I spend an obscene amount of time and money eating less-than-pleasing boxed salads between meetings. For all that is health conscious, it is a necessary but grating evil and one that had me so outrageously bored last week I decided to pop in to wagamama for something a little more flavourful.
As casual dining goes, they are a quality-focused go-to of mine so I was delighted to see they had launched a selection of incredible-looking Summer dishes while I’ve been in the States.
To start, my lunch date and I nibbled on beef tataki (lightly seared marinated steak) over a few sips of sake. The tataki – served chilled and dressed with citrus ponzu & japanese mayonnaise alongside pickled beetroot and coriander – rivalled some of my infinitely more expensive London restaurant favourites and braced us for our respectively delicious mains.
My date went for their seared nuoc cham tuna steak (on a bed of quinoa with stir-fried kale, sweet potato, edamame beans, red onion, peppers, and garnished with coriander) while I went for the nutrition-packed pad thai salad. The salad blends ginger chicken and prawns on a bed of mixed leaves, mangetout, baby plum tomatoes, shredded pickled beetroot, carrot, red onion (I’m allergic so went without), and fried shallots. Then serves it with a side of peanuts and a nuoc cham & ginger miso dressing.
For the time and money it would have taken me to source a sub-par boxed salad, the restaurant more than deserved a rave review. Thanks for keeping my culinary sanity in check, wagamama.
As politically-driven as I am, it seemed improbable I managed to avoid a stop in Washington, DC over ten years of travel to a number of the capital’s neighbours.
Thankfully, Lela Takes The Crescent provided the perfect Amtrak-convenient opportunity to immerse myself in the most American flag-packed streets one could imagine.
Read on for secret Capitol tours, the best sandwich in North America, impromptu trips to Virginia, and more…
If I’m raving about fried food after four months in America, you know someone’s doing something right.
In this case, it’s Wing Wing – London’s answer to the ever-growing Korean trend of ‘Chimaek’ (translation: chicken and beer) restaurants.
While it crispy Korean-style wings and drumsticks are their calling card (and available in a soy garlic, hot, or liquorice glaze), I rate their Katsu bao as one of the city’s best. With a lightly fried bao bun, they are a unique take on an Asian favourite and delightfully dirty.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Chimaek experience without the beer and Wing Wing’s spectacular ‘bottoms up’ beer system (which pours an ice-cold pint in four second from an upwards-pouring spout) doesn’t disappoint.
Alco-free? Their ginger beer slush is a sweet and principled substitute.
Impressed with Wing Wing’s eponymous offering, my dinner date and I decided to delve deeper into the menu; seaweed fries, onion bricks, yuzu meringue bao nuts (their creme filled bao-utilizing ‘donuts’), and a strawberry granola ice cream which felt bizarrely healthy after all the aforementioned.
While the counter-serve restaurant may lack its Holborn-based neighbours’ sophistication, it is – after all – a fried chicken restaurant. Go with a group, try a little bit of everything, and try your darnedest not to order some hot drumsticks for the road.
“They live in Athens?” I questioned, momentarily wondering whether my sporadic decision to spend a long weekend in a city I couldn’t point to on a map was all that bright.
“Let’s do it!”
Recalling my whirlwind adventure in Athens Athens less than a year ago, I could hardly refuse getting to know its denominative twin (albeit, as a consolidated city–county in Georgia, an inevitable contrary to twindom in every other way).
True to ‘all good decisions find their way to the blogiverse’ form, you can rest assured Athens USA – differences abounding – had plenty to offer of its own…
Though Stop Two of Lela Takes The Crescent technically registered as Atlanta, I spent a total of approximately 24 hours in the city before shooting off to Athens for the majority of my Georgia-dwelling days.
Nonetheless, I didn’t want a waste a moment in the state’s capital – especially as it was my first time exploring more than its airport – so set off to experience Athens in a guide-worthy manner…