After all the publicity surrounding the lead up to Melbournes NYE plans, I was patiently waiting to see if the plans would live up to the hype and even beat the amazing display Sydney usually put on. Now while not as good as Sydney (or London to boot) Melbourne put on a very good show and like Melbourne city itself, it was understated and laid back with the city coming together to ring in the new year in a very relaxed and "together" sort of way.
New Years Eve celebrations fall into three very distinctive camps, the good, the bad and the downright boring. The last two NYE celebrations were both very different - different countires - different events but both shared a common link - amazing food. NYE 2009 was spent in freezing cold London standing along the crowded streets of Trafalger Square awaiting the new year after a delicious meal in London's Barrafina. I had always wanted to eat there during my time living in London but somehow it just never happened. The restaurant is quite small and consists of just a long marble counter for which one can be waiting quite a while for a space...but when you get that seat there is so much to look forward to. Serving the usual suspects, the kind of dishes one would automatically associate with a spanish tapas bar. The weather in London that night I can only describe as painful. Standing in the same spot for a few hours is usually downright tedious but add to that artic, icey - cold conditions and you have yourself a cranky boy. The minute those fireworks stopped I was back in a taxi to Hotel Raphael in Battersea.
NYE 2010 was a very chilled out affair indeed and one which I would have no problem ever repeating. Having worked for part of the day, I spent the night wining and dining at the Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill in my hometown of Drogheda. Eating calamari, delicious cheeses and an array of small dishes from their small plates section on the menu, I rang in the new year with lots of Lansen bubbles and a skewer of twelve grapes (a Spanish tradition, where each grape represents one of the twelve months of the year & apparently if you have a sour grape the month it represents is suppose to be a bad one for you or so I was told by Jeni, the owner of ESB&G)
As I type this we have just begun 2012 and I want to thank all of you for your kind words, comments and encouragement over the last year of writing this blog. I've had a fantastic time doing it and I find it a fantastic way of both showing people what I've been finding, learning and doing but also a way of keeping in touch with my friends and family back home in Ireland. I want to wish you all a happy 2012 and here's to all of us making our lives better in whatever way we each may choose in the twelves months ahead.