Thursday, July 7, 2011

to have no soil of America
in my memory, membranes whipped
by alien aromas drenched
in manufactured rosewater you
were my friend and you showed
me how to love, me in your gravitational
pull your dark astronomy
marshmellow starspots, cones
of brilliant light brilliant light
weak on white, discarded life
in a high whistle like the farce
of eggshells, dollars, gods.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Walmer Castle, Nottinghill

Walmer Castle is one of the strangest inventions ever. I'm not making a judgement call here, its just random: delicious authentic Thai mixed with an equally authentic British pub located at the heart of Notting Hill.  Its a great business venture when you think about it:  you can have a fabulous meal upstairs and take a few steps downstairs for a cold pint or two to watch the rugby match! (Not that I would be doing the latter!) 

Heavenly starter of seared scallops and lychee in a mild curry coconut sauce followed by the Kaeng Dang. 

Portobello Star for a decent cocktail

Reviews call this bar a 'cracking collision of proper pub and smart cocktail bar'. I'd have to agree. Aside from the eager, casual and artsy/banking crowd, I'd lean more towards smart cocktail bar for the delicious drinks prepared by an ace mixologist! Tom's drink came as a recommendation that I heartily pass on to you. Cheers!

The Portobello Star

171 Portobello Road
W11 2DY
tel.: 02072298016

Sunday Run in Kensington Gardens

With the sun shining and the skies blue, I decided that it was the perfect morning to find my London running route.  I checked the map, put on my running shoes and heading from Shepherd's Bush tube station towards Notting Hill; I was on my way to one of the royal parks and gardens that London boasts: Kensington Garden. A 30 minute walk got me to the Western and Northern-most tip of the gardens.  Diana, Princess of Wales', Memorial Playground site happened to be the start of my hour's running loop. I ran south passing in the (very) far distance on my right, Kensington Palace, home to Princess Diana of Wales and birthplace of Queen Victoria (first used as a royal palace in 1689!), making a left at the Palace Gate. I continued my journey passing a grand memorial statue to Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, making my way past public tennis courts on my right and the famed Serpentine body of water on my left.  And into Hyde Park I ran. At some point, I made a loop, running past Victoria Gate, Marble Arche Gate with the ornamental water gardens with fountains, known as the Italian Gardens on my left. I ended the first part of my 2 loop running session with the sounds of children coming from Diana's Playground. 

I reckon, with 2x the loop, I ran about 10km...A good average!

And a history lesson on the run. 

Heaven in a bowl brought to you by the BBC

This recipe was recommended by a dear veggie-loving friend.  Note: Preparation time: less than 30 mins and cooking time: 10 to 30 min. 


Spinach and butternut squash soup

By Nick Nairn

From Ready Steady Cook

Serves 1


100g/3½oz butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes

3 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

100g/3½oz potato, peeled and cut into cubes

200ml/7fl oz pint vegetable stock

150g/5½oz spinach leaves

1 tbsp Greek yoghurt, to serve
Preparation method

Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Drizzle two teaspoons of the olive oil over the butternut squash and place onto a baking sheet. Place into the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, until tender.
Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a saucepan over a high heat. Add the garlic and fry for one minute.
Add the potato and fry for two minutes. 
Add the stock and spinach leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Transfer the soup to a food processor and blend until smooth.
To serve, divide the roasted butternut squash between two bowls and pour over the soup. Garnish with the yoghurt.

Refab @ Thames River festival

One of the stalls featured at the Thames Festival was something called Refab, which as their card states, turns 'vintage fabric into cool things.'  I thought this was a pretty great idea. Its ecofriendly, creative, and useful all in one. Its one of those DIY projects that one always thinks about doing, yet never actually accomplishes, due to lack of time, energy, or skill or all the above.  This particular stall focused on the doorstop: now you can opt for a fabulously colorful and fun looking creature to make your doorstop attractive.  Leaving the lump of black rubber out of your livingroom!

The Thames Festival 11&12 September

Don't be like me. 

Before you even consider attending this free open-door festival make sure you can pronounce the river Thames! (Note: Thames is pronounced /ˈtɛmz/temz) 

Once you have mastered the pronunciation, do take part in this festival that sadly is a celebration of the last few remaining days of 'summer' culminating with the fireworks finale on Sunday eve at 9.45pm.  

But celebrate we must!  

Along the southern bank of the Thames in zones 1, 2, 3 and 4 enjoy a bounty of little stalls and markets selling odds and ends, specialty food, arts and crafts, traders, and bars. In addition, in zone 1 the 'new European village' stalls will feature Hungary, Poland and Romania presenting traditional folk crafts, delicious (fresh, home-made) apple juice and possibly some heavenly Tokaji. 

On Sunday night, from 7.15-9.30pm there will be a 'night carnival'-- a la Copacabana, (although probably not quite as lavish,) with 30 groups taking part. Dancers, musicians, and masqueraders will be taking on the bank in a fantastic display of street arts and creativity!

Food for thought, Neal Street, Covent Garden

After a long, hard and unsuccessful day of searching for the perfect (walking) shoes  in Covent Garden, I met a friend for dinner at Food for Thought. This vegetarian eatery offers a wholesome menu of fresh, delicious platters for around 7 quid.  While I was disappointed at their 'sold out' sign on their Jamaican Stew (I was hoping for something savory with coconut milk), I opted for their Moroccan Dish, served with almond-couscous, stewed veggies in a tomato sauce and lightly steamed seasonal vegetable sauted with garlic and oil. I was, however, disappointed at the Harissa sauce-- where was the spicy potency that I'm so accustomed to in Belleville, Paris?

Saturday Brunch à la francaise in South Kensington

Nestled in the posh neighborhood of South Kensington lies Aubaine, a French resto with a London twist.  Attracting an upscale, casual crowd this eatery is a great Saturday brunch spot particularly for people watching.  While its difficult to find bread that is actually edible in London,  particularly after having had an indulgent year in Paris, Aubain‎e's bread does the job. Enjoy!


260-262 Brompton Road

London SW3 2AS 
tel. 020 7052 0100
(Reservations recommended)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Victorian Fall Coat

 I made my first essential London purchase in preparation for the 'all shades of grey' season: a navy blue Victorian-style coat. I just adore it, and will wear it through all the royal boroughs of London, 'till it is thread-bear! 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Delicious Health in a shop: Alara, 60 Marchmont Street

Home to organic flaxseed oil, tahini, almond creme, and raw walnut butter, this gem of a shop came as a recommendation from a dear, and equally health-conscious, friend. I went to Alara with a mission: to find organic coconut virgin oil. This oil does wonders to vegan cooking, but I opt to use it as a lotion post-showering! I figure: if its good enough to eat, it must be healthy enough to put on our largest organ: the skin.  Call me weird, but it works!


coconut smelling gallerina

58 – 60 Marchmont St
London WC1N 1AB
Tel : 020 7837 1172

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Hen & Chickens Theater, London

Last night as the London showers showed their face, I made my way North to Highbury & Islington.  This delightfully green part of the city grew as a sprawling village, and it has kept its town-like charm.  In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Islington area was known for its availability of water providing vegetable gardens for London. 

At the corner of St. Paul's road we found our venue for the evening. A downstairs pub with an 'off-off' Broadway theater known as the The Hen & Chickens Theater, is a perfect place to grab a casual after-work drink and entertainment. 

Crimes Against Humanties Teachers

7th - 11th September 7.45pm £10
‘Intelligent, Quintessentially British and Indisputably Hilarious’

ThreeWeeks ****

While this was by no means the best production I've seen, it was a perfect mid-week spot for a bit of laughter interrupted by a delicious Apple Cider. Cheers!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Light a candle!

Finland becomes a hibernating heaven with sunrises at 9:23 and sunsets at 15:12; the total length of a day exactly 5h 49m (in the Helsinki area). Even when the sun does  peak through thick snow (or rain) clouds, it rests idly on the horizon, rarely rising above the tree line. Without snow, this can become quite a desolate little place. (Thankfully, snow was in the forecast before my trip.)

While darkness can be debilitating (unless of course you get hours worth of vitamin D from the various artificial sunlight emitting contraptions, pill form or milk) candles make it oh-so hygge and bearable!

This household, like most in Scandinavia, following the Chinese proverb - 'Don't curse the darkness - light a candle.' (Which was incorporated by Adlai Stevenson praising Eleanor Roosevelt in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1962 - 'She would rather light candles than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world.') Light your lanterns, tea candles, candles...!

Monday, December 14, 2009

more moschino

Here is Santa's wish-list a la moschino:

1.) He doesn't feel appreciated enough (appreciate him more)

2.) Too many requests in too little time (don't be greedy this xmas; la crise financière continues even in Santa land, ya' know!)

3.) The reindeer are threatening to strike (sigh...RER, you made my life tough this season)

4.) In Australia his suit feels too hot (no more chocolate!)


5.) Has problems staying awake at night (remember to leave Santa coffee)

6.) Chimneys nowadays are too narrow (or he's getting too fat.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Le marché de Noël à La Defense

Les marchés de Noël are not customarily French Christmas practices, but are in fact traditions that have seeped into the  Christmas consumer culture through Germany by way of Strasbourg in the north-wester region of Alsace. Every season, little wooden huts and a plethora of Christmas decorations are set up all around Paris, the largest (and cheapest) at La Defense, although le marchés on Champs Elysees is well-worth a visit if you can stomach the many tourists! Get your gluvine, sauerkraut, bratwurst, kartoffelsalat, and lebkuchen...and get into the Christmas (consumer) spirit!