"It's not much but it's ours"

Sunday, May 28, 2006


At the risk of sounding like a friend of Dorothy, there is no place like home.

It was a long old trip back from Las Vegas (via Chicago ) to the wet and windy welcome that is London and, the last couple of days have been spent suffering the usual jet lag that has me fast asleep by 2pm and wide awake by 2am.

Still, it is worth it to be back home in my own bed.

One of the real benefits of being back in Blighty is the possibility of coming in contact with a decently made Martini. America with Martini’s is like England and football, we may have invented it (them) but that does not mean we are any good at it (them)

With one or two exceptions ( Angel Share in NY being the best I have tried ) Martini’s in the USA are not just foul but an insult to the very concept.

For me, a Martini is one thing and one thing only. Cold gin in a chilled vermouth washed glass drunk through a slick which can be citrussy ( with a twist ) or savoury ( with an olive )

It is, like frying an egg, the simplest thing to do and the hardest thing to do well. In the US, I invariably get a glass that may, if it is lucky, have had a few ice cubes sitting in it to melt for a few seconds before a gin is mixed with vermouth in the shaker and given a desultory wave of the hand. Then, worst of all, a matchstick of lemon peel thick with pith is plonked in the glass instead of a freshly cut sliver of peel spritzed over the glass to give the necessary oil. Never good. Often disgusting.

So, HP’s promise of a pre lunch drinkie was as welcome as a drop of water to a man after three weeks in the Sahara.

He makes them just right. The glass chilled, the vermouth given a nodding relationship with the glass and a goodly slick of lemon oil.

First though, our standard walk. Coffee and a almond croissant at Apostrophe for HP and some Chai and a Galician tuna empanada from stalls in the Upmarket for me. Then a quick stroll home in time for that Martini and some lunch

English Apsaragus, A chicken from Furness in BM, force meatballs made from duchy original sausages, wilted greens, Ginger Pig shortback bacon and sweet roasted carrots. All very good indeed and served well by a bottle of Irancy and a Felsner Gruener.

But, for all the deliciousness of the food, I am just glad to be back in the vicinity of a decent Martini.

Perhaps, next time I am in the USA, and need a Martini, I can just click my heels together.
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