Archive | January, 2010

Eating Is Fun

Today my wife and I celebrated our birthday, yes we share the same birthday, by eating at Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant in Cardiff, Jamie’s Italian. I made a comment about it on my Twitter stream and someone replied asking me my thoughts on our experience.

We had heard great things about Jamie’s and just getting back to Cardiff from a six month stay in the U.S. we were eager to try it out. We were expecting quite a wait to be seated, but from the time we put our name on the list to the time we were seated was only about 20 minutes. The waitress later said that today was extremely busy for a Thursday lunch time, so I guess we were fortunate to get seated as quickly as we did.

The restaurant is nicely decorated and laid out with three levels. A full service bar occupies the centre of the ground floor and is just a little too close to the front door. It was mainly occupied by those waiting to be seated. We sat on the ground floor. Our waitress was knowledgeable about the menu. When asked a question about something on the menu she was honest enough to say that she had not tried the item before, instead of pretending that it was great.

We started with Green Olives on Ice with Tapenade and Music Bread (£3.50). The olives were great. I don’t think they were standard green olives. These were very big, very green, and had a pleasant taste. Julie had the Roasted Pumpkin Risotto (£6.45). This comes in two sizes and she went with the smaller size, which was perfect for a lunch portion. She also had the Crunchy Season Root Salad (£1.95) as a side. I had a 10 oz. Rib Eye (£16.95) with grilled flat mushrooms and watercress. I ordered it cooked medium and it came out cooked slightly more than medium, not enough to return though. As a side I had Funky Chips (french fries for you Americans) with fresh shaved garlic and parsley (£2.50). I have to say, the chips were my favorite. As far as chips go these were very good, and the garlic was a great addition.

We’ll be going back. We’re both eager to try out different things on the menu. Regardless of my next choice I’ll definitely have the Funky Chips again. In terms of cost I would say that Jamie’s is on par with Pizza Express. Overall, very good.

Do You See What I See?

One week from today my family and I will board a plane and head back to Cardiff, Wales (UK) after spending the last six months here in the US. Most of our time was spent in Texas, both in San Antonio and Ft. Worth (Granbury actually). We’ve had a really enjoyable time, but I think I’m ready to head back. After 31 years in the US, then 3 1/2 years in the UK, and now six months back in the US I’ve been able to see things from a slightly different perspective and I thought I would share some of my thoughts. My perspective is not right, nor wrong, just mine.

  • America is easy. Now don’t misunderstand me. We all have our issues. Some of us are facing aging grandparents, and losing children, and losing jobs, and you name it. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the relative ease with which we live as Americans. We can walk into Target, Walmart, any grocery store really, and live forever. Honestly, we can not live in this country and complain for lack of want.
  • America is rich. If you, or someone you know, earn $45,000 a year then you, or someone you know, is part of the richest 1% of the world. We seriously need to stop living above our means and give more, then save more.
  • Church is still a big deal…well, in the South it is. Honestly, how many more multi-thousand seat churches do we need in a given city? And here’s the reason I ask…if true transformation is taking place at these huge churches then why are cities not changing? Maybe I’m an idealist, but I would love to see whole cities transformed by these churches that obviously have the resources, and I’m not just talking about money.
  • Politics are an idol for far too many followers of Jesus.
  • Football might be a close second.
  • I honestly feel that there is a small yet growing movement within the evangelical world that could really shape things in America. It’s happening in a very viral way, by guys many of us have not heard of. But it is gospel-centered and could be something to watch.
  • SUV’s have exponentially increased in individual size and overall frequency. Don’t quite get it.
  • Friends are awesome.