@ChambordChannel presents: Cake for Dinner

  One often dreams of living on the ‘C’ diet- chocolate, cake, champagne and perhaps the odd cocktail too. Rather fat-making in reality. 

Joyfully, one was given the opportunity to live the dream for an evening- a three course meal made entirely of cake, washed down with Chambord cocktails.

On arrival we were presented with a fork and golden bib inscribed with the oddly French-sounding phrase:

And who wouldn’t want to be served a champagne cocktail by gentlemen dressed as flamingos? 

We were led through a lovely faux topiary archway, which was dotted with tropical flowers. To our great surprise the centres of the flowers were edible. So we ate them.

 Our attention was soon grabbed by a fantastic looking feast: a roasted pig’s head, a tower of peas, a mountain of carrots, black pudding, scallops, garlic snails and cheese.

However…   

                

One found ones plate piled entirely with cake and covered in a caramel ‘gravy’. Sick-making indeed.

Once we felt we could eat no more, we proceeded through a bookcase and into a curious room of drawers.    

Within each drawer was a spoon for everyone, required for our ‘dessert’. The golden pineapple was opened and a new door was revealed- leading to a bar, of all things. 

Deliciously French music filled the room and we all cheered in celebration as the barman removed the cork (and neck) of a champagne bottle by zealously tapping it with the base of a champagne flute. How marvellous!

It was here we found our final course- a Chambord jelly. One’s recollection of the taste is rather vague but, fine.

  

I feel picking the finale session was a stroke of genius as there seemed to be a surplus of alcohol and one was rather sloshed by the end of the evening. Flapper-eque indeed.

Worst First Date: The Alchemist

I often hear urban myths about men organising surprise proposals, or leading their girls on clue-laden missions to discover amazing presents. Hell! I’ve even know of a dad who buys thoughtful presents. But I’m having none of it; I’ve never known a man who can take a girl on a half-decent date. Although a piss up in a brewery is probably within their abilities. I think they save all of their planning skills up for stag weekends.

This has driven me to take command, to actively seek out dream date venues. It’s ironic because the least attractive man to me is one who is weak-willed, unopinionated and frankly, a bit wet.

Some months ago (I stress that this was some time ago, and very much not my current beau) I found The Alchemist on a ‘just opened’ website, and keen to go I found a man to take me. 

And by ‘take me’, I mean he was supposed to meet me at Liverpool St Station, but elected to just go to the bar, get himself a drink and send me a pin of his location on Whatsapp. What a joker! 

Things didn’t get much better when he told me he didn’t date fat girls and that I wasn’t far off this category; that he’d been thinking about asking me out for a while and hadn’t “found anyone better so…”; that this couldn’t be a relationship unless I changed this, this, this, blah blah blah. He told me about his many recent holidays; Kenyan Safari (“you wouldn’t like Africa”), Marbella (“you wouldn’t like Marbs”), San Francisco (“I can’t imagine you in San Fran”). There was no explanation offered either- perhaps I look like I prefer staying at home! 

I left the bar in a rage. At least he paid I suppose.

And yes, I did see him again! Madness!

Anyway, I thought I’d give The Alchemist another chance. A mate date this time.

The cock menu itself is a sight to behold: a folded parchment, illustrated with medieval, scientific diagrams and detailing a whole series of potable potions.

We opted for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party- a sharing cocktail served in teacups (what else!) The mixologist, if that’s the term they choose to adopt, gathered various shaped beakers, an open flame burner, liquids (presumable alchoholic), fruits and herbs. Had we been wearing plastic goggles it might have been a chemistry lesson from the jolly old days of grammar school.   

  

She kindly explained that heating the bottom chamber evaporated the liquid into the top chamber where it inflused with the fruit. The burner is then removed and gravity (I imagine, or maybe a vacuum?) drained/sucked the liquid back into the bottom chamber sans fruit.

Next she dropped dry ice pellets into clean beakers and poured the fruit-infused liquid on top of it which caused a cloud of dry ice to irrupt from the beaker like a tiny volcano. I think this is called sublimation (who’d have thought one would be spouting out these terms over a decade after those dreaded Chem lessons!)   

 

After the dry ice subsided we were left with a beaker full of the most divine cocktail, which we decanted into our willow-patterned teacups. However I couldn’t tell you what was in it!

An absolutely darling bar with an exciting cock list- just pick your date wisely!

Flappers & Tea Parties Part 1

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The correct way to start a weekend is by dressing as a flapper. So we did.
I came across a Gatsby themed event hosted by HOTHOT magazine- a pop up at a secret location in London. So off we trotted. Now this is the kind of thing I’d love to do myself so I’m always keen to scrutinise every detail.
On arrival we were greeted by the press and a troupe of show girls, all in character, and were presented with a complimentary cocktail- a promising start.
But after that I just wasn’t wowed. I felt that the little details were missing.
Upstairs in the venue they had created a kind of Victorian funfair, complete with deck chairs, hook-a-duck and similar, with prizes of pick n mix sweets in paper bags (a nice touch). There was no music in the room, only some sort of inflatable installation which created the noise of something like an aircon unit. There was no buzz about it really, and I didn’t get the connection to the theme.

Back downstairs we went into the main room. There was a lovely live swing band which was really enjoyable. Sadly at this point it wasn’t really busy enough to dance. Later on things livened up and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. There was even some live entertainment- the show girls gave us a jolly good Charleston, a beautiful burlesque dancer showed off her nipple tassels and a semi-naked girl ate some fire. Lovely.
And then the weirdest thing happened… A man swanned in in a parka and ugh boots (that’s an autocorrect by the way, but I quite like it) and then appearing a few moments later in a gold lamé shirt behind the DJ decks blasting out the likes of Jessie J and God knows what else! So so wrong! I would say that ruined the evening for us and we left soon afterwards.

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Back in the Game

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Aside from feeling sorry for myself I’m making a special effort to get my vintage on. I don’t know if anyone else feels this but coming out of a relationship I always realise there is a part of me missing. Perhaps I’m quieter than I used to be, or withdrawn. I’ve noticed this time round that I’ve lost the ability to wear heels. I hit it quite hard this weekend and by the end of work on Monday I felt sick with pain.
I started with a fantastic swing dancing sesh with Swing Patrol on Saturday evening followed by some ‘contemporary’ dancing in Camden. After falling into bed at 3am it was a bit of a struggle to get up on Sunday morning but a date with Secret Cinema was in the diary and obviously it was going to take all day to get ready.
I’ve always moaned about my curly hair; generally it’s pretty uncontrollable. However if there is an 80s themed party going on I’m literally the first one there as I need not waste any time with the crimper. So when I found out that the dress code for SS was 1920s I thought I might be able to make the barnet work in my favour. I combed out the curls while it was wet and left it to dye naturally with a wave.
I’ll skip over the details of my cinema experience as it’s in the spirit of things to remain enigmatic. I have to say I rather enjoy telling people what an amazing time I had, then refusing to reveal the title of the film. If only ever weekend could be spent swigging cocktails, hopping around to jazz bands in basement speakeasies.