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Uno Mas Por Favor – B@1, Spitalfields


Nov
14

I don’t come from one of those families that has a million and one relatives and cousins. I remember when I was growing up there was a girl I was pretty good friends with who had her cousins over all the time, always different cousins, always visiting from one country or another, always getting in the way of us hanging out. Mostly I remember being jealous that she had other people her age to hang out with, to be close with, to be sisterly with.

Then my baby cousins Lorraine & Justine were born. This was particularly exciting for me, as since I only have the one older brother the concept of having two baby sisters was amazing: I could teach them the ways of the world; I could dress them up and teach them about make-up; it would be like having two living dolls. The only flaw in this plan was the fact that they lived halfway across the world in LA, and I was in London. However, the seed of an idea was planted, and the first time they visited us in London I distinctly remember dressing both girls up in flouncy party dresses and plastering play make-up all over their faces, then parading them in front of my (slightly amused) aunt and uncle, and my (completely horrified) parents.

Said baby cousins are now 20 and 19 (although in my mind they will be forever 6 and 5, asking Brother and I to tuck them into bed and kiss them goodnight), both at college (sob), and the eldest studying for the semester in Paris. She popped over for the weekend to see us in London, and I knew that finally I would be able to take her out to a bar or two and continue my older cousin/big sister duties. There was one place and one place only that I had to take her to: B@1, Spitalfields Market.

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Go Get Some Snacks – Yuforia, Beak Street


Nov
03

Yikes, this post has been a long time coming. What with Project Food Blog taking over my blogging life in the past month and a bit, my poor little blog has been sorely neglected with regular postings. And there is so. Much. To catch up on. 

I feel particularly bad about this one, because the absolutely lovely Raphael & Lovie at Yuforia, Beak Street were incredibly charming, friendly and helpful, really generally awesome, I promised them a blog write-up and then what did I do? I only went and left it two months. So I am so sorry guys – I owe you both a massive apology. And y’know what’s even worse? Yuforia is definitely a place you have to check out, because it is, in a word: fantasmorgasmic. Yes, I know that’s not a real word, but it should be, because that’s how fab they are. 

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


Aug
23

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.

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Ayoush, James Street


Aug
16

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.

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Nobu Berkeley St., Mayfair


Aug
14

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.

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Chino Latino, Maid Marion Way


Aug
12

Chino Latino 2, originally uploaded by jaxies.

Playing catch-up a little – I took these photos a while ago but didn’t get round to blogging them, for one reason or another. I think mostly it was because I really don’t like these photos. It was super dark and I couldn’t quite get my camera to do what I wanted it to do, so I put the flash on and then just BLAH. Disaster all over the shop. I also neglected to take photos of all of our dishes, partly because I was so hungry that I just started eating and totally forgot, partly because it was Graduation Day, and partly because I was a little tipsy. Hey, it was Graduation Day.

Anyway. Chino Latino. I think this is by far one of the best restaurants in Nottingham. I lived in Nottingham for the better part of three years, and it’s a cool place to be a student. I say ‘cool’. I think what I really mean is when you’re poor and living off a diet which mainly consists of pot noodles, beans on toast, anything in the Sainsbury’s Basics range and copious amounts of cheap, terrible alcohol then little gems you find in Nottingham make the city as a whole appear to be ‘cool’.

Incidentally, I was poor for an entirely different reason. I was poor because I refused to live like a student and cooked real meals using real ingredients, often holding dinner parties for various friends whom I never let pay a cent (or even a penny, since we’re in Nottingham, innit blud). From scratch. Oh yeaaah. Sainsbury’s Basics can bite me.

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Feng Sushi, Borough Market


Jul
28

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.

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Asia de Cuba, St Martin’s Lane


Jul
03

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.

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Do You Mooli? If Not, Why Not?!


Jun
25

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.

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The Barbican’s Balcony Bistro, Silk Street


Jun
16

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.

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