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Try the special diets board - the regional boards are more about eating, drinking and food shopping in a particular city or country.

Aug 25, 2015
ultimatepotato in Special Diets

Teenager's First Trip to London - Restaurant Advice

Fitting the brief of fun - I recently had a great time at Palomar ( sitting at the bar. It isn't traditional British though, and obviously the bar seating isn't for everyone.

Restaurant Story ( is great, but may be more than you were looking to spend - perhaps a lunch instead?

Harters is, as always, bang on - Rules is the ultimate classic British experience. Tayyabs - it's more about the crazy atmosphere than the food, although it is good, it's not better than I've had elsewhere. It's fun, loud, crowded and noisy and I've always had a great time there, but I wouldn't insist that people make a special trip.

Places around Earls Court if you fancy a local while you are there - Harwood Arms ( and The Troubadour (

Aug 14, 2015
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

Food you cook out of love

Polenta - friends like it, I never find (mine) worth the effort.
Ribs - I'm not a big fan, and the method I use makes my flat smell like a hog boil, but people like them for BBQs.

Jul 06, 2015
ultimatepotato in General Topics

What Unusual or Uncommon Vegetables Do You Eat - And how do you prepare them?

Something I used to eat in NZ that I never considered unusual or exotic until I moved to the UK and couldn't find - yams. Yams over here are giant tubers, not the small, grub-like, waxy red tubers we have in NZ.

I always had them roasted, either in oil or lard, and salted.

I've since discovered that they are called Ocas (oxalis tuberosa), are not technically a yam, and I haven't ever seen one for sale in London.

Apparently you can order them online at great expense.

Jun 26, 2015
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking

Your Absolute Favorite Weeknight Recipe

Ramen - Nongshim Shin Ramyun - I'll add sliced up mushrooms, spring onions,prawns or leftover chicken or tofu puffs, maybe an egg or stir in a spoon of peanut butter if I don't have any meat or tofu.

Pasta - chilli crab linguine is my favourite at the moment in terms of quick cook meals.

Big salads - it's muggy and gross in London at the moment, so salad greens, a flaked piece of hot smoked salmon, flaked toasted almonds, capers and a dressing.

Whats a good food mag?

In Australia, Delicious. In NZ, Cuisine.

Ways to liven up chili?

A squeeze of lemon or lime juice, just before serving. It "brightens" the flavours.

*Couldn't think of a better word, although I'm sure there are plenty.

Jun 22, 2015
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking

Seems like I am always buying ______________ when I grocery shop

Cheese(s), butter, olive oil, Greek yoghurt, bacon, chicken thighs, broccoli, mushrooms, seasonal fruit, dried pasta, rice, fresh herbs, lemons, chillies, fish, tinned tomatoes. Vast quantities of wine.

Jun 22, 2015
ultimatepotato in General Topics

what American candies are not in New Zealand

There are a couple of online retailers supplying NZ, but they also have this chain of stores:

Typically we* can easily get Hershy's, Wonka, Kellogs, Nestle, Pez. Kraft Mac and Cheese too. With the cost of you shipping the items, I'd recommend you send something that's special to your city or state, or alternatively order online for them.

*I left NZ almost 7 years ago, but it's still home.

Coconut oil as a moisturiser

Hi Janet, we have Costco now here in the UK, unfortunately it's not somewhere that I'll be likely to shop - small flat, very limited storage, relying on public transport etc etc meaning it's hard to get to, and harder still to bring anything home from for me!

Dec 02, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

Coconut oil as a moisturiser

Thanks for the clarification Puffin - thought it must be too good to be true as an exact match.

Dec 02, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

Coconut oil as a moisturiser

Haha, thanks! I like it so far, it melts easily, absorbs well and seems to be fending off the early winter scales, but I'd love to think I could get it a bit cheaper.

Dec 02, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

Coconut oil as a moisturiser

Hi all, I've been using coconut oil as a moisturiser and hair treatment for a couple of weeks. I paid around £8 ($12.60 US) for a 16oz jar at a health food shop, on sale down from £15. The jar proclaims the contents to be "100% natural raw virgin coconut oil" and the ingredients label says only "pure coconut oil".

Last night I was at the supermarket and saw a jar of coconut oil in the international aisle for £2.25 (similar sized jar, maybe slightly smaller). It had no claims of being raw/natural/virgin anything, but the ingredients label was exactly the same - "pure coconut oil".

With this limited info is anyone able to tell me if I'm getting totally rinsed by the health food shop, or if switching brands would actually be the equivalent of moving from basting myself in extra virgin olive oil to rubbing chip pan fat into my legs?

Dec 01, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

Thanksgiving for one - What would you make?

I have read it, such a favourite. When I was about 18 a classic theatre in NZ was refurbished, and to celebrate the reopening they played GWTW for a week or so. I forced my boyfriend at the time to take me. When it started he was hoping it wasn't as long as I said. When it finished he was standing up saying "they can't just leave it like that!"

Nov 28, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving for one - What would you make?

Harters, my father's side of the family is English, so when we grew up we had a close approximation of traditional English Christmas fare - Turkey and ham with vegetables, stuffing and gravy, mince pies, plum pudding and trifle. My gran even used to give us an orange in our stocking every year, accompanied by the "when I was a child in the war we'd have one of these a year and split it between all 10 of us" lecture.

Gran is still with us in body but less so in mind, so things have moved closer towards beaches and BBQs with my family back home.

So to answer your question, when I was growing up I think the English Christmas was still very popular, and now alternative celebrations are on the rise. To put it in context I'm 32.

Nov 28, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving for one - What would you make?

Similar to someone upthread - I'm an ex-pat Kiwi in London, so no Thanksgiving but I have done a Christmas Day alone. Potted shrimps on melba toast with buck's fizz for breakfast, cured meats, cheese, stuffed vine leaves, olives and more champagne during the day, then an early dinner of duck.

I watched Gone With the Wind, skyped friends and family, got pleasantly tipsy and had a great day.

Nov 27, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking

Returning food too often customer banned

I'll bet nothing has to change on the plate for her to be satisfied, as it sounds like a control/power issue manifesting itself in ridiculous behaviour.

A group of my friends meet up occassionally at a curry house we used to live around the corner from. The food is great, but very very rich, so I'll usually order too much and leave with a shopping bag full of take out containers. Last time we were there my favourite waiter said "and will you need the plates today, or would madame just like it to go from the start?". He's amazing. And this anecdote means nothing, except I bet that Raj from Paramount could put this 'lady' in her place.

Gordon Ramsay: Victim of Sabtotage or Publicity Stunt?

Curious as to whether this was official opening night or the soft opening. I got invited to book for the soft launch (to clarify I had signed up to the mailing list, I wasn't "invited" invited) and when I put in my expression of interest I was told that the soft launch was already full, but they welcomed me to make a reservation for once the restaurant was officially open (obviously at full price).

Maybe this rubbed people up the wrong way and they filled up the slots intending not to go. It seems a strange tactic to me, even if it was one single rival - is the rival going to block book forever until Ramsay goes out of business?

Edit - just read my emails - the soft opening was on a Friday, and the article mentions Saturday, so it must have been the real opening.

Four meals in Edinburgh. Looking for some tips.

Was in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago - 2 great meals at Café St Honore and Fisher's - we went to the branch in Leith, then realised there was one down the road from where we were staying on Thistle St, very close to St Honore.

Nov 12, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

Man eating nothing but Olive Garden speaks out: “I have not had one meal that was not just perfect”

There's something a bit strange about his phrasing. I'm not going to yell "shill", but his comments do read a little like a PR firm has been tasked with putting together a script to appeal to a target market.

The only thing that really grinds my gears is the comment about not gaining weight because he ate Gluten Free pasta.

Special Lunch in London


Might fit the bill for you - I haven't eaten there recently (over a year ago) and had a delicious lunch. Opentable still says that they have space available, and this is noted on the website as addiditional opening hours (which fits in with your days):

"Please note, throughout December, we will be open on Monday evenings for dinner and Tuesdays for lunch."

Nov 07, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

new some new soupspiration...

Sweetcorn and chipotle, red bean and rice (I've put together one before and thought 'I may as well have just opened a tin of Amy's Kitchen because that stuff is great') West African Peanut Soup, Tom Kha Pak and lots of variations on spicy thai flavours with coconut milk, tofu, rice or rice noodles - they're all relatively easy to keep vegan if you blend your own spice pastes.

I also do a jerk chicken soup which is potatoes, black-eyed peas, coconut milk, jerk paste, rice, stock, coriander and chicken - I'm sure it would be quite hearty with replacing the chicken with another type of bean.

Wonderful "not fancy" asian places in London ?

+1 on Rib Man and The Frenchie (Duck Confit)

I tend to head through Spitalfields itself, pick up a few baked goods and sweets there, hit the Sunday Upmarket, then head down Brick Lane.

My technique is to go early, go hungry, take plenty of cash and get the heck out of there by 1pm. Some people love the slowly moving crowd - I'm little and it just frustrates me when I get pegged in.

Oct 14, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

Interesting "foodie supplies" stores in London – spices, bulk choholate, speciality cheeses etc..

I think you mean New Loon Moon for the store in Chinatown.

Oct 14, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

Eatery around Convent Garden

Do you have a style of restaurant and a budget in mind?

Rules and Simpsons on the strand - traditional British
Meat Market - burgers
Opera Tavern and Polpo - tapas
Hawksmoor - steak
Mishkins - Jewish-style deli
Sticks 'n'Sushi - erm, sticks and sushi
J Sheeky - seafood

Sep 15, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

MasterChef Canada coming to Cooking Channel

If it's the debut season that has just recently played in the UK, then it's fun enough to watch. Some of the contestants are bat-shit crazy (keep an eye out for Kaila, when I first saw her I would have sworn it was Crazy Amy from the Amy's Baking Co episode of Kitchen Nightmares).

The most entertaining and knowledgable of the judges is Alvin Leung. The challenges themselves - I think they were heavy on pastry/desserts and not as focused on perfecting skills as the UK version - however, that could all very much be in the edit.

I had no idea immersion blenders were so dangerous!

I was once sitting in the ER waiting room with a broken wrist, next to a man holding his hand in a bloody rag.

He'd put his hand into the lawn mower blade.

While it was running.

People have a great capacity to do stupid things even when our brains are shouting "what are you doing, you moron?"

And seeing as I'd broken my wrist horizontal bungy-jumping, and had snuck past the minimum height/weight chart, I included myself in the stupid club that day. Me and One-hand McGee, chilling out in the ER, reflecting on our life choices.

Table etiquettes in France - anything to watch out for those from New Zealand?

Advice from a fellow kiwi - please note that this is Paris-centric:

In most casual to mid-level places, you won't need to wait and be shown to a table. Walking in and asking for a table will generally just be met with a polite "of course, please take a seat", or if you want to sit outside then usually you would just sit at a table. A waiter will then come and greet you and offer a menu.

Service is relaxed. A bill is usually not presented until you ask for it, and you aren't hurried out. Lingering over a coffee or glass of wine (I'm often a solo diner in Paris and like to take my time) has never gotten me shifted along, only some friendly advice to make sure that my bag is secured.

There aren't too many strange rules, or pieces of cutlery, unless you happen to order snails or crustaceans, then you might receive tongs, crackers and special forks.

Tipping is quite normalised, but is not excessive - a few euros to round the bill up, rather than any kind of mathematic equation of food bill - tax + drinks less mark-up to the square root of 3. Service is often included - simply ask.

The stereotype of rudeness from Parisians is not something that I have witnessed with any frequency. I only know a handful of phrases in French, that I use in an attrocious accent, and usually it gets me a smile for making a lame effort and a response in perfect English. The only server who I can actually remember being rude to me was a waitress. She was simply in a bad mood because I was after a late lunch and she wanted to have a break before dinner service - this was explained to me by the nice chef who delivered my lunch when grumpy-pants flounced off. He stayed to have a glass of wine and tried (in vain) to teach me slightly better pronounciation.

Whenever in doubt, use the Kiwi card. Declaring "thank you so much for your help - I'm from the other side of the world" usually wins points and starts the inevitable conversation of what NZ is like.

Aug 15, 2014
ultimatepotato in France

Solo dining at the Fat Duck?

I can find reference to it on this blog post (2 years old) that says that you can't book for one:

And this tripadvisor review - but also just over 2 years old:

I would still call them, but you may need to put an ad out for a dining companion.

Aug 15, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

Would you give up cooking or eating?

I'd give up eating. Didn't have to think too long about it either!

Aug 14, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics