Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Chateau Marmont.

I finally went to see Sofia Coppola's new film Somewhere tonight. I loved the feel of it. (Although what is up with that ending?) It has the same dreamy quality as Lost in Translation but is set in the Chateau Marmont in LA. Utter pornography to me, basically. Anyway, I've been kind of busy at work recently, so it set me off on a daydream of a few lost days at the Chateau Marmont, lounging around in that armchair reading or hanging out by the pool. And ordering lots of room service. These candid photos from tripadvisor fuelled my little reverie. (Yes, I did immediately go on to tripadvisor to price up a stay there!) And how cute is that kitchen?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Music to cry by.

Chatting to a friend last night, we started talking about musical moments that had made us cry. My first thought was the first time I saw Stevie Wonder perform. Outside, under the stars at the Greek Theatre in LA, Stevie's voice that I had loved for years and an encore of Another Star. And then I remembered the time I saw Paul McCartney play at the Cavern in Liverpool, at a special millenium gig. He played I Saw Her Standing There* and despite myself – I worship The Beatles but kind've hate Paul McCartney** – the waterworks started. Music can just do that to you sometimes.

Have you had any tearjerking musical moments?

*I've just found the clip on Youtube. You can probably hear me screaming like a bitch in there somewhere.

**That whole campaign to change some song credits to McCartney/Lennon was the final straw for me. Ego gone insane.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Sufjan Stevens – Songs for Christmas.

I always want to listen to festive music in December, but not necessarily Christmas songs. Although I do love a bit of Elton's Step into Christmas. And I can never resist Happy Xmas (War is Over). OK, I love Christmas songs.

Sufjan Steven's music is so sweet and twinkly, it always makes me feel festive. Especially, obviously, his Songs for Christmas, with awesome song titles like Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time! and Did I Make You Cry On Christmas? (Well, You Deserved It!).

And isn't he just so cute and crazy looking? I've been lame and not heard his new album yet, what's it like?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Coach Originals.

Don't it always seem to go that you look for your new dream bag for ages, then you find it and it cannot be yours. I love this city bag from Coach Originals; it reminds me of the sort of bag a 1970s soccer mom from Minnesota might have carried, or maybe one of Laverne & Shirley. Only ships within the US though. Wah!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Underground Restaurant.

I finally made it to my first supper club at the weekend. I've read about small restaurants run from private homes in places like Italy and Cuba, but more and more have been popping up around London in the last couple of years. I like the fact that the focus is on great cooking in a warm and more personal environment: it feels perfect for these more austere times and, if all supper clubs are as cosy as The Underground Restaurant, they are the perfect night out on a freezing winter's evening.

I've long had my eye on The Underground Restaurant, run by an enthusiastic home cook and food writer. Her blog The English Can Cook is a fantastic read, chronicling an obsessive attention to detail and sense of humour, which she brings to the table in the beautiful, huge, cosy flat from which she runs her supper club. What finally got me to get my act together to book a place was the special Thanksgiving feast she was hosting. (I always try to have a Thanksgiving feast, to celebrate alongside my esteemed American friends and, erm, eat a huge feast.) Staying true to her quest for authenticity, we were treated to several unusual dishes, some recipes given by friends and some taken from the Little House on The Prairie cookbook. This was marshmellows cooked with yams. Before...

...and after. It actually tasted ok, like a sweet puree.

This was a really odd combination of textures and flavour. Vegetables suspended in jelly. Americans really do eat jelly with savoury meals (my friend who went to college there confirmed this insane behaviour). I was really interested to try it but I can report that it was disgusting. Disgusting!

This, on the other hand, was delicious. Succotash, an almost soup-like corn and vegetable dish. Served with cornbread. I love cornbread and this was the good shit.

Visiting The Underground Restaurant was a unique experience; you are in somebody's home, which is odd, but in this case it is a huge, elegant flat with high ceilings and a luxurious bathroom, so it felt perfectly comfortable. The tables are mixed, so you're likely to get involved in some unexpected conversations with complete strangers. It was a really fun night out and nice to do something a bit different. Check The English Can Cook for upcoming events at The Underground Restaurant. I highly recommend it.

[Images with thanks to @MsMarmiteLover.]