Women, of course, are the worst offenders and I don't care how attractive they might be; wandering along in a daze they are a menace.
If only I could find a nice portable cattle prod.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Women, of course, are the worst offenders and I don't care how attractive they might be; wandering along in a daze they are a menace.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
She asked if he had eaten at the new Epic restaurant at his hotel. Triple P had not been there since the hotel had renovated the restaurant a year or so ago so, although he would have preferred to go to one of his favourites such as Canoe. Epic was, at least, handy for his suite but he did not have high expectations. Restaurants at The Royal York tended to be the epitome of hotel business establishments; conservative, expensive and dull.
C was late, inevitably, for their pre-dinner drink so decided to go straight into the restaurant. He ordered some water and was presented with a water list. This had only ever happened to him once before, at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin. True, Epic’s list of 22 waters was modest compared with the Adlon’s 87 but they were divided into still and sparkling, artesianal and mineral. He was tempted by the Fijian water but C had impatiently already ordered San Pellegrino, rather boringly, he thought.
C ordered Peekytoe Crab (Maine rock crabs, originally an unwanted by product from the lobster industry until someone changed their name to Peekytoes in the nineties and started selling them as a gourmet item) Cakes with crusted Ahi tuna loin (how a tuna had a loin was beyond him) and spicy tarragon and mango dressing. Triple P had seared Quebec Foie Gras on Port marinated braised berries with truffled quail and wild mushroom fircasee. He did enjoy simple food. The waiter suggested a glass of Moscato with his Foie Gras and he readily agreed. C had a glass of Roederer Brut premiere with her crab cakes. First, they were presented with an amuse-bouche of smoked salmon with pea and mint puree.
They both ordered the duo of Alberta beef tenderloin with lobster tortellini served in a red wine reduction with Yukon Gold truffle spun potato and cipollini onion and fava bean fricassee. The rather gorgeous sommeliertrice, Courtney Henderson, suggested a Canadian wine. He ordered a Okanagan Jackson Triggs shiraz, explaining that he had never been convinced by Ontario reds. Courtey visibly bridled and explained that she waould soon change his mind on that point. C asked him if he had done that just to wind the girl up but he claimed it was just in honour of her BC birthplace of course. C did not look convinced.
She then offered the fact that she had met someone from London who knew him. She then followed up with the fact that the person was from the government and found him “very intimidating”. Agent Triple P expressed surprise given that he was well know to be a laid-back jovial sort of chap. C looked unconvinced, again.
For dessert C had Vanilla bean crème brulee with passionfruit sorbet. Triple P had a truly excellent selection of cheeses. La Sauvagine, a washed rind cheese from Saint-Raymond de Portneuf, Quebec-the recent Grand Champion at the Canadian cheese Grand prix, A Thunder Oak Gouda, a Riopelle from the Madeleine Islands of Quebec, which was a triple cream cow’s milk cheese with a slight hazelnut taste and a Chevre Noir from Fromagerie Tournevent in Chesterville Quebec. These superb cheeses were served with a selection of strawberries, grapes and walnut bread.
During the latter part of the meal Courtney plied them with Ontario reds finishing up with an Ontario “Port” and extra cheese. They both then had a grappa and green tea.
This Epic meal had stretched for over three hours and, as a result, when they retired to their suite he found that, thankfully, C was considerably less energetic than the previous night. It had been one of the best meals Triple P had had for a long time and he would thoroughly recommend Epic to anyone.
Monday, September 24, 2007
His flight had been uneventful and the only notable thing about it was that his fellow passengers confirmed the fact that Mexico had the most unattractive women of any country he had ever visited, with the possible exception of Malta. This was odd as usually in countries where there was a blend of races the result is often very attractive people: Brazil sprang to mind. But no, Mexican women were short, squat and plain.
He arrived at The Four Seasons and immediately liked it. It was certainly an improvement on his previous hotel, the Presidente Intercontinental, which when he had been there before was seemingly entirely inhabited by a regional Mary Kay cosmetics convention made up of, surprise, short, squat, plain and over made-up Mexican women.
He was hungry so decided to eat in the Reforma 500 restaurant. Whilst he looked at the menu he was presented with a a basket congtaining eight different types of bread and three dishes containing, soured cream, guacamole and salsa. The display in the bread basket was simply the most stunning he had ever seen. A work of art in itself. One undoubtedly good thing about Mexico was the food. He suspected that his diet was going to take a pounding. The menu was largely Mediterranean but they also had a separate Mexican menu from which Triple P selected a light meal.
He ordered Tortilla soup as a starter. This arrived with seven large porcelain spoons containing: cilentro, green chilli, avocado, chopped onion, cheese, sour cream and dried red chilli. The soup contained dark brown shredded tortilla which had a nicely chewy texture.
To go with it he ordered a bottle of Santo Tomas tempranillo from Baja California. The Bodegas Santo Thomas is the oldest winery in Mexico, founded in 1888. It was fruity but bone dry. Truly excellent.
For a main course he decided to stay Mexican and had beef fajitas. These came on a sizzling hot cast iron skillet cooked with yellow and green pepper and onions accompanied by a basket of small brown tortillas. His special freind M from the Commonwealth of Virginia would have approved as she was a great afficianado of Mexican food. They has even discussed her coming down to Mexico City but he had decided that the nature of the trip would have made that complex so decided to wait until his planned trip to the US the following month.
Over the four days that he was in the hotel he had several meals at the restaurant including one outside on the terrace at lunchtime when he decided not to try the deep fried grasshoppers and Maguey worms, which of course are actually the caterpillars of the butterfly, Aegiale Hesperiaris. One could take local cuisine too far.
The service was exceptionally good and Agent Triple P can heartily recommend the Reforma 500 restaurant.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Given the short time he would be spending in the hotel it was almost a waste to have such a large and comfortable room but a large cooked breakfast in Wilfrid’s restaurant, overlooking the Parliament buildings , soon sorted him out.
After his tedious Government meeting he had lunch with G, his long time associate, in a trendy restaurant in a courtyard behind the Chateau Laurier. It was nice to sit outside in the sunshine and his tomato and goats cheese salad followed by mascarpone and wild mushroom risotto were very good. He took only a glass of Niagara Riesling as he wasmaking a speech that afternoon.
By 16.45 he was on his way back to the airport and managed to get onto an earlier flight to Toronto. Apart from a rather horrible 20 seconds of turbulence half way through the flight he made good time and checked into the Royal York Hotel on Front Street by 8.45pm. He had last stayed in the Royal York in 1995 when he had found it rather a faded relic of its former glory.
Famously the largest hotel in the British Empire when it opened it was now dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the financial district. But now he found it beautifully and sensitively restored.
The grand, central lobby was back to its magnificent best. Having fallen out of love with the even more venerable King Edward he knew, within a few minutes, that the Royal York would become his new favourite in Toronto.
This was particularly true when he saw the spacious suite the reception girl had upgraded him to. He dropped off his bag, showered, changed and was in the Library Bar by 9.00pm.
The Library Bar at the Royal York Hotel is the sort of bar that all hotel bars should be. Wood panelling, crimson wallpaper, dim lighting, deep comfortable chairs and shelves filled with old books. He was due to meet C, a lawyer, at 21.00 but he knew that she was always late and, also, that she would arrive straight from the office. She eventually arrived at 21.25 which, for her, was positively early. C was an Indian Canadian (her family were from the Sub-Continent, not the tepee dwelling kind) who changed her look more often than Madonna. The last time he had seen her she had waist length hair and was affecting an ethnic look. This evening she was wearing a white leather micro-skirt, matching white leather jacket and white knee length boots. Her hair had been cut short in what was sometimes known as the gamine style.
“Fine. Order me one of your Martinis and I’ll go to the business centre and send my e-mail. Have you got any condoms? If not I’ll get some in the store downstairs.”
C was not what one might call a romantic.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Well, what else is there to do when one is stuck in Mexico City with free wireless internet?
Look at the Hobbit name generator, of course!
So Agent Triple P is Mungo Grubb of Little Delving, Agent DVD is Todo Burrows, HMS is Olo Boffin of Whitfurrows and J is Estella Hardbottle.
Someone in California has too much time on their hands!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
At five foot nine she is, perhaps, a little tall for Agent Triple P, but otherwise seems to have many of our favourite attributes:
Firstly, she has a nice Latin face with nicely large and well defined lips.
Pretty good legs as well.
He passed through Fast Track security with, again, no-one in front of him, waited approximately 45 seconds at passport control and lost a whole minute at the new shoe scanning station. As a result he found himself in the rather claustrophobic confines of the sadly retro looking terminal exactly two hours before take-off. He got £500 of Canadian Dollars and went off in search of the lounge.
This turned out be a large, two floor joint effort between Air Canada and SAS, remarkable for the undistinguished nature of the décor. He found a quiet corner and went to find some food: a few cherry tomatoes some cheese (which actually wasn’t in plastic packaging), some tortilla chips and what turned out be a rather good fresh salsa. He picked up a bottle of rose wine intending to pour himself a glass, looked at the label and saw that it was from Thailand, of all places, so put it back and took a glass of Californian chardonnay instead. This was as oleaginously unpleasant as most Californian chardonnays so when he went back for another glass he decided to risk the Thai rose, Monsoon Valley, after all. It turned out be not bad at all, bone dry but with some exotic fruit taste and a nice salmon pink in colour. He checked his e-mails, got a helpful note from Agent DVD about upgrading his computer and e-mailed the lovely C his Canadian-Indian lawyer friend in Toronto. Most of his usual contacts were out of town during his visit but he always enjoyed the company of the willowy C, who was always up for a meal out at a nice restaurant and sometimes rather more, depending on where her complex love life had her at that particular time.
At 18.30 his flight was called and he sat in the departure area of gate 28 for only about five minutes, which was not quite enough time to properly get to know the nice girl sitting next to him, before boarding. The plane was a Boeing 767-300 which from Triple P’s point of view had two engines less than it should have. First class had 25 seats but only 9 were occupied. The one thing that could be said for the seats was that there was plenty of legroom; even stretching his legs right out he could not touch the seat in front and there was a useful locker built into the arm of his seat that held his book, pen, glasses and iPod.
Air Canada’s only attractive stewardess offered him a glass of Champagne and hung up his jacket. She had short but thick black hair and wore those heavy-framed black glasses that he thought were rather fetching. She could have been of Greek extraction, he thought. The plane took off and he examined the cabin in more detail. It was the fundamentals that let Air Canada down. No individual seat TV sets, nasty white plastic cutlery, no salt and pepper, only four wines on the wine list; pretty poor for the airline’s top class.
However, things improved when the dark haired lovely brought him his diabetic meal. His starter was a light and tasty salad of feta, rocket, chick peas and cucumber with a clever dressing. The main course was salmon with hand made orechietti in a tomato and spinach sauce. The orechietti were particularly good but the salmon was just fish.
Agent Triple P had never really liked fish. He believed that back in the Stone Age people who ate fish only did so because they were two namby-pamby to hunt mammoth, woolly rhino and giant elk. Fish, in short, was a girl’s food. Either bland and tasteless or rank and putrid. Apart from swordfish and tuna it also had a nasty mushy texture. Agent Triple P would very rarely voluntarily eat fish.
After his main course he had some acceptable cheese, a glass of Dow’s 2000 late bottled vintage Port and three glasses of Courvoisier VSOP so he slept quite soundly and only woke up as the plane began its descent to Toronto.
He had a horrible transfer at Toronto. The flight from London was late and he only had forty minutes to make his connection. He walked rapidly down the length of the new terminal, under the strange dancing figures, through immigration and then headed for the domestic terminal looking for his 23.55 flight to Ottawa. However, by now, it was already 23.30 and the details of the gate had been removed from the boards. He started to dash to each gate in turn to see if the flight was up and soon noticed a Canadian soldier doing the same.
Kirsty, according to her name badge, was in camouflaged fatigues, army boots and a fetching green beret. She had a large duffel bag, a fresh young face with an interesting nose and her blonde hair was tied in a neat plait. She was also looking for the Ottawa flight and fortunately had a much better idea of where it was likely to be than he did. The two of them got to the gate just as the last few people were filing on. As luck would have it the two of them were sat next to each other for the 50 minute flight. She was coming from her Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery base in Edmonton to stay at home in Ottawa on leave. It sounded as if her day of travelling had been as long as Triple P’s. She asked Triple P for help in changing the time zone of her watch which he was totally unable to do. He thought that someone in the artillery should be rather better with gadgets. All in all he found her delightful company and when they parted at the airport, sadly, he realised that it was the first time that he had been kissed by a soldier.
He arrived at his hotel in Ottawa at 1.30am so had been on the go for fourteen hours. It would have been much worse if he had missed the plane at Toronto however as he would have had to stay overnight. He gave thanks to Private Kirsty and tried not to think about her taking her uniform off somewhere across town, given that she was only nineteen.