Friday, 26 February 2010

Creepy rabbit man

This was for sale inside one of the many antique shops populating Versailles. It looks like it belongs in Labyrinth. I was constantly afraid that David Bowie would show up and start singing and thrusting at me,
"Sarah, Sarah, Sarah..."
Sadly, I didn't make a note of exactly how much it was. Now I'm kind of curious.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

One day I woke up and this had happened

That night I found a man snowboarding down the hill. Good times. Not for the car trying to get past though (the snowboarder had made himself a little jump and pretty much blocked off the road).

Cheese platter at the Kingsdown Wine Vaults

Enough selection to even satiate the French! It was a really good platter actually. I recommend it to any and all who find themselves in Bristol craving cheese. Which could be a rather niche collection of people, I suppose.

Snow chickens

It doesn't really snow much in the UK, so I get very excited whenever it happens. These chickens were less than pleased, but somehow kind of cute. I like chickens but they really are filthy animals.

...the best snowman

It was so good that a man who had travelled here to make a snowman with his own offspring came along and offered us his carrot. So good, that photos were taken of ours rather than any other. So good that I had to shut my eyes in this photo.

We made...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Glass building front = fun colours on the ground

It must only happen at certain times of day, so we got lucky to catch this. I am really not sure if the architect intended for it to happen or if it is just a wonderful coincidence.

He died like he lived

Over a very extended period and with a variety of tools being involved. This was not actually as decadent a meal as it seems. Boston is big on seafood so oysters and lobsters aren't all that expensive.

Also, lobster itself seems to be more fun to eat than to taste. A bit of a shame, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


Lobster is what happened next.

The sea contains animals

And they all seem to be delicious. I had not eaten oysters before but they were on two for one at a place near the conference centre so we thought "why not?". We followed then up with clam chowder. Expenses are great, especially with what came next...

Boston has a pretty good metro

Sadly we never did find the treasure

I am not sure if this was an intentional joke

Spike's junkyard hotdogs

Less classy than steak but it was still a pretty great lunch. This place is also not far from the Hynes centre in boston. And some great 90's classics banging out

The MDF people demand your coats

Hundreds of MDF people shapes had been dispersed throughout boston in a slightly ill-considered drive to collect coats for homeless people. Gangs of men workled for days setting out the concrete-based army although you were not supposed to dress the fake figures in spare coats, in fact exactly how you were to get the aforementioned clothing to the needy was left as an exercise to the passerby. Still failed charity aside, it was a nice art installation

The conference centre and mall

When the sky was blue it all looked rather nice. It even had some fountains for me to run through each morning as i rushed to make the early talks. Behind me however loomed the grim spectre of Christian Science

The miracle of science

This was a bar near MIT and the menu therefore had to be shaped like a periodic table. Had to. Also the clientel looked rather like extras from an episode of The Big Bang theory

The steak that launched a thousand ships

When I write my memoirs there will be several chapters about this steak.

Let me set the scene:
I'm on a train, the guy I'm travelling with is sat diagonally opposite me on one of those little tables you get on such methods of transportation. So, there are two strangers making up a wholesome foursome (the third guy we were having to catch the train with was somewhere further down the carriage). At a certain point I decide to go and investigate what exciting beverages might be available (as careful readers may know, sampling drinks is a hobby of mine - especially ones that you can't find in the UK). Being the polite young gentleman I am, I asked my travelling companion if he fancied anything.

So I returned with a Coke and a Sierra Mist (a drink I had never even heard of before). Having heard our accents, the nice young lady sitting with us had started up a conversation with my friend. She also informed me that Sierra Mist is essentially lemonade, which was a bit of a blow. Anyhow, she was actually from Boston (where this train was heading) having been in New York for Thanksgiving (or Practice Christmas if I am feeling faecitious) and so gave us a hearty list of recommendations for things to see and do (chiefly places to eat, which is what really matters when you can claim meals back on delicious expense accounts - assuming you don't lose all your receipts that is).

We wanted steak. And our new best friend provided two choices. The Capital Grill or the something-else-who-cares. That very night, upon arriving in Boston, the two of us set out searching for meat. And meat we found.

Upon arrival, somebody started helping me with my coat and we suddenly realised that this was a slightly fancier place than we were planning on going to (luckily we were both clad in things other than jeans and t-shirt). Still, it was too late to retreat, and we weren't paying. And I wanted a steak. We were taken to our table through a vast labyrinth of people having good times with various cuts of cow (including some eating on small tablecloths at the bar for some reason). Together in our cosy little room at the far side of the restaurant, we were greeted by a waiter who appeared to be in love with his job, or possibly just beef. He spoke at length about the exciting local beers he could offer us, the differences between the cuts of meat, the side dishes and the bread on offer today.

Now, this being, as I said, a rather fancy place to dine, the prices were not cheap. It was $40 for a steak and $9 for the chips. This was sirloin, the sirloin pictured. You can see the chips in the background. Those chips had been fried in a method which somehow involved white truffle oil. I asked for my steak medium-rare and by George that was how it arrived. Just writing this makes me hunger.

There was very little chat during the meal. Instead there were expressions of unparalleled ecstasy. I say this without hyperbole. A couple sat on a table nearby, and when asked what they would like, the female half of the two simply pointed to me and said she wanted whatever was making me so complete. She was entirely right to do so (well, her "challenged" boyfriend then ordered macaroni cheese as a shared side, so it wasn't entirely a flawless meal for them, but they did their best).

This was now several months ago and I still think about that amazing steak. If you are ever in Boston then you have to go here, it's close to the Hyne's metro station at the end of the road with all the shops. A road which should be called Capital Grill Road.


Yes, there has been quite the dealy. I've been terribly lazy. I have no excuses. I am going to restart photodumping right the hell now.

Part two of America. Bits and pieces from Christmas. And whatever else has ended up on my phone in this, my final year of PhDom.