We ate at Eat Street right at the start of their soft opening and really liked it. Today we tried out some of their Latina offerings and made an awesome meal out of a dish of local corn, and slow-cooked pulled beef nachos. The service is super-tight and even more friendly now - I suppose because the opening-days clench has been relaxed - and their lovely big folding doors are back, so it feels very cool and streetlike there now. Actual cool and actual street, not hip, although it's that too. So, those dishes: seriously tasty. All zingy, singing flavours in the fire-roasted corn dish, with sharp white cheese and some melty variety too. Then the come-to-mama, nachos, which are also home-roasted, and come in a bowl made out of themselves, and you can eat the bowl - the top of it stays crisp throughout, all the better to scoop out any sauce left at the bottom. Best thing with nachos is how every mouthful is different, and with Eat Street's, you can taste each of the individual components - the guacamole, the slow-cooked pulled beef, the salsa - perfectly, an absolute mouth fiesta.
Salted caramel almost-anything is very delicious, and Lindt is my favourite chocolate available here, so imagine my mixed emotions when I found that I could buy a bar made up of eight generous, melty squares of this stuff, but only on condition that I parade a revoltingly twee package through the aisles of Carrefour. Don't talk to me, chocolate, don't even greet me. Especially not in the tone of a coy baby. Luckily the most nauseating crap - "I'll make your tummy yummy", in a deliberately imperfect rectangular speech bubble - is on the inside of the wrapper and can therefore be swiftly discarded in the privacy of your home. The chocolate is worth it, if a touch undersalted, but if you really can't stomach the "nice to sweet you" - and it certainly makes me want to crush a Kinder Egg - then try the Touch Of Sea Salt, also by Lindt. Not as creamy, but it has the advantage of being a more grown-up dark chocolate, and not having been scrawled on by some dead-eyed Creative cynically retching up whimsy in an infantile font.
We went for a new year barbeque at a friend's house; homemade burgers, delicious little pies, enormous tasty cake. We drank and laughed a lot. And just before midnight, I performed The Ceremony. I actually gave up superstition a year or two ago - went cold turkey, now indifferent to magpies - but I still do this one, because my dad has always done it and still does. I should have written about this before, so you could reap the rewards, but I forgot.
So, for next year, or if you celebrate Serbian new year, this is what you do. Just before the strike of midnight, take a piece of coal (charcoal will do), a slice of bread (or a chunk of a burger bap), and a pound coin (I tried using local currency last year and it didn't seem to do the trick, and with all this talk of unpegging the rial from the dollar, probably best to stick to pounds if you can. It's tradition. I have some pounds if you want one, the jar makes up my emergency travel fund). Then, you put these items outside your front door, and some kind of new year force or set of spirits will recognise them as emblems of what you want for your family this coming year - respectively: warmth, food, and wealth, although I interpret warmth as comfort now that I live here. When you gather up this little collection of stuff and bring it back into your home, straight after 12, they will have been imbued with the power to grant your wishes, and you will have a happy new year. Happy new year!