Wednesday, May 12, 2010

window 2, parrots, no tablecloths

Another mysterious window belongs, it seems to a room, not in everyday use. There are bricks stacked at the sides instead of hanging curtains; and dead centre something like an oil dispenser. The attraction of windows are the mysteries within, of which they offer only a  tantalising glimpse.

Flower stall holders, at this time of year, often have "parrots" for sale, by which term they mean parrot tulips. More respectable florists will use the term in full. Parrot tulips according to Anna Pavord's comprehensive account of the flower and its history are cultivars, which arose as sports or mutations, "from perfectly well behaved tulips such as Clara Butt. The idea of a well behaved tulip is appealing and Parrots have a tendency to behaviour which you might call flighty. We have two example in view at the moment. One is a display of bulbs (planted in the Autumn) in a clay dish on the garden table and viewed through the sitting room window. They, in common with all Parrots, have tattered, crested petals. They are green and pink  The buds not yet unfolded,  in justification of the name, resemble the beaks of parrots.  The second lot of Parrots   seem to burst out of  a vase in front of  the window. They are wide open, red with yellow throats and black stamens. If flowers could make noises these would be squawking. 

As I reflect  on restaurants visited recently, it occurs to me that those without tablecloths are often the most reliable.  And in straightened times, the best value too. I will say no more about The Curry Club in the Strand, also known as the Bloggers Retreat, about which Barrett Bonden and I and others, have blogged with varying degrees of enthusiasm . Another  example is Pasta Pasta on the seafront  at St Leonards-on-Sea, where Heidi and I sat in the sunshine  a few days ago, and ate deep fried twists of bread dough, called fricatelli  dipped in a spicy tomato sauce, and drank a cherry flavoured rosato wine from Verona.Posted by Picasa


Lucy said...

The Rhuys peninsular wasn't the most interesting corner of Brittany we've discovered, but in the village of Penvins, the end of the road before the point of the same name, we found a pizza restaurant, that did the most delicious fish and seafood. We went there twice.

First night they were offering 'brosmes', which appears to be called cusk or tusk in English, and which even my usually exhaustive fish reference book fails to recognise. However, I passed on it in favour of razor clams with pistou which I'd never had before. The following night Tom had the ling which was just dusted in flour and fried golden. The chef was Italian and the manageress, presumably his Mrs, was of Spanish extraction, it was very simple, seemed to be there largely to cater for a nearby campsite, and, indeed, no tablecloths, but rather jolly laminated picture mats of local seabirds, maps of the area, postcard type views.

I like these windows.

CV is 'tunapiti', which sounds like something you might get in a Greek or Turkish restaurant without tablecloths.

Roderick Robinson said...

Is the restaurant name a misguided enthusiasm for the vocative or are they hinting that there are other types of pasta which, at heart, are not pasta-based? Judging a restaurant by its exterior is terrifyingly random though I believe you are on to something with the vanishing table-cloth. One thing I have definitely learned to distrust is wisteria round the door, proof that the owner is more interested in horticulture than gastronomy. In France the best guideline was a chalkboard on the pavement but this now requires qualification. Scorn (m├ępriser) boards where the information has been inscribed in chalks of different colours and has a look of semi-permanence. The best guarantee are the words blanquette de veau (it nearly always is that dish) with the price, clearly scrawled in seconds.

Unknown said...

Lucy Have you ever collected razor clams? The technique is to wander over those expanses of sand left by the retreating tide, where the clams burrow into holes. To catch one, you squirt sea water into its hole using a washing up liquid dispenser or something similar. The razor clam is waiting for the rising tide to cover the sand and deceived by the ingress of seawater pops up, whereupon you catch it and pop it into a bucket.

BB The name is misleading. They do good home made pizzas as well -useful now that Pizza Express has declined in quality and now serves the pizzas which we used to regard as standard as extra large and charge £1.00 extra for them.

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