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Ramen, ramen, ramen, ramen! Talk about a soup du jour! Londoners are slurping up this Japanese dish at a decidedly trendy rate. Newest noodles on the scene are those on offer at United Ramen, where I had a right tasty meal last week.
While there, I went with a traditional chashu pork miso ramen (Chashu pork, soy egg, menma, bok choi, beansprouts, nori, spring onions, miso and chicken bone broth with thick noodles, £9). Serving size was ample and on the drearily raining evening I visited that big ole bowl of soup really hit the spot.
Behind the idea is entrepreneur with bent for East Asian cuisine, Aaron Resch, who reckons that “with such a rich history, ramen is a natural platform for cultural mash-ups, which we are excited to explore alongside the classics.” So called cultural mash-ups include a Yankee Doodle ramen featuring BBQ pulled chicken and – as an ode to weekend pub roast – a British Bulldog Roast Beef ramen chocked full of rare roast beef, mini yorkshire puddings, menma carrots, bok choi, spring onions, wasabi gravy, beef & chicken bone broth with thin noodles that’s “only available on Saturday and Sunday … while stocks last.”
Rounding out the menu of classic and newly invented ramens are yummy sides such as tofu gyoza, great drinks (I was pleased to see Shipyard on the list) and fun desserts like strawberry cheesecake mochi and wasabi ice cream.
Friendly service and casual but fairly buzzing atmosphere added to my experience. It’s an easy place to recommend!
United Ramen is located at 105-106 Upper Street, N1 1QN. Find out more at unitedramen.com.
Two new works by Steve McQueen go on view soon at Thomas Dane Gallery in St James’s. One is an immersive projection with sound entitled Ashes which was shot on Super8 film in Granada with much of the footage dating from 2002 and taken by cinematographer Robbie Müller with recently recorded soundtrack about the sad fate of the subject in the film. The other work is Broken Column, a sculptural installation which “acts as a pendant to Ashes.”
The two part exhibition is the third solo show by McQueen at Thomas Dane and marks the tenth anniversary of his first solo show there as well as the tenth anniversary of the gallery itself.
Following the success of the Academy Award winning 12 Years a Slave which was directed by McQueen, the artist’s return to gallery work promises to draw more visits than usual for Thomas Dane Gallery (especially as it’s kicking off during Frieze week) as well as comparisons to the 2013 film. There are some broad similarities between 12 Years and the new exhibition, namely that both are compelling and well worth experiencing and that with both McQueen holds true to his commitment to “not allow the dust of the past to settle” as he stated in his acceptance speech for the WEB Du Bois Medal at Harvard University earlier this year.
Ashes and Broken Column are on view at both Thomas Dane Gallery locations – 3 Duke Street St James’s (SW1Y 6PY) and 11 Duke Street St James’s (SW1Y 6BN) respectively – from 14 October to 15 November. Find out more at thomasdanegallery.com.
Hermitos Children 2 is the largest film commission to date by Glasgow based artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (known as Spartacus Chetwynd a couple years back when she was a Turner Prize nominee) and is on view now at Studio Voltaire. The film is part of an ongoing series of “experimental television crime drama” following telepathic detective Joan Shipman as “she uncovers and solves sex crimes” and is screened within a large scale gallery installation incorporating a number of props and interiors.
Wobbling between wacky and provocative and presenting viewers with a delightful internal debate which pits Why against Well, why not?, this new work (alongside Chetwynd’s original Hermitos Children pilot episode from 2009) features gender bent actors telling weird tales involving dildo seesaws at Sugar Tits Doom Club and modern day bull leaping parties in secluded caves.
With a soundtrack ranging from erratic bloops and bleeps to bass heavy thudding thrash, cameos by a platinum blonde shitzu-like wookie, and all sorts of other inexplicable sights and sounds this perplexing romp is a slapdash spectacle that’s best seen for yourself.
Exhibited during the same dates as Hermitos Children 2 is Women with Cameras, a newly commissioned slideshow by US based artist Anne Collier. Both exhibitions run from 12 October to 14 December at Studio Voltaire, 1A Nelson’s Row, SW4 7JR. Find out more at studiovoltaire.org.
About a month back I had the pleasure of visiting the Koster Islands, Sweden’s most westerly populated (if only sparsely) islands. Just south of the Norwegian coast, it’s a rugged and beautiful part of the world and a great place to “get away from it all” without having to give up on any creature comforts. The scenery is amazing, the food is phenomenal, the traditional fishing villages about as quaint as it gets, and the folks living there are incredibly friendly and down to earth.
Here are five reasons I reckon nature loving foodies should strongly consider visiting this off the beaten track (although the ferry schedule from the mainland town of Strömstad is regular and reliable) destination.
COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!
The third edition of the bettane+desseauve Wine Experience London will take place 24 and 25 October at Saatchi Gallery where guests will have the chance to sample more than 400 of the best European wines on the market today. Tickets for the tasting run 30 quid a pop. But check it out! I’ve got ten pairs of tickets to share with you lucky readers.
Love wine? Yeah, me too. So I’m super stoked about the upcoming bettane+desseauve Wine Experience returning to town for its second annual tasting. With excellent quaffs to sample along the lines of Ruinart, Taittinger, Château Branaire-Ducru, Domaine des Perdrix, Domaine Laroche, Masciarelli, Roberto Voerzio and plenty more, it promises to be a real treat.
The exclusive event is the creation of two highly respected wine critics, Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve. Beyond the access wines from over 60 producers, the Wine Experience will host a range of masterclasses and other related activities.
For your chance to win one of ten pairs of tickets to the bettane+desseauve Wine Experience, simply tweet the following:
Please read the terms and conditions before tweeting.
I’ll pick eight winners at random on Friday 17 October 2014 at 11am (British time). The winners will receive a pair of tickets each to the bettane+desseauve Wine Experience London. Good luck.
The bettane+desseauve Wine Experience London takes place Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of October at Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY. Find out more at london.bdwinexperience.com.
COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!
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Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro comes to the London stage this month with a highly anticipated return of the English National Opera’s smash-hit production at the London Coliseum for the first time since its hugely well received premiere in 2011.
Acclaimed actress Fiona Shaw’s staging of the classic comedic opera promises to be “fun, stylish and witty” and to feature a rotating maze-like set and elegant period costumes that’s sure to wow audiences and heighten the farce for which this opera is so well know.
A story of “one crazy day” as Count’s valet Figaro attempts to wed Countess’s maid Susanna amid a mess of mixed up situations, the ENO production stars David Stout and Mary Bevan star as the wily servants Figaro and Susanna, alongside Benedict Nelson as Count Almaviva and Sarah-Jane Brandon as the wronged Countess.
The English National Opera is among the world’s most innovative and accessible opera companies with an international reputation for distinctive, contemporary and highly theatrical productions. Find out more about its production of Figaro and all that’s going on this season at the ENO Facebook page and join in the #ENOFigaro discussion on Twitter.
Sung and surtitled in English with a running time of just under three and a half hours, the ENO production of The Marriage of Figaro runs from 16 October to 23 November at the London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES.
Pre-performance talks with Figaro librettist Jeremy Sams and production manager Sheelagh Barnard are scheduled for 23 October at 5pm, and there is to be signed performance on 6 November.
Sponsored by English National Opera. Opinions are my own.
What’s the best gear, app, camera, tablet, SIM card etc for your particular style of travel? I dunno. But maybe one of these bloggers can steer you in the right direction.
Here’s a list of five of the world’s best blogs to read for the latest travel tech tips and trends.
Here’s a first: a “Speed Date a Designer” event “to help you meet and get inspired by a collection of independent, friendly and imaginative engagement ring designers in one fun evening.” Got questions about “popping the question” and want to make sure you get everything right when you do? This unique opportunity hosted by F&L Designer Guides might be a perfect for you, potentially saving you loads of time and money.
With the promise of being the “ultimate event that offers couples and individuals an amazingly different way of looking for engagement rings,” this so called speed dating session put on by F&L Designer Guides, a “community of some of the most creative designers of engagement rings in the UK” should prove a positive step in toward wedded bliss. In addition to one-to-one consultations with jewelry designers, attendees will receive one complimentary cocktail. Tickets cost £6 per person. You must register to attend, and there are only 30 places available.
The Speed Date a Designer event takes place 10 November from 6pm at The Fable Bar, located at 58 Holborn Viaduct, EC1A 2FD. Find out more at thefablebar.co.uk. For details about F&L Designer Guides and its designer speed dating event go to fldesignerguides.co.uk.
“Pups line up for this annual fur-raising AllDogsMatter Howloween Parade” weaving its way from the historic Spaniards Inn through Hampstead Heath and back to this historic and picturesquely placed pub for a “fang-tastic doggie costume contest for Best Dressed Warlock (Male), Best Dressed Witch (Female) and Spookiest in Show (Male or Female). Whether you’re a proud dog owner or just craving some cute canie action, this event promises to be a lot of fun while supporting a great cause.
The 2014 Halloween Dog Walk starts at The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead at 10:30am on the 26th of October. There’s a £5 entry fee to cover dogs participating in the walk and costume contest. To enter your pet, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, dog’s name, age and breed to register. To enter on the day, all dogs and owners need to arrive at the Spaniards Inn, Hampstead by 10:30am.
The Halloween Dog Walk is part of a series of events hosted by the charity AllDogsMatter to raise funds and awareness for dog rescue and rehoming. In addition to two shelters, which house and re-home approximately 300 dogs each year, the charity is also heavily involved in education outreach to help stop animal abuse and neglect. AlldogsMatter is a registered charity founded in by Ira Moss. Find out more at alldogsmatter.co.uk.
The Spaniards Inn is located on Spaniards Road, in Hampstead Heath, NW3 7JJ. Find out more at thespaniardshampstead.co.uk.
Earlier this week, I got to catch newbie production company Proud Haddock’s first ever show, a sold out performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at Saatchi Gallery (the only time a play has ever been staged there). That was a one off. However, from early November the play will have a couple of weeks’ run at Chelsea Theatre about a mile or so farther down King’s Road. If the Chelsea Theatre run goes anything like the Saatchi Gallery premiere, audiences are in for a treat.
I really enjoyed the scaled back and modernised staging of this classic tale of duplicity and betrayal. With inspiration drawn from TV shows such as House of Cards, Homeland, and The Thick of It, Proud Haddock’s rendition invites the audience to draw parallels between today’s political situations and The Bard’s original work.
Some of the acting came across as a teensy bit hackneyed, but performances by Ed Sheridan (Mark Antony), William Findley (Cassius), and Tracey Pickup (Portia) were delightful. Vyvyan Almond’s versatility playing a number of roles and was fun to watch as well.
A commission for City AM had me visiting Washington DC and rural Virginia at the end of September to write a piece about the exquisite Hay-Adams hotel and its relationship with regional food and drink suppliers. I’ll be sure to do a heads up post here on the blog when that article is published, but in the meanwhile I thought I’d share some of the best bits of my trip in a quickie roundup.
First stop once my flight had landed at Dulles was Barboursville in Orange County, Virginia to tour its vineyards and have a quiet stay in its historic 1804 Inn. The visit presented me with a chance to sample Virginia wines for the first time, and I was not disappointed. I very much enjoyed sipping Barboursville’s Nebbiolo Reserve and found its signature Octagon blend delightful as well (especially if you can hold on to it for a few years before popping open). Staying at the inn was an absolute pleasure. I loved the jacuzzi in my massive suite, the views of the farmland from my private porch and the hearty home cooked southern style breakfast I had in the morning. Here in the UK, look for Barboursville wines at select restaurants such as Zuma and those in the Heston Blumenthal group.
A short drive from Barboursville is Montpelier, former home to President James Madison, father of the Constitution and architect of the Bill of Rights, and Dolley Madison, America’s “first First Lady.” Well worth a visit, the estate has been impeccably restored (a real feat when you see photos of what had been done to it over the years) and offers unique insight into the founding of the United States. Being in Madison’s library where he worked on the Constitution was a highlight of my trip.
Definitely one of the nicest hotels I’ve visited this year (and that’s really saying something too!), This downtown Washington DC hotel’s biggest claim to fame is being the closest hotel to the White House. Boasting panoramic views of the White House, Lafayette Square, Lafayette Park and more, its location is without doubt the hotel’s major selling point – whether there for an overnight stay, a business lunch, dream wedding or quick drink.
I got a kick out of taking an early morning jog around the White House. And views or no views, the hotel more than met my basic requirements for approval: exceptionally comfy bed (that duvet was so soft!) and a hot shower with adequate water pressure. Every member of staff I encountered made me feel welcome, and concierge Eric Gammill really helped me make the most out of my limited time in the city.
Food and drink at The Hay were a dream. The upscale Lafayette restaurant yielded an exceptional lunch. Executive Sous Chef Jaime Montes de Oca certainly knows his way round a kitchen – and the farm too as proved when he and I paid a visit to the University of the District of Columbia’s Muirkirk Research Farm from which The Hay sources a number of seasonal ingredients. Breakfast at Lafayette was a treat as well – I crave another go at the Chesapeake Bay crab cake Benedict! And judging from the pastries and desserts I sampled, Pastry Chef Josh Short is adept at all things yummy too!
The Hay’s hush-hush basement bar, Off the Record (a purported favourite of both First Lady Michelle Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner), was such a cool venue to have a drink (great food menu too – awesome sliders!). I was massively impressed with my Lafayette Old Fashioned and the Classic Manhattan cocktails. Known for being the place in Washington to be seen but not heard, it’s a fascinating setting for an elbow bending session.
Casual eatery, Rose’s Luxury, in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Barrack’s Row might have served up the most delicious meal of 2014 for me. I had dinner there the day after Bon Appetit magazine named it the best new restaurant in the country. The buzz was electric (still not sure how I managed to get a table) and everything I tasted was phenomenal. My cocktail – rye, rose water and lemon – wowed my palate. So did challah with butter, honey and black sesame seeds; pork sausage with habanero and lychee salad; and pickle brined fried chicken. Prices were more than reasonable and service was on the ball!
Okay, so I felt like a total tourist going to Ben’s, but pretty much everyone around me seemed to be a local at this favourite fast food dive of late night imbibers, day out families and even President Obama. Salt and fat served hot in a veritable DC institution and civic rights landmark? It had to be done. Yep, I got the indulgent “Bill Cosby’s Original Chili Half-Smoke” (which didn’t present too much tummy regret afterwards either).
I flew United, the only airline to service Washington Dulles International Airport from the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow. This was my first time to fly in and out of Terminal 2 (although I had been to the terminal since its refurb to check out its colossal Richard Wilson sculpture). It was all in all a pleasant enough experience. The modernised terminal is not too dissimilar in experience and feel to that of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 – just way larger. Before my outbound journey, I got to hang in United ‘s plush, spacious and attractive lounge. The direct flight was shorter than I thought it was going to be – under eight hours.
From London Heathrow, United Airlines offers daily nonstop services to its hub at Dulles, with onward connections to more than 300 destinations across the Americas. Return fares in economy from London Heathrow to Washington DC/Dulles start from £568.56 including taxes. For latest prices, visit www.united.com or call 08458444777.
Hookah … shisha … whatever you want to call it, a relaxed and al fresco sit round the hubbly bubbly pipe can add a bit of chilled out exotic charm to any night on the town.
Here’s a list of four of the best spots in London for having a Middle Eastern puff.
Nachos! They’re an easy assemblage and an awesome snack. I’ve teamed up with tortillas with spirit brand Manomasa to create some recipes to help you best enjoy your next crunch time. A crunch Mexican style take on the classic ham and Swiss sandwich, my latest recipe – honey roasted ham and Emmental sincronizadas – is an especially quick and hassle free treat. Enjoy.
HONEY ROASTED HAM AND EMMENTAL SINCRONIZADAS Yum
Ingredients (served as a canapé, there should be enough for 6-8 people)
- 100g of honey roasted ham (I prefer it sliced fairly thick);
- 100g of sliced Emmental;
- About half a bag of Manomasa Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper tortilla chips.
- Preheat your oven to 175ºC;
- Place as many single chips in a baking tray;
- Place a slice of cheese, a piece of ham and another slice of cheese on top of each chip and then cover it with another chip;
- You’ll know the chips are ready if the cheese has melted enough that each “sandwich” stays intact when you pick it up.
Sincronizadas are best served hot when the cheese is still melty, but they’re perfectly acceptable to eat after they’ve cooled down. They make an excellent snack anytime of day and really come in handy at casual get togethers.
Tortillas with Spirit
Manomasa was born on the back streets of Mexico and pays tribute to the original tortilla chip – the totopo - whilst branching out into new tastes, sensations and textures inspired by the diversity and creativity of street food culture. Each variety of Manomasa tortillas has a distinctive shape, allowing you to snack, scoop or dip with them. Along with a variety of exciting textures (owing to the super-seeds used, such as sunflower, linseed and caraway for extra depth and bite), delicious flavour combinations have been used, leaving you with a unique snacking experience. Find out more at manomasa.co.uk.
Read more tikichris recipes.
Athens, Greece is probably best known for its ancient sites like the Acropolis and for being a starting point for any number of island hopping excursions. But there’s another more current and vibrant reason to pay this age old city a visit – it’s home to one of Europe’s most active street art scenes.
Here’s a quick look at just a few of the main reasons that the city is such a hub for amazing urban art.
The evening after I checked out the preview of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin’s Priority Innfield – a series of sculptural theatres where four interconnected films “that touch upon our changing relationship to the camera and its influence on conceptions of history, evolution and selfhood” are continually screened – I tried to explain the experience of watching the films and negotiating the fabricated space between them to my girlfriend. Despite my enthusiastic attempt, I’m pretty sure I failed.
However, I laughed a good bit during my spiel (as did she, with raised eyebrows). I reached for concepts I don’t normally talk about too and certainly conveyed a sense of ‘wow, that was really messed up – I loved it!’ to her. The show, free to view at Zabludowicz Collection near Chalk Farm Tube station for the next couple of months, left me babbling, challenged, and reaching for underused language. If you’re looking for a freebie mindfuck woven with scathing social commentary (and who isn’t?), see this show.
Priority Innfield is the first UK solo exhibition by Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin. A reconfiguration of an installation initially seen at the 2013 Venice Biennale, the exhibition features a quartet of films that (and maybe this is just my own humble opinion) question the substance, meaning and relevance of the overload of media dumped upon society at an ever increasingly scale while implicating viewer complicity.
One film in particular, Item Falls, especially grabbed my attention. Filmed at Fitch and Trecartin’s shared home in Los Angeles, Item Falls shows “multiple performers [including artist Trecartin himself] seemingly trapped in a perpetual audition while being assailed by animation effects.” With its actors shot in awkward camera angles as they spout self congratulatory monologues with gibberish lines like “once upon an industry standard,” an onscreen world of meaningless communication in the name of vapid expression is suggested with all of us on either side of that screen participating in gloating complicity. Garish colours and arbitrary animation heightened the snarling absurdity in this satirical poke at the gawking gaze of reality television and the desire of fame for the sake of fame.
Fitch and Ryan’s work is jarring to say the least. I reckon that’s a good thing though as my takeaway from this show was that maybe we need to a jostle now and again to remind us there’s life beyond the screens we’re constantly staring at and jabbering into. I highly recommend setting aside the time to give Priority Innfield a thorough visit.
Priority Innfield runs from 2 October to 21 December at Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Road, NW5 3PT. Find out more at zabludowiczcollection.com.
A few weeks back I had the esteemed pleasure of sitting in on a tasting with Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett. It’s funny to think that I grew up only a couple of hours’ drive from where Jeff does his magic but wound up meeting him on the other side of the Atlantic in an East London pub. Of course, as the ‘nose’ behind one of the world’s most famous brands (and what I reckon is Tennessee’s biggest export), I suppose it’s not all that surprising that the chance to shake hands and sip whiskey with Jeff might take place anywhere across the globe.
Here’s a couple of videos from the tasting. I’m sure you’ll enjoy listening to Jeff talk about his role at Jack Daniel’s in the first and going through the distillery’s complete range of whiskies in the second. And yep, that’s me in the film sipping JD as he speaks. I had a blast learning about how this whiskey is made from only its seventh ever distiller. And of course, I loved getting to taste the range of his whiskies (not to mention taking home a bottle of Old No. 7 signed by Jeff). My favourite of the Jack Daniel’s tipples? I love the Single Barrel but must admit the Tennessee Honey is a most agreeable drink as well.
Master Distiller Jeff Arnett talks about the history of Jack Daniel’s.
Tasting the range of Jack Daniel’s whiskies
The tasting was held at The Macbeth pub in Hoxton, which in association with Jack Daniel’s, NME, and Spotify is hosting a series of intimate concerts in the celebration of “the spirit of Jack” including gigs by Chin Stroker, Juce, and Kele (from Bloc Party).
Yoshitomo Nara: Greeting from a Place in My Heart at Dairy Art Centre in Bloomsbury presents a great opportunity to get a good long look at art that’s as adorable as it is dastardly: like cooing over a cute cuddly kitten tearing apart a toy mouse or jotting down a nightmare on a pastel notepad.
Featuring a range of paintings, large and small sculptures, and a retrospective of drawings which spans 30 years, Greeting from a Place in My Heart is the largest and most comprehensive UK exhibition of work by the popular Japanese contemporary artist to date and includes seminal pieces by the artist, many of which have never been shown before in the UK.
It’s all fun stuff: a little cheeky, immediately likeable and wonderfully accessible … yet so finely executed and beguiling. Cute but meaningful – a match which I reckon difficult to pull off. At the very least, the show is a hoot. Delve deeper though and themes of anxiety, alienation, and hope provoke contemplation.
Greetings from a Place in My Heart runs from October 3 to 7 December at the Dairy Art Centre, 7A Wakefield Street, WC1N 1PG. Find out more at dairyartcentre.org.uk.