Owen & Engine, Logan Square

Posted by Krista on January 12, 2011
Upstairs at Owen & Engine

Upstairs at Owen & Engine

Owen & Engine
2700 North Western

Date of Last Visit: Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Victims: Christina, Kent

The Damage: $20ish each

The Background:  Christina & Kent wanted to see True Grit. I had no idea what they were talking about. Shows you what kind of movie buff I am. They found a 7:20 pm showing at the theater on Western–affectionately known as the Ghetto Theater, even though it’s across from a Target. And a new gastropub–Owen & Engine. I feel like we’ve been calling this theater the Ghetto Theater forever, but 2700 N. Western isn’t really the ghetto anymore now is it?

Charcuterie at Owen & Engine

We started out with some charcuterie, which I believe is all made in-house. I liked the sausage there at 6 o’clock. And the salami (?) at 4 o’clock wasn’t bad either. Ah, the pickles were nice too. However…that pate (2 o’clock) was truly dreadful. The consistency, the color , the taste and the smell were all a bit off-putting. Slimy, really.

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

I opted for the fish and chips for my main and it was a surprisingly generous portion. Two big fat filets. The only problem? The dish was cold. We had waited a really long time for our food, and I think mine must have been sitting somewhere in the kitchen under the coolest (as in “not warm”) of heat lamps. This would have been 100% better piping hot out of the fryer. The crust on the fish was light but crispy–someone obviously knows what they’re doing–but it’s just too bad it was not hot.

Not pictured here, but Owen & Engine makes their own ketchup. We had a long debate about making your own ketchup. Heinz rocks, I say. Don’t mess with Heinz. There are other things you can spend your time and money on. Like making sure your patrons get hot food. The homemade alioli, on the other hand, that I’m okay with. It was a nice touch. There’s more latitude in making your own alioli.

The Service: Friendly  but gee whiz did we wait a while for our mains. The charcuterie arrived pretty quickly though.

True Grit: Eh. Felt long and drawn out and anti-climactic. Ended too quickly and in an unsatisfying way.

The Verdict: Owen & Engine is VERY convenient to that big movie theater on Western. It’s right across the street. As such, we were a little surprised the pub wasn’t a bit busier, but I suppose they’re still new and all that. Plus Americans still have that thing against British food. I would go here again for the atmosphere but the food at this point seems just, well, nice. Not special.

Ah, and they don’t serve half pints. This bugged me. The US needs more half pints.

Owen and Engine on Urbanspoon

Posted in Chicago, Gastro, Logan Square, United States | Comments Off

The Crown, Stoke by Nayland

Posted by Krista on May 10, 2010

The crown
The Crown
Park Street

Date of Last Visit: April 16th and 17th

The Victims: Dev, Connie, Mireia

The Damage: Included in our hotel bill!

The Background: We were out in Colchester for the opening of the Rose & Crown, our friend Ed's pub and my newest investment. Given the copious amounts of Penet Chardonnet we were sure to be drinking, Ed had recommended The Crown, a 10 minute taxi ride away, as a good place to stay. And boy was he right.

I stay in a lot of hotels. And this honestly has to be one of the nicest ones I've stayed in, particularly for the price The rooms were gorgeous. The staff were lovely. The bath products were nice. In short, I didn't want to leave.

And I especially didn't want to leave once I'd had the bubble & squeak for breakfast.

The crown bubble
The mash was full of all sorts of good stuff…thick chunks of bacon and fresh bits of cabbage (which I'm not normally a fan of). Was there spinach in there too? Carrots? I'm really not sure. But it was fantastic. And that egg…you can't tell from this photo, but there were actually TWO of them. Two perfectly fried eggs, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.

I couldn't fathom eating for about another eight hours after this. And in truth, I couldn't imagine eating anything as good as this. It was like I didn't want to wipe its taste from my memory. Because this was memorable. VERY memorable. I'm already imagining my top 10 for 2010 and unless everything else I eat in 2010 is outstandingly amazing, this bubble & squeak gets a spot!

The Verdict: If you're in the area–perhaps visiting the Rose & Crown (hopefully with me!)–definitely stay the night at The Crown and have their fantastic bubble & squeak for breakfast before you leave.

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Clissold Arms, Muswell Hill

Posted by Krista on October 20, 2009

Clissold arms menu

Clissold Arms
115 Fortis Green
N2 – 020

Date of Last Visit: Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Victims: Al, Louise

The Damage: £25 each

The Background: It's been a really long while since I've added a new postcode. Well, here it is. N2. Exciting times, huh?

Up til the weekend before last, I'd never been to Muswell Hill before. But here's what I can now report. It's green. Very green. And suburb-y feeling.

I can also report that The Clissold Arms is a VERY long walk from East Finchley tube. And it's a very long and miserable walk in the RAIN…especially when you've forgotten your umbrella. And when your friends have a car and you don't and you spend most of the walk thinking, "Why didn't I arrange for them to pick me up at the tube?"

The Entrance: But I enter The Clissold Arms and all is right with the world again. It's a bright and airy space, and it's packed to the gills with cheerful families and tumbling tots. In fact, everyone seems to have at least one kid with them. Except for the woman who's crying her eyes out in the bathroom. (Supportive friend: "Get a grip! Pull yourself together!")

Clissold arms starter

The Starter: Sweetcorn fitter with black bean salsa. This is nice and crispy and I'm happy about all the rocket because you can never have too many vegetables. Not too sure how I feel about all the sour cream though. And it kinda needs salt.

Clissold arms main

The Main: Pan-fried fillet of sea bass with courgettes, asparagus, new potatoes and sugar snap peas. I really liked this. No idea how sustainable the fish was. And no clue how they got asparagus onto my plate in October. But good nonetheless. And colorful!

The Verdict: If I had kids and if I lived in Muswell Hill, I'd probably go here pretty often. But I don't have kids and I don't live anywhere near Muswell Hill, so I'll probably never go back.

Clissold Arms on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, N2, United Kingdom | 3 Comments

The Landseer

Posted by Krista on February 4, 2009

The landseer 

The Landseer
37 Landseer Road
N19 4JU 

Date of Last Visit: Sunday, January 18th, 2009

The Victims: Gerry, Ben

The Damage: Less than £20 for some beer and a bowl of French onion soup.

The Background: I wrote a while back about how I thought 2009 would be the year of playing games in pubs. So it was that I found myself on a Sunday afternoon at The Landseer in Holloway with my bag of tricks. I convinced Gerry and Ben to play Quiddler and despite Gerry's dislike of word games, she managed to kick all of our butts big time until I squeaked ahead in the last possible round!

The Entrance: The Landseer has a lot of big windows. On a chilly but sunny Sunday like the 18th, this really makes it the most perfect place to hang out it. Really, it was lovely.

The Service: Super congenial. Someone had definitely taken their happy pills.

The Food: I ordered French onion soup and some chips. The French onion soup was pretty bad. Gloupy in a bad way. And there were lots of little sticks in it. Like someone had thrown in the twigs from a lot of old bay leaves.The chips were nice though…nice shoe-stringy frites.

Landseer french onion 

The Verdict: Go back for the windows. And the frites. Also, they have pretty much ALL the Sunday papers, which makes it a nice place to while away a few hours.

Conservatory at the Landseer on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, N19, United Kingdom | 4 Comments

£6.50 for a Brownie with Ice Cream?

Posted by Krista on January 15, 2009

650 for cake 

Maybe it's the times. Maybe The Garrison just caught me on a bad night. MAybe I just haven't been paying enough attention to the price of pudding these days.

But see the box on this menu? Those are the desserts. And they all clock in at £6.50. The cheese is £7.50.

£6.50 for dessert on Bermondsey Street, of all places? That's highway robbery. Isn't it?

Posted in Gastro, London, SE1, United Kingdom | 11 Comments

The Engineer

Posted by Krista on November 21, 2008
Engineer menu

The Engineer

65 Gloucester Avenue

Date of Last Visit: Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Victims: Al, Rutton

The Damage: £45 each for Rutton and Me. £35 for Al.

The Background: First we were six, possibly eight. And then we were three. And one was on time. Two were late. Thank God for Time Out. And St. Peter's Organic. How restaurants put up with us, I don't know.

That being said, I am somewhat proud of Rutton in that he took THE BUS. I have never known him to take the bus. You know there must be a credit crunch going on when this former investment banker (still gainfully employed, but an investment banker no more) takes THE BUS. Hence his lateness. (That being said, he wasn't that late. Maybe 10 minutes?)

While we wait for Al, we enjoy our starters. Tortilla soup for me. Some sort of smoked salmon for him. My soup is very generous. A meal almost in itself. We also start in on our first bottle of Tempernillo.

Rutton likes his salmon so much that he debates ordering another plate, ostensibly to tell Al that we've ordered him a starter. Al arrives just in time to prevent this hoax and we move into mains.

Engineer chicken

Although I don't normally order chicken in restaurants–it's the one thing I can make for myself–today is just one of those days. It's cold out. And wet. And some roast chicken just seems like such the right thing. Mine (and Rutton's) is served with mash, spinach, and mushrooms. It's a generous portion, and it's pretty good. Is it very good pub food. I'm happy. Al is just as happy with his miso marinated pollock. Although where he puts it, I don't know.

During all this, we polish off another bottle of Tempernillo and start in on some muscat. To go along with our vanilla ice cream. And our bakewell tart.

I know I must have taken the tube home. And the bus. But I'm a little hazy on the details starting about mid-way through that 2nd bottle of Tempernillo.

The Loos: Could really use a good scrubbing.

The Verdict: I liked it here. It did the trick on a Sunday afternoon.

Engineer on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, NW1, United Kingdom | 6 Comments

The Only Running Footman

Posted by Krista on October 7, 2008

Monkfish at orf

The Only Running Footman
5 Charles St
Tel: 020 7499 2988

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, September 30th

The Victims: Brenna, Mike

The Damage: £30 each

The Background: I haven't seen Brenna since 1992. Maybe 1994. We're a little hazy on those early years in university when we might have seen each other during the summer. Through the magic of Facebook, we've been brought back together. She and her husband have stopped into London on their way back to the U.S. after a two week European tour.

They've come from Paris, in a roundabout way. And Brenna tells me how while she was in the ladies' loo at The Louvre, she ran into our other high school friend, Julie D. And I find this funny because on Saturday, I was in a bar in Crouch End when I randomly ran into my childhood friend Joanne who doesn't even live in London anymore. And just this past Saturday, I was in Angel tube and who did I run into by Bryan and Stacey. (They live around Angel, as do I, so perhaps it's not so surprising. But still!)

The world is indeed a small place

I've chosen The Only Running Footman because I was over at the London Bloggers' Meetup earlier and I know that the Green Park tube will be convenient for Brenna and Mike. And so we meet.

And it's kinda crazy. Because we have over a decade of gossip to catch up on. She has long hair now. And she says I haven't aged at all.

The Food: Monkfish wrapped in bacon for me. Veal for Mike. Brenna complains momentarily about the lack of vegetarian options when our waiter overhears her and notes that the chef always makes something special for his vegetarians. They have a brief conversation, and we have no idea what to expect.

I like my monkfish. It's okay. Mike LOVES his veal. What I really like is the risotto that my monkfish is lying on. Brenna enjoys her vegetarian tart.

The Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding for me. A fruit tart of some sort for them, with basil ice cream. The basil seems like an odd choice, but it's strangely addictive.

The Verdict: I really liked it here. Prices are steep, but this is Mayfair. Service was friendly. My food was very good. I would go back. Just like I would go back in time to 1992. When I was Woman of Physics. And won the history medal. Although I can't remember sh*t. Except for 9.8 meters per second-squared.

P.S. Don't forget to tell me about your perfect Saturday in London!

Only Running Footman on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, United Kingdom, W1 | Comments Off

The Barnsbury

Posted by Krista on September 29, 2008

BarnsburyThe Barnsbury
209-211 Liverpool Road
N1 1LX
Tel: 020 7607 5519

Date of Last Visit: Friday, September 26th, 2008

The Victims: Feathers, Matt, Stacey

The Damage: Oh I forget…bad of me. £25ish each maybe?

The Background: Stacey has got us all tickets to Tropic Thunder at the Islington Vue. Dinner beforehand is in order. She offers me two choices: Vietnamese or The Barnsbury. Honestly, it's mir egal. So she books The Barnsbury.

Feathers and Matt and I sit outside The Barnsbury for a bit, enjoying the rare English sunshine. Matt and I buy Euro Millions tickets (all you need is £1 and a dream, right?) and as it turns out, I recoup my spend with a win of £7.40 or thereabouts.

The Food: We don't waste much time. After all, we have a really bad movie to see. Duck for me. The chicken and chorizo stew for Feathers and Stacey. Steak for Matt. We place our order around 7 p.m.

And then it's 7:30 p.m. And there's no food.

7:45 p.m. No food.

8 p.m. No food.

8:05 p.m. Food. Finally. We eat it in 10 minutes and skedaddle so we can get good seats.

The Verdict: I ate my food so fast, I don't even remember what it tasted like. I might go back here if I had more time. (Or, well, if they had more time. Or more, I don't know…more of a fire underneath them?) The service was nice.

P.S. Feathers texted me the next day and said, I quote, "So I thought the service was very good but food OK. My rocket and parm salad had too much parm and I never say that. The stew was just a nice piece of chicken in broth with beans."

Barnsbury on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, N1, United Kingdom | 2 Comments

Holly Bush

Posted by Krista on August 28, 2008

Holly_bush Holly Bush
22 Holly Mount
Tel: 020 7435 2892

Date of Last Visit: Friday, August 15th

The Victim: Jen

The Damage: I forget. Jen paid! Not much though.

The Background: Jen’s whirlwind tour of London continues. After catching the changing of the guard, I take us to Hampstead to do what any self-respecting gals from the Tri-State Area would do…get our nails done. Only thing is, Jen’s not biting. So I go off to get my nails done, and Jen wanders the streets of Hampstead.

After I’m all dry, we head up and over to the Holly Bush. You’ve got to give them credit…the approach is fantastic. Up a long but pretty flight of stairs and down a narrow side street, there it is. We grab a table by the window.

The Food: Chicken salad for her. Steak and ale pie for me. In hindsight, I should have ordered the salad…it was really pretty and fresh looking. And given that the sun shone the entire time Jen was in London, it made for a nice sunny-afternoon meal. My pie, on the other hand, was better suited to these last few days where the threat of rain seems omnipresent. It was still pretty good though. Here it is…


The Service: It was only bar service, but she seemed to be having a bad day. A bit surly, that one.

The Verdict: I think this is a good place to go if you have visitors in town and want to take them somewhere atmospheric. The walk up from the High Street alone will impress!

Holly Bush on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, NW3, United Kingdom | 4 Comments

Pub with Good Food: The Beehive

Posted by Krista on July 8, 2008

The Beehive
126 Crawford St
Tel: 020 7486 8037

Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Victims: Rutton, Richard, Jose

The Damage: I forget. £30ish? I really should keep better track of this. I’m sorry.

The Background: So way back when we went to Coco Momo, I was trying to remember the name of the new restaurant in Marylebone that started with a B. It was either The Botanist or The Beehive and I was–peversely–nowhere near an Internet connection so Coco Momo it was.

And then when I went to The Duke of Wellington, I thought again of this mysterious restaurant that started with a B. And there it was as I walked down Crawford Street.

So when Rutton suggested a dinner in town, The Beehive it was. Plus, we need to be sensitve to transport costs and our unemployed friend and Marylebone-ite, Richard. We’ve been seeing a lot of Richard since he and his employer parted ways. In just a few weeks, he’s also lost five+ years from his outward appearance. It’s truly amazing.

The Entrance: I am (surprise!) early. About 10 minutes so. I’ve brought Time Out to keep me occupied. But as I enter The Beehive, who do I see but Richard AND Rutton. Drinking Sancerre. Eating hummous. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought them a couple. Jose is not so very late. It’s a very rare moment, me, not sitting around, not playing with my phone.

So then I think about myself, sitting at a nice table in a nice pub with nice food, surrounded by three very nice and very handsome men, and I think to myself, life is good. (None are single or romantically uncomplicated if you’re wondering.)

The Food: The boys split the côte de bœuf, three-ways. I opt for a chicken dish with a mysterious name that basically means it’s served in tomato sauce. And with chips. An odd and slightly pedestrian combination, but I go for it anyhow. Richard admires the river of blood swimming around the côte de bœuf while I dig into my dish, which looks bland and uninteresting in comparison to the massacre (in a good way) of meat next to me.

But surprise, surprise. The chicken is nice. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. Almost like it’s been boiled in a bag and then pan-friend? I should have asked. The tomato sauce packs a nice and juicy punch. The chips are just chips. But that doesn’t stop any of us from eating them.

The Loos: Decently clean. I’ve seen far, far worse. This was above average.

The Service: Excellent. Good tips, good info on the menu. Knew the wine list. Rutton blew my cover at the end though. (Rutton, you MUST stop doing that.)

The Verdict: Richard said he’d go back. This says a lot. He has pretty excellent taste. For an unemployed guy.

Some Other Thoughts: As I was titling this post, I couldn’t decide to call The Beehive a Gastropub or not. It just doesn’t feel right, calling it a gastropub. It seems more like a pub with food, but pricier than a regular pub with food. The Guardian’s Word of Mouth Blog had a post along these lines last week. I don’t know. You tell me.

Oh yes, and here’s a shameless plug, you can read this little profile of me over at Delicious Magazine Online…

Beehive on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 7 Comments

Duke of Wellington

Posted by Krista on June 25, 2008

The Duke of Wellington
94a Crawford Street
Tel: 020 7723 2790

Date of Last Visit: Wednesday June 18th

The Victims: Rutton, Ted, Eve, Richard, Jason, Mark, Patrick

The Damage: £40ish each

The Background: Jason is in town from New York so Richard has organized dinner. Jason is the only person I know who's actually FROM the Hamptons. When I tell people I'm from Long Island, they will often say, "Oh, the Hamptons?" Which I suppose is a compliment because maybe I have that sort of fresh-faced J. Crew sort of look about me. (If you're not familiar with J. Crew, Boden is a good proxy.) And I do like Lacoste. But I'm not from the Hamptons. And I only wish my hair was as shiny and my legs were as long as a J. Crew model's.

So we meet up at the Duke of Wellington–I am, I believe, wearing Boden!–and I walk by The Beehive and am intrigued. (When we went to Coco Momo the other weekend, I suggested we try out the new place that started with a B but I couldn't remember the name. And there it is now, right in front of me.)

The Entrance: The Duke of Wellington seems smallish and dark, but maybe it's because there are so many of us, and everyone is taller than me. We are shown a table by the entrance and by the loos (how convenient) and promptly begin to demolish about five bottles of Rioja. This was not my idea.

The Food: A number of us order the lasagna, about which we're told, "It's made with a different pasta. Is that okay?" We all ask if it's still lasagna, and our server keeps explaining yes, but with a different pasta.

I don't think our server has ever had lasagna before. About the only thing it has in common with lasagna is pasta.

The Verdict: Don't order the lasagna. Not only is it not lasagna, it's not very good either. The side salad was nice though.

Duke of Wellington, Bar and Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 2 Comments

Gastro: Magdala

Posted by Krista on February 20, 2008


2A South Hill Park
Tel: 020 7435 2503

Date of Last Visit: Sunday, 10 February 2008

The Victims: Gerry, Ben, Christiaan, Cat

The Damage: £20ish? I still owe Ben money.

The Story: Why, when I'm not drinking beer these days, I choose to spend all my time in pubs, I cannot tell you. Why I'm also finding myself playing a lot of games (game games, not mind games), I also cannot tell you. Logic problems. Scrabulous on Facebook. Prolific (formerly Bogglific) on Facebook. Phase 10. (My new favorite game.) Hmmm.

I do like games. And games in a pub are even better. And games in a pub on one of the most beautiful Sundays in a while…now that's just a great way to while away an afternoon. Put me on an eerie winning streak, and well…

So we are at Magdala in Belsize Park and the sun is so bright and streaming through the windows that my large, "beautiful people" sunglasses are being passed around the table to protect us from the glare.

The Food: No one if hungry but me (of course) so I order the parsnip soup. Gerry follows suit. It's supposed to come with ciabatta, but it doesn't. (See, you can see ciabatta clearly listed on the menu! So I was not imagining things.) But the standard bread basket is really nice…tomato bread? So we survive.

I also order a pasta dish–pesto and spinach and tomatoes and there's a mention of Stinking Bishop but I ignore that, unwisely so as it turns out. The pasta is served over a big fist-sized wedge of stinking bishop. And this is just so much more stinking bishop than I was prepared to eat. The overall taste of the dish is one of flatness. And I find myself reaching for the salt. But who puts salt on pasta? Hmmm.

The Loos: Possess a Dyson Air Blade!

The Verdict: I liked the service. I liked the sunniness of it all. I did not overly enjoy my food, but I'm sure many people would be perfectly happy.

Coming Soon…Tokyo Diner, Oops, Abeno Too, Yauatcha macaroons

Magdala on Urbanspoon

Posted in Gastro, London, NW3, United Kingdom | Comments Off