Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Drinking in the dark at Gordon's Wine Bar

When I first ventured down the stairs to Gordon's Wine Bar, I was convinced I was the only person in London who had never managed to brave the incredibly dark, narrow staircase in a pair of platforms! To my surprise, there were others behind us moving quite slowly with footwear trepidation. I didn't feel so bad.
as none of my pictures turned out, this is from agreatlittleplace.com
Reportedly London's oldest wine bar, Gordon's has a smattering of wines, sparklers, ports and - my new favourite tipple of the season - sherry. The setting of Gordon's may not be to everyone's taste (1950's pirate hideaway), however if you're looking for a darkly lit cavern to lure a potential dates and imbibe them with cups of port and sherry before you steal their belongings and have your way them, this may be exactly the place for you.
...as these are the really large cups in which they serve port & sherry!

........and how incredibly dark it is inside (good for hiding pirate booty, making out and not looking too closely at the yellowing walls and decades of dust)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

No such thing as too much champagne....at Fortnum & Mason

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a tasting of Fortnum & Mason's ten favourite champagne houses, tasting no less than 30 champagnes. Well, someone had to make the sacrifice.....
Overall a well balanced selection of Grand Houses and Grower Champagnes, including a few of my favorites - Pol Roger's Cuvee Winston Churchill 1999, Taittinger's Les Folies and Bollinger's Grande Annee 2002.
Accompanied by complimentary nibblies.......
Rock oysters & Avruga caviar

Scottish Salmon

If I had to paint a picture of heaven, well all of this would be included....

Thursday, 20 October 2011

What I am missing right about now (....from the states)

1. Margaritas! I mean really good ones, made with fresh fruit and quality tequila. Admittedly, I also miss the really cheap, extremely alcoholic, pint sized ones that I used to share with friends after work in Portland where you only needed one to provide devilish inspiration or an excuse to make out with a stranger. And of course, really good Mexican food.
2. Halloween. October has always been my favorite time of year, ever since I was a child. Planning my costume and trick or treating was way more exciting to me than anything received at Christmas, especially when you figured out which neighbor had the good candy and didn't give you apples! It's slowly catching on here, but the only one who comes knocking on your door is the guy checking whether or not you have a tv license.

3. 30 Rock, and other tv shows that I get to see about a year later.

4. Sushi. Really good, cheap sushi. Specifically, Mio Sushi.

5. Nordstrom Rack (or the ability to find good, quality shoes for less than £90).

6. Proximity to NewYork and New Orleans.
 7. Buttermilk cornbread. I have yet to easily find cornmeal here. Or buttermilk.
 8. My friends! I have been fortunate enough to see quite a number of my dearest friends here. I have realized that the world is a much smaller place than I ever imagined it to be, and those that mean the most to you will find you no matter where you end up.

9. Pumpkin spiced lattes.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Brass Rail Salt Beef Restaurant (missing NYC....)

 ...admittedly, my pastrami sandwich on fresh, soft rye bread was pretty tasty. Not fully comparable to the behemoth sandwiches in nyc, but a nice treat after scouring the sales racks at Selfridges.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wonderbar at Selfridges

I stopped by for after dinner wine & dessert with my dear friend Helena to the Wonderbar at Selfridges. London has many amazing department stores, Selfridges being one of my favorite! Any place where you can sip Bollinger champagne, visit the Psychic Sisters for a psychic reading and buy a leather Tory Burch bag to go with Alexander McQueen couture all on my lunch hour does indeed = happiest place on earth.
courtesty of decanter.com as my photos are not this good!
We paired yummy scorched cocoa almonds from Selfridges designer chocolate department....
...with a 10 year ruby port for Helena and a 2004 Hungarian Tokaj for me (served in a large glass no less!)

...note:  drinking this Tokaj will somehow justify any post imbibing purchases. You have been warned!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Can I really....

....pair Heston's Salted Caramel Popcorn Ice cream with a 2010 Oldenburg Stellenbosch Chardonnay? Well beggars can't be choosers on a rainy Saturday afternoon when any inclination to leave the flat is elusive!
Now I wonder what to pair his Mustard Ice Cream with....?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Dinner at the Montagu Arms

Admittedly, any chance I get to leave London I usually leave England. But this time we ventured approximately 2 hours south to the southern coast of England. The highlight was indulging in the tasting menu at the Michelin starred restaurant at The Montagu Arms. Highly recommended for a weekend mini-break a la Bridget Jones!

the most amazing duck I have ever had!

More favorite tipples for Fall (....or how I cope with no summer in London)

I had my first aperol spritz with my friend Kimberli in the small town of Asolo in Italy. With refreshing bitter orange and rhubarb flavors, it's a transition from the summery flavor of Pimm's as we usher in fall. Top it with a bit of prosseco.

...and my other favorite at the moment, a good old fashioned! Bourbon, bitters, muddled sugar (or simple syrup) and the oil of an orange peel. I added a dash of aperol to the last one I made and it was pretty darn tasty.
...and of course, a mint julep! I followed the recipe of the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans which uses peach liqueur instead of simply syrup.

Friday, 1 July 2011

My favorite british tipples!

  • Any cocktail with elderflower! My favorite is St. Germain's Elderflower liqueur in a chilled flute topped with champagne. If I'm feeling particularly indulgent, I add a bit of muddled mint or cucumber.

  • Pimm's. The epononymous "spring has arrived" English drink with fresh strawberries, mint, orange slices and of course, more cucumber.
  •  Tea Time Martini at the Dorchester. The adult version version of afternoon tea served up in a fancy tea pot. Very Alice in Wonderland.  

    • Good ol' G & T with a twist of fresh lime. With fragrances of juniper, coriander and you guessed it, cucumber, I have now cultivated a deep appreciation of gin. And cucumber!
    •  Biddenden's Strong Kentish Cider. Be warned, it looks quite nice and innocent, but it is naughty afternoon in a bottle!

        Friday, 10 June 2011

        Paris Top 5

        As I have written before, truly one of the best perks about living in London is the abilty to leave it every so often with relative ease. Paris is a little over 2 hours away via Eurostar. 

        Here are my top 5 picks for a perfect weekend in Paris.

        1. Stay at Hotel le Bellechasse. Located in St. Germain, and with rooms designed by Christian LaCroix, it's a perfectly fashionable respite for a weekend with the girls. For a weekend with your sweetie, book an Original Room which has a clawfoot tub near the bed.


        2. Eat at Fish La Boissonnerie Bistro. Also located in St. Germain, La Boissonnerie serves amazing, sumptious three course set menus for about 35 euro. Fresh seafood, excellent wine list and exceptionally charming, handsome and friendly waitstaff. I will always remember this place for when I first discovered you can actually find good food in Paris!

        3. Shop at John Agee Paris. We discovered this gem and not sure what we loved most - the jewelry or John himself! Stunning one of a kind pieces made all the more gorgeous by John's warm and down to earth southern-American hospitality. Please stop by and support this independent boutique.

        4. Shop some more at Annick Goutal Parfums. A trip to Paris isn't complete until you decide that perfume is indeed more important than food, and splurge on one of Annick Goutal's signature scents. Songes, with it's sultry ylang-ylang, frangipani, and vanilla notes encased in a limited edition, sparkly lunar bottle, sits on my dresser reminding me that everyday, whether I'm sitting around in stretchy pants, or dressing to the nines for a date with Mr. Handsome, I can chose to be Parisian in my own way.

        5. Pick up macaroons for the train back at Laduree. I know these are now available in London, but to buy a beautiful box in Paris, well, just feels different. Plus nibbling on a rose macaroon whilst sipping French champagne you smuggled aboard the eurostar, simply prepares you for a stylish return to London.

        Friday, 20 May 2011

        Columbia Road Flower Market

        Columbia Road Flower Market. Great place to meet girlfriends on a Sunday morning. Fabulously simple brunch choices, lovely vintage trinkets and you leave with a fresh bouquet for the week! The trick is to merely find it from Old Street Station.  
        S.Jones - delicious cheeses