20 May 2014

Bar review(s) | Best Bars + some thoughts

Life-without-a-plan actually started on a lovely little high. I recently started working with Best Bars, the latest online offering from Square Meal which is in its very early days. Being involved at this stage is very exciting. As a young graduate, being this close to a developing project is I feel pretty rare. We're usually stuck with tea and boring phone calls, without getting any of the action. On the contrary, my work has been really hands on and I've gotten the chance to do a little bit of everything.

Over my past few jobs, I've noticed the difference between employers who see you as employees and those who see you as humans choosing to use their set of skills to the benefit of the company. I understand it can be hard to see 'the big picture' in a grad, as our professional experience might sometimes be limited. However, it is when we're recognised as competent beings that we can prove what we're capable of. Responsibilities are a scary thing, both for the person delegating and for the person suddenly in charge of something important, but the exchange of trust is what makes the gamble valuable — it is a spark of faith that can push someone to come out of their shell and go the extra mile.

Words, words; so many words. Good thing I've chosen journalism. All this to say — being recognised as a person of value in the workplace is a joy, and seeing my skills used and developed is exhilarating.

Speaking of which, I've been writing bar profiles. It is great fun! I am really enjoying writing them but also discovering more of what London has to offer. It's also given me serious travel envy — so I booked a weekend in Edinburgh! Check out below some of the profiles I've written so far...

15 May 2014

At the end of the plan

So, it happened. I finished university.

I actually had my last class at the end of March. I then spent a month working on the last essays of my undergraduate degree, once again selecting some wild wild examples to apply Deleuze and Foucault too, and accidentally making hummus stains in books. And then I was freed.

Although what I feel is not an overpowering sense of freedom, nor is it really relief. The truth is, I loved education. I still do. I like the comfort of it, the routine of it. Over the past year I have learnt a lot about myself; one of the most important things being that my comfort zone keeps me sane, grounded. I like education because it makes clear to you what your days are going to be about, what your objective is, and how to get there. It is easy to visualise. There are people answering your questions. There are people asking you questions, too, but you get to answer them. It's a well-oiled machine, and while it evolves (I wouldn't say the third year of my undergrad was quite as comfortable as preschool), its rules never change, or barely.

It is too bad it's taken me twenty years to figure this out (by the way, I turned twenty), because during this time I've unfortunately taken on a real penchant for being out of my comfort zone. WHY and HOW I do not understand. Why would I enjoy and pursue a state of being that makes me feel, to a certain extent, bad? I wish I knew. The mysteries of the mind, eh?

Some choices had to be made in the past months. At the beginning of the year I was set on keeping to the comfortable. I did a little bit of 'window shopping', picked myself a postgraduate course, and off I went. And yet, quickly I had doubts. The routine of education, it is heavy. It might be comforting, but in a way that leaves you a little bit numb at the end.

I love myself a precise schedule, but there's nothing more exhilarating than change. There's nothing more overwhelming than testing your limits and knowing they are a bit further than you thought. There is nothing more powerful than facing your fears and kicking them hard in the butt. Hopefully this is what I'm off to do. (Recruiters, I am actually not violent and will not kick anyone in the butt, I swear.)

So, here goes. Back in 2007, I had this one great idea. It was pretty simple: when I'd graduate, I'd go study in London. That was the plan. I did that. Now I have no plan.* What next?

* Well I do have a plan, mainly, to be given money in exchange for labour in the world of media, preferably food and drink oriented. If you want to become part of the plan, please check out what I can do and hire me. Thank you.

8 May 2014

Restaurant review | Nizuni

I recently made a (mental) list of things I should do a little better with this blog to update it more frequently. At the top of the list was bringing a camera whenever I go out. I eat out quite a bit (especially recently, lots to celebrate!) and I love sharing my favourite spots. So here's another review! This time we're off to Nizuni, a Japanese restaurant just off Goodge Street.

This one was a little bit of a risk, actually. I had been dying for sushi recently, so when a special anniversary came up (!) I suggested it to the man... who said yes... despite having never had sushi. A real risk taker. I was a little bit terrified he'd hate it, and would hate me for picking a place quite a few £££ up from our usual burger hangouts. It could end really badly.

But he loved it!

(So much so that I got a sushi kit for my birthday. I get it, I'll make you sushi.)

And who wouldn't have? Look at that incredible platter. After a little starter (I had the yakitori which were nicely flavoured with a lovely sweet glaze, he had the chicken gyoza which were the perfect balance of crisp at the bottom and soft on the sides!), we shared a Nizuni Selection 38.

There were such lush pieces in there. Bottom left are sakekawa maki, with grilled salmon skin inside and topped with a spicy mayo. They were the absolute showstoppers and I'd go back just for them. To be honest, all the makis were quite incredible (which is great because they're my favourite). The quality of the fish was really up there though and there wasn't one disappointment.

The place in itself was lovely. The decoration is all wood and soft light, with beautiful homemade plates and pots which just added to the experience. The waiters are very present and helpful, which personally creeps me out a little but shows they're a very serious place. I would really recommend it if you've got a little bit of something to celebrate (or have a wallet larger than a student's), you'll love it. xo

Nizuni. 22 Charlote Street W1T 2NB.