 defeats. Until the next season of hope and despair (with Juno and Bella’s successor taking on the role of managing me), why not spend the summer sharpening your ZZ TOP impersonations, listen to your ZOMBIES back catalogue, or simply catch up on some relaxing ZZZ’s.

Judgement Day 30-4-2016

Once a year the national stadium plays host to all four of the Welsh regional rugby teams for a showcase two matches staged as Judgement Day. The season is drawing to a close and a suitable occasion arises for West v East as the Cardiff Blues take on the Ospreys of Swansea, and the Newport Gwent Dragons take on the might of the Scarlets of Llanelli.

A Grand Stage:

The Millennium Stadium (or Principality Stadium for those who like to wear their marketing endorsements on their sleeves) offers one of the world’s great stages for the event…

Inside Millenium Stadium [1]

Inside of Millenium Stadium [2]

Inside Millenium Stadium [3]

A Fiery Welcome erupts as the teams take to the field:

Blues v Ospreys fireworks

Dragons v Scarlets [1]

Fortunately for the infrequent spectator, two open and expansive games are played, with a majority of the national Welsh squad players on show across the four teams, ensuring entertaining high scoring matches:

Blues v Ospreys

But, not for the first time, judgement declares West as victors over the cousins in the East, as the final scores are Cardiff Blues 27 Ospreys 40, and Newport Gwent Dragons 20 Scarlets 34. 68,282 fans enjoy a feast of high quality rugby:

Blues 27 Ospreys 41

Dragons 20 Scarlets 34

For Juno and Bella this is a game they identified more as men behaving like packs of dogs, with just too much of the arse-sniffing going on (that’s a joke about rugby scrums for those not so familiar with the intricacies of the game). Until we speak again may all of your scrums be tight!

Rugby: The Man’s Game

Juno and Bella were never aficionados of the Welsh national obsession for Rugby Union. But they both proclaimed to be partial to a bit of rabbit. So Judgement Day 30-4-2016 in the home of Welsh Rugby may just have caused them more than a hint of confusion. Whilst Wales is obsessed with a man’s game, a little bit of the English male obsession for dressing up as women may be creeping in to the local rugby psyche!

What is this woman trying to take a nibble of?

Bunny [1]

On the other hand (forgiving the pun)…

Bunny [2]

Until we speak again, feel free to rethink your views about the finer details of the national sport!