Monday, October 29, 2018

Binge Viewing

Have been flying all over the place recently (including Europe / Africa / Middle East – Tunis / Rome / Kuwait in a day last week!!) and have been media bingeing on flights.  Have been enjoying:
·       Cardinal
    A gritty detective series set in Algonquin Bay, Canada.  Two series so far, a third being shot.
·       Goliath
    Via Amazon Prime.  Two series with one of my favourites – Billy Bob Thornton, enjoying himself as burnt out LA lawyer Billy McBride.  Shot in one of my favourite Santa Monica dive bars – Chez Jay.
·       Bancroft
    A four-part ITV drama, a bit of a poor man’s Line of Duty (but worth the effort).  Series One a cliff-hanger.  Season Two in production.
·       Strike
        Cormoran Strike, an injured war veteran turned P.I. in London.  Complex and clever.

And the best movie I’ve seen this year, on Netflix, Operation Finale.  Ben Kingsley – the true story of Israel’s capture of Adolf Eichmann.


Monday, October 22, 2018

We are Winning the War.

With all the moaning and angst in the media around Trump, Brexit, Party Conferences, Khashoggi – it’s not always easy to remain optimistic and positive.  It seems fashionable to be a finger pointing, aggressive BMW (Bitcher, Moaner, Whinger) instead of the Perpetual Optimist pursuing hope, change and ambition.  The world needs positive leadership – it needs people with Ambition, Belief and Courage.

And recently I was heartened to read that, despite all odds, all distractions, and all second-hand commentary, we are actually making progress in the global battle against poverty.

For the first time, more than half the world’s population is now middle-class – 3.6 billion vs 630 million who live in poverty (3.1 billion are considered ‘economically vulnerable’ with 200 million classified as rich).

By 2030 the outlook is even more positive.

                                  June 2018     Forecast 2030 *
Poor                            630 million        450 million
Financially Vulnerable    3.1 billion           2.3 billion
Middle Class                 3.6 billion           5.3 billion
Rich                            200 million         300 million

Rising incomes in China, India and South Asia are the major contributors to the rise.

Much still needs to be done in Africa.

This is the first time in history that the majority of the world’s population does not live in considerable poverty.

Hope Springs Eternal.


* Source – World Data Lab, Austria.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Aloha from Honolulu

I’ve always enjoyed Hawaii – the Aloha Spirit of Love, the fusion of Native, Japanese and American cultures, the surfing vibe epitomised by an old hero of mine, Duke Kahanamoku, the mountains, the Halekulani, and the year round feeling of Fun, Freedom and Family.

But one thing that Honolulu has never really had is interesting food – it’s mainly been driven by high traffic, volume, fast and furious, big portions, steak burgers and ribs.

But all that’s changing.  Two places to check out when you’re next in Honolulu (after a flight of local blonde beers at Duke’s and a mango habanero margarita on Tommy Bahama’s rooftop), drop into Ward Village and enjoy the best of the new Farm to Table Hawaiian cuisine at Merriman’s.  Lively, whimsical, upbeat and brilliant food.  Great crowd.  Peter Merriman’s approach is ‘Throw a party every night’ – behind one of the best wine lists in town, innovative cocktails and unforgettable food using local ingredients, dirt fresh local salads, freshly caught fish and loads of imagination.  I ate the best dish I’ve had anywhere this year – Tako (octopus) served ‘a la escargot’ – looking just like a dozen classic snails washed in cognac and garlic butter – with country bread to dip into the sauce.  Visually escargots; in reality octopus.  Brilliant.  And a lobster pot pie with small kine farm mushrooms and a vermouth and corn crust.

Then, when you’re ready for another treat, head down to Chinatown to Senia.  A new spot based on sharing and crossing paths – very similar to Simon Gault’s Giraffe in Auckland.  A gathering place for great food.  Casual, highest quality, fun crowd, and a terrific Chef’s Counter experience – the tasting menu served by the two Chef / Owners (Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush from Thomas Keller’s NYC Per Se) at a counter for eight people splitting the dining room and the open kitchen.  Pure, beautiful, seasonal ingredients – inspired presentations.

Aloha and Mahalo.