Sunday, 20 January 2013

Girls just want to have..

It's a snowy Sunday afternoon. I write this sitting by the fireplace, smugly ensconced in cream cashmere, picking my way through a box of boozy chocolates. Opps, I've just dropped a half eaten cherry liqueur down my front, karma is a bitch. Before I get too drunk to type I better tell you about this weekend.

Saturday morning Mummy McCoy, Gabi's babe-a-licious mum, took us for lunch in Soho. 

I may be a Londoner, but I couldn't resist whipping out the family tartan for the occasion. Although my clan's honour was nearly compromised as the garment was caught in a breeze from a passing taxi making a spectacular getaway.  And where did you think you were going mister? 

Lunch was at Foxcroft and Ginger in Soho. It does the best soya mocha in the capital, according to me. A rich heady drink served in chintzy porcelain and an irresistible rush of endorphins. 

Then there are the super hunky sandwiches and the brownies; gloopy super compact wedges of filth. Just the way we like it.

The McCoy Ladies

Gabi Rocking her Pilgrim Hat

As we left Foxcroft it was beginning to snow. Luckily our husky and sleigh only had to pull us to B-Soho on Poland Street where our friend, the wonderful Rosie of The Londoner blog was hosting a blogger's lunch. Of course this was really an excuse to do what bloggers do best; eat and instagram pictures of our food.

Personally, I've always prefered Luigi

I had the pleasure of running into the lovely Kelly and her friends Georgia and Lucy. Kelly and I have been cyber-friends for a while, but as soon as we laid eyes on each other embraced like long-lost amigos and were quickly 'updating' each other on important life events.

We then fought our way through a throng of starry-eyed male admirers to reach my two favourite ladies- Rosie and Phoebe. Phoebe is a model and Rosie is..well.. perfect.

We exchanged exciting tales of our weekend, moaned about significant (and insignificant) others and took more photos than Narcicus. When all was said and done (although 'all' is never really said) we hugged till we were black and blue, for it would be another 5 hours till we saw each other again!

Rose and Pheebus

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Philly Steak, Waterfalls and Bounce: New York Pt II

I've never been much of a fan of spectator sports; unless it's wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment to be precise. To my bitter disappointment there were no matches scheduled in NYC for the dates of my trip meaning I wouldn't be able to enjoy Alberto Del Rio raising Hell in a Cell in nothing but his briefs. 

So tickets were bought to the basketball. The New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Gardens. A few things transpired.. I had the best time of my life waving a giant foam finger and cheering on the incredible Tony Parker who despite being a shawty at 6ft2 totally ruled the court. It dawned on me that the best way to impress a girl is to take her on a date to an NBA game. But consider yourself warned, as chances are you'll see her cursing like a sailor, fist pumping the air and demolishing a 5ft corn dog. But dates aside, if you've wronged me in some way anytime post 1989 then I'd really like to let you make it up to me with tickets to a game.

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The day after the Knicks we had a hale and hearty breakfast of red velvet before subwaying downtown to visit the 911 memorial. 

The New York subway is a surreal experience and feels like an insane asylum at the best of times. People talk to themselves, preach, sing at the top of their voices and shake their moneymaker for dolla'. Of course this journey was no different.

 911 Memorial

The 9/11 memorial is a place of rememberance for those who lost their lives in the attacks. In all honesty, I wasn't sure what to expect. How could one possibly convey the loss and tragedy experienced by thousands of families on that one day in September?

The memorial consists of two waterfalls set in the original footprints of the twin towers. The pools are bordered by bronze parapets inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives.  I was in no way prepared for how poignant the overall effect would be. Standing by the pools with nothing but the sound of rushing water and the sight of thousands of names I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was truly the most heartwrenching experience.

Note: If visiting, you must reserve and print your passes online beforehand. Be prepared to queue and go through security.

After visiting the memorial we stopped for lunch at Charly's, which is a 2 minute walk (110 Trinity Place). From the outside the place looked utterly gross and inside it wasn't much better, but there's no arguing with a hungry man. We had the Philly Steak which was unreal. It's essentially a baguette stuffed with steak cooked with onions and loads of melted cheese, avec cheesy fries. So good it'll have you licking sandwich juice off your fingers.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Momofuku Milk Bar Má Pêche, NYC

My friend in NYC had been gassing on. And on. And on. All night long. About, Momofuku Milk Bar NYC.
Sweets and cakes are my weakness. And although I am utterly indiscriminate in my sugary transgressions, I know a good cookie when I taste one. 

And taste one I did (not). Followed by a few more. Along with a few cakes. 

We started with the famous compost cookie made from pretzels, potato chips, butterscotch chips, and, yes, chocolate chips. It was utterly disappointing. The texture was as dry as something you find when you're rooting around for the remote 
down the back of the sofa. I also tried the Blueberry & Cream cookie which was a slight improvement but nothing special. Next was the Chocolate-Chocolate cookie, a miserable excuse for a chocolate cookie that followed the fate of the previous two and also ended up in the trash.

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Next up, the pies. And the Crack Pie which is the jewel in the Momofuku crown was super buttery and sweet. But as Whitney famously told Oprah, 'Crack is wack'. How right she was folks. No flavour, no character, just sweet boring blandness.

 And the Candy Bar pie? I was told to imagine a Reeses Cup in a pie but got something the texture of a stale Michlin tyre. Yuck. Beginning to despair I went for the Birthday Cake balls, mini truffle versions of the famous Momofuku birthday cake. 'With a name like that they are gonna be gross' I thought. But act-tually, they just about passed the taste test and I rather enjoyed them, although a few hours on and I can't for the life of me remember what they tasted like. So basically, if you're in NYC and walking past Milk Bar, think twice before stopping. You'll be better served with the Crepe Cake at the Lady M cake boutique in the Plaza Food Court (but beware of their red velvets and banana mille feuille). 

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Thursday, 3 January 2013

Best New York City Burger.. Burger Joint, Le Parker Meridian

 This is most certainly the most divisive and polarising topic to have ever graced the pages of this blog. It's sensitive- so sensitive that it's caused a schism in my household.

I'm talking about the New York City burger. 

Last year in NYC I tried the Five Guys burger and said this;

It's naughty, dirty and hopelessly irresistible.
It is a rite of passage for every visitor to the Big Apple; a greasy initiation wreaking arterial havoc and resulting in intense satisfaction.

One of the best burger places in town is 5 guys, which has swept the burger boards  with their 1000-calorie-a-pop portions. Their fries are cooked in peanut oil, making them a little healthier than traditional alternatives. Of course, I ordered an extra large portion, conscious of keeping on top of my 5-a-day; after all this body is a temple. 

But on this trip I tried a new place and now, blogger tail between my legs I am revising my recommendation.

The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien is renowned for serving the best burgers in the city. I'll level with you, it's been a while since I've had a burger (bites of other people's don't count). But for me, such hunky fare is best served simple; unless it's Cut's all-singing-all-dancing Wagyu burger.

But usually, I am a burger purist. I don't want a brioche bun, sauerkraut from Normandy  or onions carmelised in mountain dew. Just a simple juicy ruffian with a bun of gold.

This is certainly what I got. One bite into this bad boy and I was transported to the burger king of my early 90s childhood, although back then my milk teeth were chomping beef that tasted like it had seen the inside of a crematorium, nowhere close to today's medium-rare succulentnessA rich, smoky sweet flavouraddictively moreish fries and super-smiley American service.

Tip: Expect huge queues. But I'll let you in on a secret... this is how to jump the queue: just before you get there, call and place your order. This lets you jump right to the front to pick it up &pay (cash only).

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Broome Street Dance

I’m in place that everyone thinks he knows. From Calcutta to Canberra, we have all walked its broadwalks, looked out across the murky Hudson and hurtled in a yellow taxi through the loud electric din of a New York night.

Culture is America’s greatest export. So even if the above merely unfolded in your mind’s eye: one, it’s probably pretty accurate; and two, nothing is as perfect as what you can imagine.

Yesterday saw our first full day in the Big Apple. Alex was excited and was caught unawares by me and my lurking camera. Everyone was perplexed by his celebratory dance, but we let it slide.

make gif

Soho is of a completely different character to that of the 'Old New York' of Empire, 5th Avenue and the Upper East Side. Instead of being dwarfed by high-rises you are surrounded by cast-iron architecture, a mesh of fire escapes and New York hipsters

I'm still trying to puzzle out why a 90s  Katie Price is the flash-dancing face of New York. 

When in Soho, you must check out Dean and Deluca, an upscale grocery store, purveyors to the great and the good. Patrick Bateman gets his Italian seasoning here and Hannibal Lecter feasts on foie gras from a Dean and Deluca lunch pack. I was delighted at their selection of sugar free sweets, stocking up on gummy bears and sour peaches.

We are staying on the 34th floor of the Trump Soho giving us lego views over the Hudson and the whole of Manhattan. 

Broome Street Bar is a cheap dive of a restaurant in Soho and has been nestled on 363 W Broadway for the past 40 years. It's where the locals come for a quick and dirty pitta burger with bacon and a chmay blue.

I rolled up my sleeves, adopted the pineapple head and took a huge bite. The burger weren't bad, a solid 4/10 on the scale of the burger universe, but the atmosphere more than made up for it. And there was a juke-box so  I got to play my-current-all-time-favourite-song-ever Blondie- Maria.