Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Ohh Boy revisited

November 18, 2019

Pretentious cake shop serving mediocre coffee, not doing Taf any favours.

What a difference a few days make.

I stumbled upon Ohh Boy a couple of days previous when lost coming down from Lycabettas Hill in the dark. No time for a coffee, I said I would revisit.

Then friendly, today no, rude barista who could not make coffee.

Giving Taf a bad name. Very pretentious.

I asked at the bar, told go and find a seat to be served.

All tables occupied.

I sat on a stool by an open window. Told no, cannot sit there. But OK to sit there and blow smoke in through the open window onto coffee and food.

I joined a lady at a table drinking white wine.

A long wait before served, I asked at the counter, and was told to find a seat and the waiter would take my order. No water brought to the table until coffee brought. Previous visit water brought as I sat down.

Coffee served in a dainty china tea cup. Served with sugar, which is insulting. Maybe a commentary on the not very good coffee.

I had found a seat with a lady at a table. As she was leaving, I said she had made a wise choice with wine as the coffee not good. She agreed, not for coffee, and knew many of the good coffee shops in Athens. I had been advised Ohh Boy good for cakes but not for coffee.

Not recommended. There are better places for Taf coffee. For example Little Tree, Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies and of course Taf.

Ohh Boy

November 14, 2019

A fleeting visit, Wednesday evening three weeks ago in Athens, I stumbled across Ohh Boy by accident.

Coming down off Lycabettas Hill in the dark, I was lost, disorientated, not n a clue where I was, and for all I knew, heading off away from where I wished to be.

Eventually I encountered Ohh Boy, and asked may I use their wifi.

I find I am nowhere near where I thought I was.

I had a glass of water. Did I wish for a coffee? No, I was already late, noted Taf coffee served which was a good sign and said I would return another day.

I try to avoid main roads. I thought I was heading to Syntagma. I must have gone way way out of my way, as only when passed by Olympic Stadium of the First Modern Olympics did I realise I was heading the opposite way to the Olympian Temple of Zeus. I then knew where I was, took a slightly longer route but on quieter streets. I had gone way out of my way.

Anonymous Coffee

November 19, 2018

I had looked in Anonymous Coffee last week, down an alley between Broad Street and Reading Minster, Chain Street en route to CUP.

Coffee sourced from Union, which sadly does not mean a lot these days as they will supply anyone.

I ordered a cappuccino.

Not very good, weak and insipid, with an unpleasant taste.

I find a large lounge on the first floor, learn food at weekends, occasional evenings, plus wine tasting sessions which have to be booked on advance.

Entire shelf of wine books. I suggest also have books on coffee. I recommend Real Fresh Coffee and The Wold Atlas of Coffee, and subscribe to or buy Standart and Drift. If wish to add excellent reading on food then also add Ambrosia and Om Nom.

Only a couple of customers.

I am told, look in again when owner is there, as the coffee will be better.

But if that be the case, owner should be there serving the coffee.

Anonymous Coffee occupies the corner of a wine shop. Quite a good idea as pulls more people in, and help shares the rent and bills.

Interesting mural on the wall.

What I did not like was the free wifi was being used to pass personal data to a third party. This is abuse of personal data and not acceptable.

Glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant

October 17, 2016
glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant

glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant

Glass of red wine in Plaka Restaurant, house wine served from a barrel.

Pantopolion

October 15, 2015
Pantopolion

Pantopolion

Pantopolion, locally sourced Greek food and drink.

Compliments of staff and management

February 17, 2015
compliments of staff ad management

compliments of staff ad management

A bottle of red wine in the fridge.

Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

June 18, 2012
Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

My lovely Russian friend Lena and I had decided we would dine at Nicolas Tavern.

Earlier in the evening we had walked along the coast to a farm, where we picked up two honeydew melons, courtesy of the farmer.

We were tired and hungry, but at least after a shower were feeling refreshed.

We had decided on kleftico, a traditional Greek-Cypriot dish, lamb cooked slowly slowly for many hours in a wood-fired clay oven. We had sampled kleftico the week before when we had a drink at Nicolas Tavern.

The wine was therefore red. Lena wanted sweet. I said no. We compromised on medium dry.

I called the head waiter over: Your best medium dry red please.

He brought over Status 99. Lena tried and said it was good.

But no kleftico, they had run out. We settled on fish. I had sea bream (at least I think that is what it was). I am not sure what Lena had.

For starters we had the most delicious chicken soup, served in enormous bowls, a meal in itself.

For desert strawberries and cream. I would have preferred strawberries with Greek yoghurt, much nicer. On Mykonos I used to have for breakfast at a lovely taverna raspberries and strawberries and Greek yoghurt.

Cypriot strawberries are not as nice as English strawberries. Lena added not as nice as Russian either.

Status 99, a full-bodied red wine, not exactly the ideal choice for fish, we should have had white wine, but we did not know there was no kleftico when we ordered. Fish needs a lighter wine. A full-bodies red like Status 99 ideal for a heavy meat dish like kleftico.

Nevertheless we enjoyed Status 99, an excellent choice, even if it did not quite match the main dish of fish.

Why Status 99? A question I asked Nicolas the next day. The name is from the village, Statos Ayios Fotios. Why 99? Not known.

Status 99 comes from a family vineyard Kolios Winery, high on the hills outside Paphos. The vineyards are owned by the Kolios family, planted by their grandparents on the slopes high above Paphos.

Like many of the wines at Nicolas Tavern, Status 99 comes from a family vineyard, quality wines to go with the quality food.

I asked Lena did she enjoy the wine? She replied yes. When we left I ordered another bottle for her to take home.

Nicolas Tavern is a traditional Greek-Cypriot taverna in Protaras. The restaurant to eat in Protaras. The only one with a traditional wood-fired clay oven. Kleftico to die for!

Grappa

March 30, 2012
glass of grappa

glass of grappa

Grappa is distilled from grapes.

The area for grappa is Bassano del Grappa.

Bassano del Grappa has two distilleries.

One, Poli, is over the bridge and up the hill. It faces as one comes off the old wooden bridge.

Poli distils from two grape varieties, Merlot and Pinot. The basic ingredient is the mush or pomace left over from making wine.

Grappa is usually served as a digestivo or after-dinner drink. It is served in a specially shaped glass.

I had my first taste of grappa on my first night in Bassano del Grappa, when I ate at Ristorante Alla Corte and after dinner Roberto poured me a glass. I then spent the rest of the night politely sipping.

I liked it not.

Grappa has protected status. It may only be produced in Italy, or in the Italian part of Switzerland, or in San Marino. It may only be made from pomace, not grape juice. There can be no added water.

A contemporary cultural reference to grappa can be found in The Fire, the sequel to The Eight.

Synchronicity: I was given The Fire whilst I was in Bassano del Grappa.

A walk to a church then up a mountain

March 27, 2012
nearby church from Hotel Alla Corte - Bassano del Grappa

nearby church from Hotel Alla Corte - Bassano del Grappa

It was the morning after the party the night before.

We got in at 3-30am in the early hours of the morning from Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day party. I awoke not long after 6am.

I somehow dragged myself down to breakfast. I felt dreadful, my head would not stop throbbing. I felt sick.

My friend Russian friend Dasha was down to breakfast, but no sign of my Japanese friends. Dasha asked when did I get in? She got in at 3am.

As there was no sign of my Japanese friends, I took myself for a walk to Villa Bianchi (arch A Palladio), a 16th century Italian villa.

On getting back, Dasha and family were preparing to leave. We had a chat, and said our farewells.

I found Ken and Yumi finishing breakfast. No sign yet of Mio.

We had a chat with a film maker, Yumi made her an origami figure of a crane. Ken and I went down the road in search of a bank. No, they could not change Yen, suggested we try banks in Bassano del Grappa.

On our return we found Mio had emerged. As Ken and Yumi did not wish to go out for at least an hour and as it was too nice a day to waste, I suggested to Mio we went off for a walk to the nearby church that we could see on a hillside. The church we could see from our hotel.

As we set off, I suggested we could maybe then go for a walk along the river, but realistically we did not have the time and I was not sure how long it would take. I had walked along the river on my first day, and that had been a three hour walk.

We find our way to the church. We walked all round, tried every door, but sadly all were locked. We were unable to gain access to the church.

Outside the church a wooden cross with a hen atop. Not something I had ever seen before. The church also had painted on its wall a sun, a pre-Christian symbol.

Let’s carry on up, I suggested, see how far we can get.

Mio agreed, and after a short rest, off we trekked.

It was a wonderful walk. Sunny, very hot. very peaceful and quiet. The only sound was the birds singing and rustling in the leaves as lizards scrambled away on hearing our approach. Occasionally we caught sight of the lizards as they scurried away.

We were greeted by dogs protecting their property. Whether friendly or not we did not get to find out as luckily we were always separated by a wall or a fence. We greeted them and carried on upwards.

As we climbed, a panoramic view unfolded below. Views of the mountains, views of the flat plain that extended all the way to Venice. Far below we could see in the near distance the Italian villa opposite our hotel.

To the side of us lovely grass slopes, wooded banks.

In the woods we found a lovely blue flower. I knew what it was but could not recall its name. It also grows in the woodland area of my garden and I found it in flower a few days later on my return.

We found four, maybe five, species of butterfly flitting around. Mostly small, including a white one with orange tips to its wings. I caught a glimpse, but that is all it was, of a much larger butterfly, maybe twice the size.

The road turned into a stony track and eventually petered out, the way forward blocked by a gate.

It was time to turn around and set off back down as Yumi and Ken would be waiting for us.

On our way down, it struck me how like an Alpine church was our little church. I do not even know its name.

We found Yumi and Ken waiting for us. We set off for Bassano del Grappa, along a little road, past the 16th Century Italian villa and then to walk along the river.

As we passed the villa, a man we had spoken to a previous day, stopped and chatted to us. He told us that the villa had an associated winery. That in the vineyards they grew three varieties of grapes, Merlot, Pinot and a third variety we had not heard of. He said the wine was exported all over the world. He said we coud go take a look but did not know if anyone was there.

We retraced our steps and looked in what I thought of as the farmyard. We found packed cases of wine, what we assumed were vats for fermenting the wine, barrels for storing the wine, but no one was around to talk to or sell us any wine.

We then continued our walk into Bassano del Grappa. I picked up a stick, which Ken found ideal for walking with. It was a lovely sunny day for our last day in Bassano del Grappa. And I was slowly slowly recovering.

It could not have been a nicer or more pleasant day for our last day in Bassano del Grappa. We set off in good spirits.

Flowers: There are 1200, maybe 1600, flowering plants in northern Europe. I used to know them all, be able to identify them all, even though it may have meant spending half a day sat by a plant trying to identify it. Mushrooms and fungi and grasses too. Now the best I can do is see a plant, know I know what it is, but be unable to give it a name.

Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) is a white spring woodland flower. Blue anemone (Anemone apennina) is a close relative, looks the same but with blue-purple flowers, not white.

Local Flavours

October 6, 2010
Local Flavours

Local Flavours

I picked up this excellent book from a stall at the farmers market in Guildford (first Tuesday of the month). It is a guide to local producers, farmers markets, food festivals, food trails in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. It also includes recipes using local, seasonal produce.

Local Flavours is published by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes, and Oxfordshire Food Groups, copies can be obtained by e-mailing info@local-food.net.

Local Flavours is an example other areas and regions should follow to promote local produce, foods and producers. Lincolnshire and Hampshire please take note!

Also see

Make the most of Local Flavours … (press release)

Local Flavours (pdf)