Girls, travel, rockets, transport, hotels, films, Martinis, wine, music, food and ranting!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Walking and phoning

I am sick of walking behind people making "mobile" mobile phone calls. Particularly those people who are dialling, texting or otherwise pushing buttons when they should be walking. It slows them down to such an extent that they become like floating icebergs in the North West Passage, blocking the channels for people who want to get past.
The worst people are the ones who do it as they come out of an underground station, causing huge tailbacks.

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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Taste of Indian in Canada: 3. An Epic finish.


Next day Agent Triple P was feeling somewhat fragile. He decided to skip breakfast and had a light lunch at an Indian restaurant (ironically) near to the government offices he was visiting. C, who had left before breakfast, had claimed that she was busy that evening and so he was surprised and delighted to get a phone call that afternoon indicating that she would be free for dinner after all.

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

Reforma 500 restaurant, The Four Seasons, Mexico City


Agent Triple P had only been to Mexico once before and that had been six years ago. The taxi drive from the dingy airport showed that the city had not improved since then, although perhaps the air pollution was a little less. Mexico City was hugely overpopulated, full of shabby concrete buildings, flyovers, traffic and was ill-lit at night. From his taxi he could see furtive looking figures scuttling along darkened pavements only occasionally being lit up by the harsh pools of light cast by the neon of some open shop front selling saucepans or some such.

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

A taste of Indian in Canada: Part 2- The Bar


Although his conference was at the Westin, Agent Triple P decided, at the last minute, to change his booking to the Chateau Laurier when he discovered it was only across the road from the aforementioned anonymous convention hotel. The Chateau Laurier was the complete opposite of an American chain hotel. Commissioned by Charles Melville Hays, General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, to service the station opposite, he was due to open the hotel on 26th April 1912 but, unfortunately for him, chose to return to North America from England on RMS Titanic. As a result the hotel was eventually opened by former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, after whom it was named. Canadian Pacific bought the hotel and when they bought out the luxury American chain Fairmont they changed their name to Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, despite many Americans assuming that Fairmont had bought CP.

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.

“If you say I look like something from Austen Powers you can forget any action later!” she said, dropping down into the leather chair and beckoning to the waitress in her characteristically imperious style. Agent Triple P, of course would say nothing of the kind. Neither would he say, although it was true, that he preferred her with her long, black locks: he had learned decades ago that you never, ever made a negative comment about a lady’s hairstyle. “Just so I know, as I have to send an urgent e-mail, are we just having drinks, or dinner or is it the whole have sex and stay over for breakfast thing?”

C proceeded to place two mobile phones onto the table. His associate Agent DVD had pondered long on this female habit of putting their phones down in front of them. One girl had indicated to him that phones were hard to find in a handbag and so getting them out onto a convenient surface was just practical. It still seemed to indicate, as far as Agent Triple P was concerned, that they were waiting for a better offer.

He indicated, as carefully as he could, that he had not seen C since March and, therefore, as much time with her as possible would be most agreeable.

“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.

She disappeared to go to the business centre whilst Agent Triple P perused the Martini menu. The Library Bar had recently been voted the best Martini bar in Toronto; an accolade not easily won. They had over 50 Martinis on their special list. Most looked ghastly so he stuck with his usual: two parts Stolichnaya (gratifyingly they had Black Label), one part Bombay Sapphire, one part Dry Vermouth (sadly Martini & Rossi rather than his favourite, Chambéry) and six drops of Angostura bitters. He was feeling louche, perhaps it was all the white leather, so went for a twist of lime rather than his usual olives.

She returned after about ten minutes, took a huge swig of her Martini and, gratifyingly, visibly relaxed. They ordered some food. It was the lobster season and they had a special menu. He ordered a Mozzarella, tomato and lobster salad followed by a chicken salad. He was trying to maintain his recent healthy diet. C, on the other hand, who was always stick thin, ordered French onion soup, which seemed to contain what looked like half a pound of melted cheese, followed by a 10oz New York sirloin with fries. Metabolic rates were so unfair, he mused.


They had an off-dry Trius Niagara Riesling, made by an Australian in the particular micro-climate at the foot of the Niagara escarpment, which complemented his lobster perfectly. He was not sure how it would go with onion soup, however.

Although they caught up on news of mutual acquaintances C seemed very concerned to discuss work and indeed they discussed a particular business relationship between their organisations. This would make Agent Triple P particularly beholden to her and she explained that she would expect him to be particularly attentive to her in the future. Not too much of a trial, he mused, looking at the firm expanse of toned thigh just over an arm’s length away.

C was not a person to argue with. Following their business discussion, and half way through their second bottle of Riesling, he listened to her update on her typically complex love life. C’s problem, in essence, was that she was not sure if she was a lesbian or a homosexual man in a woman’s body. She swung from women to men and back again whilst generally tending towards the feminine. In fact, he had first met her as a companion of his lady friend S from Vancouver. Whatever her proclivities, she preferred to be the dominant partner but, like other supposedly dominant women Agent Triple P had met, what they really often wanted, at least occasionally, was to be dominated themselves. As Agent Triple P was reminded later that night it was sometimes necessary to forget 21st century received wisdom about how to treat women and delve into mankind’s Neolithic past for appropriately basic behavioural norms.

So the end of the evening was as athletic and physically demanding as he had come to expect. Whilst enjoying being caveman to C’s cavegirl there was too much of the modern woman in her to mean that he escaped unscathed. He just hoped the scratches would heal quickly.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hobbit Names


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

Miss September: Yesica Toscanini

The lovely Yesica is a 21 year old Argentinian model who started modelling at 15 years of age.


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.

She has a small bust which makes her look nicely athletic.


But she has a well shaped bottom which isn't too skinny.



Pretty good legs as well.


Finally, she has a nice tummy button, ideal for pouring Grappa into.



All in all she is my favourite Sports illustrated girlie for several months. Dark and obvious. my favourite!

A Taste of Indian in Canada: Part 1 - The Trip

Agent Triple P did not like flying Air Canada. He wasn’t sure if it was the shabby aircraft, the seats with no padding, the grumpy, unattractive flight staff or a combination of all three which completely reflected it’s general “we are about to go bust any day so don’t care about anything” attitude. Nevertheless, his timetable to Ottawa this particular Sunday evening did not allow for anything else so he found himself pitched into the unfamiliar environs of Heathrow Airport’s dreary Terminal 3. He would have checked in at the completely deserted Air Canada Executive/First desk in record time if the two middle aged ladies at the desk hadn’t been so chatty and so intrigued by the fact that he had been born at Hampton Court, for some bizarre reason known only to themselves. It was probably something to do with them coming from Stanwell. Years ago Agent Triple P had worked at the airport and had met a girl who from that sad town who, despite being in her mid-twenties, had never seen the sea.

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.