Tag Archives: brunch

Jekyll Island Club

Jakyll Island Club frontage

Last weekend we snuck off to the Georgia coast for a little getaway on Jekyll Island. The island used to be an entirely private hunting grounds and site of the members-only Jekyll Island Club, which was once described as “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.”

Notable members included the likes of J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, and Joseph Pulitzer.

The club has a sinister history as the clandestine meeting place of a group of New York bankers, who met here in secret in 1907 to create the Federal Reserve. But in the bright light of modern day, it is now an inviting and gorgeous coastal retreat.

Jakyll Island Club front

Jakyll Island Club Room

We sprang from bed and headed for breakfast in the Grand Dining Room, enjoying the beautiful grounds bathed in glorious morning sunshine.

Jakyll Island Club

Jakyll Island Club outside

Jakyll Island Club outside walk

Jakyll Island Club Breakfast

Jakyll Island Club Breakfast face

Jakyll Island Club Hotel Fire

Jakyll Island Club walk

Walking back after breakfast we passed several cottages on the island, which would have been luxurious winter homes for members of the club.

Jakyll Island Club chairs

Jakyll Island Club Cottage

Jakyll Island Club Cottage Garden

Jakyll Island Club Cottage front

Jakyll Island Club wicker rockers

Jakyll Island Club wicker rockers gaze

As Savannah is close by, we decided to pop in for a look around and a bit of lunch.

Savannah Steamboat Georgia Queen Kirks

Savannah Zos Tara Kirks

Savannah Collins Quarter_

Savannah Collins Quarter Mirror

Collins Quarter is a great little Savannah eatery on the corner of Bull Street and Oglethorpe Avenue. The menu has a distinctly Australian influence, and is an excellent choice for brunch!

Savannah Collins Quarter E

Savannah Collins Quarter Chai latte

The chai latte was exceptional! And so begins my new addiction to chai….

Savannah Collins Quarter Chai

Savannah Collins Quarter  E Zos

Savannah Collins Quarter Salmon

Poached Egg, House Cured Salmon, Potato Rosti, Cherry Tomatoes, Micro Herbs and House made Hollandaise served with Green Salad

Savannah Collins Quarter Avo Toast

Smashed Avocado served on Beaufort Artisan Bakery Toast with Feta, Heirloom Tomatoes, Micro Herbs, and Shaved Radishes topped with a Poached Egg

Savannah Collins Quarter Aussie Breakfast

Leo’s Aussie Brekkie: Chorizo Sausage, Savannah River Farms Bacon, Eggs, Sautéed Mushroom, Baked Beans & Grilled Tomato served with Beaufort Artisan Bakery Toast

Savannah Collins Quarter S tara

Jakyll Island Club Hotel Side

Back on Jekyll Island, we headed down to the “Rah” Bar on the riverside just as the sun was setting.

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar View

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Sign

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar View Flowers

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Paradise

It was such a peaceful setting for a drink and to appreciate the beauty of the waterfront.

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar S

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar E Zos

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Sky

What a delightful and relaxing weekend away enjoying the stunning scenery of the south!

Home Beach Home

It’s been quite a journey, getting to South Carolina from London, over the past few months. But we finally found the perfect beach shack and we’re all snuggled in! I guess you could say I’ve even become a bit of a homebody.

Station 19 Outside front door orange

Station 19 Living Room Sofa

Station 19 Living Room Mirror

Station 19 Kitchen Side Counter

Station 19 Kitchen Counter

Station 19 Guest bedroom Chest of Drawers Side

Station 19 Guest Bedroom Flowers

Station 19 Guest Bedroom Flowers Nightstand

Station 19 Bedroom Pillows

Station 19 Screened in Porch Beach Cottage

I’ve been getting down to work in the kitchen, testing out some classic Southern recipes… and a few of my own, like this Georgia peach gâteau.

Station 19 Pie Cloche

Station 19 Pie Cloche Cover

Southern life is treating us well. We’ve found the perfect compromise living 15 minutes outside of Charleston, but right on the beach in Sullivan’s Island. After all, we haven’t moved from the greatest city in the world to be downtown with all the tourists, college students and fixie bike hipsters. Life’s better on the water!

Sullivan's Island Beach Welcome Sign

Luckily, we’re 2 blocks from the sand – so we’ve been taking advantage of morning walks on the beach and late afternoon swims in the ocean.

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach path

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach path Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Waves Sand Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Houses Lighthouse Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Dunes Landscape

We didn’t waste any time finding our favourite restaurants on the island. On this particular occasion, we were off to brunch just up the road. We’re lucky we can walk everywhere, exploring our new neighbourhood on foot.

Sullivan's Island Sidewalk

Sullivan's Island Blue Doll House Victorian

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Steps

Obstinate Daughter is relatively new to the island – like us! But it’s already been making waves in the area for it’s coastal Italian influences and local ingredients. We heard about it practically before we even got unpacked, and now we’re working on making ourselves regulars.

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Steps Up

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Interior

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter BarMary

Their Blonde Bloody Mary is epic. And in case you’re wondering, that’s pickled okra speared on the garnish.

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Bloody Mary

Seasonal vegetable frittata with basil and mozzarella

Seasonal vegetable frittata with basil and mozzarella

House ham, farm egg, fontal cheese, garlic aioli

House ham, farm egg, fontal cheese, garlic aioli

Our brunch was slammin’ – I will keep coming back until I try everything on the menu.

Sullivan's Island Beardcats OD

Life’s a beach – and I really can’t complain!

Washington, DC Monuments

Our first stop in the USA was (but of course) the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

We were expecting glorious blue skies and lots of sun, but we weren’t prepared for the bitter, freezing cold. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival had begun, but there were no puffy blush blooms on any of the trees! It was a crushing disappointment.

Still, there were sights to be seen!

Hay Adams Exterior

Hay Adams Lobby Lift Chandelier

Hay Adams Lobby Telephone Table Chairs

Hay Adams Lobby Brass Letterbox

Hay Adams Lobby Chair Check in

Hay Adams Lafayette Dining Room

We had breakfast at the hotel, at a table basked in morning light, reading over the papers. The Washington Post is running a segment on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War!

Hay Adams Breakfast Washington Post Lafayette

Smoked salmon and chive scrambled eggs with herb oil

Smoked salmon and chive scrambled eggs with herb oil

It was hard to leave our sun-drenched spot and head out into the numbing cold, but we felt obligated to pop across the street and say hello to the neighbours.

Washington DC White House Lawn

Thankfully, Barry and Michelle didn’t answer the door. So we continued on our sprightly stroll around town – taking in the monuments in all their glory.

Washington DC White House Cabbages and Roses Coat

Washington DC Executive Building

Washington DC White House Square

Washington DC White House Oval Office

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Steps

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Seated Marble

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Seated Side

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Drained

Well, most of their glory…

As if the lack of cherry blossoms wasn’t disappointing enough, the powers that be didn’t see fit to put any water in the reflecting pool. So the vista across the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument was a little lacklustre.

Thankfully, there was still inspiration to be found in Honest Abe’s historic Gettysburg Address, which  gives me chills every time I read it.

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Fore Score

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Cabbages and Roses Blue Dress

Washington DC Korean Memorial Statues

Washington DC United States Park Police Horse Trailer

After our long walk, it was time for lunch. Well, technically, brunch.

We headed to Logan Circle and grabbed a booth at Birch & Barley.

Birch and Barley Exterior

Birch and Barley Surprise

Dill Bloody Mary

Dill Bloody Mary

I was thrilled when they told me I could get a wheat-free version of their delicious flatbreads. This gluten-free beast was a sausage and cheese dream!

Spicy Muffaletta Flatbread Oil-Cured Soppressata, Olive Relish, Ricotta, Provolone

Spicy Muffaletta Flatbread Oil-Cured Soppressata, Olive Relish, Ricotta, Provolone

The homemade donuts were also a must-try.

Freshly Fried Donuts: Toffee-Bacon, Lemon-Poppy Glazed, Bittersweet Chocolate

Freshly Fried Donuts: Toffee-Bacon, Lemon-Poppy Glazed, Bittersweet Chocolate

After several cups of coffee, we headed back out into the streets for more exploring!

It’s so good to be back 🙂

All-Day London Brunch

It’s a well known fact that January is a month for New Year’s resolutions, detoxing, hitting the gym, and swearing off booze and other forms of excess.

At least for some people it is!

For me, it’s about “how am I going to get through the bore and chill of another wintery month in this great city when most of my friends are off on a wagon ride somewhere?”

So my enabler and I hit the town on Saturday chasing the perfect all-day brunch.

Pearl Bracelet

Rocking my new arm candy, an oversized pearl cuff, and bundled up in layers, I set my sights north to Marylebone. Our destination was a London brunch institution, The Providores.

Leather Leggings Marylebone

Providores Downstairs

We bypassed the communal tables of the popular ground floor Tapas Room, and headed upstairs to the bright dining room. I need lots of elbow room when I have a breakfast this good!

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

I’m not normally a fan of sweet and savoury combinations, but this French toast had me changing my tune on that rule, especially as the syrup was so light and not too cloying.

Although the food is wonderful, The Providores is not the type of place you can settle back and linger over a long chat and bottomless cups of coffee. It’s very busy at the weekends, and once our plates were cleared, the wait staff’s expectant eyes were upon us. We didn’t feel rushed; but there was an inherent understanding. We get the picture; so it was “check please” and we were back on the streets.

Titiana's Garden Marylebone

Church on Wyndham Place

Ginger Pig

Smily Face

Cool Guy Cool Shwood Sunglasses

Walking to Chiltern

Now what to do? We strolled for a bit, then headed for a comfy place to chill with a decent wine list, Chiltern Firehouse.

Chiltern Firehouse bar

Chiltern Firehouse Wine Drinking

Crab donuts

Crab donuts

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Chiltern Lounging Text Messaging

We spent the afternoon lazily chatting, nibbling (and even distractedly checking BBC football scores on our mobiles) – all perfectly justified ways to waste a January Saturday.

Sometimes you just have to shrug off the virtue of moderation, and enjoy a day of self-appointed gratuity! It sure helped this lychee martini go down rather well.

Chiltern Firehouse Lychee Martini

With the day well and truly spent, we retreated from our cozy den of inequity and out into the twinkling lights of Marylebone – after the perfect all-day London brunch.

Chiltern Firehouse Outdoor Front Garden Patio Pots

 

 

Gordo’s Spicy Mexican Eggs

Had a blinding night out at some friends’ dinner party on Friday.

That’s why I found myself on the couch in my nightgown watching Gordon Ramsay’s cooking show late Saturday morning.

No celebrity chef panders to hungry Americans quite like Gordo. And as he adroitly whipped up an eggy Mexican feast onscreen, I was hit with a bolt of inspiration. I launched myself off the sofa and into the kitchen, flinging open the cupboard doors for a quick inventory of supplies, before cracking on with a cheesy Ramsay-influenced breakfast.

Ingredients

Ingredients close

With all my ingredients assembled, I preheated my oven to 350°F (180°C), tied on my apron, and got to cookin’.

Step 1: Brush an oven-proof skillet (or in this case, a cast iron shallow casserole) and sprinkle with salt and pepper

Step 1: Brush an oven-proof skillet (or in this case, a cast iron shallow casserole) with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper

Step 2: Line the dish with corn tortillas, cutting them in half to cover the sides, letting them hang over the edge a little bit.

Step 2: Line the dish with corn tortillas, cutting them in half to cover the sides, letting them hang over the edge a little bit.

Step 3: Sautee 1 diced red onion, 1 sliced green pepper, and 2 sliced garlic cloves until golden, about 6 minutes.

Step 3: In a fry pan, sauté 1 diced red onion, 1 sliced chili, and 2 sliced garlic cloves until golden, about 6 minutes.

Step 4: Throw in a pinch of cumin seeds, let cook for 2 minutes. Then add 1 can of chopped tomatoes, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Throw in a pinch of cumin seeds, let cook for 2 minutes. Then add 1 can of chopped tomatoes, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Stir in one can of drained and rinsed black beans.

Step 5: Stir in one can of drained and rinsed black beans until the mixture is heated through, about 2 minutes.

Step 7: Pour the warm mixture over the tortillas.

Step 6: Pour the warm mixture over the tortillas.

Step 8: Make 4 little wells in the mixture, then crack 4 eggs into the wells.

Step 7: Make 4 little wells in the mixture, then crack 4 eggs into the wells.

Step 9: Sprinkle with cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Make it rain with cheese!

Step 8: Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and cheddar cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Make it rain with cheese!

Step 10: Pop in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

Step 9: Pop in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

While the eggs baked, I used the window of opportunity to whip up a jug of Bloody Marys. There’s only one vodka you’ll ever want to use, and that’s Bakon. It’s infused with the essence of crispy peppered bacon slices, and it adds a delicious smokey flavor to your Mary.

Bakon Bloody

Bloody Mary

A final stir before the oven timer goes off, and out comes this sexy beast…

Presentation

I’m talking about the baked eggs of course!

A sprinkle of cilantro (coriander to you Brits)… and ¡Ay, caramba!

It’s chow time.

Finished Product

Step 8 Scoop and Eat

Cover

Plated

Plated Spicy Eggs

A couple scoops of these huevos picante brought me back from the brink, and gave me the strength to resume my post – on the couch, reading a freshly imported magazine from home.

Reading

If you want to give it a try, here’s your grocery list:

(Hindsight is 20/20: If I could do it again, I’d top with a scoop of sriracha guacamole).

spicy mexican eggs ingredients list

Roman Times

If there’s anything I love more than brunch, it’s a foreign city’s regional take on brunch. In Rome, there’s a place called Urbana 47 that has a multo bene 4-course special on weekends with a distinctly Italian twist.

Brunch12 Brunch10 Brunch11 Brunch9 Brunch8 Brunch3

Brunch2

They start you off with a cheesy mozzarella wrap that is just the type of thing you’d reach for on the morning after the night before – followed by a ladle of pumpkin pasta in a beef ragout. Mamma mia! This duo of carbs is a hangover cure that doesn’t mess around!

Mozzarella and vegetable wrap with spicy tomato salsa

Mozzarella and vegetable wrap with spicy tomato salsa

Homemade pumpkin fettuccine pasta with beef ragout, mint and pecorino

Homemade pumpkin fettuccine pasta with beef ragout, mint and pecorino

Beef on a spit with caponata mixed vegetables

Beef on a spit with caponata mixed vegetables

Brunch7

Brunch13

Afters, we trudged over to St Peters where crews were setting up chairs for mass. I mingled with the pilgrims and wandered around the basilica for a bit. What a fascinating place. You could feel the power and influence throbbing off the walls of the place – like little electric waves. It was almost more intimidating than it was spiritual. I felt a bit like a pilgrim myself…

StP StP2 StP5 StP3 StP6 StP7 StP8 Bar10 StP9

After all that piety, it was time for a refreshing dash in the rain back to headquarters – to rest up, watch Flashdance, and get ready for the night!StP11 River River1

That evening we dolled ourselves up, donned our LBDs, and headed out for drinks at the infamous Hotel de Russie.

Night Night1

Night8 Night10 Night11 Night7

Everyone warned us Bar Stravinskij is dreadful. But we weren’t deterred; we had a feeling its glossy reputation as the place VIPs and politicians came to not lay low would verify its status as of one of the most iconic bars in Rome. Located in the courtyard gardens of Hotel de Russie, complete with Roman ruins and views of Villa Borghese, this place was indeed a society hotspot. The room fizzed with activity, like the bubbles in our champagne flutes. With Kevin Spacey wooing his Italian toyboy on one side of us, and a pair of blond women of ill repute in platform boots chatting up a potential john on the other, the people-watching was hilarious. We spent two hours in a perpetual fit of giggles.Night6 Night4 Night3

Night5

After tittering the evening away, we cavorted off into the night in search of more amusement. Scuttling across the square, I took one last look back – and admired all the ancient beauty surrounding this crazy city! Vive la Roma!

Night14

East London

East London might as well be Narnia. It seems so far off and inaccessible, yet I’m always hearing how very trendy it is and yearning to be transported to this magical land of hipsters where everything cool seems to happen.

Barb5

So this Saturday I donned my hipster uniform (rolled-up jorts and low top Jack Purcells) and journeyed east in search of off-beat Cockney fun. I arrived in Hackney somewhat dazed and daunted; so many strange characters swarmed around me – a woman in a bikini eating chicken out of a box as she hurried down the sidewalk, a stylish dude in a sassy full-length Grover shag fur coat, and strollers – lots of lots of strollers. Apparently, I’d been beamed into a hidden hipster breeding ground where young Londoners come to hatch their brood.

I squeezed past the buggies and highchairs in Lardo for brunch. Industrial chic Italian food in the urban hotspot Arthaus building. The baked egg skillet was scorched in a glittering dome oven and served hot enough to incinerate the roof of my mouth. The bloody marys were delicious but – holy, salt! – garnished with your yearly recommended sodium intake. To be fair, the cured meats and pizzas looked amazing and I certainly finished every bite of my breakfast; appetite sated, we headed off to lovely Dalston.

Lardo

Lardo

Lardo

Lardo8

Lardo2

Lardo4ArtHaus

Baked Eggs | cannellini beans, spinach & feta

Baked Eggs | cannellini beans, spinach & feta

Lardo5

Lardo7

And by lovely, I mean a graffitied gravel lot – and site of the Barbican-commissioned “Dalston House” installation by Leandro Erlich. Exploring themes of architecture, urbanism, and perception, the interactive exhibition gives visitors a tactile experience and optical illusion using a specially designed Victorian terraced house facade. Have a look:

Barb6

Barb

Barb2

Barb1

Barb3

Barb4

Barb7Very cool.

As we retreated back west, we passed through Camden on a pilgrimage for a word-of-mouth Japanese restaurant recomendation. Asakusa in Mornington Crescent is a relatively underground favorite for authentic sushi – despite its dingy outer appearance, it was jam-packed with reservations inside. Faded Tokyo kitsch cheers the otherwise passe dining room, and a matronly bespectacled woman calls out orders and “Hai!” from behind a counter covered in little cat figurines and stacks of Japanese newspapers.

Asakusa

Meneki-neko (beckoning cats)

Meneki-neko (beckoning cats)

Accomplished - and very busy - sushi chef

Accomplished – and very busy – sushi chef

Japanese pickles

Japanese pickles

A fine bottle of junmai sake

A fine bottle of junmai sake

Asakusa3

It was a looooong wait for the sushi, but we had been warned. When it finally came, the delay was entirely forgiven because it was superb – fresh as could be, it dissolved on the tongue. The tempura and chicken katsu that followed were further triumphs. Dessert just put the whole meal into the top percentile of Japanese dining.

Yellowtail sashimi

Yellowtail sashimi

Katsu chicken

Katsu chicken

Mochi | Green tea ice cream

Mochi | Green tea ice cream

Red bean mochi

Red bean mochi

Asakusa11

This was a prolonged and drowsy dinner, which we waited for and lingered over for three hours – but with plenty of sake at hand, we hardly minded.

As I drifted down the underground tunnels, through the wardrobe so to speak, I was so gratified by my cross-city trip. I was a little woozy, but glad to be home – safe from the sad, traitorous Mr. Tumnus’ of London. Thankful as I was for the adventure, I had left him behind half-heartedly – knowing he was too weak and helpless from being sucked into the evil, frightening depths of Narnia. Life isn’t too far from a fairytale sometimes.