Shivering, I walked out of a biting sub-zero winter night, seeking shelter in a bright and warm coffee shop. Welcomed by smiles, a hot drink and piles of different chocolates laid out over all the tables I might well be in a favourite dream. But no, better than a dream, Mr P has been called away on business and I have skilfully talked myself into taking his place on the latest tasting event that Out of Office Coffee have to offer. #awesomes! You might well remember Rob’s favourable introduction to Out of Office Coffee, but since opening they have quickly become a favourite midday hang out for Mr P. They take getting a decent cup of coffee (or tea) very seriously and their passion for top quality products shines through. As such, they have a range of premium, single origin, craft chocolate to tempt you and tonight ladies and gentlemen, in the latest round of their evening events, I was to be spoilt by getting to try them all in a chocolate tasting extravaganza hosted by Spencer from artisan chocolate supplier Cocoa Runners!
When you travel for work as much as I do, you get used to a specific type of hotel room. It’s not the Ned, the Grosvenor or even the Fairmont. It’s a Travelodge, Premier / Holiday Inn or Best Western if you get lucky with the booking (although I have stayed in some properly dodge Best Western’s in my time, the one in Tiverton particularly stands out for all the wrong reasons – and the time I suffered through three days there is another, very specific, story). So it’s rare that I come across the odd one that I walk through the door and immediately call Mrs P. to say that I’ve found a cracker. But that’s what happened when I got to the Rocksalt Rooms and it always means we’ve got something special .
In the past, I have had my fair share of issues with Jamie Oliver. I love his recipes, but despite multiple attempts, I’ve never managed to see the connection between the ethos behind his family orientated, ‘bish-bash-bosh throw it all on a board’ style of TV chef cookery and the over contrived wideboy-cockneyfied presentation of the restaurant chain. It all seems too trite. However, by virtue of me having this blog that you lot still seem to be reading (thanks very much!), they keep inviting me in to eat there and because I’m nothing if not universal in my acceptance of a free meal it was with the glorious abandon that only the promise of a free lunch can provide, that Mrs P and I strolled into Jamie’s Italian Covent Garden.
It all started with a tweet from a good friend of mine called Mike. Having just eaten the phenomenal bacon chilli cheese burger from Sizzlers burger shack (if you haven’t had it yet, track them down and demand one immediately), he mentioned that the chilli was one of best he had ever tasted and he had tasted a lot of chilli. Other people chipped in and it soon became clear that everyone had their own version and the best kind of chilli was one that was shared. Before long it was confirmed; Saturday the 27th of January was the date of the first Wolverton Chili Cook off. Bring your best chilli and complete to claim your place as the best in town. With the added incentive of a separate hot wings contest, I just had to attend. I dug out my favourite recipe, made up a batch and went to see what was going on…
Every year the P. family make their way to London in order to enjoy the delights of the capital at Christmas. My decision not to book dinner for our trip in 2016 almost ended in divorce but thankfully Le Bab was there to save the day. And having so extensively explored Carnaby Street and the surrounding area, thankfully our 2017 excursion held a lot less drama and we managed to walked into Breddos with smiles all round.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things on this blog; I’ve learned not to trust friends who have unplanned trips to Dubai, I’ve learned how to enjoy shaving again and I’ve also learned that to talk about tea, I had to talk about coffee. I know a few people who have ordered a salted caramel pumpkin latte with extra soya sprinkles in their time (I’m looking at you SuburbanGent) and that’s fine but are the McDonalds or Burger Kings of the coffee world really what you want every day? With their questionable sourcing policies, suspicious tax implications and deliberately average flavour all leaving you with a rather bitter aftertaste, I suspect not. But what else is there for one to do? If you work in London, it’s no problem as you have many better alternatives to choose from, but with so many people living in Milton Keynes and commuting in, sooner or later someone was going to open our very own proper coffee house and guess what? They just did.
A cold and wet late October’s afternoon in Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre doesn’t perhaps present one with the wealth of independent eateries that I’ve become accustomed to in my midweek London escapades, but there I was, hunting for some warm sustenance to continue braving the crowds. Strolling along I saw the lunchtime set menu offer at Carluccio’s, two-courses for £11.95 and headed on in, never having set foot inside a Carluccio’s before but having high hopes of an Italian lunchtime tasty treat.
People, you can ignore the Roman Gregorian calendar, the last 2,000 years of history and any talk to the contrary because you have only got ONE week until Christmas. One week, and one week only until Christmas starts on the 1st of December. That’s when you can open your advent calendar and we all know that Christmas begins when you can eat chocolate before breakfast! Well, maybe grown ups can’t justify chocolate with their daily weetabix but we think that a quick snifter before bed is more than acceptable to keep you in the festive spirit! If you get an advent calendar for the kids then you deserve some Christmas cheer as well, right? Well, Drinks By The Dram think they can help you with that situation, and I think they’re right!
If you haven’t already seen, I’m a big fan of London rooftop bars; there’s a great collection of bars and restaurants with sterling views of the capital, but there’s a new kid on the block that offers something a little different.
There is no denying it – I am *incredibly* privileged here at TwoMenAboutTown; from trips to Dubai, to beautiful hotel stays and sampling the finest gastronomic delights up and down the UK, I get to do some very cool stuff. When the invite came through to attend London’s newest pop-up, Fuel by celebrity-chef Jack Monroe, you would correctly assume that I was looking forward to an evening of gluttonous consumption before lazily sneaking off into the night in a food-based coma.
I was therefore not prepared for an evening that would open my eyes and leave me aghast of a crisis of epidemic proportions, with a lasting impression of wanting to do more to help and put my privilege and platform to use. There’s no such thing as a free meal, after all, right?
For some people it’s sausage and mash, for others it’s a curry. The Child will choose pizza over any other meal choice and my grandparents will happily tuck into any roast dinner they can find. So what’s my favourite meal? Well, the truth is that it changes all the time. I’ve been bouncing between anything with pasta and best of British this past year with some amazing meals at The Hand and Flowers, Nelson Street and Trinity. This week it’s Thai.
Hello Busaba Eathai!
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of a good burger; Honest Burger, Dip & Flip, Patty&Bun, Burger & Lobster, MEATliquor, Prime Burger and even the occasional Five Guys all get my business when I’m out on the hunt for a mouthwatering burger. A seeded-bun or soft brioche, a good cheese and a thick and juicy beefy patty is an award-winning combination, so generally speaking, it really upsets me when this tried and tested formula of absolute life-winning substance is messed with (of course the Bagel Burger being a major exception to this rule).
I was frankly AGHAST to hear that Maxwell Bar & Grill in Covent Garden was potentially creating a huge crime against food – a culinary Frankenstein, if you will – by merging two (arguably) superfoods – the humble bacon cheeseburger and the doughnut. I really wasn’t sure what to make of it.