Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Bravo to Frank Ribery and Patrick Vieira...

...but talk about bringing it home!!

Zizo...what a man.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

1 year down...

"I’ve been doing what I’m told, I’ve been busy growing old
And the days are getting cold but that’s alright with me
Sunlight sends you on your way
And those restless thoughts that cling to yesterday
Never be afraid of change
I’m calling on the phone, I hate to leave you on your own
But I’m coming home today
Yes I’m coming home today..."
(Bic Runga)

Guess what!?!

My neighbours have been evicted! At least, I'm about 98% sure they have been. A couple of weeks ago the guy who owns the shop downstairs told me that the landlord told him they were getting rid of them, but he wasn't sure if it was official or not. Then a couple of days later I saw two large vans parked outside and a set of Chinese parents (I think of the main guy I always fight with), and they were loading stuff from the flat into the car. And all that day I could hear bumps and bangs upstairs like furniture moving and all. And since that day, it's been quiet. Once in a while I'll hear a little something but I'm not positive it's coming from upstairs. They have a water bill down with the mail that hasn't moved in about three days so that might mean they're gone. HALLELUJAH!

The guy from the shop is thinking about moving in up there, which would be cool because we get along quite well and he's a very nice and decent guy. Finally, we'll have a decent building!

Saturday, June 24, 2006



So there I was, on my way to HMV to buy some vinyls for my P. I stopped at a cashpoint on my way and was just about to pull my money out when I suddenly felt three thumps on the top of my head. I brushed the air around my head thinking it was a bug or something and turned to the people standing behind me in the queue (about four) and said, "What was that?!" They were all just looking at me with these vacant looks on their face - that typical Londoner impersonal expression that makes me want to smack people left, right, and centre. Then I touched the top of my head, and lo and behond, it was wet! I looked at my hand and it was covered in thick liquidy green and brown diarrhea! I was like "Shit!" and looked at the people behind me and they all still had those damn stoic looks on their faces. Zero reaction! If that was you, and someone standing right in front of you suddenly had a handful of bird poo fall on their head, wouldn't you react? At least laugh!! If it was me, I would have been like "holy shit a bird just shit on you!" and then offer some sort of empathy, and, of course, laugh a bit! But no. Bloody Londoners. Don't react to shit. Literally.

Anyway, as for me, with lots of cursing and close to tears, with my hands covered in shit, I managed to get my money out, put my wallet away, and head to the nearest McDonald's. I grabbed some napkins on my way down to the toilet and I rubbed my head and the napkin was totally covered in green shit! Oh, and by now, as the heavy wet shit was settling in, it felt nice and warm on my scalp. Ready to vomit yet?

So I went down to the toilet, and my luck the sinks were in a mixed area for men and women. And to top it all off, it had those annoying, as Seinfeld calls them "Alcatraz style" faucets - where they don't actually let you control the water flow. You have to touch this little circle on the wall and water spurts out for about 10 seconds. I was oblivious to everyone in the room and got started on my mission. First washed my hands like five times. Then I stuck my head over the faucet and essentially took a shower over the sink. The shit came pouring off and into the sink - there was sooooooo much!! I don't even know if people noticed or were wondering what I was doing. I used soap and just kept rubbing it clean. I have short hair, by the way, which is a blessing because it makes it easy to wash in a sink. But still - it was certainly caked in there. Once I got it out of my hair I turned around and found a bit on the back of my shirt. Fucking hell. Oh, and the McDonald's toilets had no napkins, so I actually had to get the piece off my back (which was hardening and keeping it's clean rounded shape) with my fingers!! Then washed my shirt and my hands another ten times. Suffice it to say, by then I was soaking wet. And I still had my headphone wires around my neck!

Then of course, the hand dryers were barely working. I kept holding my hands under and they wouldn't turn on. So finally I was like, fuck it! I went out into the main McDonald's dining area soaking wet, with water dripping down my head and neck and back, and got a huge pile of napkins and went back into the bathroom to dry off.

And mind you, not one person paid me any mind. Nobody even looked. I guess that's a good thing, but it says a lot about how Londoners just don't give a shit about anyone around them.

Of course I went straight home to shower and had to forego HMV. I had to pass by the same bank on my way home and I looked up on the ledge above the cashpoint where the bird had aimed from and there were like 5 pigeons up there and I swear to god, as I passed, one of them was looking at me and chuckling to himself. I SWEAR!!

I used about half a new bottle of shampoo and nearly a full bar of soap to get myself clean. What a traumatic day.

Is this enough evidence to show the world that me and birds just do NOT get along? I've had so many strange encounters with pigeons. I have had about three actually bump into my head while walking down the street (once in Paris, once in Prague, and once in Venice). Meanwhile I don't treat them with much respect either. P calls me a bird smasher. I have run over so many with my car (not intentionally - it's just that the birds in Surra are bloody retarded). One actually commit harakiri by smashing itself against my winshield (also a Surra bird). But so you see, the feeling is mutual.

Only positive thing about the Avian Flu - the notion that one day there might not be any more birds in this world. Honestly, what purpose do birds serve on Earth (and I don't count penguins in there of course because they don't fly)? And don't give me the whole "well we eat poultry so they do serve a purpose" shit because I just can't believe that these creatures that cause us so much trauma were created just for the sake of becoming a McNugget.

I was told by a friend tonight that a bird shitting on your head is meant to be good luck. Didn't feel much like good luck to me - until, of course, France won and made it into the knock-out stage! So all you French supporters have me and my shit caked head to thank for that one.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Winding down

Wow...I can't believe I have less than a week left in London and then I'm out of here until September. It's all gone by so fast. And I'll admit, it's getting quite overwhelming. Every single minute between 9:30am and 5pm is precious time I have to spend in the archives before I leave. I'll get it done, but my brain is knackered! But the good thing is it's forcing me to be really disciplined and to really throw myself into my dissertation. I'm almost ready to start writing a first section. Considering most of the people in my programme have barely even started their research yet, this race against the clock is actually working out well for me. I'm having lunch with my supervisor tomorrow to discuss my latest ideas that have developed as my research has been progressing, and if I get her green light then I'll be well on my way.

It feels strange though. That whole "this is the end" feeling is starting to really hit me. Not so much with regard to my work and all, but just this year. Saying good-bye to people - some of whom I'll be seeing again in September but none of whom (from the ones I'm closest to) will be continuing on to the PhD right away. Also, from here on out it's just me and my own research. We'll still have seminars next year - but as far as the actual work that I'm doing goes, it's my own. Nobody else to really go through it with the way you do with actual coursework.

But now that I've begun my own research, I am at my most content. This is the part I really love. A group of us in the history department (mainly those of us who are going on to the PhD right away) created our own voluntary seminar group after exams to share and discuss our dissertation progress together. Each week two people present their topic/research and answer questions and get feedback from the group - one hour per person. This is obviously what we'll be doing next year once we start the PhD programme, but apparently this is the first year that MA students have decided to do this voluntarily for the MA dissertation as well - the history department is quite impressed and is now considering doing this every year. I presented last Friday and received extremely positive feedback, which was great. At this relatively early pre-writing stage, talking things out (even with people who are writing in totally different areas) really helps all the ideas coalesce in your head.

So anyway, enough rambling. I'm so excited to be coming home. I miss everyone like mad, and I'm ready for some Kuwaiti luxury!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bar Italia

Watched tonight's Italy game with a bunch of friends at Bar Italia, which had a (small) outdoor screen so you could stand on the street and watch. There I was in my blue Italia t-shirt all geared up and raring to go, surrounded by hundreds of Italians and Italo-philes like myself. But what a disappointing game. It was exciting with all the red cards and all, but overall very disappointing for Italia. Italy's first goal was great - the crowd went wild and the adrenaline was soaring. But it all went downhill from there. But Del Peiro received a very warm reception indeed when he came on - not least from myself!

Funny thing - I was chatting in English with an Italian girl in the crowd and she suddenly stopped and said, "But wait, you're American!" because of my accent, and I quickly said, "No, I'm NOT!" and continued the conversation in Italian. All I needed was for the crowd to think I was American! But I guess my t-shirt was enough for me to redeem myself. Well, that and the fact that I yelled and cursed at the screen in Italian along with the rest of them.

Anyway, we better kick the Czech Republic's ass on Thursday.

P.S. How do you like the Bar Italia banner flanked by the Cross of St. George? :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Back in the archives

My life consists of two main things these days: the British Library, and the World Cup. I spend the entire morning and early afternoon in the archives, going through the India Office records at the British Library for hours, researching for my dissertation. Then just before 5pm (when the reading room closes) I rush home just in time as my friends start arriving to watch the World Cup.

I absolutely love sitting there for hours in the British Library. There are quite a few files on my topic for me to go through, and the more relevant files (usually of around 150-200 pages of documents each) can take me up to three days to go through really thoroughly, carefully reading and taking notes. I have about 15 more files to go through, but I've just finished the most important ones. Luckily my topic for my MA is narrow enough by year range that I don't have to go through hundreds of files - just about 30 or so! And that's not counting the other primary/archival sources I'll be perusing next week at Oxford and the Public Records Office up in Kew! Being a historian is a hell of a lot of work.

But it really is a labour of love. I love the routine that my day has fallen into now because of this. I wake up in the morning, shower, change, and walk over to the library up in Euston. Dump my bag in a locker (because you're only allowed to take transparent plastic bags that they provide into the reading rooms), and go up to the reading room. What's great is that practically everyone in there I see on a daily basis. We're all the same people, day in and day out. It makes the atmosphere very comfortable and familiar, in a way. A couple of people I know personally from my university, but the others have become familiar faces from our shared daily experience in the archives. You acknowledge each other's presence specifically by not acknowledging each other at all - if that makes sense. We all know that we all recognize each other, but nobody really says hello or anything. But you sense it, in a way. You start to become familiar with other people's routines - who is always there early, who goes for a lunch break when, who usually leaves at what time, etc. Some days when I go in a bit late, I walk to my seat in shame. And once when I wanted to get home to watch the 2pm game I ducked out quietly so people wouldn't notice me leaving to watch the football, because who leaves the archives to watch the football?

Funny thing that happened to me the other day. I went up to the counter to get a couple of files I have on reserve and the guy asked me for my last name so I told him, and he looked through the box with all the little name slips and said, "Ah yes, here you are, So-and-so, J" (as in my last name, and first initial J). And I said, "No, I'm So-and-so, X" and he looked surprised and went back into the box and said, "Oh, here you are!" So there were actually two of us in there with my same last name! I immediately looked around the room but nobody else in there looked Arab, but you never know. Now I'm really curious as to who that other person in there is...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


This is what it's all about. The World Cup. This is how I would like life to be all the time.

My flat has become the official World Cup den. I started with a World Cup kick-off party on Friday, and it's the regular spot everyday. Today was insane. How great was that Italia/Ghana game? I could barely handle it. Italia is my team - despite the disappointments of the 1994, 1998, and 2002 World Cups, I stand by my boys. Today I had about ten people over, and only two of us were supporting Italy. OK, I usually always go for the underdog team too, but not today. While I'm happy that Ghana has made it to the World Cup for the first time, I'm not going to turn my back on Italia.

This was the first really good, high spirited game I've experienced thus far in this World Cup. This game really meant something to me. After four years of waiting for this energy again, coupled by the intense indoor heat in London without air conditioning, the tenseness of the first half of the game was almost too much for me to handle. But after the first goal I knew we had it. And it was a kick ass goal, too - I must say. And that second goal, I just lost it there. It's been a while since we've seen a goal like that - so easy and and calm. What a game. But I must give Ghana props - while their strikers were well off the mark every single time, they did a good job midfield throughout the game.

And just to make things all the nicer for me, just before the second goal they brought out Alessandro Del Piero. Del Piero is my man. I have loved him for years (and he's nice on the eyes too). That was just the icing on the cake for me.

After the game we walked down the street to Frith Street in Soho - a.k.a. Little Italy. Hung out around Bar Italia eating gelati and I was just in heaven, surrounded by azzurri shirts and happy Italians. For a while I felt like I was out of London and back in Italy - the country in which I have spent the last two World Cups. I hate not being there now. But London is fine because you find fellow supporters no matter what team you're with. I didn't know Bar Italia had a TV showing the games so that's where we'll be on Saturday night - on Frith Street, watching the game against USA. Gotta surround myself with my fellow Italians and Italo-philes, wearing my Del Piero shirt and cursing out the refs in Italian.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Nineties in Kuwait

A few days ago I went over to a friend’s place in the evening to cook dinner and hang out. As we ate we were listening to his iTunes playlist of old school early- to mid-nineties alternative rock and it brought back so many memories, for both of us. So after dinner he brought out a big box of pictures he had from his high school and college days, and we sat for a couple of hours going through them. What struck me is how similar his high school experiences in Dublin were to my own in Kuwait. And I realized that in many ways, high school kids everywhere to a certain extent go through the same phases, no matter where they are in the world – well at least it’s true if you went to an international school in Kuwait. But I feel like high school kids now are so different from what we were like in the mid-nineties. I’ve been back to the A.S.K. campus recently and the high school girls are all wearing tight blue pants and trendy white tops, and are wearing more make-up than me and most of my friends wear in our mid-twenties! It’s such a shame.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, or maybe it was the nineties – but in my day high schoolers were grunge kids. I remember constantly getting in trouble for violating school uniform not by wearing a short skirt but by wearing a flannel shirt over my mandatory white shirt. I wore my Doc Martens tied loosely with black and white checkered laces, and sat on the floor by the lockers listening to Nirvana, Jellyfish, and the Breeders on my ever-playing walkman. Those were the days when KFSAC and EMAC meant something – when the whole school would bunk off last period on Wednesday to catch the first game, and then stay all evening and all weekend, cheering our team to victory and enjoying the barbeques, before everyone would jump into the pool in their clothes after A.S.K. inevitably won. Those were the days when there was nothing to do in Kuwait at night on the weekend but go to Zahra Complex, Pizza Hut, White House or GoForIt tape shops, Chi-Chi’s, California Penguin (a pure A.S.K. hangout in 1993, in the spot where Great Steak and Potato Company is now), Wendy’s, and Carlucci’s for sheesha. Oh, and of course, the old Safir for bowling and billiards. And Fuddruckers in the later years. In those days when there was a party, the whole school would be there – 8th graders to seniors – everyone was friends, and everyone had a good time. The nineties (and especially the early nineties) in Kuwait rocked. We called into K107 – Kuwait’s first post-invasion radio station broadcast live from…wait for it…Camp Doha. We survived Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. We experienced the release of Nirvana’s “Nevermind”, Pearl Jam’s “Ten”, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ “Blood Sugar Sex Magic”, and the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream”. I remember sitting in the hallway with my fellow freshmen mourning the day that River Phoenix died, and the day that Kurt Cobain killed himself. We wore fake tattoos, ear cuffs, and funky coloured Docs (or at least some of us did – and Raine wore maroon Bronx). And then when the mid-nineties descended upon us, we danced our asses off to “Mr. Vain” and did so with pride and with absolutely no shame.

What a time. I think my generation was the last to experience what Kuwait, and A.S.K., was like before everything suddenly changed by the late nineties. To experience what Kuwait was like when only the kids from the four main private schools used to go out on the weekends so everywhere you’d go you’d see everyone you knew and no-one else. We had fun in those days. Remember SAS on the weekends? And Khairan? And shopping in “Old Salmiya”? And the tent in the bara7a in Surra (this is specifically for anyone who went to A.S.K. back in the Surra campus days)?

In 1994 we created a “school sponsored” time capsule to commemorate the 30 year anniversary of A.S.K. It unfortunately got “lost” in the move to the Hawalli campus the next year (how exactly that happened, I will never understand) – the campus in which I was unfortunately forced to spend my final A.S.K. years (*sniff*). I would love to find that box because two of my friends and I put a tape in it of all the music we were listening to at the time. From what I can remember, we had stuff on there from Jellyfish’s “Spilt Milk”, Pulp’s “His’n’Hers”, and Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Fear” (among others that I can’t remember).

So what’s inside your own “Nineties In Kuwait” time capsule?

It is by pure coincidence that Raine and I both posted about this at the same time. She posted hers before mine, but I had written this a couple of days ago but wasn't able to post it because my internet at home has been out.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Magical Moments

Once in a while you see an ad on TV that really just gets it right...it works. The music, images, expressions - they all work together perfectly. The product being advertised becomes incidental to the moment taking place in front of you. I'm not speaking from a designer's perspective - critiquing the artistic level of the ad, nor am I speaking from a consumer's perspective - assessing the effectiveness of the ad in making me want to go out and buy their product. Rather, I'm speaking purely from a human perspective - the way the ad made me feel and the overall effect it had on me. Three ads have really done it for me. Here they are in chronological order starting with the most recent (click on the links to watch):

Sony Bravia (2005) - I've posted about this before. This is a beautifully done ad - the song ("Heartbeats" by José González) fits perfectly, and the concept is just so creative. When I first saw it online a few months ago it just silenced me - I was captivated. It stirred up so many different emotions in me. It made me feel happy and peaceful. I love how you don't even know what the ad is for until the very end - in the meantime you get to enjoy the magic and the colours without feeling like someone is trying to sell you something. In fact, at no point do you feel like a consumer. Someone just wants to show you what the world would be like if you were constantly surrounded by beautiful colours. And for that reason, I'm sold - when it comes time for me to buy a proper TV in my own home, I'm going for a Sony Bravia.

VW Cabrio (2000) - This came out while I was still an undergrad. I love Nick Drake and so the song ("Pink Moon") was just perfect. I loved it when I first saw it because I perfectly understood that feeling. I had nights like that before in college - a night when there was supposed to be something really "great" going on - a good party or whatever - and yet doing "nothing" that night with close friends was just so much more appealing (like laying in the grass along the Potomac River or hanging out at the Lincoln Memorial all night). Our life in Kuwait has become like that - how many times has there been a really big party or event going on, and our close group has opted out and snuck off to chalet alone to sit around the dining table playing Uno and to go nightswimming? Also, I've always loved VW's and it's probably the only car I'll ever drive. My first car was a VW Passat (still my current car in Kuwait), which I got when I moved back to Kuwait after university, and the first song I played in it to christen it was Nick Drake's "Pink Moon".

Swatch: "How long is a Swatch minute?"* (1997) - This came out during my freshman year in college. My sisters and I loved it, and "Red" (my older sister) and I were trying to find out who the song was by. That summer we were in Italy as usual with our family, and it was a World Cup year (1998). An Italian family friend had given me and my sisters a mix of some music for some reason and I remember the three of us sitting on the floor next to the stereo listening to it while my parents were on the couch. Suddenly the opening bars of the song came on and the three of us gasped and I remember Red screaming and literally jumping on top of me in excitement, while my mother laughed at her daughters' antics and my father was just like "what just happened?" It was actually a very beautiful family moment - a lovely memory. The song is by Midge Ure, former frontman of the 80s band Ultravox, and is called "Breathe".

There's one more ad that stands out in my memory but I haven't been able to find it online at all, and I've searched around a lot. It was a Levi's 501 commercial from around 1991 (my sister Raine is beaming right now at the memory of me singing along to it). I used to love it so much, and it also used to give me such a feel-good feeling. It's a shame I can't find it anywhere - although I know we have it recorded on video somewhere in Kuwait. "The way it is, it shall be, just like my Levi's 501 jeans, it's got to be (it's gotta be, it's gotta be), it's gotta be...got to be real!" Aaahh, memories!

Feel free to add your own favourites!

*This is the only link I found online - you have to create an account to watch it, but you can create a one-day trial account for free in a few seconds if you're interested - when you've put in your details they'll immediately send you an Email with your username and password. Once you've done that do an advanced search for brand Swatch and director Garry Jones and it'll come up. Then click on the little eye icon under the picture and it'll play.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday in the Park

Today was the first day of summer in London. It was also my close friend's birthday. She had planned for us to go on a picnic in Regent's Park for the day to play cricket and have some fun, and it turned out to be a glorious day because it was the first day that was sunny, with blue skies and a gorgeous breeze.

The park was packed - it really finally feels like summer is here. We had a nice picnic under a tree, had some birthday cake, and then set up the cricket equipment. First time I played and I have to say it was a blast. Being the postgrad geeks that we are, we split the teams into the Colonizers (Britons, Americans, and Canadians) versus the Colonized (Arabs, South Asians, and Irish). The Colonizers won, but we put in a good effort! Cricket was more fun than I was anticipating. I quickly realized that I had to stop trying to understand the game in relation to baseball! They're more different than I thought. Cricket is definitely more relaxed (at least the way we were playing it) - and it's a lovely way to spend an afternoon. We'll probably be out there again next weekend.

I feel a bit sad now because I've made such a wonderful group of friends, and we're all about to part ways soon. I'm the only one that's staying on for the PhD. Some others might still be around London, but others are leaving town altogether soon. Today was one of those days when you really realize just how much of a good thing you've got going with the people you're surrounded by. I wasn't expecting to make such good friends in a postgrad programme. And yet, here they are, all around me...such a wonderfully eclectic bunch.

Anyway, here are some pictures from our game:

Yay, more Frasier!

I just got an Email from amazon.com telling me that Frasier Season 8 is being released on DVD on June 13 and I can pre-order it now, which I just did (will be delivered by the 18th at the latest). I need to order this from the States because the UK is still on like season 4 or 5 on DVD. As I've mentioned before, Frasier is something I like to own on original DVD - even though I have to wait for each season to be released, whereas if I downloaded them I could have them all immediately. While waiting is tedious, it nonetheless prolongs the Frasier pleasure for me, so I don't really mind it. June 18 is perfect timing as I'll be coming to Kuwait a few days later - I'll force myself to resist watching it and wait to watch it with P.

I might, however, consider relaxing my no-downloading-of-Frasier-and-24 policy when it comes to season 5 of 24. Since that won't be released until around October or November, I think this summer I'll borrow someone's downloaded version to watch with P while I'm in Kuwait - if anyone has a good, clear copy of the entire season that I can borrow for a while?

And speaking of Jack Bauer, earlier this week I found out that one of my best friends' boyfriend was standing outside of LAX (Los Angeles airport) last week smoking a cigarette and none other than Keifer Sutherland himself came up to him and asked for a lighter!! I flipped when I found out. I told my friend to tell her boyfriend that next time that happens (I know the chances are slim but I'm a believer) to tell him he can have a light on one condition and to CALL ME and make him speak to me! The funny thing is, I called P immediately when I found out and asked him to guess who our friend's boyfriend had met, and asked who the coolest person to ask you for a light might be and he said "I don't know, Jack Bauer?" Not Keifer Sutherland, he actually said "Jack Bauer" as a joke, and I said "YES!!" Suffice it to say, he wasn't expecting his answer to be right.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Absuli Fabulous!

Because I am an Edo VIP (in absentia), my blog has had the honour of being selected for the unveiling of Edo's latest maki creation..."Absuli Fabulous!" (known officially in Edo as the Kyoto Maki). The creators sent me a full roll of Absuli Fabulous to London by Fed Ex so that I could write this review.

Fabulous indeed. How do I put into words the magic that is Absuli? The 5 1/2 hour plane ride and 2 hours of clearing customs did nothing to take away from the fresh'n'tasty sensation of this culinary masterpiece. It was like an explosion of flavours in my mouth - mint one minute, ginger the next, a spicy tinge followed by the smooth aroma of fresh salmon. What exactly is in here? Nobody knows other than the two-man Absuli Fabulous team, and the man behind the sushi bar - it's the creators' own secret blend of perfection.

As for presentation, seeing as mine got slightly bumped around in its journey across Eurasia, I will go by the review of another Edo VIP in Kuwait, who is one of the first to have tried the newest maki at Edo. Being a designer himself, he is extremely particular about presentation, and will only eat food made out of the freshest of ingredients, so I thoroughly trust his opinion. "Absuli Fabulous is beautiful to look at, and is well prepared and presented. It is rich in colour and taste - you experience each of the many ingredients of the maki step by step as you eat it." In short: "Yummy!!!"

The creators of Absuli Fabulous have both been Edo VIP's since it opened. They are devout sushi eaters, and frequent Edo on an average of four times a week. When I asked him how he would describe his latest creation, Absuli #1 said, "It's zesty, no it's minty, no it's exotic...it's...Absuli Fabulous!" With regard to how they came up with this invention, Absuli #2 simply says, "It's when genius manifests..." Amen.

I should warn you that Absuli Fabulous is not for the boring or unimaginative palate. People who only order California rolls need not even bother. This is for the experienced sushi connoisseur. And, as usual, the regular Edo rule applies: go with an empty stomach, because you're about to eat big, and you're about to eat Fabulous!