Monthly Archives: September 2016

FIFTEEN by Jamie Oliver – Islington – London, England

Ever since mimg_2304y trip back to Blighty in 2013, I’ve been on a Jamie Oliver kick. My university friends suggested dinner at Barbecoa for one of our rare mini-IPAG reunions. Dinner was lovely with cocktails to match and I found the view of St. Paul’s particularly stunning! I’ve followed Jamie Oliver’s Instagram since then and often reference his site for the rare occasion I cook a meal. This year I decided that Jamie’s resto FIFTEEN had to be on the itinerary.

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Uber(ing) over was interesting as we almost got dropped off at the Jamie Oliver headquarters. That must be where all the magic happens! It turns out that FIFTEEN was established in 2002 and gives young unemployed people a chance for a better future through training in the hospitality industry. Every year they recruit 18 people between the ages 18-25 to become professional chefs through their apprentice program. How cool is that! Delicious, ethical and socially responsible…I dig it.

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When we finally arrived our table hadn’t turned over yet. We decided to take a trip to the off-license around the corner for some bare necessities and soon returned to perch at the bar. I took a look around lounge area and happened to spot a small sign that noted their gin pairing classes offered on the first Tuesday of every month. If only I were in town a bit longer! Every time I come back to London I feel this way. There’s just so much to see and do … So many places to eat and drink! It just keeps getting better.

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FIFTEEN specializes in mostly gin-based cocktails. I decided to order the “Rose Gimlet” – Beefeater gin, house made yuzu and rose water cordial served straight up. It was soft on the palette and the yuzu prevented it from going in the “soapy” direction. I’ve always appreciated the brave incorporation of floral flavors the Brits have mastered. Elderflower has certainly seen its days…Could rose flavor beverages be the way forward?

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After deserting my phone with the bartender who was kind enough to charge it, we were escorted over to our table and seated with menus. The daily “Chef’s Selection” was £55 for five courses which seemed like great value. We decided against the wine pairing in efforts to be conservative. (haha) Instead we opted for a white and red recommendation that would transition well with the courses. I was trying to avoid falling on my face before the night’s end.

This is what happened:

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We had VIP seats right next to the open kitchen which allowed sneak previews of delicious plates being served.

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This delightful little amuse-bouche came out to play! It was a miniature cream cheese tarte topped with truffle and scallion shavings. This wouldn’t be the first time we saw truffles that evening.

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Course 1:

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Burrata, Grelot onion and Smoked Walnut and Malt: This was by far one of my favorite courses from the meal. What is not to like about the creaminess of burrata? This dish was a refreshing change from seeing another soft Italian cheese come out with your typical tomatoes and basil. It was rich and smokey and made me think of the transitional season we are entering. Complex with both flavor and consistency as well as providing a seasonal touch…It’s like taking your burrata camping.

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Course 2:

Dorset Crab, Courgette, Wild Fennel, creme fraiche: This dish went in the entirely different direction from the burrata course. We went from a smokey fall dish to light, bright and colorful in the literal and flavorful sense.

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Course 3:

Agnolotti, Summer Truffle, Courgette and Parmesan: This course went really well with our amuse bouche and burrata course. The cheese stuffed agnolotti was wading in a pool of what appeared to be parmesan and courgette foam, then sprinkled with a dusting of summer truffle. It was decadent in flavor but light enough to still leave room for what was coming. They may be hard to photograph but certainly not to eat!

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Course 4: OUR MAIN

Short Rib with Garlic and Montgomery Cheddar Mash: Anyone that knows me well understands that I am new on the meat-eating front. I try to save it for special occasions and travel. Talk about the planets aligning for me to experience the mouth watering short rib at FIFTEEN. This beef actually melted on my tongue. The Rioja paired with this dish was enhanced with notes of cherries that paired with the jus beautifully. The mashed potatoes were velvety soft and whipped with garlic and one of my favorite things to come out of the U.K., cheddar. I. Was. In. Heaven.

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Intermezzo: Sorbet blah blah blah

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Et Enfin: Dessert!

English Strawberry, Goat’s Milk Ice Cream, Elderflower and Spring Herbs: While goat-based dairy confused my tongue in the past, it made perfect sense in this dish. We see a return of the elderflower (in a jelly form) which ties both the earthy qualities of the goat’s milk and the (crunchy herb bark) together nicely. The English strawberry (reduction) added an extra tart…zing! This was followed up by a selection of British cheeses. (not pictured here.) I was way too involved.

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Last but not least, our check was served with house made truffles to take the edge off receiving the tab. The issue was that they were so rich and chocolaty, they left us thirsty! What to do?

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We were quickly sorted out with a list of after dinner beverages. While battling severe jet-lag I was seriously impressed that I made it this far. I didn’t want to ruin the good trend I had going and decided to order an espresso martini by suggestion of our server. This rich and velvety caffeinated boozy-bev did just the trick. Smart server!

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We had such a divine experience at FIFTEEN that we ended up closing the joint down. While very full and very merry, it was time to be on our way.

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I highly recommend FIFTEEN for a place to kick back and relax with friends. Even if it’s only “near Shoreditch” you’ll still feel cool sipping on delicious cocktails with helpful and enthusiastic staff. I’d totally go back if this was my city.

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HAPPY GIRLS! <3 <3

<3 Jenzie xoxo

For More Information: FIFTEEN

Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: JenzieInTheCity@gmail.com

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GONG @ Shangrila Hotel, The Shard – London, England

After 17 days abroad I’m excited to write about img_2304my latest adventures in Europe. This year’s extravaganza all started off at The Shard, ONE of if not THE pointiest building in London. I attempted to visit GONG during my EU-excursion IN 2015, but it seemed the universe had other plans in store as the building suffered a “wee-fire” which caused all of the bars and restaurants to close for my last available night in town. Like anything else in life, we enjoy things more when we have to wait and the time had finally come!

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Since my last attempt to “Shard-it” was with my friend Linda, it seemed necessary to kick-off this trip right where we left off. I was super excited to see her for our annual catch-up from across the pond. I always wish they were more frequent!

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I arrived early and had time to take a peak around. The Shard’s entrance is filled with business men and luxury sports cars waiting to be parked by valet. The foyer is covered in marble with a super attentive building staff. I was directed to the lift in seconds and on my way to cocktail-heaven located on the 52nd floor.

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The commute up to GONG requires a two-lift process. This gives you the opportunity to snoop around the piano lounge and take other photos with closer views of the Thames. By the time you get all the way up to 52, the world is a LOT tinier. “Just look for the lady in red.” I was told.

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Since GONG is first-come first-served, you may experience a wait. They try to implement at 30-quid spending minimum which you should have no problem meeting unless you’re a teetotaler. They have less-desirable couches where the view is blocked from the window as a waiting space. I sat there initially and hydrated with a soda water (I had to translate from club soda) while taking in the scenery. It’s an elegant yet tiny space with low seating. The cozy earth tone leather couches are an interesting contrast to all of the dark marble and reflective surfaces. I was comfortable and happy to wait and watch people whisper over their ornate libations. Something about that altitude makes you feel very…careful?
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My dear friend Linda finally arrived and we joyfully hugged. Suddenly we were the loudest bunch in the lounge (in true American fashion). We gaped at the never ending list of impressive creations on offer and struggled to make a choice. After twenty minutes and a couple complimentary snacks we finally came to a conclusion. Jenzie needed the “Working 9-5” in honor of a 17 day game of “hookie”. I appreciated the efforts to make “cocktail-ing” not only about drinking something boozey, but rather a true experience for all of the senses. Each drink came with a “gouter” to be sparingly sampled in between sips. The efforts are to enhance different flavors throughout your cocktail’s journey…Cause you know it’s traveling through time and all.

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Working 9-5 is made with a Talisker (whiskey) base along with Cocchi Americano, Mastiha, Provence bitters, yuzu and umami. I had to ask what every single ingredient was and I wasn’t bashful about it. That beef elegantly clipped to the side of my glass “tho”. #amazing #notveggiefriendly #novegansallowed

Next Up: Born To Fly (because you can’t just have one)

Born to Fly was a much less complex drink with brighter fruity notes. Ingredients listed: Grey Goose vodka shaken with basil, citrus and fig. If the flute wasn’t presented in a birdcage I’m not sure I’d be fussed…It made for a great Instagram moment “tho”!

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The sun had set and our 90 minute table allotment was coming to a close. It was time for more adventures on the town… This time they’d involve some foodies! I was happy to get a sneak peak at my favorite bridge in London all beautifully lit up.

I’m baaaaaack! 😆 #London #JenzieInTheCity #TheQueen #Gatwick #Fun #EuroExtravaganza2016 #letsplay

A photo posted by JenzieInTheCity (@jenzieinthecity) on

This was a luxurious cocktail hour with a tab to match. It is totally worth it for the view. You get a free pass to play tourist when trips to Blighty are so seldom. It was going to be a full weekend with her majesty! #fullisanunderstatement

<3 Jenzie xoxo

For More Information: GONG

Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: JenzieInTheCity@gmail.com

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The Amigo Room @ ACE Hotel – Palm Springs, CA

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My Barc(th)elonian friend Michael Ip and his friend Patrick joined us in P.S. to soak up some rays. We like to keep our hangouts global these days. The four of us (not three) found “the fountain-of-fun” pretty easily. It was adjacent to the pool and lobby at ACE. They have around 20 micro-brews on tap, but they can also shake up a pretty mean cocktail on request. While their menu is full of pool-side sippers, I had them making “Jenzie-creations” in no time and muddling jalapenos into everything I could possibly think of.

 

Please See Below For Very Serious Ip-mentary:

Good times were ahead…Fuzzy ones at least!

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Accommodating those bartenders were! This was one of many jalapeno sippers I sipped before we actually left the establishment that evening.

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Proof that we actually left the building…

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On the way out to dinner I was obsessed with becoming a human Y in front of the very vulnerable hotel sign and decided to seize the moment. It was a gorgeous Palm Springs evening for our adventures on the town. A Mexican meal was on the horizon and the next challenge was to navigate four (not three) very merry amigos by foot. Some were a lot merrier than others…Some could still use their feet!

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We returned to ACE that evening to find the Amigo Room entirely transformed. It was full of animated characters, almost as if the whole of Williamsburg decided to turn up for a late night boogie. Evidently this bar is no stranger to fabulous DJ’s and all kinds of themed-funnies that seem to get even cooler when the lights go out.

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Just look at all those palm trees!

<3 Jenzie xoxo

For More Information: www.acehotel.com/palmsprings

Questions, Comments, Concerns and Review Requests Please email to: JenzieInTheCity@gmail.com

Click Like* and Share* with your Friends!

Also follow my foodie adventures on Twitter ~ Instagram and Tumblr!

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