“I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be.”
– Joan Didion, On Keeping A Notebook
Since New York’s most infamously queued burger joint moved to London, I have spent more than a handful of lunchtimes at the Shake Shack in Covent Garden.
Most recently, I headed to the market building to sample the SmokeDog and Pumpkin Pie Oh My Concrete on their limited edition Halloween menu. Because nothing keeps an American from pumpkin pie.
Though I was craving a Shack Stack – their all natural cheeseburger and Shroom burger (a crisp-fried Portobello mushroom filled with melted cheese) topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce – on the day of this visit, the Manfriend’s SmokeDog – a flat-top dog topped with cheese sauce, chopped cherry peppers and Wiltshire cure smoked bacon – was more than worthy of permanent menu residence.
After polishing off a perfect little bucket of crinkle cut cheese fries, we decided to wrap things up with a Conrete procession. My choice – the ‘Pumpkin Pie Oh My’ – was a starred and striped extravaganza; rich and creamy vanilla frozen custard blended with a slice of pumpkin pie from Cocomaya. A swoon and a half. (The gentleman’s Sticky Toffee Concrete – a blend of vanilla custard, paul.a.young chocolate chunks, chocolate toffee, salted caramel sauce and malt powder – also received a rave review, though I may have been too engrossed in my own cup to dip a spoon in).
Today is the very final day the two Halloween specials will be available, so in the most American way I can offer, I suggest you haul ass to Shake Shack, like…now.
And for the foodies who miss the menu by a day or two – never fear! Next Sunday (November 9th), Shake Shack Covent Garden are collaborating with acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura (!) to release the limited edition ‘Emilia’ burger. There will only be 500 burgers available, but with the first 100 completely free, the burger made of a 100% Aberdeen Angus beef patty ground with cotechino sausage and parmigiano reggiano (and topped with salsa verde and Villa Manodori balsamic mayonnaise), AND Massimo himself in attendance, it is a burger journey well worth taking.
It isn’t often that I feel the need to call an inanimate object sexy, but – after trialling my fair share of tablets – there is no better word to describe the Samsung Galaxy Tab S.
The Tab S is golden. Quite literally. The ‘Dazzling White’ version is lined in a thin strip of gold and not much else besides the 8MP back shooter and 1.2MP front shooter. It is the chicest tablet exterior I have come across and – impressively – as functional as it is sexy.
One of my biggest pet peeves with tablets is the ‘usability factor’. More often than not, high spec tablets forgo style for substance. Often far too much substance. Substance that makes it hard to use without a specialist case or a flat surface.
The Tab S? Best of both worlds. With a stunning (Super AMOLED) display, USB 2.0, multi-window (imperative for the bloggers and entrepreneurs among us), 1.9Ghz Octa-core CPU, and remote PC capabilities, it still manages to be fast and light. The only one of its kind.
When you can’t fault something – try as you might – it more than deserves some blog love.
To keep my eyes feeling happy after multiple laser surgeries, I have been wearing a selection of old school sunglasses, then throwing them in my handbag in the evening. Naturally, this has resulted in some wear and tear. To combat the issue, I have been wearing my Tom Fords from sunrise to sundown, then tucking them into their uber luxe suede case like a responsible adult.
It must be love.
The jist of the matter is not-so-simply that L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon showed me the best meal I have had all year, and putting something like that into words is never an easy feat.
Every single factor a restaurant could be judged on was inarguably faultless – even when presented with the ‘challenge’ of my vegetarian, alcohol-free, and nut-allergic girlfriend. Though we are both knowingly aware that her list of ‘can’ts’ throws up a challenge or two, the manager, chef, and kitchen team took it completely in their stride. And then some,
Opting to dine around the counter area on the ground floor (the first floor is a tad formal for a catch-up between two expressive women), we nestled in alongside our Michelin-loving countermates and gawked through the bar as we watched the chefs creating a flurry of meticulous masterpieces.
Variety may be the space of life, but I’m not sure anyone could convince me to sit away from the action.
Juiced from the arrival of a berry-filled mocktail and glass of champagne, we decided to leave our food choices up to gastronomic fate (while informing the chef of my dear accomplice’s food restrictions) and sat back to let the chips fall.
And this is where the review gets tricky. Something about chef Xavier Boyer’s menu feels sacred…experiential in a way that begs for trial. Some of the less extravagant-sounding dishes ending up becoming real highlights and pinnacles of innovation (rather than an afterthought, as I’ve experienced in quite a few Michelin-starred restaurants). I wouldn’t dare to review dishes on their own; the menu is ever-changing, seasonal, and merits fresh, explorative eyes.
(Though I will say you’d be a pesca-fool to miss out on the caviar-topped salmon tartare.)
As far as its Theatreland locale is concerned, L’Atelier is the only restaurant you’ll find where dinner is the show.