Wednesday, January 25, 2012

London, England - Meat Liquor

The line at 7pm on a Tuesday night at Meat Liquor

The hottest table in London right now is Meat Liquor, a former food truck serving all-American hamburgers, chilli cheese fries, fried pickles, onion rings, buffalo wings and the like, which has now found a permanent home as a restaurant off Oxford Street in Marylebone. The smell of burgers will hit you before you even round the corner of
Welbeck Street, making you so hungry that you are somehow delirious enough to wait in an absurdly long line just to get at this food (there is a strict no reservations policy). Last evening, a Tuesday night, I waited in line for one solid hour, from 7-8pm, because I had to experience for myself what all the hype was about.
Chili Cheese fries and buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing

Bacon Cheeseburgers

Pickles, onions, lettuce, cheese, bacon

Here’s the lowdown:
1)       The inside of the restaurant is very dark and looks like an abandoned, bombed-out, graffiti ridden air raid shelter (ie, zero ambiance).

2)       The American music they blare on the radio inside is so loud you can’t even hear yourself think; forget about conversing with your friends at the table. Not to worry though, you will have exhausted all conversation topics while waiting in line outside anyway. You will most likely have to share a table with strangers too, so you won’t be airing dirty laundry here.

3)       Service is as I find it in the rest of the UK: not up to American standards, though they did pay for our cocktails because they had to move us to another table halfway through dinner.

4)  Food is served directly on trays, and they leave you a roll of paper towels on the table to clean yourself up

So finally for the food: the burgers are so greasy your hands slip off the bun, but they are good! They all come cooked the same way (roughly medium rare) and you don’t have a choice, but the meat is tender and melts in your mouth. I couldn’t figure out what was the more prominent sensation: the delicious taste of the burger or the guilt I had over eating the absolutely instantaneous artery-clogging patty. The chili cheese fries and buffalo wings with blue cheese were also very authentic. This isn't a gourmet burger joint, but if you have a true craving for a down and dirty greasy American burger, look no further than Meat Liquor. I actually overheard one woman exiting the restaurant exclaiming "That is the best burger I have ever eaten in my life!" Try it for yourself, if you dare brave the line.

The inside of Meat Liquor


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paris, France - Hôtel de Vendôme

I am heading off to Paris on the train tomorrow for work, as all of the major interior furnishing fabrics houses are launching their new Spring/Summer 2012 collections in their showrooms on the left and right banks, as well as at the famous show, Maison & Objet. I’ll be there scouting the latest trends, checking out seasonal color palettes and generally getting inspired!

I always stay in the Place Vendôme/rue St. Honore area and one of my favorites is the Hotel de Vendome. This 5 star hotel boasts a fabulous location at 1 Place Vendôme and I just love the interior of the breakfast room with windows overlooking the boutiques on the street below. Rooms and accompanying bathrooms are a good size by Parisian standards, and have all of the amenities you would expect of a luxury hotel. The hotel is not quite on par with the other famous hotels in Paris who share the 5 star rating, but for a smaller, boutique hotel in a perfect location, you can’t go wrong with Hôtel de Vendôme.

The lobby

My guest room


The breakfast room

A swanky address

View from the breakfast room

An early morning shot of the Place Vendôme
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Boston, Massachusetts - Mooo....

Living abroad, one thing I miss is a good USDA steak. My favorite steak house is Mooo.... at the stylish boutique hotel XV Beacon on Boston's Beacon Hill.  The modern interior decor and high vaulted ceilings set a swanky backdrop for an a la carte menu that never fails to satisfy. I have all to do not to frontload on those steaming hot, salted, buttered rolls before arriving at the main course! Luckily Mooo is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on weekends, so I always know where to head when the cravings strike. Mooo again did not diasppoint when I dined there last week during my visit home to Boston.

Warm salted and buttered rolls: divine!

Sushi grade tuna tartare

Mesculun greens, Cherry Tomatoes, Cabernet vinaigrette

8oz Filet Mignon served with roasted garlic and bone marrow butter

Truffled parmesan fries

Sauteed spinach and garlic

Bananas Foster: vanilla ice cream, carmelized bananas and banana rum sauce

Interior shot
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