Echobelly@Scala

Hubbie and I were at Scala, Kings Cross, last night, attending a gig given by Echobelly . The band’s lead guitarist, Glenn, kindly put us on their guest list because Hubbie helped them with their recent publicity photos.

Sonya & Glenn’s visit.

After having dinner at Mildred on Pentonville Road, we watched a supporting band, Salad, giving a great performance…

Then, this was what we were waiting for! Echobelly!

 

They played the numbers from their new album, Anarchy & Alchemy, as well as their well-known and well-loved tunes.

A lead singer, Soyna, was as mesmerising as usual. She had a great stage presence and her charisma was felt throughout the performance…

Thank you, Glenn! It was a wonderful treat…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Spätzle@Hotel Müller

The reason why I didn’t reserve tickets for Neuschwanstein Castle was because I weren’t sure if mum’s knees could take the stress the visit may cause. As the castle was built on top of the steep cliff and the access was limited by foot only, the visit would involve a fair amount of climbing up and down the slope as well as the stairs. ‘Are you sure you really wanna risk them?’ I asked mum. She told me that she would rather choose to risk her knees than miss out on the visit and regret about it forever. 

After waiting in the queue under the beating sun for about half an hour, we finally put our hands on the tickets. Phew! 

However, our guided tour was from 16:45 and we had more than four hours to wait. Oh, what should we do? 

The time was almost noon and we were a little peckish. ‘Shall we eat at here then?’ I pointed at Hotel Müller which stood next to the ticket office. 

The interior of the hotel was airy and bright with white walls and unstained woodwork, and there was hardly anyone except hotel staffs. 

Their restaurant was also almost empty when we walked in…

A waitress with a pretty Bavarian dress greeted us and she let us choose a table. We wanted to see the castle while we dined, therefore, we opted for the one by the window.

Aww, Neuschwanstein Castle in the distance…

Our arrival must have been slightly ahead of the rest of lunch diners. We saw a sudden influx of the hungry customers filing into the dining room and taking up all the tables as we studied the menu.

Hmmm, what shall we have?

We wanted to try something new and asked a waitress who arrived to take our order. ‘Could you recommend us any Bavarian specialities?’ 

She suggested “Spätzle”…

She described the dish as rich and comforting with lots of cream and cheese. She assured us, ‘You will like it.’

Then, it arrived!

The dish tasted like very tasty macaroni cheese. Could this be the origin of the present macaroni cheese, a king of comfort food which is found in any supermarket shelf and freezer cabinet? Maybe, immigrants from Bavaria took the recipe to the States and eventually the dish had become the American favourite? We mused as we ferried hot cheesy short pasta into our mouths.

Another dish we order was salad. We need to top up vitamins, mum and I agreed…

We chose Salatvariation mit Feigen und Pinienkermen…

Unfortunately, the fig was slightly underripe. Otherwise, the salad was very fresh and tasty.

It was because we had ample time to kill before our guided tour, we ate with leisurely pace and managed to finish the Spätzle whose portion was very large. 

Now, our stomachs are full, and we will have to find a transport to the castle…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Eating Habit & Longevity

Wow, I am amazed by how my body, especially my leg muscles, has adjusted to this new & more rigorous fitness regime! In spite of the last practice being a lot harder than the previous ones, I felt much easier during the session and a lot less achy afterward. A prolonged stick-handling drill was a real killer for me. I could feel lactic acid building up in my arms. Still, the practice will definitely guarantee me to tone the upper arms and lift my butt by this summer. Therefore, I shall swear that I will attend it every week. Besides, seeing all the friendly faces at the ice rink is definitely worth a 45 minutes car drive across London…

Recent London seems to have stepped back into the mini-winter again. The sky has been overcast and swept by chilly wind. And it makes me crave for a bowl of steamy ramen noodle!
While mum & I were in Tokyo in last January, the city was grasped by a very cold weather system. It was exceptionally chilly by Tokyo’s standard and in spite of a hotel staff cranking up our room’s A/C to the maximum, we still felt not enough warmth.
‘Shouldn’t we line our stomach with something hot?’ So we grabbed our coats and paid a visit to a noodle bar in Hacchobori…

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Ta-dah, behold my Kimchi Miso ramen. It was certainly fiery and spicy as the colour of the broth suggested and helped me to feel toasty from the inside. The only minor complaint was the seasoning for being too salty? Since I hardly used any additional flavouring, especially salt, on my food usually when I was in the UK, I found some of the foods in Japan a little too salty for my liking.

The prefecture of Nagano, where my mum lives, is well-known for its residents’ longevity. The average life expectancy for both male and female, are well into their 80s. As a daughter, I am very glad that my mum lives in an environment where it encourages its residents to lead a healthy & long life. However, the majority of her generation, born between the 30s and 40s, went through the post war hardship which has resulted in their frugal attitude as well as discipline towards food and lifestyle…

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My mum’s Kenchinjiru (建長汁) – hearty vegetables soup with salmon roe on top – is one of my favourites. Diced Satoimo (里芋) – taro root, carrot, Daikon radish, Konjac, thinly sliced burdock (牛蒡gobo) & tofu were stirfried with sesami oil first, then shimmered in the pot with water and seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, sake and salt. Mum was extra careful not to season the soup too strongly so it was packed with “umami” from the vegetables alone.

While my 3 weeks holiday in Japan, I had a glimpse of modern Japanese eating habit. Comparing it with that of my mum’s generation’s, the younger Japanese’s diet seemed to be far more westernised and consisted of more commercially processed foods rather than home-cooking.
It is purely my private observation and therefore not a general consensus but the recession in which the Japanese are trapped since the early 90’s has changed the way they behave towards food. The immediacy of pleasure tasty foods provide has shifted the general public’s attention from what they own to what they eat. It’s almost like the drabness of recession fades or forgotten while one’s sensory system locks on a tasty morsel in the mouth – the solace sought in comfort eating. Whatever the reason the Japanese diners queue up for plates of towering pancakes or bowls of noodle large enough for 3 portions or tables for “eat as much as you can” style buffet, the eating habit as the rest of the world perceive to be the Japanese way of healthy lifestyle is changing.
While the materialistic obsession in the 80’s only hurt the individual’s bank balance, the present OTT comfort eating tendency will sure to develop to future general health problem. Already, a part of the Japanese children is reported to have diabetic conditions due to a diet heavy on carb and sugar. Comparing my mum’s generation who grew up with not enough food around, an environment in which the present younger generation exists is saturated with an insanely plentiful amount of tasty food. This reality makes me wonder how long the Japanese can flaunt their top place in a worldwide longevity table. Not only that, I am concerned that they will develop serious health problems in future if the present overindulgence continues.

Today’s lunch at my beloved Shoreditch Grind. A bowl of Feta & Falafel salad…

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The salad contained rocket, crumbly feta cheese, balls of falafel, red & yellow cherry tomatoes and pomegranate. The dressing was sweet with a hint of chilli. It was delicious.

And my flat white…

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Who can leave Shoreditch Grind without tasting their celebrated roast?

I feel much less tired now so try my best to update the blog more often and regularly…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

London Review Cake Shop @ Bury Place

Ewwww!
My throat hurts like hell right now. I think some pesky bacteria latched on me sometime this week and I have succumbed to its evil spell…

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Even though I am far from being a happy bunny health-wise, I have an urgent order to fulfil, therefore, pull on my hoodie like a tough chick and slog away. Can anyone help me with this damn sore throat? It’s killing me.

Before I was struck by a cold, I visited a cafe run by London Review Bookshop on Bury Place near British Museum. I was long intrigued by this cafe within a bookshop…

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However the place’s close proximity to British Museum concerned me.
Wouldn’t it be saturated with tourists?

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Maybe something to do with the weather – it looked certainly grumpy with thick grey cloud hanging low threatening to turn worse at any minute, the cafe was only half full.

The cafe was smaller than I imagined and nearly one third of the space was taken up by their open kitchen…

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The counter was laden with tempting looking offerings.
And the staff handed me to study their extensive tea menu…

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And I decided to try their aubergine quiche with salad, accompanied by a pot of Assam breakfast tea…

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Their food, especially the salad, was delicious.
I could taste pear and walnuts as well as Parmesan amongst finely chopped up parsley and peppery rocket.
The quiche was also creamy and moreish. The portion might be a little on the modest side. However, they have lots of baked goodies on offer to quell anyone’s hunger totally.

The cafe proved to be a worthwhile place to replenish during the day.
I certainly dog-ear it’s page in my little address book for future reference…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Mr.B & Day Out @ Essex Road

Last Thursday, Me.S & I set out to the vet on foot.
Mr.B, being a rather reluctant stroller, required 3F treatment – Fair, Firm & Friendly – from me time to time. Still, we managed to reach Essex Road without too much trouble.
The time was just after 1pm so we decided to have a quick bite at Food Lab…

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Ohhhh, I think I’m gonna have a small plate of salad!
I was visiting Lorraine at her barge cafe for tea & cake later on. Therefore, the lunch mustn’t be too heavy…

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We sat at one of the picnic tables by the pavement…

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Mmmm…, they look good…

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The salad was flavoured beautifully and the bread was delicious. Mr.B enjoyed a few morsels as well.

After lunch, we headed to our primary destination, the vet.
Mr.B sussed out imminent danger to his mental well-being by a doggie sixth sense. As the result, he stopped dead on the spot and refused to budge! Oh dear, I have to stuff you in the carrier then. *SIGH*

At the vet, we picked up a pipette which was missing from the box of Advocate we bought the other day.
Then, we were asked if Mr.B could model some of the doggie clothing they were selling in the pet shop.
I was more than happy to oblige though Mr.B thought otherwise…

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Mr.B’s solo fashion show commences.
Mr.B in a hoodie gilet…

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Mr.B in a Barbour coat…

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Mr.B in a granddad pullover…

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Mr.B in a check anorak with faux fur hoodie…

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I wasn’t sure how Mr.B found it but I and the staff had plenty of “ooh” & “ahh” and fits of giggles…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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