Friday, July 30, 2010

Ramen hits the spot

Why is warm brothy veg, fish, chicken & slurpy noodles so magic? I'm starting to feel blargh (uh oh), like the last time I caught a cold. Luckily, I had the perfect cure then: daily doses of ramen (from this London Wagamama). It's soothing & I'd highly recommend it!

British-based Wagamama is known for their affordable, pan-Asian ramen bar style. (Stateside, Wagamama is just in Boston & Cambridge...but any good, warm noodle/pasta dish does the trick. :)

(Image of Wagamama's signature ramen via CW's Food & Travel.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Swimming at night

Tivoli villa, Italy
Pefkochori beach, Greece
This heat! I'm lucky to be near an outdoor pool--nothing like a night swim, under stars. Wouldn't a night dip in these Italian or Greek waters be lovely? Both look so refreshingly inviting.

(Images via Homeaway and TripAdvisor).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tea estates

Tea estates are so beautifully mesmerizing, somehow. Maybe it's about seeing the source, or those curving fields, or thinking of the pleasure of brewing tea...

P.S. It's getting easier to find high-quality "fair-trade" tea. Click here for just one example at Rishi Tea (delicious stuff).

(Images via The Envelope, Marmot, Lolitha, and Rishi Tea.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Liberty of London

{Liberty of London, Brit chic}
My first trip to iconic Liberty of London was right at closing time & I'm glad there wasn't time to shop - it would've been too tempting! For starters, the place is dramatically designed to look like an old's almost like stepping into a soaring film set...

{Carriage bag, with "Hera" print created 1876}
The nice security guard let us in after some cajoling & even played tour-guide. And, oh, the fun of Liberty's signature, vivid prints & print-suffused goodies...

{Louis Vuitton Liberty print fabric necklace...}

{MAC Liberty of London cosmetics packaging...}

{Liberty "Ianthe" print embossed clutch...}
What's not to love?

And I couldn't resist...Liberty for all! This Liberty for Target bike (seen stateside at Target, of course) is design for the masses, in the best sense. Riding this would make me smile goofily. :)

For a great intro to a great shop way back when, I owe it to my lovely significant other for sweetly talking his way past the guard, and to the guard for being kind - pointing out details, letting us browse - even though we weren't supposed to be there.

(Images via DesignSquared, BagExchange, poetic & chic, Makeup & Beauty Blog, Vogue UK, and the bicyclette).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cafe in the Crypt, London

very popular London cheap eat is in a 300-year old...crypt! Yes! Cafe in the Crypt, in St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, offers nice crumbles, afternoon tea & much more under lovely brick arches.

You can pop in for live jazz or just enjoy dining atop bodies :) (Charles II's famed mistress, Nell Gwyn, is somewhere there).

(Images via Yelp and Swift City).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taste Art London

One of London's best restaurants is a hidden gem in the venerable National Gallery of Art, where you'll get your food and art on. The National Dining Rooms have won awards and serve local, seasonal fare (like lamb fillet & sweet corn salsa, or oak-smoked salmon).

You'll also savor gorgeous artwork in a gorgeous art gallery (free!)
The National Gallery of Art, London
Van Gogh "Sunflowers"
JMW Turner "The Fighting Temeraire"
Botticelli "Mystic Nativity"

(Images, top to bottom, via National Gallery Dining Rooms and Venere; all art images from National Gallery of Art via The Art Wolf, The Mail Online, and Olga's Gallery).

The Senator and the Dress

Last night, my significant other enjoyed a "boys night out" at the Cheshire Cheese (a London pub since 1666). After a few pints, one fella, who consults for the French government, told this story:
France has opened lots of hot, new super high-speed trains. (One train makes the 4-hour trip between Paris and Strasbourg in just 2 hours--it already takes 1 hour by plane). One memorable day...

A French super high-speed train in the countryside unsuspecting U.S. Senator found herself walking through the motor car of a moving French super-train. But the super-motors were so huge and created a whirlpool of air so strong...

Marilyn Monroe's famous scene
...that the Senator's dress was ripped right off her body! (Think Marilyn Monroe's famous scene, only worse). The Senator had to huddle naked in the motor car until her rescue. Later, she sued.

(Images via RailEurope, BudgetTravel, and Eternal Masquerade).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vintage inspiration: Victory gardens

British WWII poster (via)
British WWII poster (via)
St. James Park victory garden, London, circa 2008 (via)
Besides being an excuse to share great vintage posters, I was charmed by the recent, 2-yr St. James Park Victory Garden project, meant to re-inspire that grow your own spirit from WWII.

(During WWII, the UK promoted victory gardens--using deftly-designed images, like those above--to combat food shortages).

A week of WWII rations, BBC2's "Supersizers Go Wartime" (via)
For more, a funny-wacky-wack BBC2 show (above) chomped on British food history and food from that era. See a YouTube clip.

P.S. WWII victory gardens were also heavily promoted in Hawaii and the U.S. I still remember older folks in Hawaii discussing it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spreadable chocolate

Yes, it does sound a little naughty, but Belberry's sweet raspberry chocolate spread is more like my idea of heaven: luscious fruit and decadent bittersweet chocolate melded together.

A purple fig version is also available, which I'd love to try! Read a TimeOut NY write-up here. (In NYC, it was introduced at Fairway and has been a big hit, apparently).

(Image via Belberry.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sea urchin goodness

Sea urchins are something kids in Hawaii (at least this kid) grow up semi-dreading--step on one and your beach day is over. But as an adult, I've come to appreciate those tasty little buggers. They are pure, briny raw oysters are, but more concentrated.

(Top image of sea urchin in Hawaii waters via HornetBear. Bottom photo of sea urchin and other fishy lovelies, Honolulu, Hawaii).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Greek vignette

Just came across these in my files, from a friend's previous trip to Greece, and couldn't resist posting. Don't they make you want to hop the next plane over?

(Thanks Laura!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Different strokes

Manhattan kayaks (via)
My brother and sister-in-law are avid NYC paddlers and did a marathon 22 mile paddle up the Hudson River the past weekend, to the very top of Manhattan! (Where currents meet at Spuyten Duyvil, or Spitting Devil.)

Isle of Manhattan (via)
Paddling around Manhattan is not for the faint of heart: there's open water navigation, major wind and waves, stamina loss...

Sloth (family photo)
Meantime, my sister had her crazy surgery residency schedule all weekend. But me? I slept-in, chatted and avoided work. (Clearly, this family needs a :) Have a relaxing weekend!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Objets d'art in London

(1860-1870, porcelein, Kyoto, Japan, via)
The V&A (Victoria & Albert) Museum is a dreamy place to indulge every fetish (I mean, penchant) for design. As a big tea drinker, I love their teapots -- utilitarian objects made beautiful.

(1691-1724, earthenware, Delft, Netherlands, via)
This blue and white Delft teapot could be from a Vermeer painting.

(1930, stoneware, Poole, England, via)
A sweet, sweet 1930 teapot and water jug set.

(1879, silver and ebony, Sheffield, England, via)
Made when women wore bustles & rode carriages. Isn't it modern?

(1700-1720, stoneware, Yixing, China, via)
For something 300 years old, this is pretty funky.

(1876, earthenware, London, England, via)
Points for wacky! Try this one out at a dinner party.

(1984, porcelein, Porsgrund, Norway, via)
Dreamy Norwegian blues, like a starry night. (A friend from Porsgrund, Norway once said porcelein was a local tradition).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Driving on the left

I want to master stick shifts & driving on the left in England, I do.

But every time I see this,

I feel like this.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Decadent munchies

Sometimes, when my schedule gets crazy, I get by with decadent munchies inspired by a M.F.K. Fisher book: Sherry-laced tea...

With caviar (doesn't have to be luxe)...

And then a chocolate cream roll, or the closest baked good I find. I highly recommend it! (The tea is easily laced with vodka too :)

If you are new to M.F.K Fisher's work, How to Cook a Wolf is perhaps her most popular book, but any of her works include a gem or dozen. There's a particularly marvelous chapter, "17 Rue Cardinale," from Two Towns in Provence and a heart-breaking one, "The Standing and the Waiting," from Serve it Forth. Critic Joan Acocella also wrote a wonderful essay on M.F.K. Fisher, "Feasting on Life," included in Acocella's Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints. A very few pages of this essay are online.

(Images, top to bottom, via NIAHD Journals, Travels with Two, Gourmet - article on sustainable caviar included, and Scharffen Berger - chocolate roll recipe included).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Poke - Hawaii's "sushi"

For MANY days, I've been craving delicious poke (poh-keh) from Hawaii. At heart, it's raw fish chunks, tossed with yum extras: limu (seaweed), onions, other spices (I like red sea salt)...

Native Hawaiians ate a lot of fish, naturally, but poke evolved with each wave of immigrants and their culinary influence. On Oahu, the poke from Tanioka's, above, is super ono (delish).

(Images, top to bottom, via Hawaiirama and Flickr).
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