Antidote in Blue

Many animals need to hibernate in winter, though I personally enjoy the rare sight of snow in these parts. However, for some people I have to accept that long winter months of cold and gloom tend to trigger the blues. So, it got me reminiscing about previous visits to the Greek island of Hydra.

Here, for those feeling deprived of the vitality accompanying sunny summer days, is a prelude of things looming just beyond the horizon…

Hydra sky

 

White & Blue

Bell Tower

Mira Mare @ Mandraki Bay

Until we speak again, hold on to your dreams, and soak up the blue.

Advertisements

Confused cat

A thought came to mind some time ago: ‘If you try to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything’. It came as I was sitting in the Seasons cafe/restaurant/bar/delivery joint in the Castle Arcade facing across to Cardiff Castle.

Strolling the arcades is always nothing less than a delight, and you will not be short of places to partake in a cats favourite pastime… okay, maybe eating comes a distant second to sleeping. I had often passed Seasons without really knowing what it was meant to be. But the sight of a full Welsh breakfast as I looked through the window on a particular lunchtime was a major draw.

So, what is so Welsh about it? The local references on the specials board try to give the game away…

Welsh specials board

The addition of the braised leeks helped…

Full Welsh Breakfast

But, perhaps it was the strange accoutrement that really gave the game away…

Strange teapot

The application of sheep to just about everything is probably meant to be a draw to any full-blooded Welsh cat. So, I guess, is the juxtaposition of breakfast with beers, wines and cocktails!?

Inside

So that is where the confusion really set in… is this place supposed to be a cafe, a bar, or what? We all know we can experience all four seasons in one day here in the UK, so why not experience all parts of the culinary/alcoholic day in one go?

Until we speak again, I recently realised that maybe I was not the only confused one… as, unlike this present winter, the Seasons has in fact gone!

Seasons gone!

And the Oscar goes to…

Cardiff, for the Shape of Water! Starring:

  1. Roath Park Lake

Roath park lake [3]

2. The River Taff

Millenium Stadium 3

3. The Dock Feeder Canals

Roxby by water

4. The Bute East Dock

Bute East Dock [2]

5. Cardiff Bay

Penarth Head

6. The Mud Flats out into the channel…

Flatholme and Steepholme [3]

Until we speak again, if asked, a non-plused Bella would probably say the shape of water is rather ‘fluid’!

Water [2]

 

 

 

Quite white!

Cardiff doesn’t do snow… does it? Quite white… it’s better known as the rain capital of the UK (Seattle with history!). So, I must be safe from all the news-based armageddon messages. Quite white too

Roxby and Bridge

It’s a Friday lunch time, when the city is at its busiest, so lunch might be a stressed event, where bottle-neck traffic needs to be negotiated…

City Centre rail bridge

Where blinkered, single-minded, aggressively determined shoppers will obliviously cross your path, engaged only in the modern day irritation of walking with eyes glued to mobile screens…

John Lewis

Where the tourist masses flock to see a historic castle…

Castle

And office workers escape the 9-5 drudgery, by flooding to the central restaurants and bars, in order to start the weekend a few hours early…

Library frontage

Alas, I might just have to wait my turn, just in case all those in the know have reserved their tables in advance…

Coffee#1

As John Batchelor once said: “It looks like snow… unless that damned Cardiff seagull has had a curry induced mega dump!”

Hayes statue

Until we speak again, just once in a decade Cardiff can be Quite White!

Brexit made simple

First there was a hard Brexit

Seagull on binstore

But where exactly has that one gone?

Cat at start

Then there was a soft Brexit

Squirrell [3]

Which is proving to be just as elusive…

cat at corner

So, just when everything appears to be going arse over tit…

Swans face down

… look for Juno or Bella when you need an answer?

Looking to Juno

Plotting an escape

Until we speak again, Juno reckons it will  be a hard fought draw, going to penalties… which the Germans always win!

Seoul food

As a black cat Juno always knew the camouflage benefits of going around town at night. But being an indoor cat, she was well versed in the art of not bothering!

Batman

However, those of us more adventurous cats realise there is a large world waiting out there. Taking a stroll down the Cowbridge Road, you will find yourself in a part of Cardiff known as Canton; confusing eh? You are nowhere near China; but, if you are paying close attention, some of these bright lights of Canton turn out to be Korean

We enter as strangers in a strange land, as hitherto unseen contraptions hover above dedicated diners. What can they be for? Do they deliver the food, or perhaps suck up your dosh? Or, maybe we have stumbled across some strangely ethnic ‘northern’ traditions. No, it turns out they are the smoke extractors for the adventurous diners who choose from the barbecue section of the menu… as these are the items you cook yourself at your own table!

Us less adventurous cats (or maybe just avoiding the self-inflicted food poisoning vibe) decide you can keep your barbecue, we came for authentic national food, best cooked by authentic nationals.

Kimchi might be the restaurant name, but it also happens to be the Korean speciality dish of salted and fermented cabbage and radishes. It turns out that was something nicely complemented by a side of seaweed… and a Korean ‘Hite’ beer or two will not go amiss!

Then comes the main event, with Korean specialities again taking top billing. This time it is the Stone Pot variety, with beef for the carnivore, and seafood for the vegetarian cat (whatever that is!).

Oh, and why not add a side of Korean pancakes? Beware, too many of those may be accompanied by a visit from the Grim Reaper on heart inspection duty! Just as well those Stone Pots come with a mass of fabulously fresh vegetation…

Until we speak again, this may be a Korean story, but Juno & Bella would assure you that no cats or dogs were harmed in the making of this production!

Oh Man! The new OMG

The ‘first in the UK‘ is an enticing tag line, particularly when a couple of cats are contemplating a culinary adventure. And City Road in Cardiff has a purrfect range of representation from many parts of the globe when it comes to tickling the salivatory glands. But only Oman outwardly claims to be the first in the UK

Exterior

On first glance, the Al Wali restaurant provides a bright and welcoming interior…

Interior [1]

Interior [2]

And no sooner had the menus been consulted and choices made, when along comes a complementary mildly spiced oat soup before our starter.

Free oat soup

Whilst Junior Cool went for the Chicken Wings, yours truly came for the full on Oh Man experience, so the Kashke Bademjan (crushed aubergine with yoghurt and walnut) provided a tasty introduction to Omani cuisine; and begins the quest for how it differs from the extensive range of Arabic/Middle Eastern options in the local vicinity…

Kashke Bademjan and Chicken Wings

Kashke Bademjan

For the mains Junior Cool again went for the Chicken option, of a Biryani variety. Meanwhile, back in Oman, the menu provides an insight into a new range of culinary linguistics…

Menu page

Lamb Qalia (slow cooked in broth with black pepper, onion, garlic and ginger) definitely got the whiskers twitching…

Lamb Qalia and Chicken Biryani

It was lamb like I have never tasted before; soft flavourful meat with a spicy after-taste that warmed the taste buds rather than challenging through its heat; fully justifying my own personal claim for Oh Man to usurp the overused OMGJuno and Bella might well have been intrigued by the offerings, but the slight spicy bight to the lamb might have caused some disgruntled consternation, and demands for more of the chicken wings!

Lamb Qalia

The idea of a Karak Tea appealed, with an expectation of something exotic. Sadly the exotic was more likely to come in the form of the ordinary Black Tea. The overly sweet and milky (to my taste) Karak Tea, coming with cardamom and cinnamon was served up in the cardboard cup; presumably because the Omani diaspora love their tea to go!

Karak and Black Tea

Until we speak again, the usual eating irons should do for anything you are likely to encounter on the menu. But, if you do come across something requiring more industrial dissection, the necessary tools come wall-mounted! On first experience Omani cuisine can only be highly recommended.

Sword