Snaps

The drawing board

I took this picture on a whim.  It was taken at a weird angle and no matter how much I straighten the photo, it would not look “normal”.

I haven’t really been blogging a lot lately.  I’ve been focusing on learning how to take pictures.  Actually, no, that’s not entirely true.  I have been taking pictures, but not entirely “learning.”  It’s only quite recently that I’ve started seeing something promising in the snapshots I’m taking.  I’ve got a lot to learn and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

I’ve also let the blogging and the writing slide.  I haven’t really, properly, written anything in weeks.  I have these writing projects floating about in my head but that’s where they currently live – in my head.  I keep saying to myself, yep, I’m going to write…soon.  But I’ve been procrastinating and now I’m looking at the blog and thinking, “Really? Is that all I have to offer?”  I know I can write but I haven’t, properly, exercised my writing muscles in a very long time.

I really think it’s time I harnessed what talent I have.

This piano represents my what I’m afraid will happen to my ability to string my thoughts together.  I played the piano beautifully once upon a time.  Now I can’t even remember if I can play Für Elise or Edelweiss anymore!  I don’t want to suddenly not be able to write down how I feel.  It’s a scary thought.  So I think I must think about how I want to rekindle my interest in writing.  I need to reconnect with the creative in me!

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Blog

Bridge of dreams

In early 2000, I went to VideoCity (a now non-existent [I think!] video rental business in the Philippines not unlike Blockbuster video) and rented out the the only Gwyneth Paltrow movie in the store that I hadn’t watched yet.  I didn’t know what the movie was about…just that it had Gwyneth Paltrow in it and the sleeve was yellow (Yellow was a favourite colour at the time).

And so began my (and my sister’s) love affair with the movie Sliding Doors.  We were obsessed.  We watched it all the time.  We had it on in the background whilst doing chores (even whilst vacuuming and washing the dishes – yes in a whole other room of the house!).  It came to a point where we would say the lines of the movie and collapse in giggles for no apparent reason.  I think we drove our brother crazy because we’d have the soundtrack on constant repeat.

I don’t think it helped our anglophilia, if anything, it made it worse!

And this is a major reason why I wanted to see the Albert Bridge…for the longest time!  I wanted to see if the bridge was as beautiful as it looked in the movie.  It wasn’t just for me.  It was for my Duckie too.  I was going to take a picture to send back.

Now I have.  And boy, did that bridge look phenomenal!

Bites

Best wings this side of the Atlantic!

This was first published as a review on Tripadvisor.

I love me a good chicken wing, so when the invite came to go to Randy’s Wing Bar, I said yes. I am partial to chicken well done. I think it has something to do with growing up on home cooked fried chicken with mash as a staple Sunday lunch. So I’m always on the look out for places that specialise in chicken (be it fried, southern fried, roasted, steamed…the list goes on and I will probably give it a go!).

We sort of wandered into Randy’s Wing Bar…virtually. After hearing about Randy’s, we looked at the reviews and for the most part, people were raving about the wings. Which was good, because,if you’re going to specialise in something, you might as well do them amazingly well, right?

We booked a table for a Monday evening. They have eat all you can wings on Mondays at the Here East location, but remember, you can’t eat all you can if you don’t book. You pay £14 for each person plus the price of drinks plus 12.5% service charge. One important thing to note, if you want to wing all you can, your choices are limited to 3 variants: buffalo, gangnam (Korean-inspired flavours) and Kansas wings. BUT it is TOTALLY worth it.

We arrived at 7, as booked, and we were efficiently showed to our seats. The place was already alive with the music cranked up and everyone laughing and chatting. It is a bar so expect a vibrant atmosphere. Because we said it was our first time there, our server explained the “mechanics” of the eat all you can wings promotion. You each ordered a wing flavour, and you must all finish your plates before your party can order the next round of wings. I think they just didn’t want people to waste wings.

I started with my favourite flavour, the Korean-inspired wings called Gangnam. The wings were succulent but I guess it depended on who was cooking the wings because mine were a bit to soy saucy. My idea of Korean style food is a good combination of soy, sesame, garlic, spring onion and ginger. I found that it wasn’t quite the balance that I expected. Don’t get me wrong, the wings were amazing. But the glaze didn’t blow me away, flavour-wise.

The next plate I tried was the Kansas wings. And they were VERY GOOD. I make a good Kansas dry rub so I was prepared to be disappointed. But as soon as I took a bit, I went OMG! The flavours were as authentic as I thought they could be. It was a good balance of spicy, tangy and a great kick of heat. Kansas would be proud.

The star of this particular show, though, were the buffalo wings. The reviews weren’t fudged…the wings were sooooooo good. My barometer for good buffalo wings are that they’re not too hot, just right to make your mouth feel this zing brought on by the chilli, but there is a flowery note that hits your mouth too. I know this sounds all too fanciful for just a bowl of wings, but that’s what I was expecting and I got all that in spades! A good bowl of buffalo wings come with an excellent blue cheese dip and Randy’s did not disappoint. i don’t know if they make their own blue cheese dip, but it was really good. The buffalo sauce and the blue cheese dip were amazing. I’d begged the server for an extra helping of blue cheese sauce because I was afraid I’d burn my mouth on the buffalo sauce (it has happened before that people made their buffalo sauce atomically hot). Our server didn’t forget. The buffalo sauce was amazing and the wings came already drizzled with the blue cheese dip, so really, I didn’t need the extra. But because the blue cheese sauce was so good, I didn’t mind finishing it anyway!

Like I said, the bar atmosphere was alive and the noise levels were slightly high. I wasn’t too bothered about this because it was a bar. The music was good though…it added to the experience. It was nice, if slightly dark. I kind of felt like someone was a little heavy-handed with the dimmer. But there was enough lights from the light fixtures overhead for you to see exactly what you were eating. I did like how they furnished the bar…I don’t know if they meant you to have an American bar feel, but it felt like it. Each table has rolls of kitchen roll because you will need them to wipe your fingers. There are a selection of the usual sauces as well. They bring you a bucket for your wing bones and tissues and several packs of lemon scented wipes, which are also handy. I love that they consider the little details like this – it shows that they thought of the entire customer experience!

There are other sauces/glazes available for the wings. They also have burgers and a selection of sides. They only have one dessert item, a dulce de leech brownie that looks amazing! But if it’s like their wings, it’s going to be absolutely amazing. I’ve seen the pictures and it looks amazing!

You can make your way to Randy’s Wing Bar by walking through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (if you’re feeling virtuous and want to make sure you deserve the meal), or you can get one of the shuttles from the Stratford Bus Station that go to Here East (we didn’t know you could get a shuttle when we were going!). If you look on the maps, it looks like it’s a short walk from the Hackney Wick station, but I can’t be sure.

To date, I can safely say, these are the best buffalo wings I’ve tasted in the UK. I am looking forward to going back because at £7.50 per serving of wings, it is great value for money because the bowls are sharing sized.