Thursday 16 December 2010

Microsoft Burrito 2010 Professional

2 subjects. Microsoft and burritos. Who knew they could be so intertwined.

Well they aren't really, but they are the 2 main things I have to report on. I'll start with burritos. Burritos are always a good start.

So I was massively ill over the weekend. Like whoa, this is not right. First the reason for the illness (what does this have to do with burritos, I hear you murmuring). Last Friday we had our company Christmas party. Now our Christmas and Summer parties consist of a day of lectures on how awesome we all are followed by much partying and food and alcohol. It's a winning combination most of the time. Friday though, was not one of those times. I was already uncomfortable finding out that this year our conference was to be held 4 floors underground. Yay. No daylight then. But the real problem was it was so stuffy. Add to that workaholic consultants who MUST get to the conference even if it means infecting half the company with whatever disease they have, and you end up with.... half the company infected with some strange disease. So that knocked me out all weekend. Which meant I had to take Monday off. But by Monday I was able to walk again, so I walked to... The Flying Burrito :D

It was closer to my flat than I thought, and a worthy alternative to Burro Burrito which sucks. Now if only it opened more often.

What did I think? Meh, it's not going to take away Chipotle or Chilango's joint crown any time soon, but it's better than a lot of other places. Just a middle of the road kind of place. Lovely service though, and they have a loyalty card which is a bonus...

On Tuesday I went to Chipotle for my reference to be recalibrated. This is recommended after trying a new burrito, lest you forget how a burrito should taste. This time though, it was particularly tasty, not because it was any better made (actually slightly worse, had a containment failure due to defective tortilla), but because it was FREE! Yes, another FREE burrito courtesy of Chipotle. Now tell me, how can you possibly beat that? I'm going to have to sell out to the corporation and rank Chipotle above Chilango if they keep this up!

Now what does this have to do with Microsoft? Well, very little. The similarity is limited to the immense disappointment I feel when a new burrito place isn't up to scratch. I've felt this way lately about a number of Microsoft products. Here's a list of recent issues I've had.

1. Microsoft never used to support Exchange ActiveSync on hotmail. This prevented me from switching to iPhone or Android. They have since introduced this.
2. Windows Phone 7. What a pile of poo. What's worse is that Windows Phone 7 is also their official solution to the problem of Windows Mobile Device Center not working with 64-bit Outlook, knobbling my Windows Mobile 6.5 too. Apparently I should just get Windows Phone 7 which works through Zune instead. Except it's rubbish.
3. Hotmail has become all weird and difficult to use.
4. MSN changed the messenger smileyes and plastered adverts everywhere.
5. SharePoint 2010 is a pile of poo.
6. Hyper-V. Don't even get me started.

It's almost like Microsoft is trying to make their products look as shiny as Apple stuff but without making any of it work. Guys, you can't polish a turd, so either stop turning out turds in the first place or start selling them as turds so people aren't confused and disappointed.

I bet none of this post makes sense. Oh well...

Snowboarding next week. Wheeee! :D

Thursday 9 December 2010

Burrito Win!

Finally... after much failing of burrito, a burrito win!


I've been waiting for some time to try Burrito Bros. The place is in a really inconvenient location for me personally, being neither here (work) nor there (home). So yesterday I went there especially, having already satisfied myself with a Chipotle for lunch.

At first I was rather worried by the place. It had steamed up windows and no atmosphere at all. There were 2 staff there, neither of whom were smiling, and my attempts at making conversation felt wasted. I ordered the burrito and every time I asked for something (I kind of know my burritos and know what I want, plus for the purpose of reviews I always have the same type to keep it fair), but I guess the guy at the counter was new as he kept asking me again to make sure.

It took him a while to construct my burrito, but never before have I seen such care taken in burrito construction. The result was a perfectly wrapped specimen, but this brought me to my 2nd worry; he'd taken so long wrapping it that I was worried it would be cold.

As I was eating in, they suggested I go downstairs to the seating area rather than sit at the counter upstairs. This was my first surprise. There were actually people down there, enjoying conversation. The barren upstairs counter area was actually hiding a nice little seating area below.

I then unwrapped the burrito and took my first bite. And it was good. Not only was it good, but each subsequent bite was somehow better, which isn't always the case with a burrito. This one was very flavoursome, and although it had a flavour different to any other burrito I've had. As I finished my burrito, I was in no doubt that Burrito Bros has made it into my top 3 burrito places in London (though not quite as good as Chilango or Chipotle).

So I am not sure what the 1-star and 2-star reviews are on about really. Perhaps they were written when it was new and still experiencing teething troubles. Who knows. This little place is great in my opinion :)

Burrito Bros, I salute you!

Monday 6 December 2010

Burritos and the Grid.

I haven't posted for a while (again). This is mainly because I've been writing reviews on instead of on my blog (where nobody reads it anyway).

But I recently found another burrito blogger at who largely comes to the same conclusions as me. Awesome :D

I think I should try and organise a burrito festival of some kind. Battle of the burritos, if you will...

Last week I had a Benito's Hat that was an epic fail. It was almost as bad as my recent Mexicali burrito, which was awful. I am not sure what went wrong, but it's put me off going there for a while. Damn shame :(

But not too much of a shame, for recently a new burrito place has opened near work (yes, another one). It's called Adobo, and I tried it this afternoon. Mark, one of the owners, seems very keen to hear what people think. He's had some good feedback, and he's had some constructive criticism from me too. Here's pretty much what Jason and I told him:

0. The guacamole is excellent and deserves praise. At 70p I think they have the price right too (even if I still think it should be free on principle).
1. My meat (chicken) was a bit dry. I suspect that this is because they don't have the same level of customer throughput as other places, due to having just opened. Jason's (beef) was better.
2. The staff could do with some training on how to wrap a burrito. It was a bit too wide and could be packed tighter. It would be fantastic if they were genuine burrito lovers, which the staff at Chipotle appear to be.
3. The rice was slightly undercooked. Note here that although I thought this was a negative, Jason really liked it.
4. They could do with having some sauces available to sprinkle over the burritos. Mark informed me that they would be getting bottles of cholula, and that Tabasco sauces are insanely expensive.
5. There should be a 'queue here' sign next to the counter. The reason for this is that the counter takes up too much space, and the queue starts from the wrong end. This will be problematic for them in the summer when the queue stretches outside the shop, which it will, even if they don't improve. Appreciate that there's not a lot they can do about this due to the layout of the restaurant...
6. The lettuce didn't appear to be as fresh as the likes of Chilango, Chipotle and Benito's.

Overall I liked the place, but the burrito itself could do with improvement. More succulent meat, slightly more potent chili sauce (I had medium but it tasted bland to me) and better rice would make Adobo fantastic. Actually the availability of adobo sauce to sprinkle would be nice too.
The fact that they intend to start serving gourmet coffee using the same beans as those used by Taylor Street Baristas is also very good news. I wish them every success in their venture.

Here is my current ranking:

1. Chilango - Chill and go :)
2. Chipotle - If BMW made Burritos, they would be Chipotles.
3. Adobo - See review above
3. Benito's Hat - Down from rank 1 after my recent Burrito catastrophe at the Covent Garden branch.
5. Tortilla - They are rapidly expanding so they must be doing something right!
6. Daddy Donkey - Sadly no longer the daddy of donkeys.
6. El Burrito - Given that this place is run by Mestizo, it should be much higher in the list!
8. Mas Burritos - The problem with these is that they aren't mas. They are really stingy on fillings :(
9. 1910 Mexican Kitchen
10. Burro Burrito - Tastes like a Staedtler eraser.
11. Mexicali - I didn't think it was possible to make a burrito worse than 1910, but Mexicali and Burro Burrito both manage it, and then some.

Oh and I saw TRON Legacy on Saturday at the Empire Leicester Square. OMG! It was fantastic! Can't wait for the official release so I can go and see it again! The Empire 3D system (Dolby Digital 3D) is leagues ahead of the regular RealD 3D System most cinemas have. Great stuff :)

Thursday 25 November 2010

Thursday 11 November 2010

Indiana Backpain and the Skate of Power

OMG skating last night was so fast, I couldn't keep up with the people I was supposed to lead, and this morning I could barely move... d'oh! :)

And while I'm on the subject, one of the skaters following me skated in front of me, then braked, then asked me which way to go. He got upset when I told him it was a dumb idea to skate in front of me and brake. He failed to see that this is the same as a lorry cutting you up while driving, slamming on the brakes and the driver asking you for directions.

Oh well :)

It rained this morning but I beat it by riding the Boris Bike to work and not being very wet. I risked not taking my umbrella because I'd left it in the car and couldn't be bothered to go and get it. Then at lunchtime it started pouring with rain. £16.95 and a very wet head later I now own 2 very similar Fulton umbrellas, one of which is still in the car.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Indiana Backpain and the Coffee of Hope

Following on from my epic Friday tale... on Saturday morning I was supposed to go for a cycle ride to Epping Forest. It was going to be lovely and the weather was pretty good, however due to my back pain I decided it wouldn't be a very good idea to risk further pain. I did however, feel the need to move. So my friend and I went for our usual bike ride around an 18 mile canal route. This time I did it with a twist though. Convinced that my back pain was caused by riding my own bicycle last Wednesday, I opted to do it on a Boris Bike. This consisted of taking a bike, and swapping it every 25 minutes or so. I did this by using my friend's key and alternating it with my own, negating the need to wait for 5 minutes in between bikes. It also meant I could keep the same bike every time. Fantastic :)

Usually we stop somewhere for a drink or coffee, and Saturday was no different. We'd been meaning to stop at a place that looked rather delightful and it turns out it was. It was called the Towpath Cafe and they served the best coffee I've had in a long time. My review on Qype says it all really. I can't wait to go back there, but alas I fear it's getting too cold, as they don't have any indoor seating. D'oh!

Later that evening, I met up with my friend again, as he was having a birthday gathering and it was our intention to visit Pizza East in Shoreditch. The place is rather lovely. Nicely decorated and has a fantastic atmosphere. In fact it was heaving, so busy that we had to wait 45 minutes for our table. I was full of anticipation, but slightly suspicious of the people in there. Turns out I was right to be suspicious.

I'm not saying Pizza East is bad. In fact it's very good. It's just not my kind of place. It was trying too hard to be Shoreditch-cool. The pizza was made from fresh ingredients and you could taste the quality. The wine list was twice as long as the pizza list, but I would have preferred it to be the other way around. My biggest problem was that the standard pizza offerings all had weird toppings, like it was trying to be some modern pizza fusion restaurant. This didn't really work and the Italian waitress agreed with me that the pizza wasn't really like a real Italian pizza should be. It was also pretty expensive compared to the likes of Da Mario and Piccolino, who do rather good Italian style pizza.

Wheeeee :D

To be continued...

Monday 8 November 2010

Indiana Backpain and the Fail of Burrito...

I broke my back in 2007, in a snowboarding accident. I might have mentioned it before while ranting about Italy.

In any case, this means that despite the regular exercise, every once in a while my back decides enough is enough and refuses to cooperate.

Friday was one of those days, so not the greatest start to my weekend by any account.

It was the first time for a while, and I'd been feeling the tell tale signs that it was coming for a few weeks (those signs being a general weak feeling and knowing that if I lift something heavy it will give way immediately). I was having difficulty walking, and this time the pain was in a slightly different place to where it was before. I blame the cycling for this, but am as yet undecided on whether this is good or bad. In any case, it meant I couldn't really go to work as walking was quite painful.

Now... back in university I did a unit in business management, and we learnt about this thing called a SWOT analysis. SWOT is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. The idea is to summarise the SWOT of a company and identify ways to turn threats into strengths and weaknesses into opportunities. I wrote one about BMW suggesting they buy Rolls Royce as a premium brand since they already had a joint venture with them making plane engines, and a few years later they did just that. But I digress.

Back to err... my back. So, I decided to turn my weakness into an opportunity, by going downstairs to try the new local burrito supplier, Burro Burrito.

Sadly, this was an epic fail.

Some of you (ok maybe one of you) will have probably seen my previous placing for Burro Burrito fairly low on the list, ranked as such by a member of the New York chapter of the International Burrito Organisation. I can confirm that Burro Burrito is indeed correctly placed near the bottom of the list.

As per my review on Qype, for some reason they squirt some kind of concentrated lime juice into the rice. I suspect that this is in fact, lime fresh Flash floor cleaner. That's problem number 1. Problem number 2 is that although the meat looks like it's going to taste great... it doesn't. In fact it doesn't really taste of anything. I used to have a Staedtler pencil eraser at school that was more flavoursome. I had to continually squirt the Cholula chili sauce into it just to eat it, and I soon gave up. So my local Burrito supplier is an epic fail. Burrito Fail VII in fact. Damn shame.

To be continued...

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Burrito Fail VI

It's rather unfortunate that there are more burrito fails on my blog than any other type of burrito related post, but I suppose that's inevitable given the crop of Mexican street food canteens that are opening around the place.

So why burrito fail VI?

Well the answer is Mexicali. Now... I've been to the Chelsea branch previously and thought it was ok. It's no Benito's Hat or Chilango but it still turns out a respectable burrito. Unfortunately their soho branch is rather lacking.

The place looked intreaguing, and reminded me of an authentic Mexican taqueria, right down to the fire alarm button hanging off the wall, suspended only by the wire connected to it.
I knew it was doomed fo failure when the person making my burrito put a tablespoon of rice in it. There was no choice of beans, and the chicken was terrible. The lettuce looked like it came from Tesco Value, and when they wrapped it up, the tortilla cracked up. This would have been ok if it were served in a foil wrapper, but it was served in a paper tub, making it difficult to eat.

After one bite I knew the burrito sucked. I poured lots of chilli sauce into it in the hope that it would make it taste nice, but I had to abandon the burrito just past the half way point. What a disappointment.

I was thinking of classifying this insult to donkeys as above top secret, fearful that it may put people off burritos, but the world needs to know that this place sucks. If I see another branch open up I will be very sad indeed.

Chipotle corporation... if you are reading this, please buy Mexicali and rebrand to Chipotle, so you can put London out of its burrito misery.

My stomach is rumbling, not from hunger but from the contents of the burrito. This does not bode well. It means my internal BurritOS operating system has detected my system running in degraded performance mode...

Monday 1 November 2010

Why am I creating this post?

I don't even know.

Oh well, I don't know why I do lots of things :)

So it was Halloween last weekend. That can mean only one thing (well, apart from being the only time in the year that the underworld and this world are in sync, or whatever). The Halloween skate. I love this skate. Everyone dresses up and there's a party at the end, it's so much fun :)

Last year I went as Iron Man, which was a bit of a cop out as I went as Iron Man the year before too. It's mainly because I couldn't really afford a costume last year, but also because I didn't know what else to be.

This year, I wanted to be Iron Man again, but Iron Man 2, with the mark VI suit. Unfortunately, unlike the previous suit, the new one costs 4 times more, doesn't come with gloves or fake boots, and won't fit me because they only make it in one size, so although it would have been awesome... no.

So I had a Kick-Ass costume instead. That was pretty awesome actually, moreso than Iron Man. As I was skating to the park, sooooo many girls were smiling at me (maybe laughing but still), and some guys drove past in a car and shouted "You suck Kick-Ass" which was really funny!

Lots of people liked the costume, but for some reason on facebook there's an abnormally large number of photos of my bum. I don't know why this is, but it definitely looks big in the suit. D'oh!

Yesterday I went for dinner to a lovely little Japanese place that's like a family run version of Wagamama. I don't remember the name but it was somewhere in Clapham, not far from Big Fat Panda. Wheeee :)

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Bi Bim Bap

So I tried this place next to Adagio and near Mooli's today. It looked quite appealing when I passed it previously on account of having an interesting name. It was called Bi Bim Bap, in case you couldn't guess from the title.

So what's Bi Bim Bap? Well apparently it's the Korean national dish. Basically a stir fry that arrives in a hot stone bowl that you have to mix up yourself. I was intreagued, and the vast array of photos of happy customers on the wall instilled confidence.

The price was a little high for a lunch, but I thought I might as well try it.

Unfortunately the delivery was not as good.

Service seemed fine to begin with, and I was presented with my food in a large round stone bowl, but it basically looked like they had just thrown the ingredients of a stir fry in and I was supposed to finish cooking it using the supplied sauces (chili and miso I think). So far so good I thought.

Except that it kept cooking for ages. I couldn't put the stuff in my mouth without burning, but time was limited and I couldn't wait for another 20 minutes to let it cool down.

It was rather tasty at first, but it kept cooking and the rice got stickier and sticker as time went by. It took a while to finish and the serving size was good, but when it came to paying I had a problem. I wanted to pay by card but apparently there's a minimum charge of £10 to pay by card, so they added 50p to the price. My Bi Bim Bap and a diet coke cost me £9.05 which is not very good value compared to a burrito or even a Mooli.

What's worse is, upon leaving the restaurant I could feel something not right with my teeth. It seemed the sticky rice was stuck to it. No wait, this didn't feel normal. I've had stuff stuck to my teeth before. OH MY GOD THIS FOOD HAS DISSOLVED A PART OF MY TEETH. Yes that's right. I am not sure whether it was the combination of cold diet coke and hot food, but I have a corroded leading edge along my teeth where I was mostly chewing the food. I tried gum but all that did was confirm the corrosion.



I don't care if this place has hundreds of happy customers. I am not one of them. This is the first time food has given me instant, permanent damage.

Upon further investigation, it's started to wear down now from eating other food, but one tooth is still pretty bad. I think it's actually a chipped tooth that's chipped at an unfortunate angle, but regardless, it still came from Bi Bim Bap :(

Thursday 21 October 2010

Pain train to Rayners Lane

Last night, Jason and I attended a Stephen Hawking lecture. I merely had standing tickets however Jason was living it up with high society on a comfy seat somewhere in the auditorium. The standing section is too far away to accurately spit at people below, so I thought it best not to. I didn't see him at the end of the lecture and he hasn't got to the office yet, so I can only assume he was consumed by a black hole. Perhaps the animations on the screen were not just animations. Has physics really come this far? Well according to Professor Hawking, it may well have. He talked about his new book which shall remain un-named, and M-theory that is a collection of other theories that all overlap eachother, and go some way to explaining the origins of the universe. This is big news. I remember my A-Level physics teacher Mr Roy Woodworth getting rather excited in 1993 at the prospect of such a Grand Unified Theory, and later at University my Astronomy lecturer Professor Raman Prinja getting equally excited. If only I was as passionate about physics, I might have made something of myself and had my own constant. One that wasn't related to burritos in any way, shape or form.
The lecture was rather good, if a little difficult to understand. Professor Hawking's speech synthesiser is clearly not designed for the Royal Albert Hall, and the echo made it difficult to hear, if not understand.
I was proud to have been there for what could well be the last lecture he ever gives.

Why the pain train to Rayners Lane, you may ask? Well in order to get to the Royal Albert Hall, Jason and I had to take the Picadilly line tube from Holborn. Unfortunately when we got there, we were confronted with what seemed to be a mini black hole of people. It was incredibly dense and we were unable to get into the station, so I boldly decided that we would walk to Covent Garden and take the train from there. The walk itself was rather pleasant, but we foolishly decided to take the stairs which, with the health and safety colour scheme of the steps, made us rather dizzy and confused. We then managed to get on the train, and proceeded to get squashed by all manner of people. It's been a while since I took the tube at rush hour, and I am sure women never used to press their entire bodies against me before. At least I hope it was a woman. I was too scared to turn around and look.

Now, not meaning to make this blog post read like a choose your own adventure book, but I ought to write about what happened in between the pain train to Rayners Lane and the lecture. We had intended to eat at Da Mario, a great little Italian restaurant on Gloucester Road. The food here is great, the service is good and the prices low. The restaurant is spoiled only by a cheesy painting of Princess Diana being served a pizza by Mario himself. Apparently she used to like this place.
Unfortunately last night they had a party booking for a 4 year-old child and we were told we could only sit downstairs. This would not have been a problem were it not for the fact that downstairs smelt like a rotten dishcloth and made me feel a bit sick. We went to Il Borgo next door instead, and in restrospect, I probably should have put up with the smell. Unlike Da Mario, Il Borgo is overpriced, slightly below mediocre and the service is terrible.

But the lecture made it all ok :)

Wednesday 20 October 2010


I have 3 followers on my blog. Not many I know, and I am friends with 2 of them.

Lou, whoever you are, I salute you sir, for I do not know you, yet you still follow my blog.

Thank you :)

The blog post with no title

Why is there no title? Simple really, I couldn't think of one for my current post (or rant if you prefer).

So last night I went for a curry with some colleagues. This was a good thing, everyone was happy, but I deliberately left my cycling gloves in the office as my jacket has nowhere to put them. Who makes jackets with no inside pocket (well, Levi Strauss does), and more importantly, why?? And what idiot buys such a jacket in the first place? (Me, that's who). It is a very cool looking jacket though.

Anyway, lack of cycling gloves meant finger freeze on the way home yesterday, and again on the way to work. It's taken me an hour to thaw out before I can even type this, and I made coffee for everyone this morning just to warm up my hands!

And this isn't even the reason for my post. I've forgotten what the real reason was. Oh yeah! Tonight I'm going to the Royal Albert Hall to hear a lecture from Professor Stephen Hawking. I've never read any of his books, but I've heard he's quite clever :)

Monday 18 October 2010

Burrito Fail III, IV and V

Yes that's right. 3 (Three) burrito fails in less than 24 hours.

How so, you may ask?

Well it started yesterday. Kinga was still in Poland so I had nobody to brunch with. Lost and confused I decided a burrito would solve all my problems and stopped at Tortilla in Southwark for what was to be my saviour. Unfortunately the place was closed, and I had to go to Pret instead. That was Burrito Fail III.

Today saw Burrito Fails IV and V. Jason, my esteemed colleague, had some vouchers for Chilango for free burritos. We'd been putting off using them for a while, but today we finally decided to trek to Fleet Street to collect our prize (well, his prize, but I was sharing the glory). Unfortunately upon our arrival we found Chilango was closed! Disaster! We were stuck, unsure what to do next. Following a crude sign pointing to an alternative source of burritos (which was a sandwich shop not worth our time) we happened upon another branch of Caffé Vergnano 1882. I have not written about Vergnano before, but they have good coffee. My lovely Roman friends say it's the best they've had in London, and they are fussy coffee drinkers. We tried walking past but couldn't resist temptation (sirens of Lantana, eat your hearts out), and proceeded to wander aimlessly in search of burrito nutrition. We then found what appeared to be a combined burrito falafel venture called La Mexicana or something, but on further investigation found it to be displeasing. This in itself was not a burrito fail, however at this point my Daddy Donkey proximity warning activated. Yes that's right, we were within 250m of Daddy Donkey. So that's where we went. It was almost as if I knew there was going to be another burrito fail. Could this be the beginning of the end? A burrito catastrophe of biblical proportions? Possibly.

The queue for Daddy Donkey was not as long as usual. This was the first warning, though the place still smelt like Mexico so we were full of hope. We got our burritos (smaller than usual, another concern) and this is where Burrito Fail V took place. Yes that's right folks, Burrito Fail used in the same paragraph as Daddy Donkey. The burrito, whilst finely constructed, was assembled inconsistently. Instead of an even combination of succulent chicken, rice, sour cream, cheese and beans, I first had the bland taste of all the rice at one end, followed by the chicken, followed by (in Jason's words) a face full of sour cream, followed by all the chilli sauce and beans together at the end. Strangely, by the end of the burrito I could taste the excellence (largely due to the chilli sauce), but it was still a fail. Fail fail fail. Daddy Donkey falls at least 3 places in the Burrito ranking.

So who's number 1? Well Chipotle still charge £1.40 for guacamole despite much protest, and I found out the other day that in New York it's the same price ($2). So.... Benito's Hat is the new Daddy.

Here is my current ranking:

1. Benito's Hat - Benito's Hat will one day be so big it overshadows all other burritos.
2. Chilango - Chill and go :)
2. Chipotle - If BMW made Burritos, they would be Chipotles.
4. Tortilla - They are rapidly expanding so they must be doing something right!
5. Daddy Donkey - Sadly no longer the daddy of donkeys.
5. El Burrito - Given that this place is run by Mestizo, it should be much higher in the list!
7. Mas Burritos - The problem with these is that they aren't mas. They are really stingy on fillings :(
8. Burro Burrito (not my ranking, placed there by the New York chapter of the International Burrito League, and ahead of 1910 because KFC make a better burrito with the Zinger Twister than them).
9. 1910 Mexican Kitchen
10. Mexicali - I didn't think it was possible to make a burrito worse than 1910, but Mexicali manage it, and then some.

Still haven't managed to try Burrito Bros yet... but on looking at their website it looks like they do free local delivery on orders over £10. I wonder if our office is local :o

Thursday 14 October 2010

Moolis are not Burritos

I tried Mooli's today.

It's like an Indian burrito without the rice and beans. Or an Indian schwarma without the garlic sauce.

What did I think? Well it was quite tasty but it's no burrito and it's no schwarma. I'd rather have a burrito or a schwarma any day. Except when I don't want either of those or a pizza, in which case a mooli will make an acceptable substitute. This was largely down to the ratio of meat to vegetables. There wasn't enough meat and many vegetables were used to fill up the volume of an already small parcel.

In my burrito ranking it would be placed just above Mas Burritos and 1910 Mexican Kitchen, meaning I'd rather have a mooli than a burrito from either of those places.

Give them a try - you might like them :)

Italy hates me

I have a bad history with Italy. It started the first time I ever visited, when I accidentally walked down the wrong side of a mountain and had to find my way to the other side. I accept full responsibility for this, but Italy has punished me severely over the years for this mistake.
The next time I visited Italy, I spent 3 days trying to get the button-lift of doom across the border on my snowboard. I triumphantly made it without falling off and that very morning I had a nasty fall, which resulted in a bone bruise. What is a bone bruise, you may wonder? Well it's like when tempered safety glass shatters. It keeps its shape but is full of cracks. It's as painful as a broken ankle, but takes years to heal, and still hurts to this day.

You'd have thought I'd have learnt that Italy is best avoided by now, but I returned there once again a few years later for more punishment. I should have been suspicious when the customs dog decided it liked the smell of my ski bag. They held me at the airport for at least an hour while they opened everything in my packed bags and checked it for drugs, constantly asking if I'm sure I don't take drugs. Of course I don't take drugs, and if I wanted to smuggle them into Italy there are far easier ways (like by car, where there are no borders to cross, or by snowboard on the button lift of doom). Anyway, they finally let me go and I proceeded to my snowboarding holiday. A few days in, I said to my accompanying friends while navigating the Sella Ronda, that it's not really a holiday for me unless I have an adventure. 2 hours later I fell off the side of the piste and broke my back. I had to go to hospital, be flown home on a stretcher and wear a back brace for 2 months, and had 10 weeks away from work. It was quite painful, and I still have back pains from time to time as well as a twist in my hip.

Maybe I should have learnt my lesson at this point too, but no. I had to go to Rome for my birthday. No sooner had I arrived than I contracted some kind of evil Italian stomach bug. As soon as I ate or drank anything, within 5 minutes I had to run to the nearest toilet and what followed was some kind of nuclear reaction in my digestive tract. This would not have been so much of a problem were it not for the fact that no men's toilet in Rome is equipped with a toilet seat or toilet paper. I don't think I need to go into any more detail. Just as I started to feel better after 5 days, I went for a swim in the sea, and contracted an ear infection which upon my return to London, knocked me out for about 2 weeks. Great.

I really had learnt my lesson by this point. No more trips to Italy planned any time soon... but I still like Pizza and Pasta, and Ferraris. So I bought an Alfa Romeo. This lasted a short time but unfortunately I lent it to a friend and the engine blew up, and I had to scrap the car.
So at this point Italy had tried to destroy my limbs, my back, it had tried to destroy me from the inside out via my stomach, and it had tried to make my head explode. Now it was trying to destroy me financially.

But I still didn't give up. Following a trouble-free (ok, the only trouble was a train problem that forced us to take a taxi instead) week of skiing with a lovely Italian friend of mine, I decided I was ready to reconcile with Italy. As a result I am the proud owner of a Ducati Monster motorcycle. I really like this bike. It's brand new and until recently, was rather shiny. I was wary that Italy may return to haunt me but all was going well until day before yesterday, when in conjunction with a patch of sand in the road, I slipped over and fell. So now my shiny new Ducati which hasn't even been in for its first service yet is rather broken. I priced up original replacement parts for the bike and the total cost comes to around half the price of the bike, which is odd considering they are just ancillary components that are broken. Oh, and the first time I took it to the car wash they sprayed acid all over it, leaving nasty permanent marks all over the aluminium Sad smile

So now begins my Monster customisation project. It's going to be cheaper for me to buy cool aftermarket bits than it is to buy original Ducati, and it will end up looking loads better.

After that I think I'll part exchange it for a BMW... The only thing the Germans ever did to me was break my watch, and they already repaired that for free.

Monday 4 October 2010

Tube Strike

I have no idea what the strike is about.

My guess is it's either pay or holidays, or maybe they are upset that people have to be made redundant because they shouldn't have been hired in the first place.

So this morning as expected there was lots of traffic, everyone was complaining on facebook about the tube and there were more bicycles on the road than usual. I was pleasantly surprised to see a BMW bicycle. These are quite rare because they cost so much, and well, who wants a BMW bicycle? What was nice though was that this bicycle was well used by its owner. It was covered in mud and the tyres were completely worn out. Good show :)

I tried a new restaurant last night. It was called Zaza's and it's opened next to Whitechapel Mosque. It's very similar to Mirch Masala and Tayyab's in format, so quite familiar. I have to say the food wasn't as good but it was a little bit cheaper. Score. And the chilli sauce they give you with the poppadums was awesome. I couldn't get enough of it! Good service too, but don't think it's good enough to pull me away from Mirch Masala which is my usual haunt. Yes, I do eat something other than burritos...

Thursday 30 September 2010

Mobile Phones

I suspect the Google crawler will love this one.

So I, like everyone else these days, make extensive use of my mobile phone. I use the word phone sparingly, as it's actually more like a pocket computer. Well it is for me anyway. I use my phone for mobile data, accessing facebook, my email (work and personal), then for text messaging, and then for actually making phonecalls. My phone gives me at-a-glance notification of the weather, how many messages I have and what my friends are up to (via facebook).

Now I have used the same type of phone for several years. None of this fancy data stuff is very new to me, but since I have been using my phone I've been frustrated by how annoying it is to operate. I've spent money on third party applications for it that supposedly make things easier, but these are not perfect either.

After several years of honing, I have my phone set up to do most of what I want, and were it not for the fact that the phone is frustratingly unresponsive and often crashes, I would be perfectly happy with this setup.

Why is this a problem, you may ask?

Well, due to the frustrating crashes, I am always on the lookout to replace it with something better. Therein lies the problem. Nobody (yet) makes a phone that seems to meet my requirements (which come from the setup I have on my existing phone).

I've tried Android, (HTC Hero and HTC Desire) but it's lacking in widgets that do the same thing as the widgets I have on my existing phone, and unless I hack it to FroYo 2.2 I can't get direct push hotmail on it.
I've tried iPhone 4, but it has no widgets at all, and no way to customise the main screen to show me anything at a glance other than the number of messages in my inbox. It's also too big to fit in my pocket and costs £600. £600 can buy a lot of burritos.
I've tried the Nokia E72, which would be a fantastic phone were it not crippled by Nokia's insistence on using their own applications for everything (which are basically fudged together for a terrible user experience).

So what's this magical yet frustrating phone platform I can't escape from you may ask? Well it's Windows Mobile 6.5. And what's more annoying is it looks like Windows Mobile 7 is going to be lacking in features too, meaning my phone is on its last legs as soon there will be nothing available that meets my requirements. Great :(

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Hello? Anybody there?

Does anyone ever read this?

I suspect not.

Monday 27 September 2010


I was in Berlin again this weekend. Now don't get me wrong, Berlin has some really trendy areas and all, but the last 2 times I've been there it's rained pretty much non-stop the whole time. This seems to coincide with it being almost exclusively my German friends who make fun of England for our rain. At least London is still colourful in the rain. We have red bricks, red buses, black cabs, yellow ambulances, silver police cars. Berlin has beige taxis. I don't even remember seeing a bus. They must be rain coloured, or maybe off-white, like the police cars. And all the buildings are grey. Lovely.

So anyway, why was I in Berlin? Well I was supposed to do an inline skating marathon, but it rained so I didn't. Instead I watched people skate in the rain, then went to the after-party and woke up the next morning feeling like I'd raced 2 marathons :)

Oh and in a nice twist of events, the friendly chap in the Omega boutique at Ka De We fixed my watch for free. This restores karma after my previous visit to Berlin resulted in my watch being broken when I crashed into a tree while skating in the wet.

The last 3 times I've travelled anywhere, I've always been really happy to return to London :)

Monday 20 September 2010


So I was in Geneva over the weekend.

The hills are definitely not alive with the sound of music, nor anything else for that matter.
It's very quiet there, and everything is closed on Sundays. Even the local gangsta rappers are afraid to pump up the volume on the stereo in their convertible as they cruise down the street.

There was a nice pizzeria though... Except it turns out it's a chain of pizzerias. - so far the only thing worth visiting in Geneva :)

Thursday 16 September 2010

Burrito Fail II


I took the tube to work this morning. For some reason despite loving the Boris Bike system I really didn't feel like riding one this morning. I think it has to do with exhausted legs from wearing my speed skates on the LondonSkate last night, as I didn't feel like skating either. Plus there were no bikes, which made that decision easier.

So I picked up the City AM paper to read on the tube, and there it was on the first page. Free Burritos! Turn to page 23. I naturally turned to page 23 to find Tortilla are opening their 5th branch at Leadenhall Market today, and to celebrate Mexican Independence day they are giving away a free burrito to the first 200 customers.

Why is this a Burrito fail? Well, because I don't work anywhere near Leadenhall Market!

I declare today to be Pizza Thursday. I shall be dining Italian style at Adagio instead. So there :p

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Burrito Fail

I have become a bit of a burrito connosieur of late. For some reason there are a lot of burrito places opening up around London.

This is a good thing.

Today however, we went back to El Burrito and it fell short of our expectations. My burrito suffered a catastrophic tortilla containment failure and I had to abandon my attempt to finish eating it.

What does all of this mean, you may ask? Well, a burrito is a delicate meal. It contains several ingredients all wrapped in a tortilla. If the tortilla fails, it all spills out and generally creates a mess everywhere. This is what burrito connosieurs call a critical mess.

So anyway, of the burrito places I have tried so far, this is my ranking:

1. Daddy Donkey. This is the daddy of burritos. Shame there's nowhere to sit.
2. Benito's Hat. Benito and his hat previously held equal second place with El Burrito, however with the recent failure, it now has a secure second place.
3. Chipotle. Chipotle is great. They assemble burritos with clinical precision, and the taste is great every time. The big issue I have with them is that they charge £1.40 for guacamole. £1.40!! It should be illegal to charge so much!
4. Chilango.
5. Tortilla. You have to get Tortilla at the right time. If it's quiet the meat can be dry.
6. Mexicala
6. El Burrito (dropped down from equal 2nd place).
8. Mas Burritos. This place is too tight with their fillings, and their burritos suffer from bad construction problems.
9. 1910 Mexican Kitchen. This place is too posh to be a real burrito place, and they wrap the burritos with the foil inside out. They don't taste particularly great either.

You may be wondering why Burrito Bros, Taqueria or Burro Burrito don't feature in this list. The reason is that I haven't tried them yet. Burrito Bros is in the wrong place. Taqueria is even further away, and although Burro Burrito is next door to my flat, the place is never open!! Grrrr! :)

Thursday 12 August 2010

Speed, or lack thereof...

Why is it that when I cycle to work, riding as fast as my legs can push me it takes me 20 minutes to ride to work, but when I cycle home it doesn't matter whether I am ambling in some random direction or what speed I am going, it only takes 15 minutes?

Could it be that the weight and gearing of the Boris bike is so bad that the slight 1% uphill gradient equates to 12.5% additional journey time?

Well I can't explain it any other way. When I take the tube the evening journey takes longer, and walking takes about the same in either direction!

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Holy Calamazoo!

I haven't written anything here for ages.

That's because I couldn't be bothered, but while having a burrito at Benito's Hat this afternoon one of my colleagues told me he has a blog, and because we were talking about it I decided to write another post.
Holy Calamazoo!

So what's happened since the last post? I can't remember when it was, so I'll mention a few trips...

Le Mans 24h Skating race. That rocked. T-shirt fail by Nike but we are all up for going again next year.
Bunk Barn weekend. Also rocked. Cheap as chips too :)
Paris Birthday weekend. I am at a loss for words on that one. Whoa! 50 people showed up in Paris and another 40 in London. Amazing :)

What else?
My employer wants me to be featured in the social club newsletter. W00t!

Oh yeah, Boris bikes. They rock too. Not as good as Ve'lib but close enough. £45 a year gets me unlimited access, free for the first half hour of usage. One or two teething problems but I've been riding to work on them, and back :)

The only thing is, everyone beeps their horn at me. The gearing on them is terrible so they can't go very fast, so taxis and buses beep loudly. The bus this morning was the worst so far. I had to stop the bike in front of him at the ring of steel and let him beep his horn for a bit longer before carrying on. I forgot the number plate, else I'd have reported him. In Paris the buses have a bell so they can politely remind you there is a bus behind you. This guy pulled away from his bus stop into the next lane, I proceeded at my regular slow speed (as fast as I can make the bike go) but the bus realised he shoudl be in the bus lane and started to close in on me. The front of my bike was level with the front of the bus when he started beeping me. He really wanted to crush me.

Oh well, I kind of enjoy holding buses up. Feels like revenge for when I'm driving a car and they hold me up at 20mph :)

Monday 10 May 2010

Wow long time

So I haven't posted here for a long time, probably a month.

Why am I posting now? Well I was commenting on my friend's blog and thought I'd comment on my own.

So what's happened lately? I guess most recently was my big karting crash. Driver error of course, but I came off the track in a big way and I'm in lots of pain! Oh well...

I'm going to Barcelona this weekend, volcanic ash permitting, and I've started ordering components for my prosthetic sound system, which I have yet to name.

What else is new? Oh yeah Le Mans t-shirt nightmares.

I can't think of anything else right now. Maybe Monday morning isn't the best time to post :s

Tuesday 30 March 2010


I don't know whether to make this a long or short post, so I'll just blurt stuff out until I run out of things to say. That's what blogging is all about, right?

So I came back from my snow holiday. I don't really know what to call them anymore since I rarely just ski. This time I spent 2 days on skis, 2 days on a snowboard, another day on skis and then 2 days on snowblades.

The skiing went pretty well considering I had a fractured rib. I was just hoping it was a bruise but a fall on my snowboard while being cheeky and riding backwards confirmed the fracture when I heard and felt the tell-tale cracking noise. Ouch. The rest of the day was spent struggling to stand up on the board. When I went back to skis I felt better, but sustained another crack when I hit a mogul too hard. I'm not going to blame my lack of skill for this, rather the stupid skis the rental shop gave me. Humbug.

So after that I had a go at snowblades. OMG they are the best thing ever. I felt like I should be given an asbo on those things. For example at one point I felt like I had so much manouverability I tried to ski around a tree (like back up the mountain and all the way around it). Another time I was in a gulley that was a bit of technical off-piste and all I could think was "out of my way, old man!" What a laugh! The downside is they are not great for off-piste. I tried skiing around a steep bowl deep with snow, ran out of momentum and sank. It took 5 minutes for me to dig myself out!

My rib still hurts, especially when I sneeze or cough, but apart from that it seems to be getting better. I was hoping to make a getaway to the mountains again this weekend but I don't think it will happen as it's too expensive and I should be resting really.

OK that's it for now. I've run out of things to say. Well, I probably have other things to say but I don't want to say them here.

Thursday 18 March 2010



My entire body hurts... *groan*

So on Monday I cycled to work. Nice ride. All happy. Tuesday, went climbing. My life was saved several times by multiple climbing buddies, but my arms and legs were aching afterwards. So much so that I struggled to move the next morning. Rode to work again, and back home. Great, getting good at this cycling malarkey.

Unfortunately a by-product of cycling was that I'd stopped looking out for rough surfaces in the road, because the bike just goes over them without any problems... so when I was skating last night I fell. Twice. Hard. Now I have multiple injuries, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knee and ribs. Ouch. This wouldn't be a problem ordinarily, were it not for the fact that I'm supposed to go skiing tomorrow.

It's going to be a long and painful week (and free of further blog posts because I won't be online).

This may well be the last post I make in a while, because I'll probably forget when I'm back.

Monday 15 March 2010

Another day, another blog post

Good morning everyone!

What a glorious sunny day ^_^

Yesterday I got a parking ticket in Shoreditch. How annoying. I am always very careful where I park and I was on a single yellow line on a Sunday morning. The adjacent resident permit bay was in force, but I wasn't in it. I suspect the stupid traffic warden was confused or just trying to increase his quota. I shall have to dispute it.

What was I doing in Shoreditch on a Sunday morning? I went to the Albion for breakfast. It was a rather nice breakfast, but £15 for 2 sausages, 2 eggs, a bit of toast, a cup of coffee and a marmite and cheese swirl is excessive. If I end up having to pay the parking ticket as well, £75 will make it the most expensive breakfast I have ever eaten, and this coming from someone who used to have to get work to pay £20 in the Glasgow Marriott just so I could have a bowl of cereal.

What else happened yesterday? Some nice skating, oh and then a fairly nice dinner in Dalston. It wasn't the best I ever had, but I did manage to clean the plate, and it cost considerably less than the breakfast down the road.

I have no idea why I even wrote that. Nobody reads this anyway.

Oh yeah, this morning I rode my bike to work again. It was rather splendid, but I have decided I can't ride it in less than 25 minutes so I'm not going to try and go any faster. Happy to be passed by the crazy Lance Armstrong wannabes in their lycra.

If the weather continues like this I may have to ditch the car and ride to work more often! Yay :)

Sunday 14 March 2010

Everything and Nothing

24 hours ago I woke up with nothing to do but watch the F1 qualifying. A lot can change in 24 hours.
Since then I have cleaned the inside of my car, gone to see the London Philarmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, gone out and met with some good friends and had a great time until the early hours of the morning, and explained a brief history of the Earth to a random new person I met.
Today I woke up to awesome gorgeous sunshine, and I'll watch the F1 race, followed by some skating later this afternoon.

On days like this I think to myself "Life's Good" ^_^

Saturday 13 March 2010

F1 and other things

Wow I haven't followed Formula 1 racing for a loooong time. Probably not since I started skating really.

So Michael Schumacher is back. I was always a fan of him but even I got bored when he kept winning. He seems slower than he was, so I can take comfort in knowing that even the fastest people slow down with age.

It's also nice to see Lotus returning to racing, though would be way cooler if they could be sponsored by John Player Special again (yes the cigarette brand) to get the black and gold colours they used to race with. Then it would remind me of my old Lotus Scalextric car :)

What else is nice? Oh yeah, it's back on the BBC. What's not nice is that I can't seem to get rid of the bit in the corner that says 'Sport Home' with a red button.

Now I am torn between watching the race tomorrow and going to see some random film I never heard of at an obscene hour (something like 10am).

Friday 12 March 2010


This morning I found myself unable to focus on anything (with my eyes). It was quite disconcerting, but my boss suggested I go for a walk. So I did.
During my travels I went into Robert Dyas, and bought myself a set of Allen keys and a shower hose thing. I got to the checkout and the nice lady asked me if I wanted to buy some antibacterial soap for £1. Apparently the Tesco price is £1.29, so I said ok. After I paid, she gave me a 20% off voucher, valid the same day. I said "aww, you could have told me earlier" so she refunded everything except the soap, then charged again for the Allen keys and shower hose and saved me £3.20. And as an extra bonus, the computer printed another 20% off voucher! Woo-hoo!

Now what else do I need to buy from Robert Dyas?? :)

Wednesday 10 March 2010


So I just got back from seeing the latest Michael Moore documentary.

I am not a huge fan. As my accompanying friend said, her colleague thinks he's a douchebag. It was actually a very good documentary to be fair, but in this case the problem is as a viewer in another country I feel powerless to do anything about it.

Anyway I'll have to add being a senator or CEO of a top investment bank to the list of things I want to do. After Bowling for Columbine, all I could think was that I want to own a gun. I felt like a McDonalds after Supersize me, and now I want to be super rich at the expense of the poor.

Yes I know, something wrong with that, but it's not like he's completely innocent himself. He's released the film in the cinema. If he was that keen to do good, he'd release it for free on the Internet, and I'd be able to link to it here so you could all watch it for yourselves. All zero of you.

Oh and another thing I really want to do, is camcorder that anti piracy thing they put at the start of every film, and put it on YouTube (you know, the one with the annoying-but-cute girl who tries to explain how recording films in the cinema harms the industry).

Wow, 2 blog posts in one day.

One week of movement

Awesome! Yesterday I finished one week of exercise every day. I didn't intend to, but I've been feeling much better as a result.

It started with Rock Climbing at the Westway sports centre last Wednesday. I totally sucked at it and slipped a few times. Good thing I was secured with ropes or I'd have suffered yet more horrific injuries.
I skipped a fast skate to go climbing, so when the weather was good on Thursday I organised a skate of my own, which worked very well.
More skating on Friday, though this time I managed to skip dinner and while assisting a friend who was lagging behind, I ran out of energy myself and couldn't quite keep up either. Still made it to the end.
Saturday was epic. Intended to go for a short cycle ride and then do some more climbing in the afternoon. Epic fail for climbing though. What started as a short cycle ride ended up being a 40 mile mission to Richmond Park and back. Still, the weather was great and I could still move when I got home.
Sunday saw a return to skating, this time just a bit of gentle exercise on a lovely sunny day.
I woke up on Monday to gorgeous sunshine and a cloudless sky, so out came the bike again, this time to cycle to work and back. For a special bonus, my boss managed to fix the gearshift on my bike, so the ride home was even better (despite the sore bum I'd suffered from the epic Saturday mission).
Yesterday, another trip to the climbing centre where my buddy pushed me pretty hard and I bashed my knee on the wall. Still feeling it today so time for some rest. Yay!

Monday 8 March 2010

Happy International Womens' Day

Happy Day to all you fabulous (and not so fabulous) women today, international or otherwise.

In other news, I cycled to work today, for the first time ever. It was quite nice, but I think I'll go back to my car tomorrow because it's going to rain. Cycling in London (as well as skating and driving) confirms that the average motorist here is completely clueless. It's all about following stupid rules that try and fit everyone, but really fit nobody, and there are so many of them that people just switch off as long as they are below the speed limit. In the car at 30mph I switch off because there is nothing to engage me, so I'm probably more of a danger to other road users at this speed than I would be at 40 or 50mph along the same stretch of road. On my bike it's frustrating having to stop at red traffic lights when there is no other traffic around, not to mention inefficient. And cycle lanes often run in stupid places. One nice thing about cycling though, is that I can hold buses up. Makes me feel all smug when I manage to do that :)

When I am in charge of the universe, the DLR will be replaced with a covered cycle and skate track, with rope lifts to pull skaters up onto it.

Ok, so... I made a second post. Yay!

My blog

A few people told me I should write a blog. Or a book. A blog is easier because I don't have a printing press. Or a printer.

It will be full of random thoughts about random things that affect my life.

At the moment one of the people who told me to start a blog is on facebook, so this message is intended for her.

Look, here's my blog, mysterious facebook friend.

So there.

I will think of more stuff later. Or maybe I will just forget about writing here again, but at least I have the URL reserved now.