Fear Braces No Longer

Invisalign alignersAs a teenager every time I visited the dentists I was a little bit worried that I’d be told that I needed braces.  I was already wearing the National Health Service’s hideous glasses (the blue model to start with and the John Lennon ones later) and the last thing I needed was a lot of ugly metal in my teeth too.  I think that all that concern was misplaced as my teeth are actually quite straight naturally thank goodness, but the worry was very real at the time, especially as quite a few friends had braces fitted and seemed to wear them for ages.

Thankfully things have moved on over the years and there’s now no need to be self-conscious about wearing braces because they have found ways for them to look a lot less obvious, but which still do the job just as well.  The answer is Invisalign. Invisalign is a new type of orthodontic system. It makes use of clear plastic aligners to straighten the wonky teeth, instead of the traditional, fixed, metal braces. Each aligner is worn for just two weeks and is then replaced with the next one in the series. By custom-making the aligners, each one can be slightly different to allow room for movement. The Invisalign treatment is planned in advance using sophisticated computer software, so you can actually see what your treatment will achieve before you start to wear your aligners.

Obviously the benefits of not being about to see the aligners is huge for many of those facing orthodontic treatment, but there are other pros to enjoy too. Invisalign aligners also have the advantage that they are easily removable.  This gives patients more freedom and choice about how they wear their aligners.  It also avoids any problems with eating or cleaning your teeth.

Henry Wong

henry wongHenry Wong has been a Harborne institution as long as I can remember.  It’s been there on Harborne High Street in Birmingham serving Chinese that’s always been a cut above your average.  Over more recent years though it’s had a renaissance and now serves exciting Chinese food produced from the best ingredients, often local ones.  Not only that, but it’s become somewhere to spend the whole evening.  Your table is yours for the evening, you can get a drink at the bar before or after dinner and it’s got a lovely, modern decor.  Three nights a week there’s live music too, but not the sort that gets in the way of your meal, rather music that enhances the mood and the atmosphere.

honey pepper, wasabi cream and garlic prawnsI was really keen to try the Trio King Prawns, I was particularly intrigued to see how the wasabi cream worked.  I associate wasabi with Japanese rather than Chinese cuisine.  Serving the prawns with Red Slate Dry Riesling was an excellent choice and the dryness of the wine perfectly complimented the strongly flavoured prawns.

lobster and spare ribsLobster and Spare Ribs in Chilli and Pepper was a dish I eagerly awaited as I love both lobster and spare ribs.  I wasn’t disappointed and the combination.  I think lobster needs to be paired with strong flavours to bring out the best in it, but the danger is that those flavours will overwhelm it.  But, no mistakes here, the seasoning was finely balanced.  This dish was served with the fruity, spicy Pinot Noir Joseph Drouhin.

seabass with sweet chilli sauceNext up with the mains of Long Horn Sirloin Steak in Teriyaki and Seabass with Sweet Chilli Sauce. The robust meaty flavours of both the steak and the sea bass can easily take a strongly flavoured sauce so the teriyaki and sweet chilli make ideal accompaniments.  The complex flavours of the steak and teriyaki were teamed with the Smoking Loon Old Zinfandel with its fruity undertones.  For the seabass Henry Wong’s matched it with the Cousino Macul Sauvignon Gris, which was nicely refreshing and had the right citrusy notes to show off the fish.

mixed fritter with fruitDessert was quite bravely kept simple: Mixed Fritter served with fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream.  After the richness of the earlier dishes, it was very refreshing to have the acidity and the sweetness of the fruit.  This was served with Laurent-Perrier Demi-Sec which is also a lovely way to end a meal.

Will I be going back to Henry Wong?  Most certainly, in fact I’m planning on taking the family.

Photographs by Jan Sansi.

July’s Degustabox

drinksJuly has been another good month for the Degustabox.  We have been trying out a range of drinks again, which is a real treat in these summer months because there is always something tasty and refreshing in the fridge.  On the soft drinks front there’s been Newton’s Appl Fizzics which is a refreshing blend of sparkling water and apple juice.  I’ve taken the Little Miracles drinks out with us on picnics and long, hot car drives and they have been very pleasant to drink.  In fact I love the fact that there are no artificial nasties and I like that they have organic ingredients too.  The Lambrini was the perfect drink to share with friends on a long summer evening.  It’s alcoholic, but it’s not a high alcohol content which is great for summer days when you could get dehydrated.

The Weetabix drinks are designed to be an easy way to have breakfast on the go.  It’s basically all the goodness of a breakfast cereal in a bottle.  I found the chocolate version a bit much for first thing, but I think that’s because I prefer a savoury breakfast.  I think this is just the thing for me to drink before we leave for the airport when we go on our holiday later this month.  I need to have something before I drive, but we plan to have a proper meal at the airport.

July DegustaboxFood wise we have the Tasty Little Numbers to try.  These are perfect for filling a lunch time gap or having a side dish.  I love that they are easy to add up on the calories front too as that helps when you are keeping an eye on your weight.  Taking The Pea was a new one for us.  It’s a new healthy snack based on flavoured peas.  They are a perfect lunch box size and are high in fibre, but low in fat.  Say Yes To No is a very simple product.  It doesn’t set out lots of ambitious promises, but has a refreshing take on pack design.  It’s a tasty snack too, so it just shows you don’t need all the marketing lies.  Fru Snax are another healthy snack which are perfect for a lunch box or even popping in your handbag.

Lots of lovely things to try in July’s Degustabox.  Really looking forward to seeing what’s in the August box.


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