Things I Want to Do in London in 2015

Posted by Krista on February 5, 2015

image (2)

I moved back to London because I am in love with this city, but all I’ve been doing is working, working, working. All work and no play makes Krista a dull girl. This needs to change!! I’ve started working on a list of things I really want to do in London this year. Here they are, in no particular order.

The Fat Duck. I still haven’t done this. I really need to do it. Who wants to join me? Better yet, who wants to invite me along to their table?

Ride The Emirates Air Line. I’m a sucker for things like this.

Visit The London Zoo. I’ve never been to the zoo!! Honestly, I really don’t want to go to the zoo. I hear it’s expensive. But I just want to cross it off  my list and then maybe hang around Camden or Little Venice afterwards.

Visit Ronnie Scott’s. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any live music. I miss live music. I’m probably less a jazz person than I am a blues and swing person but I am sure I can find something.

Go to Wimbledon, even if it’s just the lawn or one of the early matches. In all these years, I’ve yet to go.

Visit The Shard. What is wrong with me? I go by The Shard all the time but I’ve yet to go UP THE SHARD. I’ve yet to eat at The Shard either. This must be rectified.

See something at The Globe. I generally get bored at the theatre so I am not obligating myself to stay for an entire performance. But I would like to visit for an hour or so just to say I’ve been.

Abbey Road Beatles Crossing! Never been. And oh my God but the live cam on this site is hysterical.

Spend a weekend in Edinburgh. I haven’t been to Edinburgh since I was 19. That one time I was there for work for eight hours in 2005 doesn’t count. I realize this isn’t something to do in London, but it’s something I often think about. “I should go to Edinburgh…”

Do a tour of London distillery Sipsmith. I don’t really like gin, but I still feel like I should visit the first copper-pot distillery in London in nearly two centuries.

There are probably other things I should be doing. I’ve done a lot since my initial arrival in 2004 but what have I forgotten?

20 London Restaurant Bloggers by Social Media Presence

Posted by Krista on February 1, 2015
BlogTwitter
Urbanspoon PostsFacebookInstagramReach
Cheese & Biscuits24169372148033125980
Andy Hayler87496065029251
Samphire & Salsify398225229432087484
Wrap Your Lips Around This386923610362995204
The Foodaholic34271673427
Passportdelicious31842631935083885
Matt The List2810721525763538
Food Connoisseur229123012878304408
Maybe It's Because18145574643626922
Boo in Montreal11392621681307
Grumbling Gourmet10992431571256
London Chow1032268811113
Picky Glutton855374855
Out for Lunch51811172690
Blog about Nothing in London402303123316841
Rate My Bistro34419576420
Vi Vivian's27966287289855
I Live to Eat and Eat to Live244
Ivy Eats Again9122333424
Hungry Bee Maija6429164

I’m an analyst. I always have been. I like tables, data and lists. New favorite WordPress plugin? TablePress!

Frequently, some PR or another will ask me for my follower stats. Now, I am out there on the Internet. I am not hard to find. You can find me on Twitter and on Instagram and on Facebook. And yes, you can find me on Pinterest and Vine too. It’s really not that hard. I would argue that any PR worth their salt should know these things before extending invitations.

With a little time on my hands this morning, I decided to make life easy for everyone. I created my own collated data table. I took at look at 20 London restaurant bloggers on Urbanspoon and put together stats on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers. I also included the number of restaurants they’d reviewed with an Urbanspoon tag, just to provide a rough order a magnitude. I read a lot of snotty things on the Internet that suggest that bloggers don’t know what they’re talking about. Well, if you’ve been to 200+ restaurants in London, I dunno…I think you probably know restaurants more than most people.

(I used very unscientific methodology with Urbanspoon to pick my 20. I just used the Top 10 London restaurant bloggers of all time, plus 9 listed on the “most recent list.” There was overlap between the two lists so I just kept going until I hit 19. And then I, uh, added myself. Hey, why not? It’s my table!! This actually underscores a point…I’m not in the Top 10 on Urbanspoon, but I still have a lot more reach than most.)

All of this data is as-of around 8:30 am on Sunday, February 1st 2015. Social media data changes frequently, so please consider this all a snapshot and not gospel truth. It will be interesting though for me to rerun this at some future date and see if anything’s changed.

In some instances, it was hard to find people on all of the platforms. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough. I tried to check each website for clear links to Facebook and Instagram, in particular But I wasn’t always successful. Please drop me a note if I’ve missed something.

Other flaws in my methodology…to calculate “Reach,” I just added together Twitter + Facebook + Instagram. Obviously, there is usually overlap between the three platforms. (For example, I follow the preeminent Chris Pople now via all his platforms.) I don’t have the magic social media tools to determine the actual unique intersection, so we’ll have to make do with this sum for now. (Although I am open to suggestions on how to get some sort of figure on total unique followers.)

Big flaw…you could have a lot of followers any platform, and they could be of the “make money online” variety. A number doesn’t provide any indication of quality.

Biggest flaws: Some people on this list have stopped blogging. And some people choose not to use Urbanspoon. (Example, Kang over at London Eater.)

Sad that you didn’t make my list? Don’t be sad. Like I said, this was highly unscientific. If you blog about restaurants in London, I’m happy to add you. Just comment below and I will do some reconnaissance and add more rows to my table.

As I put this data together, I had some natural questions. I’d appreciate your thoughts on these, along with any questions you yourself might have. Let me know.

  • Why are some popular Tweeters not popular on Instagram?
  • Why are some popular Instagrammers not popular on Twitter?
  • Why don’t most bloggers permeate all the platforms? Speaking for myself, I use my blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram regularly. Why don’t others do the same?  Andy Hayler, for example, you seem like the perfect candidate for a Facebook fan page! (I am talking to Andy directly here because I know him personally!)
  • Does anyone else think that Wrap Your Lips Around This sounds dirty?? LOL.

 

I Am Grateful for Japan and All the Japanese Barbecue

Posted by Krista on January 30, 2015

IMG_3543I’ve only been to Japan once. It was 2008 and I was going through some tough times. I decided the best way to deal with my problems was to fly from London to California and go to BlogHer (before it was overtaken by mommy bloggers) and then to keep flying and flying and flying and fly to Japan. I spent a week in Tokyo and I fell in love with everything. On the way back, I flew 12 hours from Tokyo to London. In a two-week period, I had flown all the way around the world. Me, in a silver tube in the sky. All the sky.

Now, all these years later, I can’t even remember what those tough times in 2008 were. But I remember that Tokyo was the answer. Tokyo and sushi and sake and patterns and wrapping paper and basements of department stores and French pastries. Many French pastries.

And it was the answer. I stayed at The Prince Park Tokyo and it was amazing. The toilet in my hotel room!! It was my first experience with Japanese toilets and my life has never been the same since. I had a good time at The Prince Park.

On my last night in Japan, I spent all of the remainder of my money on a slightly worn room at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Yes, I was all very “Lost in Translation.” (It was a nice hotel, but it really didn’t compare to the lightness of the Prince Park.) That night, I had drinks with an old British friend from my Munich ex-pat days at the bar all the way up at the top of the Park Hyatt. In the twinkling darkness of the bar, we talked about our magical Munich expat time. I am grateful to that summer.

So what I’m saying is…It doesn’t take a lot to get me emotional about anything Japan and Tokyo. I am easy when it comes to Japan and Tokyo. Very, very easy.

I just bbq’d all this and more for lunch at Kintan and now I am going out for dinner. :(

A photo posted by Krista (@kristainlondon) on

It doesn’t take much to get me excited about Japanese barbecue either. So when the very kind people at Kintan on High Holborn got in touch and asked me if I wanted to drop by with a friend, I was grateful. Because you see, I already owed my friend Natasa. So this was a way of paying her back. I said yes. But in hindsight, I didn’t really know what I was saying yes to. It sounded like a drink and a snack and I was happy for that. But no. It was a monster of a Japanese barbecue. Filet mignon, rib eye, short rib, skirt steak…plus prawns and scallops and halloumi cheese. All on the barbecue. Plus hot oiled seared salmon and tuna tartar on cubes of rice, fried, on the side. And edamame and noodles and salad and miso soup and did I mention the rib eye??? Oh yes, and mochi ice cream. MOCHI ICE CREAM. Stick a fork in me. I’m done. 

Soo full. As stuffed as one these guys. A photo posted by Krista (@kristainlondon) on

Natasa and I did the best we could to clear our plates. We finished nearly everything but the noodles (low light of the meal) and some of the skirt steak. We made room for a sweet, sweet extra dessert from the sweet sweet proprietor, whom we can only wish we had met earlier. Because the only real downside to all this gratefulness and sweetness that I have for Kintan is that when we really needed service, staff were curiously absent. Empty dishes languished for ages. Water glasses went unfilled. I lost my napkin and there was no alcohol so I became cranky.  But yet…Kintan is the type of place I want to go back to. On a Sunday afternoon, even on a desolate stretch of High Holborn, Kintan was full of Japanese families and their children. I love that sort of thing and I can only hope that next time Natasa and I return, we are with a group of eight or ten or twelve and can share the Japanese love. And be grateful for it. 

The Verdict; Delicious fun for the entire family! But don’t over-order! Take your time! And book that trip to Japan with your family before it’s too late.

Big Bad Disclosure: I was a grateful guest of Kintan, along with my friend Natasa. I estimate our tab at about £110, before service. We tipped on the full amount, as you should. 

Kintan on Urbanspoon

Don’t Worry, This Gratefulness Thing Will Be Over Tomorrow

Posted by Krista on January 29, 2015

Day #4! I’ve survived. So have you!!! Don’t worry…by the weekend, I’ll be back to my easily-annoyed self, especially when it comes to London restaurants. Maybe I’ll write about that next week. Easily Annoyed Week! (Maybe you can convince me otherwise.) But for now, let me tell you what else I’m grateful for while I’m still concentrating on this gratefulness thing.

This Article about Snapchat in The New York Times: I thought Snapchat was for kids! I like reading something that inspires me to do something different. So I’ve downloaded Snapchat as a first step. We’ll see what happens next. I’m scared! Please don’t send me any naked photos.

Law & Order: When I have nothing to do, I seriously ask myself “I wonder if Law & Order is on?” I love Law & Order. I hate to bow down to the god of television, but I can always guarantee that I will watch ALL of a Law & Order episode, no matter how old it is. Ice T!

Spotify Premium: I am seriously grateful for Spotify Premium. I love it. I listen to Spotify all day long. They are probably losing money on me. But I love the random playlists! (Go to Browse/Genres & Moods and poke around.) Music for every mood!

My flat. I love my flat. I want to buy my flat. It is very small and compact and the bathroom really needs to be re-tiled and the toilet seat is wonky but it is perfect. I need to make millions on the Internet in order to buy my flat though. Help.

Tweaking.com Windows Repair: Sometime around December, I started having problems with my wireless card and no one could help me. Do you know what it’s like to have your laptop refuse to connect to the wifi every three hours?? My other devices were fine. It was just my laptop. I restarted everything — laptop and router — twenty million times to no avail. And then I saw a few mentions of Windows Repair on a few forums and I ran it AND IT WORKED.  After nearly two months of my wifi dropping every hour or two, it hasn’t dropped since. Not sure what the mysterious culprit was, but thank you Tweaking.com.

St. John. I love St. John. I stop in to the bar every so often and have some soup and their delicious green salad. I didn’t know it was possible for green salad to be this delicious. Whoever makes their dressing knows what they’re doing. (Although it’s been less mustard-y as of late.) Sometimes, when I’m walking around the neighborhood, I see Fergus in the street. Hello, Fergus! The other day, I sat next to Chris Gillard in the bar as he ate a sandwich. A few months ago, I sat a table over from both Fergus and Chris as someone tried to convince them to make posh turkey twizzlers. I really didn’t understand where that was going but my salad dressing was so delicious, it didn’t really matter.

The Smart Passive Income Podcast: I stumbled across Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast and now I am kinda hooked. I just need an idea to get me started. Someone has already invented wine stoppers with dates on them. And someone else is already making fashionable compression socks. What else is there that’s left to invent?? I need something.

Writing about Gratefulness: My poor blog has gotten more traffic in the last few days with me writing about gratefulness than it’s gotten in a long time. Now what does that say?? Maybe I’m in the wrong line of hobby. Hmmmm.

What will Friday bring?? I don’t know either. Gotta keep some mysteries in life, my friends. Be grateful for mysteries.