Hooves and Trotters

[Some of the following images have been copied from ‘images of…’ on the internet, and are included with thanks to those who originally placed them].

To all my vegetarian eaters I say “get a proper diet, leave the poor weak vegetarians alone, other than giving others a fright with their pale and drawn complexions they didn’t do anything to you.” Personally, I and my species just don’t get it; I wasn’t born with these teeth just to go bringing down broccoli or cornering cabbages for the kill.

When I am contemplating what I fancy eating there is nothing I like more than to see the menu written all over my prey. What better way is there of supporting the great 21st century ethos of consumer choice and providing information through clear product labelling!

But I was even more delighted to see that my culinary psychopathic teachings were put into action just the other day, when my resident ‘flesh chomper‘ was joined by an ‘ex-pat carnivore‘ from the Philippines, as they scoured the local prairies for something to fill the time and space between beers. I strongly advised them to only eat things that recently carried a name… like Gertrude and Daisy, or Pinky and Perky. After all, you don’t know what kind of situation you’ve landed yourself in if the host is talking about ‘Florence the fennel’ or ‘Angelica the artichoke’.

First stop was The Wharf, where Cardiff’s version of Little Venice meets the toxic algae of the Bute East Dock:

Swans at lunch

Lily pads

 

 

 

 

 

A fine pint of the Brains SA was accompanied by freshly served portions of pig… succulent pork chops or the delicate arrangement of bangers and mash with onion gravy.

The Wharf

A pint in the City ArmsFurther pints of Brains SA and Oakham Citra in the City Arms made for a pleasurable interruption to the eating:

It seems that whenever these characters get together the film Groundhog Day gets a re-enactment… just as day follows night, so beer and eating follow, well, beer and eating! It’s another day, but enough of the samples from the sty, it was time for a few hooves to make the ultimate sacrifice; and where better for a beer interruption than a place called The Grazing Shed, where a multi-storey car park meets a multi-storey building site:

The Grazing Shed [5]

 

Cardiff’s tribute to a US classic meets locally sourced ingredients to produce Super Tidy BurgersThis is the part of Cardiff where John Wayne meets Spicy Pedro

 

The Grazing Shed [4]

Grazing Shed [1]

A great new idea in fast food arrives in Cardiff. This is no ordinary run-of-the-mill burger, these are the Ronseal of the burger world… ‘super tidy burgers‘ that do what they say on the cows backside. Even veggie varieties are available for those with enough energy to walk from the car (though you might want to ask the nice staff if they do a roadside delivery to conserve the stress on vital organs).

Grazing Shed [2]

 

This place is building its reputation on an all ingredients are locally sourced theme. One claim is that butchers supply their meat from Carmarthen… it certainly tasted fresh, and though we weren’t left spitting out hooves, you do get the impression that Daisy might just be out back succumbing to a vigorous crash diet!

So, for all of you poorer gastronomes, and those of you needing a respite between fillet steaks, I will continue to tutor my ‘resident food taster‘ in the delights of a varied budget. Until we eat again I intend to be Juno.

Rio de J’Cardiff

Strolling northwards at the lower end of St Mary Street I pass under the railway bridge drawn by the magnificent site of the Victorian thoroughfare ahead. I try to ignore the modern overpowering hotels to my right and left because us cool cats have an appreciation of history and what it has brought to a place. Suddenly I feel a shimmying movement in my legs (four are always better than two, so I am told), as I involuntarily respond to the sounds and smells of Brazil.

I drift back in my memory to a previous life when I was a panther able to bring down and devour wild beasts, but fortunately for the afternoon shoppers and early city centre revellers, I come across a restaurant of infinite potential and delight… I am greeted by Viva Brazil.

Viva Brazil [2]I decide this is a must for my human carnivore and friends. On their return they are so full of the experience they don’t even stop to thank me for the tip off. I dive behind the sofa before they turn into a demented bunch of Samba cats themselves. All I hear about is ‘the meats’, ‘the non-stop skewers of freshly cooked meats’… and here am I looking into that bowl of rocks that is supposed to pass for cat food again.

‘Churrascaria’, I meow at them… don’t you people understand the cultural nuances when you go out to eat! The 15 or so meats are slow barbecued in this Portuguese/Brazilian style, and when you sit at your table they will be brought to you on skewers by the ‘passadores’ who will cut the meat at your table while you hold the slices with tiny tweezers provided on the table. This is known as a rodizio style of service, and you just eat as much as you like. The red and green sided beer mat on your table is not for standing drinks on, it is your signal to the meat-wielders whether your stomach is open for business, or you are just stuffed. I am told that one good tip is not to eat much at all earlier in the day, as this stuff is not just plentiful but beautifully cooked on the charcoal barbecue.

Load up as often as you like from a central salad bar with so many delicious Brazilian stews, with salads, fruit, breads, and rice dishes. Isn’t it nice when you can taste so many different flavours without generally having a clue what exactly you are eating… well, looking at my cat bowl I wouldn’t know about that. I also drink a lot of water so you don’t have to… and judging from my samba compatriots here, it doesn’t look like they drank much water either. But they are a bit fussy about their wines, and seem to be moaning on a little about how they could have made better choices for gargling considering the range of wines and cocktails the place had on offer.

They say another tip is to book, as this place gets busy, often. A good sign if I ever heard of one. But it is cheaper if you sit down to eat before 17.00. So, if you are there on a less busy early evening they are lenient about you staying beyond an allotted two hours, otherwise you might feel a little time-limited for such gastric wonders. Then again, you can always pay the evening price and go for broke.

Next time my personal food fascist leaves me with the delights of scientifically prepared cat crunch, and goes on another Latin American excursion around the corner, my suggestion is to ditch the much overused doggie-bag idea and get with the programme on cat-suitcase-sized take-outs. I’ve been Juno so you can be a little wiser… and I’m watching you.

Black Cat

The above image is from http://www.catimages.com/