3 Great Reasons to Celebrate in Hong Kong This May (OneTravel)

Hong Kong Buns

As if one needed to come up with a good excuse to visit one of the world’s most dynamic and culturally rich cities in the world, Hong Kong seems to be pulling out all the stops at the end of May with three festivities that promise to delight.

Hear the gongs! Smell the incense! Eat the buns!

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Shutter Menu

LDP 2015.04.03 - Shutter Menu

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Preview: Bompas & Parr Dine with the Dead and Toast with a Human Skull

Temple new (high res)

Over my years writing about the London dining scene one thing’s proved a certain constant: any email landing in my inbox from the jellymongering duo of Bompas & Parr is a must-read missive. The latest announcement of foodie frivolity (this time with a slightly darkened tinge) is no exception with an invitation to “a magnificent feasting occasion offering guests the ultimate tribute to departed Londoners in a spectacular environment.”

Such a “Spirited Dinner” will take place 8 April from 7pm to 11pm at inside the former Masonic Temple at five-star Andaz Liverpool Street London hotel. Theologist-cum-illusionist Philipp Oberlohr will cohost the event and will be on hand to “channel interaction between guests and the departed” during a pre dinner show to be followed by a multi-course food and drink-paired menu that offers a cleverly evocative backdrop for proceedings. The menu will feature edible death masks, quails en pyramide and bioluminescent ectoplasm, and celebrations “will be catalysed” by toasting from a human skull.

Not your typical night out – and tickets, I’m sure, will go fast!

Tickets for the Spirited Dinner are £85 per person, including wine. Andaz Liverpool Street London is located at 40 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN. Find out more and book tickets at billetto.co.uk/en/events/spirited-dinner.

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Eastern Exchanges at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Eastern Exchanges, Danful Yang, Girly, 2010

I had a splendid afternoon crashing the press preview of the newly opened Eastern Exchanges: East Asian Craft and Design exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery yesterday. More than a few standout pieces – as well as a chance to peek at a couple of other shows now on and to have a look at the gallery’s impression permanent collection – made my northward daytrip well worth the time on the train. Fans of design would do well to follow suit before the show closes at the end of May.

Displaying historic pieces from the gallery’s collection alongside contemporary works, Eastern Exchanges aims to give fresh perspectives on historic East Asian craft and illustrate how traditional craft skills still inspire innovation.

Manchester Art Gallery, Eastern Exchanges, Jim Eui Kim, OPject Ambiguity Series no.7
The show leans heavy on porcelain and ceramics – and I reckon that’s a good thing indeed. I absolutely adored Danful Yang’s blanc-de-chine Girly Series kitsch update on Chinese traditional mythological creatures. And Jin Eui Kim’s intensely (and deceptively) simple and arduously produced ceramics were a marvel to behold (the self-narrated short film of the artist at work was a treat to see as well).

Manchester Art Gallery, Eastern Exchanges, Weave stool

Fumio Enomoto’s elegant bamboo Weave Stool impressed immensely with its emphasis on maximum strength from minimal structure.

As for the historic stuff from the gallery’s collection, teensy and highly detailed works such as a series of netsuke miniature figurines from the 1800s wowed in equal measure to oversized pieces like the massively grand Norimono (sedan chair, Japan, 1800-1850).

Need more reason to poke your head in the gallery? Opened concurrently is House Proud, an exhibition of glass, metalwork and furniture “inspired by the gallery’s pioneering Industrial Art Collection” and focused on the 1930s to the end of the 20th century. I found my roam through the show a delight. I – and everybody else who had a look at it – especially loved the Circus eathernware dinner service set (designed by Dame Laura Knight for A J Wilkinson, 1934).

Also on now with big plans to (literally) continue growing throughout the summer is The Lost Gardens of Manchester, a team up with the National Trust to reclaim the city centre’s urban spaces with at least a bit of green.

Eastern Exchanges: East Asian Craft and Design runs from 2 April to 31 May at Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL. Entry is free. Find out more at manchesterartgallery.org.

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London Daily Photo: Blue and Green Polka Dots

LDP 2015.04.02 - Blue and Green Polka Dots

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Sponsored Video: In the Sneakers of Walcott

You know that old saying about walking a mile in somebody else’s shoes? Well, what if those shoes were a pair of stylish and extra comfy Adidas trainers belonging to one of your favourite footballers? Cool idea, huh? Check out this fun little ‘day in the life’ video featuring Arsenal forward and the England national team player, Theo Walcott – shot from the vantage point of Theo’s shoes – a pair of ultra blue Adidas Pure BOOST Chill trainers.

In the Sneakers of Walcott was purely shot with a GoPro Camera to give fans a chance to  experience a ground level perspective of Theo’s busy life. From going to the barbershop to dodging from Paparazzis, the man is always on the go.

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Could you maintain the pace of this top athlete? Reckon you’re already moving at a fast and steady clip – just without all the fame and glory? Clearly, you don’t have to be a world famous footballer to expect a pair of shoes to keep up with your energy and match the demands of your on-the-go lifestyle.

Retailing at just under £130, Pure BOOST Chill is available in three colourways for men and women and features a premium open mesh overlay upper for added style that takes nothing away from the shoe’s revolutionary and super cushy BOOST foam. Sliding into a pair of these new trainers means you can be kind to your feet while still sporting something that’s easy on the eyes. The new Pure BOOST Chill trainers are available exclusively at Foot Locker Europe.

Sponsored by Adidas with Footlocker.

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London Daily Photo: RIP SOHO

LDP 2015.04.01 - RIP SOHO

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Alexander McQueen: Inferno

Alexander McQueen Inferno

Maddie Salters reports: Stepping off the elevator into The Gallery on the fifth floor of Foyles booksellers at Charing Cross, a curiosity awaits. The usually timid space that shepherds people off to the uptempo cafe and wine bar beside it has grown into something remarkable. A landscape of gargantuan black and white photographs with irrepressible imagery that commands attention. Enter the Inferno.

Inferno is an intimate look into the back rooms and makeshift vanity tables in Christchurch, Spitalfields circa 1996, where Alexander McQueen readied his runway models for a show-stopping catwalk through the ancient Church’s stained-glass main hall, in a feast for the eyes and senses that would change the fashion world forever. While the runway itself, candle lit and brimming with inspiration from Dante’s “The Divine Comedy,” showed off a playful sense of theatricality and irony in its juxtaposition of location and theme, what the shows’ backstage photographs give us is a real glimpse of what the models later played at: the pleasure, pain, and vice of an Alexander McQueen show.

Curated expertly by Olly Walker and Futurecity, the photographs by Kent Baker are on display for the first time ever. Shot entirely on black and white film, they bare all the dynamism of film photography’s ability to capture a moment: blurred lines of motion, half-formed expressions, powerful contrast. The unprocessed medium, it turns out, was the best medium to show McQueen’s process.

The spectacle is stunning. In the photographs, we see an easy hedonism and a lazy sex appeal that overcomes concepts of gender. The models are fluid, and their expressions are naked, even as they are adorned with masks and noosed hair extensions. Everything is in contrast, not just the prints. There is vulnerability on the face of one woman, her hands pressed together and her eyes downcast as if in prayer, but with the fabric of her sleeves nervously bunched to prevent that true touching of palms. Confidence oozes off of an adjacent portrait, where the model is irreverent of the photographer, owning her space, dark-eyed, dark-lipped, and arch browed. Each subject evokes a powerful narrative: curiosity, coltishness, joviality. Moments are captured: a hug, a laugh, a conversation. Poses are struck: tongues out, arms akimbo. And in the background of some frames stands Lee McQueen himself, overseeing his story.

What about this collection makes it so powerful? As Lee’s quote, painted onto the wall, states: “The shows are about what’s buried in people’s psyches.” Describing himself as a melancholic romantic, his aesthetic belays itself here. The models are wearing his clothes, and no matter how outlandish, their personalities shine through first, and the accessories remain just that. He has found the beauty in the vice in people’s selves, as much as he has sewn it into his creations. The McQueen crowd is irrepressibly young and daring, wearing jackets with soldiers, starving children, and the faces of old men emblazoned on them. The everyday evils and every day infernos we experience, or ignore, carried in couture seams.

What really struck me about these photographs on a second walk through the gallery was their composition. The devil is in the details, so to speak. Engross yourself in the minutia of each shot, and McQueen’s backstage space comes to life. Open champagne bottles, coca-cola cans, and barbells sit on the floor. The subjects are bald, have tattoos, eyebrow studs, unshaven arms, or smoke cigarettes. Graffiti, cartoon bubbles, paper litter, restroom signs, and cracked floors are the backdrop to their raised brows and painted faces. Q-tips are left to pile on the floor, the rushed waste that has helped to create flawless facades. You view these images knowing that those who sat in the front row only ever saw the end product. Here, in these photos, is the hidden psyche McQueen spoke of.

I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the memorabilia wall by Olly Walker himself. Plastered against one side of the gallery, it is a riot of original contact sheets, tickets to the Christchurch show, the runway lineup, press sketches, and more. This gives a glimpse into what the book, Inferno: Alexander McQueen, released alongside the exhibit, contains. By Kent Baker and Melanie Rickey, the highlight of the publication is the scanned versions of the original runway clothes, now housed in the United States. They give a sensation of the texture and weight of the clothes worn by the models and adeptly crafted by McQueen.

Inferno is a peek into the power of fashion as an art and its indelible ability to create social thought movements. Here, on un-retouched photographs ablaze with fluorescent luminosity and a moody tonality, there is no celebration of false luxury. Instead, we see what fashion can be: the every day, pushing limits while still being second to the wearers themselves, dark, but ordinary in their darkness. That’s what the “Divine Comedy” was, after all: bringing into the light what we demonise, and seeing in ourselves truth, however unpleasant. The show is contemporary even now, and radical as it brings a moment of peaceful revolution loudly into the forefront at last.

Inferno is on until May 3rd. Limited prints of the works are available. Find it in The Gallery, Foyles, 5th Floor, 107 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0EB. Go to foyles.co.uk/Inferno-Alexander-McQueen for more details.

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London Daily Photo: Waterproof London AZ

LDP 2015.03.31 - Waterproof London AZ

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5 Fun Events This Spring and Summer in Calgary

Calgary

Planning a visit to Calgary this spring or summer?

Have a look at these upcoming events to help you make the most of your time in this friendly Canadian city.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Smoking Penguin

LDP 2015.03.30 - Smoking Penguin

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Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery

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Now open to the public, an exhibition of new works by celebrated sculptor Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery is very much worth taking a good long gander at.

The show includes a series of “vast, seething red and white resin and silicon paintings.” These are gnarly and sinewy, suggesting carnal churn reminiscent of a scene in a splatter movie, or ride on a ghost train or a glimpse at a bag of scraps at the local butchery. So … yeah … I loved it – in a beguiled and ‘ew’ sort of way.

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Exhibited alongside these chunky paintings – and (if only in my mind) presenting a sort of spectrum of texture – are two smooth and mostly rounded (but with chipped and jaggy edges) pink onyx floor-based sculptures as well as a couple of ultra sleek and reflective wall-mounted stainless steel elliptical sculptures.

Running concurrent to the Kapoor show is an exhibition by minimalist artist Lee Ufan.

Lisson Gallery location at 27-29 and 52 Bell Street, NW1 5DA. The exhibition is at the 52 Bell Street space and runs until 9 May. Admission is free. Find out more at lissongallery.com.

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London Daily Photo: White on White

LDP 2015.03.29 - White on White

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New Fangled Old Fashioneds with Woodford Reserve

New Old Fashioneds with Woodford Reserve

The Old Fashioned is pretty much my go-to cocktail these days. And if it’s made with Woodford Reserve, well then all the better. So an invitation to attend an Old Fashioned masterclass hosted by Woodford Reserve brand ambassador Tom Vernon at South Place Hotel’s SPIES Society bar and to enter a Classic American Cocktail competition based on my takeaway from the event was greatly appreciated.

The idea behind the class was to demonstrate the versatility of Woodford and how basic the recipe for an Old Fashioned is.

Once all the competing recipes are in, Vernon and South Place’s head bartender will choose a winning cocktail to be featured on the hotel’s menu for a month.

I had a fine time during the class and thought the hotel’s first floor bar was as fine a place to sip a cocktail as any I’ve come across in London. As for the competition, I thought it would be a good opportunity to play around with this classic drink recipe and taste how it paired up with some of my favourite flavours.

Concocting an Old Fashioned with my own special twist involved was a lot of fun. Only trouble was deciding which of my recipes to submit. So I’ll just share my three top contenders:

  • Hot Cross Old Fashioned (just in time for Easter);
  • Wild Rose Old Fashioned;
  • Chipotle, Sage and Maple Old Fashioned.

The recipe for each follows, preceded by Woodford Reserve’s own recipe for making an Old Fashioned. Cheers!

Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned

Glass: Rocks/Old Fashioned
Ice: Cubed
Method: Stir
Garnish: Orange Twist

Ingredients:
50ml Woodford Reserve
15ml sugar syrup
3 dashes of angostura bitters

Method:
Add the sugar syrup to the glass with the bitters. Add roughly 1/3 of the Woodford Reserve with 3 ice cubes and stir. Repeat until the Woodford Reserve is finished. Garnish and serve.

Hot Cross Old Fashioned

Glass: Rocks/Old Fashioned
Ice: Cubed
Method: Stir
Garnish: Orange twist

Ingredients:
50ml Woodford Reserve
15ml sugar syrup
Generous splash of Pedro Ximenez
Pinch of nutmeg

Method: Add the sugar syrup to the glass with the Pedro Ximenez and nutmeg. Add roughly 1/3 of the Woodford Reserve with 3 ice cubes and stir. Repeat until the Woodford Reserve is finished. Garnish and serve.

Wild Rose Old Fashioned

Glass: Rocks/Old Fashioned
Ice: Cubed
Method: Stir
Garnish: Orange twist

Ingredients:
50ml Woodford Reserve
15ml sugar syrup
25ml rose water
Dash of Hickory Liquid Smoke
Pinch of celery salt

Method:
Add the sugar syrup to the glass with the rose water, liquid smoke, and celery salt. Add roughly 1/3 of the Woodford Reserve with 3 ice cubes and stir. Repeat until the Woodford Reserve is finished. Garnish and serve.

Chipotle, Sage and Maple Old Fashioned

Glass: Rocks/Old Fashioned
Ice: Cubed
Method: Stir
Garnish: Orange twist and a sprig of sage

Ingredients:
50ml Woodford Reserve
15ml maple syrup
Few leaves of fresh sage
3 dashes of Tabasco Chipotle Sauce

Method: Rub the rim of the glass with a few leaves of fresh sage. Add the maple syrup to the glass with the chipotle sauce. Add roughly 1/3 of the Woodford Reserve with 3 ice cubes and stir. Repeat until the Woodford Reserve is finished. Garnish and serve.

Look for Woodford Reserve at Waitrose, Ocado, Tesco and Asda and your local independent spirits shop (recommended retail price of £31. Find out more at woodfordreserve.com. To learn more about responsible consumption, please visit responsibility.org.

South Place Hotel is located at 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF. Find out more at southplacehotel.com.

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London Daily Photo: Dean Street Windows

LDP 2015.03.28 - Dean Street Windows

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9 Spots to See Wildlife in Anchorage, AK (OneTravel)

Moose

Anchorage may be home to around 300,000 people, but it’s the animal population that really makes the city such an amazing place to visit. Among the Alaska wildlife local to the area are thousands of moose and Dall sheep, hundreds of bird species including dozens of nesting bald eagles, as well as brown and black bears, beluga whales, beavers, and more.

For top places to see wildlife without leaving town, keep these popular viewing spots in mind …

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Red and Green

LDP 2015.03.27 - Red and Green

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Great British Chefs’ Cook School with Graham Hornigold of Hakkasan

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Check out this delicious team up: Great British Chefs + Cookery School! The occasion? The first in a new series of cookery masterclasses hosted by GBC at the school which sees chefs sharing hands-on tuition to small groups of writerly gourmands and other enthusiastic foodie folk. I wedged my way in for the inaugural event, where Graham Hornigold, Executive Pastry Chef of the Hakkasan Group with Daniel Pearse, Head Pastry Chef of Hakkasan London, and Juan Pablo Colubri, Pastry Sous Chef at Hakkasan Group created four desserts while sharing recipes and a wealth of kitchen tips with the small group assembled.

I had a great time as can be seen in the fun video above with features highlights from the event – and hope there’s a chance to slide in another session. The desserts made were as pretty as they were delectable … and as exquisitely presented as they were, Graham, Daniel and Juan demystified the process.

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Next masterclass on the agenda will see Chef Adam Gray of Skylon demonstrating how to make a few of his signature dishes. So keep an eye out for that!

There’s plenty more about the event and future happenings at Great British Chefs.

Cookery School is located at 15B Little Portland Street, W1W 8BW (literally a two minute walk from Oxford Circus and just off of Regent Street). Find out more at cookeryschool.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: great

LDP 2015.03.26 - great

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Win a Box of Wine from The Grape Club

Win a Box of Wine from The Grape Club

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!

I have recently tried and would love to recommend to you The Grape Club,– an online London-based subscription service that sends an assortment of four bottles of wine in a sturdy and easily transportable box to its members every month. There’s no membership fee, just a month payment of £45, which covers all the costs of having the club deliver a quartet of smartly selected quality quaffs directly to your door. Keep reading for more grape news about this new service as well as details about the chance to win a selection of four wines from The Grape Club.

First cousins from a wine producing family in Northern Portugal, Ant and Louisa Symington founded The Grape Club in September 2014, as an alternative buying often overpriced and uninspiring wines at supermarkets and to afford wine lovers with busy schedules the opportunity to learn about and drink interesting wines.

Each month is given a chosen theme and four wines are carefully sourced to reflect this, with every bottle accompanied by a tailored tasting note. Wary of the common perception of snobbery in the world of wine, the note is written in layman’s terms, explaining the connection between a wine’s origin and its flavours while offering food pairing suggestions as well.

To be in with a chance to win a selection of four wines from The Grape Club, simply retweet the following:

RT to win a selection of four wines from @TheGrapeClub compliments of @tikichris: http://bit.ly/1M3yWul #subscribetogreatwine

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

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Wednesday 8 April at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive

To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK where the wines can be delivered. Obviously you also need to be of legal drinking age to receive this alcoholic product and must be able to show ID that proves your age.

Find out more at thegrapeclub.co.uk.

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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London Daily Photo: Platform 2

LDP 2015.03.25 - Platform 2

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From Her Wooden Sleep … Ydessa Hendele at ICA

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Ydessa Hendeles, From her wooden sleep … , 2013 (detail), photo by Robert Keziere

On show now until mid May at the Institute for Contemporary Art, From her wooden sleep … is a major new work by German-born Canadian artist/curator Ydessa Hendeles. Described by the artist herself as a “cultural composition,” the exhibition marks the first time Hendeles’ art has been shown in London. Curated by Philip Larratt-Smith and comprised of more than 150 wooden antique manikins from the artist’s own collection arranged alongside an assortment of historic objects, the exhibition casts a distinctive mood and presents the chance to browse the thoughtfully paused moment of an intriguingly situated tableau vivant.

As creepy as a room full of wooden manikins might sound (the collection includes pieces from the 1500s to 1930, from palm-size to lifesize), the tone of From her wooden sleep … is charming and even endearing. Or at least I thought so.

Maybe it was the resonate warmth of the old woodenheads? Maybe it was the artist’s and curator’s approach to how they placed the manikins as if in a class, or a church service? Maybe it was Debussy’s Children’s Corner played on continual loop? Whatever the case – and I realise there’s much heavier cultural pondering going on with this work – Sleep delightfully lulled me.

Along two parallel walls of the exhibition space are funhouse mirrors contributing to the show’s off kilter and out-of-place feel – but nonetheless adding another element which I found amusing.

As for the heavy stuff to ponder, I did – but in a reflective and subdued manner. Nothing about this show jarred or jumped up in my face. But the tenor of it stayed with me (and indeed still does).

From her wooden sleep … is on now and runs until 17 May at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH. Entry to the ICA is with Day Membership, set at £1. Day Membership includes access to art exhibitions and displays, as well as use of facilities such as the café bar and free WiFi. Find out more at ica.org.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Only £1.00

LDP 2015.03.24 - Only £.1.00

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The World’s Smallest Countries … Maybe. (OneTravel)

World's Smallest Country?

What is the world’s smallest country? And which definition of “small” do you mean, anyway? Are we talking population, area … or something else?

Here’s a look at some of the top contenders for the smallest – all offering loads of scenic attractions and big time reasons to be added to your travel wish list.

Read my complete post at OneTravel.

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London Daily Photo: Excesses

LDP 2015.03.23 - Excesses

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Hot Cross Easter Creations from Paul A Young and The Bread Factory

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Last week, at an “exclusive Easter caramel press demonstration and tasting” at his Soho flagship shop, master chocolatier Paul A Young remarked while showing a small crew of said press how to temper chocolate that I might be just as able to explain how its done as he was – a suggestion that I’ve been watching and writing about him making chocolate for quite some time. And, from what I saw and tasted during that demo, I reckon I’ll keep on heralding the delectable work that he does, as his Easter 2015 offerings are just as amazing as anything that’s come before and promise more inventive treats to come.

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I had a good laugh at Paul’s comment and supposed he was largely correct (but I seriously doubt I could handle any aspect of chocolate making nearly as well as he does).

The thing is though, despite following Paul’s career closely for several years, his food and his artisanal approach to making it have yet to bore me. He’s never let up on innovation or seeing how far he can push the boundaries of fine chocolate without losing sight of his principles. His ideas for Easter 2015 shared with us at the demo were very much a case in point.

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For Easter 2015, Paul has teamed up with North London’s The Bread Factory for a range of hot cross bun creations that are big on traditional seasonal flavours and offered in a fascinating variety of combinations, including a limited run hot cross bun caramel spread, truffle and brownie (which might best be described as a hot cross bun sandwich on two pieces of ultra gooey brownie). The results are as delicious as they are unconventional. Actual bread in a ganache … inside a truffle. Have a bite and ask yourself “why not?” and “why hadn’t anyone thought of this before?”

As for the collaboration with The Bread Factory, it was a tasty choice. Lauded as the bakers of the best hot cross buns in Britain, The Bread Factory is an awarding winning wholesale artisan bakery “dedicated to creating exceptional bread, pastries and cakes” by hand “with patience, skill and the best ingredients.” I was certainly impressed with TBF’s buns … and combined with Paul’s chocolate was a wonderful way to enjoy them.

The hot cross bun products – alongside an assortment of other seasonal items –are available now until Easter at all Paul A Young shops, with plenty more treats coming soon and possibly to be raved about here at this blog. The Paul A Young flagship in Soho is located at 143 Wardour Street, W1F 8WA. Find out more at paulayoung.co.uk.

More about The Bread Factory can be found at breadltd.co.uk.

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London Daily Photo: Bike

LDP 2015.03.22 - Bike

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Best Travel Photography Blog in the UK? Your Vote Decides.

The Best Travel Photography Blog in the UK? Your Vote Decides.

It’s always nice to discover folks are paying attention to my blog and liking what they see, especially when they then take their appreciation a step further and rank tikichris as one of the best travel blogs in the UK. Recently, DFDS Seaways listed tikichris as a contender for 2015’s Best Travel Photography Blogger. Fun. Thanks. And wow.

I had no idea that I was in the running for this – or even that such a competition existed – until a rep from DFDS got in touch to let me know.

The comp features five categories: Best Travel Blogger, Travel Photography Blogger, Travel Newcomer, Travel Food and Drink and Travel Culture and History. Six to nine bloggers are represented in each. 

 Winners will be selected by the public through popular vote. 

Voting is open now.

The closing date for votes is the 24 April and winners will be announced 30 April.

 

2015 Best Travel Photography Blog in the UK
 

The competition looks fierce, but if I win my category (you dear reader are certainly welcome to vote for me … please), my prize will be a mini cruise to Amsterdam for four people. 

 The only bummer about this for me is to see that among the seven other Travel Photography Bloggers I’m up against is Julie Falconer, whose A Lady in London blog is one of my favourite reads. I’m torn between being a fan and a hopeful contestant. Good luck Julie … and may the best man win ;-P 

 I was pleased to see (in other categories – phew!) that a few more of my favourite blogs were listed as well, including Jeanne Horak-Druiff’s Cooksister blog and Alex Jourdren’s Epicurienne – both in the Travel Food and Drink category. Good luck Jeanne and Alex (I wish I were able to vote for both of you)! 

 You can find out more about the competition here:
dfdsseaways.co.uk/Documents/dfds-blogger/index.html 

 And cast your vote (for me?) here:
dfdsseaways.co.uk/Documents/dfds-blogger/categories/index.html 

 Thanks DFDS for the honour and the opportunity.

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Say Bom Dia to a Brazilian Breakfast at Carioca Brixton!

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Brixton’s Market Row favourite, Carioca (formerly Prima Donna), has introduced a new selection of Brazilian style breakfast dishes to its daytime menu. Served from 10am to 4pm every day, the new brekkie items are freshly prepared in house with locally sourced ingredients and free range eggs by Brazilian head chef Lucy and her team. I had a more than ample taste last Sunday and found everything I tried to be expressly tudo bem.

During my late morning dine I had the Copacabana, a bounteous mound of yum consisting of a poached egg, pulled braised beef, fried plantain, and black bean stew arranged over a homemade maize muffin and plated with a dollop of sour cream and garnished with loads of fresh rocket (£6.95). Talk about an all day breakfast! Man, that was filling … and delicious. I’d have it again and highly recommend it to any one with a hearty appetite.

As mega as my Copacabana was, I somehow managed to make room for a few bites from Carioca’s range of home made desserts. Carrot cake was proper; white chocolate cheesecake pleased the palate mightily; and the butterscotch plantain cake was like tropically infused stickly toffee pudding … on crack.

Carioca does a killer Bloody Maria too. Coffees are from London’s own Caravan roasters (yay).

Carioca is located at Market Row, 25-27 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LB. Find out more at facebook.com/pages/Carioca-Brixton/378608922236453.

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London Daily Photo: Brixton

LDP 2015.03.21 - Brixton

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Yelp x tikichris: Morning Espresso Event at Bar Termini

Yelp x tikichris: Morning Espresso Event at Bar Termini

Here’s my latest tag team effort with Yelp: a Sunday morning coffee masterclass at Soho’s new coffee/cocktail sensation, Bar Termini.

The class will be held Sunday 19 April from 10.30am, and numbers for the class will be low (ten or under). During it, we’ll learn how to roast, pour, and create the perfect espresso. There will be some (so amazing you won’t believe it) pastries to enjoy as well as some other surprises … maybe even some cocktails if it hits after noon and we’re feeling saucy.

Interested? You should be because I reckon Bar Termini is one of the best things to hit Soho in a long while. Besides, freebie Yelp events such as this are guaranteed fun. For a chance to join us, RSVP over at the Yelp:

http://www.yelp.com/events/london-yelp-and-tikichris-morning-espresso-event-at-bar-termini

The guest list will be announced 10 April for this exclusive and intimate event for coffee lovers.

Bar Termini is located at 7 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JE.

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Preview: Asia House Film Festival 2015 #AHFILM15

Passion

Celebrating its seventh year, the annual Asia House Film Festival will be showcasing a bevy of remarkable cinematic productions across London. Maddie Salters has a look at the fantastic lineup, which includes a strong focus on Mongolian cinema for the first time, with the exclusive London premier of the social documentary Passion, as well as a collection of black and white films included in the Mongolian Treasures lineup.

Also studding the schedule? The UK premiers of a Japanese musical (Wonder + Flashback), a Cambodian political piece (The Last Reel), a futuristic look at Vietnam (NUOC 2030), and a number of other rich productions from Mynamar, Indonesia, India, and Uzbekistan.

The theme for this year’s Asia House Film Festival, lovingly co-ordinated by new artistic director Jasper Sharp, is New Generations. The full programme highlights fresh talent and experimental styles, with the films tackling some of the tough modern challenges that Asia faces. The mix of work includes drama, documentary, and shorts, with highlights such as meet-and-greets and Director Q&A’s. The lineup encompasses an impressive two European premiers, and eight UK premiers, across a hearty circuit of venues: the Ham Yard Theatre, The Horse Hospital, Rich Mix, and the Cinema Museum.

The Festival, which runs March 27th-31st, will be starting off with a screening of In the Absence of the Sun, a bittersweet dramatic tale set in Jakarta. The Gala Evening will begin with a drinks reception at the Dive Bar of the Ham Yard Hotel, and guests are invited to mingle and share their thoughts on the film afterwards during the Hotel’s canapé reception.

I am personally looking forward to opening night for the opportunity to hear In the Absence of the Sun director, Lucky Kuswandi, in conversation with the audience about what it means to face culture shock in your own country: a theme explored by one of the film’s protagonists, Gia, who has returned to Jakarta after studying in New York. The powerful weave of three women’s tales in this melancholic, vulnerably honest film will set the tone for a week of hard-hitting and poignant cinema that focuses on place, people, and progress.

Asia House is located at 63 New Cavendish Street, W1G 7LP. For more details, venue listings and to purchase tickets go to asiahouse.org/events/category/asia-house-film-festival-2015.

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London Daily Photo: Rise/Set

LDP 2015.03.20 - Rise:Set

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STK London’s 777 Bar Menu, 5pm to 7pm

lil BGRs from STK's 777 menu - DSC_5338

STK London has recently launched new “777” menu featuring seven small plates and seven drinks priced at £7 each offered at its bar between 5pm to 7pm Monday to Friday and presents a no fuss opportunity to have a night out with going overboard.

The menu is a brief read of all rounder items aimed at pleasing most palates. Tuna tartare (with honey, soy and sesame on toasted ciabatta) did mine as did the “prawn krispies” (with shellfish bisque and fresh coriander). The lil BRGs (aka Wagyu sliders, one order is a serving of tow) were especially delicious and probably the highlight of the menu. I liked everything else (I tried all seven items). But, I thought the beef carpaccio was a little too thick and roast beefy. The kinda plain Jane sounding chopped salad was surprisingly tasty.

Despite being dubbed “small plates,” I found serving sizes to be just this side of massive.

Onto the drinks, I really enjoyed the Thyme & Blueberry Collins and wouldn’t be against having it again. I like the rather tart STK Martini too (but its pansy garnish left me feeling a bit too girly while I sipped it – cloak with a round of mini burgers ASAP!).

I took advantage of the invitation to sample the sevens as a good excuse to catch up with a buddy in a convenient location without overdoing it on a weeknight. That worked like a charm, and we got home on opposite sides of town at a reasonable hour. I reckon this new menu would be a smart idea for speedy pre-theatre dining too.

I can’t speak to the regular menu or STK’s famous steaks, but popping round for a few quickies from the 777 menu was a nice way to have a bit of midweek fun in a grownup setting without having to invest too much time, money or effort.

Service was cheerful and polite (super fast at bringing out the food, a tad lagging getting cocktails to us on time though).

STK is located at the ME London Hotel, 336-337 Strand, WC2R 1HA. For direct access from the street, look for the restaurant’s entrance just round the corner on Aldwych. Find out more at togrp.com/stk-london.

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London Daily Photo: Genial Brixton

LDP 2015.03.19 - Genial Brixton

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