Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

IWFS Kuala Lumpur Visit to Champagne, Burgundy and Alsace September 2016 - Day Five

Wednesday, 28th September 2016

1. Drive to Alsace
2. Lunch at Taverne Alsacienne
3. Tasting at Domaine Weinbach
4. Dinner at L'Auberge De L'Ill

Woke up to a beautiful bright and blazing morning in Beaune. Little bit of a restless one, but at least the orchestra had become more pastoral than the 1812 overture-like cannons of the previous nights. Lazed about in the bed dozing and catching up on lost sleep time. Very pleasant. Someone once said that the key to longer life is to sleep in and let the body recharge. Definitely got a believer in that one here.

Seems the original plan was to leave early for a leisurely drive to get to our lunch date in Colmar around 1pm. In this, Dear Leader presumably got persuaded by the earnest entreaties of those needing to indulge the shopping instinct to delay so as to give some time in town to sate the cravings. So it was that we lounged and lazed in the room with our instant coffee and gently packed before heading down to the usual breakfast. At this time in the trip I had not yet learned to refuse the orange juice and wolfed down two of the deliciously refreshing and freshly squeezed ahead of the cappuccino and cheese and ham baguette. The Ibis Styles breakfast is solid and filling - bit basic in offerings, but no complaints in quality terms.  And OJ is so good for kick-sparking the system into some level of alertness. It even occasionally allows me to engage in some semblance of breakfast conversation which is generally quite abnormal for me - the neurons don't quite fire as well when the brain is muzzy and bleuggh after a previous evening's skinful (which seems to be pretty much most of the time).

There was lots of excited chatter as we got on to the bus, with people comparing their purchases and prices and the winners in bargaining terms being loudly lauded. Very fast check out (though we had to fill out some residence form for the local gendarmerie which consumed an observedly five pointless minutes) and roll the cases across the road to a pretty sullen Napoleon for loading on the bus. I guess some people just can't see the sunshine and celebrate another day of life. It truly was a glorious morning. 10.30 saw us saying farewell to Ibis, though not before (I think) Bachan had to run back into the hotel to retrieve some booty. Or go for a pee. A three hour drive lay ahead of us, so we settled into the seats and dozed or whatsapped. Lenglui slept most of the way as normal - amazing that she can just zap out on anything that moves. I stare out of the window at the passing landscape, which also can be quite relaxing. But sleep on a bus or train totally eludes me.

Side note - Dear Leader had splurged for a mobile Broadband package whereby we all could log on to his mini Hub thingy and remain in contact with the world to check and see whether it still loved us. Only problem seemed to be that it could not handle all the love at any one time and was a bit slow in connecting a lot of the time. Not to worry - the world would hopefully still be there when it did. 

An hour into the ride I began wishing I had followed Bachan to the Ibis toilet for that last go before the off. That freaking OJ. My entire second hour on the bus was focused on restraining the need for relief. Which thankfully came sooner as a result (I guess) of OJ's effect on everyone else. Napoleon pulled into a large-ish petrol station cum restaurant shop and everyone ran to the restrooms. Ahhh....   Total exquisite bliss. Lesson - no more OJ ahead of a bus ride.

I picked up some extra bottled water at the station and a few of the pilgrims bought snacks to share on the bus for the last hop into Alsace. The landscape had been slowly changing from pretty flat to slightly rolling and the sight of vines always heralds that we are getting close to where we need to be. 

The Alsace region is pretty, not unlike Beaune but a bit more lush green and higher slopes and peaks dotted with the occasional fortress. We were coming to it in blazing sunshine and blue cloudless skies - about as picture perfect as you could get. The Autoroute gave way to smaller roads, one of which brought us through impossibly pretty flower festooned houses and restaurants to the town of Ingersheim and our lunch at La Taverne Alsacienne. Dear Leader had billed it as "leaning towards seafood dishes (and) with an immaculate wine list" thanks to the owner being a judge at Decanter World awards. 

Something to study whilst, er....   
Notwithstanding our arriving a shade past the lunch hour closing time, we got sat at two tables with a separate one on which to park the bottles and glasses. The Tavern is a very pretty place, lots of paintings, and quite cool in the shade - most pleasant indeed. The bathroom was downstairs and the ledge going down was decorated with high-end bottles of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace. As was the boy's room itself. All empty. Of course. 

I did not make any notes on lunch, though I remember it as bright and easy breezy and some lovely wines to pair with the food. The aim was for a light lunch ahead of our upcoming 3 star dinner that evening. But I have learnt that "light" is a term of degree and relativity, and that my concept of light does not seem to align with that of either the Alsace or the IWFS. There is nothing "light" about IWFS lunches.  The photos show an egg custard soup with bread to start, followed by a large salmon terrine salad and a huge helping of some fish in white sauce with potato and asparagus. I seem to remember big hunks of bread and lovely butter. There may have been dessert but I have no memory or record. As said, so much for light. I had to get up and take a walk outside to ease the bloat and take some snaps of the Taverne. Phooo…..   Wines were 2012 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Rotenberg Pinot Gris, 2013 Albert Boxler Grand Cru Sommerberg Riesling, and a 2013 Albert Mann Les Saintes Claires Pinot Noir. All wonderfully textured and full of character and perfect foils for the hearty Alsacienne food on the table. I seem to remember enjoying the Pinot Gris very much - light crisp honey, bit of smoke and a hit of longan fruit. I was also keen to try the Albert Mann since my mate Julian in Singapore is due to bring it in there. It didn't seem to stun - pleasant enough, but couldn't quite find the heart of the thing on this occasion. Will try to blag a bottle when next I see him. He is my good friend. Yes.

Interior of Restaurant Taverne Alsacienne

Salmon Terrine

Cod, potato, asparagus, parsley sauce. This is a light lunch. Yes. 

Lunchtime wines

Restaurant Taverne Alsacienne
Restaurant Taverne Alsacienne
99, rue de la République
68040 Ingersheim, France
Tel +3 (03) 89 27 08 41
Closed Sunday to Thursday evenings, closed all day Monday

Domaine Weinbach frontage against the Schlossberg Hill
Lunch ended about 3.30pm, and notwithstanding our lateness we decided to follow the plan and make a visit to Domaine Weinbach. Following a few more squeezingly tight left and right turns, we came to the gate and driveway into the place. It was very narrow, so Napoleon dropped us just outside the gate rather than going in. No explanation forthcoming, though clearly he could not have got out "wizzout beeg scratching of my boos, madame." At least that is what he might have said had he opened his mouth. I guess he would sit and wait and talk to his handphone to his heart's content. At least his phone spoke French.

Pliss, do not eat ze grapes madame... zey maight
maike you make ze noize laike ze trombone...
The Domaine Weinbach is a large property lying in the shadow of the Schlossberg Mountain. It was founded by the Capucin monks in 1612 and so named because of the small stream (wine brook) running through the estate. Located just outside Kayserberg, the main property is situated within the walls of the original 9th Century monastic vineyard (the 5 hectare Clos du Capucins) with which title all the wines of the estate are named. In total Domaine Weinbach owns 26 hectares of vineyards in the Kaysersberg valley in the Haut-Rhin of Alsace at between 200 to 400 metres above sea level.  Our guide pointed pretty much all around and said these were his grapes. Wow. One of the Pilgrims wondered to me whether the place was for sale. I said "Of course M'sieur - ten million Euro, but seeing as you are Malaysian... I sell to you for fifteen."
"Deal." he said. "Will you accept 1MDB Bonds?" I said I would check with the owner. Smartass.

Some of these hectares are on the slopes of the Schlossberg hill (one of the oldest recorded vineyard sites in Alsace) whose granite and sand soils make it perfect for Riesling. Grapes from the upper slopes go to make the Cuvée Sainte-Catherine while the middle slope goes to make Grand Cru (which is also called Sainte-Catherine - bloody French). Gewurtztraminer comes from a small plot on the Mambourg of Sigolsheim whilst their pinot gris comes from somewhere called the Altenbourg site. 

Domaine Weinbach
Domaine Weinbach wines are "heady, exuberant and full-bodied yet also racy, whistle-clean and always achingly beautiful and refined. Traditionally the style has often veered towards the sweet but under Laurence's guidance rieslings tended more to dryness. Her uncanny precision is also felt in the estate's ethereal muscat, sumptuous pinot gris and luscious, sensuous gewurztraminers." http://www.thewinesociety.com/grower-profile-domaine-weinbach

The winery came to the Faller family in 1898 (Theo and Colette) and after Theo passed in 1979 it was run by Mme Colette and daughters Catherine and Laurence. Sadly, Laurence suddenly passed in 2014 at age 47 and Mme Colette in 2015 aged 85. It is now run by Catherine with sons Theo and Eddy with wines made by Ghislain Berthiot. The estate is certified biodynamic and grapes are grown organically and hand picked for passive ageing in oak.  

Additional note from Julian at Julian's Eating who left a very useful comment - "the Cuvee Ste Catherine from the upper slopes of the Schlossberg has now been renamed Cuvee Colette, so you have GC Schlossberg from the lower, Colette from the higher, and Schlossberg GC Ste Catherine from the middle. But they are all superb without exception, regardless of name." 
The new owners of the Domaine after I had sold it to them. They are very happy.
We got taken on a very brief tour and got taken straight to the booze. Dear Leader has a great gift in communicating our time constraints without incurring the disdain of the owners. We started with the ordinary and quickly moved on to the extraordinary. Some wonderful expressions of Riesling and Pinot Gris (which we bought) and the sweeties were delightful. Lots of spitting but lots of swallow too - sometimes the wine is just too good to spit. Actually, better make that most times…  More so on this occasion, the wines were stellar. We fell for the Pinot Gris and bought two for home. We learned that Alsace is blessed with magnificent climat and drainage. It sits in the rainshadow of the Vosges Mountains and tracks the Rhine for its eastern waterway. The land was truly beautiful, easy meandering slopes leading up a mountainside covered with vines and dotted with properties. Very Sound Of Music. someone should make a film - The Sound of Boozing. Yes. 

Tasting the Weinbach wines

Round One...

...and Round Two. Total yum wines.

Ze waine maike me want to dance wiz ze flowers. Oui.
Domaine Weinbach
Colette, Catherine et Laurence Faller
Clos des Capucins
F 68240 Kayserberg
Tel 33 (0)3 89 47 13 21

With our purchases duly made and bubble wrapped we were all back on the bus to go to our hotel in Colmar for a quick check in, shower and change and then back on the bus to dinner. Well, that was the plan. However, when we got to the hotel the nice lady at the desk informed Dear Leader that we were not due at the Columbier Hotel until the following night. Bugger. But they also said that they would help in locating us somewhere to stay though naturally this would take some time. Which was nice of them. We had a dilemma - wait for the hotel or go straight to dinner? It was quickly and communally seen that to wait would mean a large delay in getting to our highlight dinner, so without anyone arguing we got Napoleon to help reload all the bags back on the bus and went straight to the Auberge de L'Ill for our 3 star dinner. Again, not a word from Napoleon, though I think I might have got a grunt from him as I said a "Merci" for his help. Then again, it might have been his phone. Or something else. Oui.

What was actually a standout memory was that everyone just took this blip in their stride - not one voice of whinge did I hear from anyone. It was as if everyone just gave a Gallic shrug and said "C'est la guerre" - one of those things that happens, you just had to roll with it. Something would get done and all would be well so best to just keep drinking the champagne and let whatever happen happen. Que Sera Sera. Absolutely. Top quality character shown by all.

Auberge de L'Ill
So it was that, somewhat scaggy and unwashed and way way underdressed, we pitched up at the Michelin 3 Star Auberge De L'Ill. The staff welcomed us graciously and moved us through to the verandahs and the cold booze that was waiting for us. Here we spent 30 wonderful minutes chilling out in the Auberge gardens with glasses of well cooled Muscat in the nippy evening sunset air. The gardens and property were absolutely idyllic, all trees and bushes and river and sun setting over it all. Table and seating areas were dotted all around and other guests of the Inn were equally enjoying the vibe. Completely wiped away the stress of the loading/unloading. I figured the worst that could happen was we could camp out in the Auberge gardens. Or all of us book a room at the Auberge and crash for the night. Totally relaxing in the autumn evening air. Memory for a lifetime. 

Auberge de L'Ill gardens
I had circulated foodie friend Julian's report (http://julianteoh.blogspot.my/2016/06/review-of-auberge-de-lill-illhauesern.html) on the Auberge in advance to the pilgrims, and I think some of them had indeed read it. They seemed quite knowledgeable about the restaurant and the food and stars. The brochure tells that the Haeberlin family have been operating an eaterie in Illhaeusern for 150 years - "they work the land, cook with artistry and serve with their heart" and this is the Haeberlin spirit now being perpetuated by the present generation of Marc and Danielle. It has held its 3 Michelin stars since 1976, which Dear Leader advised is only bettered by the Paul Bocuse in Lyon. 

As good as it gets - chilling at Auberge de L'Ill
We got scuttled into our room (two tables, twelve and ten seats) and relaxed in to finish off the remains of the light and charmingly more-ish Muscat. Despite its heritage, the place felt quite modern, with new artistic touches around the walls. Lots of earth tones (burgundy and beige) with modern touches of lighting and soft furnishing. And lots of wood panel and branches as decorations, which gave a cosy log cabin in the forest feel. We sat and perused the menu, which had been printed on a charming Haeberlin watercolour card - and all in French. Mais naturellement madame. Where's that Google Translate again?

Sunset in the gardens of Auberge de L'Ill
One of the first things noticed was the wonderful standard and choreography of the service. Waters and wines got served in timely and decanted fashion, yet still with enough time and attention by staff to give answers to the occasional questions raised. Most excellent. Also got a fresh serviette served on a warm plate on return from the bathroom which was a most pleasant touch.

Wine One was a 2010 Grand Cru Alsatian Riesling by Rene Mure in Vorbourg which was all crisp, fresh and crunchy apple and racy acidity which got a nice salt hit from the bread. Full in body, bit of a tartish finish, but enough sweet in the wine to give balance. Nicely elegant, though not so that it demanded too much of the attention. Hint of oil with a medium to firm body.

Auberge de L'Ill table setting and menu
The bread is superb, as is the butter. Got fresh, got gluten, got creamy salt. Yum. Always a good sign.

Our amuse bouche was a combo of fish and what felt like a fried onion ring, all in a brilliant smooth and creamy mushroom broth which deftly checked the acidity in the Mure. Very nice mouthfeel on this wine. 

Amuse Bouche
Dish one was Spice Crusted Red Tuna Tartare (I think) from which I seemed to get a lot of immediate salt. I liked the low impact wasabi which contrasted well with the yuzu style salty lemon. Hit of mustard cress gave a lively jolt on the tongue. Also some (what felt like) crunchy pig fat croutons gave a good meaty taste and useful texture, and making for a good tuna melt in the mouthful chew. It seemed to bring out a pear note in the wine, which was pleasant.

Spice Crusted Red Tuna
Wine Two was also a Riesling, and from the same producer as one that we'd had earlier at lunch though one year earlier in vintage. It was brilliant with the bread and butter which disintegrated the wine's light acidity and let some sleek acacia honey of this cheeky cheek pincher to burst through. Though there seemed to be a tending toward the sucky side of things as it slid across the back of the tongue to a medium large finish.

Non, M'sieur, yooo cannot do ze Mossie in mai place.
Ai weel spank you bigtime. Oui.
It was being paired with the Saint Pierre fish, which apparently is the French equivalent of a John Dory. A fillet of St Peter's best had been laid across an island of beans and chopped vegetables in a light bistro style broth and topped with what reminded of a curry puff we can get from the little Malay lady in next door's hawker stall in KL but filled with (I think) Ricotta mushroom rather than sardine. Okay. The fish was lightly seared and made for an excellent match with the beans and celeriac, all of which got eased along nicely by the brown umami-ish broth. Which got me thinking that Brown for me is not only a colour - it is also a taste, reminiscent of Bistro style salt and fat gravy. And this broth tasted brown. Ish. Well, light brown. Kind of. Hmmm....  finding the right word can be a pain.

It made for a brilliant contrast of heat and sweet when paired with the wine. This was a great tumble of textures - soft ricotta, crunchy celeriac, sweet but sour ginger sauce. And all of these cutting the Riesling's acidity to release honey and toffee notes. I think I got a hit of garlic acetic somewhere in the broth which got a tad in the way of the wine. Best match was the Ricotta mushroom curry puff - again the mushroom eased the slight tartness to give the wine some good width and roundness. Delightful drinking. 

Fish with Mushroom Risotto, er, Curry Puff
Dish Three was an amazing lobster, all fresh and sweet and tender. Addition of (I think) barley gave the bisque a light bite texture, whilst the bisque itself was amazing. Chef had also added some lightly fried sage (I think) which was genius - fantastic taste and texture.

The Lobster in creamy bisque
Wine Three was the Pinot Gris which initially came out a bit cat pee on the nose and Turkish Delight in the mouth. Worked well with the food, though, with the Turkish giving way to deep rich raisins. I seemed to get an almost sherry wood barrel note, like the raisins had been infused with oak soaked in sherry. Odd, but nice. I think perhaps there was some milk or light cream in the sauce which helped to tame the wine's mildly frisky acidity and let its deep rich and wonderfully lovely raisins to come through. Naturally, the bisque was amazing with the bread and butter. Oily, sweet, salt and a mild spicy fire getting soaked up by the crusty gluten. Suck this all night. Belter.

Decanting the reds
Our wine servers were uncorking the reds and decanting the bottles over a candle so as to check when the sediment was due to come out and stop the pour. This is where the Mossie alert kicks in, as there can often be at least a decent glassful left in the bottle. Prudence normally demands such holy water should not suffer the fate of the sink hole without first checking it in a nearby glass. Yes indeed - The Moss would be gravely miffed by such a dereliction and I would incur the righteous wrath of the enraged. A later inspection showed indeed at least half a measure in the bottles. However, an abnormal discretion kicked in and I chickened out of chugging the remains. I think it was the gravitas of the occasion, the imposing history of the Auberge and the stern gaze of the Sommelier fazed me into meek submission and deference. One had to ask - what would the Governor do, sat there as he was at the table? Not sure, but he would definitely not grab the bottle and swig from it. Better to incur the mild admonition of the Moss rather than the intimidating  silence of the Governor or the incandescant rage of an almighty French Maitre D' on his own turf. 
The Pinot decanters were delightful, shaped like ducks with pewter style beaks and belts and other ornamentation. The staff were all generous in their pours and again we all felt well wine sated by the end of the night. 

The Duck Decanter. Hugely tempted to souvenir one. Took the photo instead.
The lamb was a well tasty piece of meat, full of tender feel and texture with just enough fibre to work the salivatory glands. Two full chops in the rack and done to perfection. The jus was very bistro, leaning toward the sweet in its reduction, whilst the potato and fennel was amazing - tending texturally toward the vegetal but not to any extent underdone.

The most excellent Lamb and crunchy Potato and Fennel
On first glug, the Faiveley was massively tannic and felt way too young. We had to be reminded that this was a 2002 - amazing power in this boy. 

Whilst lamb's traditional wine match is a Cabernet, it worked wonderfully well with the Faiveley, slashing the tannins into something less fierce and giving it a classy New Zealand kind of Pinot feel, all frisk and clean power. Though the terroir maintained its pedigree as a Burg (cue for discussion as to why a NZ Pinot will never be Burgundian…). Big wine. 

I guess we had the Montus as a palate cleanser and match with the cheeses though I have no note or photo of either.  

La "Peche Haeberlin"
There were to be four servings of dessert style dishes. First out were a selection of macaroon and biscuit style sugary carbo bites which charmed the tongue but killed the wine. Standout was what my notes called an "Excellent French biscuit wafer thingy" which in hindsight was the toffee tuile. Was like the Brandy Snap we get at Christmas. As ever, my notes on dessert are pretty non existent, though there is one noting a "sour sweet cold shock with ice cream and apricots and other sharp fruits" (presumably the "Peche Haeberlin"). Equally for the Tart where the combination of peach, caramel, crispy crunchy wafer plus apricot mousse made for a great belly busting finale. Julian was right - the Alsaciennes clearly love to end with a big bellybusting dessert bang. Phooo….

Peach Tart
Dear Leader had gone with a 1989 Hugel VT Gewurtz to finish the evening ahead of our scheduled visit there the following day. O delightful - lots of sweet honey, caramel and toffee apples in the mouth. I found it a bit unctuous and syrupy, and leaving a bit of clag on the throat, but in the presence of greatness we should just shut up and sip. Yes. Om.

Lots of chocolate in the Minardises. So good. Kills the wine, though... did we have coffee? Can't remember...
President David gave a speech and said it had been a perfect night. Well and yes for the wines, service and ambience. And the aperitifs in the garden with the setting sun was truly magical and sublime. But the food…   overall, I was not as stunned as I thought I might be; nor as I have been at other places. Without the notes and photos I would not really remember much about the dishes. But the service and room were excellent, and the wine and the duck like decanters were delightful. To be frank, it all felt like a blur, and as my notes got increasingly scrawly to the point of massive unintelligible much of the evening is now fading into the mists. Maybe focusing too much on the 3 Star "event" and the felt need to record it rather than just enjoying the food and company and the place? Perhaps. Also maybe a bit tired from all the bus riding and the ongoing marathon of eating and drinking. I recall one of the Pilgrims asking why did I not dictate my thoughts into the phone and my response was that I felt to do so was a bit rude. To which the rejoinder was "well, isn't making notes at the table also rude?" To which my response was "well, not as…" But also the Pilgrim was not wrong - rude is rude, though sometimes maybe a matter of degree and needs must when posterity is at the stake. The readable notes do bring back some of the magic of the night that I am happy to translate for me and the world. But I do feel that I did miss something somewhere along the Auberge de L'Ill way…

Wines for the night. Wheeeeee!
So overall I give it a good to very good, but not food that I think I will remember years down the line. Hopefully one day down that line I can give it another try in a less intense context than an IWFS Pilgrimage. Maybe a Julian Alsace Pilgrimage. See how. 

We all crawled back on the bus for Colmar where it was shared that the Columbier had found two hotels to house us all for the night. Eight pilgrims in one hotel and the rest in The Mercure, I think it was, though it might have been an Ibis. Can't remember if Napoleon helped unload the bags, was too tired to think much beyond get checked in and into the room. Which we speedily did. So it was that at midnight we stumbled up to the rooms for a quick shower and crawled straight into bed. A good memorable day ended with a good solid sleep. Drunken dreams. No trombones. 

Auberge de L'Ill Petits Fours
L'Auberge de l'Ill
2, rue de Collonges au Mont d'Or
68970 Illerhaeusern, France
Tel +33 3 89 71 89 00
Closed Monday and Tuesday, closed for the month of February

Menu Auberge de l'Ill Illhaeusern

La Longe de Thon Rouge pane aux Epices,
Mousseline de chou-fleur au wasabi et get de citron

La Filet de St Pierre Poele, vierge de legumes et fritot a la ricotta

Le Bouillon de Homard Estival

Le Carre d'Agneau Roti accompagne d'un Croustillant de Pommes Boulangeres au Fenouil Safrane

Les Fromages

la "Peche Haeberlin"

La Tarte au Cotron et Mirabelles d'Alsace Pochees
Creme Citronelle, Petits Carres de Florentin
Glace au Lait de Brebis et Miel

Petits Fours, Mignardises et Chocolats


Muscat Josmeyer 2014
Riesling Rene Mure Alsace Grand Cru Vorbourg 2010
Riesling Boxler Alsace Grand Cru Sommerberg 2012
Pinot Gris Zind Humbrecht Alsace Grand Cru Rangen 1997
Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru Faiveley 2002
Madiran Cuvee Prestige Montus 1998
Gewurtztraminer Vendange Tardives Hugel 1989

The aperitif Josmeyer Muscat - surprisingly delightful


  1. Hi Brian,

    Re Weinbach, if it helps at all, the Cuvee Ste Catherine from the upper slopes of the Schlossberg has now been renamed Cuvee Colette, so you have GC Schlossberg from the lower, Colette from the higher, and Schlossberg GC Ste Catherine from the middle. But they are all superb without exception, regardless of name.

    On taking notes at the meal, frankly, if someone dictated notes at the table, custom and decency reserve me the right to slash their throats with a Laguiole knife and make my classic dish "blogger au sang". Why? Taking notes is permissible (sometimes) because it does not necessarily exclude conversation, and you aren't disturbing anyone. Taking notes is tantamount to taking a call at the table, except you are speaking to yourself which means you have no friends which makes it a thousand times worse.

    1. Sorry, fourth sentence in para 2 should read "Dictating is tantamount to taking a call..."

    2. Cheers Julian, I have incorporated your note into the post. Agree, dictating is cannot and deserves a good spank.

      Laguiole knife... I think perhaps those were the ones The Isadorable One was talking about before she.... Never mind. Merry Xmas!

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