Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On my way again --- or, bugger you, Bruxelles!

Easter time. The first signs of autumn are starting to smother in round Gerolstein’s mornings. ‘Joey, Joey … it’s time to go…oh’. But this year it’s a little different. I’m leaving my summer bolt-hole in the land of the now-too-frequent long grey cloud, but I’m not returning to Berlin. Indeed, not to Europe at all. For Europe seems to have gone mad. And Schengen has made it clear that it doesn’t want me for more than 12 weeks a year. And I’m blowed if I’m crossing the expensive world just for that.

It was that frame of mind that I was in, last winter, when I discovered the little seaside town of Yamba, Australia. And, at the dawning of 2016, my nearest and dearest there sent me a Real Estate Agent’s ad for a tiny little flat, just like the ones I used to lease in Germany. But twenty steps from the sea. Walking distance from restaurants, baker, bank, superette, grog shop, computer shop …
So, I bought it. And, now, I’m on my way there for a deliciously quiet, warm winter.

I flew out of Christchurch to Sydney on Sunday, to spend ten days in lovely Lane Cove with my beloved friends of more than forty years, Barry and Rosemary. I had forgotten how hot Sydney can be! We have had several days of sizzling! But I have started being an Australian gentleman of leisure …

And that includes my favourite pastime … restauranting! So at lunch time we started. Barry and Rosie are almost Italians, so naturally we headed to a new (to me) Italian place. It is in Gladesville’s Victoria Road, on the bottom floor of an apartment block, and it goes by the name of Mercato e Cucina … because that’s what it is. A decidedly smart and picturesque room filled with bulging cases and shelves of (mostly) Italian meats, cheeses, oils, pastas et al, Fresh meat and veg, and at the end of this mercato is the cucina which supplies the food for the multitude of comfy tables which surround it.

We had come for a light lunch, so we settled on something I would very rarely eat, especially in public: pizza. Preceded by a little calamari-prawn-fish croquette ‘n’ aioli dish shared among three. And a little light beer …
Result: a total success. The calamari was perfect, soft, with just a splash of batter thrown at it, the prawns were miniature ones which people with real teeth (sob!) would doubtless crunch up entire, the croquette was soft and delicious and the aioli gentle and so tasty.

The pizza? I like my pizza thin, soft and light. Nizza style. With no knobbly edge. I do NOT like oil floating round globules of tomato paste (shuddering memories of eating in San Remo c1970). So I ordered a pizza al sud. No tomato. Just Italian sausage, a delicious creamy fior di latte cheese and new-to-me broccolini. I expected the sausage to be salami or the ilk, but no, it was real tasty sausage meat. A slightly knobby edge … but pretty good stuff! And I am now a fan of broccolini.

The whole washed down with a Menebrea beer …

A very successful outing!

And then we got home and … but that’s another story.

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