Thursday, August 21, 2014


'Twas my 28th birthday yesterday. Before I tell you about that, I am going to tell you a little story. About ten years ago, I was having a conversation with a man who owned a cosmetic surgery office. For the record I wasn't in a cosmetic surgery office, it was at a golf tournament my dad was playing in. Now, I don't think he was actually a cosmetic surgeon, but he seemed to know enough because, essentially out of nowhere, he told me that by my late twenties I would start ageing and need a little bit of "work" around my eye area. Well, turns out he was right that I would get a bit creasy around the eye. My left eye, to be specific. I have a feeling it is actually this way because I tend to lie on my left side as I sleep, squishing my face against my hand. I have been doing this all my life but it's only now, at 28, that I have started to see the effects. As for the bit about "needing work", I'm going to ignore that because it's stupid. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I think 28 is going to go down in history as the year I started visibly ageing. Shall we toast to that?

That was a champagne cocktail called The Henson. We celebrated at Hotel Centennial, a feast for both the palate and the eyes, last night. I'll tell you all about that in a moment, but first I'm going to show you the present I got for myself: a haircut!

I couldn't even tell you the last time I had my hair seen to, so you can imagine how disgusting it looked, given all the heat I apply to it. As you would expect, my hair now feels incredible and not a split end in sight! I have scheduled an appointment for next week because, for the first time in my life, I am going to DYE MY HAIR. This is a big deal for me. I'm not going to do anything crazy, just what the hairdresser described as "adding more warmth" to my tresses. Most of you probably know what I am talking about. So, here's my after shot:

James totally upstaged my present with his. I woke up in the morning to a card, telling me to search for a new book on the bookcase. Which is a good time to show you how it looks now that we have slathered it and the wall in blue-black. I think it suits the rug and with some new cushions and a bunch of flowers I'm calling that room DONE:

After I found the book (a Lonely Planet guide to NYC) I cottoned on to what was happening... So, if all goes to plan we will finally be seeing the sights of the Big Apple! James has actually been before but he was there to study so it didn't feel like much of a holiday for him. Poor kid. As if I hadn't already received more than I could possibly deserve, my husband had these sent to me:

Anyway, back to the fantastic time we spent at Hotel Centennial. The first thing that made me want to visit was the place's interior design. We've been going for walks most evenings and I commonly detour up Victoria Avenue so I can get a look through the window at that beautiful, perfect, inviting space. If you find me with my nose pressed against your window, I'm not looking at you! Swear! My pictures of the place are shockingly bad and don't do it justice so instead, I bring you pictures I stole from their website:

The menu is equally as spectacular as the restaurant's design and matches well with the residential-not-commercial vibe they're going for. 2009 Chef of the Year Justin North (of Becasse fame) brings us the menu, which is the most comforting and elegant "pub food" you can think of. I don't even consider the word "pub" when I think of this place. Like other local establishments attached to a iconic pub (Bistro Moncur; Four in Hand), this place is simply an excellent restaurant. 

I started with the most delicious, plump Tiger prawns and a salad featuring sorrel and pomelo:

James had the caramelised pork belly with miso eggplant and slow cooked octopus. You're going to want to try it:

The star of the evening, however, was the 5 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder. I'm still salivating about its tenderness and how incredible the fries tasted after I'd used them to mop up the juices! It was too much for the two of us, even after we had gone beyond fullness and piled more onto our plates. I think this dish would generously feed three, entrees and sides considered:

There were to be no desserts for us. We were far too full for that. Next time though, I am sure...

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