Prosecco Cat

After a hard day sleeping… I’d have a nice cool glass of Prosecco… if I could be bothered!

You see, it’s this travelling thing that just takes it out of me. Take Venice, for example… “Do I really need a few days surrounded by water and crumbling old buildings?” I wondered. Not the right kind of thinking to share aloud with my travel companion, who just happens to think it’s the best place on the planet!

So, what’s so good about visiting Venezia? Whisper it quietly… I wouldn’t want a certain someone to think I’m fully agreeing with their personal recommendation! I guess, to begin with, messing about on the water has many attractions:

Then there are the expected architectural attractions that most people think of when the idea of Venice is raised:

Unassuming cats can’t resist investigating behind any open door… and stunning interiors await the discerning inquisitor:

But, perhaps it’s the bright and colourful side of the surrounding islands or those amazing stain-glassed windows:

Thinking of the culinary side of Italy pizza has to be the first idea that comes to mind. As good as some pizza’s definitely are, look further, as there are so many more culinary delights on offer! Octopus starters and seafood risotto offered delicious distractions for this unashamed carnivore… tuna, calamari, but exquisite meat-based dishes such as pork cutlets proved just as succulent and irresistible:

With so many wide-eyed big picture attractions at every turn… trust the locals to know that the devil is in the detail:

Then again, perhaps it’s best to leave it to Venice to describe just how fabulous it is… with a sharp intake of breath a one-word description may just accompany that continual feeling of incredulity:

As for me, perhaps in the end, the appeal of Venice starts and finishes with thoughts about liquid:

Until we speak again, the availability of fabulous wine was proving to be somewhat overwhelming… time to curl up and contemplate simply ignoring that earlier bottle of Prosecco?

It’s a carve up!

Pretty girl [1]Family birthday events do have a habit of clashing with the run up to christmas; but then it’s difficult to shift a birthday I suppose. So what can be done if the christmas effect is to be avoided in the culinary department? Nothing it would appear, but then who listens to the advice of a knowledgeable cat? It comes as an unusual experience for my kind not to be in complete control of what goes on, particularly when this bunch of humans decide to go off to ‘noshville’ without me!

22669161 It seems the older, so-called wiser members of the group decided to do the same thing as last year. Well, don’t blame me if you get the same as you already had! There were incessant moans about the rubbish service from my ‘resident gourmand‘ on the news of the deja vu eating experience. Nevertheless, off to the Marriott Hotel in central Cardiff is where the starving clan congregated. [With thanks to booking.com for the above image of the hotel exterior].

Marriott [1]

It seems that the place was quite popular, or is that just the christmas effect kicking in? Anyway, those who should have been at home taking care of my culinary delights were led to a table in close proximity to carver central…

Marriott [2]

Marriott [3]It seems that lightening really does strike twice, as I hear it took three separate members of staff an eternity to sort out bringing a bottle of Rioja and a couple of glasses to the table… a mere 20 minutes later than the glass of Pino Grigio and glass of Pino Rose requested by others in the party.

I wonder if draping a clean handkerchief around the bottle adds to the flavour of the wine; or is it just a sneaky flourish to cover up for poor service?

With a taste of wine smoothing the palate my discerning food taster goes for a simple mix from the starters buffet table; salami and ham accompanied by salad and antipasti…

Marriott [4]

But the coup de gras of the whole set up was the hotel’s signature hot buffet carvery, top ended with melt in the mouth turkey breast and beef, sublimely accompanied by crisp seasonal vegetables, a fluffy Yorkshire pudding and tasty gravy…

Marriott [5]Tis the season for brussel sprouts, and for all of the faint praise they receive, a crunchy sprout is a fine accompaniment to any festive dish. The overall verdict reported back to me was of a very tasty meal, but a likely seasonal recruitment campaign results in service that falls below the average expectations. So, until we speak again may all of your brussel sprouts be crunchy!

A dead pubs crawl

The recent fact that around 20,000 pubs have been closed down in the UK during the last couple of decades hardly caused me a ruffle of the whiskers. After all, us cool cats are much more sophisticated in our tastes… I am more concerned with preserving my premium wine stocks.

Wine stocks

As far as I am concerned pubs are uncouth places where dogs are more likely to be found. However, my ‘resident old git’ seems somewhat more perplexed than I about this dilapidated state of affairs in the ‘world the beer guide forgot‘. It being the beginning of the season to be jolly, I thought I would send the thirsty one on a tour of modern day temperance; and there is no shortage of places in Cardiff you can no longer get a drink!

Whoever said that the pubs of today are being taken over by food has certainly been to The Neville recently. Unfortunately, it seems that this former favourite of fans of the local team has gone the whole hog, its become a local supermarket… so the only grog available here will be the discounted stuff better drunk out of a brown paper bag!

The Neville [2]

An even worse fate for The Splotlands, as the chances of even getting in the inn are now completely blocked. I hope the last customer at last orders managed to get out in time!

The Splotlands

Black Friday and even Cyber Monday have now past us by, but anyone still in search of a bargain need look no further than downtown Butetown. The White Hart either finished off on a sale of its remaining stocks, or more likely has now become the subject of a sale.

The White HartBut not all pubs are allowed to finally give up the ghost and die; take an amble along Constellation Street and you come across a fine residence that probably shouldn’t be… all hail local activism down at The Tredegar as people exert squatters rights as a means of keeping a grand old landmark in occupation other than by rats and mice.

The Tredegar, Tin Street

Talking of rats and mice… just look what happens to a prestigious city centre site when you neglect history. The York Hotel might well have long since given up its final incarnation as an Indian restaurant, but it still serves as a grim reminder of former halcyon days.

York Hotel

My in-house beer monkey returned stoically sober after this particular pub crawl. Until we speak again I hope your pre-christmas crawling is to your satisfaction. Meanwhile I shall continue my duties as Wine Merchant Juno.

[With special thanks to my original guide and mentor into the world of blogging The Gentle Author for the original idea of the ‘Dead Pubs Crawl’].

Dock of the bay

Another day another eating opportunity, but where am I? Oh yes, I find myself dreaming of another cool cat… Otis Redding. So I find myself sitting in the morning sun, sitting on the dock of the bay

Norwegian Church

Watching the tide rolling away, wasting time. Left my home in Atlantic Wharf, headed for the Cardiff Bay. So what is there to do with some hard earned spare time Down The Bay (previously known by my resident old git as ‘down the docks’)? Apart from napping there is always a range of culinary temptations to stroke the whiskers over, and today feels like one of those for dropping a steer…

Bayside Brasserie [1]

Bayside Brasserie [10]Bayside Brasserie [8]

 

 

 

 

Sitting here resting my bones, watching the tide roll away…

Bayside Brasserie [2]

 

Looks like nothing is going to change… then I see the menu, and I realise why two thousand miles I might roam just to make this dock my home..

Bayside Brasserie [5]

Bayside Brasserie [6]

Bayside Brasserie [3]

 

When the ambience is as laid back as this there is little else more satisfying than just sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away.

Bayside Brasserie [7]

 

 

So until we speak again this is satiated Juno finishing with some harmonic whistling.