Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

Keefieboy found this one chez Jayne. It's irresistible.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Add comments to taste
5) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste

1. Venison A big steak, with black cherry sauce. Mmmm!

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare Yummy! A big slab of raw steak is better than mince, though.

5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding Straight from the fridge, or fried, and even à la thermidor.

7. Cheese fondue I had to do something with that device off the Conveyor Belt.

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J (peanut butter & jelly) sandwich Yes, but I hate the texture of peanut butter.

14. Aloo gobi Not a fish dish.

15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses A cheese I gotta try.

17. Black truffle No, but I once had a very gritty truffle omelette.

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes Lurgashall Winery

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes Probably. I've eaten some weird-shaped tomatoes in my time.

22. Fresh wild berries Some blackberries even made it as far as jam-making.

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn Tried it; hated it.

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters

29. Baklava

30. Bagna càuda Oh, no! Anchovies!

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl Try it here. Half a point for sourdough bowl. Shellfish makes me ill.

33. Salted lassi I prefer it plain. In a pint tankard.

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea With a Cornish father, how couldn't I?

38. Vodka jelly

39. Gumbo Full of seafood, innit? Not a chance.

40. Oxtail Only in the eponymous soup.

41. Curried goat Both knowingly and I suspect as alleged 'mutton'.

42. Whole insects Only by accident while motorcycling wearing an open-face helmet.

43. Phaal
Obvious reference to this.

44. Goat’s milk Full-fat, skimmed, and cheese. Yumm!

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth costing £60/$120 or more Only once, and only a teaspoonful.

46. Fugu Poisonous blowfish? I'd not touch that even with your bargepole!

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel Nassssty!

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut Way too sweet.

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone Seafood, innit?

54. Paneer Also known as cottage cheese.

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal Seldom. And only to remind myself why I don't do Mucky Dee's.

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV Goodbye braincells, I must leave you...

59. Poutine The Canadian cheese-curds-and-chips, or poutine râpée: potato and pork dumpling?

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores Like hot Wagon Wheels, no?

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin With morphine. But not coming in Dubai on pain of four years in Al Slammah.

64. Currywurst

65. Durian Had to try it while in Singapore. Leaves me underwhelmed.

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis And neeps and tatties too. Washed down with whisky.

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette No, but they're sausages, n'est-ce pas?

71. Gazpacho "Waiter, this soup is cold!" - A. J. Rimmer, BSc SSc

72. Caviar and blini Salty blackcurrant jam and pancakes? Not together.

73. Louche absinthe Makes the heart grow fonder, perhaps?

74. Gjetost, or brunost A goat's cheese I ought to try.

75. Roadkill The pheasant was full of bone shrapnel and completely inedible.

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail Described by my host as "Garlic-flavoured India-rubber."

79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom yum Only the seafood-free version.

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant I wish!

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare Jugged, and just the once.

87. Goulash Features regularly in the Crumbling Villa.

88. Flowers Does cauliflower count? I assume the beer does.

89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam Straight from the tin, or fried, or deep fried in batter ex chip-shop.

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox Half a point for bagels?

97. Lobster Thermidor No, but how about black pudding thermidor? See #6.

98. Polenta I have eaten and enjoyed grits and gravy, the North American version.

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

Additional from Keefie:
101. Deep-fried Mars Bar Try this once. Twice if you like it and three times if your arteries are still flexible.

Additional from the Goat:
102. Kangaroo Skippy, Skippy. Skippy the bush barbecue...

Only 52/100 (or thereabouts) off the original list. Is that all?


Sunday, September 14, 2008

O Fortuner (Goddess of Fortune)

Four cars met at Dragon Mart EPPCO early last Saturday morning for an impromptu bimble. The Yellow Box Of Doom, resplendent in its new Cooper STT boots, and with co-pilot was one team. Team Tumnus, comprising the Goat and his co-driver Madame Cyn were in the Goatmobile. The Glabrous Driver and his sister Lindsey and brother-in-law Sean were in a rally-prepared Fortuner with the rear bumper held on with luminous yellow gaffer tape. Dimitri and Ruth turned up in a stock Prado. Four cars in, all based on the same engine and chassis, and - eventually - four cars out.

We deflated at Big Red and headed off in a southerly direction. My plan was to travel roughly parallel to the Maha Desert Resort fence line so that there would be a reasonably easy bailout if everything got too hot. We would gradually get closer to the fence until at 11am or noon we'd hit the track and drive easily out to the Al Ain road.

Bearing in mind the relative inexperience of the party I deliberately avoided the high dunes, and instead wove the caravan of Toyotas among the low dunes. Everyone remembered what I'd managed on a previous ME4x4 outing and I was very keen not to repeat this, or worse.

And then came the first stuck. The Glabrous Driver tackled a small bowl not quite quickly enough. The Fortuner was trapped and going nowhere. Wisely, the driver called it quits there and then, instead of spinning the wheels and digging the car down to its floor pan. This made the recovery much easier.

Attaching a strap between the Fortuner and the YBOD, the latter's vigorous tyre treads got excellent grip on the hard sand outside the bowl and in 4WD (Low Ratio) the Fortuner crawled out.

Sean then took over in the Fortuner's driving seat. He and Lindsey are in Dubai on holiday, and Sean was itching to have a go. I bore in mind his likely inexperience and tempered the route accordingly. There were a couple of inevitable minor crestings, easily handled through careful application of recovery kit.

GOLDEN SHOWER: Of sand, of course

For demonstration purposes only (yeah, right...) the Yellow Box stopped on a flat crest of soft sand and proceeded to use its extra-knobbly tyres to dig itself to an immediate and embarrassing standstill.

MIRED: For demonstration purposes only...

I towed the Yellow Box out, and was then treated to Dimitri impersonating Аэрофлот Российские авиалинии. Regrettably I wasn't quick enough with a camera as the Prado sailed across my bows over a metre clear of the nearest grain of sand.

Then, with the Maha Resort fence mere metres away the Fortuner underwent complete electrical failure.

JUMP START: The Yellow Box of Doom helps out

Out came the jump leads. No effect. The battery was as dead as flared corduroy trousers. The Glabrous One protested loudly that it couldn't possibly be a dead battery because it had been replaced with a new AC Delco only six weeks previously. I disagreed, citing in evidence something about a witch's tit. We'd have to tow the car out. For those not in the know, it is nigh on impossible to tow a dead car through even small dunes without a balloon-tyred Unimog (or similar approved). The boys all crowded around the dead engine bay while the girls retired to air conditioned comfort. Not that the Goatmobile had any effective airconditioning, but more of this anon.

Someone had the brainwave of swapping some batteries around to try to get the Fortuner at least on to the track. The Yellow Box was selected as the donor vehicle from a host of applicant, so was duly parked on the track, and the batteries were swapped. It was possible to drive the Fortuner straight out, and eventually to get the YBOD to go, even with a duff battery. Huzzah for big jump leads. The Hatta road was closer than the Al Ain road, so we headed north along the fence line, even stopping near the northern end to have a look at some oryx. Lindsey had wanted to see camels, but in my opinion (I'm biased 'cos I live 'ere) oryx trumps camels any day of the week.

ORYX: Or in Arabic: al maha

As we reinflated our tyres, YBOD reported that the allegedly new battery, still in his FJ, was definitely suspect. We all headed back to town, interrupted only by having to stop a couple of times to apply more gaffer tape to the Fortuner's increasingly moribund back bumper, before restoring both batteries to their original vehicles. I would have said, "Home for tea and medals", but as it was by then an early afternoon in Ramadan, I can't.

Later that day and purely by chance, I ran into the Glabrous One in Yellow Hat. They had immediately swapped the offending battery, declared it dead, apologised profusely and agreed to provide a replacement under warranty.

As for the Goatmobile's air conditioning, this works fine at highway speeds but is useless when stationary or at dune-bashing speeds. The car's booked into the workshop. It's likely to be expensive, and is regrettably most certainly not under warranty.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Dimensional anomaly

Grand Cinemas in Ibn Battuta Mall has the first, and as far as I know the only, IMAX cinema in the UAE.

So, when Journey to the Center of the Earth, a film that has been deliberately filmed in 3D, is released, it is screened by Grand Cinemas in the imax, right?


Kung Fu Panda and The Dark Knight are screened in the imax, in 2D, and Journey is only available on ordinary screens.

The local film review spots on the local radio stations made a big thing about Journey's third dimension, yet at no time did anyone mention that the film was only on release in standard format. "In 3D in selected theaters" says the poster. Yeah, right. Selected from a list entirely outwith the UAE.

I don't expect wonders from Journey. Some of the Rotten Tomatoes reviews appear to suggest that it's a fairly ho-hum popcorn adventure movie, but that it really should be viewed through those special glasses.

But I wonder how many punters paid for their seat, fizzy pop, nachos and popcorn and were then bitterly disappointed when the main feature started?

What doesn't help is getting, as I did, a confession from the box office: "Well, I said it was in 3D, but actually, now you ask again I have to admit that it isn't. But the special effects are designed to look like 3D, which is more or less the same."

Disingenuous tosh is alive and well. It has a job in Ibn Battuta shopping mall.


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