Dinner at Bacchus

November 3rd, 2007 by matt

So, while Carolyn was still here (2 weeks ago, sniffle), we had the good fortune of spending a night out with some very good food (at a pretty hefty price!). It’s a converted pub called Bacchus. Aside from a night of fine dining, this would be the first time Ben (my coworker) and Gerry (his wife) had met Carolyn (they thought she was imaginary).

Bacchus’ “gimmick” was that it used a cooking technique called sous-vide which is basically boiling things in vacuum sealed bags for many many hours until it’s cooked. This sounded interesting enough. Little did we know it was also just extremely well done.

The area it’s in is a relatively deserted section of Hoxton, about a 15 minute walk from my office. We got there and started worrying that we’re waaay under dressed. However, while we could have gotten away with dressing nicer, it had more of a Chicago restaurant vibe (translation: no one cares what you wear) to it. We start to peruse the menu and while I began by thinking I’d get a couple of dishes and some beer, we all ended up doing the 6 dish (there were 9 dishes total on the menu) with wine pairing meal. Good choice! It was clear the chef had thought out his menu based on having them all together and each dish flowed really nicely into the next. This was also the first time any of us savages had done any sort of wine pairing. The sommelier made it a great first time. The wines were all very good and ‘paired’ with the dishes nicely. Anyhoo, here’s what some of it looked like:


This was, if I recall correctly, a salmon dish. Really nicely done.


Gerry is a vegetarian and Carolyn doesn’t eat a lot of pork, so they substituted this dish for a pork dish on the fixed menu. Alas, I forget what it was. hmmm.


Those chocolate truffles were absolutely perfect. Yummy.

Holy Freaking Fireworks!

November 2nd, 2007 by matt

So 5 November is something called “Guy Fawkes Night“. I know very little about the man, but it involved a massive assassination plot and is called the gunpowder plot. Apparently, that means that, for the next few days, the Brits will be setting off fireworks and lighting bonfires. I figured I’d try to find a few interesting displays this weekend until it decided to start (on 2 November) right outside my freaking window. I’m sitting on the couch and I hear a little sizzle and suddenly BOOM!!!! The cats are hiding right now and I need to see where the source it, but my heart is still pounding. Crap that was loud!

And now people further down the street are getting in the act. Remember, this is in the middle of central London. Crazy.

On an unrelated note, it looks like the CTA has been given a cash infusion that’ll hold off the crisis for a couple of months — if the Federal govt is ok with it. But, it’s just another band-aid solution. If they’d stop stupid laws like not allowing the CTA to run a deficit, this wouldn’t be an issue. jeez.

Chicago: Doomsday for Real?

November 1st, 2007 by matt

So it seems like every year, the CTA does their usual song and dance in which they threaten to cut service to such a level no one could actually use it and raise fares so only someone who could afford a limo can pay. Then the legislature, instead of looking at the larger picture issues with funding, passes a stop-gap bill that pays for things, until next year.

Well, this year, it looks like the game has come to a head. In four days, if the legislature screws around some more, there will be major cuts to buses and massive fare increases. Hell, the fares in some situations rival Londons tube fares. Yikes!

Well, to all the lovely people in Chicago, I hope this goes the way it normally does. Personally, I think the CTA needs major work to run better, but they should get a shitload more funding. But I’m a huge fan of public transit and people need to remember that public transit is SUPPOSED to be subsidized and not make money. It’s an infrastructure cost that makes a city more liveable and desirable. And it more often benefits the people that might not be able to afford a car. Stop blowing money on highways and fix the trains!


November 1st, 2007 by matt

So until some time around lunch, I completely forgot that today was Halloween. It might be because I’m just not tuned into British culture, but I’ve only seen the occasion sign advertising Halloween candy in a few stores. Beyond that, there was the sign in one of my local groceries saying that that my local council has requested that stores not sell flour or eggs to people under 16.

Again, I don’t have my pulse on the nation or anything, but here was my Halloween experience. I went to a pub which was much more interested in the Arsenal match that the day itself, although their guest ale on tap was Hobgoblin and the indicator plaque had a glowing pumpkin. Beyond that, I saw a whopping two trick-or-treaters and someone said they saw a higher-than-usual number of chavs wearing hoodies. All-in-all, my UK world doesn’t do Halloween very enthusiastically 🙂