Archives for Drink

Houston: space, history and food

Houston claims the honour of it name being the first word spoken on the moon. Remember what Neil Armstron said: “Houston, the eagle has landed.” Today the Houston Space centre isn’t nearly as important as it once was because the space programme isn’t as important as it once was. It is still the Texan city’s most visited attraction with over a million visitors a year. Thousands of kids, parents, teachers and school parties pour through each day, taking in Mission Control and the displays and exhibits. View PDF
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Time out in Victoria

All roads to the Great Ocean Road pass through Geelong, once a bustling port and now an attractive retirement town. At Geelong, travellers can head due west on the inland road or take the more common route south west to the Victorian Riviera. We took some friends’ advice and went inland to avoid the holiday crush. It turned out to be good advice. View PDF
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City’s tale of two kings

Memphis the biggest city in Tennessee, epitomises the old and new South of the United States. Once a major slave-trading centre, in the 1960s it was the focus of civil rights action. Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated there, and the national civil rights museum in the city is his memorial. It has always been a major musical centre for blues, country, jazz and of course rock and roll. The king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, started there and he wasn’t the only one. View PDF
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Lyon: a culinary gem amid a violent history

Lyon is a gem of a city. Set on a hilly site, it’s where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet – making it a natural military and commercial junction and an attractive location in its own right. Its long history dates back to Roman times when it was called Lugdunum and was the capital of Roman Gaul. The city flourished in the Renaissance period; commercial fairs started in 1464 when Italian bankers arrived, and from 1473 it was one of the most active printing centres in Europe. In the 17th century, it was the silk manufacturing capital of Europe. It is known as a centre of the arts and culture, and most particularly for being the gastronomic capital of France, a title bestowed on it by the gourmet Curnonsky in 1934, although its culinary reputation goes back to Roman times. View PDF
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Boston’s craft brews

Boston has an active craft beer scene and the state of Massachusetts has at least 47 micro-breweries, 10 of them in greater Boston. I signed up for an evening brewery tour with the Boston Brewery Company, and eventually five of us headed off in a van across the river to Night Shift Brewing. Boston’s craft brews
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Night tour of Boston’s breweries covers only a few

Boston has an active craft beer scene and the state of Massachusetts has at least 47 micro breweries, ten of them in greater Boston. I signed up for an evening brewery tour with the Boston Brewery Company, and eventually five of us headed off in a van across the river to Night Shift Brewing while Andy from Arkansas, our beer guide, talked about how lifting the legal ban on home brewing in the late 1990s had led to an explosion of experimentation. Night Shift Brewing’s story is typical: three guys in an apartment making their own stuff and giving it to friends, who eventually said, ‘man, this stuff is good enough to sell.’ Now they have a large warehouse with big steel tanks, a range of brews and a bar out front where people from the neighbourhood gather to sip, talk and eat stuff. Very homely. We tried four beers there, a very plain beer called Whirlpool which had grapefruit flavours but not much else; 87, which was a 7.8% IPA with extra hops added at the end of the
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Can the French make good coffee? Peut-être.

You’d think that the French would know how to make good coffee. L’espresso may be an Italian word, although that is contested. The French claim it too. Certainly an Italian called Angelo Moriondo registered an Italian patent for a steam driven “instantaneous” coffee beverage making device in Turin in 1884. But hey, Italy is just next door and the French spend hours sitting in cafés drinking the stuff. My recent experience in France makes me disinclined to believe that making good coffee is something the French know or care much about. And even if they do, that knowledge has not spread to New Caledonia where I spent a week recently, a good deal of it in search of a decent brew. In the breakfast room in our four star hotel there’s a push button machine for a selection of coffees, not the real thing, but we came to know this as very standard in supposedly sophisticated Noumea. These machines are like a large version of Nespresso. They make an indifferent coffee but there is plenty of foam, but it is
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