Best of the Rest

February has proved to be a very busy month and I’ve been taking a lot of pictures here and there (mostly of food) that haven’t warranted posts for themselves. So here’s what I’ve been up to, and mainly eating, in amongst the rest:

We visited Exeter’s brand new Patisserie Valerie when my parents were down and despite our intentions only to grab a coffee, we ended up sampling their Nata Custard Tart (DIVINE) and also their walnut & pecan tart, which was also incredibly good. I love the decor inside and will definitely be returning, so expect a full post soon!

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We also squeezed in a trip to my favourite haunt, Hubbox – I had to show it off to the parents! This time I actually got around to trying an actual burger and it was good, as can be expected, but I’m not sure anything can beat the fried chicken sandwich. I’ve almost filled up my loyalty card already which is maybe a little bit shameful.

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My favourite person and I extended Valentine’s Day over two days (because why not) and spent Thursday evening at Las Iguanas, which I have been wanting to visit since it opened in November. I went for the Henrique Rapadura, or Lamb Henry as we christened him, mostly because of the name, and it was delicious – the sauce on the lamb was just the right amount of sweet and I have been fantasising about it ever since.

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On V-Day itself we ate chocolate fingers for breakfast, went to the Waitrose cafe for cake (it was too rainy to go anywhere else), and he cooked up a delicious feast (also courtesy of Waitrose) of steak, new potatoes & red cabbage for dinner. It is impossible to photograph anything in our little yellow-lit kitchen/living room, but here is our dessert: the most gorgeous white chocolate & morello cherry mousses.

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Finally, this week called for a trip to Giraffe to celebrate a friend’s birthday with dinner and cocktails. My favourites were the Apple & Elderflower Martini (that’s always my favourite) and the Strawberry Mule, but sadly they ran out of vodka early on so I moved on to the “Skinny Ginny” and the mango & lime daiquiri for the rest of the night. To eat, I had a chicken & prawn salad which tasted distinctly average, but it looked quite good.

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With all this eating having been going on, you are sure to see me rolling around a town near you pretty soon…what have you all been up to?!

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adventures in the city

This week has been a busy one – between seminars on Monday and today, I fitted in a little jaunt to London for Tuesday and Wednesday. There is a productive reason I promise: I was asked to go up for an interview for an internship and since I’d be there anyway I decided to make a little trip of it and arranged to meet up two of my BFFs from our year abroad, Emily and Josie.

My interview wasn’t till 3:30 and so after the longest, dullest train journey from Exeter in the world, I arrived at Shepherd’s Bush with just enough time to have a little wander around Westfield before I had to venture back out into the cold to find the Sauce office. Before I left Exeter I’d been literally terrified by the prospect of this interview – as far as I was concerned it was my first proper big girl interview. The girls that interviewed me were both absolutely lovely though and made me feel very at ease. It seemed to go well and as soon as we can sort out dates I think I’m set!

I spent a happy couple more hours in Westfield (where I basically tried to buy everything in Zara – their sale is just too good) before it was time to head to Oxford Circus to meet with the girls. We’d sensibly agreed to meet “outside” Topshop, but I just couldn’t resist wandering in and admiring all the nail varnishes…at which point, obviously, my phone died. No worries, though, eventually we all found each other and were happily reunited. We settled on The Diner in Soho for dinner: our friendship was born and bred in the US of A and it seemed only fitting. The menu is mostly burgers and hot dogs, but with serious amounts of different variations, and they also have a “blue plate” section just like real US diners, and my favourite – an extensive cocktail list.

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Actually, the menu is so large and we’re so indecisive that we had to take at least 20 minutes to look it over and then had a slew of questions for our waitress, who was very patient and very very helpful. In the end, I opted for the “Yankee Pig Dog.” which was a hot dog topped with pulled pork, pickles and mustard. I thought the mustard was going to be a strange accompaniment for the pulled pork but it actually worked very well, and the roll was really nice, too – it was almost like pretzel bread. It was a lot of meat though what with the sausage and the pork, and I ended up leaving half the sausage for Emily to finish. To drink, I had the “Kentucky Mule,” which had Southern Comfort in place of the vodka usually used in Moscow Mules. It was strong, but tasted good – I’ve recently developed such a taste for cocktails involving ginger beer.

The Diner also do hard shakes, which we were intrigued by, but we decided that they would be too ice-cream-y and filling and we were already really full from the huge burger/hot dog situation! So instead of dessert we decided to head over to Covent Garden to visit one of my very favourite places, Adventure Bar. To anyone that hasn’t been: GO. You will not regret it. It was 8PM on  a freezing cold Tuesday and we were slightly worried that it might be a bit dead but no, the place was buzzing and we had sooooo much fun. All the bartenders are great; this time, we befriended Robin, who had us shaking our own cocktails and chatting away about life. Plus, every week day (I think – don’t quote me) they have 2 for £10 on certain drinks, and if you sign up to the mailing list you get a free drink – bargain! The bar just kept filling and by the time we left just after last orders at 11:30 it was completely packed. Really fun crowd and a cocktail list I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of – trust me, go there.

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Next morning, I joined Emily on the bus to Oxford Circus, waved her off to work, and headed on my way for a morning spent wandering the streets. I decided to treat myself to breakfast at Patisserie Valerie, alone, which felt half terrifying and half liberating. Since it was so cold outside I went for green tea and apple and cinnamon porridge, which was full of seeds and absolutely delicious. It’s actually the only thing I got to take a picture of the entire day/weekend, so here you go:

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Apologies about the shadow – I was already feeling quite awkward & lame enough taking a photo of my solo porridge trip. Anyway, the staff at PV were really lovely and wished me a very cheerful farewell as I left which left me feeling very chirpy as I headed over to Liberty, which is basically my favourite place in the world. I could honestly live in the stationery room, and I spent a very happy hour or so stroking the leather of all the bags and plotting which ones I’ll buy when I have a real job and a real salary (as if).

Eventually I headed over to Covent Garden, where it started to snow! I was very, very tempted to go to Meat Market and got as far as walking down to look at it, but it was still too early for lunch really so I just wandered some more and eventually ended up buying a delicious chocolate praline cookie from Ben’s Cookies, watching the snow for a while, and then succumbing to the cold and parking myself in Starbucks with one of my dissertation books until it was time to head to Waterloo to catch my train back to Exeter.

All in all, a very successful couple of days (assuming this internship comes through – I’ve suddenly become hesitant to say I’ve got it!) and a lovely little break away from uni. Apologies about the lack of photos in this post: my iPhone battery just couldn’t take the pressure!