Category Archives: Yum Yumzz Reviewed London:

Hotel Sanderson London – Mad Hatter’s Tipsy Evening Tea – SOHO – London, England

Wait wait wait… LET’S BACK IT UP. I can’t go to Barcelona without discussing tea. It’s a must when visiting Blighty. Since it was Lyndsay’s first time in London, I wanted to make sure that she had an introduction to the art of afternoon tea. She had a few suggestions including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea at One Aldwych and the Brasserie’s tea at Sketch. The only issue was her flight and timing. I researched alternative teas and came across the Mad Hatter’s at the Sanderson Hotel.

It seemed like it could be as fun as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… Why not?! I figured it’s tea, it incorporates cocktails and sounds like a cartoon, right?

The Experience:

We were running late due to our flood. Thankfully Shoreditch House was helpful with pushing our reservation back (after some suggestion) and The Sanderson was accomodating. It turns out that boozey-tea isn’t in crazy-demand on a Sunday night. Upon arrival we were greeted by two jovial door men having a good chuckle at us American girls with eyes glued to our Google maps. They guessed we were there for there for the boozier-version of tea and directed us to concierge to check in our rain coats.

We were seated in a quiet corner of the courtyard with menus featured inside the pages of what appeared to be really old books. Within moments we were nose deep in scintillating literature describing the magical journey of treats ahead.

Tipsy Tea:

(Pictured Above: Rose and Cucumber G&T, Pomegranate and Basil G&T, Juniper Cosmo and a Lychee Martini). Tipsy tea is EXTRA special because they present a miniature flight of cocktails which are an adventure alone. All mini-sips are Alice in Wonderland themed (bien sur) with a variety of liquors including gin and vodka blended with various infusions and fruit flavors. ALL are guaranteed to give you a TRIP into “Wonderland”.

My only complaint: Each miniature cocktail was mixed with an even more miniature shot of alcohol! In all honesty, the bartender could have omitted it entirely and I might not have noticed. If I was wondering about anything it was “Where did the alcohol go?”

We caught the Sanderson on a quiet night. All you could hear were the whispers of the few neighboring tables and the water fountain trickling in the center. I imagine it would be an entirely different environment on a mid-summer’s afternoon. With a jet lagged Lyndsay, a calmer evening was ideal.

The Food:

Our tea stand included an impressive assortment of savoury snacks: Scottish smoked salmon, miniature Wiltshire ham and applewood croque- monsieurs, Cornish crab and herb éclairs, along with miniature caviar scotch eggs. (While Lyndsay was not a fan, these were my favorite!) We moved on to cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches on lime bread and other (less sweet) things. Of course the bottom layer of our tier had tasty scones with cumin seeds and Wensleydale cheddar with an herb butter. Yum!

Some Favorite Treats Featured Below:


(The White Rabbit’s Pocket Watch Macaron)


(Banana & Rum Bread with Butterfly)

(A Red Velvet Vodka Lady bug)

(Chelsea Chili Cornbread with a Flower Box)

(Last But Not Least – Alice’s naughty Pimms infused “drink-me” potion.)

We had a lot of food to tackle and a fun hotel to explore, which was exactly what we did.

I have an affinity for hanging chairs and made sure to get a photo in my all-time favorite dream chair.

We sat at the big white bar before leaving, as cocktails can’t be missed here. Philippe Starck would be sad.

While I don’t think I’ll be back to The Sanderson anytime soon, I thought Tipsy Tea was an adorable experience for cousins! The cocktails and atmosphere add a unique spin on the tradition and the boutique hotel provided curious environments for guests to enjoy.

Miraculously Lyndsay was able to sit upright on a bar stool long enough to take this photo! We gave her some more tea and encouragement…Soon everything was status-quo. There were still a couple stops to be made and she was fading. Overall this was a successful intro to her first stay in Blighty.

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What Jenzie Is Groovin’ To:

Jenzie’s Friends Up to Cool Things:

Watch Kayla make her slammin’ stuffed mushrooms!

Shoreditch House – Shoreditch – London, England

Oh the places you’ll go! After a rock-star night, I woke up in Chelsea near the footballer-grounds in Stamford Bridge. Safe to say I was in dire need of water and a lie-in. Today was going to be an exciting day since cousin Lyndsay was landing in London. Her trip out made me realize how fast someone can get through customs if it’s preventing you from sleeping in. After 100 text messages of instructing her on how to train to center city, I was relieved to collect her at the station so we could begin our adventures in Blighty.

After layovers in three countries she appeared to be deceivingly refreshed…Ah to be 24 again!

Last time we traveled in Europe together I was basically her age. Pictured Above: Cousin Lyndsay and I looking amused at the breakfast table in Venice, Italy (2007). A decade later…

We collected my things and ubered off to what would be home for the next two days. We were staying in Shoreditch by Lyndsay’s request! What better place to experience Shoreditch than at the Shoreditch house?

Our Stay:

I thought we were staying at Ebor St. when I booked. On arrival it turned out that the main house was full. They sent us (walking with our large cases) to Club Row. This meant we had a city block or two (walking back) to get our hangout on at “The House”. It also meant newly refurbished rooms and a quieter stay. #nottooshabby #okayfine

My initial impression-The room was super crisp. The tiny room was no understatement, as our bed was basically touching all four walls (almost). They like to leave their vintage radios turned on just so you hear static noise out of the corner. (It can’t play a single station clearly.) This requires a hobble around the bed to turn it off. The radio’s vintage appearance reminds you that this radio is very cool. You are very cool because you are in this room. This room is so cool because it’s in Shoreditch house. Enough said.

Our room was equipped with all the bells and whistles including the Cowshed Spa products. (ALL of THEM).

The bathroom was my favorite room until we decided to take showers. We soon realized the door was not properly sealed. ALL-THE-WATER decided to spill out from the stall into the room, hence dampening ALL-THE-THINGS. That was fun to deal with on a tight schedule (shed-juhl).

Before that fiasco we sat for Sunday Roast at “The House”. The goal was to get out of there in 90 minutes or less, but they forgot about us entirely. After staring down the wait staff that was loitering in front of the kitchen line, we became the most hydrated guests in the dining area with extra beverages to make up for the horrid wait.

After an hour these croquettes finally made it to the table. Pictured Above: Salted Cod Croquettes with crushed peas and mint. The croquettes weren’t hot, the cod hardly salted and peas not crushed…I struggled to find mint? (I would take anything to taste something.) This put me in a sad place. I really wanted to leave but I had a starving Lyndsay. She was a tad weary from her travels that needed nourishment!

Sad to report the food was sub-par. If we weren’t on such a time crunch I had originally aimed to do a proper pub-roast.

My 21-day-aged West Country Sirloin of beef was seriously rubber. The Yorkshire pudding was hard as a rock.

I decided to stick to veggies as I was having major roast-remorse.

How does one remedy this? We did what anyone would do and decided drinks were the way forward. With an attempt to enjoy pool-life, we set out to the roof and ordered two frozés. We didn’t actually want frozé, (who does?) but it was scary to think how long it might take to flag down a server and order a drink that would require any preparation. At that rate we could be there until sundown.

It wasn’t the most ideal pool weather with overcast skies.

I was determined to get into that pool anyway.

Eventually it was time to dry off, change and set out to discover the new and improved Shoreditch. Last I was there it was still grungy and mildly unsafe. It “fancies itself” on being quite the edgy and artsy area of London with that “hipster” vibe we all know and love! Basically it’s the Williamsburg of NYC. We took some interesting photos of the area. Check them out below:

A secret view from a secret window.

We came home that night to find we were upgraded to a not-so-tiny room for all of our troubles. Thankfully they made this seamless by putting all of our belongings back exactly where we left them (just in the new room). It even came equipped with another static playing radio!

At least now the bathroom was “super-sized”.

My experience at Shoreditch house was a bit “soggy” to say the least. I’ve had better experiences at their other locations. The staff was on point the next morning though… They remembered my wake up call and even had a breakfast take-away baggy prepped for my departure at 5:00am. Leaving little Lyndsay behind to play in London, I was now Barcelona-bound with fresh berries and granola in hand. Yum!

<3 Jenzie xoxo

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Still Great Advice…You don’t wanna end up like one of those awful looking people pumped up with Botox:

Just Because:

Trailer Happiness – Notting Hill – London, England

img_2304Two days in London and I had been eating like a champ. This marathon eating came with the inevitable dread of a distended abdomen. Some activity was in order (or shall we say sports) and I was lucky to have the support to make it happen. My friend and I decided to take a walk around SOHO on day-two in hopes of finding a one-day- gym-pass for Jenzie. It turns out that gyms don’t really allow “this sort of thing”. In order to get a gym pass (easily) you have to go to the Easy-gym. Well of course, duh! Why didn’t I think of that? #sarcasm #soobvious #sobritish

We found other things a lot easier that morning.

We found a little of this and a little of that too.


After having a lengthy lunch at the Capital I knew that it would be a challenge to commit to an early evening yoga. However, if one wants to play one must work for it! I was excited to try a class at Triyoga located in Kingly Court, SOHO.


The weather was so nice that evening as we approached the studio. I got up to the second level entrance and turned around to take in the buzzing view. Something about this Kingly Court made me happy…So did the class! I burned off enough calories for the mischief I was about to get into that evening. We had an excellent series of postures and contrary to NYC studios, they weren’t overly crowded. For the 40 quid of unlimited classes you get at Triyoga as an introductory offer, it’s definitely worth it. The staff was friendly and helpful, they provide clean studios and trendy yogi-apparatus to meet all of your possible needs.


After a class and a quick shower, I had just enough time to grab my cases in SOHO. It was moving-day and time to order up an uber to my hotel. While trying to make moves as fast as I could, I was a tad late to Trailer Happiness for a night cap with my friend Indira and her clan. One intended nightcap turned into an amazing night of dancing and laughs. It had been a whole three years since we last saw each other and dined at Estela in 2013!


Fast forward three years and not much has changed here! (except my hair)


This year my London travels brought me back to Notting Hill quite a bit. It’s been ages since I had reasons to go to that area. I do remember being quite fond of the Portobello market in my university days as it was so good for Christmas shopping! While trying to keep things simple and seeing friends the priority, I was excited they had a bar recommendation in mind and was happy to go with the flow. When I finally arrived, what seemed like a normal every day lounge on street-level turned out to be an underground night at the Brady Bunch house with flaming tiki-cocktails and the best old school rap and r&b I’ve heard in ages! (Think: Brady Bunch home having a fallout shelter party.)


Enthusiastic bartenders put on quite the show! There’s even a permanent flame mark on the ceiling from setting cocktails on fire.


Those beats tho…

As in true London-form, no successful night out ends without a kebab on Edgeware road. I still can’t bring myself to eat meat that is shaved off a rotating rod, but I can kill me some felafel with spicy sauce! That’s exactly what I did @ Cafe Helen.


Eating kebabs under some really colorful fluorescent lighting…This night was another night for the books!

<3 Jenzie xoxo

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Jenzie Grooves:

Just Because:

OUTLAW’S Restaurant at The Capital – Knightsbridge – London, England

Iimg_2304 am happy to blog about my experiences in London as it was the first leg of the “Jenzie’s Euro-extravaganza 2016”. What a great weekend of foodie-fun, old faces and new areas explored! Sadly last year’s London-eats were not reported and I let my faithful readers down. By the time I reached Blighty my excitement had been waning due a stressful sequence of events. Eventually the memories of my meals were deleted due to travelin’ drama-trauma.

Four years ago (and many lives) I was introduced to my foodie-friend Elliot at Launceston Place.


The following year he was so kind as to liaise with the wonderful chef Tim Allen to organize my very first stage in that very kitchen. This was a truly memorable experience!

Since then we were lucky to convene for a “chat and chew” at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant MAZE in 2014 and once again at Angler in 2015 (which I failed in my duties to report). Le sigh* I was impressed once again this year with a phenomenal lunch at Outlaw’s restaurant at The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, London.


Since our initial foodie meetup in 2014, I’ve become much more blonde.

What Happened:


As soon as I greeted Ello(zie), he brought my attention to the fact we had the best seats in the house. If you sit in the far end of the dining room facing towards the entrance, there is a small window (to your right) which gives a tiny glimpse into all the magic happening in Outlaw’s kitchen. It’s a quiet dining room with a simple yet elegant décor clearly influenced by aquatic life in the most understated way. I happen to be a huge fan of seahorses, so I was excited to see a large picture of one at each side of the room.


Here we were, seated for a midday lunch on a Saturday. A matcha-chai  from timber yard was enough to send Jenzie off the deep-end that morning. I had to make Elliot aware of my fragile state and was grateful we had Bellinis on the way. It was barely 36 hours since I’d landed and I was elated when the crostini turned up with a delightful spread made of cod’s roe. I hoped a little drink and a little nosh would sort me out.


Two delicious types of rolls were served including Cornish cheddar and Cornish (?) Doom Bar beer. The Cornish cheddar was by far my favorite. (Was it Cornish though?) I actually ate two. #naughty #IheartCarbs4eva


OUTLAW’S offers a set menu for 32 pounds per person. This includes three courses and a Bellini. It would have been great value for a hypothetical $64.00 when the pound was still worth something. I’ll take it for a comfortable $39.00! #BrexitExchangeWin


(Pictured Above: Cornish Fish Soup with Red Peppers and Paprika) This soup happens to be prepared with “pap-rick-a” not “pap-pa-reeka” in case there was any confusion. I struggled to taste or see anything that resembled a sea creature in my soup. It was puréed into a very smooth and velvety consistency. The red peppers and paprika added a pleasant reddish hue to the presentation and a muted spice with a light acidity on the tongue. I really wanted some salt.


After the Bellinis had disappeared, Elliot took the liberty of ordering wine. He went with a lovely Sauvignon Blanc that complimented our fishy-fare very well. David Levin (owner of The Capital Hotel) started growing grapes in the Loire Valley in 1985 in efforts to provide quality wine for his luxury hotels and restaurants. They pride themselves on producing a world-class sauv-blanc that also happens to be organic. I felt privileged to be sipping this wine and appreciate its story.


(Pictured Above: Lamb Scrumpet with pickled chicory, anchovy and coriander.) This is a piece of lamb shoulder which is slowly cooked and fried. It was a much heartier starter than my selection and much better value for the set menu price. This dish gave way more of a “bang for the buck” so to speak. Thanks to Elliot, I was able to see another one of the delicately presented starters…This was the correct one to order.


I couldn’t help but feel like I might have let him down by ordering the soup.

The Mains:


My eyes were instantly drawn to the plaice. (Pictured Above: Plaice served with warm tartare sauce and baby gem lettuce.) The adjectives warm and creamy were speaking to my soul. This light and flaky filet was delicately placed in a pool of creamy-goodness and garnished with a fish stick that brought me right back to childhood.


Elliot also enjoyed a sea creature option as opposed to the Beef Rump on offer. (Pictured Above: Hake with curry sauce, cabbage and shallots.) This brought up a very funny conversation about an allergy I swore I had to Hake. As it turns out it’s Skate that makes me ill! A quick search on the “goog-lay” is enough to make me understand why. Skate fish look like miniature stingrays. Any time I see the fanned out grain of their fleshy bits I steer clear!


After we cleaned our plates (and we did) a sudden anxiety ensued about the meal ending. I was still really hungry. #haha


I knew I was in good company when Elliot wanted a mixed cheese plate in addition to a dessert. Out came a selection of British cheeses with tomato and pepper chutney. Jenzie never turns down a cheese plate. #nevagiveup


I chose the Passion Fruit Ice Cream Sandwich served with coconut sorbet for dessert…Who doesn’t love passion fruit?


Elliot selected the Plum & Almond sponge cake with almond cream & lemon crème fraiche. I was happy this was a midday lunch…I didn’t require a breakfast or a dinner and I was about to roll out the door.


The honeycomb chunks were intriguing. They made the perfect snack as we sat and created a plan for Jenzie’s adventures ahead.


A picture that started off with the resemblance of Hangman would soon turn into the most detailed pinxtos tour of San Sebastian! #epic


Sadly we had to take Elliot’s artwork on-the-go due to a time constraint. We couldn’t leave without a complimentary shot of Harvey’s sherry first. It’s part of the full experience here at The Capital!


Elliot’s dedication to his map proved incredibly useful.


Alas, through tube rides and rain he finally completed it.


It was time to take a selfie!

<3 Jenzie xoxo

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Just Because Seahorses Rule:

Nightjar – Hoxton – London, England

img_2304Nightjar was recommended through a trustworthy source at Jamie Oliver’s FIFTEEN. (Thank you!) By the time we were on our way, I had officially turned into one of these nocturnal birdies. They were the clever inspiration for the name of this speakeasy located “on the fringes of Shoreditch”. With lofty ideas of going clubbing and a walk through “the fringes”, we successfully stumbled upon a guarded door which led down a really dark staircase and finally led us into the magical art-deco-cocktail-underworld. Sound familiar?



During my last few trips to London I intended to find some of the city’s speakeasies. I wasn’t very successful as I usually start out with a loose itinerary and let the rest fill itself in. This search lies low on the list of priorities when I get my fill in NYC. Plus the genre is a bit “has been”…Where can we go from here? Long gone are the days of Milk and Honey and the reign of our dearly missed Sasha Petraske.


(Pictured Above: The necessary mysterious signage subtly posted for only the super observant to see.)

I wrote my college thesis on the speakeasy trend and applied a marketing analysis where I dissected the success in the hospitality scene. Twenty some years later the movement is still going strong, and globally at that. They’re perfect places for jokers coming out of a full meal that believe they “can hang” but not really enough for a club. This usually allows for some aggressive seated chair-dancing into the wee-hours of the morning. Chair dancing is so fun to LIVE jazz music! (Lots on here.)

Nightjar‘s cocktails fall under five categories: Pre-Prohibition, Prohibition, Post-War, Night Jar Signatures and Sharing. One sounded more tempting than the next and watching the artistic presentation of these fascinating drinks was no help. The bartenders were almost entranced in their own world as they spun, shook, tossed, stirred and whisked all kinds of magic potions behind the bar…I wanted them all! Sadly even Jenzie has her own physical limitations to adhere to.

Picking our way through a list of ENDLESS exotic ingredients prompted all kinds of questions. Our mind was made up by the giant smoking bird.


What is in the giant smoking bird? The stuff that dreams are made of! (Of course)


YORKSHIRE PUNCH: Gin Mare, Apple & Rhubarb, Absinthe, St. Germain, Berry liqueurs, Lemon, Yorkshire Tea, Honey and Ginger. After the fanfare of the dry ice wore off, we were stuck with a giant pitcher and tin mugs filled with an array of interesting garnishes. There was a Yorkshire tea bag (bien sur) a yellow tomato (or toh-mah-toe) and herbs (like Rosemary or H-eubs?) on top of rather large ice cubes… Yes, herbaceous would be the adjective to describe this concoction. It took a while to finish since it serves 2-4 people. This shared-punch might have been the closest I came to having tea that entire weekend!


All good things must come to an end when Jenzie has jetlag. As we made our way back up the staircase and left the roaring and mysterious cocktail-land behind us, we heard quite the ruckus on the street. It turned out there was a legit brawl up in this piece!


Thankfully we had the friendly door man to protect us. The hostess didn’t want us to leave as it seemed we had some unfinished business to tend to. FYI – Nightjar includes a cover for their live entertainment.


People were screaming, getting naked and throwing punches! Startled by this uncivilized behavior, it was officially time to call my uber.


No worries, I made it home safe and sound! Can’t wait to try their sister bar Oriole next time I’m in town.

<3 Jenzie xoxo

For More Information: NIGHTJAR

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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.


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.


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.


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?


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:


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


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.


Course 1:


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.


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.


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!


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.


Intermezzo: Sorbet blah blah blah


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.


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?


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!


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.


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.



<3 Jenzie xoxo

For More Information: FIFTEEN

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Jenzie Grooves:

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!


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!


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.


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.


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?

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.


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”!


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

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PeanutPimpMama’s London Yum Yumzz 2014 – (Last Day) – Launceston Place, South Kensington, London

(Day 8)-PeanutPimpMama My last day in Soggies…I couldn’t believe it was finally coming to a close. It had been such a full week of reuniting with old friends and familiar faces. I had made some great memories on this trip, especially great foodie-memories! I was so grateful to go out with a bang participating in a stage at Launceston Place. I first dined at this restaurant in 2012 on a brisk December day. We came out of the tube at Gloucester Road  and wandered through the charming Chelsea roads and finally approached this fine establishment. I was mesmerized by the quaint charm and knew I had to live in London again one day. It deserved another chance.


Pictured Here: Me in Chef Attire I finally stopped working in hospitality a little less than a year ago. While I am certainly no stranger to a kitchen (nearly half my life working in restaurants)  it was funny to be on the other side of things for once. The team was incredibly welcoming here. I came in, introduced myself and was suited up in a chef jacket and apron in no time.


My friend who we shall refer to as “Ello-zies” (fine dining gastronomer and faithful patron) had contacted Chef Tim Allen at Launceston to help coordinate this stage. I was honored Mr. Allen welcomed the idea with enthusiasm and was sad to hear he would not be present for my big debut. Little did he know this reunion had been long awaited since our last meeting when face-time was impossible. He was participating in a rather extensive interview between shifts. PeanutPimpMama wanted a fair chance at Q&A time to pick his brain. Maybe next time! (PeanutPimpMama shrugs*)

Pictured Here: Mouse Ball

Initially I felt slightly intimidated, (imagine that) but before I knew it they had me setting up mis en place and stationed in desserts. That of course was the safest bet with the least possibility of collateral damage. Evidently word got around that I “fancy myself” as a baker… I do bake cupcakes. Now even that is being ruined by all of the little hipster cupcake-cynics. Evidently PPM has to learn how to make donuts now. Euh…

Pictured Here: Chocolate AirbrushPictured Above: A chocolate airbrushing technique is displayed. (That is clearly not my forearm.)


After I was trained to airbrush mousse balls I attempted a bunch on my own. It’s interesting how little details like this make the world of difference in plate presentation. It was funny to see a kitchen full of men and an air brush machine. Normally I associate these with Jersey girls, fake tans and very long nails.

Pictured Here: Pain de gene

These are miniature Pain de Genes that I helped make. It was awkward measuring ingredients on a scale in grams vs. cups and ounces. I’d like to apologize to LP if they were a bit off. (Wink*)


There it was, the finished result. You have to admit that my hand held point and shoot doesn’t take a bad picture, eh? Here we have one mousse ball completely “tanned” in chocolate providing an appealing visual texture. Off in the distance we see some pistachio ice cream creepin’.

343I spent some quality time with the pastry chef that afternoon. He helped me create a beautiful soufflé. The last one I attempted was when I lived on the UES and cooked a birthday dinner for my friend Christin. It sunk a tad after I threw the raspberry reduction and whipped cream on there.


Pictured Above: PeanutPimpMama’s first raspberry soufflé on the UES- Created in PPM’s Kitchen

Pictured Here: PeanutPimpMama's soufflé at Launceston Place, LondonPictured Above: soufflé created at Launceston Place (My soufflé skills have come a long way baby!)

Pictured Here: soufflé with powdered sugar

After we took it out of the oven we dusted some confectionery sugar on top.

Pictured Here: soufflé final presentation

Finally we presented the soufflé with a citron reduction and scooped some ice cream to serve on the side. I really like the shape created by using the side of a dinner spoon. It’s a sexy and sophisticated alternative. The pastry chef stated, “Finally, soufflé done right at Launceston Place.” I’m sure Chef Allen would have loved to hear that one. (PeanutPimpMama winks*)


My tasting experiences behind-the-scenes this afternoon happened in no particular order. I was happy to have them any way I could get them! I was given a small plate with two delightfully savoury bites consisting of the first one above, a miniature Parmesan and truffle cream cheese sandwich. It took me right back to my latchkey days…Instantly I was five years old munching on Cheez-Its while enjoying the 1,000th replay of The Wizard of Oz.


It’s neighboring “snack” was a mini tart filled with beetroot, balsamic jelly and fromage frais. What a tart little Pop-Tart tart! Tart tart tart…


Pictured above is the first course off the tasting menu: Cornish Mackerel Tartare-topped with marinated cucumber balls and a horseradish with buttermilk snow and garnished with Borage flowers and dill. While (not) pictured here, I was told it is served with a nice refreshing cucumber gazpacho. We were moving at a fast pace and since they were nice enough to let me hover over the line, I was not in the position to demand accompaniments. The course was a zesty intro to a meal, truly pure and refreshing like a cool Spring shower. With a dying camera battery I couldn’t quite focus in on that horseradish snow which soon liquefied before my eyes . (PeanutPimpMama Fail*)


Pictured Above: An amuse bouche of cauliflower mousse with curried lentils… It warmed my heart and my taste buds. 


I had to get a picture of this guy… Here we have a layers of cucumber balls, lime, buttermilk and mint. It’s pretty obvious that this serves as a palate cleanser in preparation for all the sweet things ahead. Clever choice of glassware for presentation purposes. It reminds me of a cucumber filled ice cube… Even the glassware is invigorating!


I took many pictures that day, but few were actually worthy enough to express the fine details that go into the works of art this establishment turns out of their kitchen. I would like to thank the team at Launceston for welcoming me once again and teaching me so much about their work. Most of all I’d like to thank them for taking the risk to have me in their kitchen! It was a very valuable experience I will surely treasure.

Launceston Place is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. If you are looking for a real “bang for the buck” the Sunday lunch has great value. It is so nice to take your time, relax and pretty much solve any hunger issues for the rest of the day! (PeanutPimpMama likes that.) Although a turn of events has prohibited PPM from her planned Autumn visit to London… She will be back in 2015! She is incredibly grateful for these experiences and can’t wait to return to Soggies for more food-filled-fun! That about wraps up this addition of London Yum Yumzz… Until next time!


Address: 1A Launceston Pl, London W8 5RL, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 20 7937 6912


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PeanutPimpMama’s London Yum Yumzz 2014 – (Day Seven) Buckingham Palace and an Aloe Family Feast!


(Day 7) I got up nice and early and was all hyped up for my stage (as in “un stage”) at Launceston Place. As it turned out, they did not have many covers for the shift and offered the option to return the next day for an in-depth experience. With a suitcase still hibernating at The Blakes and a commute to Collindale that afternoon by tube, I took them up on their offer. After all, PeanutPimpMama needed to maximize her photo footage opps during this once in a lifetime chance to be in the kitchen at a fine-dining restaurant in London.

Pictured Here: Buckingham Palace

Once upon a time I lived in London for over a year. That was many many moons ago. I still don’t feel like a trip to Soggies is complete without a visit to her majesty and the Beefeaters. I <3 their Q-tip hats!

Pictured Here: Beefeaters

It’s really hard to find someone that appreciates a good changing of the guards show like me. I’m normally left to attend alone.

Pictured Here: Big Ben

On day seven, I  was out with my suitcase for an hour near Buckingham Palace standing on a guardrail for photos. I became quite fatigued since my London adrenaline was fading. The time zones were working their magic and I needed to find a bed STAT.

Pictured Here: An Aloe Family Feast Begins!

I paid my tributes and made it back to Collindale for a four-hour sleep. It felt good, but when I woke up it was time for some coffee. PeanutPimpMama was about to attend a long awaited Aloe feast in observance of Good Friday! It had been nearly 6-7 years since the last opportunity occurred.

Pictured Here: Pasta at the Aloe residence

The delicious meal started out with some smoked salmon and then we moved on to some home-made Pasta Pesctore. Nothing is more comforting than a big plate of al dente pasta drenched in a hearty red seafood sauce.

Pictured Here: Harrisson (a new addition)

Since I had last been present at an Aloe-feeding, there have been some new additions to the family. Pictured above is Harrison. He’s a big fan of trains, cameras, photography and loves a good bowl of pasta.

Pictured Here: A self portrait

He shot my portrait while I was in town. He fancies a good “selfie” every now and again too.

Pictured Here: Oliver the latest addition

Here we have Harrison’s brother and side-kick Oliver. Oliver is the quiet and sensitive type…He likes to learn pasta eating techniques on his free time.

Pictured Here: Pavlova

For dessert we had a scrum-didly-um-tious home made Pavlova. I had two slices. I always wondered where this fluffy mass earned its name from. The sweet treat was named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova.

Perhaps the lightness and fluffiness of the meringue bit represents how light and airy she was on her feet? Imagine if she actually consumed them on-the-reg.!

Pictured Here: Grappa

After the Pavlova’s appearance, the liquid-dessert made it out to the table. It was Grappa time!

Pictured Here: The Grappa Spout

 Check out the high-tech spout pouring feature.

Pictured Here: Amaretto and Grappa

Between the sweet Amaretto and the chest hair-inducing Grappa, we had two liqueurs to “duke it out” on the tongue. I chased my Grappa with my Amaretto… True story (no shame).

Pictured Here: Panetone

This meal was completed with a fresh slice of Panettone. I am mystified by the longevity of the Panettone. I have seen one Panettone make consecutive appearances at holidays in my family over the years. What lives longer, the Twinkie or the Panettone? The world may never know. It’s like trying to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.


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PeanutPimpMama’s London Yum Yumzz 2014 – (Day Six) Hummingbird Bakery,The Searcys Champagne Bar, The Heron Tower Private Member’s Club, Barbecoa

(Day Six) PeanutPimpMamaI woke up at The Blakes and had to rush off to my hair appointment at Mad Lillies in Hampstead. I set my alarm pretty early but the snooze button got the best of me once again. I was going to lose out on the opportunity to try the Blakes’s coconut chili porridge…How amazing does that sound?! Essentially it is oatmeal (Goldilocks) boiled with coconut, lemongrass, caramelized lime with chopped banana stirred in. It’s like English-Thai fusion breakfast. Sadly I had to give up on this dream and pursue other caloric intake. Time was of the essence, so a pop-in to the Hummingbird Bakery had to suffice.

Pictured Here: Hummingbird Bakery London

I visited the one on Old Brompton Road and grabbed a red velvet cupcake. It’s a cute little shop that fancies itself as the Magnolia of London “providing authentic American baking” with their cupcakes and overgrown cake stands. While their flavors might not be so adventurous their product is available at 6 locations which clearly shows some level of serious demand. Their rainbow cake and giant cupcake-cakes are wicked cool and worth a gander.

Pictured Here: A red velvet cupcake by Hummingbird Bakery

The Cupcake Experience: I took a bite and couldn’t figure out why (for the life of me) it tasted so buttery and yet the cake part was less moist than most. One of my favorite things about red velvet is the pillowy cake combined with rich cream-cheesy icing. I’m not sure what was going on here… Maybe Red Velvet is best left State-side? Look at the twee little carrying case I received! They sure do “twee” well, don’t they?

Pictured Here: Hummingbird Bakery Carrying Case

I arrived at the salon in a timely fashion since I was excited to get my “hairs did.” It has become a London tradition for me to come back to NY with some funky Euro-hairs. Back in 2008 I nearly gave my mom a heart attack. I decided that since Agnis Dayne was rocking white hair that I should too. The only issue was that everyone made insulting Eastern-Euro references at me instead of appreciating exactly how chic and à la mode I actually was.

Pictured Here: Two fools and a magnum of DomI’ll never forget the night I missed my Eurostar train to Paris and finally christened facebook with the very first pictures of my new hair. Pictured Above: London-bestie Linda and I breaking-in The Champagne Bar at Kings Cross St. Pancras circa 2008. It too was brand new back then.

54492338_9X2pooULRuMKIT11oPYPxXE4BmbdTx14et9OgXfaS-UA whole six years later and many natural white hairs…I was still in recovery from the asymmetrical bob from my 32nd birthday. That said, we had a little evening out to do. The final London-do touches included an undercut and fringe trim.

Pictured Here: Cocktail Hour All dolled up and nowhere to go… I met Linda in the city for a light nosh and a cocktail.

Pictured Here: Drinks at The Heron Tower

I was able to get the royal tour of The Heron Tower and The Private Members Club. It is a gorgeous building with a lovely clubhouse space! They make a mean mudslide too. wink*

Pictured Here: IPAG 2005 Reunion @Barbecoa

That evening I had one of many IPAG reunions (this year) near St.Paul’s at Jamie Oliver’s Restaurant- Barbecoa. Their concept: As the UK’s first BBQ Steakhouse is to combine the four elements to create a sensory and satisfying experience. Well done Chef Oliver!


It offers an incredible view of the city and St. Paul’s Cathedral, an open kitchen (pictured below) to watch all of the magic happen, solid cocktails aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand they pass out a feeding!

Pictured Here: The Kitchen @ Barbecoa

For my starter I chose the Tandoori Wild Prawns. These prawns were served over lime and pickled yoghurt with tomatoes, garlic crisps and chestnut smoke. Fingertipkissperfection*


Along with this amazing prawn dish we shared two other starters which included the Scallop Crudo and the Smoked and Coal Roasted Beetroot.

Pictured Here: Shared starters for the tableAll of these dishes had an interesting play on hot and cold temperatures, consistencies and flavors with a hint of smokiness to remind you of this very “original” BBQ concept.

imageIt was time for my main course. I ended up having their Cod special of the day. Those are sprinkled bits of bacon on my main, it’s true. This may be a meat-heavy restaurant but I would say a “Pescatarian” would fair quite well. You need to be cool with people sneaking bits of mammal onto your plate as garnish and tasty side orders of starches and vegetables (and they are quite tasty).


Not sure how I left London without putting on 20kilos. We went all-in and had dessert too. This was the second oblong chocolate log I consumed in less than 72 hours. Here we have the Barbecoa Brownie with salted caramel ice cream and honeycomb bubble sugar. (A chocoholics dream and a diabetic’s worst nightmare!)


On the way out (when I wasn’t running late or literally) I was able to take a look into the kitchen. It’s open and visible to a good portion of the dining room which creates an energetic vibe. We sat a bit further away but since the entire restaurant has floor to ceiling windows we still had a great view and plenty of ambiance.

Good Food, drinks, company and a view of this… You just can’t beat it!


This guy…


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