Monday, June 25, 2007

Homesick (second instalment)

I miss our Green Markets, under the beautiful Port Jackson figs at Davis Park, West End. I miss the stall I dubbed 'the crystal cave hippies' with their gorgeous carrots, silverbeet and occasional broadbeans, all handed over with long-fingered purple sparkly nails and a smile. I miss the Islander man with his root vegetables, and the banana guy and his young, bewildered son. I miss the lovely old Greek couple who bickered even as they tipped home-grown and sun-ripened tomatoes into our shopping bag. I miss the happy hippy organic folk, who chirped away at me as I collected our weekly groceries and who invariably gave me an extra peach, or some cherries, or a handful of snow peas.

I miss the smell of chai, simmering away. I miss watching all the satisfied people sat under trees eating their scrumptious breakfast of scrambled eggs on rye with tomato chutney and rocket, or French toast with berry compote . I miss the people whom I bought free-range eggs from: I thought they were a cult, with their matching t-shirts and singsong sales pitch.

I miss the abundance of sprightly flowers, which I frequently bought to spruce up our house.

I miss my fellow market-goers: the regulars,like me, for whom it was their weekly shop; the gasping newcomers darting their heads right to left, and back again; the cyclists wobbling away with their fresh prizes. I don't miss the people who insisted on taking their dogs shopping with them. Or the little girl who stuffed a Paris Hilton type dog into her shopping bag. I don't like dogs all that much, but that's no way to treat a sentient animal. I miss the buskers and the young children boogying away in front of the one-man band (I don't miss the one-man band cacophony, although I admire his energy). I particularly miss the woman with her husky voice who channelled Janis Joplin, off key and out of harmony, but -oh!- the gusto.

The vegetables in England are droopier. They have travelled a long way to be here. (I wonder if I am droopier - I too have travelled a long way to be here.) I had expected that, because of England's colder clime, fruit and vege would last longer. But they do not. Broccoli goes yellow after a week, and the stem gets all bendy. Carrots flop.

We try to source locally, but it is difficult because fewer things can grow locally, and the market does not support them. We have to be willing to give away half of our weekend to buy local food.

I am learning what is seasonal; in Brisbane you rarely have to worry about what is seasonal (no seasons, you see). I've been delighting in fruit and vegetables that prefer cold: broadbeans, blueberries, okra; and the joys of strawberries and cherries as we hurtle through summer. I'm eager to see what autumn brings, and what we will eat in the fallow months of winter.

I have eaten many more potatoes here, in the last six months, than I have my entire life. Rather too many of them have been in the form of chips.

And I am slowly forming my impressions of the people at the local farmers' market. They are less characterful, so far, then the Green Market folk - but that may be because I know them less well. Before long, I'm sure they'll all have epithets, and I hope some of them will start to recognise me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Blogging

While I was transferring some of my photo-blog posts over to this, my talkie-blog, I found something I said early on in my blogging days:
"Is this about books or pictures? I really wouldn't know. I keep having a lovely internal discussion about web-blogs. I won't replicate it here - I would have to spend some time composing an essay." That was on my photo-blog.

I said this on *this* blog: "Clearly, I have somewhat altered the purpose of this blog, by mere fact of this post. Who knows what it will bring."

I started this blog to document my family story. I stopped because I got a computer in which to store my family story and because it was difficult writing and delving into that story in such a public environment as a blog. The blog started becoming about race and identity - because that's a key theme in my family story. Then it kind of evolved (devolved?) from there to be generally about me - this was the fault of writing some things about LAW. I'm not quite a Blawg (law-blog) - nor do I want to be - but I am a law nerd and I do love the law, so I think about it a lot. And sometimes, I just needed to shout out about the law. I think the fact that I started writing about books also drifted the theme of the blog away from race and identity.

I still am very interested in race and identity; it's just hard work thinking about those issues all the time. And somehow (and so far), in the UK, it's less of a concern. Perhaps this is because I AM a foreigner here. So whenever anyone asks me where I'm from, Australia is the answer. And people permit me to respond with 'Australia' (they're kind like that). They don't proceed to ask me where I am *really* from (not like in Australia ...). I am not bothered about clawing for belonging here, because I do not belong. I belong elsewhere, but the clawing there has been suspended.

Rather, I continued with the blog because it was a wonderful exercise in writing, and I let more of myself onto it. I think if you read this, you know me pretty well. I am still reasonably careful not to reveal too much (ie. my address), but sometimes I wonder about the extent to which we are worried about privacy.

One of my greatest bugbears is when a client won't tell me something, using rights-wielding words such as "that is my private information." I have no qualms explaining to people WHY I need to know the answer to the questions I am asking. I have a duty not to go blabbing about their personal affairs to all and sundry, and, indeed, I have a duty not to even tell anyone that they have come to me for legal advice. I want to scream at him/her: I am your legal advisor: you must tell me everything that is relevant (and I am a wee bit better placed than you to judge whether it is relevant). So can I have that information now please? It's not me pruriently prying into your private life. It helps me to advise you fully - and you do want that, don't you? Because I don't want it to come out in court and have me standing there smacking my forehead for not knowing about whatever it is that was oh-so private.

I wonder how 'private' such details as my home address or phone number actually are, when I tell you in florid detail how I feel about a book, or how an individual has treated me. Surely my thoughts and feelings are more private than my contact details? But I don't intend to reveal my contact details. *I* have consented to revealing information about myself. But the people around me have not.

I am also reasonably careful not to write about my employer, or my clients (except to rant in a general way about their existence). I am careful when writing about my family, and friends. And I let my partner vet anything I write about him.

As I have said before, I consider myself to have a digital persona: she has bits that are more exaggerated, or under-emphasised than the me-in-real-life who gets on with her daily life: her household chores and her paid work. We are the same person, but our representation is slightly different. Equally, my representation alters depending on whether I am in a social environment or a professional environment, or with my family, or with my partner. We're all me, but I'm not a lawyer when I'm with my parents, and I'm not an aunt when I'm at work (except that there's a picture of one of my adorable nieces on my workspace). The digital environment is just another place where, though I am still me, I won't behave as e.g. Oanh Lawyer or Oanh Girlfriend.

I did discover that as I wrote, my categories and labels became fluid. I could not really separate race, from law, from gender, from literature. They're all part and parcel of how I see the world, and how I want to explore that in my writing.

Ah, but I digress.

Why do I blog?

The pre-dominant reason is because it is structured writing. Of a different kind to what I do in my daily work, and different again from my dead-tree journal writing (although a lot more like it).

I don't have the kind of blog that tells you what I am doing and thinking moment-by-moment (because I find those blogs riveting for a while and then just mind-numbingly boring). Taken to the extreme, it's Twittering. Which is an inane phenomenon, according to toi (that's me in Viet - bada bam bada boom). I don't even have, anymore, a themed blog. It just is.

I do like each post to be unified - to begin, and to end - and to be *about* something (even if that something is mundane).

I also enjoy the phenomenon of the blogosphere - my commenters and the places I comment; how my thoughts are enriched and expanded upon by others; how things I haven't considered are brought to my attention. I love that I am connected to people all over the world from where I am: the obvious places (Australia, UK, North America), the less obvious but still 'I get it' places (Viet Nam, Malaysia, Philippines) and the bizarre: Uzbekhistan. Granted, the visitor from Uzbekhistan might have been a friend checking in on me while she was travelling - but I don't know that for certain. And my Uzbekhi visitor might not visit again but s/he found me! How did s/he find me? Did s/he get something of value or did s/he roll her/his eyes (just another Viet-Australian lawyer in the UK moaning and groaning about books, movies, identity, and law. ho hum.)

I have many more regular visitors than I have commenters. I am, naturally, very curious about them. Who are you guys? How did you find me? Will you stay? (This is not a plea for you to de-lurk. You are more than welcome to continue lurking; I don't mind. I lurk on plenty of blogs. I am curious though.)

But it is also the commenters in the blogosphere who have me the most worried. On my own blog, I'm yet to encounter trouble - but I'm worried about it. On other blogs, I occasionally get myself bogged down in the comment stream - you get sent off in all kinds of directions - and then you just have to stop. I find the endless comments exhausting. Like the moment-by-moment blog, I am initially riveted and then I am drained. Like watching a car crash, or a pub brawl: it's fascinating, but ultimately does not add anything to my character (or shames me with my own voyeuristic tendencies).

I also get worried about how my time gets sucked into the whirlpool of other blogs - what I like to think of as the Charybdis of the blogging world - and my own blog writing. I think of myself sometimes as Scylla - blogging monster of many heads, grabbing ships of inspirations and sailors of ideas, spitting them out again with vim and some venom. Sometimes, I am Ulysses (or any other mythical Greek sailor who did not make into the canon): I have to navigate a path between Charybdis (reading too many blogs, sinking and disappearing off the edge of the world) and Scylla (self-destructive castigation about blog writing).

I think there is value in blogs: the reading and the writing win out over the inanities, misinformation and time-sucker. But then, I'm biased - because I am a blogger and I think I'm here to stay. There is a world of rubbish out there: rubbish which is equally present in published media whether it be newspapers (here's looking at you, News Ltd) or novels or non-fiction. There is also a panoply of wondrous stuff - more than you will ever read. You find your place, like you do in the real world, and then you enjoy it, learn something and hopefully enrich others too. But the best part is: it's you who makes your blog world - you don't have to be a passive absorber of stimuli: you can create and participate. (I'm so Web 2.0.)

Inspired by Sophie at Sarsparilla, Pavlov's Cat, a snippet from a very brave post by Galaxy and as challenged by Cee, many moons ago.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Home Sick

I miss many things about Brisbane, my family being number one on that list. Inextricably linked with missing my family, I miss the food: my family's cooking, the proliferation of fabulous food places near my home, and the Green Market every Saturday.

I have been ill last few days. Given that we arrived in UK in the middle of winter and this is my first major flu-like illness, I've done quite well. But I woke one morning with the most horrific sore throat: each time I swallowed, it felt as if I was choking on razor blades. Behind my right ear, some cruel pixie was hammering away; all my muscles had liquified but, inexplicably, my joints had become rock-hard.

Everything I ate that day was like cardboard; chewing was a chore and swallowing was distinctly unpleasant. When the food hit my belly, I felt queasy. For lunch I had a salad baguette, but the cursed sandwich-maker drowned my salad in mayonnaise. It was horrid. I passed the rest of my day in a moochy fuzz, which took my workmates aback as I am usually cheerful. I got two bad phonecalls in the late afternoon: one of which effectively destroyed my client's case; the other intimated that the next day would be a flurry of frantic activity in which I would need all my wits about me. I put the receiver down and put my head in my hands, tears pooling just behind my eyes (I suck at being sick).

The best way to deal with feeling so bad is to mock oneself; I wailed: I want my mum! My workmate looked over at me. Oh! she said. What brough that on?

When I am sick, I want to eat chao. Only one person makes it better than my mum does, and that's my eldest sister. When I was a wee thing, I often came home from school all scraped up - I got into a lot of fights. Occassionally, the whole household (me included) had to pull an all nighter to meet a clothes deadline (we were a home sweat shop). My eldest sister would cook up a pot of chao thit (meat congee) which we ate to keep us going, and so that Um did not have to cook a proper dinner.

I can recall quite clearly a particular occassion when I arrived after a rather unpleasant walk home and being told that I would have to neatly fold the mountain of cotton t-shirts in the living room. I was very good at looking pouty when younger (I still do a good line in pouts these days), so when my bottom lip stuck out and my eyes got all mournful, my eldest sis said: There's chao thit in the kitchen. Get some and then come help.

I sat myself down at our octagonal dining table with a large bowl of chao and a porcelain spoon. The rice had been cooking all day and was a soft gelatinous mess intermingled with pinky grey gems of pork mince and dark green rectangles of thorny cilantro, slices of spring onions and sprigs of leafy coriander were liberally sprinkled on top. I added pepper, chilli and soy sauce as I went. Each spoonful revived me. I said to my sister, who was working nearby: I don't know what you put in this. It's like medicine. Um lovingly turned my words into a family anecdote: it is about her appreciative youngest daughter, and her skilled eldest one.

That is still my iconic chao memory. Every chao I eat now is an echo of that perfect bowl: little me at a table, legs swinging and my petty woes peeling away from me as each spoonful of hot, nourishing mushy rice slides down my throat, filling my belly with comfort and love. If anyone got sick, chao started simmering alongisde our usual dinner. We also had chao as late night suppers. There were many video nights that my siblings and I had when we were in our teens, which comprised chao in between b-grade horror movies and Hong Kong martial arts flicks. We got fancy with our late night chao: it became chicken chao, fish chao, crab chao - anything we could think of to add to the pot got thrown in. Some worked and became family standards; some were salutary lessons in mixing flavours.

None of the chao that I cook ever tastes as good as Um's or my eldest sister's, but it's what I make for myself when I'm feeling poorly. The best chao is made with leftover rice. Because I do not eat rice everyday, I have to make chao from scratch*; I'm too impatient for it to turn out the mushy consistency I like, and that is so wonderful on sore throats. Often, I make a clear soup instead - but it's chao that I really want, and chao that will heal me.

* There's a Viet word for uncooked rice, that distinguishes it from cooked rice. I am not sure there is an English equivalent.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Belated BIFF 2006 Round-up

Well, the time draws nigh when, if I were in Brisbane, I would be getting all excited about another BIFF: Brisbane International Film Festival. Seeing that I won't have the opportunity to see any BIFF movies this year, I shall mark the occassion and dampen my nostalgia with this extremely belated post.

Let me start with our selection process. You see, BIFF runs for 10 days and shows “more than 200 films” (from BIFF's promotional). I have been doing this ever since I turned 18 (some of the movies have not been classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification – Australia's resident censorial board – and so one must not be of tender years and disposition to watch). My first ever BIFF, I saw five films. Each year, it increased as I got more money. Then, for my 21st, my delightful family got me a you-can-go-to-every-single-session Gold Pass. Plus they gave me some spending money so that I would remember to eat, too. Most years, I fall sick following BIFF – too many late nights, too little food = immune system kaput.

The very first thing to do is ascertain what you can afford money-wise and time-wise. These days, money is less of an issue and time much more so. Back in the good ol' university days, it was the other way around. I keep telling myself that I will take my annual leave during BIFF – but it seems like such a waste. I'm just hanging around the city, after all.

Next, you purchase the BIFF programme. Sure, there's a free one – but it doesn't tell you anywhere near enough information to ensure a well informed and suitably discriminating choice. I nevertheless pick up a few of these free ones and drop them off to friends and acquaintainces; to encourage them.

Then, you make a list as you read the programme cover to cover. The list should have three symbols (you may chose what symbols you wish, but I prefer the following):-

* - must see

@ - really want to see

~ - want to see

The way I ascertain my must sees / really want to sees and want to sees is a combination of factors: director (very important), whether I predict wider distribution, country of origin, synopsis, reviewer. No one factor takes precedence over another. Although predicted wider distribution will usually rule out a film pretty quickly.

Last, you try to convert your list of movies into a workable timetable. This is the tricky part as you juggle clashes and (sigh) working the 0830 to 1800 grind. In 2006, we had the aid of a spiffy Excel spreadsheet – colour co-ordinated and all.

I have a few film buddies, and they sometimes derail my choices. This is okay – it's part of the fun. One of the joys of BIFF is being told by a fellow film buff, or even a complete stranger, how great a film was, and when it's next on. Then the balancing act of whether to remain with the well thought out timetable or throw caution to the wind and exchange tickets. I've seen some real gems in the 'throwing caution to the winds' fashion.

And then, for about two weeks, you rarely eat at home, you rush from work into the cinema, from one cinema into another and then stagger home, exhausted from the visual and emotional stimulation. Then you wake up and start it all over again. Oh, and you have to drink plenty of coffee and eat lots of chocolate. Sadly, halfway through this year's BIFF I had to give up coffee. I was a tetchy zombie for a good part of BIFF.

But I suppose you are more interested in the films?

This is a list of my highlights.

I'll let you google the synopses and give only my impressions. If you saw / will see any of these, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The expected delights:-

- Jan Svankmeyer's Lunacy

I have loved Jan Svankmeyer ever since I first saw Conspirators of Pleasure. He has such a tactile appreciation of how humans interact. This one showed lots of slabs of steak and sausages rolling about and working their way to empty skulls to flesh them out, as a thematic structure for the madhouse goings-on of the plot.

- The Cave of the Yellow Dog

By the same director who made The Story of the Weeping Camel, this is another vehicle for a nomadic Mongolian family to show off just how incredibly cute their children are. My favourite part is where the young girl – who is effectively the lead – keeps trying to bite the middle of her palm (part of a lesson her mother teaches her). “It seems so close, yet you cannot have it,” Mother says. And Mother is right.

- Everlasting Regret

By Stanley Kwan, he of 'Lan Yu' and 'Red Rose, White Rose' fame. Mesmerisingly shot, stylish and quiet – one gets a keen sense of the main character's desperation and sheer determination. You could compare it to In the Mood for Love if you were being lazy.

The quirky joys:-

- Executive Koala

A koala in a business suit, who works for a rabbit (also in a business suit), goes on a killing rampage in Tokyo. The finale battle scene where everyone revives, hugs each other and then fireworks go off is inanely delightful or delightfully inane. I'm not sure which.

- Princess Racoon

By Seijo Suzuki, who also did Pistol Opera, this stylised mythic opera with hip hop, blues 'n' roots and a fabulous ultra-pop duet is sheer aural and visual over-stimulation. And the golden frog that says “kerop, kerop” like all Japanese frogs do is hilariously weird.

- Men at Work

A Turkish film about four men who go on a drive somewhere (we never do know where), see a big phallic rock and decide it must be toppled. Their heroic attempts come to naught but they recruit passers-by in their obsessive quest, in the meantime revealing much about themselves. Wonderful dialogue.

The sublime films:-

- Into Great Silence

In 1982, the film-maker approached a monastery in Switzerland - Le Grand Chartreuse-, reputed to be the most ascetic in the world, for permission to film on location. The monastery said they were not ready and that they would call. More than a decade later, they do call the film-maker to say: We are ready now. With very little dialogue and intermingled with three repeating quotes, the audience enters the contemplative life. We watch monks pray, chop wood, have lunch and garden. And we watch them play on the side of the mountain. I used to want to become a hermit. This film only flamed that fire.

- The Play

Women in a village in Turkey decide to put on a play about their lives, and in the meantime explore facets of themselves and gain a heart-warming self confidence. Feminist consciousness raising in a very grass-roots fashion indeed.

- Book of the Dead

By a Japanese animator, this film could not be described as coherent, but was certainly beautifully crafted.

- Bashing

This film opened my eyes to a phenomenon I was unaware of: the approbation received by Japanese who had volunteered in Iran, were kidnapped and then released unharmed. Returning home from this ordeal, a young woman finds herself discriminated against: in her work, on the street, at a convenience store. She is spat upon and alternately lectured and ignored. An interesting exploration of ideas about selfishness and patriotism / parochialism.

- Death of Mr Lazarescu

A Croatian film about a man who is dying and trying to seek help. We are privy to the incomprehensible hospital bureaucracy, and its callousness. Being somewhat familiar with hospitals, it is sad to say that there is little difference between a former Communist country and Australia.

The Disappointments:-

- Terry Gilliam's Tideland (don't bother): some fabulously fantastic images. Otherwise a story lacking in something – I think it was heart, but it could also have been convincing plot (even within the surreal realm it established) or characters you cared about.

- Mongolian Ping Pong: could have been charming and just wasn't.Oh, and it took too long.

And the interminable:-

- The Neighbour no. 13: overwrought and meaningless horror, with an attempt to stuff meaning in.

- Longing: A German movie I can't for the life of me work out why I chose (director perhaps?); my partner insists that it was my choice and, unfortunately, I am honest enough to admit that it probably was. I have this to say in my notes, made during BIFF: Waste of energy. Should have slept.

- Corpse – in which I did fall asleep. You probably won't get the opportunity to (it is an Australian surreal film, made in the mid-70s), but if you do, avoid.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rick Stein's Seafood

Months ago, when I told a friend we were going to Cornwall for my partner's birthday, he suggested in awed and hushed tones that I try to make a booking for Rick Stein's restaurant, which was in Cornwall, somewhere. The friend is a gourmand. I like food but I'm a little lax with my celebrity chef knowledge. However, always amenable to suggestions about where to go for good food, I googled Rick Stein and discovered that he has not one, but four, restaurants in Padstow, Cornwall, UK.

That's a bit excessive, thought I.

His website is very good, with pictures and menus; I had a good look around and decided that, for the occasion, I should book Seafood, although the fish&chippery was probably more our style.

I left it a little while but my friend's words reverberated hauntingly in my ears: if you can get a reservation. It was a month and a half before our planned holiday. I had not asked work; we had not booked anything. Oh, how much effort is an email? I berated myself and sent one off.

The reply came back: Why, discerning marm, we do have a reservation - but only at 9:30pm. Would you like to make a booking? If so, please telephone us and provide a credit card number.

I should have known: my instincts are rarely wrong. I really did not like the tone of that email (I've paraphrased). I thought: oh, how ridiculous to have a reservation but only at 21:30, and to require a credit card for the booking. I already feel the restaurant is not for the likes of me - but the recommendation is in place. I telephone and give them my credit card number.

Thereafter, we make our accommodation bookings and it is nowhere near the restaurant but we have a hire car for the weekend, and Padstow is really not very far from our accommodation.

The roads in Cornwall are more twisty and turny then we expect.

I have packed a nice dress to wear. I put it on. I stand in front of the mirror for a while; I walk down into the lounge and sit there, trying to gauge if the dress is okay. I walk outside to ascertain if I will be warm enough. I won't. I return to my room and put on tights. The dress is pale, and my tights are black. It looks all wrong. I remove the dress and put on my jeans, and a black shirt. There. I look fine. Not very elegant but fine. My partner looks lovely and I tell him so. He grimaces at me but the compliment is returned.

On the fateful night of The Booking, it is drizzly. Visibility is poor and I am reading the map. Both things mean that we are bound to get lost. Luckily, we only miss one turn. The journey however has been tense, with both of us craning our necks forward, wary of other cars, wildlife and the wet road. When we finally reach the restaurant 45 minutes later, we discover that the car park requires all-night payment, and we have not brought small change.

Never mind, I say, I will ask the restaurant. We go in and are skeptically greeted at the door. I smile and say that I have a booking. The maitre'd does not smile and looks my name up on his computer. He permits us to enter the restaurant with a disdainful gesture. I smile again and say: "I'm terribly sorry but could I get some change for the car park?" The maitre d' continues to look unimpressed but tells us it is unecessary and that no one will check in the poor weather. I am rule abiding and a little torn, but the maitre d' looks like he has no intention of giving us any change. We go to our table.

Beside us on one side are an interesting couple. I think they are old friends catching up: there is sexual frisson but of the safe kind mixed in with a little jokingly unsubtle innuendo. They also strike me as landed folk and/or country posh. She is beautiful with long dark hair and an aristocratic nose. He is also reasonably attractive but with a weak chin - something I associate with the middle child in a posh family (too many costume dramas for me). He wears a pink shirt, with cuff links; she is wearing a wrap-around dress. They both drink a lot.

On the other side are another couple, who strike me as travellers. I am pleased to see the man is wearing jeans and a t-shirt; the woman travel (quick-dry) trousers and a fleece jumper. They are eating crab and laughing. I like them instantly, and more so when he proffers her a crab claw with the words: "here, have a paw."

I am too self-conscious to take any photographs especially as all the wait staff seem to descend on us. We are served by at least six different staff, only one of whom smiles at us. The maitre d comes to take our drinks order and his top lip remains disdainful as we order only one glass of wine; I ask for water for both of us. Another waiter brings the drinks to us, and places them on the table almost as an afterthought. He flounces off. I wonder where to.

Our order is taken by a surly waitress. We have ascertained that we are both feeling overwhelmed and out of place, so we take the easy option and go for the tasting menu of 6 main dishes, dessert and petit fours. In comparison to the better-than-you attitude of the staff, the tasting menu is on a tatty piece of A4 paper. I think about pocketing it so that I have a list of the dishes for future reference. However, I don't wish to ask the staff if I may take it and have them patronise me further for being a hick. And I don't really want a souvenir of the place.

The meals themselves were reasonably good, but most do not follow Rick Stein's model of "good food, cooked simply", which I see as we leave. No it wasn't! I say to my partner, pointing at the sign. The crab and rocket salad was lovely, and the steamed mackerel was also very good - but a little salty. None of the other dishes stand out but I do recall that the main fish dish of pollock was a bit tough, and drenched in some creamy sauce. That's not what either a good fish or good cooking of that fish should be like; fresh fish is silken and crumples on your tongue and fish should be set off with a sharp, but complementary, flavour.

Dessert - panna cotta - was decidedly disappointing.

To be fair to Seafood, we were a little out of sorts and perhaps did not choose the best dishes for our tastebuds. But rest assured, we won't be dining at Seafood again (especially if I am required to book more than one month in advance). Rick Stein still has three other eateries in Padstow with which to redeem himself, and my vote is on the fish&chippery next.

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