50 coffees continues. And it’s all consuming. I have new rules. I try not to make any weekend plans. I save them for my non-Internet friends. (A tricky phrase to use, but you know what I mean. Your friends from your offline world.) And I try to take Mondays off. Also, I try to go to the gym four times a week and continue my Couch to 5K. Also, I’ve been trying not to set my alarm in the morning. Networking and being social is hard work, particularly when you’re a bit rusty at it. For a borderline introvert like me, it can be highly draining. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.
Lunch with Jeff (aka Stonch’s Beer Blog) at The Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell. I haven’t seen Jeff in ages. Back when my London restaurant blog was pretty hot, he had the hottest beer blog around. If you like beer, you should check out his blog. Jeff used to be the landlord at The Gunmakers in Clerkenwell but now he’s sold that and he’s also sold his new pub The Finborough Arms and so he is a man of leisure. We both live in Clerkenwell and we both love The Jerusalem so what better place to meet? Jeff has the gift of the gab and is a master story teller. He also disagrees with my sentiment that every restaurant should offer a wine by the glass that costs £3.50. Jeff mentioned 400% mark-ups on bottles of wine in pubs and restaurants! My assumption of a 100% markup was obviously naive. I also didn’t factor in VAT or any alcohol taxes, which is probably why I can’t follow his math. I still believe strongly that every restaurant should offer a small glass of wine for £3.50. If your starting price is £6, there’s something wrong. The Verdict: Go to The Jerusalem Tavern and enjoy the beverages. Lunch is okay too, although I’d maybe suggest lunch at Foxlow around the corner instead.
Barrafina with old-skool London restaurant bloggers Mr. Noodles and EuWen: We went to Barrafina and ate everything on the menu but yet we were surprised that we spent £50 quid a head! Everything was pretty good but not great. The mushroom croquettes were probably the best and I think that says it all…mushroom croquettes?? (OK, the whelks, photographed, were also very nice.) Service was snappy though! The Verdict: I like Barrafina — it’s on my Top 10 list — but I may push it down in the rankings soon. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY EUWEN!!
Taste of London with Denise and a cast of characters: Chris, Jeanne, Rosanna, May. Much much rose. I haven’t been to Taste of London in a long time. It’s bigger now, more crowded. There are a lot more products now too. It’s a very fun time — especially when you’re walking around with someone like Denise — but I was surprised by the amount of rubbish everywhere and people seemed less polite than I remember from past experiences. I would still go back — it’s Taste of London after all — but I would have a different strategy. I would stake out a place to sit and send people out to get things and bring them back rather than all of us fighting against the masses at the same time. Going back to the beginning of this #50coffees experiment, this event never would have happened for me if I hadn’t had reached out to Denise in the first place! Things are happening as a direct result of this project, which is great!!
Drinks and snacks at The Canonbury with London restaurant bloggers Cassie and Priscilla: Cassie invited me out to the re-opening of The Canonbury — a gorgeous pub in a gorgeous part of London with a gorgeous outdoor patio — where we descended on the gorgeous canapes like the world was going to end. Many sliders and three free drinks later, I had a gorgeous long walk home in the gorgeous London twilight. The Verdict: I want to go back to The Canonbury and loll about in their garden.
Hanging out my b-school crowd at the Chicago Angels Network at the Barclays Accelerator: I wish I could say that I’ve earned the millions that I deserve, but I (still) haven’t. Still, it was fun to go to the Chicago Angels Network event in Whitechapel last weekend and pretend I was a kajillionaire with money to invest. Four start-ups presented their wares for their latest rounds of funding. These events are the types of things I’ve always wanted to go to, but never had time to do so. In watching other people pitch, you learn a lot about yourself and your own presentation skills. And you learn a ton of stuff about the world as well. Ballast water and zebra mussels!! Yikes. We’re killing ourselves.
Outcomes of this week…
It was a good week. No cancellations, which is always a good thing. And I’m glad I did something business-y by going to the Chicago Angels Network. I really like this sort of event..a bit business-y, a bit social. My ideal combination! Here are some other outcomes and highlights…
- Running into master London restaurant blogger Chris Pople TWICE in one week and making dinner plans for later in July.
- Learning more about the world of start-ups, reconnecting with some old b-school friends and meeting some new people in the process.
- Learning about ballast water. And zebra mussels. (I already knew about Asian Carp. The bastards.)
- Oh! This was interesting. I had a conversation with a start-up guy all about Classpass, which I never would have known about if it weren’t for my lunch with Jordi at Roux at The Landau! I was the only person in the crowd who knew about Classpass, so that was cool. Thanks, Jordi!
- Making plans to meet Olga from KidCuteure, who saw my blog post and volunteered to meet for coffee.
- Making plans to meet up with grammar aficionado Olly over Bahn Mi. The Bahn Mi is a PR invite on the back of my 50 Coffee series, so that’s nice.
- Invite from my old friend Barry to join him at the Friends & Family Night at the opening of Bouillabaisse.
Can’t believe that as I write this, it’s already Week #5…I need to do a count of how many “coffees” I’m at…and figure out when this experiment will end…if it will end…and what will happen next…
What do you think I should do???