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Archive for November, 2012

Food and Drink in Barcelona

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

I returned to Barcelona for a visit this weekend. It is so easy to eat and drink well there. So I did…

For a menu del dia (affordable 3 course meal b.w 13:30-15:30) head to almost any place behind the Boqueria market on Las Ramblas

My dear friend Susannah and her partner Kat just launched Bread and Circuses, a scrumptious American-style sandwich shop. Stop in, say hi for me, and order a Muffaletta.

Head to Barcelona’s best Basque pinxos place, Taktika Berri. M-F from 13-16 hr and from 20:30-23 hr. Saturday from 13-16 hr. Nosh on the pinxos at the bar, but save plenty of room for the hot tapas. Oh, and ask for a glass of Txakoli.

I heart Bestiari in the Borne.

Pick up some Argentinian empanadas at Reckon. Eat in or carry them away.

Awesome twist on tapas at Tapac 24. Susanna says it went down hill since Chef Dani left and opened his tapas place Tapeo BCN. I love both places. And at either place you must order the foie gras burger (unless, of course you have some scruples and care for ducks…which I don’t)

If you want a creative twist on traditional tapas and an awesome atmosphere, I’d suggest Tapeo in the Borne. It was opened a couple years ago by a disciple of Carles Abellan.

For perfect seafood and paella, then Kaiku in Barceloneta is amazing. They’ve got some meat and vegetarian stuff  including a vegetarian paella made with smoked rice that’s gorgeous. Definitely make a reservation.
For a relatively traditional 3-course dinner Las Fernandez in the Raval. Then there’s Hisop and Coure, which are both incredible, but that’s Michelin star territory.
Lots of places now serve good beer in Barcelona (which kinda sorta makes me regret having left). Back when I was there the only place I knew of in town was Belchica, which has 30 Belgians. On this visit, I hit up Ale & Hop and Cat Bar, the former of which has an impressive selection with a beer-conversant staff. Consider trying some of the local beers from Hospitalet and Montseny.

Modern History Sourcebook: Documents of German Unification, 1848-1871

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012


That’s why I’m a Lincoln Cat

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Gettysburg Address

In Our Time Podcast: Clausewitz and On War

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss On War, a treatise on the theory and practice of warfare written by the Prussian soldier and intellectual Carl von Clausewitz. First published in 1832, Clausewitz’s magnum opus is commonly regarded as the most important book about military theory ever written. Informed by its author’s experience of fighting against the mighty armies of Napoleon, the work looks not just at the practicalities of warfare, but offers a subtle philosophical analysis of the nature of war and its relationship with politics. Notions such as the Clausewitzian Trinity have had an enormous effect on later military leaders. But its influence is felt today not just on the battlefield but also in politics and business.

LSE Lecture – From Kaiser Wilhelm to Chancellor Merkel. The German Question on the European Stage

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Speaker: Professor Andreas Rödder

Recorded on 7 November 2012 in New Theatre, East Building.

The German Question has kept Europe in suspense for more than a century. It appeared to have eventually been solved by German unification and through the integration of the D-Mark – the German “atomic bomb” – into the European Monetary Union. However, after losing two world wars and a third of its territory, having committed the holocaust and expelled huge numbers of its elites, after Europeanising central elements of its power and yet being strained by the economical impact of reunification, Germany is once more suspected of aspiring to supremacy. The lecture will follow the twisted story of Germany in Europe since the late 19th century. In particular it will analyse the connection between German reunification and the decision to introduce the Euro in order to highlight the current “German question” from a historical perspective.

Andreas Rödder holds the chair for Contemporary History at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz (Germany). He has published books on the mid 19th-century English Conservatives, in German foreign politics in the interwar period as well as on Germany in the 1970s and 80s and at last on German reunification.

LSE Lecture – The Future of the Union: England

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Speaker: Lord Heseltine

Recorded on 14 November 2012 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Part of the Future Of The Union series discussion on the future of each nation within the UK. Michael Heseltine is the former deputy prime minister and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was an MP from 1966 to 2001.


Doris Kearns Goodwin On Lincoln And His ‘Team Of Rivals’

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

When Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg were working on the film Lincoln, they had many conversations with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Her book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is about Lincoln’s relationship with his cabinet. Both her book and the film showcase Lincoln’s remarkable political skills.

When Lincoln won the 1860 presidential election, he appointed three men who’d competed with him for the Republican presidential nomination to his cabinet: New York Sen. William H. Seward, Ohio Gov. Salmon P. Chase, and Missouri’s distinguished elder statesman Edward Bates.

In Team of Rivals Goodwin recounts the life and work of our 16th president and his relationship with these powerful men.

Goodwin won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, No Ordinary Time, about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She has also written books about Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys.

Videographic: China’s territorial claims

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Suspicions between the People’s Republic and its neighbours bedevil its boundaries to the east, south and west.

3 minutes. Great!

Is China more legitimate than the West?

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

China and the United States are about to choose new leaders via very different methods. But is a candidate voted for by millions a more legitimate choice than one anointed by a select few?.

You probably think that the legitimacy and authority of the state, or government, is overwhelmingly a function of democracy, Western-style.

But democracy is only one factor. Nor does democracy in itself guarantee legitimacy.

Now let me shock you: the Chinese state enjoys greater legitimacy than any Western state. How come?

In China’s case the source of the state’s legitimacy lies entirely outside the history or experience of Western societies.

For the Chinese, what matters is civilisation. For Westerners it is nation. The most important political value in China is the integrity and unity of the civilisation-state.

Given the sheer size and diversity of the country, this is hugely problematic. Between the 1840s and 1949, China was occupied by the colonial powers, divided and fragmented. The Chinese refer to it as their century of humiliation.

They see the state as the embodiment and guardian of Chinese civilisation. Its most important responsibility – bar none – is maintaining the unity of the country. A government that fails to ensure this will fall.





Emserson: Self-Reliance

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Self-Reliance is an essay written by American Transcendentalist philosopher and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson’s recurrent themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas.