Sunday, 2 November 2014

Falling in Love on the Road

This months Travel Link Up - Falling in Love on the Road automatically got me thinking about close encounters and holiday romances! However, as much as I have been fortunate enough to find love (and lust) on the road, I knew there was only one love I could write about, a love I know will never let me down!

February 2000, the first time I stepped foot off of the plane and into New York City. From the moment the famous yellow taxi drove from John.F.Kennedy airport and into Manhattan I automatically knew a love affair between this city and I would begin.

Fourteen years and six more visits later, the love between us is most definitely stronger than ever!

People often ask me for tips and advice when they visit New York City as they want to know just what it is that makes me love this city so. Sometimes I think they wish they'd never asked, because as soon as I begin, there really is no stopping me!

The sights! 

Grand Central Terminal

Despite being one of the busiest places  in Manhattan, Grand central evokes a sense of warmth and comfort, I love to stand in the centre of the main concourse by the clock and watch people coming and going. Often wondering where they've been and where they're off to, who they're meeting or who they may be returning to. 

Sharing my ritual with my mum
Photographed in May 2013

The Flatiron Building

I cannot recall the amount of times I have photographed this magnificent building. Every time I stand on the corner of Broadway and 5th and look ahead of me, the stature of Daniel Burnham's original architecture always overwhelms me!

Photographed in July 2014
The Empire State Building

Photographed in October 2007
I love playing 'spot the Empire State.' From the top of a roof bar, from the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center, from Midtown street level to it being the final sight I see as I head out of Manhattan, there's no deying that this iconic building is utterly breathtaking.

The view from Top of the Rock. Photographed in June 2008
Museums, Museums, Museums
MoMa. The Guggenheim and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are the three places I love to get lost in. I love to admire Monet's 'Waterlilies' and Vermeer's 'Study of a Young Woman' as well as stumbling on new collections.

Central Park

As a Londoner I am fortunate enough to have some of the world's most beautiful parks on my doorstep all of which provide a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city. New York's Central Park offers the same sanctuary. With 843 acres of land to explore, there is always somewhere to find peace and solitude.

Photographed July 2014

Bethesda Fountain 
Brooklyn Bridge

If you want to see an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline, then like me you'll love the walk over Brooklyn Bridge. I love how the views around you constantly change.

From one side of the bridge

To the other!

Also the photo that I have taken and love the most is of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge Arches

Food glorious Food!

It is well known that American's love their food, just another thing we have in common! Comprising of cuisines from all over the world, my taste buds have fallen in love countless numbers of time!

Brunch, a taste of Mexico, New York Fav Shake Shack, Fruits of the Sea

The Company

Each time I have visited NYC I have been able to form many memories, with many special people. 

Every time I leave NYC, a little piece of my heart remains! 

Until we meet again... 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A Very Foodie Birthday!

Just over a week ago I turned 29 (where have all the years gone?) and  although I'm normally one for big celebrations with groups of friends, this year was a little different. With a hectic half term at work and plenty of things going on I decided to have a smaller, more intimate celebration- one revolved around great company and of course, great food!

A close group of girlfriends and I have a fortnightly 'Tuesday Club' social event which gives us time to catch up with one another over delicious food and plenty of wine, so my birthday was the perfect excuse for an overdue get-together. 

Lately I have been reading lots of reviews about Soho restaurants and bars and have vowed to sample as many of them as I can! First up for a pre-dinner cocktail was Dean Street Townhouse.

Birthday Proseco
With a bustling atmosphere and a cosy setting in the snug, it felt as though we were in the drawing room of a 16th century house! After being treated to a glass of proseco and having the famous Once upon a Cosmo cocktail, we headed out into the heart of soho and onto Brewer street to find a little piece of Italy!

Mele e Pere

Situated on the corner of Brewer Street Mele e Pere has only been a Soho establishment since February 2012, but it has already earned itself a great reputation! With the aim of being a 'genuine neighbourhood Trattoria' Mele e Pere most definitely brings a taste of Italy to central London.

With a small and daily-changing menu of exceptional Italian dishes, I was already in a dilemma! What to have? When I see a small menu in a restaurant I automatically know that the food is going to be of a high, authentic and refined quality, but alas, it makes choosing all that more difficult.

Eventually I decided upon the San daniele (great name) ham, gnocchi fritti and parmesan to start, a choice well made!

Advertised as 'sharing plates' my friends and I were pleasantly surprised at the portion size of our starters,

Next up was main course. Split into Pasta and Meat and Fish, I was toing and froing about what to go for. However, with a weak spot for pasta I ordered the Pumpkin ravioli with sage and roasted hazelnuts.

One of the things we were really pleased with was the option of two portion sizes for the pasta- it meant there would be room for dessert!
Sometimes pumpkin in food can be overly sweet, but this pasta dish had just the right flavour balance. Another of the dishes that I have to mention is the tagliatelle with beef ragu and as much as I loved my ravioli I had serious food envy! 

Filled with Italian delicatese the night was topped off with a very sweet surprise from my friends! A chocolate birthday cake and  a round of Happy Birthday!

From Italy to France, came birthday celebration number two at Casse Croute - a small, quaint restaurant in Bermondsey High Street. 

The moment my mum and I entered the restaurant, we felt as though we were in a small French town. From the French only written menu, to the French wait staff to the beautifully bijou setting, what came next was a love-affair with some of the finest food I've ever eaten!

Pink Champagne to start the night
Once the knowledgeable and rather charming waiter had translated the menu for us, my mouth was watering at the descriptions.

To start I had the fish soup. Served on a personalised plate (just another quirky touch) I was sent to food heaven with the first mouthful. Smooth and rich in flavour it was undoubtedly the best fish soup I have ever eaten.

Now to the main and all things pork! The pork shoulder was tender and cooked perfectly. Served on a bed of the creamiest mash potato and covered with a tarragon infused sauce. It was genuinely one of those dishes that, with every mouthful, you utter the word hmmmm over and over again!

Although I was bordering on the verge of a full stomach, as soon as the charming waiter described the desserts to me I knew I would have to find room!

A chocolate biscuit base, layered with chocolate mousse and topped off with tempered dark chocolate and pistachios provided the piece de resistance to an amazing dinner packed with flavour!

The stunning view of the Shard to accompany quite possibly my favourite dining experience!

So, it's fair to say that turning 29 was a thoroughly enjoyable foodie experience!