Sunday, September 30, 2007

Street Life

Continuing our predilection for off-beat entertainment we went to the third annual New York Street Vendor Awards last night (affectionately known as "The Vendies").

The set up was pretty simple. Take the top five street cart food vendors (as voted for by the public of New York), put them all in the same park, charge people an entrance fee that covers all the food and an open bar, eat, and vote.

We arrived about an hour into the event and chose our first cart: the Taco Guy. The line was long, but the food was worth the wait. We ate slowly and deliberately and then lined up for more.

Shawarmas, dosas, lamb pitas. We ate it all. Everything was good, but the dosas were remarkable. They were fresh and light, and vegan to boot.

The Dosa Guy won the overall event, a well deserved victory.

The other competition seemed to be who could eat the most. I think we made a suitable bid for the title. I'm still full.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)

I went to buy some clams on the way home from work tonight. I had a vision of linguine alle vongole that I needed to realise.

I popped into the local "high-end" food store and wandered over to the fish counter. Little neck clams, $5.99/dozen. Perfect.

"I'd like 18 clams, please"

"I'll have to charge you more"

"Huh? Do you only sell them in multiples of a dozen?"


"I'd like eighteen, then, please"

"I'll have to charge you more"

"If I get eighteen, will you charge me for two dozen?"

"No - I'll charge you for eighteen"

"Er... I'll take eighteen, then"

I'm still perplexed by this transaction, but at least I got my clams (all eighteen), was charged the right price, and dinner was good.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'll Wear It Proudly

There's a rather unpleasant habit amongst Americans who own portable electronic devices: they insist on wearing them on their belts for all to see.

It doesn't seem to matter what the device in question actually is, nor how many of them are owned. I regularly see people with both BlackBerry and mobile phone proudly displayed side by side on the belt.

There's the obvious security issue with advertising the fact you own one of these devices; but there's also the fact that you look like a dork.

What's wrong with a pocket?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Maximum High

For the "long" flight from London to Las Vegas we decided to splash out on a slightly better class of cabin. It turned out that the business-only carrier MaxJet was opening up precisely that route the day before we wanted to travel, so we took the plunge and forked out the small fortune for the tickets.

Check in was pretty casual, and the lounge had all the required amenities (but was perhaps a little busy due to the three MaxJet flights departing in quick succession at that time of day). Our plane was about 90 minutes late in taking off, but that didn't seem like such a big deal when we had 11 hours in the air to endure.

The seats on board were pretty comfortable, and although they didn't recline to full flat bed positions, they went far enough back to allow for some shut-eye. They also give you a portable media player to watch movies on. Whilst in principle this is a good idea, they probably need to invest a little more in the quality of the programming to make it really work. Still, it did help while away the time we were in the air.

The food and wine were good. The service was great - friendly and attentive.

All in all, I think it was worth the money for that kind of trip. We were able to walk off the plane and go straight to the casino and lose some money without feeling too groggy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

Having just returned from Las Vegas, I'm glad to report that the town is the same town that I visited about four or five years ago.

Same 24 hour city. Same slobby, unhappy people feeding quarters into slot machines. Same free cocktails at the blackjack table. Same ironic anti-gambling posters dotted around the place.

What's not to love? At least for 24 hours at a time...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Leader Of The Pack

I recently undertook a slightly aggressive travel schedule that required me to fly from New York to London to Las Vegas to New York in the space of just nine days. The trip saw me attending the wedding of a good friend, playing blackjack badly, and hiking in a couple of national parks in Utah. My packing would need to be eclectic.

The hiking/Vegas part was easy - the dress code is not too dissimilar in either place and I just threw a few things in my bag. The suit for the wedding, however, was going to be a bit more of a challenge.

Having decided not to take another bag on to the aeroplane, I did some Googling on the Internet Machine and came across the following solution.

The clever combination of inversion and gentle folds allowed the suit to travel the 11,ooo miles in the hold of an aircraft and still be ready-to-wear.