Krimo's Departing Joy...

She's on her way. Our Joanne, Joey, Jo... Five and a half years at Portofino.
Joey started with us at the tender age of 16, did her A-levels and then went to University. All the while, she progressed from trainee to head-waitress, from a shy teenager to a very confident young woman.
She has at last found a full-time job in her field of expertise.

Joanne is very much like many of the young employees who have helped us grow from a tiny restaurant, seating 32 people at Seaton Carew to three busy restaurants around the Marina.

These young kids start with us straight out of school and remain at least two years, while they take their A-levels. A few stay on even after they have started at one of the four local universities, Teesside, Durham, Sunderland or Newcastle. These turn out to be very valuable to the continuity of our operation. They get to coach and train new recruits fresh from school, shaping them in a very short time, into very capable members of staff.

This cycle has been going on for the last 24 years. Many of our earlier recruits often visit our restaurants with fianc├ęs, husbands or wives, and quite often teenage children.

We have employed their younger brothers and sisters without even interviewing them. The mark left by their siblings was recommendation enough. As it happens, Joey's sister Nicole has been with us for the last two years.
(Nicole has just pointed out that she has been at Portofino for 3½ years!!!! Time flies when you're having fun, chick. I stand corrected. Sorry!)

Just like Nicola who left Krimo's a year ago to the day, Joey will be part of Portofino for a long time to come.
Thank you, babe!

Do not forget to tell us what you will do on Valentine's Day. (Poll in the top right hand corner)

Krimo's Food Evolution...

We were tubing our way to the Natural Science Museum to see how the Darwin exhibition was evolving when Karen said: "Why don't we stop at Harrods on the way?"
The last time Karen went to Harrods, she brought back a tiny jar of pesto. It cost her £12! I was quite Pestoff!

Under duress, I let myself be dragged into Al Fayed's Egyptian bazaar. I snappily whisked Karen past various crocodile shoes and bags and into the famous Harrods Food Hall.
There was food, food and food. Raw, cooked, ready-to-eat, ready-to-cook, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Lebanese... Foods from the whole world, in fact.
Fruit and vegetables I had never seen let alone heard of.
A sushi counter fit for a sumo wrestler's diet.
An atomic display of mushrooms.
Enough fresh dates to fill a two-year diary.

There was even a travel-agency style counter manned/womened by smartly-dressed models taking food orders from posh people who believe an Aga is just another religious icon.
We finished our visit with a swift fly-over the chocolaaaaaaate department. I shut down all five senses and raced out of Harrods. Torture?

If there ever had been a moment when I longed to return to my scouting days, it was that day. I could have gladly volunteered to camp in that Food Hall for at least a whole year.

Do not forget to tell us what you will do on Valentine's Day.
(Poll in the top right hand corner)

Krimo's Royal Yacht...

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, HRH QE2's hubby, Patron of HMS Trincomalee Trust, will visiting my yacht in March!
Well, The Trinc, as she is affectionately known is not MY yacht really, but most of the young kids who visit Portofino believe me when I tell them she is.
Very often, their pizzas get cold as they sit, spellbound by the presence of such a beautiful ship just outside Portofino's windows.

Prince Philip paid a visit to the ship in 2001, long before she was totally restored to its present glory. I think he will be pleasantly surprise with the improvements.

Eight years ago, I managed to snap him from upstairs. This time, I may be shaking his royal hand...

Hartlepool's own tall ship!!

Do not forget to tell us what you will do on Valentine's Day. (Poll in the top right hand corner)

The Dream is now a reality...

The wait is over...
Change was long overdue. Change has come.
If the world is to become a better place, Obama is the start of things to come.
The USA are often seen as arrogant, unfeeling, biased, etc...
I really feel that Obama has now the unique opportunity to change all that.
Congratulations and Good Luck!

Krimo's Holiday Reports...

Our Portofino second-chef, Chris Wilkinson was looking forward to his well-earned Dominican Republic holiday... until that is, I began thinking of putting the frighteners on him.
Last week, I reported that an earthquake had hit the place. He laughed nervously at first, unsure whether I was kidding. It did not take him long to realise that I had invented the fictitious report.
The following day, it was a hurricane that swept over the island.
Running out of ideas, I googled the online Dominican newspapers and came across a report on the Solenodon, the world's rarest mammals.
A few minutes of Copy and Paste, and I came up with my own version of the report.

Chris read the report with a smile on his face.
Tomorrow he flies off for a couple of weeks of sunshine.
I wonder what his reaction will be if he comes across one of those solenodons.
Click on the picture to enlarge it.

The real story

Do not forget to tell us what you will do on Valentine's Day. (Poll in the top right hand corner)

From Krimo's with Love...

Our previous poll asked: Where will/did you spend New Year's Eve?
The results showed that 2/3 of us spent it with family/friends and the rest of us worked.
I did both!
Do not forget to tell us what you will do on Valentine's Day. (Poll in the top right hand corner)

Our friend Stan Laundon took this shot from his balcony window.

I have no idea who's in the helicopter and I can assure you it is not me. I have never been close to a helicopter let alone flown in one. According to Stan it landed just behind the Marina lock office, on the bottom right of the shot.

I wonder whether its owner had lunch with us at Krimo's. You may just see the sign on the other side of the lock gates.

Doesn't it look like a scene from James Bond, especially with the speedboats and yachts.

From Hartlepool with Love...

Krimo's New Year Resolution...

Do not forget to tell us how you spent New Year's Eve.(Poll in the top right hand corner)

I gave up smoking on 31st January 1985. Nearly 24 years ago!
Why the end of January?
I realised it would take time to motivate myself to give up. One whole month when I told everyone I knew that I was going to stop smoking by the end of it.
It also took me a long time to chose a substitute for the cigarette. I once saw a poster at Sunderland Poly with the following headline "I gave up smoking eating prunes!". But what I remembered most was the scribbled line underneath that said "...And now I am trying to give up prunes."
My mother, though she never smoked in her life, had a habit of chewing coffee beans. Goodness only knows why.

So I decided to go for coffee beans as an alternative to cigarettes. Nicorette patches and gum had yet to be invented.
And it worked!
For years, my breath smelt of fresh coffee and my teeth were pebbledashed with ground coffee because every time I felt like a cigarette, I dug a couple of coffee beans out of my pocket.
Nearly 24 years on, I must admit that I still enjoy chewing the odd coffee bean every now and then.

This year, my resolution is much simpler than giving up smoking.
I have resolved that all our restaurants shall give even better value while offering the same standards to which our customers have become accustomed. Check out our websites for details.
Krimo's, Portofino, Casa del Mar.

Krimo's New Year's Eve Parties...

Do not forget to tell us how you spent New Year's Eve.
(Poll in the top right hand corner)

All our three restaurants were fully booked last night.
Portofino and Casa del Mar had two sittings. One early on from 5.30pm till 8pm then once the tables were vacated, they were reset for the second sitting. It was nice to see children included in the celebrations. They added to the entertainment.
Krimo's served a Gourmet menu and all our New Year's Eve regulars were delighted with the offering.
Many stayed till after midnight to bring in the New Year with a glass of bubbly.
Later we drifted along to Casa del Mar, where live Latino music echoed around the Marina. A DJ finished the evening with lots of Salsa hits. A few of us were strutting our stuff early into New Year's Day.
We wish all our customers, friends and employees the best of things for 2009.

The New Year will be bringing even better value in all our restaurants. Check out our websites and you will be pleasantly pleased.