On the Block

I finally feel like I am comfortable being around other humans again, well, as comfortable as my introverted self ever gets. It may be just plague exhaustion (yes that is a real thing) or maybe I am being overly optimistic that the virus is mostly under control, but we are starting to entertain.

Last weekend was a 4 day weekend and on Good Friday we had invited over our friends Camilla, Andrew, Melanie and Steve for afternoon drinks. Just as I was about to pop out to the shops Camilla rang to cancel so at least I did not spend money on catering for two more (or eating that extra food!). Cam had already made a tiramisu to bring and she kindly dropped it off. Norm goes crazy for her tiramisu.

The weather was a bit chilly so I just put out all sorts of snacks on the bar such as nuts, raw vegetables, dips, salmon pate, cheeses, crackers, onion marmalade, bread sticks, crisps, salami, and samosas. I filled the wine bucket with ice and we were ready to receive!

Mel and Steve arrived just after 2pm.

Mel brought me some gorgeous tulips.

We chatted and drank and pecked at the feast and laughed so much that my stomach and my face were aching from laughter. For some reason I no longer remember, we were determined to get Alexa to provide us information about Mr. Motivator and whether he had a scandalous relationship with Tessa Sanderson but because everyone was drunk they were speaking very slowly in their attempts to enunciate clearly. Alexa would not wait to the end of the slurred sentence so she was answering completely random things. It was hilarious.

We felt rough the following day but it was worth all of the pain and really lifted our spirits.

I am really enjoying Restaurant Week and exploring all of the new restaurants. It is lovely spending time with Caitlin or Norm too.

Last Saturday Caitlin, Wes and I tried the 4 course menu at Pilcrow & Cleaver. We first entered the bar by mistake and I was enamored by the look of the little booths which reminded me of the cozy wooden nooks in the old pubs in Ireland. We asked if we could eat in the booths and they said yes that was fine, so we wedged in but the seats were more like those little perches at the bus stop, not meant for comfortable seating, just a short term solution. Or I have too much junk in my proverbial trunk. So we vetoed our original decision and I managed to pry my fat arse out of there and we trotted next door to the actual restaurant. It was a small venue with only a few tables and a few tall stools around the counter. It felt sort of Parisian in it’s charm and simplicity. The walls were oozing with green fake ferns and murals interspersed with tiles or shelves. I liked the style.

We were presented with a delicious sounding list of drink options and were asked to choose a complimentary cocktail. I adore their menus, so simple and elegant.

Wesley chose the Father Espresso Martini and he said it was tasty. I loved the glasses, they all felt so special and elegant.

Both Caitlin and I chose the Albatross Cranberry Cosmopolitan. It was delicious, sweet and yummy. As the cocktails arrived so did 2 gorgeous looking platters: one of some delectable nibbles of amuse bouche and another with little, light heavenly baos served with a delicious sauce. These set our taste buds tingling with anticipation.

Then the chef came and told us that we could choose any four items on the menu. She said that all dishes were of a sampler size except for the burger which is a full sized proper burger. I did not think I could manage a full sized burger as well as 3 other dishes.

It took us a while to decide on our four choices. Eventually we all chose to start with the “Raclette Fondant” described as ‘warm raclette fondant with melted centre and fresh figs’. The cheese and fig combo is always a winner, it is one of my favorites. I wasn’t sure what the fondant aspect of this was going to be but I expected something along the style of a cheese soufflé, but it was more like a very light cornbread muffin filled with melting raclette cheese. It had a few wedges of sweet figs around it. I found it a bit doughy for my liking and I would have liked another element in the dish to provide a crunchy texture of some sort. I give this dish 3 Kitten Stars.

Next we all chose the “Love Letters“: Prawn, chilli and lemon ravioli in bouillabaisse sauce. I really enjoyed this one. My daughter thought the bouillabaisse was a ‘bit too fishy’ and overpowering for the delicate pasta and Wes would have liked more prawns in the ravioli. The pasta was silky and perfectly cooked and I enjoyed this dish, I know how hard it is to get a depth of flavour in a bouillabaisse and I thought it gave the delicate pasta a good oomph. I give it 4 Kitten Stars.

Next Wes and I chose the “Pork Ribeye”: Korean BBQ pork ribeye, kimchi, gamja jorim, prawn cracker dust & pickled shimeji mushrooms. The flavours were just amazing. The gamja jorim (Korean braised potatoes) were so delicious and full of rich flavours. The kimchi had a lovely acidic bite. The pickled mushrooms were tart and crunchy. The pork had a delicious flavour but was very tough. It was a bit sinewy and chewy and I could not really eat most of it as I am weird about meat textures. I give this dish 2 Kitten Stars.

Caitlin chose the “Asparagus Bavarois“: Set asparagus custard, griddled asparagus, orange hollandaise, warm grilled halloumi & shortbread crumbs. Caitlin did not like the texture of the asparagus custard but she enjoyed the flavours and the rest of the dish (she probably inherited the weird texture phobia from her mama). She gave this one 2.5 Kitten Stars. I thought it looked great and wished I had ordered this instead of my pork.

For our dessert, Caitlin and I both chose the “Brûléed Father Coffee & Pear Tart“: Vanilla pear and espresso custard baked in sweet pastry case, sprinkled with icing sugar and brûléed, toasted almond & honey ice cream. Oh my heavens this was for the gods, hunty!!!! From the crackling of the sweet and slightly bitter brûlée to the perfectly cooked pear this dish was perfection. I do not even like pears and my daughter questioned why I ordered it but I love coffee flavoured things and they had me at ‘brûlée’. This dish gets a total of 5 Kitten Stars.

Wes had the “Orange Blossom Labneh Cheesecake“: Labneh cheesecake scoop with tahini crumb, poached plums & Turkish delight.

All in all it was a lovely afternoon because I enjoy hanging out with my kids but I was a little disappointed that the chef was not more engaging. Maybe she was tired or stressed. Maybe she was just not in the mood. Or maybe that is just who she is. I felt as if that lack of passion and energy in her demeanor is what was missing in her food. I would go back in case it was just an off day as the flavours were all perfect. I give my overall meal 3 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐.

Later that night we had a family zoom call with my Mom. Trevor was there for the first 40 minutes, then his phone battery died and at that same time Caitlin realised she had missed dialing in and joined us for the next 40 minutes. Tag team kids! Mom seemed in fine form, it is good to all interact together. Even Panda joined in.

The dogs have all been under the weather. All 3 of them had a gastric issue and we all 5 had to take medication for that as it can pass from human to dog and Norm and I have had ongoing tummy issues. In addition Panda’s cough has been out of control. The vet sedated Panda and scoped him and suctioned out some of the fluid in his lungs but we could only start his medication for that today, when he finished his abdominal meds. He has been struggling so much and Norm is up walking the floor with him, holding him upright to help him clear the mucus. I hope the meds help him.

We had planned a hike last Sunday but Panda was so unwell we decided I should stay with him while Norm took Finn out for a dander. We hope to go tomorrow but that depends on how Panda is, I am not happy leaving him on his own when he is struggling so.

Even though it was a 4 day workweek work was very busy. I have so many meetings I struggle to actually get any work done but I did manage to get a few things achieved and felt comfortable with my progress.

I have tried to keep my food intake low carb most of the time even though we had take out most of the week. Norm cooked for us last night and made our fave salad of fried halloumi, fillet steak and salad. The addition of pomegranate seeds gave it an extra touch of sweetness.

It has been a productive week in regards to ticking off things on our To Do list for the house. We had our custom made pool cover fitted so Finn can no longer just pop in for a swim then come in to trash the house. It also means it is safe for any prospective grandbabies that may come along.

We also had a tree trimmer around with a crew to trim all of the trees near the pool which blocked the sun.

They also trimmed the trees which blocked our view. It has opened things up beautifully and we get so much light!

Next we are having irrigation installed for the grass and then we will have a landscaper in to actually put in some grass as we only have weeds and thorns since the drought.

I love that we are getting some things done which have been on our list for ages. The list is still very long but we are slowly ticking things off.

I discovered this song on a random elephant video. I loved the backing track when I saw the video so I used shazam to find out the artist and song in order to then find it on Spotify to add it to my list of liked songs, and then used YouTube to find this video, like a musical trail of breadcrumbs to ‘Get me to the Moon’. The artist is Kina.

I love Kina’s voice. He has a bit of a Khalid sound to me. Kina is a 22 year old handsome lad from Italy so why he did not appear in his own video seems odd, maybe it is a budget thing? Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song.

Next week is another 4 day week and I am looking forward to that. My biggest worry at the moment is my little Panda pants. Please keep him in your thoughts.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxoxo

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