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Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Brooklyn in London
Business/Location: Brooklyn Coffee
Address: 139 Commercial St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: E1 6BJ
Phone: 07525 861 964
Website: www.brooklyncoffee.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Brooklyn Coffee
I generally resent paying for a cup of coffee--I'm a coffee fiend but I'd much rather make a brew at home with whatever bean I'm currently favouring (coffee of the moment is El Carmen from Pact if you're interested). I find it amusing that people baulk at the cost of a pack of freshly roasted coffee (around £6.90 for 250g) yet will happily pay approximately £2.50 a day for a potentially sub-standard coffee mainly so they can walk around with a drink-thru cup in their hand whilst on their iPhone being all, y'know, busy. I only stopped at Brooklyn Coffee because it's right by the 67 bus stop plus I had been craving oat cookies which I was eyeballing through the window whilst weighing up the chances of my bus arriving. Then I remembered that Caffeine magazine had said nice things about Brooklyn so I was like, "Hell, I'll give them a go." They use Caravan's Market Blend which gets them points straight off the bat. My flat white was perfect: creamy and smooth and the right temperature, kind of mellow but halfway through the cup, those familiar Market Blend flavour notes came through strong. I almost got so distracted that I missed my bus. The cookie also hit the spot and more excitingly--they stock Mast Brothers chocolate.


Monday, August 18, 2014
Salted Caramel Saves the Day. Again.
Business/Location: Black Vanilla
Address: 5 College Approach
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: SE10 9HY
Phone: 020 8858 3283
Website: black-vanilla.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Black Vanilla
Continuing on my gelato riff I decided to head south of the river to Black Vanilla. I'd heard good things about it and was anxious to taste "the finest gelato outside of Italy." Let's get something straight: I judge a gelateria by its pistachio ice-cream. The pistachio ice-cream here is green. Sure, it tasted good but the colour was distracting especially when I was told the pistachio bronte was 50p extra because it was a "premium" flavour. The best pistachio ice-cream I've ever tasted was a distinctly nut-brown hue studded with lovely emerald pieces of pistachio. The stem ginger and acacia honey flavour was interesting. Once in Venice, at a gelateria owned by one Signor Pistacchi (I kid you not), I ordered the ginger flavour and he looked me in the eye and said, "Ma, signorina, la zenzero è un po'...zingara" to which I replied, "Si, me piace zingara." Directly translated, zingara means female gipsy but he was warning me that it was a bit spicy. So that set the benchmark for ginger ice-cream. Granted, this one is made with stem ginger so naturally, will be sweet, but I couldn't help compare. Lastly, the salted caramel knocked my socks off. It had an almost smoky intensity which I can still taste. Not a wasted trip then.


Monday, August 18, 2014
Hungry for Hungarian
Business/Location: The Langos Company
Address: 5 Greenwich Market
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: SE10 9HZ
Phone: 07525 861 964
Website: www.thelangoscompany.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   The Langos Company
Street food is now ubiquitous in London which is great as you can eat treats from all corners of the world without leaving our fair city. As much as I love burritos and banh mi, burgers and bao, it's always exciting to stumble across something I haven't seen or tasted before. On a Friday trip to Greenwich I noticed a pizza-looking item and knew immediately that that's what I wanted despite the array of deliciousness before me. A sample taster of the traditional Langos--topped with sour cream and grated cheese--sealed the deal. Langos is a deep fried flatbread that has a beautifully light inside and a crispy golden outside. The warm, garlicky, buttery taste is superb as it is but the Langos Company offers toppings like pulled pork and beef ragu. The latter is topped with shavings of one of my favourite cheeses--Yarg! Yes, Yarg. If you haven't heard of it you now have knowledge of a new Cornish cheese and a fantastic word to say at whim. Yarg! Anyhoo, it's this combination of fresh flavours sourced in the UK which brings the humble Langos into its own. I chose the barbeque chicken which was liberally garnished with fresh herbs, peppers, onion and salad. Yum. Definitely need to #EatMoreLangos (follow their Twitter to find out more).


Monday, August 04, 2014
Blimey O'Riley
Business/Location: Riley Ice Cream Cafe
Address: 32 The Broadway
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N8 9SU

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Riley Ice Cream Cafe
Is it nearly the weekend again? What's that? Another week has past? Sorry dear Reader, it's just that in the UK we're experiencing a, how do you say? Summer. So, as the saying goes, one should make hay whilst the sun is shining--or eat ice-cream. Yes, I just can't stay away from the frozen stuff and my nearest gelateria is Riley's in Crouch End. From the regular queues here, I'm not sure they need much promotion but I have to say the ice-cream is particularly creamy and good. Stand out flavour is, without a doubt, the hazelnut swirled with Nutella. Even the sorbets have a lovely creamy texture--melon, lemon, banana and chocolate (yes, chocolate sorbet) are exceptional. I've got my eye on the coconut and honeycomb flavours so if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work.


Friday, July 18, 2014
You Scream, I Scream
Business/Location: Ruby Violet
Address: 118 Fortress Rd
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: NW5 2HL
Phone: 020 7609 0444
Website: www.rubyviolet.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Ruby Violet
It's been too hot to write this week. I've mainly been eating ice cream. And having heard talk of Ruby Violet, it was the perfect excuse for a jaunt to Tufnell Park. I looked at the website beforehand, and was eager to try the peach and rosewater flavour; alas, this being a homemade ice-cream parlour, one has to choose from what is available on the day. No bother, as the apricot and sour cream combo sounded equally delectable. A scoop of that plus a scoop of lime sorbet was just the ticket. The fresh flavours were sublime--the lime was sharp, just how I like it, and the tartness of the apricot complemented the sour cream. The parlour is really cute with Billy the Van sitting outside if he's not servicing a street food market or an event. I like the fact that it's open til 10pm every night except Monday. As I'm not drinking at the moment, I may have to make a late night visit--hey, we all have our vices. It might be difficult not to indulge in one of Ruby's Rich Rarities though, such as Elderflower and Chandon or Bloody Mary granita. Although the place was full of kids when I visited, this is definitely ice-cream for grown-ups.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014
A Shady Lane
Business/Location: Railway Fields Nature Reserve
Address: 381 Green Lanes
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N4 1ES
Phone: 020 8348 6005
Website: www.tcv.org.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Railway Fields Nature Reserve
"Green Lanes? What's so green about them?" I hear you say. Well, I have found a spot which may go a small way in justifying the name. Behind the magical gates opposite Green Lanes train station is a little oasis of calm. It used to be a railway goods depot before it was reclaimed and although not a huge space, when you walk to the end you feel positively miles away from the city--it's so quiet. When I was there, there was a woman walking her dog and someone meditating on a bench. Unfortunately it's only open 9am to 5pm in the week and one Saturday each month which somewhat defeats the object of a retreat but the site's primary mission is conservation and education for primary schools. The space is well set out with a nature trail that has stops such as the pond or the stag beetle loggeries. You don't need to be an actual kid to enjoy it though and this big kid thoroughly enjoyed jumping on the swings in the playground when no-one was looking. Further indulging my childlike fascination was the Stench Pipe--a huge chimney which was built in 1892 to carry fumes away from the sewage system, high above people's noses. All in all, a nice little escape.


Monday, July 07, 2014
Stuck in the Myddle With You
Business/Location: The Step
Address: 101 Myddleton Rd
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N22 8NE
Phone: 020 3302 2412
Website: www.thestep.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   The Step
I've got a feeling about Edwardian shopping street, Myddleton Road. Previously most famous for the oldest underpants on display in London, I've got a feeling it's going to be rejuvenated in the not too distant future. They already have a quarterly street market and they also have The Step. The Step is your regular unassuming neighbourhood bar/café/restaurant but it has a real community feel. When I was there last week, there was a photography group meeting on a Tuesday and sharing their latest work, and on Saturday there was a good-spirited bunch having a jar or two and shooting the breeze. They also have Freelance Friday where freelancers can have a drink, network or just enjoy being amongst people rather than tied to their laptops--I think this is a great idea. There's also an emphasis on live music with jazz on the first Sunday of every month and other various acts playing plus occasional comedy, theatre and talks. In fact, there's an emphasis on fun and if you wanted to host your own group or exhibit your work (the space doubles as a gallery), this is the place to do it. Food is locally sourced as much as possible and very reasonably priced. To The Step!


Thursday, June 26, 2014
Design for Living
Business/Location: Tord Boontje Shop
Address: 23 Charlotte Rd
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: EC2A 3PB
Phone: 020 7717 5398
Website: tordboontje.com

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Tord Boontje Shop
Back in the early noughties, a designer called Tord Boontje created a lampshade called Garland. It wasn't really a lampshade in the conventional sense more of a lamp "embellishment" as the laser cut sheet metal simply draped itself around the rather sad looking lone light bulb hanging from your ceiling. Back then, the item was sold as a limited edition at Habitat. Not only do I remember the price being a little prohibitive but more annoyingly, the damn things kept selling out. To be honest, the sight of the Garland lampshade, from student digs to middle class townhouses, became commonplace and I forgot about it. But apparently, true to his Dutch roots and in the name of democratic design, Tord decided that the Garland needed to be mass produced and not just a limited edition so they are now available in abundance and for a mere £20. I may be late to the party on this because it was only last autumn during Design Week that I discovered that there is a Tord Boontje SHOP. Yes! A whole shop full of whimsical, magical things. I could spend hours looking at the pretty ceramics and adorable jewellery designs here; the only problem is deciding what to buy.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Cracking Cinnamon Buns
Business/Location: Fabrique Bakery
Address: 385 Geffrey St
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: E2 8HZ
Phone: 020 7033 0268
Website: www.fabrique.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Fabrique Bakery
Midsummer's eve occurred at the weekend, a time when the hours of daylight are at their zenith--from there on in, the hours of daylight decrease. The Scandinavians are acutely aware of this as, of course, theirs is the land of the midnight sun, but come winter, they are plunged into darkness. Do not fear though, the Scandinavians have come up with a great way of dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (amongst other things such as Nordic Noir, the word smörgåsbord, The Moomins, saunas, and Roxette--love you Per) in the form of fika. Fika is basically a coffee break with some kind of buttery, sugary, pastry accompaniment. Luckily for us Londoners, Fabrique, the Swedish bakery has a branch in Shoreditch where you can enjoy a Johan & Nyström coffee and a Hallongrotta. I've been frequenting this place for about a year, mainly for their cinnamon buns but have now got hooked on the cardamom buns. In fact when I visited last week, a young mum who had brought her friend there for the first time was exclaiming that she was convinced they lace the buns with crack so addicted is she. As good as they taste all year round, bring on winter, bring on the buns.


Monday, June 23, 2014
You Can Find the Perfect Blend
Business/Location: Blend
Address: 587 Green Lanes
City: London
State: England
Zip Code: N8 0RG
Phone: 020 8341 2939
Website: www.localblend.co.uk

Posted by:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow
   Blend
My new hood is within the locale of Green Lanes or Harringay according to NFT London. The nabe does not get a very good rap in the guidebook--"a gazillion kebab places" is not a very fair or accurate portrayal of a stretch which has some pretty incredible Turkish food on offer. But if Turkish brekkie is not your bag, there's Blend. Blend has been getting very good reviews for its brunches which do indeed sound delectable. However, I was sad to hear that after opening in the evenings for a few weeks at the beginning of the month, Linda and Steve who run the café, have had to stick to 9 to 5 hours due to lack of traffic. I really hope they reappraise this and perhaps do a weekly supper club, weekend speakeasy, or something of that ilk as I was salivating at the sound of pulled pork with rhubarb sauce and veggie lasagne with goats' cheese. Not to mention delicious cocktails such as the Hugo and The Last Word. So please support your local café--they do Climpson coffee and a mean carrot and courgette cake (gluten-free no less), and as one fellow customer said, "it's a bit of an oasis" if you find Green Lanes too hectic.