Adventures in Birmingham – September 5th 2010

It’s a short week but after being out of town with one thing another and it’s good to be back.

Thursday is the inaugural meeting of what I style as the Fine Dining Club. That’s me and whoever wants to visit one of Birmingham’s more exceptional restaurants every 6-8 weeks. I chose Opus first as they have been so fantastic in supporting the charity projects I work on. Purnell’s and Edmunds are coming up next for the same reason plus of course the extraordinary food and top class service.

And that’s exactly how Opus presents itself along with the great company of four like-minded ladies. The food keeps on coming as does the conversation. A couple of the girls chose from the market menu which included a gorgeous glass of champagne and feeling like I missed out having chosen the mushroom & leek risotto from a la carte, I order a glass too. If I haven’t mentioned, I’ve developed an allergic reaction to alcohol in the last few years and lots of experimenting in recent weeks has resulted in knowing I can drink champagne and Guinness without a reaction. (together which make Black Velvet, my birthday drink). My suspicion is confirmed about the champagne, there is no sneezing or annoying sniffling to follow. These are two of my favourite drinks but the other two are beer (lager) and red wine and I am really missing those.

Everyone loves Opus and the crème brulee maybe the best I’ve ever tasted. Five sets of plates licked clean, we happily spill out into the warm, September streets.

Friday night is music night so I skip the cinema and join some of the regulars at Urban Coffee Co. They have a pianist playing brilliant covers and a very warm feeling comes over me when the Cheers theme wafts upstairs. “Where everybody knows your name,” indeed.

I should have just bought a bed for the night as next morning I meet with a friend to discuss a new enterprise – news to follow – and then just have enough time to run to M&S to get some food into my empty fridge before returning for another legendary coffee, cake & conversation marathon with the Meet Up girls. They say I break the record when I race downstairs upon realising Urban have Red Velvet cake. So that’s black velvet & red velvet in the same week.

On Sunday, a year after I really should have, I learn about the Jewellery Quarter’s heritage. I walk these streets daily (on route to places you understand, not just randomly in bag lady mode). We all know about the jewellery and the whistle being made here for the original Titanic sailing (fat lot of good it did) but did you know for 100 years, Birmingham was the global centre of the pen making industry? There’s a lesson to follow on this; pay attention.

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