12 years! 12 years, man! I’ve got a lovely lady and she’s stayed with me for 12 years! Can you freaking believe it? Actually, I can. I’m a happy duck.

We celebrated at Allium, after going to see The Trip to Italy. The order of the evening worked well because the movie followed Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan as they travelled across Italy stopping at restaurants in order to write travel articles about their experiences. All this was fictional, of course, but the restaurants exist, and the meals they ate whetted my appetite for something outstanding. Allium did not disappoint on this front. I quite enjoyed the movie too. The two mains and the director (Michael Winterbottom) have worked together on another piece that I’ve seen called A Cock and Bull Story, a heroic attempt to adapt The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman to the big screen. I don’t know if you’ve read the book, but it is full of asides and silly humour and darkness and completely black pages and the like, and it takes Laurence Sterne most of the first volume to get to his own birth. This is depicted in the movie. Brydon and Coogan play Uncle Toby and Tristram, and themselves trying to figure out how to make the film work, and they do a bit of the same in The Trip to Italy. As Brydon says, he is playing himself, but a more affable version, not that he isn’t affable, no no no. It made me wonder how much of the film was scripted, and how much was Winterbottom giving them the leeway to simply be themselves, only more so. The same could be said, really, for A Cock and Bull Story, as the non-Shandy bits seem so loosey-goosey. The film is a sequel, which they hang a lantern on, and spend a few minutes making fun of sequels. Ha. The original is called The Trip, and is available on NetFlix UK. I’m keen to see it now, as the format is sound (two funny guys on a road trip sampling good food, visiting the haunts of Byron and the Shelleys,  and having the type of conversations you dream of having), and the location is one I’ve always wanted to visit myself: The Lake District. If it weren’t for the time and the fact that my sweet would probably want to watch it too, I’d load it up now.

Carley, of Carley and Hubert fame (Hi Carley!) recommended Allium to me the last time I saw her, and she hit it outta the park! The place is on Holland south of Wellington (for you Ottawa types), next to The Foolish Chicken (somewhere I think I need to try out too…). One Pom Collins ( a tom collins with pomegranate juice), tomato appy, and halibut (which I ordered just for the halibut) dish later, and I was happy. The food matched the deliciousness I saw on the silver screen (though with less pasta), and our banter rivalled that of Hepburn and Tracy.

All in all a fantastic way to celebrate a fantastic day!