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London

I was going to eat at the Smoking Goat when I visited but it was much less "nibbly" than I thought it would be. Thought I'd be able to get things for £3-7 but that didn't seem to be the case when I glanced at the menu.

Mar 10, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

24 hrs in Liverpool

Reporting back on my short time in Liverpool, def. could have used another day. Left my stuff at the Liner and immediately walked to the Philharmonic for a lunch special. What a gorgeous pub. Got a great plate of sausages and mash w/ a cider for £7. Seemed to take a little too long and I needed to hurry for the Beatles tour down by the wharf. Only 3 of us on that big bus and not being a huge fan, not sure it was worth it but it was fine. After regrouping, I went to Berry & Rye and bartender Sam was very engaging and made a nice pisco sour. I then walked to Salt House Bacaro which had the requisite big bar and really enjoyed the large plate of parma ham w/ pecorino along with one croquette, around £5 and 1. They had a variety of Negronis which I couldn't pass up. Stopped in the Cavern Club and the Swan did indeed hav a great jukebox, too bad people had loaded it up w/ crappy songs. Got a doner kebab at Botan but only ate 1/3 cuz it wasn't very good (and I wasn't hungry). Maybe it's a regular kebab that they're known for? Def. nothing exciting altho they did stuff it full. Wed. I grabbed a small bite from the good breakfast buffet at the Liner then down to the Tate Modern and Maritime Museum. Got a chicken/bacon sandwich w/ chips at the Monro for 6.95. It was good but the chicken was sliced in strips and much of the bacon wasn't really cooked, so it wasn't the easiest thing to eat. Hit a couple record stores, quick zip into the Walker Gallery and off to the train w/ a piece of coffee walnut cake from Costa (coffee cake in the UK is different from coffeecake in the US).
Thanks for your help, the reqs were very useful.

Mar 06, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Long London wrap up

Thx to you and J. Sheridan for commenting. I think my posts must be flagged for ignoring. I come on with quite specific "what to do for this one day" or "what nice but not overly nice place should I take my hosts to" and get little response but someone says "London" and gets 2-3 times as many. I'm getting an inferiority complex haha. That's fine, I write it up for myself too. Ciao.

Mar 06, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Long London wrap up

I'm going to try to write a short report but it never turns out that way. Spent 9 nites in London and one in Liverpool. Stayed at my friend's in the Hammersmith area, walked up to Kensington High Street after arriving w/ a stop for a decent orange cake at Cafe Tarte. Lots of cafes along there. Grabbed a small £3.50 Polish sausage at the outdoor Hammersmith market, delicious. After regrouping we went for our 6PM res at Evans & Peel Detective Agency where they really play up the agency thing as you first enter then go behind the bookshelves. Drink was nice and the service was great. We then walked to South Kensington for dinner at the Polish restaurant Daquise. The pierogies to start weren't exciting but my rabbit was excellent (photo), about £19. As mentioned, the chefs come out and serve you from the dishes things were cooked in.

Sat. was Portobello Road and a few pastries along the way to the V&A. Before going out that nite, three of us got fish n chips at Kerbisher and Malt on Goldhawk Rd. (photo) Good stuff, well priced, pleasant spot. Hellish rides to and from Dalston (avoid replacement buses!). Sun. was Petticoat and Brick Lane and surrounding markets. Ended up eating Lithuanian food at the Upmarket cuz I'd never seen that before. The stuffed beef was just ok but the little dumplings were excellent, can't beat those deals of £5 for a plate of food there. Then revisited Kooky Bakes for a salted caramel whoopie pie and had an excellent flat white at Craft Coffee (who also set up at Maltby St, photo). That evening we tried Westbourne, a casual pub where we ordered from a super sweet bartender. My duck with potato cake and cabbage was tasty (£14.45) and friends enjoyed their salmon and lentil soup and mackerel appetizers. We split an excellent sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Wines were only £4-5. Mon. I wandered around Hyde Park to Soho and ate at a Banana Leaf. Not sure why I felt compelled to go here, perfectly decent chili chicken basil ginger w/ rice and salad for 6.35 but nothing unusual, plus the place was freezing and the waiter kept calling me "lady". Grabbed a good tomato pastry from Bake Haus on King St. then that evening did music trivia at the Lexington by King's Cross but we're not up on our British pop.

Tues. was a train ride to Liverpool where I crammed in a bunch of stuff. Esp. enjoyed the pisco sour that Sam from Berry & Rye made and some nice food/drink at Salt House Bacaro. When I got back on Wed. I just ate surprisingly good half price cookies from Tesco. Thurs. started with an amazingly flaky Eccles cake at the Hammersmith mkt then wandered around town in the rain, the worst day there. Cool photos at Proud Gallery on King's Road then over to Borough Mkt where it's hard to choose but I picked a venison pie from Pieminster that hit the spot, 4.50 (photo). Also tried the infamous Monmouth flat white and that was good. Back to Kensington that evening where I had noticed the bar Dirty Bones but when we went for 2 for 1 happy hour, it was jammed and D can't stand crowds so missed out. Her husband had said the best burger he ever had was at Sticky Fingers down the street so I lifted my self-imposed European burger exile (I didn't think they held a candle to American ones) to check it out. This was pretty good, a huge mess tho (and pricey). I think I preferred the salmon cakes we shared to start, good service. I forced her to have a drink at Crobar in Soho, great jukebox. Fri. stopped by Spitalfield where I had a good flat white at the Dept. of Coffee and Social Affairs (love the name), an amazing donut at a bakery stand and brought back 5 great cookies from Galeta for just £5. Had hoped for tea at Dean St. Townhouse but it was too crowded so grabbed a good prosciutto/sundried tomato sandwich at Make Mine down the street. Met a friend at Bradley's Spanish Bar then Sham 69 at the 100 Club.

Sat. was the day I asked for help with on planning a full day with a friend coming from Cambridge. I came up with the following itinerary: Imperial War Museum (excellent, we didn't allow nearly enough time), lunch at Blueprint Café (nice polenta w/ mushrooms, ok foie gras and kale salad, great view), Maltby St. market (food looked great but too full, stopped for a gin tasting), walked thru Spitalfield again and up to Old St. then our 6PM res at Callooh Callay. Love all the rooms there, service was nice, drinks ok but not mind blowing. We had passed Tramshed which looked very cool with its huge bar so sat there and split cock n bull croquettes, chicken drumsticks and shaved cauliflower all in the £6-7 range. Then we had to sit in the bar at the St. Pancreas Hotel where I had a nice $$ ginger drink. Ended the nite at the Fiddler's Elbow by Chalk Farm. Back to that same area on Sun. for the Camden Mkt where I was able to have the tasty £6 duck confit sandwich that I was too full for at Brick Lane. and an awesome caramel frosted donut from a stand inside, £1 as it should be. Putzed around town then that evening I took my hosts out to the Harwood Arms by Fulham Broadway. £38 for 3 courses where two of us started with artichoke soup w hazelnuts and egg (wasn't thrilled with this) and rabbit terrine along with excellent bread. We had a pork loin/belly dish for 2 with cabbage, applesauce and potatoes that we loved (photo) and D liked her sole. Dessert for me was buttermilk pudding w/ little chocolate bits and coffee ice cream, blood orange donuts and rhubarb truffle.. Wine was more expensive than other places but we all enjoyed it. So did a good job making my way around town for what may be my last visit there. Hope not.

Mar 04, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland
1

Thoughts on London Trip

Wow, you got 10 times the responses I did for my trip to London. Which I'll write up soon if anyone is interested (just returned yesterday). For a fun cocktail place, try Evans & Peel Detective Agency in Earl's Court. They really take the detective thing far for a while, but it's a cute place and we had excellent service. Had a drink in the fancy St. Pancras Hotel and also hit Callooh Callay which is a cool space but the drinks themselves didn't blow us away. Down the street from there, we ate at the bar of Tramshed, super modern vibe. Never made it to the Brdwy Mkt but enjoyed Maltby (and the usual bigger ones). Had a great duck confit sandwich from Frenchie's stand at Camden (also at Brick Lane). In the Brick Lane area, had great coffee at Craft who were also set up on Maltby.

Mar 03, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

24 hrs in Liverpool

Wow thanks for the info on the Swan, hadn't seen that and it sounds perfect. I do have Jenny's on my list but will probably just get one fancy cocktail my nite there and Berry & Rye sounds great. I figured Philharmonic was old school which might be fine, will see what kind of mood I'm in. Was thinking the Quarter for lunch, maybe a late nite kebab at Botan, hopefully hit one of the Salts. Too many things to squeeze in one day. Any noteworthy bakeries or cafes? I'm probably SOL on getting iced coffee over there in Feb., huh? (we drink it year round in New England). Thx again.

Feb 18, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Lunch spots & bakeries in Cardiff?

Here's some notes from when I visited (from Boston 4 years ago so not sure if these places are still there). I really enjoyed dinner at Bayside Brasserie by the waterfront. Mimosa Bar & Kitchen advertised itself as having Welsh food but the menu didn't seem different and it was ok at best. Also by the waterfront was Woods where we had a great daily lunch special of gray mullet and broccoli soup, two courses was £10. Around the corner we stopped at Fabulous Welsh Cakes where I got a fresh one for dessert and a bag to take home. Very nice, like a very creamy scone. Also the café a few doors down was cute and had a good oat bar w/ caramel frosting. I recommend getting a sandwich at that stand where they grill the meat in the center of town. roast pork roll w/ stuffing and apple was huge and only £2.95 (altho the bread was boring). Nice brownie and latte at The Plan in the Royal Arcade (after shopping at Spiller's Records, oldest record store in the world). That nite I finally got a good cocktail at Henry's on Park Place, lychee "martini" with some champagne (lots of interesting combos) and he gave me the happy hour price which was very nice. Then ate at the bar of Laguna next to the Park Plaza and the toast w/ wild mushrooms, spinach and poached egg was great as was the wild boar ravioli. Both were only £6 and with a glass of wine, a great dinner. Grabbed a tasty bacon and cheese thing for the train ride back not far from the High Street Arcade (where there's a good vintage shop and cheap shoe store). Also enjoyed the Cardiff Market and the record store upstairs.

Feb 17, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

24 hrs in Liverpool

I've noticed Europe isn't as big on dining at the bar as we are in the States, where no one wants to sit in the dining room anymore. I'll check out Salt House. I found a couple places that looked decent, any thoughts on The Monro, The Quarter, Philharmonic Dining Rooms (I realize these may not have bar dining), and Botan Kebabs which supposedly has the best kebabs. Will try for a cocktail at Berry & Rye. Is there a suggestion for a bar with a good rock/punk jukebox or ipod? And is the Baltic Triangle section walkable from the Liner? Thanks.

Feb 17, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #15 – Finale - 02/11/15 (spoilers)

I have to say, it's kind of embarrassing how the city has been brought to its knees. Granted, it's an insane amount of snow in 3 weeks but public transportation hasn't run for 3 days in that time period and the last two days it's not running on any above ground lines and at half capacity more or less. The mounds of snow will never melt. It's 10 degrees right now which is par for the course. I'm going to London this week which will feel like Tahiti at this point. I hope our roof doesn't cave in while I'm gone. That little crease you see in the photo is the entry to our bldg.

Feb 17, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News
1

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #15 – Finale - 02/11/15 (spoilers)

Actually I was gonna say the same thing about throwing the contest. No way you forget such key ingredients.

And I agree w/ C Hamster that it's borderline mean to bring the chefs back to be rejected so often. But at least they're in Mexico enjoying the good food and weather I guess.

Feb 13, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #15 – Finale - 02/11/15 (spoilers)

I'll add my props for Linda too. Not sure I'll even watch again, have had enough at this point I think. In any case:

1) what was up with Richard's hair
2) why do they bring back all those chefs when you know they're not gonna get picked
3) Mei's dessert must have tasted awesome cuz to me, it sure didn't look so delicious
4) How could Gregory forget such major ingredients? Seems weird.

Feb 13, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News
1

24 hrs in Liverpool

I'll be there from early afternoon Tues. Feb. 24 to 3:30 on Wed. Will take the obligatory Beatles tour Tues. afternoon and have nothing else on the agenda. I'll be staying at the Liner Hotel. What walkable places have good bar dining where I can get a couple apps and a nice cocktail? Any place for a good lunch on Wed. or some good bakeries? There's not much info on Liverpool but hopefully I get a few replies. Thanks.

Feb 12, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #14 – Pre-Finale - 02/04/15 (spoilers)

Stupid me forgot the finale was on at 9 so have to wait til tomorrow to read the comments on the last episode. How many times did someone say "this is the most important meal of my life"?

Feb 12, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Help w/ a full day in London and a thank you dinner

Thanks for that info, I've compiled a giant list and am really hoping to whittle things down. I think we'll try to see the 40's fashion exhibit and general things at the Imperial War museum, hit a couple Sat. markets like Broadway and Nettil, which seem to be close to each other and busy that day, try to time Blueprint right (it unfortunately closes midday) and squeeze in a stuffy cocktail and a hip one. I'm thinking Dukes Hotel or the Gilbert Scott in the St. Pancras Hotel for the former (and earlier since they tend to be open all day) and either Callooh Callay or 69 Colebrooke for the latter (I have a res at Evans and Peel for another time). We'll just wander around and check things out, maybe stop for another snack. Does this make any sense for keeping traveling time to a minimum? Do you have a suggestion for an early evening quick bite in the area of the two bars? Thanks.

Also still wondering if there's a good gastropub in the Hammersmith area for the thank you dinner. Maybe the Harwood Arms which wouldn't be too far away right?

Feb 11, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #14 – Pre-Finale - 02/04/15 (spoilers)

I wondered about that too. Those farm veggies are esp. dirty and take way more washing than some store bought stuff.

Feb 05, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #14 – Pre-Finale - 02/04/15 (spoilers)

I was surprised to hear her interpreting too. And wondered how that one guy who seemed to only speak Spanish was getting along with the rest of the conversations.

Doug and Katsuji were cute when K was saying they get along so well cuz they're both assholes or something like that.

I hope next time they start with 12 people or I may be passing, this season has been way too freaking long.

Feb 05, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News
1

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #13 – 01/28/15 (spoilers)

Oh my god, really? I thought last week was part 1. Jesus this just keeps going and going it seems, there's no need for 2 parts IMO.

Feb 04, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #13 – 01/28/15 (spoilers)

I was a little surprised we caught only 1 min of last chance kitchen.
That town looked beautiful.
Mei's artist was a hoot.
I'm glad it wraps up next week.

Jan 29, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Help w/ a full day in London and a thank you dinner

Hoping I can get some suggestions for a fun day hanging out with a friend arriving at King's X (from Oxford) about noon til 7 or 8PM. She says she's never in LON and wants to hit cool stuff, mentioned the Shoreditch area. Also she mentioned galleries and museums off the tourist route, the Dover Market, a good cocktail. This will be my 10th visit from Boston, last time was Nov. 2010.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7501...

Have seen some good posts about the Clove Club, Bar With No Name, Nightjar, Palomar, Lyle's, but def don't want to commit to a 3 course meal. Would like some place that's open around 5-6PM for sharing an app and an entree maybe, entrees no higher than £25-30. We like new hip cocktails, cocktails in classic settings and drinks in fun rock bars. While we're trying to stay away from being too touristy, a drink or snack with a nice view might be a good experience. Have never done the river thing, maybe at the Swan or Blueprint Cafe?

I'm not sure if she's been to the Burroughs or Spitalfields markets (I see it says Sat is themed mkt day at Spit, what does that mean). Is there anything that's really Sat. specific? Trying to plan a route that's somewhat linear so we don't criss cross all over and makes it easy for her to get to King's X and me to Hammersmith at the end of the day.

In addition, I want to take my host to a nice/fun place to thank her for accommodating me (alas, she's moving back to Dallas (?!) and the freebie will be gone). Something on the District or Piccadilly line would be good or not too far from Hammersmith. Anything in Notting Hill? English or continental, local, etc. is good. I hope the questions are specific enough, thanks in advance.

Jan 28, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Best restaurant w/ Tom Colicchio

Am I blind or is there no discussion of this? Sorry if the former. Not that it's too exciting. I watched the first 20, skimmed the next and zipped thru the last 20 min. Don't think I'll have time to deal with it with so many shows starting up again (Americans, Looking, Justified, etc). It def seemed like the Miami Italian guys had their shit together a little more than the Calif place with that oddball waiter but in the end, I just don't care that much even tho I'm a fan of Tom.

Jan 23, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #12 – 01/21/15 (spoilers)

I thought this episode was pretty boring. Got sick of them all saying "this is the most important stuff I've ever cooked". I was surprised that Melissa won, I thought someone said (Wylie I think) that hers wasn't so adventurous altho Richard said she stepped out of her comfort zone. I felt bad for George cuz Gregory really didn't seem to do anything unusual. Glad this is almost done.

Watched 15 min of the restaurant show and taped the rest. Not sure I'll stick with that. That head waiter was annoying as all get out.

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #11 – 01/14/15 (spoilers)

"Mr. Tony" (did no one else find it odd George kept calling him that?) def had a thick Greek accent.

Jan 16, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #11 – 01/14/15 (spoilers)

At the judges' table when Padma said something about the chef who showed leadership, I thought for sure it was going to be Mei because she had to deal with her doofus brother not really being a person you want in the kitchen with you. I obviously am not a big fan of Melissa and am bummed she breezed into the finals.

Watched LCK and I can't tell if that's the end of it or if there's one more in Mexico? Anyone know?

Jan 15, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #10 – 01/07/15 (spoilers)

Melissa is on the quiet side but I don't think of her as shy. As most have said, her cooking doesn't really seem to dazzle and it's not just her way conveying it (or not) IMO. And the judges aren't thrilled with her since she's been in the bottom 5 times (just found this handy dandy chart)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...

Jan 14, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #10 – 01/07/15 (spoilers)

I just realized, they also gave up on that stupid whooshing in and out to the possible axed chefs. That was a good move.

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #10 – 01/07/15 (spoilers)

Hmm, seems like I'm the only one who didn't think Andy was funny. Seemed like he was trying too hard.

Jan 08, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #10 – 01/07/15 (spoilers)

Wow that dinner does look great.
Sad to see Doug go but didn't think it could be anyone else.
Have completely forgotten about LCK, will take a look now. I did see them mention liverwurst, something I like every so often.

Jan 08, 2015
Joanie in Food Media & News

Visiting London from NYC. Please help critique itinerary (researched)

Thanks for the cocktail (and other) info. What's the damage for craft cocktails in London these days?

Jan 06, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Looking for Birthday dinner in London, early November.

So where did they go? I'm researching London for Feb. and these are the kinds of places I look for. Thx.

Jan 06, 2015
Joanie in U.K./Ireland

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #9 – 12/17/14 (spoilers)

To make some fake drama I assume. Even if he were a Jets or Colts fan, I'd think he'd keep his mouth shut til after the judging.

I was thinking how slow the comments are this season too. I don't feel like the chefs are *that* much different, and certainly the judges seem super happy with most of their dishes. Maybe they've shot the Top Chef wad after all this time.

Dec 18, 2014
Joanie in Food Media & News
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