OUT WITH KRISTEN

FOOD x TRAVEL x LIBATIONS
LOS ANGELES BASED

1 WEEK IN LONDON

SEVERAL WEEKS AGO I SPONTANEOUSLY FLEW ACROSS THE POND {SORRY HAD TO DO IT} TO VISIT MY BOYFRIEND IN LONDON WHO WAS THERE SHOOTING A MOVIE. I LITERALLY BOOKED MY TICKET LESS THAN 24 HOURS BEFORE HOPPING ON THE PLANE! WHILE OF COURSE I WAS EXTREMELY EXCITED, ME BEING THE CRAZY PLANNER THAT I AM I STARTED HAVING A MINI FREAK OUT SINCE I HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING PLANNED...ESPECIALLY SINCE MY BOYFRIEND WAS GOING TO BE WORKING ALMOST THE WHOLE TIME AND COULDN'T SHOW ME AROUND! SO I STARTED DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE - RESEARCHING ALL OF THE TOP PLACES TO EAT / DRINK  & SHOP IN LONDON!

MY FAVORITE APP FOR TRAVELING IS CALLED "CITY MAPS 2 GO" IT IS AN ABSOLUTE LIFE SAVER AND FREE! THIS APP IS ESPECIALLY GREAT IF YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH LIMITED DATA. BASICALLY AFTER YOU DOWNLOAD THE APP YOU DOWNLOAD THE CITY THAT YOU ARE TRAVELING TOO'S MAP {DO THIS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL AND USE WIFI BECAUSE IT CAN TAKE BETWEEN 5 AND 10 MINUTES}. AFTER DOWNLOADING THE MAP YOU THEN HAVE A COUPLE OPTIONS, YOU CAN FIRST CREATE A LIST WHICH YOU PERSONALLY ADD DESTINATIONS TO SUCH AS PARTICULAR SHOPS // LANDMARKS // RESTAURANTS THAT YOU HAVE READ ABOUT AND WANT TO VIST. EACH DESTINATION APPEARS ON THE MAP AS A STAR! IF THE APP DOES NOT HAVE THE RESTAURANT // SHOP SAVED IN THEIR DATABASE YOU CAN JUST ADD THE ADDRESS AND MAKE A NOTE OF WHAT IT IS! ANOTHER OPTION IS TO CLICK ON THE "DISCOVER" ICON AND SEE ALL THE PERSONALIZED ARTICLES FOR YOU FROM THE INTERNET BASED ON THE MAP YOU DOWNLOADED {FOR EXAMPLE; "10 MUST-VISIT ENGLISH RESTAURANTS IN LONDON"} AND THEN CAN SAVE EACH OF THE RECCOMENDED ARTICLES DESTINATIONS ONTO ONE OF YOUR LISTS. WHEN YOU CLICK ON MAP YOU WILL SEE ALL YOUR SAVED PLACES. THIS IS SUPER CONVIENENT IF YOU ARE WALKING AROUND AIMLESSLY AND WANT TO SEE WHAT RESTAURANTS // MONUMENTS // STORES ARE NEAR YOU THAT YOU WANTED TO SEE/TRY!


DAY 1

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THE SOHO HOTEL WAS SUCH A TREAT TO STAY IN! I AM A HUGE FAN OF ALL FIRMDALE HOTELS, THEY ARE SUPER CHIC AND YOU GET TOP NOTCH SERVICE! AFTER UNPACKING {I'M ONE OF THOSE OCD PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY USES THE DRAWERS AND CLOSET SPACE IN HOTEL ROOMS} , I OBVIOUSLY WENT OFF TO FIND MY SELF AN ICED MATCHA LATTE. I ENDED UP AT KOVA PATISSERIE RIGHT NEXT TO MY HOTEL! THE MATCHA WAS A FAIL {PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BETTER WARM} BUT I ENJOYED THE MATCHA TART! STILL ON THE HUNT TO FIND MY GO TO MATCHA LATTE IN LONDON. NEXT I STOPPED AT A CUTE LITTLE BAKERY CALLED "GAIL'S" AND GOT A MINI PISTACHIO, LEMON & ROSE CAKE. ACROSS THE WAY IS THE "HUMMINGBIRD BAKERY" WHICH WAS ALSO ON MY LIST OF PLACES TO TRY, I WAS A SUCKER FOR THE CUTE RAINBOW CUPCAKE TOPPER WHICH WAS VANILLA FLAVORED BUT I HEARD THE RED VELVET IS ABSOLUTELY DIVINE AS WELL AS THE CARROT! 

NEXT STOP - CARNABY STREET + REGENT STREET

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ON THE WAY TO CARNABY STREET I STOPPED BY A CUTE BOUTIQUE CALLED "GLASSWORKS" ON MARLBOROUGH ST. AND GOT THE CUTEST SUNGLASSES FOR COACHELLA! THE STORE IS ADORABLE AND HAD SOME GREAT PIECES BUT THE SALES GIRLS WERE THE HIGHLIGHT, IT'S CRAZY WHAT A DIFFERENCE CUSTOMER SERVICE DOES TO ONES EXPERIENCE. I ALSO WANDERED INTO LUSH ACROSS THE STREET WHICH HAPPENS TO BE THE LARGEST ONE OF THEM ALL! A BIT OVERWHELMING ACTUALLY BUT THE TUB IN MY HOTEL ROOM WAS TOO AMAZING NOT TAKE BATHS IN SO I STOCKED UP ON SOME BATH BOMBS!

LIBERTY LONDON {FOUNDED IN 1875..CRAZY} IS ONE OF THOSE STORES I'VE ALWAYS DREAMT ABOUT GOING TO EVER SINCE THEY CAME OUT WITH THAT FABULOUS COLLAB WITH ANTHROPOLOGIE. ONLINE SHIPPING FROM THEIR WEBSITE IS A LITTLE EXPENSIVE TO THE U.S SO I'VE ALWAYS JUST ADMIRED FROM AFAR. WHEN I FOUND OUT MY HOTEL WAS LESS THAN A 10 MINUTE WALK AWAY I WAS ECSTATIC! 

THEY CARRY LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE FROM HOME GOODS TO HIGH-END CLOTHING BRANDS. I ENDED UP GETTING SOME LIBERTY BRAND COFFEE AND WHITE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY BISCUITS FROM THEIR GOURMET GROCERY SECTION. IT WAS SO HARD NOT TO INDULGE IN THE REST OF THE LUXURY GOODS LIBERTY HAS TO OFFER BUT IT WAS FUN TO WINDOW SHOP!

FUN FACT: LIBERTY LONDON IS ON THE CORNER OF REGENT STREET WHICH IS THE WORLD'S FIRST RETAIL SHOPPING STREET!

AFTER A FULL 4 HOURS OF SHOPPING IT WAS TIME FOR A WINE BREAK! I HEARD GREAT THINGS ABOUT THIS LITTLE MICHELIN STAR FRENCH WINE BAR RIGHT IN CARNABY CALLED "ANTIDOTE". IT WAS BUSY AND A BIT CROWDED BUT I COULDN'T RESIST THE PARISIAN VIBES. THE SERVICE WAS TOP NOTCH, I REALLY WANTED TO SIT INSIDE SO THE GM MOVED SOME THINGS AROUND SO I WAS ABLE TO SIT AT THE BAR NEXT TO THE LARGE WINDOW. I ORDERED A GLASS OF THE "ATANASIUS" WHICH WAS A MEDIUM BODY RED. IT WAS EXPENSIVE I CAN'T LIE ABOUT THAT {AROUND 15 POUNDS} BUT THE EXPERIENCE WAS WORTH IT!


DINNER AT THE IVY

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THE IVY IS QUITE THE INSTITUTION FROM WHAT I'VE HEARD AND WAS A MUST TRY FOR ME, NOT ONLY FOR THE GREAT UPSCALE BRITISH CUISINE I'D READ SO MUCH ABOUT BUT FOR THE EXPERIENCE IN IT SELF! THERE ARE MULTIPLE LOCATIONS ALL AROUND LONDON BUT WE DECIDED TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL. THE IVY IS ONLY ABOUT A 8 MINUTE WALK {15 IN HEELS} FROM THE SOHO HOTEL AND OUR DINNER RESERVATIONS WERE AT 9:15 BUT WE HAD SOME TIME BEFOREHAND TO WALK AROUND AND EXPLORE. ON THE WAY WE WALKED THROUGH AND STOPPED IN CHINATOWN AND THE THEATER DISTRICT, I LOVED THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE STREETS! THE ENERGY AND HISTORY ALONE MADE THE "LONG ROUTE" WORTHWHILE.

UPON WALKING IN THE RESTAURANT YOU GET AN INSTANT FEELING OF TIMELESSNESS; DARK WOOD, MOOD LIGHTING AND LEATHER SEATS. THE CENTER BAR INSTANTLY CAPTIVATES YOU BUT THE CHARMING BARTENDER IS EVEN MORE APPEALING HAHA. WE GOT THERE A BIT EARLY SO OUR TABLE WASN'T READY YET, WE DECIDED TO GRAB A SEAT AT THE BAR AND ORDER A {FEW} COCKTAILS. THIS IS WHERE I WAS FIRST INTRODUCED TO MY NEW FAVORITE COCKTAIL CALLED A "CLOVER CLUB". I'D HAD SOMETHING SIMILAR RECENTLY AT THE NOMAD HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES CALLED A "PINK LADY" BUT THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY DIVINE AND CONSISTED OF ALL MY FAVORITE INGREDIENTS.

"THE IVY HAS BEEN A FIRM FIXTURE ON LONDON’S DINING AND SOCIAL SCENE SINCE ITS FOUNDATION IN 1917. WITH ITS SHIMMERING CENTRAL BAR AND SIGNATURE HARLEQUIN STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS, THE RESTAURANT IS THE EPITOME OF GLAMOUR, SERVING SEASONAL MENUS FEATURING IVY CLASSICS ALONGSIDE MODERN BRITISH DISHES." - THE IVY
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"CLOVER CLUB"

TANQUERAY NO.10 | RASPBERRY | LEMON | EGG WHITE | MARTINI EXTRA DRY

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A FEW COCKTAILS DEEP WE DECIDED TO ORDER SOME CAVIAR TO THE BAR WHILE WE WERE WAITING, IT WAS AFTER ALL MY FIRST NIGHT IN LONDON! I LOVED THAT THEY HAD THEIR OWN LABEL OF OSSETRA AND THE PRESENTATION OF ACCOMPAGNEMENTS WERE HARMONIZED BEAUTIFULLY ON THE PLATE.

WE ENDED UP GETTING THIS GREAT CENTRAL BOOTH RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM FACING THE BAR. WE ORDERED QUITE A BIT OF FOOD BECAUSE WE REALLY WANTED TO GIVE EVERYTHING A TRY! WE ENDED UP HAVING THE MUSSELS, THE SHEPARD'S PIE, CARROT AND PEA SHOOTS, THE STEAK TARTAR AND CEASAR GEM SALAD. WE WERE TOO FULL FOR DESSERT BUT THE BAKED ALASKA LOOKED FAB AND HAD SUCH A FUN PRESENTATION!

EVERYTHING WAS DELICIOUS BUT THAT SHEPARD'S PIE IS SOMETHING THAT I STILL TO THIS DAY CANNOT GET OUT OF MY MIND! IT WAS LITERAL PERFECTION. ALSO, THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT ENGLISH PEAS, SO SWEET AND DELICATE, I COULDN'T GET ENOUGH OF THEM! 

SIDE NOTE REGARDING THE TARTARE; I GUESS I AM SOMEWHAT AMERICANIZED WHEN IT COMES TO TARTARE IF I AM BEING HONEST. I LIKE ALL THE PAZAZZ THAT NORMALLY ACCOMPANIES A TARTAR AT A RESTAURANT, WHETHER IT'S THE QUAIL EGG ON TOP OR THE ADDITION OF MINCED ONION, SHALLOTS AND HERBS, ETC. I TRULY ENJOY THE FLAVOR BURST THAT FOLLOWS AFTER THE FIRST BITE. HOWEVER AFTER MY EXPERIENCES IN LONDON, I REALIZE THAT THE TARTAR'S ARE MUCH MORE STRAIGHT FORWARD HERE AND REALLY JUST DICED RAW MEAT, MORE OLD FASHIONED WHICH I CAN TOTALLY APPRECIATE AND ADMIRE HOWEVER I COULD ONLY HANDLE 3 OR 4 BITES BEFORE IT WAS TOO MUCH.

AFTER THE IVY WE WERE EXTREMELY FULL SO BED WAS CALLING OUR NAME, DAY 1 IN LONDON WAS GREAT! STAY TUNED FOR DAY 2!