In passing I mentioned to a chef friend at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck that I was going to Washington DC. He stopped in his tracks, putting his knife down and looking me with the intense gaze of a man not to be messed with..
New Orleans is a city that conjures up so many images but as soon as you arrive you realise it's one of the most vibrant and unique cities in America. Full on contradictions, excitement and friendly locals who are so proud to call this city home, and it's easy to see why.
New Orleans has something for everyone, if you want to party head to Bourbon Street and get wild after drinking a hurricane or two. Walking through the French Quarter is like sticking your iPod on shuffle, with music and culture oozing out of every building and on every street corner; this city has Jazz in it's soul.
As many readers of my Blog probably know I am a massive tearoom fan and so is fellow food luvver, Rachel Wheeler who suggested we do a quick run down of some our favourite tearooms/cafes from around the UK. These are in no particular order and we insist you totally stuff your face with cake while reading them.
Tucked away behind the bustle of Leicester Square lies the restaurant Salt'n Pepper, which specialises in serving contemporary twists on traditional Pakistani, Pan Asian and Indian food.
Thus the menu at The Crown when Aldo came to cook this week reflected the dishes of his childhood. The local sparkie, tyre-man, the farmers, a smattering of music producers (they get everywhere these days) and an excitable crowd of yummy mummies ate five courses, churned out by an increasingly sweaty Zilli, working at the pass with the very gifted pub chef, Felan Hennigan.
Some of these guys won't last and will be forced to relinquish their little joints whose offerings give the local community considerably more than another wretched fashion outlet churning clothes whose sequins and buttons were doubtless sewn on by grubby fingered urchins comfortably several oceans away...
I then remembered that the girl who served me had asked if I wanted my coffee and pastry to take away. So as she kindly poured the coffee into a cardboard cup, perhaps she also, in her mind considerately, grabbed a small child that she had hidden behind the counter and pressed its bottom onto the pain au chocolat.
The Sweet Potato fries were some of the best I've ever had and were the perfect combination of crispy coating and fluffy potato sprinkled in Paprika. We thought we should try the Cassava Chips since they are 'the Brasilian French Frie' but they were a little bland for both our tastes and we didn't really enjoy them.
I ordered a Fitzrovia Bun at Milk & Honey on Warren Street. This is something you should try to do at least once in your life. I do it about twice a year. Any more would seem greedy. It is like no other bun you will ever feast your eyes on.