Sunday, 29 May 2011

Underground Night Markets, Brixton Pizza

In all the New York posts, there were a couple of weekends that seemed to slip under the radar. So, here's the first. The Underground Night Market hosted by Ms Marmite Lover. The hall, the bedroom, the living room, the balcony, the garden, the summer house all fit to bursting with stalls. A dumpling demo in the kitchen, a campfire at the bottom of the garden, an ice cream van (lavender ice-cream, delicious) in the drive. Cocktails off an ironing board. Nice to see some familiar faces in the form of Lynne from Tea for Joy selling her wonderful Papermash goodies, and a couple of friends we'd made when we'd come to one of Ms Marmite Lover's supper clubs, and to meet Lisa from Me Old China. Our first ever trip to Franco Manca in Brixton for pizza. Oh boy. So. Good. A wander round the market, picking up limes and lemons, cherry tomatoes and peppers for dinner that night. Marine Ices on the way home, a new mural by the Roundhouse where the Banksy, then the leopard used to be. Friends over for dinner, Ottolenghi's vegetable paella, made by me, broad beans, peppers, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, flat leafed parsley. Nigel Slater's lemon posset for dessert and a couple of jugs of cold, strong margaritas made by M.

A weekend largely spent eating, but a good one.

Friday, 27 May 2011

I didn't slip, I wasn't pushed, I fell

Okay, let's give this a go. On the advice of a dear friend, after years of resistance,
I am now tweeting.

(but probably, most likely, mainly following the exploits / tips / advice dispersed by others)

See you there?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

London. Love.

M was in Japan, I had just sent off a job application that had been keeping me locked to my computer all week, and as I skipped from work on Friday afternoon London stretched before me, promising.

London, by way of Bombay, Tokyo, Hawaii as it turns out. God I love this city.

Friday, drinks on the Southbank at the Dishoom pop-up (Hannah and I both, twin shadows, flitting through the city, visiting the same places, sampling the same menus, usually within the space of a few weeks, sometimes within the space of a few hours, crazy!). Icy cocktails in shades of coral, taken up to the roof garden of Queen Elizabeth Hall as the early evening sun slanted across the Thames. Later, the sun lower, a walk across the bridge, up into Chinatown to meet Anna for dinner, Tokyo Diner, plastic sushi clock, no tipping just tell your friends policy (so here I am, telling you), simple, delicious Japanese food. A wander round Fopp, searching for Frida. I am reading The Lacuna, feeling inspired. The bright pink peonies and purple stocks on my dressing table help, the colours are vivid, vital, as I imagine the colours of Mexico must be. On the way to the tube, stopping for bubble tea on Shaftsbury Avenue, the pair of us getting into a conversation with the girls behind the counter, being given tasters, loving this mad city.

Saturday, baking, white chocolate and raspberry cupcakes, a friend's Hawaiian birthday party, flower garlands, ukuleles, Pimms, watermelon, ripe, juices dripping down fingers. Walking back from West Hampstead, dusk, roses tumbling over garden walls, the first fuzz of lavender flowers, still green.

Sunday, a day trip, boarding the Clipper at London Bridge, whizzing down to Greenwich, spray in our hair, a wander round the market, a long lunch in a pub garden, interrupted by the briefest of rainstorms, but otherwise glorious sunshine, blue skies, some scudding clouds. Fish and chips. Beautiful houses with tastefully coloured doors, more roses, spilling over brickwork. A walk through the park, through a rose garden, past a game of cricket, cricket whites, the smack of ball on wood, up to the observatory, city stretched beneath us. Another pub garden, the four of us sitting and chatting and soaking up the sunshine, the fleeting quality of Sunday afternoon.

Maybe I'll want to move away from this city in ten years. Heck, maybe I'll be fed up in five. But for now, there is nowhere, nowhere, I would rather be.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

New York Part VII

And finally. We hop, skip across to Brooklyn for the Brooklyn flea, never have I wanted to buy so many things. Luggage restrictions apply though so I leave with a glass cocktail shaker, the less elaborate $5 one as opposed to the cut glass $35 dollar one which might break my heart if it shatters in transit, and a couple of lovely milk glass vases which I have been searching for in vain in English charity shops. Crinkled poppies in sunrise colours, crepe paper petals. Worn leather cowboy boots, coloured glass cake stands, boxes of fabric, patterned tea towels. Brunch with mimosas, bacon donuts, sliders, eggs in a nest. A walk through Williamsburg, vintage shopping, just like being in London's East End, hipsters not trendies, but what's in a name? Music on the subway. Dinner with an old family friend, reminiscing about a childhood holiday when we visited them in Connecticut, sailing, grilled cheese sandwiches on the beach, sweets that turn your tongue blue, a couple of much loved dogs. She takes us for pizza in the East Village, sparkling red wine from tumblers, blistered dough, molten cheese as the rain pours down outside, again. Hurrying under inadequate umbrellas to a basement bar, sitting on stools drinking Hendrick's based cocktails, slivers of cucumber, floating. Brunch at Prune, we arrive early, get in on the first set of covers, but if we hadn't, it would have been worth the wait. A Dutch style pancake, thick, pear studded, toasted English muffin, scrambled eggs, bacon. We are blessed with a gloriously sunny final day. Wander round Central Park with my Diana Instant, wander and wander. People watching, boat watching (life size and model), dog watching. Dive out to buy a deli lunch, take it back to the park to eat. The Neue Galerie, a first time visit for me, but I love it, small and elegant, Klimt, Schiele, other Secessionist artists and designers, wonderful. Drinks, later, at another Speakeasy style bar, through a metal gate, down a dark alley, up some metal stairs, door opened by a huge bouncer. Inside, chandeliers and oil paintings, cocktails served in teacups (admittedly rather chunky), music that prompts a pair of fellow drinkers to rise, clasp hands and dance gently round the room. Honey vodka / basil / grapefruit juice, elderflower liqueur / champagne / lemon. Afterwards, walking a few blocks North, almost missing an Italian restaurant that had been recommended by a friend, entering its dimly lit interior, ordering plates of pasta, fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli, simple tomato sauce.

Last morning and we squeeze in pancakes, the Guggenheim, a couple of slices of New York pizza, paper plates, napkins to mop up the grease, so good.