Adelaide: food out

EATING OUT

Chianti Classico  is still my favourite breakfast place in Adelaide. Sophisticated menu, impeccable service. However, there are many great sounding places that we didn’t get to this time. Unlike other trips we stayed in our own place and sitting in one’s backyard eating breakfast under the shade of a vine has its attractions.

Ichitaro is is a world-class Japanese restaurant on King William St Hyde Park. Its lunch menu on Fridays and Saturdays is plain unbelievable value and its evening offerings are masterly in taste and presentation, whilst remaining excellent value too. Whereas we will be able to go to London for good breakfasts when we are back in Geneva, nothing will replace Ichitaro.

Mrs Q Gouger St. Good Asian fusion, nice surrounds, overly attentive waiters ( large place, we were early), generous serves, will be back.

Vietnamese Laundry We dropped in for a quick lunch the other day, tried the salads, a really nice heat to them, excellent value at $12 or so per serve.

Lucky Lupitas  We almost didn’t get here, it’s up towards the North end of O’Connell’s St and we had to walk past the enticing smells from a Greek restaurant to get there. We managed, but only just. Just a quick meal, but it was darn good – Manny said it would hold its own in California which prides itself on its Mexican. I can only compare it with the dire Mexican interpretation that New Mexico inflicts upon unsuspecting tourists. No wonder the Mexicans want to build a wall.

Katsumoto is a simple cafe in Gays Arcade, it does cheap unpretentious lunches. We can’t go past the eel and the eggplant to date.

Larry and Ladd There will be a moment in your life when you need a toasted cheese sandwich that very moment and I can only wish, even upon my enemies, that they find Larry and Ladd close to hand. Their plain toasted sandwich is practically life-saving.

Naturally we tried out some of the places close to us. In no particular order:

Sublime East Ave. Everybody should live on a short street with a cafe at the end of it!

Carnevale East Ave. Even closer than Sublime. You can get freshly ground coffee/beans to take home, as well as all the usual things onsite.

The Middle Store Winston Ave. Sort of Lebanesey, nice!

Dear Daisy  Leah Street. Cute, and like the others named above, all nice places to hang out.

Bar Fifty 8 Brand new, a couple of us grabbed coffee there on our way back from lunch at the Rice Bar and it was declared excellent. It has a good look about it and we look forward to lunch there some time.

Pickle in the Middle I just love this breakfast dish and haven’t yet managed to get past it: Breakfast greens 16 Poached egg, shredded kale, Asian greens, snow peas, whole oat kernels and lentil sprouts, toasted seeds, watermelon radish, orange. If you ask me it sounds weird at best, but honestly? It’s fantastic!!

By Blackbird Still haven’t been here – it has a dark look from the street which somehow puts me off – but a friend brought their cakes around recently and they are stunning. In the posh cake French style Manny thought they were at least as good as anything he’s had in Geneva. We are going to have to bite the bullet and go there one day.

A small intro to the next two. One of the things that makes Adelaide special is non-licensed cafes that open at night, generally specialising in dessert. The atmosphere is totally different from places that serve grog. Long may they thrive!

Eggless Cafe Famous doesn’t begin to describe this place. We had to go three times before we joined a queue small enough that we could actually get in when it opened! The first time I swear it was about minus 2 degrees, strong wind, rain, we got there a few minutes after opening time and yet the best we could do is put our name on the waiting list and try coming back in 45 minutes. Which we did not do. Instead we went to….

Spats Cafe  A blast to the past if ever there was one. Seventies written all over it. We love it and to have both this and Eggless Cafe (which is so very different from Spats) within a short walk of each other is very lucky for us. Spats isn’t quite as crowded as Eggless, but it’s close. You can book.

I can see there are many eating out experiences we’ll be leaving for our next visit, this one coming to a close soon. I pray that Adelaide doesn’t end up like Melbourne with too many cafes and not enough anything elses. For now, it has a great balance and more on that next post.

Something’s wrong with the banks

With his $12 million salary this year, Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev has become the latest poster boy for corporate excess, making 106 times that of an average Commonwealth Bank worker.

Nearly $10 million of his pay was in bonuses, while 25 per cent of the long term portion was awarded for customer satisfaction. from the ABC

Today I queued at the Commonwealth Bank opposite the Central Market. This sort of bank used to have a large line of tellers, but now it is down to one. There was an employee standing near the door ‘welcoming’ people who stepped in. I said to the lady in front of me that it would be better if that man was working instead of standing there.

She was elderly and bitter. She worked hard and paid her taxes for 50 years. Now she is treated like shit. She is treated like shit by society at large who thinks it can’t afford to pay her pension. She’s treated like shit by the bank. The same bank who employs the CEO who has apparently made $4M this year just for his customers being satisfied. How dare society, how dare the bank.

May I assure you, Mr Narev and the Commonwealth bank, that your customers are not satisfied. We do not want to wait an eternity for a teller. Once I had got to see the one teller in a bank which seemed to have lots of employees doing other things, we had this conversation.

Me: I’d like to get withdraw some money.

Teller: Hey, you could link your account up to a card and then use the machines.

Me: I don’t want to use machines, I want to stand in a queue and talk to a human being when I get to the top.

Teller: But you wouldn’t have to wait if you took my suggestion.

Me: If you took my suggestion and employed more tellers, I wouldn’t have to wait.

Teller: Do you have a financial adviser? I can organise an initially free appointment with a financial adviser for you.

Me: I could have said already, not unreasonably, I just want my fucking money. Is that too much to ask. Instead I said no thank you, I don’t want financial advise.

Teller: We’ve got some great Apps you can download to your phone.

Me: thinking WTF, this is how Mr Narev gets his customer satisfaction bonus? By getting this teller to harrass me instead of giving me my money?, said: I’m a Luddite, actually.

Teller: (thinking WTF’s a Luddite, no doubt) gives up. Offers me what I went in for in the first place.

Mr Narev, you should be ashamed of yourself, taking this money. You should employ more bank tellers. You should not use them to try to force services upon the customers.

Society, what are you thinking of? It’s not even your money, it’s her money, this lady who has paid her fair share of taxes and probably a contribution to make up for whatever Mr Narev avoids.

Our elderly citizens are angry. Something is wrong with our society. Something is wrong with a society so greedy for its bank dividends, it will kowtow to the excesses of men (sic) like Narev, whilst treating those they should be honouring like they are tedious interruptions to their time and their financial planning. Couldn’t we do better?

 

Evgenia Markina 1978-2016

Earlier this evening Genia, dear friend of Oliver, Roberto, Katia, Manny and me, died. She experienced a brutal 3 week battle with secondary liver cancer, diagnosed too late and treated ineffectively before succumbing.

Genia2

Genia: star historian, PhD student, dancer, photographer, hiker, skier, knitter. Genia: who had much shit to put up with in life and dealt with it full on. Genia: classic Russian looks, disposition, straightforward directness.

Genia: in hospital undertaking the chemo treatment which ultimately killed her by failing in its duty, her tumour getting bigger not smaller, when she wrote this:

“The photo I didn’t take or This Is Love”.

As some of you might know, I’m hanging out in the hospital for the Valentine’s Day. I’m spared from chocolates and flowers ads, as well as photos of 20 year olds kissing and holding hands on every corner. But it’s not a story about me.

It’s about a photo I wish I took today. My neighbour is a woman who’s been fighting breast cancer for eleven years. Gaunt, with dry and wrinkled skin, hair cropped to her skull, her eyes are tired, her look is dull. Eleven years ago she was a mother of two, now she’s a grandmother of four. She proudly shows me some photos of them. Then he comes. Medium height, medium built, bold, fit, with a smile in his eyes. I politely leave the room. When I’m back I see a perfect frame around them – that is the photo I must take!

I tell them spontaneously that their presence is for me what Valentine’s Day really should be about. A couple that sticks together against a chronic and deadly illness. Not children or grandchildren, not other people or 45 years together defines them as a couple. It is simply love.

She’s sitting in the bed, he is slightly lower, on the chair. They hold each other’s right hands and some invisible energy is flowing from one body to another. There is a smile now in her eyes, they are no longer dull, but warm and tender. Just like his.

I wish I had taken this photo.

Genia: died without being a couple. Indeed her choices in that department caused her much grief. But I think she knew, as she called upon her friends to help her through what turned out to be the last three weeks of her life, that love was also this, her friends at her beck and call. She knew there was nothing we wouldn’t do to help and she was completely appreciative.

Genia: who generally hated my knitting, laughed at my technique, but wanted this hat. The photo (like the other) is taken about one and a half weeks before she died.

Genia

How could I say no? And the other day when she sent me the pictures, this exchange by email:

Genia: Remind me why you gave to me? I definitely didn’t ask you first ( you can’t do it to a fellow knitter, bad manners!).

Me: Ha, yes, well, you broke protocol there. You looked at it and said you wanted it! Or you tried it on and said you wanted it. You’d just got your C permit (or something like that) and were bubbling over. So I said yes, you could!

Genia: I’m blushing ! And once again – you are an incredible friend !

And now I want the hat back again, not because it was mine, but because it was Genia’s.

Genia: a part of my life in Geneva since the week I arrived here. We will never forget you, dear friend.

Outside drinking in Geneva.

Good on the Geneva council for trying to stop drinking outside on Rue de L’Ecole de Medecine. It’s horrible living next to groups of people getting pissed and being dicks. Switzerland has a very simple approach to noise. It’s not social, it’s anti-social.

So the idea that the drinkers are going to stage a demonstration tonight is pathetic. Go home. Get pissed. Quietly so that other people around you can have their lives.

The thing I find most interesting about the situation as it unfolds – the young drinkers who think, seriously, that they ‘made’ this street, which means it used to be somewhere they didn’t want to go and therefore didn’t exist – is the very idea that there is ‘nothing for young people to do in Geneva’. There is no ‘night life’ in Geneva.

What a pathetic definition of nightlife. Geneva is the most amazing place for culture. It still has ten or so independent cinemas – though, alas, they struggle. It has many theatre groups. It has much live music of all kinds. It has opera. It has bridge clubs. Chess clubs. Reading groups. Acting groups. Knitting groups. You can tango outside on the side of the lake. Or rollerskate if that’s more your thing. I’ve never seen a place with so much stuff you can do at night relative to population. You can go to bed early enough to get up in the morning. Mornings are beautiful in Geneva.

But the only thing that actually defines ‘night life’ for ‘young people’ and this seems to include, say, thirty year olds, so people who used to have jobs and children and the commensurate life, is getting hugely pissed outside other people’s residences and being really loud and offensive about it. That is apparently their definition of what fun should be. I might add, that one of their justifications for ruining the lives of people who try to live on the streets they turn into pisspots is that it’s ‘known’ that this is what they are, so people ‘choose’ to live there. That argument would be bollocks anywhere, but especially in Geneva where there is often no choice about where to live.

I wish the residents of the area nothing but the best of luck in their ongoing battle to make their district livable again. I hope our area does the same.

Dishwasher 101

My friend Marcia is gorgeous, as you can see….

Marcia and Cathy, Christmas Eve 2013, Geneva
Marcia and Cathy, Christmas Eve 2013, Geneva

But she is a bully. BULLY I TELL YOU. I’ve never had a dishwasher before, and I had thought, naturally enough, that Manny was the go-to dishwasher expert, but no. It turns out he knows nothing about them. There wasn’t one thing we were doing right. Not one. We packed them wrong. There were all these red lights going – we’d just been ignoring them, but each one had a message. ‘What are you putting in this?’ She opens a little lid. ‘Ahem. Nothing?’ ‘What cycle are you using?’ ‘Errm. The one the last tenants had left it on?’ The interrogations were relentless and inescapable. All in all we had to face the fact that remedial dishwasher lessons wouldn’t begin to sort this. We’ve enrolled for when we get back to Geneva, but in the meantime, we did carefully photograph a well-packed dishwasher. May we only be able to live up to it.

A Marcia packed dishwasher part one.
A Marcia packed dishwasher part one.
and part two
and part two

Where I live IV

Where I live.

The people voted in Rudd (or Blair, or Obama). It assuages their consciences. They’ve voted in the right people and given up plastic bags. What more could be expected of them?

When you point out to them that these people are only ‘this much different’ from the others – and here I am holding thumb and forefinger so close together you can’t see the space between – they argue with you ‘but they are different’.

The point of living in a democracy is that we have politicians of our choice. So, it turns out that we want politicians who don’t do any of the things we pay lip service to the importance of. Here in Australia, not least, the environment. We are happy to have a Labor government that, to all intents and purposes (and this is meant literally), is exactly the same as the Liberal government.

Where I live.

There are two ways of dealing with these facts. One group who voted for Rudd is completely apologetic – in this current climate, what can he do? The other group comforts itself with a sense of having been betrayed. These people are all liars one way or another. A child of two could tell exactly what Rudd and his cohorts were like prior to the election that brought them into office. Where I live they have appeased themselves with the idea there is a difference. Never mind it is a meaningless one.

Where I live.

Voting in Labor was done by self-serving people who wanted to feel good without worrying about the real consequences. We live in a democracy, we actually have the power to have big goals and to get what we want. It is our duty to make politicians behave. We put them there. What they are doing is by definition what we want them to do. So, we have this hypocritical Labor Govt in power now and WE put it there. In full knowledge. I think we should do much better than that. I’m ashamed not of the politicians, but of the people who voted them in and were content to know EXACTLY what would happen even though they all pretended they didn’t. Either that or they are all shamefully ignorant.

Where I live III

Where I live.

People are nice where I live. And they think everybody should have nice lives. People in Sudanese refugee camps? They should have internet cafes and good latte and – nice things.

Where I live. The people need something to believe in. Now that it isn’t acceptable to believe in God anymore, some of them believe in personal trainers, crystals and shopping. But some of them need something a bit more profound that that. They are Buddhist.

‘Well, we’ve a bit Buddhist, really. You might have noticed? The prayer thingies up on the porch? It’s very convenient on the whole. There isn’t much you have to do. You can’t do wrong, really. And you can keep your own hours with Buddhism. We just do a bit of believing when we really need to, or we’ve got the time. Jacky does it on her non-Yoga nights. You should try it.’

Where I live.