Sunday, January 2, 2011

A few good things about 2010 and a few goals for 2011

Sinking Spritz
A Sinking Spritz at Hawksmoor Seven Dials

It’s the end of the year, and in the true spirit of the London food blogger, I feel I should do a round up of sorts. 2010 has been a pretty amazing year for many reasons, and instead of doing a straightforward “favourite things I ate” post, I thought I would highlight 3 of the main things that have shaped my 2010, and five things I really want to do more of next year.

2010 Favourite Things:

A day out East - Prufrock Coffee
A Cortado from Prufrock

1. Twitter
Yes, I understand this isn't for everyone, but it has opened my eyes to a great many things this year, has helped me make many new friends and is a fabulous resource. You get chatting to people, they introduce you to new people, you go out, rinse and repeat. You're stuck for a place to go, or need a recipe, one tweet later and your problems are no more. In the year that all my closest friends from home have settled down and had kids, I made new friends, started to live my life and enjoy myself once again. Like I said before, not for everyone but I wouldn't be where I am today without it.

Eating in Kuala Lumpur
Kon Lo Wanton Mee in Kuala Lumpur

2. Travelling
Until July last year, I had been pretty much grounded and my trips were restricted to short trips around Europe and New York. This year, I managed to travel much more, taking in trips to Malaysia, Bali, Thailand, Australia and South Africa. In each of these countries, I experienced new cultures, new food and a kaleidoscope of experiences. I fully intend on carrying this on into 2011 (as well as actually writing up a few places).

Dim Sum at Hilltop Pheonix, Castle Towers
Siu Mai, not at Dragon Castle, although it is my favourite place in London for Dim Sum

3. South East London
I am a proud resident of Camberwell but if there was one thing I learnt this year, I am not the only South East Londoner out there. Over the year, I have made friends with a close knit group of people who love where they live, and love spending time there. This year has seen many great nights out with these people, culminating in the really enjoyable #Tweetmassgathering, a night involving street food and Jaeger at The Florence in Herne Hill, which I helped to organise. South East London, the only place I want to be.

The Sportsman, Seasalter
Salmagundi at the Sportsman

There were of course many great things this year, and in particular, many great eats (some of them interspersed within this post). However, you may already have read about them, so I really didn't feel the need to regurgitate them, just read this. Probably the best meal I ate in 2010 and sums up pretty much everything that was great about the year.

So, 2011. What the hell am I going to do with myself?

Cheese and Bacon burger
A Meatwagon Cheese and Bacon Burger

1. Challenge myself with more foods
To be fair, I think I have done pretty well this year, conquering many food phobias including fish and innards. I even had a whole anchovy, my food kryptonite. Next year, no food will scare me and I will try everything at least once. Who knows, I may even like some of it.

Salmon poached in licorice gel served with an artichokes vanilla mayonnaise.
Salmon poached in licorice at the Fat Duck

2. Get out of London more
With the wealth of places I still haven't managed to get to in London, it may seem that London should continue to be more focus. However, the trips I made to Birmingham and Seasalter in November just highlighted the depth of quality available if you are prepared to venture a little further afield. More adventure, more gain.

Arancini and Taleggio @ Polpo
Cicheti (arancini and taleggio)at Polpo

3. Spend less money on food, eat just as well
Looking through the stack of receipts I seem to have, I was definitely spending way too much on restaurants last year. I don't regret any of the meals I have had, even the bad ones, but I realistically cannot sustain the expenditure. My aim, to still eat well, but look at more affordable neighbourhood joints. If you have any suggestions, send them my way!

Zucca, Bermondsey
Veal Chop at Zucca, and it wasn't even mine

4. Cook more
I always used to love cooking, so I don't really know what happened this year. I found myself avoiding my kitchen entirely and I genuinely can't remember what the last thing I cooked at home was. Having eaten well at the hands of Catty, CharmaineCarla, Lizzie and Nicola, I definitely owe them all a home cooked meal so will endeavour to do my best next year.

Pierre Herme @ Selfridges
Pierre Herme Macarons at Selfridges

5. Be a more efficient blogger
I always find that if I don't blog something within 3 or 4 days, any fleeting thoughts I may have seem to disappear into the ether. And at times when I finally get round to writing, I find it hard to avoid sounding like a some tedious one sided diatribe. So a change.
Many blogs carry it off effortlessly, like Passport Delicious for example. I've been reading Krista for many years now, and she continues to be witty, informative and succinct. Something I need to aspire to.

So that is all. Hope you have had a great 2010 and thanks for sticking by. Here's to 2011, lots of great eats and an amazing time for all!


Grumbling Gourmet said...

Lovely little post, and damn you.. I'd just started writing something similar, and now I'm going to have to try hard not to sound similar!


Krista said...

Seriously honestly way before I even got to the very last bit, I thought to myself, "Hey now this is really the nicest, most natural thing I've read from anyone talking about last year/this year." And I was going to make a comment along those lines and then I got to the last bit and--seriously--I got a little teary where there you were, mentioning me.

Lovely photos, as always.

Much love in 2011 and see you in April for "the" wedding! (Yes, seriously.)

catty said...

Happy new year my dear dear friend EuWen! It's been a blast hanging out with you in 2009 and 2010, so here's to more in 2011! And a home cooked meal would be SO awesome ;) hehe.. xx

Jen said...

A really lovely post, Eu Wen. That sums up much about the way I feel about my year and you have some inspired me with great goals for 2011, though realistically I'm personally unlikely to blog more often. I spent less on eating out in 2010 than I did in 2009 (or ate at less expensive places I should say seeing as I managed to eat at a few pricey places on competition wins or work) and I ate just as well.

Looking forward to seeing you in a week or so and thank you for being one of the people on Twitter who answers those questions. My life is better for having you in it.
Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

Great post Eu-Wen and I agree with lots of your sentiments although not the South London part of course given that I do not live there (West is best according to me!). Very true about Krista - short and pithy is something we can all aspire to!

Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said...

This is a moving post for me. Glad to have met you in 2010 and hope to see more of you and to great times in 2011!

kaszeta said...

Some good comments. I'm still working on trying to be more efficient with my blogging, since by the time I've managed to (a) stop moving long enough to write something decent (b) edited and uploaded my photos, and (c) actually written the blog entry, sometimes I'm finding myself way behind (as I was leaving for my December London trip, I was polishing off the last few entries of my September London trip...). At least I make sure I write up pretty thorough notes immediately. Like you, I find that if I delay writing too long, quality starts to suffer.

I'm jealous of two of your photos: The Meatwagon got stolen mere days before I was planning on visiting... and Hawksmoor defied my best attempts at both reservations and walk-in luck.

Oh well, always next trip.

Hollow Legs said...

Awh, Eu Eu! That brought a little happy tear to my eye.

I also have many of the same goals as you; cook more, spend less. I'll join you in your search.

Now cook me some damn dinner. (Only joking) (ish)

Natasha said...

I lived in Camberwell for six years until 2007, and I loved it - i really miss the place actually. South East London is so much better than north of the river. Is Lamoon still there? It was the best Chinese restaurant in a cheap price range, really great food.

Eating Out in Devon said...

Sounds like you had an eventful year. I agree about you needing to get out of London more though. People who live in London seem to be of the impression that everywhere else in the UK is infeiour. I don't think this is the case.

Anonymous said...

Looking for a nice neighbourhood place, try Le Querce in Honor Oak. I have been there many times (double figures) and have rarely had anything disappointing.