Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mesa Lunga: Restaurant Review

The husband and I went out for our first real meal since we went on vacation in June. This happened a few weeks ago, on a real live Saturday night.

Place: Mesa Lunga, Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar on Gouger Street
Food: Pretty Darn Good
Atmosphere: Stellar

Normally I research the hell out of any place that's going to see any of my money because I'm kind of anal like that, but in this case my husband had made the reservation and "couldn't remember the name or how to pronounce it" so I didn't know where we were going until the night of.

When we walked in the first thing that struck me was the scent of wood and leather. In a really good way. The floors, tables, chairs, beams, everything in the place is solid heavily scented wood. And the wooden chairs are topped with outrageously thick luxurious leather seats. Imagine your grandfather's smoking den. Not exactly the scent you think you're going to get as you walk into a restaurant, but welcoming and cosy nonetheless.

The next thing I noticed is that everyone (except for about 2 private tables) is seated at one long table. (Including a Channel 10 news anchor who was seated directly next to us.)

I normally dread this kind of seating, unless I'm at Wagamama, but it was very well executed. The restaurant had tomato planters placed all along the table, and they were placed so that we were blocked from seeing the couple in front of us, as well as the group to our right. Sounds complicated, but it was really quite intriguing. After we ordered our drinks I realized that the fresh tomatoes hanging over the sides of the planters also had candles placed under them making the scent of warm ripe tomato waft around the restaurant. It was lovely!

On to the edibles:

We ordered the red-wine sangria, which was the best I've had outside of Sevilla, Jerez, or Barcelona. I'd love to go back and try their other versions. Drinks were accompanied by delicious olive oil and vinegar with bread and olives. (Again, some of the best olives I've had outside of Spain, and Spanish olives are my fav.)

For my main I got the Paella. A bit unoriginal you might say, but it didn't have the traditional cray-fish, which I hate to look at. Instead it was a slightly Australianized version with chorizo, mussels, squid, and prawn. Very yum indeed.

Russ got the pizza, which was outstanding. If we go back, we'll try out the tapas menu, which everyone around us ordered and it looked even more delicious.

They also have a bar which is located on the other side of the place where you can order their drinks including sangria pitchers and try their tapas. It's close enough to people watch, but far enough away that it's not noisy or distracting.

Definitely recommend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My little mouth, my winter lungs, don't tell me now what can not be done. *

I'll tell you what can't be done.

My new job, whilst keeping my sanity. A little insane-ness isn't always a bad thing though, right?

So I've had many, many things that I would have liked to have written about over the past 5(?) weeks at my new job but I haven't had the time, energy, or clarity of thought. I'm not claiming to have the second two currently, but time I do have time tonight as it's one night when I don't have classes in the evenings.

A brief explanation of my job that I'll attempt not to extend into unnecessary detail, whinging, and suicidal ideation. (That's a psych term, look it up.)

I see 14 students a week, 3 students each day except for Fridays when I see 2 students and then have 2 hours of office time. I'm supposed to see each student for 2 hours. 2x3 = 6 hours of "in school" time per day. Students are in school for only 6.5 hours a day, approximately. I have to drive to 3 schools per day, some of which are 50 minutes away from each other.

I've been doing about 300k a week. I have driving calluses on my hands. Actually only on one hand, because with my other hand I eat whatever isn't attached to my car in between driving to the next school and calling my husband or mother to bitch about how crap my life is. (Now don't get me wrong, I'm LOVING having a job where I'm (questionably) using my degree. It's just sucking the life out of me.)

Anyway, back to work load. So 6 hours a day in school even though I have to drive between 20-50 minutes to get to each school. It doesn't add up. I'll spare any more explanation except to say that generally my job entails Assistant Principals shooting out from corners yelling at me about something I have no idea about, 70 year old teachers who don't believe in autism and therefore reject every suggestion I make or implement for the child I'm there to see, and bosses who suggest I'm fabricating work hours simply because I wrote down that I didn't have my lunch break one day. (Um, what day DO I have my lunch break?) Well, let me tell you folks, in Australia, that's not legal. I mean, it's totally legal to write down you have had your lunch break on your time sheet when you haven't, but it's not legal to say "I don't have time for my lunch break because my work load is ridiculous." Cause that's not O Hache and S compliant, ya'll.

Anyway, today's incident was someone at a school in a leadership position wanting to know why I hadn't seen Boy 1 very much. Well, I replied, because whenever I come to see him (on a designated day of the week, of which his parents have been notified in writing) he is not at school. Why can't you come see him at another time? She asked. Well, I replied, I have other clients to see, and as noted on my fax to the school if a client (or I) miss a session due to illness or other reasons, it cannot be made up. Let's also note that Boy1 knows in advance when he will be "ill" because his Dad tells him that he won't be making the effort to drive him to school that day. *Insert exasperated face here* On one occasional, he told me he would be babysitting his older brother. (Who is 17 with no impairments, and this boy is 13, with a stay-at-home Dad.) ?

and etcetera.

So flash forward to this morning, when I was making my usually chirpy morning joke to my husband that goes something like this, "well maybe today I'll get in a moderate car crash and I won't have to go in for a few days!!"

Then I spoke to a colleague at a school this morning and she told me that she was hoping for an ankle break for the same reason, but asked me if I thought that was a bit drastic?

No, no honey I don't. I least I'm not alone.

* The most beautiful impromptu music video ever.
(Filmed on a roof in the cold with a banjo and a few French Canadians tossed in for good measure, of course.)