"I Just Want More Crust" – Otto Pizza For The Win!


I first heard about Otto Pizza from two girls I work with. They’re sisters, and apparently one of the best friends of their older brother had gone travelling around America, tasted a cornmeal crust pizza, come back to London, quit his job and gone all in on the UK’s first cornmeal crust pizza joint. Now I’m not a fan of pizza – I find it greasy, stodgy and too… well, bread-y – but both girls were insisting that Otto was the place to go. “The cornmeal crust,” they insisted, “is out of this world. And their toppings are awesome. You’ve got to try ’em out. You’d really like it.”

Despite this praise I was still unconvinced until I went home, did a little research and discovered that Rich and Tom, the co-owners of Otto Pizza, hadn’t just gone anywhere in the States, they’d gone to Dove Vivi in Portland, OR. Portland. My home for a year. Foodie heaven. The place I’ve been trying to get back to ever since I lived there. That did it – I was sold, and I hadn’t even tried the pizza yet.


Ayoush, James Street


Ayoush, originally uploaded by jaxies.

I would like to preface this post by saying it’s a miracle that any of these photos are in focus because not only was it incredibly dark when I was taking them (and I have terrible eyesight, to boot), but I was drunk. There. I said it. Sorry. I know, I should be a beacon of moral fibre, I should get my business done and leave the drunkenness to afterwards, but I didn’t. I’m not. Oh well.

My girl friends and I decided to go for dinner together for a catch-up/bonding session. Two boyfriends were brought along as well, which is always dangerous (for them) as when we girls get together we pretty much regress back to the age of thirteen. It’s really rather wonderful.

For fear of being late I got there very early, was the first person in the entire downstairs of the restaurant (very embarrassing, they turned the music on just for me, but made the comment, “what, just for one lady?!” when the hostess told them to do so, and I then hid behind a newspaper in a very dark and very large booth/cave (seriously, I can’t quite describe just how huge these booths are), waiting for my friends), and then, as I felt so incredibly awkward, managed to down an entire large glass of pinot grigio in about ten minutes. Whoops.

Anyway, despite all that, Ayoush is actually a very decent restaurant, and plenty of fun. I was maybe a bit of a killjoy as I’d come straight from work and was pretty exhausted, but I still had a good time with my girls and the food was a surprising treat.


Nobu Berkeley St., Mayfair


Crispy Pork Belly with Spicy Miso, originally uploaded by jaxies.

As I write this post I’m currently sat in the most luxuriously hot bath on the wettest, windiest and most miserable Summer’s day in London. Summer, for me, should be full of sunshine. It should wake me up every morning with a song in my heart, and send me to bed every evening with a smile on my face.

Summer in London does not do that. It wakes me up with the cruel, grey, rainy light of day, and it sends me to bed dark, cold and miserable. At least this summer it has.

Having said that, Brother’s birthday is in the summer and we usually celebrate it in Spain, but this year, with all of us working hard, we found ourselves stranded in London, and so, to escape the lack-of-summer-blues, Momma Lee and I took him to Nobu Berekely St. for a very special celebration dinner and to relax… if only it had lived up to the hype, it may have actually worked.


Feng Sushi, Borough Market


Chilli Edamame, originally uploaded by jaxies.

Just a quickie post to tide you over whilst I’m still recovering from (what I have now discovered to be) an infection in my left parotid gland. That’s saliva gland to you and I ordinary folks. Thank you all so much for such lovely messages wishing me well, you’re the nicest people I’ve never met! Ha! Seriously though, really appreciated it. You can read more about my experience with the doctor’s surgery this morning over on my Life Blog, including some photos NOT of food but of people! Unheard of. Phew!

So the other week I took Jun (of The Great Brownie Disaster) out for dinner to cheer her up. The tenth flat she’d looked at to move into at the beginning of August had fallen through on her and she needed some food therapy. Since she currently works around London Bridge of course we had to go down to Borough Market. Bully for us, it was a Monday evening, market’s shut. But oh well, Feng Sushi has always been a nice experience! And we are all about the Japanese food. Unfortunately, this time the experience was somewhat tainted.


Asia de Cuba, St Martin’s Lane


Asia de Cuba, originally uploaded by jaxies.

Yeah, I know, I’ve lied to you again. I’m a terrible human being. I promised you recipes and once again I’ve failed you. I’m sorry. But wait, don’t go away! I’ve got something awesome for you! And as I write this I’m in the process of putting together some blueberry cream cheese muffins, so you KNOW that the recipe for those will come soon (incidentally, Monet? These muffins were inspired by you!) and I promise I’ll get working on those recipes I’ve got in the pipeline.

I kinda have to, anyway, because I’m starting to plan recipes and ideas to co-write a cookbook. Yeah, you read that right. I’m going to keep details under wraps for now, but promise when things are a little more fleshed out I’ll keep ya in the loop. But that’s pretty exciting, eh?

Anyway, Asia de Cuba. Maybe you’ve heard of it. I hadn’t, but that’s because I’m not too clued up on the ‘hip’ and ‘trendy’ places to eat – isn’t that kinda silly of me? As a foodie I should really be down with the cool kids, but I’m a little slow on the uptake, especially when my brain is swimming with the prices of baby-related items (Baby Dior plastic bottle, 150ml: £17.99) but still, better late to the party than never arrived.


The Roebuck, Chiswick High Road


Cumber-Cumber-Cumberland, originally uploaded by jaxies.

I know, I promised you recipes but I’ve been far too busy to cook of late. Sorry about that! Instead I have another mini write-up for you.

Yesterday I took David to Wimbledon and made an awesome picnic which consisted of a mozzarella, tomato, basil & avocado sandwich and a parma ham, mozzarella and avocado sandwich, cherry tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, two types of cheese, more bread, and a bottle of Pimm’s & lemonade, but because I made it at 7.30am I neglected to take any photos. We spent the day sitting on Henman Hill (or Murray Mount as it’s been renamed since Andy Murray became the Great British Tennis Hope), eating our picnic periodically, getting a little sunburnt, snapping photos and watching various tennis matches. I know how to pack a picnic, innit.

Anyway, Wimbledon and picnics aside, this evening I took my friends Tyler and Darren (funny story how I met Darren – I was in a gay bar in Portland with some friends, one friend was dancing next to Tyler and said, “My friend Jackie’s from England! She lives in London!” to which Tyler responded, “I’m moving to London! To Chiswick?” at which point I screamed, “OMGz THAT’S MY HOMETOWN!!!” – random, right? Absolutely brilliant, though!) to The Roebuck on Chiswick High Road, my fave gastro-pub. I actually took my first ever blog friend Ashley here when she visited me in London last summer, introduced her to Pimm’s (it’s all about the mint!) and the fantastic Cumberland sausage.


Pho Me Up – Saigon Saigon, King Street


Pho-A-Licious, originally uploaded by jaxies.

Wow. So I have a couple of things to apologise for. Firstly, I am SO sorry about the quality of these photos. Suffice to say I was having some serious issues with my camera that evening. I don’t even remember why, I was just having issues. Secondly, I’ve been pretty quiet, eh? Sorry about that! Things have been a little crazy over the past few days and I haven’t cooked anything new and/or significant. I’m a working girl now, my time is not my own! Well, sometimes.

The good news is that I’ve got a few recipes I’m in the process of developing and they look like they’re going to be REALLY good. I’ve just kinda got to figure them out, test them, perfect them and then I can blog about them. But for now you’ll have to make do with another write-up because that’s all I’ve got on the back-burner!

Oh, also, whilst I remember, my very good friend Alex and I are talking about doing some guest posting. Alex is one of the cleverest, nicest and coolest people I know, not only because he is side-splittingly funny, but also because he’s a damn good cook and a Vegan at that. He also has beautiful tattoos all over his arms. There’s no relation to food behind that – I just like his ink. In the meantime you should check out his Tumblr to see what he’s been eating and making. He and his beautiful girlfriend Catriona often invite me over for an evening of Vegan Tasties and I’m always well fed. In fact, thanks to them, I could quite happily be Vegan… that is if I didn’t like meat so much. Watch this space for a guest post from Alex very soon.

Well then. The meat of this post. Vietnamese pho. I cannot tell you how much I love Vietnamese pho. I had been craving this for weeks before I finally sat down to a steaming bowl. I’d even been dreaming about it. Why is it so great? Let me count the ways.


Do You Mooli? If Not, Why Not?!


These are great times that we live in – we live in the time of the viral. The instant. The I-Can-Set-Up-An-Interview-With-The-Mooli’s-Boys-On-Twitter-In-150-Characters-Or-Less. Yup, this all happened because I Tweeted them asking if I could pop down for a chat and some photos, and their speedy response was, “Deal. Best to come by after peak time though (2pm)”. How amazing is that? Sometimes Twitter is totally useless, but sometimes it’s perfect.

Sam (left) & Mathew (right), the co-owners of Mooli’s, are two of the nicest, most genuine and generous guys you will ever meet… and they’re cute, to boot. Within minutes of me arriving at 50 Frith Street, the Mooli’s home since mid-September 2009, Sam had thrust a complimentary refreshing mango lassi in my hand (which I definitely needed after my jaunt into Soho from Hammersmith!) and was chatting away to me with a big smile on his face, despite the fact that he was watching the England vs. Slovenia match on his MacBook. In fact, all the staff were watching the match on his MacBook, except for Mathew who was across the road at a karaoke bar, watching the match there. Whoops – I scheduled my interview during England’s World Cup match.


The Barbican’s Balcony Bistro, Silk Street


The (Black) Rock, originally uploaded by jaxies.

I’ve got another write-up for you! Plus one more recipe in the recipe bank (currently), but let’s save that for a day or two.

My mom and I made a deal that once a fortnight we’ll go out on an Arts-related excursion, whether it’s dance, theatre, music, art or whatever. This time we went to the Barbican Centre on Silk Street for a modern dance show by the Michael Clark Company called Come, Been & Gone. It was phenomenal, a really wonderful show. You can read a little more about it on my Life Blog, here.

We got there early enough to have dinner first, so we decided to go to the Barbican’s Balcony Bistro. The Barbican has two restaurants, the Balcony Bistro and Searcy’s, and a more casual cafe, the Waterside Cafe. We were in the mood for something a little less sandwich-y but not too fancy, so the Bistro it was.

The service is generally pretty good, aside from the fact that we stood around awkwardly being ignored by waitresses and the host/maitre d’ for a good five minutes when we first came in. However, after we were finally seated they proved to be both fast and friendly.

Momma Lee had a Pimm’s and I had an “Apple Flower” – apple juice, elderflower fizz and mint. Pretty refreshing, particularly considering how hot it was that day.


The Cinnamon Club, Great Smith Street


The Cinnamon Club 2, originally uploaded by jaxies.

The other night Papa Lee and I went to The Cinnamon Club on Great Smith Street for dinner. The Cinnamon Club is a non-traditional Indian restaurant – they’re pretty fancy, innit. The service is very good, if a little stand-offish, but I guess that’s part of the schtick. We only got a smile out of the waitress at the end of the meal when she didn’t believe that I was Papa Lee’s daughter. Anyway.

Things kicked off with a pre-starter of a potato croquette with coriander and mint raita, conveniently on a little cocktail stick so that you can pop the whole thing in your mouth. Pleasant enough but nothing particularly spectacular.


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