With so much enmity in the world today and an ominous feeling that more looms just beyond our scope, it may seem obtuse, oblivious and rather vainglorious to publish a blog post about what I’m most thankful for this year.

But I’ve been sharing these Thanks posts on my blog every Thanksgiving Day since 2011, and I guess I shouldn’t let the bellicose mood of the planet get in the way of another opportunity to express a little gratitude. And maybe it’s times like these when we should be most aware of what’s good in our lives and make more of an effort to tell other folks about it.

I’m glad (and in a lot of ways relieved) to say there’s been plenty of good in mine this year. A loving partner, a fluffy cat, a safe home (where a year’s load of renovations has finally ended!), and job that keeps my belly full, my palate pleased, and my wanderlust from seething over – I’m a lucky man, fortunate to be sitting here feet up in my own East London office looking back over how good I’ve had it in 2015.

The road treated me especially well this year. Some of trips I cooked up myself with considerable effort put toward making them happen. Others seemed to land in my lap out of nowhere. Whether I was slumming in a shack or lounging in a luxury resort, I had a blast, met kind people, and enjoyed innumerable moments being amazed.

I clocked a lot of miles heading in the direction I desired. I got to spend time with my mom and members of my family. I caught up with a few lifelong friends whom I hadn’t seen in way too many years.

I look forward to the end of year winding down, and I’m already finding myself excited about a few awesome prospects on the agenda for 2016.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2015. It’s been a tough one for too many people. Let’s keep our chins up and headed toward the light – and make sure the jerks, doomsayers and warmongers don’t win.

Cheers for sticking with my blog and all the support. Happy Thanksgiving.

A video posted by Chris Osburn (@chrisosburn) on

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London Daily Photo: Please

LDP 2015.11.26 - Please

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7 Thanksgivings from Around the World (OneTravel)

Thanksgiving cheers

Thanksgiving is as American as it gets. But it’s not only celebrated in America.

Here’s a look at a few other places across the globe that give thanks American style or have their own festive traditions similar to those in the US.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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Getting to Know Lady Unknown Playwright Lauren Johnson

Coutts and TaylorRoisin Rae plays Angela Burdett Coutts in Lady UnknownPhoto courtesy of Theatre Untold

Lady Unknown is the third production from ensemble group Theatre Untold. As with its two previous productions, the aim of Lady Unknown is to shine a light on a “forgotten historical figure.” This time round that disremembered person is 19th century philanthropist and chum of Charles Dickens, Angela Burdett Coutts.

The play, written by Untold co-founder Lauren Johnson, tells the story of Coutts, who unexpectedly inherited Coutts Bank when she was a young woman and spent the rest of her life sharing her fortune with much of her charitable work done anonymously and attributed only to a “Lady Unknown”. For two decades she worked closely with Charles Dickens, and that friendship is at the centre of the play – particularly their work with Urania Cottage, a home for “fallen women” (prostitutes).

The play, performed recently to sold out shows at the Charles Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury, gives audiences a chance to step into Dickens’s home for the evening and meet him and Miss Coutts as well as two servants who are affected by the decisions the pair are making.

In attendance for one of those recent performances, I found the play to be engaging and fun as it presented Coutts (who to me was indeed unknown before hearing about the play) and looking at some less celebrated aspects of well down champion of justice, Charles Dickens. Afterward I was keen to find out more and got in touch with Johnson to request an interview about her work.

Historian, playwright, and author of two books, Johnson agreed to sit down with me to answer a few questions and talk about Lady Unknown and what inspired her to write the play.

Here’s that interview.

Had you worked on any theatre in the same vein before (immersive, historical)?

This is the first play I’ve written, but since 2008 I’ve worked with a live interpretation company in heritage sites, and I’ve researched, written and directed events with them. I really wanted to bring some of my experience in heritage theatre into this piece – to immerse the audience in a historical world as well as telling a theatrical story.

How and when did you first learn about Angela Burdett Coutts?

In my life as a costumed interpreter, I did a “Charles Dickens Christmas” event a few years ago at the Tower of London. I played Angela for the event – I had never heard of her before and was astonished her story wasn’t better known. In her own day she was one of the most celebrated and famous women in the country.

What inspired you to write the play?

The relationship between Angela and Dickens really stuck with me – the tragedy of the fact that once Dickens made the decision to separate from his wife and set his mistress up in a home with him, his friendship with Angela just fell apart … There aren’t many stories about completely platonic friendships between men and women, and I found their relationship fascinating. They each inspired the other to be braver and work harder at improving the lives of others, and they had an almost sibling-like closeness. At least until Dickens’s personal life got in the way. Also, I really wanted Angela’s involvement in their work to be better known – we all know Dickens the writer, and a lot of us have heard of his social work, but Angela’s crucial part in it has been completely forgotten. She deserves to be better known.

What are the plans for the play now that it had its initial run at the Charles Dickens Museum?

We hope to bring the play back next year in a bigger, longer, even more immersive format. Almost all the feedback we’ve had from audiences was that they enjoyed the play and want more of it, so we’re very happy to oblige.

Was Charles Dickens kinda sleazy?

Ha! That’s certainly not his public image. I have mixed feelings about Dickens because he did a lot of good and raised awareness about social issues in his own time – issues that still matter today – but in some of his relations with women he was pretty awful. His treatment of his wife when they separated after 20 years was deeply unpleasant – I think he abused his public voice to humiliate her – and he lived a double standard by setting up Urania Cottage with Miss Coutts but secretly keeping a mistress. He didn’t seem to realise he was putting his mistress in the exact same vulnerable position as many of the women of Urania had experienced.

What do you hope people takeaway from a performance of Lady Unknown?

I hope they might be inspired by Angela’s work, and the parallels between the nineteenth century world we present and modern political issues, to take some ‘philanthropic action’ of their own and help other people out. Whether that’s through joining in the campaigns against funding cuts for those who really need social support, or giving to charities like homeless shelters and women’s refuges, that would be great. And most of all I hope they tell other people about this fascinating historical woman called Angela Burdett Coutts, because she deserves to be remembered and celebrated.

Find out more about Lauren Johnson’s work at For more about Theatre Untold and future opportunities to catch Lady Unknown go to

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#BBQbound: Charleston


Next stop on my carnivorously inclined Deep South expedition was the beautiful and historic port city of Charleston, South Carolina where a new breed of pitmaster appears to be taking over the culinary scene with an approach to making wood fired, slow cooked meats that’s as yummy and inventive as it is a mouth-watering tribute to the area’s great BBQ traditions.

Unfortunately, recent flooding kept me from hitting some of the tastiest parts of South Carolina. But I was glad to hear Charleston was up and running with two amazing BBQ restaurants welcoming me and proudly sharing with me the chance to sample ample portions of what they do best.


Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ
1205 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, South Carolina 29407

The best quote from my trip to sum up why folks tend to gravitate toward the BBQ biz came from Home Team owner/Executive Chef Aaron “Fiery Ron” Siegel when I sat down for a chow and chat with him and Home Team Chef Madison Ruckel:

It’s just fun building a fire.

Hear! Hear! And it’s even more fun tearing into a chunk of something slow roasted in the fires stoked by Seigel, Ruckel and crew with every lick of flame a moreish homage to the best of BBQ craft. Indeed, the brisket might as well had been Texan as its flavour, texture and moisture harkened me taste buds back several days to what I’d tried in Austin and Dallas. The pulled pork and dry rubbed ribs hollered Memphis to me, and the Brunswick stew geared me up for my upcoming drive through Georgia.

Dig in online at


Swig & Swine
1217 Savannah Highway, Charleston, South Carolina 29407

Not all that far from Home Team’s Ashley River location is Chef Anthony Dibernardo’s Swig & Swine, where I was blown away by every bite had from the homey but expertly cooked line up of dishes. Of particular note were the pork rinds with Tabasco honey and blue cheese (wow, just wow), the smoked wings, and the melt-in-your-mouth smoked pork belly.

But I’m focusing too much on the “swine” half of the Dibernardo equation. The superb “swig” at his BBQ gets equal billing. A haven for craft beer lovers, the bar at S&S was as masterfully curated as the menu. I loved sipping my way through a range of Charleston and Low Country brews from River Dog Brewery, Holy City Brewing, and Palmetto Brewing Company.

Find out more at


Beyond the Q

King Charles Inn
237 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401

Sitting pretty on Meeting Street and a short stroll from King Street, the City Market, the port and a great variety of Charleston’s best restaurants, shops and attraction (as well as historic Mother Emanuel AME Church), my comfy and spacious room at the beautiful boutique hotel, King Charles Inn, was a handy and handsome base for rambling around town between BBQ tastings. For details, go to


Learn more about Charleston at and the great state of South Carolina at For loads of help planning your trip to anywhere in the States, go to And please be sure to keep an eye out for more BBQ Bound posts to come!

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London Daily Photo: St John’s Road

LDP 2015.11.25 - St John's Road

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7 of England’s Best Christmas Markets and Winter Fairs (OneTravel)

England Christmas

Some of England’s most beautiful National Trust sites are also among the best places to get into the festive spirit.

The National Trust protects and keeps open to the public 350 historic houses, gardens, and ancient monuments (as well as forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves and even whole villages) and which sites are “doing it up” with seasonal celebrations go to

Before that though, have a quick look at this guide to seven Christmas Markets and Winter Fairs taking place across England at National Trust sites.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Untitled

LDP 2015.11.24 - Untitled

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Pit Stop: A Barbecue Road Trip Across the American South (Great British Chefs)

A sampler of sides at Pulaski Heights BBQ

Here comes American Thanksgiving, a day set aside to be thankful for what you’ve got… and eat way too much food. As an American, it’s an occasion I take seriously, the giving of thanks (and, of course, the eating part). Speaking of food, this year I’m feeling especially thankful for that most American of traditions, barbecue, and the opportunity to have a lot of it back in October.

Yep, I’m still rubbing my belly in satisfaction several days after returning from a 2,500-mile, three-week road trip across the American South. From the Hill Country of Central Texas to Pitt County in coastal North Carolina, I made as many stops as I could in a low ‘n’ slow sojourn to experience the best barbecue in America.

Read my complete post at Great British Chefs.

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London Daily Photo: King’s Arms

LDP 2015.11.23 - King's Arms

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The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving in London (London Pass Blog)


London Pass published a post on its blog about spending American Thanksgiving in London and enlisted the help of a few American bloggers (yep, including me) in London to help with suggestions.

Spending one of the most important American holidays away from home is hard enough, let alone if you’re spending it in another country with a different culture. However, if you’re (lucky enough!) to be spending Thanksgiving in London this year, you won’t be short of venues, events and activities to celebrate this annual holiday. What’s more, there will be plenty of fellow Americans! Whether you are travelling alone, with your partner or family, or are simply looking for some kindred spirits to celebrate with, here are some of the best things to do this Thanksgiving in London.

Read the complete guide at London Pass Blog.

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London Daily Photo: Space

LDP 2015.11.22 - Space

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Bloggers’ Picks: 22 Things to do in London this Winter (Time Out)

Winter 2015/2016

Time Out recently ran a piece about “22 things to do in London this winter,” featuring ideas from 22 bloggers, including yours truly.

Magical pop-ups, crisp park walks and juicy roast dinners: clued-up London bloggers give us their suggestions for winter.

Read the complete article online at Time Out.

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London Daily Photo: Mosaic

LDP 2015.11.21 - Mosaic

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The South’s Best BBQ Road Trips (OneTravel)


Today is Go for a Ride Day, a day to hit the road to head off and discover something new – or at least inspire you to start planning that epic road trip you’ve been dreaming of for years.

One of the best excuses I know for hopping in the car and going for a ride is going out to get something good to eat. So, in celebration of Go for a Ride Day I present four fantastic road trip itineraries for lovers of one of America’s most authentic and satisfying foods: BBQ.

Across the southern United States, great BBQ abounds. But for routes guaranteed to drive your taste buds wild, mark your map for one of these trails …

Read my complete article at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Go with the Flow

LDP 2015.11.20 - Adapt

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#BBQbound: Pitt County, North Carolina

DSC_1101Jeff, Bruce and Sam Jones outside their family’s “Capital of BBQ” the one and only Skylight Inn

An epicentre of epicurean wonder (as long as you love whole hog BBQ), Pitt County is a prime destination for some of the best tasting meat in America. I had no idea so much good BBQ could come from such a concentrated and largely rural area.

Yes sirree bob! I was blown away by the quality and quantity of BBQ in Pitt County. By this point in my trip I’d been on the road for more than two weeks and had visited already some of America’s best BBQ restaurants (by any account). So, to have been so taken by how exceptionally tender, moist and flavoursome the BBQ around these parts was surprised the heck out of me and my lucky taste buds. The warm reception and hokey deadpan humour stupefied as well – and had me smiling and laughing more than probably anywhere else I stopped along my route.


Judy, one of the three sister proprietors of B’s Barbecue, explained that although the menu had not changed more than a tweak or two in the 38 years their restaurant has been open, they were thinking of added “that avocado stuff” to keep up with the times.


Larry Dennis of Bum’s Restaurant explained to me with the greatest poker face ever how he had a photo on his phone from the early days of his multigenerational family eatery – only to take a minute or two to dig up a picture of cavemen gathered round a fire. He went on to tell me how 500,000 years ago his ancestors used to hunt down and roast hogasaurus. But the joking stopped when any convo turned to how best to smoke a pig. It’s serious matter not to be taken lightly.


B’s Barbecue
751 Bs Barbecue Road, Greenville, North Carolina 27858

Opened in 1977 by William and Peggy McLawhorn, B’s Barbecue today is run by their daughters Donna, Tammy, and Judy. And folks still don’t mind driving for miles and lining up for the traditional smoked pork they do just like their parents taught ‘em. It’s the “best things since snuff” according to Donna. They’ve even got their own street named after the restaurant. It’s worth a drive too – I loved my meal and the homey “joint” atmosphere.

There ain’t no website, but here’s an informative and loving online tribute:

Bum’s Restaurant
566 3rd Street, Ayden, North Carolina 28513

As downhome as it gets, this multi-generation family-owned and run restaurant in downtown Ayden does southern food and slow smoked whole hog BBQ to perfection. Twenty-hour wood smoked whole hog cooked, a plateful of homegrown veggies, and an opportunity to cut up and share a laugh made my lunch at Bum’s one of the most memorable of my trip.

Find out more at


Skylight Inn
4618 S Lee Street, Ayden, North Carolina 28513

For a mouthful of the most delicious BBQ you can’t even comprehend without trying for yourself, go to Skylight. Seriously – that was the best stuff I ever tasted. Third generation proprietor Sam Jones sees no reason to “bastardise what made me and my family.” God bless the man for that! What “made” Sam and his family since 1947 is 16-18 hour wood-smoked and “dirt raised” whole hog chopped and blended with some skin left in for flavour and a bit of crunch. Sam is however keen to expand his vision with a new Sam Jones BBQ in Greenville to open soon with the same adherence to tradition and principle but fancier digs and a broader menu.



Beyond the Q

Hilton Greenville
207 Greenville Boulevard Southwest, Greenville, North Carolina 27834

Comfortable and convenient – and like everything else in Pitt County encountered with a hearty welcome – the Hilton in Greenville was an ideal hotel during my stay. For more information, go to

Villedge Woodfired Kitchen & Bar
Hilton Greenville, 207 Greenville Boulevard Southwest, Greenville, North Carolina 27834

This farm-to-table restaurant inside the Hilton was an excellent place to enjoy traditional southern cuisine with a fine dining sophistication and wood fired flatbreads. There’s an amazing selection of local beer too. I could go for another Duck-Rabbit Amber Ale from nearby Farmville. Visit the restaurant online at


Learn more about Greenville and Pitt County at and the great state of North Carolina at For loads of help planning your trip to anywhere in the States, go to And please be sure to keep an eye out for more BBQ Bound posts to come!

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A Musical Visit to Memphis Sure Sounds Good! (OneTravel)

Beale Street

Love American music? Then get yourself to Memphis, Tennessee where the roots of rock ‘n roll, country, blues and soul are on dynamic display for you see and of course to hear!

Have a look at this list for some of the best music related attraction in town and start planning your trip now!

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Autumn Day

LDP 2015.11.19 - Autumn Day

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Win a Month’s Supply of Moju Cold Pressed Juices

Win a Month’s Supply of Moju Cold Pressed Juices

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know I’m back from a mega-meaty road trip across a big ole chunk of the USA. Settling back into my London home on a self-imposed vegan purge (and not quite ready to rev up for the festive season yet), I’ve really been enjoying newly launched Moju cold-pressed juices. I’m sure you would too! Wanna taste the range for free? Keep reading.

Moju cold-press their juice to maximise the health-giving properties of fresh, pure ingredients; cold-pressing is the closest you can get to fresh fruit and veg, extracting up to five times more nutrients than traditional methods. Moju never heat pasteurise or ‘cook’ their juice as it destroys vitamins, minerals and enzymes; instead, they use pressure (HPP) to protect the nutrients and flavour packed within their perfectly balanced recipes.

The juices are 100% natural, unadulterated and free from any additives or GMOs; at least four portions of fruit and veg are pressed into each bottle – equivalent to an impressive ½ kilo of fresh produce!

Launched into Harrods, As Nature Intended and a number of independent shops across the Southeast, Moju is currently lining up a host of national stockists and will soon be available via for office and home delivery.

Have a look at the range:

The Green Juice
vitamin and potassium-rich leafy lush greens, with a twist of lemon and a hint of ginger
Recipe: 1½ Handfuls of Kale, 1½ Handfuls of Spinach, 1 Apple, ¼ Cucumber, 1 Celery Stick, Squeeze of Lemon, Hint of Ginger

The Purple Juice
nutrient-rich and sweet root vegetables, balanced with crisp apple and refreshing cucumber
Recipe: 1 Beetroot, 1 Apple, 1 Carrot, Chunk of Cucumber, Squeeze of Lemon

The Orange Juice (without the Orange…!)
a boost of Vitamin C and A from carrots and red pepper, with a ginger and turmeric kick and a twist of lemon
Recipe: 3 Carrots, 1 Apple, Slice of Red Pepper, Squeeze of Lemon, Chunk of Ginger, Hint of Turmeric

To be in with a chance to win a month’s supply of Mojo juice, simply tweet the following:

RT to win a month’s supply of @MojuDrinks #coldpressed #juice compliments of @tikchris: #stupidlyhealthy #moju

Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!


I’ll pick one winner at random on Friday 27 November at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive 18 250ml bottles (six each of Moju’s three flavours), valued at £2.95 each (£53.10 in total). To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK where the prize can be delivered.

For more info about Moju go to

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London Daily Photo: Bunhill Row

LDP 2015.11.18 - Bunhill Row

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Nachos of the Month: Tabasco Pecan Crab Dip

Nachos of the Month: Tabasco Pecan Crab Dip - DSC07886

Hey folks. I’m reviving my Nachos of the Month series to share a recipe to accompany the launch of Manomasa’s Cantina Chips. Just like the type of chips you’d get at the start of a meal at a cantina in Mexico and most Mexican restaurants in the States – these are the UK’s first packaged Cantina chips, and launched into Whole Foods recently in 200g packs (RRP £2.49). They go great with my Tabasco pecan crab dip too! Enjoy.



o 200g crabmeat (I do all white);
o 200-300ml of double cream (quantity depends on how “wet” you like it);
o 1 finely diced small onion;
o 2 tablespoons of finely diced bell pepper;
o 4 stalks of finely diced celery;
o Salt and black pepper to taste;
o Pinch of white pepper;
o 75g of shredded Cheddar (I like extra mature);
o 1 lemon ( ½ for juice, ½ for wedges);
o Tabasco Sauce to taste;
o 50g chopped pecans;
o Finely diced chives to taste;
o Bag of Cantina Chips.


o In a large bowl, mix together the crab, cream, onion, bell pepper, celery, salt, black pepper, white pepper, and Cheddar;
o If uncertain how much cream to use only add a little and top up until you get to the level preferred;
o Stir in the juice of ½ of lemon and Tabasco Sauce;
o Then the pecans;
o If not planning to serve immediately, wait to add the pecans before serving;
o Optional: heat up the mix if you like but it’s fine served cold;
o Place the dip atop a plate of Cantina Chips or on the side in a separate container;
o Garnish with chives and lemon wedges.


Enjoy your chips ‘n crab dip at the start of a meal or as a snack.

Read more tikichris recipes.

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From Field to Mouth: The British Museum of Food opens in Borough Market


Maddie Salters attends the grand opening of Bompas & Parr’s British Museum of Food.

Recently opened to the public, the British Museum of Food is an interesting take on British culture from the perspective of what we eat. For the first time in world history, a stunning set of exhibits has been curated to introduce the evolution of how people understand and relate to their food, what part it plays in daily life, and how it is made. Part science museum, part art gallery, and part history tour, it gives guests an interactive seat at the table, inviting them to listen, touch, and yes – taste the exhibits.

I attended the Grand Opening for the British Museum of Food a little bit ahead of its public opening. The fanfare was led by the fantastic foodie duo of Sam Bompas and Harry Parr of Bompas & Parr, whose pet project this had been for years. Known for their culinary stunts, from Alcoholic Architecture to Cooking With Lava, the duo are now trustees of the museum. When he showered confetti across the crowd gathered for the launch, (almost as kaleidoscopically coloured as he himself was dressed), Mr. Parr expanded on his vision: “Around the world there are various museums devoted to specific items of food and drink, such as herrings and absinthe, but nowhere has an institution been created that seeks to embrace this crucial part of human existence … and where better than the spiritual home of London’s food culture?”

But how to achieve this lofty goal? The curators decided to manifest the motto ‘From Field to Table, Mouth … and Beyond’ in five zany, incomparable exhibits that take guests on a sensory adventure through the evolution, biology, history, and art of food.

I began my evening at Choco-Phonia: a series of four booths, each with a bowl piled high in chocolate bits, and each playing its own sound bite. From crowds bustling to birds chirping, I was asked to rate how sweet versus bitter, and how creamy versus dry the chocolate in each booth was. A social experiment in a “sonic wonderland”, designed to test how the science of sound effects the sense of taste. Notecards filled out by guests were all over the place in terms of ranking the chocolate – whereas I thought they all tasted pretty similar. (Perhaps, as a New Yorker, I am not as stressed by the sound of a crowd– stress might otherwise leave a more bitter taste on one’s mouth.)

The museum next featured the Atelier of Flavour and The British Menu Archive. Among the gallery of photography and paintings in the Atelier, which spotlighted food as art, were a number of different representations of the traditional English Breakfast – impressive, in that I’d never seen art serve up that many interpretations of beans and toast, with an admirable amount of humour, kitsch, and inspired detail. The British Menu Archive appealed a little more to the history buff in me, featuring a selection of menus dating back hundreds of years – a rarely-acknowledged trail of source material, with menus from doomed British cruise liners, to dinners held to celebrate the Prime Minister. A stand-out in the collection was the hand-written POW Christmas Dinner menu, from WWII at a British camp in Poland, which went to impressive lengths to provide a real meal for tired soldiers, while giving a piece of morbid advice: to enjoy the traditional English fare while they still had a last chance to.

Most engaging to me, however, were the exhibits entitled Be the Bolus and The Butterfly Effect. Both were creative and immersive in a way I have never before experienced. In Be the Bolus, I was able to take the same journey that food does through the digestive system – almost literally! A nearly full-body massage chair has been arranged in the museum, to simulate what food ‘feels’ like as it is forced along the alimentary canal and through the body, while visuals follow food’s actual journey on-screen, in a movie presentation. While you’re being lifted, squeezed, and mashed, the headphones you wear switch off between the sounds of digestion and a handy factual guide to feeding. The Butterfly Effect, in contrast, is a tropical zone on the building’s first floor. Step inside, and London melts away; literally. It’s sweltering in the butterfly nature preserve, where blue monarchs and other gorgeous winged insects fly freely in the hundreds, around a collection of flowers and plants. Their beauty serves as a reminder of their unsung role in pollination, especially in at time where there are rising concerns about the honey bee.

While these initial exhibits may not be around forever (the museum hopes to make its new Borough Market location its forever-home), they were enough to convince me that both London and the world were sorely lacking without a Food museum. That the British Food Museum in specific takes on such a cultural focus, and presents food culture through interactive and downright fun exhibits means that learning has never been more tasty.

The British Museum of Food will be open for three months, starting October 23rd. Tickets run £5 for adults, and £4 for children under 16 years. Its aim is to show that health, nutrition, and how people eat all play a vital role in describing who we, as a people, are… with that creative and always eccentric Bompas & Parr touch.

Me? I learned I’m a person who likes chocolate too much to stop and smell the roses– or listen to the bees!

The British Museum of Food is located at 1 Cathedral Street, SE1 9DE. Find out more at

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London Daily Photo: Trafalgar Square

LDP 2015.11.17 - Trafalgar Square

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#BBQbound: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Pig Hot Dogs

From Hillsborough I hopped over to nearby Chapel Hill, a town whose biggest claim to fame (and with good reason) is that it’s home to high ranking University of North Carolina. With its pleasant and walkable downtown skirting along UNC’s historic and picturesque campus, Chapel Hill exudes old timey charm and a small town vibe tinged with a cosmopolitan and worldly attitude.

Chapel Hill is a city I know fairly well from more youthful days. But I’d not been back there for well over a decade – and I must admit I knew nothing of the BBQ there. I’m pleased to report the town is as agreeable place as even – and that the BBQ is fantastic.

The Pig
630 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

For whole hog BBQ made with local, pasture-raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free pork served in a range of options (homemade hotdogs, bologna, Vietnamese pork cheek) head to The Pig. Vegetarian? Try the country-fried tofu or the BBQ temph. The Pig’s head chef and owner is Sam Suchoff, a UNC grad graduate with a mathematics degree who found he preferred working on formulae for the perfect sauce more than scratching his head over a bunch of tasteless numbers.

For info, go to

Carolina Inn Lobby

Beyond the Q

Carolina Inn
211 Pittsboro Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516

Locating on the UNC campus is the Carolina Inn. Dating back to 1924, the 185-guestroom (with seven luxury suites) AAA Four Diamond hotel recently underwent a $19 million renovation. Swank digs for sure, and I was glad to have had a chance to lay my head there for a restful sleep.

But what really amazed me about the Inn was the fine food at its recently reopened Crossroads restaurant. Without doubt the best non-BBQ meal I had during my trip was at Crossroads, where Chef James Clark’s interpretation of Southern fare using regionally grown, caught and raised ingredients wowed my palate. Highlights included sunburst trout with roasted apple, corn and Swiss chard with a cider moonshine reduction for my main and homemade sorghum butter pecan ice cream for dessert. A Catdaddy Spiced Moonshine with IBC Root Beer was a treat as well.

For details about the hotel and the restaurant go to

Southern Season
201 South Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

This specialty foods superstore has been a mainstay on the Chapel Hill foodie scene since 1975 providing discerning more than 70,000 unique products, a popular cooking school and an amazing North Carolina products section. Some of the very little shopping I did during my trip was done at this ace supermarket, where I was pleased to ponder whether I’d be happier back home with a jar of pepper muscadine jelly or a jar of muscadine butter (I decided to buy both). I also enjoyed a hearty breakfast of fried green tomato “cackalacky” (hoop Cheddar scrambled eggs with country ham and “cackalacky sauce”) at Southern Season’s in-shop restaurant, Weathervane.

Southern Season also has outlets in Raleigh, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia.

Browse online at


Learn more about Chapel Hill at and the great state of North Carolina at For loads of help planning your trip to anywhere in the States, go to And please be sure to keep an eye out for more BBQ Bound posts to come!

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London Daily Photo: Definite Maybe

LDP 2015.11.16 - Definite Maybe

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#BBQbound: Hillsborough, North Carolina


The small town of Hillsborough, North Carolina made a big impression on me, despite only being able to drop in for a short overnight stay. Completely off my radar before planning my BBQ Bound itinerary, the town is now my top choice for a repeat visit of all the stops I made during my three weeks on the road.

With a compact downtown set near the scenic Eno River and a population hovering around 6,000 (but said to be growing), Hillsborough was a laidback little place with all the hallmarks you’d hope for – quaint, welcoming, pretty, loads of historic buildings and access to the outdoors. And unlike a lot of small towns (even ones twice the size or more of Hillsborough) there was no insular, myopic vibe about it – or local yokels sitting around complaining there was nothing to do. And just in case one were to get bored, big city (ish) sights and sounds wouldn’t be too far away with Durham and Chapel Hill a short drive down the road and Raleigh just bit farther. They’ve got awesome BBQ too!

Hillsborough BBQ Company
236 S Nash Street, Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278

One of the more newly constructed pits I visited during my trip but no less authentic or yielding anything less than top quality smoked meat, the Hillsborough BBQ Company was an amazing place to eat and an especially friendly venue. Want to feel like a local star having your homecoming moment? Take a seat at the bar and revel in the chatty hospitality. Grab a bite while you’re there. HBC’s brisket could hold its own among any Texan contenders. The smoked turkey was out of this world – moist and tender with a subtle woody flavour. And the banana pudding? Damn! I hate to admit it but it was even better than my dear old dad’s!

Visit the restaurant online at


Beyond the Q

Holiday Inn Express
202 Cardinal Drive, Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278

Another day, another Holiday Inn Express. And that was a good thing. The Hillsborough location was perfectly placed for heading into town and hitting the highway. Service was gracious and friendly. My room: super clean and spacious with a very comfy bed.

Find out more at

Mystery Brewing Public House
230 South Nash Street, Hillsborough, North Carolina 27278

On the Saturday night I waltzed into the Mystery Brewing Public House, folks were putting on their own rendition of Rocky Horror to an energetic audience … a van out back was slinging Korea street food and word from Mystery’s gregarious owner, Erik Lars Myers, was that tomorrow noon held the promise of “beer church” if I’d like to come back by. Had I stumbled upon my new favourite bar? I certainly enjoyed the hell out of the couple of seasonal brews I sipped and laughed heartily while doing the Time Warp.

Head to for info.


I loved my early autumn morning stroll along the Riverwalk, an urban greenway stretching for about two miles along the Eno River that’s part of North Carolina’s far greater Mountains-to-Sea Trail. For details about Riverwalk and the MST check out and


Learn more about Hillsborough at and the great state of North Carolina at For loads of help planning your trip to anywhere in the States, go to And please be sure to keep an eye out for more BBQ Bound posts to come!

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London Daily Photo: Shattered

LDP 2015.11.15 - Shattered

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#BBQbound: Lexington, North Carolina


I’m not sure there’s a more pro-BBQ city in America than Lexington, North Carolina – or one that’s as proud of its BBQ traditions. And there might not be a BBQ aficionado who’s luckier than me, or at least that’s how I was feeling as I rolled into town just in time for Lexington’s annual Barbecue Festival.


This small town (population 19,000) is home to its own signature Lexington style of BBQ (also known as Piedmont or Western Carolina style). Made with wood-smoked (a mix of hickory and oak) and chopped pork shoulder (aka Boston butt) and usually served “wet” with a vinegar and ketchup based red sauce, the BBQ as a sandwich or more typically as a tray jammed full of BBQ and a side of “red” coleslaw that’s been mixed with the same red sauce instead of mayonnaise, and hushpuppies. It’s distinctive and delicious.

The argument that the way they do ‘que in Lexington is America’s most authentic method is a strong one. Known by many as the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” there’s been a restaurant in town since 1919 when local farmer Sid Weaver set up a tent and started selling his smoked pork to folks coming out of the courthouse at lunchtime. And the roots of barbecue continue to be unearthed here. Recent renovations and building works at the City Hall have uncovered the pits of the old Beck’s Barbecue restaurant from the 1950s.

Today there’s a thriving BBQ restaurant scene with a disproportionate number of quality eateries in town given its diminutive size. I had the pleasure of dining at two of the most acclaimed: The Barbecue Center and Lexington Barbecue.


The Barbecue Center
900 North Main Street, Lexington, North Carolina 27292

Once an ice cream parlor (and they still do a mean banana split), Barbecue Center has been in the Conrad family since 1955. My lunch tray was gorgeous. The hushpuppies are awesome and addictive (I referred to them as “crack” during my visit).

Find out more at

Lexington Barbecue
100 Smokehouse Lane, Lexington, North Carolina 27295

Just outside the town center this family run eatery has been in business since 1962. Lots of folks (and major media outlets) claim it’s the best in town and even the whole state and among the very best in the nation. I love every bite of my tray.

Visit the restaurant online at


Lexington Barbecue Festival
Throughout Uptown Lexington

This downhome and family friendly street party occurs every October. 2015 marked this festival’s 32nd year, and I was glad to have the opportunity to celebrate the occasion with the good people of Lexington. While chowing down on BBQ and other regional treats in the autumn air, attendees can enjoy a range of local and touring acts performing music for free. Apparently Taylor Swift put on a legendary set here right before hitting the big time.

Make plans to attend the 2016 festival:


Beyond the Q

Holiday Inn Express ― The Vineyard
351 Vineyards Crossing, Lexington, North Carolina 27295

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the outskirts of town. Quite new, ultra clean and with friendly staff, I was impressed with the hotel’s premium amenities including a heated indoor pool and 24-hour fitness center and its proximity to Childress Vineyards – one of North Carolina’s biggest and most successful wineries, owned by NASCAR notable Richard Childress. Details at and


Learn more about Lexington at and the great state North Carolina at For loads of help planning your trip to anywhere in the States, go to And please be sure to keep an eye out for more BBQ Bound posts to come!

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London Daily Photo: City Life

LDP 2015.11.14 - City Living

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Grosvenor House Apartments: View From The Penthouse


“There’s luxury, and then there’s sophistication,” says Maddie Salters, and “The Penthouse at Grosvenor House Apartments embodies the latter: true elegance, presented with grace, not overstating itself.”

The Grosvenor experience starts at the front door. Despite its location on bustling Park Lane, the manicured stone building seems discreet, tucked into a corner pocket. This nestled bit of privacy right in the hub of Mayfair must be valued by its guests, who range from top celebrities to the everyday holiday-maker. A doorman sees me in when I arrive, and leads me to a sky-high atrium, daubed in candle-light and fragrant orchids. I already feel relaxed, easy, and at home.

That’s the point, or so the new General Manager, Renato Moretto, explains to me. The Apartments, a Jumeirah Living space, are meant to embody a sense of “home away from home,” rather than the typical hotel experience. While guests are welcome to stay for any length of time (some, I am told, have been there since it opened its doors), many people check-in for a short-term stay in one of the 130 serviced apartments on-site. The rooms range from studios (£350/night), all the way up to the 450 square metre, five-bedroom penthouse (£10,000/night) – and that’s where I head.


What greets me is breathtaking. The Penthouse, which is furnished contemporarily in hard angles of black and white complimented with sunny, warm touches of orange and vermillion, has every modern amenity, but blends it with traditional touches that give it a welcoming feel. The state-of-the-art kitchen, ultra-modern media room with a swell of DVDs and leather couches, the multiple balconies with views over London’s spires and the iconic Hyde Park, the bathrooms equipped with speed-jet showers and detached baths, the walk-in closets, the impressive thread-count cotton bedding … all of this might seem daunting and untouchable, down to the living room with its carefully-arranged pillows and symmetric lighting.

Instead, touches like a working fireplace, merrily lit, the big, fuzzy bathrobes and slippers, the fully stocked library, the rustic wooden paneling, and sweet amber lighting made it feel approachable. The couches, far from looking catalogue-chic and off-limits, instead invited me to go and lounge on them– only to find they were as comfortable as they looked. I could see feeling a sense of belonging, in a space like this: it begs you to have a seat and cozy up by the fire over wine while taking in the view.

Grosvenor_House_Apartments_by_Jumeirah_Living_-_Kensington_Penthouse_Suite_Dining_Room (2)

Of note, there was already the smell of hot food on the stove when I first entered. I was served up canapés, cooked on-sight by the Grosvenor private chef, available to all residents. Menu highlights such as fried risotto balls with clear tomato soup don’t go amiss. The Penthouse’s scent, I was told, is personalised towards the visitor: if the guest likes roses, then roses will be waiting for them, and if they like sandalwood, well, the concierge will make a special trip to get the proper candles.

The personalisation is what really went over-the-top in impressing me. With a 24-hour concierge available, guests’ needs (and whims, it would seem) are catered to. An in-house trainer can focus on meditation or physical fitness for guests who need a time out, or a shape up. Private entries are made available to guests who have safety concerns, or wish to escape media attention. And each of the rooms reflects who will be staying in it: in one of the five Penthouse apartments, I was thrilled to find a teddy bear with a ribbon awaiting a surely lucky child.

Grosvenor House Apartments are perfect for those visitors to London who want to feel a sense of belonging, and settle into the city right away. Its proximity to Tube lines and the West End make it a great step-off point for the eager tourist. Most especially, I’d recommend the Apartments to business travellers: the serenity of the space, coupled with the all-hours services and the fully-stocked in-home office make it a sure bet. The Penthouse is especially ripe for business travellers to bring their families. It’s a wonderful spot, after a day of work and sightseeing, for the family to come together, share a meal, and then snuggle up for a movie – or, frankly, with that much space? A game of tag.

Currently, they have an 7-for-5 offer on any of their suites, where guests staying seven nights pay for five (inclusive of continental breakfast), and additionally are given a £100 gift voucher to Hamleys or Harrods. For more on the offer, which runs for bookings up from December 1st through the end of February 2016, or, if you’d like to learn more about the hotel, you can visit their website:

Grosvenor House Apartments are located on the Corner of Mount Street and Park Lane, W1K 7TN.

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#BBQbound | Road Notes: Arkansas and Tennessee


Blazing a path from Dallas to Memphis and then on through Tennessee to my next destination (stay tuned), I made a few tasty stops along the way. What was on the menu for my roadside dining? Well, BBQ of course!

Here are some notes about three great BBQ joints I visited while on the road.

Nick’s Bar-B-Q & Catfish
1012 Bobby L Glover Highway, Carlisle, Arkansas 72024

Just off I-40 about 100 miles west of Memphis, Nick’s is a homey and welcoming roadside restaurant. The catfish is killer as are the St Louis style ribs.

Find out more at

Helen’s Bar B Q
1016 North Washington Avenue, Brownsville, Tennessee 38012

If any enQUEsiasts reading this series of posts about great BBQ restaurants in the American South intend to pay a visit to any of the places I recommend, make Helen’s among of your top most likely. Seriously, Helen’s is the real deal. My lunch there one of the very best meals I had during my three-week BBQ adventure – and, man, that is really saying something!

The pork was the most tender I can ever remember eating. The tangy sweet and sour sauce was distinctive. The smoked bologna was like a dream come true for this hillbilly gourmand.

In the sleepy town of Brownsville, Tennessee – about halfway between Memphis and Jackson and not too far from the Nutbush City Limits made famous by Tina Turner, there’s been a pit in operation at this same spot for many years. It’s been owned by Helen Turner since 1996. You can see the plumes of hickory smoke billowing out the back this tiny joint from about a mile away and probably smell its full aromatic glory from slightly farther if you’re downwind and lucky.


Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
7238 Nolensville Road, Nolensville, Tennessee 37135

Pat Martin’s celebrated restaurant in suburban Nashville impressed the heck out of me! At Martin’s BBQ is whole hog, hickory smoked and accompanied by as enticing a menu as any I’ve encountered. I loved – and can highly recommend – the Redneck Taco (BBQ on top of a cornbread hoe-cake topped with slaw and sauce with a choice of pork, brisket, sausage, chicken, turkey or catfish – I chose pork).

I visited the Nolensville location just south of Nashville. But there are two other outlets in the greater Nashville area and an outpost in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Visit the restaurant online at


For loads of help planning your trip to anywhere in the States, go to And please be sure to keep an eye out for more BBQ Bound posts to come!

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Finger Lickin’ Pheasant? Limited Edition Phast Phood Pheast at The Jugged Hare Pub

Finger Lickin' Pheasant Bucket at The Jugged Hare

Popular Barbican Gastropub, The Jugged Hare, is launching a limited edition “Finger Lickin’ Pheasant Bucket” available from 16 to 22 November in celebration of National Pheasant Week. Feeling game? I was when I accepted an invitation to sample a bucket. Now I’m feeling fine (and full). On a diet? Ph’ucket. Have a bucket!

Yes, there’s a National Pheasant Week. And yes, The Jugged Hare’s bucket o’ pheasant is a delicious way to mark it – and at £15 it’s not too dear an indulgence either, especially if you plan to share it with some friends. Prepared with a secret (and rather cinnamon-y) spice mix, deep fried and served with thick hand-cut chips and really yummy coleslaw, the bucket can do as an epic bar snack, a substantial starter (for two or more diners) or a mega main for a couple of hungry foodies. As tasty as it is succulent, I enjoyed every bite. The thigh was particularly flavoursome, while a glass of lemony and clean Roussane (The Foundry, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2013) was a brilliantly suggested pairing.

As with past visits to the Hare, service was swift and pleasant when I stopped by, and the classy (if taxidermy-intense) setting was conducive to enjoying my meal.

More Pheastivities

To round off Pheasant Week, The Jugged Hare will host a Pheastival on Saturday the 21st with a cooking and plucking competition seeing some of London’s top chefs in on the action as well as foodie stalls and tastings, live music, laser clay pigeon shooting and more.

The Jugged Hare is located at 49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA. Find out more at

The Jugged Hare Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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London Daily Photo: Streetwise

LDP 2015.11.13 - Streetwise

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Preview: Thank Ya Papa NOLA Style Thanksgiving Dinner

Slap Ya Papa Aligator

Following sellout success with its Bayou Banquet supper clubs, Slap Ya Papa is bringing back its Nawlins style Thanksgiving feast at Styx bar in Tottenham Hale. See you there?

Guests can expect a ten-course feast designed by Michelin trained chef and replete with seasonal cocktails, candied yams, deep fried turkeys and “the best live Dixieland music this side of the Mississippi,” from the 25th to the 28th of November for £35.

An extra tenner at £45 to dine on the actual T-Day, Thursday the 26th with the Slap Ya Papa team giving 50% of profits from the dinner to Praxis, a charity which works to support migrants and homeless people in London.

On Sunday the 29th there’ll be a Thank Ya Papa Lunch Club (£35) to “toast the weekend away” with a Thanksgiving lunch accompanied by live blues.

For details and to book, go to

Styx is located at 25 Ashley Road, N17 9LJ. Find out more at

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