Meditations #59

photoWho would have thought to find, at the edge of the world, a bay so graceful, a beach so perfect, and water of such clarity?

They say that here, one giant step from Antarctica, is the purest air on earth.

A New York Day

finalhighline12Phase 3 of the High Line opened on Sunday, and the September 19th review by Michael Kimmelman in the NYTimes was so evocative that I had to get there.  At 7:00 on Monday morning, I met my friend Mary and we cabbed down to the new leg of New York’s latest and, some say, finest public park.   With tea in hand, we took a leisurely stroll along the lightly planted, lightheartedly designed walkway that heads west toward a line of aspen trees and the glittering Hudson River beyond, and then north to 34th Street.  Already runners and strollers  had taken possession of this new space, a habit that seems particular to New Yorkers who seem magnetized to any new arrival on the scene.

We ended our day with dinner at another newcomer, a charming restaurant on the Upper East Side, Bar Roma.  Part of the Via Quadrono/Bottega del Vino empire – a proper Via Quadrono is also in the works for a Madison Avenue opening on the UES - this tiny boite with about 10 tables, great interiors (the ceiling is a standout), good food and adorable service is a real addition to our lives.

So from one end of the city to the other, there are happenings.  The important thing, of course, is to get out and travel to them.

Radio Cairo

photoWe have eaten well, no question.  Australia is justly proud of its innovative cuisine, its chefs, wines, whiskies, stickies, oysters, seafood, wagyu and wallaby.  And we have been treated to some of the best of all the above.

But my favorite meal – for its food as well as for its atmosphere – was at Radio Cairo in Mosman, a 25 year old standout that serves African, Caribbean, Indian and Sri Lankan deliciousness.  God the food is good!  Load up the table and share Limpopo Crocodile Wings (chicken), Cajun Popcorn (shrimp), South African Lamb Sosaties (yum), pappadums and SL Kaha Rice spiced up with Maghreb Hot-Ass Harissa.   This was Jeremy’s birthday dinner, and none better could have been planned.

And to top it off, Charlie Burrows, manager of this multicultural gem, hails from Kenya. We discovered over these plates of goodness that our paths had crossed about 35 years ago on Lamu? the Taita Hills?  We cannot remember, but there he was, working the non-stop busy room with grace and affability, although once we had discovered our connection the other servers had to launch into high gear to cover for him.

Radio Cairo is owned by Srian Perera,  a very good Sri Lankan businessman and ex-anthropologist (not a common combination!).  His description of Radio Cairo is worth transcribing here:

RADIO CAIRO is my expression of cultural diversity at its most positive.  I’m of Sri Lankan (Wijeyekoon), Irish (Kennedy), German Jew (De Worms), Portuguese (Perera) and English (Martin) origin!

The “Spice and Human trade” organically created me and the cuisine at RADIO CAIRO.  People and food from China to South Asia to India to Europe to Africa to Caribbean to Southern Americas centred in Slave Island, Kandy and Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka.

Charlie Murtagh

DSCN1407 - ABOUT USWe strolled the Salamanca Saturday market that wound its way around the Hobart waterfront and fell in love with some short brown dress boots.  Three pairs were left and, one by one, Jeremy, Katie and I had a go at trying them on.  Too large for Jeremy; too small for Katie; almost just right for me but, when Jeremy found out that it was Charlie Murtagh who made them, that he lived ten minutes outside of town and that he would gladly custom make us some boots while we went up the coast, I, too, decided to hold off for the perfect size.  But I knew we were on to a good thing because I would have fudged the size with an innersole and gone with the half size too big.

Three days later, we returned to 16 Victor Place which turns out to be Charlie’s home and workshop.  Here he makes Australia’s preeminent riding boots — race boots, track boots, and dress boots — all by hand with a huge dash of pride and care.  His wife told me that he had worked well in to the two nights to complete this order (“he can rest later,” she said) and there they were – perfect in every way.  And the price was right at $220 a pair.  I also found a pair of jockey boots that were forming on a client’s mold, and I ordered those as well to be sent along when finished at leisure.