Ravenous http://ravenouslibby.com rav·en·ous : very eager for food, satisfaction, or gratification. Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:43:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 St John Street – an epicurean destination http://ravenouslibby.com/st-john-street-an-epicurean-destination http://ravenouslibby.com/st-john-street-an-epicurean-destination#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:42:20 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1491 What is going on with St John Street in Clerkenwell? There must be something in the water. Or perhaps it’s the food. Great restaurants are literally popping up left, right and centre on a considerably small stretch of the street between Clerkenwell Road and Charterhouse Street. Locals are spoiled for choice from quality cuts of steak, to burgers & lobster (or both, at once!), authentic Vietnamese or Mexican street food, funky wine bars with great grub, and, of course, one of the top 100 restaurants in the world.

It used to be that those who worked in the Clerkenwell area might stick around for a Friday evening dinner, but St John Street was always quiet by around 9 pm (I know because Pho has been open there for nine years), and it never really came alive again until 9 am the following Monday. In 1994, St John Street pioneer Fergus Henderson opened the now world-famous St John Bar & Restaurant at the bottom of the road and for about ten years, it was one of the only great restaurants in the area.

But things have changed. Over the past few years we’ve seen openings in EC1 from popular restaurant groups like Goodman (Burger & Lobster, below), Workshop Coffee Co., Polpo, Benito’s Hat, The Modern Pantry, and Hawksmoor (Foxlow), following trendsetters like Vinoteca and Pho (below) who opened their very first restaurants on St John Street in 2005. Now, foodies travel from near and far to Clerkenwell on the weekends to visit the recently opened and most buzzed about restaurants in London.  

Fresh donuts, St John: 

Fresh doughnuts at St John

Spicy Chicken Pho, Pho:

Spicy Chicken Pho

Lobster Rolls, Burger & Lobster:

Lobster rolls @ Burger & Lobster

Also located on this gastronome thoroughfare is the famous Farmiloe Building.  The gorgeous old Victorian building (y’know, the one right next to Burger & Lobster) has been vacant for 15 years, but it has served as the hub for Clerkenwell Design Week for the last several years and as a film set for many movies including the Guy Ritchie Batman films. I was recently given a tour of this landmark building after learning that the owners  have applied to refurbish and extend it, giving it permanent use, and to build a brand new building on the adjacent site (see rendering below). The architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, have an international reputation for design quality, environmental expertise and architectural innovation, with a strong background in heritage and conservation projects.

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1703-Farmiloe-Peters Lane View render

Although the building won’t house any new restaurants or cafes, there will be two retail units and office spaces that will most likely attract tech or media companies, who will employ about 700 people. As of today, an application for refurbishment of the Farmiloe Building has been submitted to the Islington Council. After having seen the inside of the gorgeous building and learning about plans for the upgrade of the site next door, I think it’s safe to say the local restaurateurs will welcome the proposal with open arms, if only for the extra 700 bums on seats that will come along with it.

The gorgeous atrium inside the Farmiloe Building:

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Trip Kitchen, Haggerston http://ravenouslibby.com/trip-kitchen-haggerston http://ravenouslibby.com/trip-kitchen-haggerston#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:07:49 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1480 TRIPKITCHEN&BAR is an exciting new restaurant and bar in Haggerston, East London, headed-up by Selin Kiazim, the former Head Chef at Kopapa.

Trip Kitchen Haggerston

Located within a beautifully converted railway arch on Regent’s Canal, the restaurant and bar design is romantic and cosy, showcasing the venue’s origins with brickwork lit throughout.  The restaurant is casual and the food is ‘Modern Turkish,’ inspired by Chef Kiazim’s Turkish-Cypriot roots.

I was lucky enough to attend a private & intimate tasting of the Trip Kitchen dinner menu in December and the food was fantastic. The menu, which changes monthly, offers small plates for sharing, interesting Mediterranean flavours and seasonal dishes. Trust me, it’s worth going just for the rich medjool date butter and fresh bread.

And with brunch dishes that kick the ass of any Dalston cafe serving poached eggs & smoked salmon (helloooo smoked streaky bacon toasted sandwich smothered in that AWESOME date butter) – I’ll be back soon.

TRIPKITCHEN&BAR is part of TripSpace Projects, a cultural, creative space for contemporary movement, devised theatre and dining experiences, launched by Giuliana Majo, Montse Ventura and Peter Fiala.

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Chefs in Shorts, Florida style http://ravenouslibby.com/chefs-in-shorts-florida-style http://ravenouslibby.com/chefs-in-shorts-florida-style#comments Tue, 08 Oct 2013 19:41:46 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1473 Harlem Heights, a neighborhood not far from where I grew up, is a severely distressed community, with kids living in poverty at twice the rate of the rest of Lee County. It happens to be close to my heart — not only did I go to elementary school in the area for six years, I played soccer every Saturday at the local sports fields and did a lot of extracurricular activities in the neighborhood.

The Heights Foundation (est. 2000) is a grassroots, hands-on organization that celebrates the strength and diversity of the community and has the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. Its work supports community development programs for individuals, students, and families, and provides charitable outreach projects in the community. Recently the foundation opened The Heights Center — a place where at-risk children learn character and integrity, and where they are nurtured and encouraged, as they discover and experience the visual and performing arts.

And later this year, The Heights Foundation will open The Heights Culinary Center – a commercial teaching kitchen that will provide family self-sufficiency and development through workforce training as well as community feeding programs. How great is that!?

Last week, my parents attended the inaugural Heights Foundation Culinary Series “Chefs in Shorts” – a funky, Floridian-style benefit for The Heights Culinary Center which showcased the area’s finest chefs:

The food must have been really good, because my dad emailed me this delicious picture (cocoa butter seared, Macadamia nut-crusted grouper cheeks with plantain-foie gras Mofongo and vanilla bean rum beurre blank {!!!}) from the event:

If you’re ever in Fort Myers or Sanibel Island, now you know where to eat! Humongous congrats to my pal Peggy Mannix who is on the board at The Heights Foundation.

To get involved with any of these amazing programs, visit www.heightsfoundation.org. Check out their Facebook page here.

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Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch http://ravenouslibby.com/merchants-tavern-shoreditch http://ravenouslibby.com/merchants-tavern-shoreditch#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2013 17:01:04 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1464 Merchants Tavern, the new restaurant from Angela Hartnett, chef Neil Borthwick, and Canteen co-founders Dom Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone is officially in soft launch mode on Charlotte Road.

I used to work in Shoreditch, and we didn’t even have a Pret on the corner, so I’m happy to see the streets are now buzzing with great restaurants from talented chefs and people who know what they’re doing.

The restaurant is beautiful and the food {modern European} we had for lunch today was really delicious:

Isle of Orkney Scallops, Crushed Pumpkin & Trompette de la Mort

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Monkfish & Mussel & Chervil Ragout (for two)

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The 130 seat restaurant will open its doors to the public on 8th October, and it will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday – Saturday, and 12-5pm on Sundays. In the meantime, take a peek at one of this week’s soft launch menus here.

Merchants Tavern, 36 Charlotte Road, London, EC2A 3PG

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Who makes London’s best burger? YOU decide. http://ravenouslibby.com/who-makes-londons-best-burger-you-decide http://ravenouslibby.com/who-makes-londons-best-burger-you-decide#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 15:37:32 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1452 Elliott's Cafe Burger

My brilliant friends at Change Hospitality & EatDrinkWork.co.uk have announced the first ever London Food Fight event at Borough Market, and it’s a burger battle! On 17 October (during this year’s London Restaurant Festival), twelve of London’s best burger flippers will go head to head to win the inaugural title of BEST BURGER.

London Food Fight is a new competition series that challenges the best of London’s food scene in front of their toughest critic: Joe Public. Their first challenge will pit restaurants like Patty & Bun, Grillshack, Honest Burgers and Elliot’s Café against each other at Borough Market’s Jubilee Place, in front of more than 500 guests.

The restaurants participating in Burger v Burger, include: Elliot’s Café, Mother Flipper, Patty & Bun, Cubitt House, Grillshack, Honest Burgers, Bleecker St. Burger, Red Dog Saloon, Brigade, Village East, Opera Tavern and Burger Breakout.

Burger v Burger kicks off at 6:30 pm on 17 October 2013. Tickets are only £36 and include entrance, live entertainment (The Watling Street Band), one slider portion from each burger stall, and a glass of beer or wine from Chapel Down, who will also have a sparkling wine tent – natch.

The crowd at Burger v Burger will have a chance to place their votes on the night, and London’s Best Burger will be awarded at the end of the event. The top three burger flippers will be invited to the LRF Awards Ceremony on 21 October at Purple Door, where the winner will also be announced.

Tickets are now on sale at London Food Fight or http://www.londonrestaurantfestival.com/.

Follow London Food Fight @LondonFoodFight (#BvB) and @LRF2013.

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Call me Mexican Mama! http://ravenouslibby.com/call-me-mexican-mama http://ravenouslibby.com/call-me-mexican-mama#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 15:59:33 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1437 Unknown-1Last Friday evening I had the pleasure of kicking off Ravenous Libby Does London: Part Deux at the Burrito Mama stall at the Street Feast night market in Dalston. I was thrilled to see such an awesome, sizeable food event in London and recognised quite a few of the street food stalls that were just starting out a few years ago.

Burrito Mama is a new fast-casual burrito chain (I really called this trend in 2008 – just sayin’) from the guys and gals at Wahaca. Thomasina Miers (who is so lovely, isn’t she?) is launching her new street food concept — inspired by the amazing “Californian Mexican” food you can get all along the west coast of America — at One New Change in October, and last Friday she was at Street Feast manning the temporary Burrito Mama pop-up.

I couldn’t be happier about the number of burrito restaurants in London these days, and Burrito Mama will be an excellent addition. Their burrito menu includes the standard choices of pork pibil, chargrilled steak or roasted veg with the addition of a “Mexican Mama” burrito, which comes with the most delicious Mexican slaw instead of rice. It’s so good I could eat a whole bowl of it on its own as a meal. You can also expect tasty burrito fillings like black beans, chipotle salsa and guacamole wrapped in a freshly grilled tortilla (nice touch!).

Burrito Mama will open at One New Change later next month with a variety of traditional toasted burritos, salads and burrito bowls prepared to order, and seating for 30.

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Win two tickets to the Great Googa Mooga http://ravenouslibby.com/win-two-tickets-to-the-great-googa-mooga http://ravenouslibby.com/win-two-tickets-to-the-great-googa-mooga#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 16:28:18 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1413 I’m not a huge music festival person. Mostly because a lineup of boy bands is hard to come by.

I am, however, a massive fan of food festivals hosted in beautiful parks on sunny Saturdays, and the Great Googa Mooga is just that. You can check out the whole lineup of killer grub (more than 85 restaurants) here, but some of the highlights (in my opinion) include Big Gay Ice Cream, Crif Dogs, Fatty Cue, Momofuku Milk Bar, Northern Spy Food Co., Num Pang, Pork Slope, Red Hook Lobster Pound (MY FAVE), Roberta’s and so many more.

If you’re interested in the music, the Saturday schedule includes Matt & Kim, Jovanotti, Father John Misty, and about six other bands I’ve never heard of… I’m sure it’s really exciting!

Sadly, I cannot attend this glorious day of sunshine, beer and lobster rolls, as I will be on the beach in Portugal with my family (it’s a hard knock life), so I am giving away a pair of tickets for Saturday (May 18) to one lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (perhaps share which restaurant you’re most looking forward to trying at the Great GM, or you can simply  leave me a note to tell me how beautiful, smart and funny I am).  I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, May 15.

The pair of tickets includes entry to the Great Googa Mooga in Prospect Park on Saturday, May 18th.  You’ll also get access to Serve’s Kick Back Lounge: basically, the lounge is hosted by Serve from American Express and will have everything there for a great time, from live acoustic performances by Pearl and the Beard and Hot Sardines, to chef demos ranging from mastering the mocktail to making your own pasta at home from NYC’s top chefs, to fun giveaways, (like  American Express gift cards – natch).

If you win, I’ll send you the tickets via email by Thursday, May 16.

Disclosure: I am being compensated by M Booth on behalf of American Express Serve for this post. The opinions and experiences are that of myself. Transparency is everything!

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Sweet Chick launches brunch http://ravenouslibby.com/sweet-chick-launches-brunch http://ravenouslibby.com/sweet-chick-launches-brunch#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:40:08 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1405 It’s true, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Sweet Chick (my client), at 164 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, is launching brunch this Saturday (April 20th).

I have tasted every single thing on the menu – and it’s all good. Fo’ real. But some of my favorites include: Black Bean Cake & Scramble (pictured, bottom left: a delicious chili and cumin-spiced veggie cake with fluffy eggs, arugula, and a yogurt & parsley sauce), House-Smoked Pork Hash & Poached Egg (pictured, bottom right: I’m not normally nuts for pork but this dish is heavenly), and the to-die-for bucket of Assorted Homemade Pastries (sticky buns, banana bread & muffins, oh my!).

The Bacon Bloody Mary is perfect. I really mean that. Fresh, delicious, perfectly potent and topped off with a shard of house-cured bacon. Hangover, be gone!

Sweet Chick will be open for brunch from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays (walk-ins only). @SweetChickBK / www.sweetchicknyc.com

HOMEPAGE IMAGE CREDIT: DANIEL KRIEGER PHOTOGRAPHY.

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Lafayette, Andrew Carmellini http://ravenouslibby.com/lafayette-andrew-carmellini http://ravenouslibby.com/lafayette-andrew-carmellini#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:24:45 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1395 Well, Andrew Carmellini has done it again, folks. And by ‘it’ I mean absolutely nailed it. Lafayette, which opened only two days ago at 380 Lafayette Street in New York City, was a-buzz last night and ticked just about all of the boxes: friendly, fast service, delicious food and a cool ambiance. The French cafe is massive, yet cozy, and even if you don’t make it past the bakery at the front (which you may not, as they’re expecting wait times to be hours long), you’ll still be able to sniff and sample some pastries.

On the menu at Lafayette there are, of course, plenty of traditional French dishes and a few more adventurous plates to choose from. As I was dining with only one other person and sat at the bar, we had to choose carefully, and I would recommend you follow our lead:

Baked Oysters “Sargent” with seaweed, $18

Duck au Poivre, organic grains, radish, smoked bacon (as well as candied kumquats & whole peppercorns), $30

Black Fettuccine, seafood and chorizo, $21

For dessert, we had to pick two. The warm Beignets were little pockets of fried heaven, with a caramel mousse or passion fruit dipping sauce.  The Sweet Cheese Cremant (the pastry chef’s ‘twist’ on Cheesecake) with pickled blueberry sorbet and cornmeal croutons got points for creativity and presentation.

According to the bartender, Lafayette will roll out lunch in the next few weeks, followed by brunch. Which I will absolutely be there for.

The damage: $152, before tip (2 people, 2 glasses of wine (ok, 3, one was comped!) and 2 gin & tonics)

380 Lafayette Street, ph: 212-533-3000

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The Story of a Pop-Up Restaurant in NYC: Chef Tom Sellers http://ravenouslibby.com/the-story-of-a-pop-up-restaurant-in-nyc-chef-tom-sellers http://ravenouslibby.com/the-story-of-a-pop-up-restaurant-in-nyc-chef-tom-sellers#comments Wed, 06 Feb 2013 21:48:34 +0000 http://ravenouslibby.com/?p=1371

Chef Tom Sellers, Creative Edge Culinary Council from Libby Andrews on Vimeo.

This video is a bit old now, but I never got around to sharing it on my blog. Last year, when I was working for Creative Edge Parties, one of the best catering companies in New York City, we asked Chef Tom Sellers from London – previously of Noma, Per Se and Trinity – to join us as the head chef at a two-night pop-up restaurant at our West Village space. The whole event was just incredible, from the gorgeous transformation of the blank space into a 40-seat restaurant, to the 7-course meal with standout dishes like pumpkin with goats butter, smoked honey & lovage and scallops, cucumber, dill & cream.

I thought now would be a good time to share the video that tells this story, which also happens to be the name of Chef Tom’s new restaurant opening in London this April.

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