Tag: cool food events

Food Events Around London: Tea Parties, Pizza Parties and…Wine Parties?

I love parties. I’m in the process of planning a big family joint birthday party for my mom, sister and dad that may or may not involve an entire roast pig. Who doesn’t love a good party?  Obviously, the best parties include copious amounts of food and alcohol. At many London parties and events of the last month or so, my alcohol consumption has drastically outweighed the food consumption.  Often, my memories of the event can get a bit fuzzy. Luckily, I took pictures.

Here’s a photo from the Bibendum wine event at the stunning Saatchi Gallery. Can you spot the foodrambler?

Amidst approximately 149803454 bottles of wine spread over something like 10 galleries on 4 floors were all sorts of cool installations by local designers:

Equally alcoholic was the fabulous Yelp’s Burst Birthday, a surprise-filled soiree in an old metalworks building complete with a grassy garden tea party room filled with tea cups of gin and teapots of tonic amidst tiered trays of sugar-stacked snacks.  I’m still dreaming about the plate below of melty chocolatey caramelly Millionaire’s Squares…

The room was carpeted in real grass (hand laid by our dedicated friend Lizzie!) and populated by a small community of garden gnomes, one of whom came home with me at the end of the night. Chris and I named him Chomsky. We’re nerds.

The Yelp party also featured a real tube-car-as-a-bar slinging free cocktails and bunch of market-style food stalls, including fantabulous frozen yogurt, a sort of bizarre spiralled potato chip on a stick, and my most favoritest roast hog people.

Last up, I got a chance to taste the new Pizza Express menu by Francesco Mazzei, the chef from an award-winning London restaurant called L’Anima that I’m hoping to go to someday.  Shockingly, I’d never had Pizza Express before – it’s a very popular chain in the UK – but I was quite impressed with what I tasted of the new dishes.  I liked the spicy Calabrese pizza the best – a thin and crispy crust, fior di latte mozzarella, watercress in basil pesto, a few more chilies and peppers, and most importantly, nduja sausage.  Anything with nduja on it is a friend of mine.

Mmmm…looking at pictures never fails to make me hungry. I’ll take a spicy pizza, a few Millionaire’s Squares, a bottle of that rich and chocolatey Malbec, and a teacup of G&T.  It’s 2am.  Bibendum, Yelp and Pizza Express, do you deliver?

Sailing An Orange Slice On A Punch Bowl Sea and Coffee Geekery

You know you’re about to have a bit of a bizarre experience when you’re asked if you’ve recently suffered from discharging ears. I suppose all sorts of odd precautions are necessary when you’re about to float across a punch bowl full of 4,000 liters of cocktail. WOOHOO! PUNCH IN YOUR FACE.

I got to visit the amazing Architectural Punch Bowl by Bompas & Parr last week and wrote it up for Wired UK here.

I also got to interview my favorite coffee maker and World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies and coffee roaster/ex-World Barista Champion Jim Hoffman for a piece on coffee geekery as well! So much cool sh*t going on here in London.

Some more photos from the Punch Bowl after the jump…

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A Golden Ticket Tasting At Artisan Du Chocolat

The invitation from Yelp read: ‘a tutored tasting of one of a kind cocoa creations, chocolate bars, and chocolate cocktails from the chocolateria menu at Artisan du Chocolat’ and I felt like little Charlie Bucket when he peeled back the wrapper of his hard-earned Wonka bar and first caught the glint of his Golden Ticket.  I’d never say no to a chocolate tasting in the first place, but a private behind-the-scenes showcase of the couture creations from one of London’s most illustrious chocolatiers? My eyes grew bigger than Everlasting Gobstoppers.

My excitement only continued rising upon stepping into the shop in Bayswater, a curious composition of luxury boutique crossed with gleaming white and futurisitic space pod.  Squares of etched chocolate as colorful as works of modern art, rounded truffles piled like jewels on a queen’s dressing table, boxes of caramels as classic and streamlined as the most expensive French perfume. My mouth dropped open, and stayed open for the next two hours as we lucky Yelp Elites were plied with chocolate, caramels and cocoa in an stunning array of forms and flavors.

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Exporting the Valuable American Traditions of Turkey, Pie, and Stuffing…Your Face

Thanksgiving is without question my favorite holiday of the year.  It involves all the things I love most – family, friends, fun in the kitchen, and obscene amounts of food. Before returning back to Boston for the annual FamilyStylesFoodFestFunTime, Chris and I decided to organize a London Thanksgiving to comfort the Americans missing their annual tryptophan hit back in the States and to introduce some Brits to their FirstEverThanksgiving. Such a phenomenal opportunity to welcome foreigners to a holiday that revels in stuffing yourself beyond capacity.  Oh and we tossed a few Australians and Canadians in the mix too. I only wish we could have invited about thirty other friends, but we could barely pack the 20-odd guests into the living room already.

The menu was a classic Thanksgiving feast for the first-timers but also involved some first times for me. Like my first time brining a turkey! Apparently the ratio of one gallon of water to one cup salt and one cup sugar  is ideal to unwind the meat proteins of the turkey, allowing the flavored solution to be drawn up into the meat. Sweet. More moisture + more flavor = happy eaters. There’s nothing worse than dry turkey breast. And you can add your choice of spices, aromatics and flavorings to make things even more exciting. Here’s what I came up with based on the contents of the kitchen:

Brine For A Juicy Turkey:

1 gallon water
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 orange, sliced
1/2  lemon, sliced
4 cloves smashed garlic
1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
about 1/2 tbsp white pepper
about 1/2 tbsp Chinese five-spice
a few sprigs of thyme

Here is Boris (named for our London mayor) or Natasha (named for Boris) in his (or her) bag of spicy salty sweet bathwater.

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All The Single Lads, Put Your Hands Up

To paraphrase Beyonce, we’re calling all the single lads!

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Rambling Restaurant is looking for some hot male action.  Why, you ask? Do we need a reason? Well, we’ve got one here:

‘Due to popular demand, on Thursday 3rd December & Friday 4th December we are holding a Lone Ramblers’ & Rambling Roses’ Singles Night at Rambling Restaurant!

It’s a 3-course dinner party of aphrodisiac foods & music. Lone Ramblers (gentlemen) and Rambling Roses (ladies) share tables and bring your own booze (no corkage fee). Lone Ramblers move tables every course to keep it lively. Who knows what might happen?!’

We’ve already sold all the Rambling Roses tickets, so it’s time to spread the word amongst your single male friends to get their asses in gear. An evening of great food, wine, music and a cozy room full of available women? Yes, Rambling Restaurant can make your wildest dreams come true.  According to Kanye West, it’s going to be ‘ONE OF THE BEST NIGHTS OF ALL TIME.’


Lone Ramblers,  get your tickets here for the Thursday the 3rd  or here for the Friday the 4th.

We hope to see you there…but not in the outfits like JT and Andy Samberg in the above video, okay? Best to leave a little to the imagination.

Rambling Restaurant Fun: Ninety-Nine Bottles of Wine on the Wall

Thursday’s Rambling Restaurant was a boozy festival of wine tasting and matching canapes  – so many glasses of alcohol that I’m amazed I could stand up straight long enough to take any of these photos. We partnered with the lovely and charming Dan of Bibendum Wines to do a casual and relaxed evening event in our usual secret location. Dan ‘liberated’ a serious stock of bottles from the Bibendum stores for us – Champagne, Riesling, Chardonnay, Malbec, Chianti, and an excellent dessert wine – all matched with bite-size hor d’oeuvres such as the Zamorano cheese with quince jelly and persimmon, above. Below, tasting notes with parmesan crisps awaiting their toppings for the first round of canapes.

The full line-up of booze and bites below…

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Tapas, Terracotta, and Tons of Tomato Sauce at Rambling Restaurant

Dining Room at Rambling Restaurant

A few weeks ago, Rambling Restaurant explored the world of tapas with enough food to feed a small Spanish village.  Chef foodrambler devised a wide-ranging, drool-inducing, and seemingly never-ending menu of tiny plates served in terracotta dishes, which give off an air of Spanish authenticity no matter what you put in there. That, and a flamboyant Spanish accent.  With a lisp. And castanets.

Kidding.  We kept the Spanish influence to the food. And of course the wine, which is why I have a bit of trouble recalling the menu. If I remember correctly, we served:

Fried Calamari with Capers and Black Pepper

Patatas Bravas (Oven Roasted Crispy Potatoes topped with a zesty tomato sauce)

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Bechamel Sauce (whacked back in the oven for a deliciously browned top)

Albondigas (M is for Mmmm and Meatballs)

Honey Glazed Roasted Beets with Thyme and Goat Cheese

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)

All served with lots of crusty bread for your tomato sauce and garlicky oil dipping pleasure.

crusty bread for dipping at Rambling Restaurant

Followed by Chocolate and Orange Torte with Raspberry Sauce and Cream for dessert. I thought we might have stuffed our diners to the point of no return with the unstoppable onslaught of dishes, but the pudding plates came back wiped clean. A true testament to the power of oozy gooey (goozey?) chocolateyness.

This was our first meal at Rambling Restaurant with just the two of us covering the kitchen and the dining room, leaving very little time for taking photos or other important activities like breathing. Luckily a talented guest photographer was to be found amidst the piled plates and scattered breadcrumbs  – my friend Amit straight outta Brooklyn.  Amit and I, along with our other friend Dave, spent most of his time across the pond eating a swath through East London and capturing it all on film.  This post is basically an excuse to showcase his lovely photographs since I really have nothing useful to say.

We’ll end, as all meals should end, with empty plates and full bellies. No more calamari. Sad face. Come back next time!

No more calamari

an electrifying evening of rabbit and brandy snaps with rambling tongue

the transformed space at vulpes vulpes

welcome to rambling tongue at vulpes vulpes! last saturday, the underground restauranteurs of rambling restaurant and the poets of hammer & tongue played host to a warehouse full of adventurous diners in a spectacular artist space in hackney. there was rabbit stewed in cider. there were artichokes with homemade mayonnaise. there were brandy snaps stuffed with marscapone and cream and raspberries and crystallized violets. there was poetry and music and dancing and bottles and bottles and bottles of wine….

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a rambling feast of strangers at the treehouse gallery in regent’s park

theodore zeldin leading the feast of strangers

this last weekend i spent one of the most beautiful saturdays i can remember in a truly magical place – the treehouse gallery at regent’s park in london. this dreamy fantasy land, filled with the tallest of towering structures and the humblest of tree stump seats, played host to an open gathering of food and conversation called the feast of strangers. over 150 people showed up to share a meal and some of their most intimate thoughts at this community event organized by limina, a social enterprise dedicated to ‘creating transition spaces and events between the rural and urban’ through journeys, workshops, and other events.

synnove, ed, and the wonderful other people of limina were kind enough to invite rambling restaurant to prepare a feast for the feast. food for 150 in the middle of a park with no electricity? luckily, there’s nothing we like more than a challenge. after a 5am wholesale produce market trip, an evening carrot-chopping get-together,  a late night focaccia-making and wine-drinking party, and a morning put-everything-together-right-before-mealtime activity, we managed to put together a lovely spread of food for the park wanderers. here michelle puts together the information table for the food, all up for grabs by donation.

michelle and the rambling feast

the meal consisted of several dips and salads, a harissa lamb, and a truly massive amount of focaccia bread. here’s the roasted carrot and caraway dip topped with feta cheese, fresh mint, and a teepee seating structure:

roast carrot dip and treehouse installation

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the unexpected illumination of the rambling banqueteers

rambling banqueteers at the fifth plinth

following up on the last post about the oubliette arthouse and the fifth plinth, here’s the second half of our eating-as-performance installation: the unexpected illumination of the rambling banqueteers.  squeeeezed into the tiny above entryway were 11 intrepid diners facing a confused array of passers-by and a toasty warm mealtime surrounded by spotlights and burning candles. however, as reward for their bravery and endurance, these banqueteers were rewarded with quite the serious spread.

regard exhibit a: the whole salmon.

whole salmon for the rambling banquet Read the full article »