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cheriecity

Beauty, Shopping

Jo Malone London Just Because Gifting

What is it about Jo Malone London that makes my heart beat faster?  Maybe it’s a combination of divine fragrances, the iconic cream and black packaging and welcoming stores that just make you want to move in.

I was so excited to receive a surprise gift from Jo Malone London as a post-wedding treat!  The British beauty brand’s exquisite gifting service, Just Because, made it look and feel even more dreamy.

Jo Malone just because gift

These specially-wrapped parcels comes with the just because card with a personalised message (mine made me just melt), hot pink sticker and grosgrain striped and polka dot ribbon.  It was so pretty, I almost didn’t dare open the box…almost!

Jo Malone London just because gift

Inside was a beautiful presentation box containing a Fragrance Layering Collection.  Seriously, this gift has everything you need to smell heavenly.  First, bathe with the earthy and seductive Wood Sage & Sea Salt Body & Hand Wash, inspired by wind-swept shores and rugged cliffs.  The aroma is powerful and leaves a light scent on your skin.

Then, massage in the deeply hydrating Blackberry & Bay Body Creme.  The fragrance is ever so subtle with notes of sticky blackberry juice with verdant bay and brambly woods.  The finishing touch is the signature English Pear & Freesia Cologne, which is just so Jo Malone.  It’s clean and fresh, bursting with luscious pear, elegant white freesias and warm amber and patchouli.  It works perfectly in harmony with the other scents and makes you feel enveloped in pure luxury.

Jo Malone London gift box

Each product in the Fragrance Layering Collection is handily 100ml or under, so you can easily make it part of your travel ritual, to feel more at home when away.  I’m tempted to take mine to Paris next month for the ultimate hotel room pampering night.

Do you love Jo Malone London?  Which fragrance is your favourite?  For more information and gifting ideas, visit: www.jomalone.co.uk

Photos by Chérie City

Gift courtesy of Jo Malone London

Events, London

Chinese Food Festival 2016, London

Yesterday, I headed to Potters Fields Park by Tower Bridge for the Chinese Food Festival.  The sun was shining, the Southbank was buzzing and it was great chance to relive memories of China for the day.

Chinese Food Festival London

Chinese Food Festival London

We were treated to traditional Chinese dancing, live music, cooking theatre demonstrations and twerking pandas, who kinda stole the show!  Of course, there was also an abundance of delicious Asian street food, ranging from classic Chinese dishes to more inventive dim sum and desserts.

Chinese Food Festival

Chinese Food Festival

Using the handy food card, we enjoyed some luxurious Roast duck rice with crispy, lacquered skin and a Steamed roast pork bun from Dim Sum Kitchen.

Dim Sum Kitchen roast duck rice

Another favourite was freshly-made Dumplings, which were served piping hot with sweet vinegar from contemporary Chinese restaurant Boxu.  It was a great discovery and I’ll definitely pay them a visit in Islington to try some more bites.

Boxu dumplings

Most popular was Bubblewrap Waffle and it was well worth queuing for.  Our made-to-order waffle was warm and crispy on the outside with a soft, fluffy centre and was doused in sticky salted caramel and pecans. For a weekly waffle fix, you can catch Bubblewrap Waffle on Saturdays at Berwick Street Market.

Bubblewrap Waffle

Were you at the Chinese Food Festival?  Where is your favourite place to eat Chinese food in London?

Photos by Chérie City

Afternoon tea, London

Moon Cakes at Yauatcha, London

August may be the time when you just want to cool down with refreshing iced desserts, but there’s one cake that you should definitely indulge in at this time of year.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (dating back to 1000BC) takes place in the eighth month of the Chinese calendar and is traditionally celebrated with moon cakes.  They are usually offered as gifts when the moon is considered to be at its roundest and they are made to represent the full moon and unity.

Yauatcha moon cakes

I first tried moon cakes a few years ago in Hong Kong and it wasn’t exactly love at first bite.  The fragrant lotus seed paste was fine, but I was less keen on the whole salted egg yolk at the centre.  However, the moon cakes at London’s contemporary dim sum tea house Yauatcha are much more palatable and very moreish.

The talented pastry chefs at Yauatcha have created a modern spin on the moon cake, making them bite-size with a pretty floral pattern, made using traditional wooden moon cake moulds.  The cakes have a sweet pastry exterior with a thick custard filling and are substantial but not overly sweet.  They’re a perfect teatime treat!

Yauatcha moon cakes

The adorable moon cakes can be enjoyed at Yauatcha as a dessert with vanilla ice cream and crème anglaise at the end of a meal or simply with a pot of Chinese tea.  You can also get them to take-out – either individually or as a box of six with Yauatcha’s beautiful packaging.

Yauatcha moon cakes

Moon Cakes are available at both Yauatcha Soho and Yauatcha City until 15th September.  For more information and booking, visit: www.yauatcha.com

Photos by Chérie City

Breakfast, London

Breakfast at Farmer J, London

A good breakfast is the key to a productive day, so last Friday I started the morning with an energy-boosting feast at Farmer J.  Based in Leadenhall, just opposite the market, the newly-opened Farmer J is all about healthy fast food done well.

Almost everything is made from scratch by chefs from morning to evening in the open kitchen using fresh, seasonal ingredients and free-range, prime meats sourced from quality high welfare-farms.

Farmer J London

Farmer J’s signature dish is the customisable Fieldtray, offering a choice of tempting grilled meat/fish/tofu with grains or leaves, two gourmet vegetable sides and sauce.  It also does a selection of sandwiches, salads, healthy sweet treats and cold-pressed juices.

Farmer J London

Farmer J London banana bread

While lunch-time sees a whirlwind of hungry City workers, Farmer J’s upstairs dining room is calm and pleasant for a breakfast refuel or even a relaxed meeting.

Farmer J London

Farmer J London

I was planning a light breakfast, but couldn’t resist following recommendations and trying some Shakshuka (£4.49).  I’ve tried making my own version of this Israeli breakfast staple at home, but this was the first time I’d ever ordered it outside.

Two soft poached eggs poached were smothered in a spicy slow-roasted tomato sauce with red peppers and plenty of cumin, topped with salty and fluffy feta and fresh parsley.  If you like a filling breakfast with quite a kick, this one is for you.  The portion size was huge with plenty of sauce to mop up with a slice of rustic toast.

Farmer J Shakshuka

I was also in the mood for an avo fix, so I added a cheeky Smashed avocado on toast (£3.49).   It was so, so good – the creamy avocado had a superior flavour and was enhanced with zesty lime, coriander, diced red onion and torn basil, topped with feta and plenty of chilli flakes.  But it was the toast that really made it exciting, as it was charred on the open grill, giving it a gorgeous smoky taste.

I did find the avocado blend a little too piquant for early morning, but that’s just personal taste and it’s not overwhelmingly hot.

Farmer J smashed avocado on toast

To finish off my three-course breakfast, I cooled down my tastebuds with a Raw paleo granola pot (£2.49).  The home-made, slow-roasted mixed nuts and seeds and dried fruits were subtly coated with honey and maple and served with silky yoghurt and the most delicious caramelised bananas.

I usually start the day with a strong cup of tea, but I went for a more interesting Berry protein fuel smoothie (£3.99), made with almond milk, mixed berries, hemp protein, banana, honey and coconut oil.  This super-smoothie was nourishing, healthy and dairy-free – perfect for a refreshing morning boost.

Farmer J is the kind of place that London needs more of and it’s sure to get you excited about breakfast on the go.

For more information, visit: www.farmerj.com

Chérie City was a guest of Farmer J

All photos by Chérie City

Farmer J Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flowers

Bloomon – The Hip Flower Delivery Service

One of my favourite weekend rituals is to pick up some fresh flowers to brighten up our home.  I tend to go for simple bunches of peonies, roses, hydrangeas or carnations (I’m so with Carrie Bradshaw on the charm of the humble carnation), but my routine was in need of a shake up.  So, it was a real treat to receive an original and truly creative flower bouquet from Bloomon.

Bloomon flower delivery

Bloomon is the innovative flower delivery service that’s got people talking and enjoying gorgeous flowers on a regular basis in London.  Originating in Amsterdam, Bloomon cuts out the middlemen, offering the freshest possible flowers from growers in the Netherlands to your door.

More impressive, however, is the exquisite design and curation of each bespoke bouquet.  Every flower tells a story and is a thing of beauty – in fact, some were so unusual, I don’t think I’d ever seen them before.  You can really tell that the bouquets are made with love.

Bloomon flowers

My New Bohemian bouquet was simply breathtaking and I was so excited to unwrap such an amazing gift.  It arrived in a big brown paper gift bag, to accommodate the large modern glass vase, and a colourful paper sleeve with some handy tips written inside to help prolong the life of your flowers.

I have to admit, I struggle with keeping blooms happy – assuming they can fend for themselves and ending in emergency flower CPR and lots of guilt.  So, Bloomon’s advice was really helpful, I just had to put it into practice.

Bloomon flowers

Bloomon flower delivery

The New Bohemian bouquet was romantic and free-spirited, filled with flowers such as a coral-pink peony, dusky pink rose, bluebell, red carnation and the more exotic curcuma, clematis, astrantia, brodiaea and scabiosa.  The attractive colour palette was a mix of blues, pinks and purples with flashes of vibrant green and yellow.

Bloomon flowers

So, how does Bloomon work exactly?  You can order online and receive a bouquet weekly, fortnightly or monthly and change the pace whenever you wish.  There are three sizes of bouquet to choose from, with the option of adding a modern glass vase, and your flowers will then be delivered conveniently within an allocated one-hour time slot.

Bloomon flowers

Bloomon’s wild and soulful flowers are the perfect way to treat yourself, learn about different types of flowers and find inspiration.  I’m already craving another bouquet to fill that big glass vase.

For more information and to order your own Bloomon bouquet, visit: www.bloomon.co.uk

All photos by Chérie City

Cafes, London

Tombo Poké & Matcha Bar, Soho

My love of matcha is well-documented and I can’t help raving about a place when it does matcha really well. Add to that hot new Hawaiian poké food trend and it’s a match made in heaven (please forgive the terrible pun).

Tombo Poké & Matcha Bar in Soho opened in June and it’s already a popular and lively spot.  The two-floor cafe is bright and uplifting with super-friendly staff and decent air-con – perfect for a relaxing refuel in the heart of the city.

Tombo Matcha and Poke Bar Soho

Tombo’s original cafe and matcha bar in South Kensington has a larger offering of sushi, Japanese tapas, donburi and bento boxes, but the Soho branch’s streamlined concept is more unique and works well in the area.

Tombo Poke and Matcha Bar Soho

Tombo Poke and Matcha Bar Soho

The menu is simple with just six signature poké – deconstructed sushi bowls – however you can also build your own to suit your taste.  For all bowls, there’s also a choice for a base of black and white rice, courgette noodles or a mix of both.

We both started with a large glass of Matcha lemonade (£3.50), which was potent, zesty, slightly aromatic and very refreshing.  Matcha is my rocket fuel, as I love the calm and focused buzz that it gives, as well as its excellent health benefits.

Tombo Matcha Lemonade

The regular sized poké looked absolutely enormous, so we opted for the small size with black and white rice, to leave room for dessert.  I chose the Teriyaki chicken Poké (£4.50) – Teriyaki chicken, teriyaki sauce, spring onion, sesame seeds.

The generous amount of succulent grilled chicken thigh was served atop exemplary sushi rice (the ideal balance of sticky yet firm with subtle seasoning) and finished with thinly-sliced spring onion, just the right amount of teriyaki sauce and a sprinkling of white sesame seeds.  It was also served with a little extra teriyaki sauce on the side for a bolder flavour.

Tombo chicken teriyaki poke

Steven tried the Classic salmon poké (£4.95) – Salmon, classic sauce, edamame, white onion, sesame seeds, nori.  The chilled raw salmon had a silky texture and simply melted in the mouth.  It was coated in a very light sesame oil sauce and went perfectly with the accompanying fresh edamame, onion, sesame seeds and nori.

Tombo classic salmon poke

It was difficult to choose between the tempting desserts, but obviously they both just had to be with matcha. The matcha soft serve caught by eye but I ended up going for the more elaborate Monaka (£3.90).

Velvety matcha soft serve was sandwiched in a crisp irridescent wafer shell and finished with a dollop of adzuki bean paste, bite-size matcha brownies, yuzu zest and a dusting of matcha powder.

Tombo matcha monaka

Matcha Gateau had a lovely vanilla matcha flavour and was both light and moist – like a cross between chiffon cake and a fondant, if that’s even possible.  Other delectable desserts include Matcha tart, Matcha sundae, Matcha dorayaki, Matcha brownie, Matcha white chocolate and Sakura mochi.

Tombo matcha gateau

For a healthy, nourishing meal served with a green tea buzz, head to Tombo.  I can’t wait to work my way through the menu and fuel my matcha addiction.

Photos by Chérie City (interiors by Tombo)

Chérie City was a guest of Tombo

Tombo Poke Matcha Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Drinks, Websites

A Summer Whisky Cocktail With Alexander & James

Summer in London is so much more fun when you can cool down with cocktails, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be at a rooftop bar or restaurant terrace.  Whether it’s entertaining friends or relaxing at the end of a long hot day, Alexander & James makes home-made libations ever so chic.

I’ve always believed that every spirit can be enjoyed all year-round, it just depends on matching them with the right serves.  Whisky is no exception to the rule, so consider a reaching for a fine blended Scotch rather than the typical seasonal vodka, gin or tequila when selecting your drink.

Alexander & James

I’ve been an admirer of Alexander & James for a few years now, but this was the first time I’d tried one of their curated gifts.  The Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Gift Set is a real gem, offering a generously sized bottle of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Whisky paired with two tall hexagonal glasses finished with real gold in a stunning purple presentation box.  What could be more luxurious?

This premium honey-hued whisky is incredibly smooth and rich with notes of cream, smoke, ripe fruit and vanilla.  The first sip took me back to summer last year where I spent a weekend tasting whisky in Scotland – it’s curious how a taste or aroma can remind you of travels.

Alexander & James

When it came to creating a cocktail, I let my excitement get the better of me and concocted some crazy combinations with spiced syrups, exotic juices and curly fruit zests perched on top of cinnamon sticks, before coming to the conclusion that with such a characterful Scotch, simplicity is key.

However, that’s the beauty of the Alexander & James luxury whisky gift sets – you feel like you can and should experiment with different serves.  Of course, on the website there’s a helpful guide to the best ways to drink the spirits, if you want to ace it first time.

box3

My ideal summer whisky cocktail is a twist on the Kentucky Mule, but since Johnnie Walker Whisky originates from the Scottish county of Ayrshire, I’m going to rename it the Kilmarnock Mule.

Simply chill a highball glass, squeeze in a few wedges of fresh lime and fill with ice cubes.  Then, pour a single (or double) measure of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, top with ginger beer and stir with a muddler bar spoon.

The Kilmarnock Mule is sweet yet zingy and refreshing with a spicy punch from the ginger.  The ingredients really bring out the oaky flavours of the whisky and let it do the talking without being overwhelming.  I enjoy sipping my cocktail, cosied up in my colourful new chair and watching the world go by – a perfect ‘me time’ moment.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve cocktail

Have you tried Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve?  What is your favourite summer tipple?

Sponsored post

New York

Photo Diary: East Hampton, New York

On our honeymoon in Montauk, we hopped over to East Hampton – just 30 minutes away – for a complete change of scenery.

While Montauk is surfy and laid-back, East Hampton takes preppy chic to another level with picturesque tree-lined streets, impeccably groomed people and houses and an abundance of American flags.  It has an old money feel and looks almost like a film set – everything is so tasteful and charming.

East Hampton New York

Main Street is filled with designer boutiques such as Ralph Lauren, Elie Tahari, Alice + Olivia, Milly, Club Monaco – perfect for those summer society galas.

Ralph Lauren East Hampton New York

I’d expected there to be more cafe terraces for people watching, or even some posh gelato shops, but East Hampton is actually quite low-key in that respect.  Really, Ina Garten is missing a trick not re-opening her Barefoot Contessa East Hampton deli as a cafe-bistro-concept store.

For a stylish bite in East Hampton, book a table at Nick & Toni’s, Rowdy Hall, Fresno and The Palm, or pop by Babette’s for avocado toast and Bostwick’s Chowder House for its famous seafood.

East Hampton New York

East Hampton New York

East Hampton New York

East Hampton New York

East Hampton New York

Have you been to East Hampton?  Which is your favourite town or village in The Hamptons?

Photos by Chérie City

Hotels, New York

A Mini Guide To Montauk

After our New York wedding, we left the bustle of the city for a relaxing beach break in Montauk.

It may sound alarming to honeymoon in a place nicknamed ‘The End’, or worse ‘The Last Resort’, but this tiny hamlet on the southeastern tip of Long Island is a very special place indeed.  Compared to neighbouring chi-chi, perfectly-manicured East Hampton, the fishing village of Montauk is purposely rugged and laid-back.

Montauk New York beach

Once a well-kept secret among New Yorkers, Montauk has over the years become the summer hipster destination with cool new bars, eateries and hotels.

In the height of the summer, it’s said to become a raucous party zone (much to the well-documented ire of locals), but we visited just at the beginning of the season before Memorial Day when it calm and free from obnoxious revellers – unless they count us over-excited Londoners.

Montauk New York

Montauk vacation life mostly revolves around beaching, surfing, eating and chilling, but you can also hike around the Montauk Point State Park, cycle up to the Montauk Lighthouse or shop at the Cynthia Rowley boutique on Main Street.

We arrived in Montauk to a storm that lasted all through our first full day, so some of our ‘restaurant with a view’ plans were put on hold.  However, the next day was glorious and we managed to hit the beach and spend some time in East Hampton.

Montauk New York

Here are a few of our favourite Montauk finds…

EAT AT…

Sausages, Pizza & Pastabilites

Sausages, Pizza & Pastabilities is the New York Italian joint that you always dream of finding.  It’s a Montauk institution with a low-key surf vibe and the food is seriously good – so much that we ended up eating there twice! Best of all, Sausages will even deliver straight to your spot on the beach.

On our first visit on storm day, we ordered an Italian feast to take back to our room – Spaghetti with meatball and tomato sauce, Baked ziti and a side of Sausages in vodka sauce.  Each dish also came with freshly-baked bread and a side salad with a choice of dressing and we washed it all down with some Montauk Beverageworks iced tea and lemonade.

Sausages Montauk

Needless to say we learned our lesson the first time and simply shared a portion of Spaghetti Bolognese, along with an Eppi roll – a twisted calzone stuffed with chicken cutlet, mozzarella and marinara.

Sausages Montauk eppi rolls

The food at Sausages is like a hug from an Italian momma and it’s so yummy (and great value) that you’ll want to eat there again and again.  We didn’t try the pizzas, as they were so big we’d be munching on them for days, but surfer favourite Pizza Village serves up some epic slices from a take-out hatch on Main Street.

John’s Drive-In

If you’re in the mood for proper ice cream or an old school burger, John’s Drive-In is the place to go.  It’s a family-run retro diner on the roadside that’s popular with both locals and vacationers.

Go for the chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles – it will make you feel like a kid again!

John's Drive-In Montauk ice cream

Montauk Bake Shoppe

We were so lucky to have a charming American bakery right on our doorstep for freshly-baked breakfast bites and snacks.

The Montauk Bake Shoppe is known across Eastern Long Island for its famous jelly croissant – a light and fluffy hybrid of a croissant and doughnut that you just have to try.  It also does fantastic home-made chicken and butternut squash soup and enormous banana bran or chocolate chip muffins.

Montauk Bake Shoppe jelly croissant

Anthony’s Pancake House

Montauk has two pancake houses on Main Street and each has its own loyal following.  Mr. John’s Pancake House has a claim to fame, being featured on an episode of Seinfeld, but it can get busy so we had breakfast at Anthony’s Pancake House.

We’d planned to try the pancakes, but we were in the mood for eggs and they didn’t disappoint.  I had Two eggs with Canadian bacon and toast while Steven went for the more indulgent Corned beef hash with one egg on toast.

Anthony's Pancake House Montauk

It was a super-tasty American diner breakfast and you could easily visit a few times and work through the menu of pancakes, waffles and French toast.

For more foodie spots in Montauk, check out Harvest on the Pond, South Edison, Navy Beach, La Brisa by Tacombi, Inlet Seafood Restaurant and LUNCH (the colourful diner known for its lobster rolls, as seen on The Affair).

La Brisa Montauk

STAY AT…

Montauk Blue Hotel 

Montauk Blue Hotel is a real gem that literally overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is right in the middle of the Montauk action.  The contemporary beachside retreat is often described as an ‘upscale motel’ and it has a cool yet unpretentious vibe.

Montauk Blue Hotel

Our Ocean Front Queen Room on the upper deck was bright and spacious, designed in vibrant blues with a striped carpet and wood highlights.  Room features included a fabulous private terrace with a spectacular view of the sea, a comfy sofa, dining table, large cable LCD TV and a mini kitchen with kettle, hob, microwave, cooking utensils and an empty fridge.

Montauk Long Island

The bed was plush and cosy with adorable tree log bedside tables, and there was plenty of storage space with a double mirrored wardrobe and a large chest of drawers.

Montauk Blue Hotel Ocean Front Room

The bathroom was petite but finished to a high standard with a Corian sink, powerful walk-in shower and plenty of thick bath towels.  The room was particularly well set up for long stays in Montauk and the daily housekeeping was meticulous, keeping our room immaculate – free from sand and with fresh towels.

The hotel’s amenities revolve around relaxing with sundecks for residents and also an inviting indoor pool and hot tub.  There’s no on-site restaurant or cafe, but with so many eateries closeby in Montauk, you don’t miss it – plus, the hotel has barbecue grills ready to use and vending machines for soft drinks, snacks and ice creams.

Montauk Blue Hotel

We absolutely loved the Montauk Blue Hotel and would love to stay there again and explore more of Montauk.  For more Montauk hotel inspiration, check out Ruschmeyers, The Montauk Beach House, The Surf Lodge, The Crow’s Nest, Sole East and Gurney’s.

HOW TO GET THERE

Long Island Rail Road

We took the Long Island Rail Road to Montauk from Penn Station (changing briefly at Jamaica), which takes three hours and costs around $48.25 per person (the fare varies depending on peak or off-peak travel).

The two-tiered air-conditioned train was actually rather comfortable and we enjoyed spotting the most unbelievable Hamptons houses complete with pools and tennis courts along the way.  Just be sure to bring plenty of drinks and snacks, as there’s no trolley and while there are toilets, they can be a bit grim.

A few more cons are the extremely limited timetable, apart from the peak season when direct cannonball services are added, and the lack of luggage space – in fact, large suitcases on busy services are actively discouraged.

The Hamptons Jitney

Immortalised on Sex and the City, The Hamptons Jitney is the more stylish way to arrive in The Hamptons, particularly in the exclusive Ambassador Class with half the usual number of seats, complimentary drinks and magazines.  We took a spin on The Jitney to East Hampton when a friendly driver offered us a ride and it really seems to be a premium service.

The only problem with The Jitney is that summer traffic can delay the journey and it may start to feel a little bit cramped after a while.

BLADE Helicopter

The super-rich can take a helicopter from Manhattan to The Hamptons with elite services like BLADE and arrive in just 55 minutes.  Can you imagine?  One can but dream!

Have you been to The Hamptons?  Are you tempted by a New York city and beach break?

All photos by Chérie City

Hotels, New York

A Stay At Morgans New York

I’ve always loved the fun vibe and cool design of Morgans Hotel Group properties in London, so I was keen to discover where the brand originated in New York – Morgans.

We stayed there for one night and chose the hotel for its convenient Midtown location, just 15-minutes walk from Penn Station, where we took the Long Island Rail Road to Montauk for our honeymoon.

Morgans Hotel New York

Established in 1984 by Studio 54’s Ian Schrager and designed by Andrée Putman, Morgans is credited as the very first boutique hotel.  From the moment you step off busy Madison Avenue and into the monochrome lobby, it feels like a calm, minimalist sanctuary (with an inviting green tea and lemon grass scent).

Morgans Hotel New York

Our check in was super friendly and we were kindly given a pre-birthday upgrade to a Superior Queen Room on a high floor.  The room had a peaceful feel and is contemporary-classic in style, designed in soft cream, silver and black tones with an original Robert Mapplethorpe photograph.

The low-slung queen bed was covered in crisp 300-thread count linen and a chic black and cream wool throw, continuing the New York taxi-inspired checkered pattern throughout the hotel.  There was also a comfy seating area by the window, Corian writing desk, La Notte bedside lamps, two wardrobes, bathrobes and a Morgans umbrella.

Morgans Hotel New York

The small bathroom was more urban and functional than luxurious with its stainless steel sink, but the rainfall shower was fabulous and I loved the generously-sized full set of Malin & Goetz bathroom products (a Morgans Hotel Group signature).

Morgans Hotel New York bathroom

Malin & Goetz Morgans Hotel New York

The hotel’s celebrity hot spot restaurant Asia de Cuba closed a few years ago and was replaced with the more resident-focused Reserve Lounge.  At night, it’s a bold and seductive cocktail bar with a speakeasy vibe and a special Old Fashion menu.  By day, hotel guests can relax there and enjoy the complimentary amenities including tea and coffee, wifi and continental breakfast each morning.

Morgans Hotel New York

We were really impressed with the generous breakfast offering – freshly-baked pastries, sweet muffins, doughnuts, mini bagels, Greek yoghurt and honey pots, home-made granola and fresh fruit.  It was refreshing to start the day in a cooler setting than a typical hotel breakfast room and we made good use of the lounge and take-out hot drinks during our stay.

Morgans Hotel New York breakfast

Morgans is an ideal place to stay in Midtown Manhattan if you’re looking for an intimate and chic haven with thoughtful amenities that really make you feel at home.  I’d stay there again in a New York minute!

For more information and booking, visit: www.morganshotelgroup.com

Photos by Chérie City and Morgans

New York, Restaurants

Where We Ate in New York

Our visits to New York are usually foodie extravaganzas, but with our wedding and all of the preparations taking up a good portion of our recent trip, we were a bit more restrained.  That was until our honeymoon in Montauk where it was indulgence all the way!

Instead, many of our New York food discoveries were low-key, but so, so delicious – the wonderland that is the Westside Market, the magnificent deli sandwiches at Cafe Olivero (I can’t even count how many we ordered over the week), the carrot cake doughnut at Doughnut Plant and the chocolate babka at Dean & Deluca.

Here are a few of our favourite New York finds…

Little Park

On the evening of our wedding, we dined at Andrew Carmellini’s latest restaurant Little Park at the Smyth Hotel in Tribeca.  I chose Little Park for a few reasons – its chic yet informal design, creative modern American menu and its relaxed sharing dish philosophy (so many high end New York restaurants impose three or four course set menus for dinner).

Little Park - New York, NY

We enjoyed dishes such as Sullivan county chicken with morel, fava bean and garlic, Long island duck with rhubarb, broccoli rabe and confit leg and Rainbow trout with fingerling potato, celery and dill.  They were all beautifully presented with interesting flavours and they went well with a selection of delicious vegetable dishes.

Little Park New York

Desserts were Frozen Meyer lemon fluff with orange sorbet and sour candied ginger, Honey chamomile panna cotta with strawberry, lemon and amaro and our overall favourite – Cinnamon toast ice cream with brioche crumb.  Each dessert was light, cooling and aromatic – perfect for the warmer months.

Little Park New York desserts

I highly recommend trying Little Park, it’s a refreshing take on casual fine dining and it attracts a smart urban crowd (but be sure to ask for a table in the main dining room).

By Chloe

Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s cool vegan fast-food cafe, on the corner of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, was one of our favourite foodie finds in New York.  In fact, it’s such a hit with New Yorkers and in-the-know visitors that it took quite a few attempts during our trip to grab a table – luckily on my birthday!

By Chloe West Village New York

By Chloe is all about sustainable, plant-based comfort food that is oh so tasty and reasonably priced.  It’s almost too hard to decide what to order from the all-day menu – Mac ‘n’ cheese, Pesto meatball sub, Smashed avocado toast, Quinoa taco, Kale Caesar salad and more…

By Chloe Bleecker Street NYC

We each tried a different burger – my Classic Burger was simple and full of flavour while Steven’s Mexican-inspired Guac Burger was more spicy with sweetness from the corn salsa and fresh, zesty lime.  We accompanied them with a generous portion of the most scrumptious Air baked sweet potato French fries.  They were so light and moreish with hardly any oil.  You can also help yourself to little pots of all-natural tangy beetroot ketchup and piquant chipotle mayonnaise.

By Chloe Bleecker Street New York

A second cafe has just opened in Silverlake, LA, and By Chloe is also expanding to Soho and Flat Iron, as well as Boston.  Fingers crossed for London in the distant future!

Poulette

One evening, after getting drenched in a freak rainstorm, we were in need of some home-style comfort food. Thankfully Poulette, the popular French rotisserie spot by Parisian Adam Jama, was just a short walk from our hotel over in Hell’s Kitchen.

Poulette New York

High quality, family farm-reared chickens are cooked with fresh herbs and lemon in an authentic French rotisserie machine, bringing a taste of the Parisian markets to New York.  From the set meals, we chose a whole chicken for four people, which comes with a choice of four sides, for the bargainous price of $35.95.

Poulette Hell's Kitchen New York

The chicken was tender and juicy with crispy, golden skin and a subtle herb flavour.  The skin-on fries were so moreish and I loved the garlic-infused string beans with mushrooms and brussels sprouts with tarragon. The rotisserie chicken also comes in a Caesar salad or sandwich and you can also order BBQ wings or chicken soup.

Momofuku Milk Bar

Our trip to New York wouldn’t have been complete without finally trying Momofuku Milk Bar, especially since the Midtown branch was just five minutes away from us.  Chef and owner Christina Tosi’s whimsical baked goods and cereal milk™ soft serve ice creams have become the stuff of internet legend and I was keen to see if it lived up to expectations.

Momofuku Milk Bar NYC

We tried three cookies that seem to bring out your inner child – confetti, blueberry & cream and cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow.  I enjoyed the fun flavours and the texture of the cookies, but they were super sweet and quite heavy on the glucose syrup and salt.

We revisited just before leaving for the airport for a sweet snack and some birthday cake truffles to numb the pain of the holiday ending, but the lunchtime queues were just too long.  The cookies didn’t blow me away, but I still have unfinished business at Momofuku Milk Bar.

Ralph’s Coffee

Ralph Lauren’s debut coffee shop, inside the POLO flagship store on 5th Avenue, is one of my favourite new haunts in Manhattan.  I’d expected Ralph’s Coffee to be chaotic due to its prime location, but it’s actually an oasis of calm with sleek design, charming staff and proper good coffee and tea.

Ralph's Coffee New York

It’s also perfect for people spotting, particularly that rare breed of New Yorker that lives and breathes the Ralph Lauren lifestyle.  A preppy, suited Nate Archibald type was sat to our left sipping a green juice while Bunny MacDougal in a navy blazer and neckerchief held court near the counter – the sense of theatre was like that of a Parisian terrace cafe.

Ralph's Coffee NYC

Having already visited and loved Ralph’s in Paris, The Polo Bar in the same New York flagship store is next on my list.

sweetgreen

I first heard about sweetgreen as Taylor Swift’s favourite salad place in New York and it’s easy to see why she’s a fan.  This boutique chain of deluxe make-your-own salad bars is a pretty cool lifestyle brand – its stores are sustainably designed by the same architects as 3.1 Phillip Lim, it has its own sweetlife music festival, plus Kendrick Lamar and Debbie Harry even had their own tribute salads on the menu.

However, it’s not just style over substance – sweetgreen champions healthy food on the go with farm-sourced ingredients prepared from scratch in each store’s open kitchen.

sweetgreen NYC

The salads are absolutely enormous with a generous amount of fillings and this being America, substitutions are actually welcome.  I loved the Kale Caesar, a lighter take on the classic with tasty roasted chicken while Steven’s Mexican-inspired Guacamole Greens was so zingy and full of flavour – tortilla chips were a surprisingly brilliant addition.  The self-serve iced teas and agua fresca are amazing too – natural and not packed full of sugar.

Sweet Green New York

The only problem with sweetgreen is its super-speedy assembly line system can leave you discombobulated on your first visit.  Then there’s the no cash policy, an eco initiative that seems to infuriate New Yorkers and tourists in equal measures. We ate at both the Nolita and Greenwich Village Sweet Green stores and we were more savvy to the ordering system the second time round.

Have you tried any of these New York food spots?  Where do you love to eat out in New York?

Photos by Chérie City (interiors by Little Park and sweetgreen)

Food, London

Liberty Cheesesteak Company, London

My one and only cheesesteak experience was at Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks at Reading Terminal Market, where Obama famously stopped by to satisfy his craving while in Philadelphia. Cheesesteaks don’t come much more authentic than that and while I enjoyed every bite, there haven’t been many opportunities to indulge since.

Happily, Philly’s famous sandwich can be found at Liberty Cheesesteak Company in east London’s Spitalfield Market every day of the week – and it’s the real deal.

Liberty Cheesesteak Company London

Two years ago, Philly native JP Teti left London’s corporate world, got himself a street food van and and set about bringing a taste of home to Duke of York Square in Chelsea.  50,000 cheesesteaks later, Liberty Cheesesteak Company has a loyal following and is set to open its flagship Philadelphia experience store in Soho later this year.

Liberty Cheesesteak Company keeps the menu simple with the original Cheesesteak and two specials – Italian roast pork hoagie and Buffalo chicken cheesesteak.  Of course, I just had to try the signature Cheesesteak, which comes with the famous American Cheez Wiz, ‘wit or widout’ grilled onions and can be ordered whole (£8) or half (£5).

Liberty Cheesesteak Company London

The soft and chewy hoagie roll was filled with a generous amount of well-seasoned, tender beef and finished with a slick of that sticky, bright orange Wiz sauce that actually tasted really good.  You can of course substitute the Wiz with Provolone or American cheese, but I recommend trying it here, Liberty’s own blend might surprise you.

The Cheesesteak may look like a humble hot sandwich, but there are a few elements that need to be spot on. The prime rib-eye Brazilian and Argentinian beef is sourced from London’s top butchers, the Italian hoagie roll is baked specially for Liberty at a London bakery and then there’s the Wiz…

Liberty develops and manufactures its own surprisingly natural Wiz with a base of locally sourced cheese and no artificial flavourings or colours (a world apart from the questionable Kraft Cheez Wizz, which may or may not even contain actual cheese).

Philly Cheesesteak London

Make sure you leave room for a taste of South Philadelphia’s Italian neighbourhood with a big ole’ cannoli. The crunchy cannoli pastry is freshly hand-piped to order with a smooth mixture of ricotta, icing sugar and chocolate chips.  I personally prefer cannolis with a touch of orange blossom or citrus peel to cut through the creamy flavour, but they were still delicious and a nice way to end the meal.

Liberty Cheesesteak Company cannoli

Liberty Cheesesteak Company is a must if you love American comfort food at its very best.  I can’t wait to see what they have planned for Soho!

For more information, visit: www.cheesesteaks.co.uk

Photos by Chérie City

Chérie City was invited by Liberty Cheesesteak Company