Sunday, 29 April 2007

Dining: Boulevard Brasserie

Elodie was invited to attend her friend's Gabby's boyfriend's birthday dinner at Boulevard Brasserie ( 40 Wellington Street, Covent Garden WC2E 7BD, +44 20 7240 2992 in Covent Garden. It's a cozy 2-floored restaurant with a deli attached. We had the 3-course set dinner for £18.50. Starters ranged from foie gras terrine, grilled goat cheese, baked scallops or fish soup. Main included grilled entrecote (ribs), sea bass, duck confit or risotto. And desserts from Crème Brûlée, to Lemon tart, chocolate mousse or sticky toffee pudding (must be the English thing). This is what I had:
  • Half a dozen queen scallops, garlic & herb crust
  • Duck confit served with cassoulet beans and caramelised baby onions
  • Crème Brûlée

Starter was delicious, scallops were covered with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic and herbs and butter then baked. The duck confit was done to perfection, the meat was easily off the bones, wasn't a big fan of beans in general but the cassoulet beans was tasteful, and the baby caramelised onion worked perfectly well to add a touch of sweetness. Crème Brûlée was excellent, I love it when they use fresh vanilla pod for it, it was amazing.

The company was very nice, sitting across me was Albert who works in finance. Beside me was a guy named Simon who's an accountant, and likes the Manic Street Preachers. We had a good chat, dinner was nice. It was nice to get out and meet new people.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Discovering London: Borough Market

Borough Market Entrance (London Bridge Station, Borough High Street, Southwark)

Borough Market
Didn't know what to do with my day, Elodie and Andy have gone to Paris for the long weekend, and Annie of course was working. Matt was having a bike around and everyone was either out of town or busy having family affairs. I need more friends. I really miss the girls. I already went shopping the day before, and didn't want to go far, so I thought to go over to the other side of the Thames.

I've been to Borough Market before when I was in London last year. I remember exactly where it was. It was very busy, probably because everyone had the day off.

Richard Haward Oysters

Richard Haward Oysterman
The Haward family started growing oysters since 1792 just a tad off Essex. Talk about local. I started my Borough Market crawl here. I had an rock oyster and a clam. Never had freshly chucked clam before. It was nice. He also has his own shallot vinegarette to go with it.

Then I moved onto Scandelicious. Was a little bit disappointed by their selection, thought they would have other grocer goods as well as homemade herrings and gravlax. Anyway, I bought a small tub of pickled herring.

Ceylon1 is an organic and fairtrade tea company. They have a beautiful Green Tea Earl Grey, I love their branding and packaging. I bought a tea strainer there and I went on to other homemade jam, chutney and marmalade stalls.

Furness Fish & Game
Seems to be the most popular, they had a huge octopus on display. All sorts of mackerels, salmon, tuna, sea bass, smokies. They seem really fresh, was tempted to get some tuna but that also meant i couldn't browse longer and would have go home immediately to fridge it. The only thing I didn't like about this stall is that they had some poor dead rabbits hanging on the wall.. and made me sad to look at it. I have a better pix from last year but I'm too lazy to blog that. You can see it on my London Loves DVD though.

West Country Venison
Around the corner of Furness Fish, this stall has the longest queue for their sausage and sandwiches. A mere £3.50 can get you a delicious sandwich with venison burger or sausage served with a bed of rockets, fried onions and your choice of condiments, I had it with black current chuckney last year. I couldn't be bothered lining up this time coz the line up was insane. (Again, you can see the pix in my London Loves DVD)

Brindisa, the Spanish deli at Borough Market, London, serves up hand sliced Pata Negra Serrano Ham. You can buy the entire leg and leg holder to slice it up at your leisure.

The Wild Mushroom Company
Organic! Organic local home grown. Has all sorts of organic fruits, veggies and mushroom varieties.

Real France
One of my favourite stall, they have fresh Beurre d'Echire and also these Ferme des peupliers "oeufs au lait" like yogurt that comes in little glass jar, they're the cutest thing in the world! It's 4 for £3.50, or you can buy them for 1 quid each. They cost £1.70 each at Selfridges. I bought 3 "créme caramel" flavoured and 1 cappuccino flavoured.

Sillfield Farm
This is where I got a bit excited! Sillfield Farm located in South Cumbria. They have own smoked bacon of all variety. Also have variety selection of sausages and boar. I bought these "rare breed pork" sausages. I txted Annie to see if she's up for having Wild Boar Burgers for dinner, she said she was in. It was delicious. Very different taste, it was almost like a beefy pork. I quite enjoy it.

This stall carries all sorts of beer around the world. I got really excited when i saw the range of Unibroue brewery from Québec. Blanche de Chambly is one of my favourite as it forever reminds me of spending hot summer nights at the Embassy in Toronto. Their pear cider selection wasn't too great. They had that Ikea brand which i wasn't too fond of. So the search for Golden Cap Pear Cider in London continues...

The Ginger Pig
Heard loads about this place, they were recently nominated as semi-finalists for "UKTV Food Local Hero 2006". The flagship store is actually in Marylebone. Wide selection of sausages to pies. They looked really good and the stall was busy. Didn't get anything from there since I've already bought stuff at Sillfield Farm stall.

Neals Yard Dairy
Had the most wonderful cheese sampler today. It was called "Winworth" or something, I can be wrong. I wasn't going to try it because it has the mouldy crust which I hate but it was very very creamy and the mouldy crust wasn't too bad. This of course, is also an award winning dairy shop.

Paul Smith (13 Park Street SE1)

Paul Smith
Located just shyly tucked on the edge of Borough Market, this cute tiny Paul Smith store also carries a small range of novelty gifts and a small collection of the current line. I saw some really nice runners there, but I wasn't allowed to spend.

Have to sit down and have some sugary tea...

It was such a nice day, Borough Market was packed with people. All the neighbouring pubs had people overflowing onto the curb having pints. Keeping my "I don't drink alone" mandate, it had to hold out on my craving for a cold pint of Magners cider. I walked further down Southwark to the Braham Museum of Tea and Coffee instead for an afternoon tea. I had a scone served with cream and jam, and also a proper brewed pot of ceylon tea.

So i bought from the market today:

  • 1 small tub of Pickled Herrings from Scandelicious
  • 100 g Basil Pesto from Borough Olive
  • 1 Oyster & 1 Clam from Richard Hayward (he's also a very nice man)
  • 100 g Fresh French butter, 4 French Oeuf Yogurt in glass jars (3 in Créme Caramel, 1 in cappuccino) from Real France
  • 2 x Wild Boar Burgers from Stillfield Farm
  • 200 g of Rare breed pork sausages from Stillfield Farm
  • 1 tea strainer
  • Had to most wonderful sampled cheese from Neals Yard Dairy

You can see my complete photos of the day here.

I headed back to Hackney after my afternoon tea. Went to the local Primark and bought the cutest baby yellow summer dress for £8! Then, I went to Tesco and picked up some buns and chips for dinner and I headed back. Tried on the new dress and wanted to take a photo with my Anya Hindmarch bag. As i was playing around with my camera, flipping back and forth from viewing to photo mode. The screen went black!!!! I'm so upset. I bring this camera with me everywhere, everyday! I cannot imagine to live without it. Though my beloved Canon SD10 has been good to me for the past 3 years. It was getting a little wonky at times. I was going to hold out buying a new one, but we'll have to see if this is fixable. After some research on the interweb, it might be a "ccd" sensor malfunction, Canon USA apparently will replace and repair for free (including shipping and handling), alas, I live in the UK. Not sure if they'll repair it here. Will be on a mission later today trying to get it fixed, if not, will have to buy another. *sigh*

Gig 07: The Cooper Temple Clause Panzer Attacked!!

My TCTC tee and ticket stub

After shopping, I went home to drop off my shopping and to change quickly before I head to Victoria Station to meet Cecile and David. Cecile is a friend of Audrey's. Audrey txted me the day before asking if I was interested to see The Cooper Temple Clause on Thursday. Cecile and David were arriving from Bristol, never met them but we've been txting for the past couple of days.

The Cooper Temple Clause // Kubichek @ Shepherds Bush Empire
(Shepherds Bush Green, London W12 8TT)

I was running late meeting Cecile and David at the station. Who knew there were two different entrances. We missed a couple songs in the beginning but we managed to squish our way to the front. It was loud. It was a great show. Cecile and I were singing to the songs and dancing the entire time.

Been Training Dogs
Waiting Game
Film Maker
Once More With Feeling
Music Box
Homo Sapiens
Promises Promises
All I See Is You
Who Needs Enemies
Blind Pilots
Written Apology
Let's Kill Music
Panzer Attack

I tried to look for Steve Lloyd to see if he was doing sound for them. There was a bald guy behind the soundboard alright, but if only Steve put on A LOT of weight! I didn't approached him. Cecile wanted to wait for Jon and thank him for guestlisting but we couldn't get anywhere near the stage after the show was over. I bought the last scoop neck t-shirt. We had time to kill before she has to head back to Tottenham Court Rd to meet up with David, so we went for a drink. The pub beside the venue looked closed, so we headed to the Walkabout. We had to leave immediately upon stepping our foot into the door -- gino beats were on full blast! We quickly left the bar and tried to look for another. The pub we thought it was closed was actually open, O'Neills(2 Goldhawk Rd, London, W12 9NT), so we went in for a drink.

As we were heading towards the tube station, Cecile suddenly remembered she has forgotten her camera at the venue. So we went back to the venue and luckily, it was still opened and the security made her signed for it. We caught the last train. I didn't went with her to Tottenham Court Rd, I stayed on until Bethnal Green. I couldn't sleep after I went home, I didn't take valerian root, I was still a little tipsy and thought I would be exhausted from walking and dancing. I reeled in bed for 4 hours. I am starting to think that I seriously have a sleeping problem.

Discovering London: Food Finds & Markets (Clerkenwell)

Yesterday I had an interview with Channelfly at noon with Kat and Tom. I'll be interning couple days a week to help out with graphics and other random things for The Great Escape Festival.

Golden Fish Bar (102-104 Farringdon Road EC1)

Golden Fish Bar
I've been wanting to try out their fish and chips for ages. Since I was in the area, thought to try it out. This family-run fish n' chips shop has been around for 150 years. I love how their décor was very 70s but yet cozy and quite clean. There is a daily special on the wall which changes as the day goes on.

I had Rock and Chips with a diet coke. The fish was moist, fresh and the batter was very crispy. The fish was better than The Laughing Halibut (38 Strutton Ground, St. James Park SW1P 2HR) and Fryer's Delight (19 Theobald's Road, Hoborn WC1X 8SL). Having said that, the chips were a little disappointing as they were not very crispy. The best chips I've had in London so far was actually at the ICA.

Notice that it wasn't a Diet Coke but it's a Coca-Cola "light". When I flipped to read the label, it's all in German!

Exmouth Market (Farringdon Rd + Roseberry Ave)

Exmouth Market
Post lunch I went for a walk in the area. I dropped by the Exmouth Market. I've been there once before with Nina, Amy and Elodie, when Golden Fish Bar was closed and searched for alternatives. There were food vendors on the street, everyone was on the patio having lunch and a pint. Along the street there are lots of cute little independent shops from unique clothing to handcrafted gifts and organic cafés. It was lovely.

Leather Lane Market (Leather Lane - Wed-Fri, 10:30-14:30)

Leather Lane Market
Continuing my journey to Oxford Street, I walked along Clerkenwell Road on-route to Holborn, I discovered Leather Lane Market. Almost like the Strutton Ground Market, the market is catered to local office workers going to graze during lunch hour, whether they're picking up sandwiches for lunch, or buying quick fruits for home later or looking for cheap clothes, shoes, jewelleries or designer knock-off handbags. Everything is here, prices are quite keen. A few stalls have overstock from TopShop and Miss Selfridges.

The market essentially lead me to Holborn High Street. Then I went to Oxford Circus and bought some cute summer shoes from H&M: red patent peep toes with ankle tie, seersucker sandals. Then I got a call back from Kat, I'll be starting my internship on Tuesday. I'm quite excited though it's too bad that the position is non-paid. At the very least, this internship will keep my mind occupied, people seems kewl working there and I love meeting new people, hopefully I can get a good reference from it, and I can put this as my "UK work experience" on my "CV".

Bought this amazing strapless laced dress at River Island for a bargain of just £10! I was going to check out the new Primark at Oxford Street but since it was opening day, there was an insane queue both ways around the entire block. I couldn't be bothered, there's a Primark 5 minutes away from where I live.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Erhm.. Fungi?

Mushrooms are growing at the bottom of the palm tree! Elodie then gets rid of them, but in the photo it looks more like she is feeding them to Claire.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Megahangout 2: Blast from the past weekend

What an emotionally and physically exhausted weekend!

I'm glad I stuck it out and get to see my friends. Had a lovely day at the V&A (one of my favourite museums) with Kate on Friday. We went to see Kylie Exhibition and Surreal Things. The Surreal Things exhibit was better than i expected. Got to see a couple of my favourite paintings from the period. Didn't realised there were more forms of medium expressed through during the movement: ballet, wardrobe, industrial design, advertising, film and even fashion. The exhibition was worth seeing if you haven't already and it was well curated. The evening was tensed, I don't want to get into that... but I did met a cute boy named Jarvis who looked like the young Jamie Oliver who plays in a band called Broken Tapes.

The next day, I had breakfast with Mike at Broadway Market. I love these little markets. That's one thing I will definitely miss if I were to go home. The place he was planning to take me wasn't opened, so we went back to La Vie de Rose (2 Broadway Market E8 - Apparently Little Georgia (87 Goldsmiths Row E8) is better, will have to try that one out), a cute lil' French place he took me to a year ago after an emotionally intense night. It was weird to be in the same place, with the same person, also somewhat feeling the same a year later! I went to visit Kate at Pier's studio in Brick Lane afterwards, it was her last day in London. We had a little chat. Then i hooked up with Elodie and Claire, and spend hours at -- TopShop!! Retail therapy was much needed! Baz txt he was in town, so we met up with him and met his girlfriend, Cath. She is sooo lovely!!!! Haven't seen him for years and how time flies! We went for a pint at Pillars of Hercules on Greek St behind the Astoria, and then Claire's boyfriend, Thomas, joined us and we went to Cripsy Duck on Chinablock for dinner since the Japanese place was packed. We were feeling brave and had deep-fried pork intestines for starters (it's actually one of my favourite dishes). We talked lots about food and Baz' history of his veggie days. All good fun!

Of course, the only night that I finally get 6 hours of sleep, I have to wake up on wrong side of the bed. My right side of my body from neck down to shoulder and upper arm can't move. I think i've sprang my tendon. It was the same pain i had last year before the "acupuncture rape incident" but this time more on my shoulders. I can feel a weird muscle bump on my shoulder actually. It got worse after carrying the heavy bag from Tesco. I spend the rest of my night not moving with a hot water bottle on my shoulder. It still hurts today.

It's been 2 months since I've been here. I'm sorta mad at myself by not having accomplished much but I'm just taking baby steps at a time, by starting to focus on my health first. Need to start eating properly again and hopefully will lead to a better sleep at night. I'm taking this time to work on my portfolio. I'm hoping to have it done ASAP so i can start looking for jobs again.

It looks beautiful outside today, but it's not like I can move. So I'm going stay in and try to get some reading done and work on my portfolio.

Okay, so this is almost like the exact entry from the myspace one but I'm lazy yeah?

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