Below: a list of things I have recently eaten and read, and places I have recently been. I liked them all. You might like them too*.
Where: Spuntino (there is no use at all my giving you the link to the site: there’s nothing on it; the place doesn’t take bookings and anyway, it has no phone. It’s at 61 Rupert Street. Turn up early, be prepared to wait)
Pretty soon, I’m sure that the all-conquering Russell Norman is going to be knighted for services to the foodie zeitgeist.
Why: the truffled egg toast and the eggplant fries; the friendly-to-the-point-of-just-flirtatious-enough staff, who are simultaneously amazingly discreet and can arrange for birthday candles to be put into chocolate whiskey cakes without your boyfriend noticing.
What: Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Why: What The Father’s mashed potato is to comfort food, this is to comfort reading. It’s the literary equivalent of a tartan cashmere blanket and a great big hug. Warning: it’s no less tear-jerking now than it was when I first read it about mumblemumble years ago. Prepare accordingly if you’re reading it on your Kindle on the tube. Ahem.
Where: Yalla Yalla, Winsley Street
Small, laid-back, noisy, friendly, Beirut ‘street food’ café-cum-restaurant.
Why: the baba ghannoujh, the halloumi, the hommos, the shisha. But mostly the baba ghannoujh.
What: Life in a Day
The feature film created entirely of videos shot by real people and uploaded to YouTube.
Why: An amazing, uplifting, wondrous piece of filmmaking that reassures you that humanity is in fact not going to hell in a handcart. Even if some slightly odd individuals get sentimental about the size of flies.
What: the rhubarb gin and tonic, Bob Bob Ricard, Upper James Street
Why: It’s a rhubarb gin and tonic, for crying out loud. AND there’s a button you can push to hail champagne. What’s not to like?
Where: Pollen Street Social
Jason Atherton’s latest place. You get a goody bag when you leave. Brilliant.
Why: The cauliflower and squid with roasted squid consommé. Seriously.
What: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde’s only published, oft-referred to, novel
Why: Like most other people, I’ve always been aware of the story, but didn’t realise the level of dark’n’creepiness of the book itself. The mastery of language is second to none, with a few quotable gems you’ll recognise and some you won’t.
What: The West Wing, series one
Why: Having recently introduced The Writer to the televisual phenomenon, I get to re-watch – for the umpteenth time – the whole lot, from the very beginning. Dust off the first episode of the first series, and marvel at how young everyone looks; the original incidence of POTUS riding his bike into a tree (ah, how life imitates art) and that epic first walk’n’talk.
Ok, so strictly I didn’t go to Gelupo itself, but I did visit their stand at Taste of London, so it counts.
Why: Crimes abound, and I’m sure I’ll be kicked out of the girl club for saying this, but I’m not a massive fan of ice cream: it’s one of those puddings I can take or leave. But the deliciousness of Gelupo’s ricotta and sour cherry gelato should not be overestimated.
What: Trade, Simon Rich
Why: Because any New Yorker article on managing your men as if they were members of a sports team is going to be worth a read.
*But if you don’t, it’s not my fault