How would your significant other respond if you told them you were headed to Harrods after work on Friday, and they would be coming with you? Some lucky ladies and gents might have received an enthusiastic nod of agreement but nope, not me. I’d settle for a ‘yeah, sure’ shrug, but instead got the ‘you’re on your own there’ smirk. And people think I’m the harsh one.
A certain someone doesn’t like shopping, he doesn’t do crowds, so a combination of both with the added bonus of tourists walking way too slowly, would mean that going to any department store like Harrods would be pure torture. Even when administered by his beloved girlfriend, still torture. But what if she threw in the promise of freshly made sushi…?
For two people who have not yet mastered a decent doggy paddle, can barely float, and are just a tad uncomfortable in deep water, a certain someone and I have the most uncanny love of the beach. Lounging in the sun, a book in one hand and a drink in the other, with the sounds of waves lightly crashing in the background; we like a lot. Energetic watersports or hours spent underwater; we like less.
We’re the lazy kind of beach bums, but beach bums none the less, and will jump at any opportunity for some sand between our toes and a sniff of the salty sea air. Even if this means arriving at the wrong time of year… In our defence, you’d struggle to find perfect beach conditions in Essaouira any time of the year. This sleepy seaside town on Morocco’s coast looks ideal for a spot of sunbathing but the reality is, it’s just far too windy! But as Wellingtonians, we’re used to a little gust of wind so decided it just had to be added to our Morocco itinerary.
If you share the cooking duties with a flatmate who vehemently dislikes seafood, you seize any opportunity within reach to enjoy all things delicious from the sea. Trust me, I’ve been there. When I went home for family dinners I would always demand, I mean politely request, something fishy… sambal prawns or whole steamed snapper with soy and ginger were among the usual orders! I even resorted to implementing ‘the seafood rule’ where the fish dish at any restaurant was given the first right of refusal before I even looked at anything else on the menu. No exceptions.
These measures worked quite well and seafood-hating-flatmate and I lived otherwise harmoniously together for several years, but I must admit, it’s quite nice to now share the cooking duties with someone who loves seafood as much as I do. The bonus for me is that a certain someone came to the party with some fish cooking skills, whereas I had barely cooked any seafood before, unless you consider tossing tuna through a salad cooking? I’m getting better though and we now have fish on the cooking menu at least once a week, but my old habits die hard and I find myself employing ‘the seafood rule’ without even knowing it.
Many would claim that London is best city in the world, and I would struggle to disagree as it has almost everything I want in a city. Loads of sights to see, feasts to be had, culture to be immersed in and shops filled with anything my materialistic heart could desire. While I’ve resigned to the fact that London will rob me of my hard earned pounds for the pleasure of her company, I’m not quite ready for her to completely rob me of my peace and quiet. Every now and then every London dweller needs to escape, just for a short while, and head for the hills, or in our case, the sea.
A logical destination for this escape is Brighton, only an hour or so away, it will give you a much needed dose of relaxation and that fresh sea air. While it is traditional to head to the seafront and chow down on some fish chips, I’ve never been much of a fan and unlike the song we used to sing in primary school, fish and chips do not make me want to lick my lips and I most definitely do not want to have them for breakfast, lunch and tea. So if you’re on my side of the divide, let me tell you what I would rather have instead.
A lot of people shy away from a tasting menu; some are overwhelmed by the number of courses, a few are put off by the cost. Others might even think it’s only reserved for the food snobs in our midst, but I’d like to convince them otherwise. I am a big fan. Obvious reasons aside, my seemingly insatiable hunger and that horrible plate envy, I like a tasting menu because it not only tells you about the style of the restaurant, but gives the chefs a chance to show off a little. It’s one thing to create a menu for the whole restaurant, it’s another to pull together a handful of dishes that flow cohesively to form the perfect meal.
It also saves me from the mental arithmetic of weighing up the pros and cons of each dish, mixing and matching course options for the ideal combination, then finally factoring in a certain someone’s choices to maximise our exposure to the menu. I know it’s a product of my own making but it can be a little tiresome and quite frankly sometimes (rare but it happens) I don’t mind having the choice made for me. Proof that it’s possible for control freaks to have a day off.