22 January 2011

Simple Pleasures...

Sometimes things are staring you right in the face. There are lots of things to come on the Simple Pleasures theme but, given how many of them involve pig in its myriad forms, fried things and cheese, I wanted the next one to be something different. I was contemplating it yesterday on and off and it was lurking in the back of my mind when I met up with Kavey and Pete at the Euston Tap last night. Having been lucky enough to stay at Thornbridge one (predictably messy) night (in the Jaipur Suite, dontyouknow), I was delighted to see a couple of their newer beers on the cask list - among many other lovely beers. It was after a deep swig and a contented sigh that I decided to take a photo. I showed it to my co-drinkers, we all nodded sagely in appreciation and Kavey pointed out that I should put it in my Simple Pleasures collection. She was, of course, absolutely spot on, which is why Simple Pleasure no. 13 is the wonder of beer.

15 January 2011

Naked Joy

Where did the first half of January go? For me it's gone doing all the things I'd planned to do in December. Well, nearly all the things: I still haven't had my jerk chicken afternoon, hit Tooting for a curry and a couple of other regional London dining things. However, I have whittled my e mail inbox down to a manageable two figures from, ahem, 1486 and, in the process, set up assorted meetings and lunches with people I'd been meaning to see for months.

As a result of that process, I had lunch yesterday at Mushu and very good it was too. That deserves, and will get, a longer post shortly, once I've stopped sniggering, in Carry On style, about their smashing dumplings. Arf arf and, indeed, fnarr fnarr. First though, I had to write about the rather wonderful discovery next door to Mushu: a ladies' shoe shop called Black Truffle.

Relax. This hasn't suddenly turned into a fashion blog (you've met me, you know I'm barely on the vaguest of nodding terms with fashion) nor, you'll be delighted to hear, has it turned into a site for chunky cross dressers with beards. No. My eye wasn't caught by a divine pair of kitten heels, it was caught by the board outside offering coffee. As I peered in through the doorway, slightly confused, a very nice man appeared and said "coffee?" This turned out to be Michael, the brother of the shop owner, who's now running a coffee business called Three Little Pigs from just inside the door.

Beans, as per the title of this post, come from the excellent folk at Nude, the expertise is Michael's and the result was a cracking little shot of espresso that I could still taste several tube stops later. It also means there's finally a proper coffee option on Warren Street, a part of town that, as far as I can tell (and trust me, I've looked) has needed a proper purveyor of caffeine for a long time. There's also something appealingly quirky - and quite Greenwich Villagey - about buying decent coffee in a funky shoe shop. They open from 8am and I'd urge you to seek them out.