Poit Dhubh 12

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The common reaction of most people on seeing a bottle of this stuff for the first time is a look of bewildered bemusement, as they try to work out how the hell you’re meant to pronounce Poit Dhubh. I have it on good authority (the back of the bottle) that it’s pronounced Potch Ghoo and that it’s Gaelic for illicit still. Though I must confess that I’m still a little baffled as to how one gets from reading Poit Dhubh to saying Potch Ghoo, but I digress. Four years ago I received my first bottle of Potch Ghoo for Christmas, I had never heard of this blended whisky from the Isle of Skye before, and hence was a little dubious as to the quality of the contents of the bottle. As so often in life, I need not have worried, as the contents proved positively mind blowing. A fantastic whisky most people had never heard of, it soon became a frequent topic of conversation. More recently I was in a newsagent and to my considerable surprise I discovered perched on their top shelf a single bottle of this uncommon whisky. I wasted no time at all and immediately bought the bottle, eager to discover whether my younger self had a bloody clue in what he was talking about!!!

Anyhoo enough with the backstory, let’s get on to the tasting notes of this magnificent dram! The nose has some honey, a hint of sea salt, plenty of sherry, and a pleasant smokiness that has an uncanny resemblance to the smell of the vanilla tobacco that a friend uses. The drink itself is full of twists and turns. Initially one is presented with incredibly sweet honey, next a toffee note, followed by salted caramel, some sherry, a zingy bitter lemon then emerges, before a delightful peat draws proceedings to a close. The finish is fairly long; it’s peppery, with plenty of peat, some oak, and a faint reminder of sherry. In this manner, Poit Dhubh delivers a wondrous drinking experience. A fantastic quality whisky, of considerable complexity, at a decent price, I strongly recommend you give it a try.

Verdict: A nimble acrobatic display of varied flavours!

Score 88/100

The Best Pizza in London?

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L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is arguably the most famous pizza restaurant in the world. They have been making pizzas in Naples, Italy, for over a century where they’ve built up quite a cult following. This transitioned to worldwide renown when the book and then the film, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, passionately extoled the virtues of their pizzas. On the third of February, they opened a branch in London. I knew none of this until recently, when I walked past a tiny pizzeria on my way to meet a friend, it had a ginormous queue worthy of Moses coming out its door. A sucker for following the herd, I just knew I’d have to find out what all the fuss was about. Thus having a day to myself, this Tuesday, I turned up fifteen minutes before opening time and was relieved to find myself joining a smallish queue, which looked likely to see me through the door for the first sitting.

The queuing experience was definitely part of the fun! A wry delivery boy walked past us all and quietly noted aloud, ‘I see the novelty hasn’t worn off yet’. Next a man walked by, who suddenly couldn’t take it anymore, he walked back turned to face the queue and loudly exclaimed, ‘It’s just pizza, you know!’ He repeated this several times but in typical London fashion everyone suddenly struck a pose that instantly conveys that their mind is wholly vacant and suggests you should kindly refrain from attempting a conversation. In any case after ten minutes of waiting I was through the door and ready for some deliciousness. Ordering was super easy, as the menu only has two items!!! A Margherita  and a Marinara, both reasonably priced. I had the former and in no time at all was experiencing something rather spectacular. The base is wonderful with the teeniest hint of crispness around its soft doughy centre. The sauce is intensely flavoursome and delivers an explosive burst of tomato goodness. Lastly the cheese for me was the best bit, mozzarella of the highest calibre that was a pure delight. I’ve never had cheese on a pizza in London that was this good before. A simple formula and an uncomplicated taste, the Margherita  here is truly perfect in its execution. I can honestly say that this is the best pizza I’ve ever had.

Yet, you might be surprised to learn that I’m reluctant to proclaim that you instantly come and visit. Fantastic food at a reasonable price, what’s not to like? For a start the queue, after I arrived it took a lot longer to get in, closer to twenty five minutes and I imagine on a weekend this would be even worse. Next while the pizza is the most amazing I’ve ever had, the step up in quality while significant is not a mind blowing spiritual odyssey, in the words of a wise man who walked by, ‘it’s just pizza’. Finally, I can imagine some people will find the limited menu a huge disappointment.  In my case this wasn’t an issue as Margheritas are my favourite. Despite these caveats, please don’t be put off if it sounds like your sort of place. I must say that I loved this restaurant and will definitely be going back again. Here’s hoping the hype dies down a little.

Liebster Award

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A good while ago* I was nominated by Lottie for the Liebster award, which is for up and coming bloggers. So thank you Lottie for this awesome accolade. Be sure to check out Lottie’s blog here , it is truly most excellent with a focus on photography, happiness, and beautiful moments. I cannot recommend it highly enough!!!

(*I do apologise for how long it has taken me to do this)

The Rules/ Guidelines:

  1. Write a blog post about your nomination, displaying an image of the award.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  3. Answer the questions the person who nominated you asked you in his/her post.
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers who’s blogs you enjoy reading and come up with a set of your own questions to ask them! Make sure to let them know on social media that you have nominated them!
  5. Enjoy discovering great new blogs!!

 

My Answers to Lottie’s questions

What have you most valuably learnt from writing your blog?

I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned, is just how uplifting it can be to see or do something new each week. I know that many of the things I cover on my blog are silly fripperies. Yet I’ve found there’s a simple joy that creeps in, when one makes a little space in one’s life, for such marvellous flights of the imagination.

When do you feel most happy and content?      

Give me a glass of whisky a mellow setting and fine company, and I’m as content as anyone could be. I simply love listening to friends tell good old fashioned ripping yarns into the early hours, and if they ever fancy taking a break I’m more than happy to talk some twaddle of my own.

Who or what inspires you the most?

I always find these ‘most’ questions the trickiest. So many people and things have proven an inspiration in my life. Yet for me Gandhi is the one who always tops the list. His message of nonviolent protest changed the world and I think it has proven a guiding light for positive change.

 

If you could click your fingers and be ANYWHERE in the world right this second, where would it be and why?

My immediate reaction to this would be to click my fingers and head to Niagara Falls to take in an awe inspiring spectacle of nature. It’s a gloomy day today and I always find a spot of nature uplifting. Then again, I can’t help but notice that this wish gives no indication of an easy click of the fingers to get back home! I can’t say I fancy getting stranded in a foreign land this evening. So perhaps, I’m best off staying in the gloom of London Town; it really is quite magical in its own sombre way.

What one thing would you most like to do or achieve in 2017

My best friend’s getting married to an absolutely delightful lady this year and I’m the best man. I’m super nervous and I just hope that I manage to pull off a stonkingly good toast that warms the hearts of everyone there on the day and properly extols the virtues of this wondrous couple.

 

What is your favorite ever ever ever pudding/dessert?

I’ve found this last question the trickiest of them all, how could I possibly pick just one pudding? They’re all so incredibly delicious. For the record I’m not counting black pudding, which is possibly the greatest piece of false of advertising in all of history. Evil blood sausages aside, the rest of the pudding family are all blooming brilliant. The idea of praising one at the expense of the rest is hard to get my head round. It’s like having a favourite child it’s just not the done thing. However if you put a gun to my head, I think I’d settle on pineapple upside down cake as my favourite. The core reason for this is pure nostalgia, as it’s the cake I had most often as a little kid.

 

My Nominees

https://thehumblefabulist.com/

https://cinespiria.com/

https://slickbadgercreations.com/

https://barleymania.wordpress.com/

https://threesixfive.art.blog/

https://londonstoneandmetal.wordpress.com/

(Please do check out all these blogs as they’re brilliant)

My Questions

How did you get started blogging?

Recommend a curiously unusual book or film?

What is your favourite pudding ever, ever, ever?

What adventurous activity (if any) would you most like to do?

What makes you laugh in life?

What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?

(As always don’t feel obliged to take part, it’s only meant to be a bit of fun.)

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I should be back Friday with another London Adventure!

 

 

 

 

The Marvel that is God’s Own Junkyard!!!

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I’m sitting in a café enjoying a rather splendid hot chocolate. All around me is a delirious, dizzying, neon dreamscape. David Bowie songs play out in the background, while a bizarre spectacle of sights slowly make themselves known. There’s so much going on here that my mind can’t take it all in at once. Instead my attention picks out broad themes one at a time, my environment shifting like a kaleidoscope as, religion, sex, and advertisements, all come in and out of focus. Hope, hedonism, and the promise of convenience all fight for my attention. Meanwhile macabre notes lurk, Jesus is packing heat, a shark is devouring a teddy bear, and behind me is a garden shed with a car on top of it running over a goblin. I’m in God’s Own Junkyard and it’s bloody marvellous.

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Located in inconspicuous surroundings, God’s Own Junkyard is a one of a kind with quite a history behind it. The oldest neon sign makers in London, three generations of the Bracey family have worked in the business of neon signs. From the lusty streets of 1970s Soho to the film sets of Hollywood this place has done signs for everyone.  For instance, Professor Green, Kate Moss, The Dark Knight, and Blade Runner, to name but a few. What’s more I hear that they will quite happily do one for your living room without costing you an arm and a leg. I must say that I’m quite tempted to get one.

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It’s almost time for me to head back to the real world. I take a few moments to really take in the glitz and glamour that I’ve suddenly found myself in. Sometimes I wish there was a lot more of such unrestrained eccentric flamboyance. Then again, that might amount to a dystopian nightmare with a federal bureau of sparkle. That’s what I love most about these incredible signs, they have a dual personality. They’re captivating objects of incandescent positivity. Yet as I stare spellbound at them, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m a moth unable to detect a malignant power that spells my doom. The result of this combination gives God’s Own Junkyard a truly otherworldly feel. As shops with twinkly lights go, this one is absolutely mind blowing.

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Amazingly I had never ever heard of this place until I started blogging. Please check out the review that inspired this trip here.