Wondering why absinth has waned

For a while there, new and less potent forms of absinth were the latest chic aperitif. Their popularity seems to have waned. I don’t especially wonder why. Let me refer you to paintings by Manet and Degas before you start drinking the stuff. Dating from 1860 and 1876, they’re both called Absinth Drinker. Manet’s imbiber is …

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Ducasse’s floury pasta

The worst-cooked pasta I’ve eaten was at Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris a few years ago. Such is the power of marketing and the extent of demotic innocence, however, that he has gone on to run a veritable empire of restaurants, bistros and auberges from the French capital to Mauritius via London, Tokyo, Hong …

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Heartening reactions to ‘Blackie’

Like everyone who reads them, I’m appalled at recent stories from southern China about the treatment of dogs for human consumption. Not content to cram animals into tiny wire cages, wholesalers slaughter their stock by bludgeoning them over an extended period; immense fear and intense pain in the minutes before their demise are supposed to …

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Does Jamie Oliver know?

It’s one of many questions my being kicked out of Fifteen Melbourne provokes. Does Jamie Oliver know that Australia’s most experienced restaurant critic has been summarily ejected from his Australian operation? Does he care? Probably not, because all publicity — even in this case — is good publicity, and I suspect that Fifteen’s phones are …

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Ilve lacks Advantage

Over many years I’ve told heaps of people how well Ilve ovens cook. But they have two big flaws. Being of Italian make, they are built to confuse. Design idiocies seem inherent in them. First, the knobs fall off. They’re held on by a worm-screw in a tiny handle that jams onto the shaft turning …

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