Friday, 29 July 2011

Tex Mex Tuesday:La Perla, Tottenham Court Rd

I fear that we're running out of Mexicans!! or at least they're getting a bit thin on the ground now we've tried so many! I've been trying as much as I can not to retry ones I've already been too so Cafe Pacifico in Covent Garden was off the list because I ate there once with Mara after attending Iron Cupcake.  However, when I looked at their website I was pleased to see they had a few other bar restaurants around London so I thought we'd give La Perla on Charlotte Street a try.

Our meal started with free nachos! so of course we were loving that!

Mara saw they had Chimichangas on the menu so she was loving that!! Unfortunately when hers arrived the outside of the tortilla wasn't even crispy - which it should be if it has been properly deep fried, so it came off as a rather sad soggy enchilada rather than what it should have been!

I was super excited about their 'Street Taco's' option.  6 mini soft taco's filled with different meats: duck, pork, chicken, steak, prawn and beef.  Unfortunately, I was also left feeling a little disappointed as they were doused in onions and herbs that were a bit overbearing taste wise and they didn't quite meet up to my expectations!

We didn't bother to order dessert, their offerings were rather meager.  All in all it wasn't our favourite Mexican, I'm not sure I would ever go back in favour of all the other amazing ones we have tried recently! and I've gotta say we had much better food at Cafe Pacifico...strange considering they're owned by the same people! but it's always fun to check out somewhere new! and I guess they get points for the free nachos!!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Tex Mex Tuesday: Free Taco's at Wahaca, Westfield and some Waffle House action!

Last week we took our Tex Mex Tuesday back to where it all started for us in London - Wahaca.  The first time I ever ate at Wahaca in Covent Garden, long before this challenge ever began, I was blown away! I had the best enchiladas ever, I loved the feel of the place and I was me, Wahaca was THE place for Mexican in London.  

That was last much has changed in a year! 

We had already decided on Wahaca as our chosen Mexican for the week, and then I saw via twitter that they were running an offer where you could win free steak taco's if you watched Thomasina's program that evening and filled in the missing ingredient for her tomato salsa.  Lucky for us, we already own her book so I just looked up the recipe and filled in the slip and handed it to our waiter when we ate at 6pm, an hour and a half before the tv program where you were meant to find out the answer actually aired! but fortunately he didn't seem to have read the competition details properly and he accepted the offer! 

So it was steak taco's for me...and you'd think they should have tasted even better, being free and all, but I was left feeling disappointed! Steak isn't a taco filling I would usually order so perhaps it was down to personal preference but I just felt these taco's were lacking.  Plus I still can't really get excited about soft taco's...for me it's all about the hard shell! 

Mara had a burrito which was infinitely better than my steak taco but still nothing on the one we had last week at Santo, and it was a little on the spicy side.

We had this rather strange cactus based side dish that came with tortillas.  We were expecting it to be more like tortilla chips but they were flat tortillas so that was a little bit odd.

We were hoping the Churros were going to pull it around for us, but unfortunately they left us with a bad taste in our mouth.  They were too gooey in the middle, again it seemed like a case of undercooked churros and so all in all it wasn't a great night at Wahaca.

It left me wondering why their restaurants are always so busy when I now know of a whole host of waaaay tastier Mexicans that London has to offer! but I guess it comes down to what's in and what's trendy.  Just like how hummingbird bakery always has a queue of people and I've never eaten a cupcake I like from there whereas there are other cupcake bakeries with far more delish offerings that never get a look in! 

Fortunately for me, two of my friends (Jo and Nat) took me to one of my very favourite places to eat when I went home last weekend.  The Waffle House is an absolute gem of a place and I have been there too many times to recall.  It was one of my families fave places to eat, my mom was always taking me and my sisters there and it became a firm favourite with my school friends too.  We even used to skip out on school to go there because it was just that tasty! They've been going for over 25 years so as long as I've been alive and with queues to get in any day of the week you know they're doing something right!

Like these...their milkshakes are some of the best you will ever have! Super thick, super creamy and super delicious! The flavours they offer are the basics: chocolate, banana or vanilla - but let me tell you it is the only place where I would be happy ordering a Vanilla shake because they are delish! but luckily for me on the day we went they had a daily special of a fresh strawberry milkshake so I picked that and it was amazing!! 

On to the waffles! You can get both sweet and savoury waffles, and on the day we went they were offering a daily special of an eton mess waffle! but sadly for us we were too full for sweet offerings! I had the daily special of their meatball waffle which was simply delicious! 

Jo went for the cheese and mushrooms and Nat got the ratatouille.  There is nothing better than catching up with your girls for a gossip, a shake and a waffle! It was a great day! 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop...a recap of an awesome Alice in Wonderland hen party!

In just 6 weeks one of my very best friends is getting married! It's the first of one of my Harpenden school friends to get married and it's ridiculously exciting! So on Saturday we had an amazing Alice in Wonderland themed hen do in her honour! Here I am with Alice herself!

and here I am with Pippa - my other half for the day! We came as Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum, and clearly we weren't that original in choosing our characters because here is the whole group:

There were about four other pairs too! which made for a very stripe filled day!

Here's one of the other pairs: Kiera and Caz, with Lauren - the Queen of hearts.

Nat and Jo certainly went the extra mile complete with fat bellies, giant bow ties and those awesome spinning hats! Amys was the rabbit and Jade made a rather stylish Mad Hatter.

Here Lauren is showcasing her hearts a little bit more!

Mel was another Queen of Hearts and Nat was another Mad Hatter!

Rose was a lovely co-ordinated pink and purple flower! Amy was the caterpillar, complete with pipe,  and clever Georgie had a cool dress she had created herself with all kinds of card suit shapes on! (She was also the one who had made all of our amazing aprons!)

Here Amy is, taking a closer look! and trying to hunt her apron down by the looks of it!

My apron came complete with my name embroidered on it, and a cute little heart which co-ordinated perfectly with my tights!

Once everyone was apron-ed up, it was time for the cupcaking to begin!

I gave everyone a basic demo in how to do perfect frosting swirls, and these creative people were getting busy at the fondant table!

Rose made this amazing cheshire cat cupcake, by colouring each piece of fondant individually and shaping it to make the cats face...very clever stuff!

Anne (another queen of hearts!) and Amy and Grace (another pair of Tweedle-dums and Tweedle-dee!) were getting busy with all the sprinkles on offer!

There was quite alot to choose from!

Here Jade is proudly showing off her cupcake creations!

She had listened carefully to my every word, and it shows - because look at the beautiful cupcakes she created!

Lauren even co-ordinated her cupcake to her outfit, now that's what I'm talking about!  

There was some sneaky tasting going on in the greedy corner!

Everyone picked one cupacke they were going to eat at the afternoon tea and put it on Georgie's here she is displaying all the masterpieces!

We checked the team plan to see which team we were going to be part of for the day.

I was a diamond, along with the hen herself...and what a great team that turned out to be!

This is the cupcake Laur made for her peanut butter loving fiance!

After we were all cupcaked out...we made our way through to the garden where we had our afternoon tea - but it was more like a feast!

Everything had been decorated so beautifully with lovely handmade bunting, and little eat me and drink me labels attached to everything...along with those awesome coloured doilies

and even heart sugar cubes! yes...every detail was attended to!

down to the lovely vintage crockery and even the little playing card that each of us had at our place!

Here is one stand of cupcakes ready to be devoured!

and here's a little shot of everything in full swing!

After lunch, luckily the rain stopped and the sun came out long enough for us to embark on a fun filled treausure hunt.  We were based in our cars so we were zooming all over Harpenden finding clues and solving anagrams trying to be the first team to make it back!

We also got bonus points by doing various things like having a picture taken with a man you didn't know under an umbrella! This man was more than happy to oblige, it must have been my silly outfit!

Off runs Alice in to the woods to find the next clue!

and here my team mates are dashing back to the car, I was the driver.  This was the final clue and so it was a mad dash back to the car to ensure we were the first team back at the house.

We were! and here we are posing for a victory shot!

After that, there was some candy floss action!

which was met with squeals of delight from Laura! She definitely approved!

and here she is enjoying it with Georgie when the clouds had well and truly disappeared!

The next event was Sumo wrestling! and we had a fantastic (and slightly scary) Russian judge who got things going!

No-one wanted to take Laura on, look at that face - can you blame them!

She was triumphant in her first round win!

and you have to love this shot of Becky!

Jo put up a good fight, but the highlight of the Sumo was when Amy fell flat on her face! sadly I was too busy laughing to snap any pics!

We moved back into our cosy little mini marquee for a spot of candle-lit dinner!

and then there was more fun and games with a Mr and Mrs quiz! Laura did very well and matched an amazing amount of answers with Sam's.  However there were a few incorrect matches, and so forfeits were involved...

and Laura being Laura was only too happy to fulfill them! like seeing how many marshmallows she could stuff in her mouth in 30 seconds!

and fishing for chocolate in a bowl full of flour! Being the chocolate lover she is, this proved no challenge for her at all!

and was still smiling at the end of it!

When she got an answer right she was able to open a present, which resulted in lots and lots of lovely presents for her!

 We finished the night with a quiz about how well we knew Laura, and then we found out the results of   
 who had won the day! Diamonds - my team! had managed to be victorious which we were all very  
 pleased about!

It had been an amazing amazing action packed day, that had been organised so fantastically by the 3 bridesmaids! and was definitely a fun filled day where lots of memories were created that we won't be forgetting in hurry!

Now...roll on September 3rd for the wedding of the year!