Monday, 27 July 2015

It's been awhile...

In fact, its been over two years. There's been a lot going on, some good stuff of course, but unfortunately some very not good stuff too. I feel like I've spent the first half of 2015 apologising for being a nightmare in 2014, and well, most of 2013 too. 

This year has been different. This year has been about me.

I'm sure we can all agree that no post about significant change can be published without mentioning how Oprah provided inspiration, which of course she did. Frequently Oprah, and to be fair, many others, harp on about how when you give all of your energy to your family/friends/work that in fact you then have nothing left to give yourself, and thus whatever you do give is not your best. Does this make sense? Its probably better if you watch a bit of retro Oprah for clarification. 

And so after quite the hiatus I find myself blogging again. You see, I've lost quite a bit of weight in this year of Jordi, and I've done so in a balanced, moderate and most importantly, a so far sustainable way. Some of my closest friends, as well some almost strangers, are fascinated with how I've done it and have urged me to use this platform to tell them. 

Those of you here for the restaurant tips, chill. Remember the balanced, moderate bit I mentioned, I totally still eat, preferably at my latest favourite place, The Ivy Market Grill

In the seven years since I moved to London I have seen significant change in the variety and quality offered by local restaurants, like an insane change. London, you are so delicious right now. The other change I've notice is the gentrification happening around Covent Garden. It confuses me how one day it was all tourist tat and 'Cornish' pasties and the next there was Apple, Chanel and Laduree. Whilst still not somewhere I naturally gravitate to, this is all about to change thanks to TIMG and their Three Martini Brunch. 

Along with the not-so-mini martinis - Plymouth Gibson, Vesper, dry Wyborowa vodka - you must have the perfectly crisp zucchini fritti, and should you not be a martini person, well you can have the very pretty Poison Ivy. My current favourite brunch dish is the warm truffled chicken sandwich, on toasted brioche. With extra truffled mayo. I ordered a side of kale and spinach, for you know, balance. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

This Week #24

I don't get hangovers. I know this sounds ridiculous, but its mostly true. It is extremely rare that I feel the after effects of too much prosecco/vodka/pudding wine. I am very lucky. For me there is more the horror of remembering (or in this case, the not remembering) the things I said whilst drunk. This mostly happens at work drinks so my new rule is not to go them anymore. I'm not sure how long this resolve will last. In order to recover from the latest Friday night horror I went to Balthazar for macaroni cheese and a spicy bloody mary, because if anything can make you feel better, its this. 

Roti Chai with my sister, who was visiting for a couple of days. We love it there, such delicious Indian food, that is incredibly fresh and non-greasy. My only complaint is that the tables for two are too small for when you try to order everything. My current faves are the chicken samosas and the chili paneer. Obvs you need to finish with the pistachio kulfi. 

On moving to London I thought I would go to the theatre constantly. Obviously I have not and so my quarterly (I suppose that's still pretty good) cultural moments seem like a bit of a treat. On the recommendation of everyone, I have finally seen The Book of Mormon

I know, I go here too much. I can't help it. Still my favourite burgers. 

The beautiful bar at Hawksmoor Spitalfields relaunched and whilst I am still not convinced ox cheek is better than short rib, although honestly, I don't think I can tell the difference, I just think I don't like the idea as much, anyway, the french dip lived up to the memory of the original revelation so clearly it is not a problem. The cocktails are as fabulous as ever, as you would expect. 

This Week #25 Italy Part 2

We stayed in Fiesole. A small town in the Florentine hills with views like this of Florence. I don't even like Florence, but from a distance I am almost convinced. 

The view of the Ponte Vecchio from the Vasari Corridor. An enclosed walkway that links the Vecchio and Pitti palaces by going through the Uffizi Gallery. It is mostly closed to visitors, however there are limited tours available if you book in advance. 

Lunch in Florence at Il Santo Bevitore. I'd been a few years before, possibly in the age of no iphones, for what was a highly memorable meal. the menu changes daily, and there is much delicious Italian wine to try, which is best with the salami and cheese platters. 

Florentine Sunset awww...

This Week #25 Italy Part 1

We started our week in Italy with macchiati at Cafe Cova  in Milan.

In Santa Margherita we always stay at Hotel Metropole. It makes you feel like you're staying in an old movie, only with this view from the breakfast table

San Fruttuoso, my actual favourite place. A tiny cove with a rocky beach and 3 small restaurants. Pretty much only reachable by boat. 

Tortellini di noci, the lesser known regional pasta of the Liguiran coast. So completely delicious, don't ever ask how much cream is in it. 

Portofino, complete with a giant yacht. We caught a boat over and walked back, with a few stops for Aperitivi on the way. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

This Week #23

I have many friends that live in The West, and whilst mostly massively inconvient, it has its moments. Specificially these moments involve Outsider Tart. Originally an American bake shop, with an amazing assortment of brownies (peanut butter and chocolate for me!), giant cookies and proper cheesecakes. Recently, they've taken over next door, and opened Blue Plate, a Southern inspired cafe.

I think we all know by now how much I love Medlar, and I wouldn't have written about it again, except that this dessert was so pretty. Often I find three courses too much but for this light cardmom custard topped with orange and pomegrantate, served with langue des chats, there should always be room. Now, contrary to what I've just said, I didn't actually have this. I ordered the canele, which is one of my favourite cakes and previously had only had on its own. At Medlar it was served with molten congolese chocolate and camp ice cream. Actually sublime, and sadly no longer on the menu.
Selfridges opened the Denim Studio - the world's biggest denim department stocking 60 brands, served by 50 denim specialists. Wtih the introduction of Primark, the price range spans from £11 to an £11,000 pair of jeans and there's over 11,000 pairs of to choose from. If you love a time lapse video like I do, watch this one (sorry I'm not clever enough to embed it into the blog)

Many years ago I went to my first ever London Cocktail Society event, it was a preview of the Zetter Townhouse. My favourite drink was the Twinkle - a refreshing blend of vodka, elderflower cordial, champagne finished with a lemon twist. Open now in the newly developed Granary Square, from the same people is Grain Store, which is worth visiting for the bar alone. That said, the restaurant, headed up by Bruno Loubet has one of the most interesting menus I've seen for a while. 

This is a terrible photo of what are possibly my favourite offices, Mulberry. I love how every season they are a dressed up in the theme of the collection.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Shake Shack - Now in London!

This Friday July 5th, London gets its own Shake Shack. Yay! And with it comes a special menu, with not only all of the original favourites but with local specials, like the Sillfield Farm Cumberland sausage hot dog and touches like St John Bakery and paul.a.young treats in the concretes.

Aaron, the 'Cross Trainer' with a tray of Shack Stacks

A Shack Stack for me - Cheeseburger and a ’Shroom Burger (Crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted cheese,) topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce

The Shack red and white, is bottled exclusively for Shake Shack by Frog’s Leap, Napa Valley, CA and comes in these cute plastic cups with a groove to fit your thumb

As someone who does eat pork, anytime a new bef hot dog appears in London it thrills me. The Shack-cago dog Authentic German all-beef hot dog dragged through the garden with Rick's Picks Shack relish (made especially for this dog), onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard

Original ShackBurgers - Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce

Hand-spun strawberry, chocolate and vanilla shakes

The Union Shack Concrete Chocolate custard (ice cream), St. JOHN Bakery chocolate hazelnut brownie, fudge sauce, paul.a.young chocolate chunks and sea salt

Shake Shack London
Covent Garden
24 Market Building
The Piazza
London, England WC2E 8RD

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

This Week #22

Lebanese lunching at my favourite Al Arez. I know Edgware Road can seem like a bit of a minefield and you never know which is the good one. Let me tell you, 101 Edgware Road is the place to go. I say skip the mains and just order loads of the hot and cold starters to create your own mezze. Go hungry, or take lots of friends.

The realisation that the plus six five supperclub has been operating for two years and I had not yet been was an unhappy one. To fix this, I went to their genius second birthday party at the super cute Yum Bun. We got to try three buns - classic pork belly from YB, then Ox Cheeky Rendang and I-can't-believe-its-veg popiah. Sooooo delicious. Someone make me go to one of their dinners soon.

As always I'm crazy for anything new for nails, and for two week Selfridges had a Chanel nail bar pop up with giant sized Le Vernis bottles.

Brunch at Roka Canary Wharf, which is now has 3 levels, offering variations on wine and main courses, but all still offering the dangerous all you can drink wine. Despite eating more than you would think possible, including their classic teryaki salmon, we still floated out of there.

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