Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Apologies for the absence of new postings, and especially photographs. I have, however, been snapping furiously with my Sony Ericsson pile-of-crap cameraphone (useless, useless keyboard for anyone with normal size hands) and some of those pictures should make their way here soon.
Currently in Aberdeen, following four days in frostbitten Glasgow. Good grief, it was cold, and I was two days into staying at my hotel of choice (another of the large selection of cheap lodgings available in the Sandyford/Finnieston interface) before I realised the heater could be turned up and there were spare blankets in the cupboard.
Great area for bars, cafes and restaurants, the Argyle St/Sauchiehall St/Kelvingrove Park triangle, and there are clear signs that the whole area is on the up and up, property-wise. While the breakfast at The Sandyford Hotel (£35 a night, full Scottish) was pretty good, I liked to head for Beanscene and slurp down an expensive bagel with cream cheese, a latte and a muffin over the papers. Nearby are the proven delights of the Ben Nevis,Mother India (and the associated cafe) Fanny Trollope's bistro, Air Organic, Sisters,The Buttery (bit of a dodgy walk for some) Firebird, The Goat, Stereo, Cafe India and some other, newish places I haven't tried. One place I was absolutely determined to eat in, though was Kokuryo, Scotland's first Korean restaurant, which has received rave reviews. And so, on Saturday, that was where I found myself, eating unidentified things and realising that Korean food seems to increase its spiciness as you move through the various 'courses'.
It was tremendously good. For £12.99 you get three courses, including an unlimited buffet which in its freshness is a world away from the Chinese all-you-can-eat buffets you may be used to. The starters - including miso soup, tempura veg, sushi and barbecued king prawns - were superb, though it must be said that the Korean beer - called Ob - was pretty much modelled on American Budweiser and thus not particularly challenging.
Pudding was beautifully-modelled (carved) fresh fruit, the staff were friendly and keen to educate in the abstruse elements of Korean cookery, and all in all it was an exciting business, encountering a new cuisine.
Afterwards we walked along to King Tuts to see Kathleen Edwards and her band, who were excellent - alas, I only caught one song from the support, Joel Plaskett, but it was so good I bought his album La Di Da. King Tut's is truly a magnificent venue. And air conditioning, even on such a freezing night, proved a fantastic asset. Though some regulars bemoan the absence of the old sweaty ambience.
Last night, though, I was back in Aberdeen and to my eternal culinary shame partook of a Big Mac with large fries. My excuse? I was starving, there's a McDonalds at Asda, and....oh, never mind. I felt great for approximately ten minutes after consuming this monstrosity, then progressively bloated, sick and finally, within two hours, hungry again. I staved off the pangs by going to see, at long last, the Jim Jarmusch movie Broken Flowers ( Not as good as, say Mystery Train or Night on Earth, but like all Jarmusch films, it haunts you), then filled up on apples and a bar of Turkish Delight I found hidden in my briefcase. After which I had the most violently filmic dreams I've experienced in decades. Imagine a cross between The Matrix and Saving Private Ryan. Or on the other hand, don't.

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