Thursday, 30 July 2009

At The Pictures 29/07/09

Trailers I saw at the Pictures last night:

Inglourious Basterds (or whatever it’s called) – I wasn’t really looking forward to this before, but it actually looks like quite a good fun film. I snorted with laughter at the “it’s a bingo!” line. Good work.

Adam – some kind of rom-com about a guy with Aspergers who hilariously tells it like it is (or something). It also featured the police commissioner guy from The Wire. Nice to see he’s branching out from Angry Police Chief to Kind Old Man AKA The Morgan Freeman. Staggering range of rolls available to black actors isn’t there?

Something with 2 girls’ names in the title – this looked really bad. The tag line is “Based on TWO true stories!”. It’s about some woman who trained at Cordon Bleu in the olden days, and a woman who writes a cookery-blog in the modern days. Blogs and cooking! You’d think this film was aimed squarely at me, but no. Shoddy. It’s all about learning stuff about yourself and that guff.

I can’t actually remember what else there was, they all looked bad though (except for Basterds – “It’s a bingo!” hehehehehe, the delivery’s amazing). They also showed some Blackberry advert featuring U2. Almost shat my pants when Bono’s big face showed up and sang at me.

Special mention as well to the knocker sat behind me. He kept making ‘hilarious’ comments to his girlfriend during the trailers; which got me really worried because I often make ‘hilarious’ comments to MY girlfriend when we’re watching TV at home, and if my comments are anywhere near as ‘hilarious’ as this chump’s then she has pretty ample grounds for divorce. He also decided to eat a massive bag of crisps throughout the film. Not even cheap crisps, they were like them hand-baked posh crisps that are really loud eating. I was almost on the verge of snatching the bag out of his hands – I guess that’s why they don’t let you drink beer in cinemas. And it’s not like we were watching some noise film like Transformers, it was Moon for-crying-out-loud. It was quite a quiet film!

I really hate the multiplex. Moon was good though, fair dos.

EDIT – oh now I remember, there was also a trailer for the new Almodovar film – Broken Embraces. I read a review of it in Empire and the review and the trailer seemed like 2 completely separate films (neither of which particularly interested me).

Monday, 20 July 2009

The Pizza Slice: Tesco Finest's Italian Meats

Found this in the reduced section due to slightly bashed packaging, thought it’d make a good lunch. Salami, pancetta, Parma ham. Meaty! Took it home, deboxed it, unwrapped the cellophane, added some olives and a bit of leftover sweetcorn we had knocking about in the fridge. Put the oven on to heat up. 20 minutes later and the oven still wasn’t hot. In fact, the fan ‘assistance’ meant it was actually colder. Seems our oven is broken. The joys of moving house. So we ended up having to grill the pizza, which lead to a slightly undercooked base and a slightly overcooked topping. It was nice enough I guess.

List of problems with new house so far:

1. Broken oven.
2. Fridge bulb not working (have tried replacing)
3. No keys to open any of the lockable windows (most of which are currently locked)
4. Two of the upstairs radiators come on when you turn on the water heating.
5. Had to (violently) remove one of the back door locks so that I could actually close the door. Technically my fault I guess, but if they’d given us all the keys then it shouldn’t have been an issue.
6. Broken shower bracket, so you can’t fix the shower head to the wall whilst washing. I now have to clamp the shower between my knees when lathering.
7. House was filthy.
8. Cutlery drawer won’t close as the runner is broken.
9. Various issues relating to overly comprehensive inventory.
10. No gas safety certificate because of the pipe connecting to cooker to the gas supply.

Being a letting agent – easiest job in the world (if you’re a bit of a scumbag)?

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Pizza Slice: STRADA – Cotto

Once again, Martin Money Saving Expert – patron Saint of cheap pizza – came up trumps with BOGOF vouchers, and so off we went on my first visit to Strada. I was rather excited as they’re apparently the main competition for Pizza Express; aka The High Street Pizza Chain Benchmark.

I’d been a bit bored earlier at work and browsed their menu online. I was pleased to see that they offered one of my favourite topping combinations; ham, mushrooms, and olives (meat and a double dose of umami). My excitement level was set to medium-high. At the restaurant itself I couldn’t decide between that one and a spicier option, but eventually decided to go with my gut instinct (pun!).

First impression: The restaurant was tastefully decorated though the deep reds and the mood lighting combined somewhat murkily. Couple of nice touches; I particularly liked the tap water served in refrigerated Grolsch style pop-top bottles, and the glasses were pretty nice as well. At the end of the night they got an indie point by playing We’re From Barcelona.

Pizza itself was in a slight naan bread shape, which I’m a fan of. Perfectly symmetric circles always look a bit machine-made and I like the more rustic hand stretched approach implied by the tear-drop on my plate.

The base itself was really good. Nice and floury, thin but not so thin that it shatters at the touch of a fork. Slight charring. All good things. The mozzarella hadn’t quite started to brown yet, which I don’t mind that much but as the pizza cools the cheese can get slightly rubbery. There was a generous helping of toppings evenly distributed, which is always welcome (particularly after the 5 olive fiasco in Prezzo). The waiter also brought a bottle of chilli oil stuffed with dried chillies if I wanted to spice things up a little. Gave the oil a spin on one section. It didn’t really pack a punch, instead it packed a slow-burning jujitsu arm lock; pleasantly surprising. The toppings started to get a little sickly as I progressed through the pizza, but I endeavoured and the summit was scaled. Celebrated with a macchiato.

The lady-friend had a ‘Rustica’ pizza which combined thick slices of Italian sausage, roasted plum tomatoes, ‘caramelised’ onion and some form of artichoke (I get them confused). It was also rather good. I had her leftovers cold for lunch just now confirming one of my feelings that cold leftover pizza is one of the greatest lunches known to man. Up there with re-heated leftover take away curry and re-heated leftover take away Chinese.

All in all, I don’t think it was quite at the standard of Pizza Express, but I’m definitely happy to go again (if only to sample that spicier option). Their bases were better than Pizza Express, but Strada just couldn’t compete with the depth of the Pizza Express menu (for pizza at least, they do offer other kinds of dishes if that’s the sort of thing you’re in to…).

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Pizza Slice: Some kebab/pizza shop in Canton

Got so caught up in packing/house-moving yesterday that we didn’t realise how little food we had in the flat. Some friends were getting take-away pizzas so we decided to join them (we were running out of packing boxes anyway). It was from some Pizza/Kebab place on Cowbridge Rd that a friend visits fairly often, and in the past I’ve found the odd slice of their pizza I’ve had (via said friend) to be that dreaded mix of bready dough and greasy cheese; but it was actually better than expected.

Dough wasn’t as dry as I remember it being, and I’ve definitely had worse (hello Pizza Hutt!). Toppings wise I went for the ‘Spicy Chicken’ which places the pizza in the heart of India. Tandoori chicken, onions, green peppers and chillies. Didn’t really notice the chillies to be honest, so the term ‘Spicy’ in the title was a bit misleading, but I suppose I can forgive them for that (almost).

Price-wise it was almost a steal, what with their ‘buy one get one free’ offer. Basically worked out as being £3.75 each! And that left me with enough for lunch today as well. Bargain.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Music 2009

Hello my poor neglected blog. How are you? I am bored at work and thinking about cats. Here is a list of every piece of music I can remember buying so far in 2009. I have forgotten some probably. And there’s a couple I might have picked up at the tail-end of 2008 but ne’ermind. Brief thoughts on each are bracketed.

Animal Collective – Meriweather Post Pavillion (Technicolor wonder-land)
Dan Deacon – Bromst (return to the Technicolor wonder-land)
Future Of The Left – Travels With Myself and Another (i like the harder shoutier ones more than the not so hard/shouty ones – though they are growing on me)
Dinosaur Jr – Farm (not really sunk in yet, sounds like Dinosaur Jr though)
Abe Vigoda EP (not as good as the album)
Oxford Collapse EP (not as good as the albums)
Hot Panda – Volcano Bloody Volcano (the original EP/MySpace tracks with a couple of not-so-good extras)
Abe Vigoda – Skeleton (sounds like steel drums and church-bells)
Pissed Jeans – Hope For Men (uncomfortable in a good way)
Dinosaur Jr – Beyond (better than any post-reunion album has any right to be)
Dananananaykroyd – Hey Everyone (fun, and shows that they’ve got more tunes than gimmicks)
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (great for hangovers)
Crystal Stilts – Alight Of Night (think I’ve only listed to this once. Woops!)
Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead…. (don’t like this anywhere near as much as I like Deerhunter)
Pony Tail – Ice Cream Spiritual (not as good as the live show)
Handsome Furs – Face Controll (sort of the complete opposite of the first album)

I’m not sure which is my overall favourite. Possibly the Dan Deacon album. I don’t listen to it much but when I do it frazzles my brain a little. He’s deffo on the top of my list of Bands I Want To See Playing Live.

Things I want to buy that have recently come out are the new Sweet Baboo and Sunset Rubdown albums. Had a quick listen to the latter on Spotify and it sounded good.