Posts Tagged ‘Restaurants’

Super Saturday!

I finally went out last night for the first time in weeks now that everyone’s back in town! It was so great getting to see everyone again; highly reinvigorating and a good way to start Lent Term. Aside from the amazingness of seeing everyone again, I also discovered one of my new favorite places in London: Porterhouse! We started our night there yesterday and they have my most favorite strawberry-kiwi cider drink (they score automatic points for that), plus a great atmosphere and a live band! Here’s proof of happiness:

With classes beginning on Monday, I hadn’t had a great deal planned for today. My friend’s boyfriend is in town until tomorrow and we all planned on linking up for lunch today so I could finally meet him. After looking for veg-friendly joints around town, we decided to hit up Covent Garden’s Food for Thought. Now, I have been to FFT on one occasion, but it was for take-away late in the evening and the selection was super limited. Today, however, we were (literally) first in line when the doors opened and had a seriously delicious veggie meal! I was the only vegetarian in the group and the other kiddos (read: carnivores) loved the food, too! Super healthy, super affordable, super homemade and super delicious! If you happen to hit it up while you’re perusing Covent Garden (it’s on Neal Street), definitely opt for the Caribbean stew if it’s on the menu. It’s a bowl of pure deliciousness. I surmise it’s secretly laced with crack cocaine; it’s highly addicting. Side note: it’s cash only. Sad.

After our rendezvous in Covent Garden, P. and her boyfriend, A., had planned on catching a matinée showing of Les Mis at the Queen’s Theatre in Soho. Since I didn’t have any afternoon plans (aside from doing nothing and being holed up in my room), a small group of us ended up going together! We snagged tickets for a super affordable £15 each and ended up with a pretty decent view! I am a serious musical-lover and I definitely expected great things of one of the most renowned musicals of all times. Although the performance was great and the music was spectacular, I wouldn’t see it again. There are some musicals that I would see over and over (The Lion King, Wicked, Phantom), but this is definitely not one of them. It’s pretty depressing & the plot is semi-confusing if don’t familiarize yourself with it beforehand. That being said, it was still a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon & worth £15! Next on my list of musicals: Avenue Q. I’ve been dying to see it for months & I am definitely going before it stops playing (March 2010).

Now it’s 730P, I’m back at home after a fun-filled (and freezing!) day and am ready to sit in bed in my pajamas drinking hot chocolate (Wen, if you’re reading this — I DO like hot chocolate). Class is starting Monday and the reality is finally setting in. Gotta get a few readings done today and tomorrow so I can bring my A game this week!

Hope everyone’s weekend is superb!

When in Rome… (Rome, Day II.)

After our fun-filled and relatively stress-free first day in Rome, we had a solid plan of attack for Day 2 of our Roman Holiday: a trip to Santa Maria Maggiore (which we could see from our room), a stop at the nearby (and famed) Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and a bit of shopping followed by an evening pub crawl at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore sat right down the street from our hotel. So close, in fact, that we overlooked in on day one. Although it’s clearly an amazing structure, we had no idea that it was such an old and holy site. The inside is said to date back to roughly the 400s and the Borghese tomb sits on the premises.


After our quick stop here, we started our journey to the Trevi Fountain, about 20 minutes walking from our hotel. Although I hadn’t really known what to anticipate, I have to say that the Trevi Fountain was one of my all-time favorite parts of the trip. The structure is absolutely breathtaking — pictures really can’t do it justice. It’s massive (85 feet high and 65 feet wide)!

It is said that if you toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, your return to Rome will be a swift one:


There are loads of touristy stores around the fountain, so I was able to snag some super cool gifts for my family nearby [if you guys are reading this, expect some cool Roman gifts for the holidays!] After hitting up the Trevi, we headed north to the Spanish Steps. Although neither of us really knew what to expect from the famed steps, we discovered an interesting mix of art — not at all what I had expected!


Apparently they’re dubbed the Spanish Steps because they’re near the Spanish Embassy. All seems to make sense now! After, we enjoyed loads of delicious sangria and pizza and people-watched before heading home for a quick nap before our evening outing.

That evening (after a much-needed power nap), we jumped on the Metro to the Spanish Steps to meet up with a pub crawl group. Unfortunately, the pub crawl was 25 Euros (more than we really wanted to spend) and seemed to be plagued by legal-by-European-standards-18-year-olds from the US. In lieu, we cabbed it to nearby Campo di Fiore, a little piazza that houses a number of fun pubs and restaurants. We decided upon a placed called Magnolia and ended up spending hours there munching on bruschetta and focaccia and talking with a 91-year-old Roman that we referred to as nona (grandma). She had been living in the area for all of her 91 years and had been dining at Magnolia every day for lunch and dinner!

All in all, we had a fun-filled, relaxed day and saved our energy for our trip to Vatican city, Castel Sant’Angelo and the streets of Rome on Sunday. Stay tuned to see pictures of the Vatican and some of Michaelangelo’s amazingness!


Viva Roma!

RomeFor as long as I can remember, I have created my mental ‘European Dream Destination’ checklists and Italy and Greece have always graced the top of the list. I have been dying to see the Colosseum and the Pantheon, eat authentic bruschetta and sip wine (or maybe bellinis, since I’m not the hugest of wine fans) in front of the Trevi fountain.

As luck would have it, my flatmate was also interested in hitting up Florence or Rome at some point this year, so we decided to put our money where are mouths were and booked our Roman excursion for November! We’re making it a fun-filled three-day weekend (early Friday morning through Sunday evening), loaded with sight-seeing.

We’ve booked a room at a place called Hotel d’Este in the Historic Center near the Trevi Fountain. It’s near loads of historic sights and in a really cute area! We snagged the entire trip including roundtrip airfare and two nights of accommodation for £215 each, courtesy of Expedia! Another thing that makes this great? We leave from Heathrow instead of Gatwick and thus can catch the Tube from Holborn (5 minutes from our flat) all the way to Heathrow Terminal 5 — no bus booking or Dot2Dot service required! To make things even better, I still have around 50 euros from my German trip that will be perfect for a few meals in Roma.

I can’t wait! Only 17 days away!

Does anyone know of any places that we should be checking out when in Rome?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Mmmm…Mildred’s <3.

As luck would have it, my blonde Californian flatmate happens to be a fellow vegetarian with a love for all things chickpea. The chances that we got placed into the same flat are probably relatively astronomical and very fortunate since I now have someone to share my soy and hummus-loving ways with. Yesterday night marked week number two of our newly-minted weekly ritual involving veggie love at Mildred’s in Soho. Mildred’s is all vegetarian (and mostly vegan) and has a pretty solid variety of vegetarian fare.

Mildred'sI had some of the best tostadas ever (aubergine + courgettes  + guac = heaven) and Lindsay’s chickpea, pumpkin & beetroot burger looked amazing! Plus, the side of sweet potato fries is intensely amazing if you love sweet potatoes. {Side note: For anyone that’s yet unaware, sweet potatoes are the most amazing food of life and, thus, my favorite food on the planet. Sweet potato pie, sweet potato latkes [for the Jew in me], sweet potato casserole… delish.}

Lindsay

Check out Mildred’s main courses here — even for the carnivores out there, you’d be surprised at how delicious vegetarian food can actually be when prepared properly! Can’t wait for next Wednesday!!

Does anyone know of any other London-based vegetarian spots worth hititng up?

Sending lots of veg love your way,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Birthdays Galore!

I’m definitely focused on having a productive day today after a fun-filled weekend! I celebrated two birthdays this weekend, starting with Peter’s 21st on Friday night! We hit up the International on St. Martin’s Lane and it was perfect! The place is essentially divided into three areas: the bar when you walk in, the restaurant upstairs and a lounge area downstairs. We ended up claiming half of the lounge so we could have enough seating for everyone; it was comfortable for socializing and the music was spot-on (even played some California Love action!)

Pre-International <3.We got ready at Northumberland since it was right down the street — definitely made for a colorful picture <3.

The Birthday Boy!
Kourtney & Khloe
I definitely enjoyed one-too-many berry cosmos, but it ended up being such a fun night! I officially dubbed Alex the ‘Khloe to my Kourtney’ — that’s how much I like her (and Keeping Up With the Kardashians/Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami)!

Saturday night was a more formal affair — we celebrated Seda’s 22nd birthday at the Palm Court Brasserie in Covent Garden. The place was super nice inside — definitely date-worthy! After talking about how amazing the International was, we ended up migrating over there after dinner! It was even fun the second time around — definitely one of my new favorite places!

Happy Birthday to Han Solo & Seda!
To all my US friends/family with September & October birthdays — love you guys!
Wish I could be there to celebrate, too!

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Seattle, Part I.

So, today was our first day in Washington! Our flight was scheduled to arrive at 3:05P and we actually arrived twenty minutes early, which was awesome. We checked in and headed down to the Space Needle for the first stop of our trip. Due to the fourth of July holiday, the line was rather long, but once we got in, the elevator ride to the observation deck was a quick ten second trip. In a funny turn of events, Chris and I both discovered that he is minorly afraid of heights… kind of funny. <3.

SpaceNeedleShan3

ViewSeattle

The view from the top of the Space Needle was pretty amazing. You definitely have a great view of the city from 520′ up!

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This picture is seriously amazing and even more breathtaking in real life! Look at Mt. Rainier in the background, it looks like its completely suspended.

 Although $16 seemed rather steep for the view, the pictures are pretty amazing! After checking out the Space Needle, we headed over to a little Greek cafe called the Grecian Corner which sits across the street from the Needle Center. We snacked on some pita and hummus and I grabbed a veggie pita and a Greek salad while Chris snagged a meatier version with an accompanying salad. Pretty delish and it was just a tad over $20 for everything!

GrecianCornerGreekFood

After that, we decided to head to our hotel in Oak Harbor, nearly two hours from Sea-Tac airport. Although the drive was rather long, I have to admit — Washington is beautiful! The only word I can use to describe it is pristine. Everything is ridiculously clean; there’s very little litter and even the view seems clearer here. The skies are bluer, the trees are greener and the ground is smoother. So far, I’m loving the area and the 85 degree weather.

We may (possibly) head up to Vancouver tomorrow. My grandma kept telling me how gorgeous BC is, so we may make the trek. It’s only an hour or so from here!

Signature Stamp - Shannon