Posted by Krista on August 29, 2013
I woke up one morning, craving enchiladas. I can’t explain how these things happen to me, except that they do sometimes. While still horizontally ensconced in Frette, I did a bit of thumbing around on the old iPhone until Flo popped up. Good reviews, good enchiladas, and easily accessible by Divvy Bike, my newest infatuation.
I showed up to Flo by myself and took a seat at the bar. I wasn’t the only one, alone at the bar, placing my order. That gave me instant confidence in this “New Mexico” restaurant. Normally, in this part of town, I don’t run into that many solo diners. Especially this early in the morning. But I was one of at least three.
The enchiladas arrived. They were simple and perfect. And at $9, also a pretty good value. By the time I left, the line for Flo was out the door. Hipsters, families, and tables for one.
The Verdict: I can only speak for Sunday brunch — which I’ve done here now three Sundays in a row — but you should go. Get the enchiladas.
Posted by Krista on August 28, 2013
Seriously…the pace of change in London is unbelievable. There’s a new skyscraper — The Shard — and London Bridge Station is completely unrecognizable. (Classic moment: I had to ask one of the station masters WHERE TO FIND THE TRAINS. Also, where did M&S go?? I found it. Eventually.) The area around Old Street even more so unrecognizable. There are new coffee shops everywhere, and the dodgy Chinese ballroom is now Rotary Diner, with the most gorgeous of jewelbox bars in the basement.
I was in London for the 4th of July. What do all the American employees of an American company in London do in London on the 4th of July? They go to the Rotary Bar Diner for PULLED PORK. And it is unbelievable fantastic. (Although the corn bread was a little on the dry side.) Amazing to see “American” done so well on this side of the Atlantic, but after Pitt Cue Co., I should not be surprised.
Also, the lemonade is AWESOME.
All that being said, they revealed their British side by only providing us with ONE measly little napkin each. Why don’t British people like napkins??? I have always wondered this. Also, the service at Rotary was slllooooowwwww.
The Verdict: Go, please. Although I hear they might only be a pop-up so go soon.
Posted by Krista on August 27, 2013
Long-term readers will know that on Fridays during the summer, I can leave work early if I want to. And I’ve been trying to do that this summer, trying to get out there and explore places and do things and see things. Someone told me that I would love Beatrix so I went to Beatrix on one of my Friday afternoons. Because I am trusting like that.
And I did like Beatrix. Sort of. I mean, I liked the chairs. There are a lot of different chairs at Beatrix. It’s one of those new-school/old-school all day free-wifi restaurants with lots and lots of chairs for people so you can sit down or you can stand up or you can stay for 20 minutes or you can stay for EIGHT HOURS (like the people across from me did). Lots of interesting, different chairs. Really, there’s something for everyone. Really, it felt like a total ripoff of London’s Hoxton Hotel.
“Have the burger,” some guy at the bar urged me. “I just did and it was really really good.”
Apparently that man has never had a burger in HIS ENTIRE LIFE.
Because the burger was shite. Super shite. Overcooked sawdust.
And the fries were undercooked.
And the pickled vegetables were still too raw.
When I left, I was angry at myself for wasting my Friday lunch here. Very angry.
All that being said, they were jackhammering the road outside the restaurant and you never would have known it inside the restaurant. That’s some good sound-proofing they’ve got going there.
The Verdict: But no.
Posted by Krista on August 26, 2013
The pace of change. For years, my stretch of City Road in London was desolate. Empty. There was a Pret a Manger, but not much else. We got excited when the pixtos place opened up, but after too many bad meals there, we were no longer so keen. And then I left the city. And everything good happened. The dodgy Chinese ballroom became Rotary Diner (more on that some other day), and the dodgy Chinese takeaway window became YUM BUN. And Yum it is. Very, very yum.
Yum and PACKED. My colleague Echo warns me we must go early or else we must wait. And we do go early. But still we wait. The queue is deep. But for £7.50, we get two buns and some pot stickers and we sit in the window of the old dodgy Chinese ballroom and watch the hipsters cycle through the Silicon Roundabout and I wonder…why are my lunches in America so f*cking boring.
And then I also wonder WHAT IF, but then I get sad so we leave.
The Verdict: Cheap, cheerful, and yum.
Posted by Krista on August 25, 2013
I eat at Carriage House a lot. Sometimes, I get off the train after work and I think to myself “Whole wheat pasta in the microwave at home or dinner at the bar at Carriage House?” That is WAY too easy a decision to make. I like it here. I like their wines, I like their service, I like their food. Sadly, the Lyonnaise salad and its soft pillows of pork belly is off the menu for now — I’ve been eating a lot of that — but then the asparagus popped up and it is LUSCIOUS. Slow poached egg, sherry and sorghum vinaigrette, cornbread crumbs, crawfish tails and béarnaise. Pretty fantastic. But also, apparently, now off the menu. God damnit.
So here’s what I think of though while I sit at the bar at Carriage House. I look out the window and I see all the people all going to all the sports bars and I wonder…with food this good RIGHT HERE, why would you go to a sports bar for waffle fries? Why?
Posted by Krista on August 24, 2013
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t too keen on trying out another Virgilio Martinez restaurant. I had been very underwhelmed by Central in Lima. But Chris Pople told me that I really ought to give Lima a shot, and so I did. And I was VERY happy I followed his sage advice because truly, this was a creative and interesting and fresh and bright and luscious meal. Somehow, the waitstaff was even able to convince me to order salmon, something I very rarely order outside of Japanese restaurants because it’s one of the few things I can cook myself. The staff deserve a gold star for that feat alone. Really a terrific meal. Also, I liked the space. It is small and intimate and not trying to be too many things to too many people.
Verdict: You should go here. Have the salmon. (Seriously, I never say that. This is amazing.)
Posted by Krista on August 23, 2013
Reunited and it feels so good. Long-time readers might remember Canadia Boy (aka Bryan) and Stacey from my London years, they of the lovely wedding in Biarritz which included a side-trip to San Sebastian. They too have decamped to Washington DC, so along with Julie and DC’s favorite morning show TV host, @financialista. We found ourselves at the lovely and peaceful Izakaya Seki in the U Street Corridor, where we promptly ordered everything off the menu. A real Japanese menu will all sorts of real Japanese things and no volcano rolls in sight. Each item better than the last. I would eat here every day if I could, and bring Bryan and Stacey and Julie and Jessica with me.
Posted by Krista on August 22, 2013
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. This bowl of ramen at Bone Daddies in Soho in London is one of the most delicious things I’ve EVER eaten. And I don’t normally like ramen. Also, those eggs? PERFECTION. Ramen MAGIC. Crazy ramen magic. The broth!! I could drink that for the rest of my life and die happily.
The only bad part was the music. Not a heavy metal fan, this one.
The Verdict: GO. Now.
Posted by Krista on August 21, 2013
While in DC, I forced Julie to go to an oyster place (palace!) and watch me eat. And here’s what I realized…it’s no fun having lunch with someone, ordering oysters, but being the only person who eats the oysters. I REALLY wanted Julie to like oysters. But she doesn’t. So I ate all six by myself. And I felt a little lonely, even though Julie was sitting RIGHT THERE.
I liked Pearl Dive. If I could do it all over again, I would definitely eat in the bar area and try to pick up some guys in seersucker and boat shoes.
The Verdict: Do it. If you like oysters, that is. Gentlemen, if you’re reading this, wear your boat shoes and your belts with those boats on them. I’ll be there, waiting for you.
Posted by Krista on August 20, 2013
I was in London in July for many reasons. Three hotels during my stay, also for many reasons. The Andaz Liverpool Street was my first hotel. Let me start by saying that this is a very high quality hotel, so in a way I feel bad about what I’m about to say. BUT there were just so many quirks. Particularly, they were quirks that were totally in the control of the hotel.
So firstly…lovely arrival. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about their more or less deskless arrival area, but it was fine and neat and different and I am all about trends in the hotel industry, so it was fine. They were very sweet and wanted to take my luggage to my room but I was jetlagged and just wanted to shower and change immediately so I said no. And I hate feeling like I have to tip someone else to do something I could have done myself.
I am a Hyatt Platinum member so I was upgraded to a king room. It was nice. But I could feel the people who had slept in the bed before me. I hate a mattress that dips.
Then, I felt like an idiot because #1 I couldn’t figure out where to put the room key to turn the lights on (hint: the thermostat) and #2 I couldn’t find the hair dryer, which they say is in the desk — and it is — but I still couldn’t find it. I had to call the front desk both times.
So then the wifi. MEH. At a hotel of this caliber, the wifi should be all connected, all the time. If they can do this in hotels in the middle east, they can do this in LONDON. For the love of God. My iPhone 5 kept dropping the connection and it is not my phone’s fault.
OK, the bath tub. It is seriously two feet high, if not taller. There is no step. So you really have to throw yourself into the tub and hope you don’t slip and fall and break something. I was frightened. I am a normal person. And I was frightened. Do NOT grab the towel rack to swing yourself out of the bath tub because it is HOT. HOT. Don’t. (Really, I am curious about their insurance claims.)
There is like NO sound proofing in this hotel. And hotel staff have NEVER been trained to use their INSIDE VOICE when they are outside guest rooms. From around 8:30 to 10 am the two mornings I was there, there was shouting, yelling, and MUCH SLAMMING of doors, particularly on Sunday. (Also, when I checked in on Friday around 1 pm.) I don’t even know where these doors were that they were slamming, but they were slamming them. Many times. Like every two minutes because at one point, I counted. (Although maybe it was the plumbing system? I don’t know. It sounded like doors slamming.) I was really trying to sleep in on Sunday morning and it was totally impossible. I mentioned this to Daniel the manager when I checked out and he was very nice and polite about it. But I don’t know. I am your guest. I shouldn’t have to tell you these things.
Almost lastly, the plumbing system. It is loud. They use some sort of vacuum to pull the water out of the sink and the toilets. Old building.
lastly, my reservation was complicated. I am acknowledging that. I booked one night through BA for free with Avios and then I booked the 2nd night directly and combined the reservations. I emailed the hotel in advance to combine the reservations. I still got a bill for the first night. Daniel was very helpful in having it removed.
OH WAIT…the nasi goreng from room service. IT WAS DELICIOUS. You should get it. and the free non-alcoholic minibar was awesome. Meantime beers for 5 quid which I actually think is an okay value for a hotel.
Location…The Central Line is RIGHT there. You can get anywhere in London in about 20 minutes. Really, the best. OK, it’s not surrounded by the British Museum or anything, but it is easy to get to/from.
The Verdict: Probably wouldn’t stay here again. Deathly afraid of that bath tub and too much SLAMMING.
Note: A version of this review appears on TripAdvisor. I would like to note that I feel that a lot of the reviews of this hotel are fake given the lack of detail in many reviews.
Posted by Krista on August 19, 2013
Julie left us here in Chicago and moved to DC. Her boss’ boss’ boss in the President now. That’s pretty cool. So I went out to DC for a visit, hoping for an intro. When I was a kid, we considered everything south of Pennsylvania “The South,”which I think is funny now as a Midwestern transplant. That being said, visiting DC made me miss the East Coast and most notably, the preppiness. I miss preppies…seersucker, boat shoes, Lacoste, belts with boats and whales on them. And I miss the food…clams and clams and more clams. I did NOT have clams when I was in DC but I did eat a Proof, a wine bar full of beautiful people. The gnocchi was beautiful. I would say you should get some, but it’s not on the menu anymore. Sorry!
The Verdict: A nice meal and a very nice wine list. I’d go back here.
P.S. Julie did not introduce me to the president. She owes me.
Posted by Krista on August 18, 2013
Ah, Little Goat. You are trying to kill ALL OF US, aren’t you? There is nothing healthy on your menu, is there? I ordered the Caesar salad once, which is generally not a healthy choice either, but I like how you took it to the next level and DEEP-FRIED THE ANCHOVIES. Thank you for that, thank you. Above, my fish tostadas. What a beautiful mess. How deliciously engrossing. (Really, this was really delicious.) Ah, my cholesterol, my arteries, my heart. Really, we are all going to die, thanks to Stephanie Izard.
The Verdict: Don’t go here if you have had long conversations with your doctor about your lab results.