4 of the World’s Weirdest Museums (OneTravel)

Weird Museums

The Met? Meh. The Louvre? Over it. And the Smithsonian? So what, son!

Here’s a set of quirky and much more creatively curated museums for your consideration.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Things to Do

LDP 2015.02.28 - Things to Do

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PB & Me: My Nutty Month with Pip & Nut

PB & Me!

Putting the nut back in nutritious, Pip & Nut is a new natural foods brand offering health conscious shoppers a range of super tasty spreads: peanut butter, almond butter, and coconut almond butter. From coming up with a couple of quirky recipes using Pip & Nuts awesome peanut butter and giving away some of these delicious nut butters to my readers to sneaky a cheeky spoonful of almond and coconut butter every so often, I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with the P&N product over the past month.

Here’s a list of the posts I wrote as Pip & Nut’s inaugural blogger of the month. Yummy stuff:

PB & Me!

A list of early adopter delis and health food shops across London now stocking Pip & Nut products includes Alara, Eat 17 (Walthamstow and Homerton); Hackney Fresh, Harvest E8, Healthy Stuff, L’Epicerie@56, Palm 2, Portobello WholeFoods Ltd, Shopping Garden, Simply Fresh, The Fruit Garden, The People’s Supermarket and Tiosk.

Find out more:

pipandnut.com
@pipandnut
facebook.com/pipandnut
instagram.com/pipandnut

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London Daily Photo: Untitled

LDP 2015.02.27 - Untitled

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Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album on Now at Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album - DSC_5014

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album, a new exhibition opening today at Courtauld Gallery, presents the first time a whole Goya album in its original sequence has been reconstructed.

Reuniting for the first time all the known drawings from one of Goya’s most celebrated private albums, Witches offers an extraordinary chance to closely admire and inspect some of the Spanish artist’s most fascinating works. All the pieces are drawings madewith a watercolour brush and black carbon ink from when the artist was in his late 60s/early 70s (1819-1823). With titles like Dream of Flogging, Unholy Union, and Mirth, the subject matter beguiles. This is Goya at his creep-out best. But witchy weirdness and social allusions aside, these metaphors for perversion of human behaviour are gorgeously well executed sketches.

The press preview for the Goya show was my first time to visit the Courtauld Gallery. In addition to the gorgeous space at northwest entrance to Somerset House, I was deeply impressed (and actually rather inspired) by the gallery’s collection of works ranging from the Renaissance to the 20th century with pieces by Cezanne, Manet, Gauguin, Van Gogh and more. I’ll be back!

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album runs from 26 February to 25 May 2015 at the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 0RN. Admission is £8.50 (£7.50 concessions). Find out more at courtauld.ac.uk/gallery.

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Soho Stalwart Carom Gets a Refurb

Carom

One of Soho’s best destinations for a quality Indian meal, Carom, recently underwent refurbishment. Taking the popular pan-Indian restaurant up on an invitation to view its new “rough-luxe” interiors provided a good opportunity to have another taste of this Soho stalwarts tasty menu.

“A relaxed industrial-inspired space, draped in decadent fabrics with antique finds scattered throughout” looked cool … and I’m pleased to report Carom’s dining area felt just as comfy as I remembered it, just not as ‘80s sleek’ as maybe it once seemed. With more atmospheric lighting that before and a new soft metallic colour palatte of brushed gold, silver and copper – plus subtle hints of dusky blue – it was a more inviting space than before as well.

Scoping the new digs provided a good opportunity to sample the restaurant’s Traveller Menu (two courses for £15.50, three for £19.50). Highlights included a far better than usually expected assortment of poppadums and crackers with homemade chutneys, a venison kebab starter, and a main course of quail egg wrapped lamb Nargisi kofta with basmati rice. I really liked my cardamom bhapa doi (Bengali steamed yoghurt) dessert too. A glass of 2012 Alto Bajo Merlot, Chile (£6.80 for 175ml glass, £8.50 for a 250ml glass, or £23 for a bottle) was an ideal match for my meal.

Service was, as experienced during past visits, was swift and exceedingly polite.

Carom is located at 100 Wardour Street, W1F 0TN. Find out more at caromsoho.com.

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London Daily Photo: Morning Light

LDP 2015.02.26 - Morning Light

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Win a Complete Range of Dahlias For Gourmets from Lubera #DeliDahlias

Lubera Delidahlia

Are you a gourmet with a green thumb? Then here’s a giveaway competition for you! I’ve teamed up with the “fruitful gardening folks” at Lubera to get the word out about their exclusive DeliDahlias range. These new dahlias for foodies offer all the beauty of these bright majestic blooms combined with the superb flavour. Keep reading to find out about the chance to win the complete range of six DeliDahlias for your own garden (and kitchen)!

But what do dahlia’s taste like? Very different! Lubera has tested many root vegetables and root crops in the last few years, but neither the sweet potato nor the Oca nor other crop has such an intense and distinctive taste. The Delidahlias found in Lubera’s selection process, have a hint of asparagus, black salsify and nuts. Some varieties taste like parsley, celery or even fennel.

To be in with a chance to win the complete range of six DeliDahlias starter kits (each a strong young plant in a 1.3 litre container, valued at £4.90 each), simply tweet the following:

RT to win a complete range of edible dahlias from @LuberaUK courtesy of @tikichris: http://bit.ly/18o4gSV #DeliDahlias

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

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Thursday 12 March at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive a complete range of six DeliDahlias starter kits (each a strong young plant in a 1.3 litre container, valued at £4.90 each). To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK where the prize can be sent. Please note that delivery of your prize won’t be until May 2015. Good luck.

Find out more about Lubera at lubera.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Meet the Neighbours

LDP 2015.02.25 - Meet the Neighbours

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Sponsored Video: Institute of Sexology … Chris, Should We Talk?

So here’s something funny. Invited to publish the above promotional video on my blog to help raise awareness of the Wellcome Collection’s The Institute of Sexology exhibition, I was sitting in bed viewing it when something came up and I had to step away from my laptop, pausing the clip at about 50 seconds into it. Then Kemey came to bed, inadvertently giving my screen a glance.

When I returned, she had a concerned look on her face and asked if we needed to talk. I looked at the text on my screen, gave a quick but slightly hysterical laugh – which only worried her more – and then explained the nature of the video.

We then both agreed the exhibition would be a fantastic one catch.

Running until 20 September 2015, The Institute of Sexology is free to attend at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE. Watch the above video for details and links.

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London Daily Photo: Brick

LDP 2015.02.24 - Brick

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The Republic of Užupis & Its Strange Constitution (OneTravel)

 

Uzupio

Oddball? Poignant? An uniquely Lithuanian blend of both? The Constitution of the Republic of Užupis, listed in its entirety below, has got to be one of the quirkiest founding documents to ever be penned. The Republic of whatzit? Yeah, I had never heard of it either until recently. But Užupis is a district of Vilnius, Lithuania that, back in the 90s was declared by a group of resident artists, musicians and activists (however unofficially) as its own independent republic.

Plenty of folks might agree in principle that everyone has the right to hot water and heating in winter, but what about right to not be distinguished and famous? And is everyone entitled to love and take care of a cat? When you’re in Vilnius be sure to look for Constitution Wall in Užupis where the constitution is displayed in eight languages for all to read. Until then have a read of the constitution her …

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Lines

LDP 2015.02.23 - Lines

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Breakfast at Fish & Chips by Des McDonald, Old Broad Street

Breakfast at Fish & Chips by Des McDonald - DSC_4707

One of the better breakfasts I’ve had recently was at Fish & Chips by Des McDonald (the newer location near Liverpool Street, not the one nearer Angel). I loved the look and feel of the place – a sort of idealised and spiffed up caff with a gorgeous centrepiece bar, rather austere but not at the sake of comfort. The food was delish. And the top ups for my cuppa – a filter brew a la Ozone Coffee – never ceased flowing until I was ready to leave. Win? Big time. I hope to be back soon (if only for a cup of joe to go) and am happy to recommend the place to anybody seeking somewhere in the City for a quick brekkie bite or early morning meeting.

Sticking with the seafood theme of the restaurant (and my own fishy cravings), I very much enjoyed the crab and chilli omelette (£9), but there was a range of options, and indeed it was close between this spicy omelette and a few other dishes. Next time, I’ll probably choose the Manx kippers on toast with horseradish butter and watercress (£8). Of course the menu features plenty of non-seafood items and super healthy options such as avocado on toast with poached egg (£6.50) and homemade granola with Greek yoghurt and blood orange (£4).

Free WiFi and morning papers were a nice touch. Service was attentive.

Ideally situated a hop from Liverpool Street Station, Fish & Chips by Des McDonald is located at Dashwood House, 69 Old Broad Street, EC2M 1QS. There’s another location on Upper Street, N1 1RQ as well. Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am. Find out more at thefishandchipshop.uk.com.

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London Daily Photo: Strange Light

LDP 2015.02.22 - Strange Light

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Wine for Your Event

New Regional Wine & Cheese Menu at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental - DSC_6423

Planning a special event such as a wedding, family reunion, or birthday party, or even something business related for clients or colleagues? Running out of money, time and energy? Not sure how to make all the loose ends come together before your big day is here? Well, at least with respect to making sure you have something tasty to pour in your guests’ glasses shouldn’t be a problem. Here are some tips on getting that all important wine purchase completed with ease and efficiency.

First of all, what do you want to drink? Do you want some really fine drink to be served throughout your event or maybe just something fancy and bubbly for when your guests arrive? Will there be drinking the entire happening or just before, during or after a meal? Besides the vino, will there be other beverages available? Will there be a lot of children and non-drinkers?

Once you’ve determined what to drink, save yourself some hassle by ordering it online and having it delivered. Wine delivery in the UK is a snap. There is a variety of options out there too – from high end providers like Berry Bros & Rudd (although this age old purveyor of wine stocks a good assortment of inexpensive bottles) to considerably more budget friendly solutions such as Tesco (although, even this well known supermarket has some excellent and fairly upmarket wines available to purchase via its website).

Of course, finding a few quality quaffs to go with your meal and festivities isn’t all that difficult (and can even be kinda of fun getting to play sommelier), and ordering it online is easy as well. However, figuring out just how much of the stuff to order is quite another. Coming up with a guesstimate as to how much wine to have on hand can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be as much of a head scratcher as you might think.

Keep in mind that one bottle of wine equals about five servings and that a case has a dozen bottles in it. And a safe rule of thumb is to assume that your average guest at a celebration will probably consume about one drink per hour as long as there are other activities going on as well.

Whatever the situation – just be sure you don’t run out of wine as that could really dampen the spirits of your guests and leave you scrambling last minute to try and remedy the problem.

Written for Tesco.

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London Daily Photo: Steps

LDP 2015.02.21 - Steps

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Sunday Lunch at the Crown and Two Chairmen, Soho

The Crown and Two Chairmen

On my way from Oxford Circus last weekend to Sunday lunch at the Crown and Two Chairmen pub on Dean Street, I passed a fairly lengthy queue of folks bundled up and waiting to get a table at the Soho outpost of The Breakfast Club. With minutes of taking my seat upstairs at the Crown and perusing its rather choice selection of beer and thinking about what I wanted to eat, I already was feeling so much more savvy (and smugly so to be honest) than the curbside clubbers I’d passed moments ago – most of whom were still probably standing outside on the pavement).

This post isn’t to slam The Breakfast Club. It’s a fine establishment with a quirky vibe and an all rounder menu (I can certainly understand its success and appeal – and have never had a bad time at any of its outlets). But, c’mon. You’re in the middle of Soho and lined up for that when there’s plenty more options to dig into?

My lunch at the Crown was ace, and I loved the upstairs dining space, which was all but empty at 1.30pm (things picked up considerably by 2.30 though with hardly a free seat in the house). Highlights? To begin with service was efficient and friendly, seating was comfy, and I got a kick out of spotting a couple of celebrities out the window walking down street (if making a reservation, ask for a table by the window looking down on Dean Street).

Food was tasty. Parsnip and honey soup with rye bread and butter (£5.25) proved an ideal winter warmer to commence with, while Southern fried chicken (a wing, a drum and super juicy thigh with fries, coleslaw and house pickle dip, £11) was an indulgent treat. A pint of Red Admiral went down like a dream with the chicken. Dessert was yummy too. My sticky toffee pudding (served with vanilla pod ice cream, £5.50) was probably the tastiest I’ve ever had. A bottle of Tiny Rebel’s Dirty Stop Out Smoked Oat Stout paired nicely with it.

The Crown is an easy venue to recommend for a leisurely Sunday afternoon taking easy in the pub and off the pavement.

The Crown and Two Chairmen is located at 31-32 Dean Street, W1D 3SB. Find out more at thecrownandtwochairmenw1.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Chapel End Sky

LDP 2015.02.20 - Chapel End Sky

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4 Tips for Staying Sane at the Airport (OneTravel)

4 Tips for Staying Sane at the Airport

On your way to the airport? Keep cool with this quartet of tips for a smooth flight – before you even leave the ground.

Do you know which terminal? What time does your gate close? What’s your airline’s baggage allowance (number of bags and weight limits)?

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Shop Display

LDP 2015.02.19 - Shop Display

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Glam Rock Afternoon Tea at the K West Hotel

K West Glam Rock Tea

Sure Ziggy played guitar but did he eat little finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off them? Maddie Salters investigates with a visit to Shepherd Bush’s K West Hotel for a taste of its new Glam Rock Afternoon Tea.

The new Glam Rock Afternoon Tea at the K West Hotel is an effortless combination of two seemingly diverse British delicacies: Ziggy Stardust and Finger Sandwiches.

The name is a bit of a misnomer. Playing off of its history as a BBC recording studio where the likes of Pink Floyd and Bob Marley made their vinyl renditions in what now serves as the hotel’s gym, the Glam Rock Afternoon Tea (£22.50) doesn’t only take place between the usual hours of 4-6pm. Repurposed as a Rock’N’Cocktails Midnight Tea from 10pm-12am, with tea-enhanced aperitifs, the experience as mutable as the stars themselves.

In fact, one of the standout elements of the tea is just how customizable it is. Whether you decided to take it by daylight or dark, the K West offers three distinct locations for you to tip your tipples and get your pinkie up: the restaurant, the lounge, and the library. The restaurant, located on the second floor, looks like a modern cafe with its curvaceous couches and high-backed chairs lit by trendy squirrel cage filaments, offering diners a more private, professional atmosphere. If you’ve come in a group or you want the full thematic impact, then the downstairs lounge at the hotel’s bustling heart is located close to the bar, with privatized or floor seating by a live line fireplace with the promise of deejayed music on Thursday to Sunday evenings. But for my guest and I, it was the library that scored our interest.

After enjoying a Borough double espresso (£4) at the bar, with just the right bite of lemon, we were led into the cosy space with enough throw pillows and reading material to pass the time comfortably in between courses. Our tea set was already prepared, laid out in shock-bright colours, glitzy cups and pots like Christmas baubles on top of record sleeves, Blondie and Rod Stewart recycled into reverent place mats while a small vinyl Apollo by The Nostalgics served as a trivet. The glittery kitsch of the 1970s had touched down, and the effect was vivifying.

The meal began by letting us interact with the headliners: the teas. Expertly chosen in-house, the K West blends have been provided by Camellia’s at King’s Court, with each natural assortment presented in a test tube for diners to look at, smell, and touch before making their choice. On a menu heavy with black and herbal options, this can be a vital decision maker, as well as a charming introduction to the line up for tea novices and experts alike. One whiff of their house special, the T-Rex, and I knew what I was going to order. For a lighter counterpoint, I also picked the sweet Chocolate Tea.

I was immediately impressed by how well the staff knew each pot’s brew time. In no danger of sipping burnt or watery tea, my first taste of T-Rex went down as smoky and full-bodied as a fine whiskey, the peppercorns bringing out the notes of rose, peony, and cherry in exciting ways. This paired off marvellously with the assortment of sandwiches that served as a main course, the mellow, BBQ flavouring only enhancing the mature cheddar on the chutney and walnut bread, while evening out the punch of the piccalilli served alongside the British ham and mustard slice. Of their dainties, the main stunner was the coronation chicken on fruit and nut bread, the balance of moist fruit and meat on a dry whole grains creating something of a nostalgic flavour, harkening back to holiday dishes. Using the clean taste of a traditional cucumber sandwich to clear my palette, it was finally time for dessert.

The scones, not served hot, were unmemorable. The K West bakes their breads on the premises, and after being delighted by the mint and sun-dried tomato infusions that took their savouries to the next level, the scones merely felt like a hurdle on the way to the pile of cakes and macarons that awaited. Paired with the Chocolate Tea, a sweet, fragrant, and subtle blend that lacks the artificiality of most chocolate teas and needs no enhancement by milk or sugar, I dug into puddings made of sumptuous ingredients like Madagascan vanilla and pistachio. My particular favourites were the fudgy ganache of chocolate, orange, and almond, as well as the playful cake pops, with a little bit of a surprise hidden inside. While pop music played on the flat screen before me, pop rocks exploded in my mouth: a fun, funky, and fresh new take on Afternoon Tea.

I especially appreciated that the dessert course came with fresh fruit, raspberries and strawberries, which made a splendid bite washed down by dry prosecco, included on the Glam Rock Prosecco Tea (£29.50). For guests who really want to go fruity, trying the assortment of mixers on the Rock’N’Cocktails Tea (£32.50) is also a treat. The alcohol is infused with tea for fifteen days before they are combined with Passoa and mandarin liqueurs to make their cocktails. Of these, the standouts were the Elder Vs Flower, a crisp gin and elderflower tea blend, and the Passion Parade, a sour, juicy blend of passion fruit vodka and liqueur.

In all, the K West’s flamboyant new tea pushes boundaries while keeping things quintessentially British. This is a tea in evolution, still finding its footing and fiddling with its complex and opulent menu. But with a solid lineup of incredibly drinkable teas and tasty bites, served in the just-renovated zenith of a welcoming spa hotel, here is an Afternoon Tea that’s sure to be remembered. If you’re a hotel guest, a trip to the health club for some soothing ginger tea and after-dinner treatments can be arranged. Otherwise, I appreciated the short, brisk walk to the tube station, full and satiated.

K West Hotel & Spa is located at Richmond Way, W14 0AX. Find out more at k-west.co.uk.

Written by Maddie Salters, a native New Yorker who has lived abroad for half of her life – from cities spanning Montreal to Osaka. While there’s still a lot on her “to trek” list, she has currently landed with both feet firmly in London. As a seasoned travel writer and cultural essayist, you can find her work on TripAdvisor, and in print in Wanderlust Magazine and other international publications.

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London Daily Photo: City Dollop

LDP 2015.02.18 - City Dollop

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“Women Fashion Power” Menu at Blueprint Café, Design Museum

Women Fashion Power

Blueprint Café at the Design Museum is worth consideration for its lofty views of the Thames alone (ask for a seat by the windows when you book and then duke it out with your date over who gets the view of Tower Bridge and the City and who gets the view of Canary Wharf). However, Head Chef Martyn Moody’s not-so-fussy but still very fine food is the real draw. To celebrate London Fashion Week, Moody has come up with a Women Fashion Power set menu for February. Yet another stylish reason to pay this restaurant a visit? It sure looked and tasted that way to me when I gave the menu a try last night.

Inspired by the Design Museum’s Women Fashion Power exhibition, which displays how influential women have used fashion to define their position and power in society, the highly visual three-course set menu takes diners on a sartorially savoury journey starting with a “ready-to-wear” Heron’s Farm chicken broth; followed by Wester Ross poached salmon with roasted Jerusalem artichoke and cockle foam for the main; and ending with “Haute Couture”, a gold leaf chocolate fondant dessert with rum and banana ice cream.

The menu is a delectable trio of dishes, as appealing to the palate as to the eyes. I especially enjoyed the broth starter – perfect for a dreary midwinter Monday night for sure! The main course’s cockle foam was a brilliant touch adding an extra bit of yum to an already delicious piece of fish. Dessert was deeply indulgent and a wise assemblage of treats.

Beyond the special menu, much better than expected crusty bread with butter served before starters was a delicious! Sides of apple, walnut and baby leaf salad and exceptionally flavoursome Cornish new potatoes (£3.95 each) more than satisfied. A bottle of Gavi di Gavi, La Battistina (£29) proved a zestfully fruity and suitable quaff for the menu. Service was friendly and swift. The setting is a great one for low key conversation.

The menu is available throughout February and priced at £29.50 per person. Veggie/pesco options from the regular menu may be substituted for the starter.

And if you find coordinating your food with your fashion to be a haute idea, a smart time to visit Blueprint Café might be this Thursday (19 February) when it and Club D&D will collaborate with the Design Museum to hold a one night only exclusive event in honour of the Women Fashion Power exhibition and London Fashion Week. The evening will begin with a Champagne tour of the exhibition led by museum curator Donna Loveday, during which guests can admire outfits, such as a dress famously worn by Lady Gaga. Following the tour, guests will dine in Blueprint Café and enjoy a bespoke four-course tasting menu complete with matching wines, by Head Chef Martyn Moody. Chef Moody’s menu will reflect the eras of fashion from the more basic tastes of the 30s, through the 60s and 80s to the modern day. During the evening, acclaimed fashion designer Tabitha Webb will speak about her collections and her journey in the world of fashion, she will also be available for a Q&A session following the dinner. Tickets for the tour and dinner are priced at £80 per person.

Blueprint Café is located at the Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, SE1 2YD.
Find out more at blueprintcafe.co.uk.

Posted in Design, Drink, Fashion, Food, London, Museums, restaurants, Wine | Leave a comment

Visit Hawaii … for the History! (OneTravel)

Hawaiian History

Granted the Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes with plenty of world-class beaches and all sorts of opportunities to lounge around mindlessly by a pool in the sun with a frilly drink at hand. Still, there are other reasons to visit this fascinating corner of the Pacific. How about an island hopping tour through Hawaii’s unique history? This quick tour points out some of the more interesting moments in Hawaiian history with some ideas on you can experience it for yourself.

Take this quick online jaunt across the isles for an introduction to just a few of this major landmarks, tours, and shows to help you get a sense of the centuries of history waiting to be discovered by visitors to Hawaii.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Bricks

LDP 2015.02.17 - Bricks

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What a Mess! And Where’s My Coffee! (espressoCrazy)

IMG_6048

My partner and I moved into a new residence recently. A major accomplishment for sure, but the move was only phase one of a much greater plan.

Since the move, we’ve been essentially camping out in a building site for the past couple of months while doing some fairly significant renovations and have been without an actual kitchen since we moved here; no fridge or oven, just a working sink, a kettle, a mini hob, a George Foreman Grill, and, of course, our precious Francis Francis Y1.1 Touch coffee machine. It’s been a hassle – but worth it – and with great relief I can say now that finally we’re drawing near completion.

Read my complete post at espressoCrazy.

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Win a Trio of Delicious and Nutritious Nut Butters from Pip & Nut

PB & ME! Pip & Nut Peanut Butter and More!

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Peanut butter. I love it. Blend some roasted peanuts down to a smooth and spreadable texture, add some salt and voila: deliciousness. But I’m not so keen about the rest of gunk that’s likely to be among the ingredients in many of the peanut butters I come across on the shelves of most shops. Enter Pip & Nut, a new to the shelf natural food brand offering a range of three nutty and nutritious spreads.

The Pip & Nut range includes a perfectly yummy back-to-basics peanut butter, an awesome almond butter, and an indulgent almond and coconut butter. Each is high in nutrition and low on ingredients. As Pip & Nut’s inaugural Blogger of the Month, I’ve been having fun nibbling and playing around with the P&N product. I’ve been given a few extra jars of butters to share with one lucky reader as well. Would you like to have some really tasty and healthy natural nut butters sent your way for free? Keep reading.

Pip & Nut spreads are available in 250g jars and 30g squeeze packs at Selfridges and other fine retailers:

• Peanut Butter, a naturally nutritious smooth nut butter, made from just-roasted peanuts and spiked with a sprinkling of sea salt;
• Almond Butter, the finest Californian almonds, blended to a silky smooth texture, enhanced with a dash of sea salt;
• Almond & Coconut Butter, made from roasted almonds and toasted coconut, sweetened slightly with all-natural agave syrup and spiked with a sprinkling of sea salt, an indulgent treat that’s delicious spooned straight from the jar.

Whet your appetite?

To be in with a chance to win the complete range of three 250g jars of Pip & Nut nut butters, simply tweet the following:

RT to win a trio of delicious and nutritious nut butters from @pipandnut, courtesy of @tikichris: http://bit.ly/1AHNiJQ #PBandMe

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

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Thursday 26 February at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive a complete range of three 250g jars of Pip & Nut nut butters. To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK where the prize can be posted. Good luck.

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Check out more tikichris competitions.

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Good Stuff

Bread Street Sessions with Dub Plates Kitchen - DSC_4750

Good stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy.

Bread Street Sessions with Dub Plates Kitchen

Dub Plates Kitchen brings its remix of London and West Indian dishes to Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen as part of the on going series of “sessions” – a way for the restaurant to “celebrate the culinary diversity and neighbouring buzzing East London street food scene” by inviting traders to take over the bar food menu. I went to the Dub Plates launch night. I thoroughly enjoyed the sorrel and chilli wings as well as curry goat sliders. I had no complaints about being served a “Red Stripe” cocktail (Wray and Nephew Rum, Dubonnet , falernum and Aphrodite bitters) either. Sessions take place every Thursday from 5pm to 11pm.

El Patron

New to Putney is El Patron a “tongue-in-cheek late night Mexican bar” serving over 60 different tequilas, an extensive list of party cocktails and street food throughout the week. Thanks to Leila Dukes for attending El Patron’s launch on behalf of tikichris.

Locappy + La Belle Assiette + Frerejean Frères

I recently attended a lovely little dinner party at the Locappy offices in Shoreditch hosted by the “neighbourhood discovery” app and “restaurant finder” alongside friendly folks from private chef booking service La Belle Assiette and boutique Champagne house Frerejean Frères. I loved Chef Daniel Salvado approach to fine dining rounded off with Catalan comfort and found the range of Frerejean Frères’ premier cru bubbly to be a terrific match.

Minor Figures

Minor Figures is a cold brew coffee launched at the end of last year and has already found its way to the shelves of Selfridges, Whole Foods, Harvey Nichols, Daylesford Organic, and quality shops and cafes across the UK. I’ve got some in my own personal cupboard too. It’s a yummy drink (though, I wish MF made a sugar-free/just coffee version).

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UK Cigar Scene Magazine Issue Two Out Now

Issue number two of the new monthly UK Cigar Scene Magazine is now online and ready for download. Each issue of UK Cigar Scene is free to download and includes a video interview with a key cigar personality along with news of events, gossip, and more stogie related info celebrating the specialists, their staff and the many personalities who enjoy a fine cigar here “in one of the world’s most energetic cigar scenes.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 15.43.28

The magazine is the creation of proprietor and editor (and my long time acquaintance), Nic Wing, with this second issue featuring part two of Nic’s interview with Simon Chase, one of the world’s leading experts on Cuban cigars. I was pleased to do the photography for the interview and the magazine’s cover (as well as photo work for some the next few upcoming issues).

Have a look at ukcigarscene.com.

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London Daily Photo: Walthamstow Central

LDP 2015.02.16 - Walthamstow Central

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Le Menar: Modern Approach to North African and Middle Eastern Cuisine

Le Menar Burrata

It’s nice being pleasantly surprised, right? And that’s just what I was during a recent dinner at newly relaunched Le Menar restaurant in Fitzrovia. It wasn’t that I had been expecting any sort of substandard meal; I just didn’t realise Head Chef Vernon Samuels’ “modern approach” to North African and Middle Eastern cuisine was going to be so inspired, thoughtfully prepared and intriguingly tasteful.

Ideal mezzes include the za’atar burrata (with Heirloom Tomato salad, £8); the so much better than at first might sound (and ultra tahini enhanced) hummus and wasabi (£4.50); and the Lebanese spiced squid (pan fried squid with almond, Agen prunes, red pepper and harrisa, £8). There’s plenty more to the starters and mezze menu too – and I’d love a chance to carry on dabbling my way through it sometime soon.

From the menu’s more substantial side, the tajine of lamb neck braised for four hours with cinnamon, paprika, coriander, aubergine, batata harra and truffle oil (£16) proved a mighty main course to savour and a dish that days after tasting it is still something to be raved about with ease. For dessert, fried vanilla ice cream with salted caramel dates was an absolute treat (£8.50, followed by fresh mint tea). In fact, why salted caramel dates aren’t yet the “next big thing” is a little beyond me after having now enjoyed them.

I found Le Menar’s setting to be pretty much what one might expect of a North African restaurant in central London, with lantern-lit nooks, lots of cushions, terra cotta walls, wobbly metal tabletops (which all seemed somehow to work towards making Chef Samuels’ creations that much more delicious when presented).

Service was effective and friendly, if a little preoccupied with other things, during my visit. There’s a good wine list and well stocked bar.

I would be keen to return, was greatly impressed with the food, and am happy to recommend this restaurant to anyone seeking flavoursome dining experience.

Le Menar is located at 55 Cleveland Street, W1T 4J. Find out more at lemenar.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: John Trundle Highwalk

LDP 2015.02.15 - John Trundle Highwalk

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Preview: Mark Little #SecretMeetings

Mark Little #SecretMeetings

Olivier award winning Mark Little brings his anarchistic form of stand-up to the Museum of Comedy for a series of six fiercely funny and politically uncompromising #SecretMeetings, starting 19 February.

Mark is probably best known for his role as Joe Mangel in Neighbours (a significance pretty much lost on me as an American not moving to London until the onset of the 21st century). Since then, he’s been wowing audiences with his “snarling yet charming” insights and observations.

The Museum of Comedy is located at The Undercroft, St Georges Church, Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2SR. For more information and to book tickets, go to museumofcomedy.com.

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London Daily Photo: Cross Bones Graveyard

LDP 2015.02.14 - Cross Bones Graveyard

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