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Africa Marrakech Travel Guide

Marrakech Travel Guide

Marrakech, probably the most famous of Moroccan destinations – souks filled with spices, textiles, leather and glassware; beautiful architecture covered in brightly coloured tiles and carved plaster; an abundance of rooftop cafes and bars. All of these things meant I was sure Marrakech would swiftly become one of my favourite destinations, but in reality I found it quite tricky to travel as a solo female.

New York Travel Guide USA

New York City Travel Guide

New York, New York. So good they named it twice. Honestly I barely even know where to begin with a travel guide for NYC, and I’m by no means an expert – you could live there for a decade and have hardly touched the sides – but I have been a few times so hopefully I can pass on a few tips I’ve gathered along the way on how to enjoy this iconic, crazy, brash city to the best of your ability – and eat magnificently well whilst you’re stateside.


Europe Food From Travels Ibiza

La Paloma

Whilst we’ve established that Ibiza is not all about clubbing and the San Antonio ‘lads on tour’ scene, you may not know that it’s not even just about the beaches. Ibiza is full of rolling fields and stunning vistas that overlook the hilly countryside, and La Paloma is an excellent example of a quiet hillside set restaurant in the tiny inland village of San Lorenzo that takes in the beauty of this side of the island. The restaurant is set in the middle of citrus orchards and run by an Italian family who swear by home cooking fresh ingredients just the way they like them, and we were lucky enough to eat there amongst the fairy light strewn trees one evening.

Starting off with a round of strong and refreshing dark rum mojitos, we settled down in the candlelit courtyard area outside at dusk. The courtyard is all mismatched chairs and wooden tables, with pretty cut flowers in vases sat amongst vintage crockery. The menu isn’t large at La Paloma, which can be a bit of a blessing if you ask me – too much to choose from can become overwhelming, and the ethos behind this small menu is it allows the chef to deliver higher quality through smaller quantity. The Italian family that own and run La Paloma ship many of the ingredients they use direct from their home country, including capers from Sicily, antipasti from Tuscany and of course their aged parmesan. They do also try to use local products as much as possible too however, even getting their mozzarella made by an Italian who lives on the island, and everything is organic where it can be. Homemade focaccia is made at their own bakery and the restaurant grows their own vegetables – it is clear that quality and sustainability is of the utmost importance at La Paloma.

As may be expected given La Paloma’s roots, there is a distinct Italian vein that runs through the food on offer among the starters as well as the mains.  As favoured by our group, we ordered starters to share: bruschetta (€6), aubergine parmigiana (€12) and goats cheese salad (€16). It turned out there was a bit of a translation problem as the goats cheese was definitely blue cheese, which made it off limits for me, blue cheese being one of the few foods I can’t stomach. It went down well with everyone else however, the pear and hazelnuts adding an interesting layer to the dish, so I’m told. The bruschetta was lovely and the aubergine parmigiana was particularly good, and something I’d definitely order should I visit again.

For main I had their famous fillet of steak with balsamic and thyme sauce, served with roasted potatoes and vegetables (€31) which made me the envy of the table. The fillet was huge and perfectly cooked to rare, though due to the sheer size of the steak I would have preferred more potatoes to have been served with it to balance the dish out more. Okay yes, it seems wrong to complain that a fillet steak is too big! The rack of lamb marinated in soy, ginger and honey served with sweet potato and mint sauce also went down well in our group, and the seafood pasta was cleaned up equally quickly. It’s worth nothing that there are always vegetarian dishes on offer on the weekly changing menu, and vegans are also catered for. To round off the meal, I had an exemplary chocolate fondant with Madagascan vanilla ice cream (€9) which finished off the evening perfectly.

The al fresco setting with fairy lights strung through the trees is a real pull of La Paloma, and the unique location in the hills is a refreshing change from the beach clubs that Ibiza is so well known for. Unlike many other restaurants on the island, La Paloma is also open through the winter months, when their intimate indoor dining spaces are lit by cosy fires. The balance of locally sourced ingredients and those direct from Italy of which the quality cannot be beaten on Ibiza itself forms an excellent and carefully designed menu, whilst the decor is as welcoming as you could want – it kind of feels like you’re sitting in a friend or neighbour’s garden, it feels that homely. The thought that has gone into the La Paloma experience is clear, and the result is a beautiful, relaxed setting with lovely food.

Calle Can Pou, 4, 07812 Sant Llorenc de Balafia, Ibiza

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Food From Travels Las Vegas Los Angeles


I’m genuinely considering setting up some sort of campaign to get Eggslut to open in London. Eggslut is truly the hangover cure people need, and Londoners need it now. Don’t be so greedy, America. Having read about this spot as a New York must eat among, well, thousands of New York must eats, I was thrilled to find out there was an Eggslut in Las Vegas…right in my own hotel. Nothing could be more ideal to sop up the endless debauchery of sin city.

Waking early with jet lag on my first morning Stateside, it conveniently meant I could skip the queue that snakes from Eggslut inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel to grab my first Eggslut breakfast. After much debate over the small menu, I landed on the sausage, egg and cheese on brioche, made with turkey sausage, cheddar and the genius addition of honey mustard aioli. The best way to describe this creation is a) heaven and b) like a pimped up Sausage Egg McMuffin sandwich, but one hundred times better – and I’m a fan of a Maccy D’s breakfast, believe me. The egg is cooked over medium, so bursts when you bite into the buttery brioche and is a total, messy joy to eat. The honey and mustard add another level of delicious and the American cheddar brings the McDonald’s-esque filth to the bun. If you prefer to get your regular pig in the morning, there’s a bacon version served with chipotle ketchup instead of aioli.

For the veggies amongst us there are two options on the menu: the Fairfax which sounds so good I nearly ordered it before realising it was veggie (I like meat in the morning…) – soft scrambled eggs and chives on brioche with cheddar, sriracha mayo and caramelized onions; and the Egg Salad made with hard boiled eggs and honey mustard aioli. There are two further meat options on the menu – the Gaucho, with seared wagyu beef, egg, red onions, rocket and chimichurri, which my friend absolutely raved about, and an Eggslut cheeseburger which includes bread and butter pickles, of all things.

If you don’t fancy a bun, or you’re gluten free, you can either have salad with any of the above, which admittedly could be a bit odd, but it’s an option. You could have their coddled egg on potato puree, or one of their house-made buttermilk biscuits, served with butter and maple syrup.  But I wholeheartedly and with true passion recommend one of their fancy McMuffin style buns. Sadly to get one of them you’re going to need to take a long flight since Eggslut isn’t in the UK (yet..please?), have closed their NYC pop up and now sits firmly back in their original spot on the West Coast with three spots around LA and one in Vegas. Worth the journey though.


Los Angeles:
Downton LA: inside Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Stall D-1, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Venice: 1611 Pacific Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90291
Glendale: 252 S. Brand Blvd., Suite D, Glendale, CA 91204

Las Vegas:
Inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109

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Food From Travels New York

Russ and Daughters

As far as Jewish delis on the NYC hit list go, Katz’s is the big one. Made famous in When Harry Met Sally during that scene – you know the one, don’t make me do it – and notorious for the frankly ridiculous size of their pastrami sandwiches. But the rumblings I’ve been hearing from no less than five separate friends in their latest New York recommendations is lesser known to those this side of the pond: NY institution Russ and Daughters.

Sitting pretty on the Lower East Side, this Jewish deli specialises in smoked fish and is well known for it, having been in business for decades. On the family deli’s 100th anniversary, the Russ and Daughters Cafe was born, situated just around the corner from the original outpost. I decided that on this trip, Katz could wait. I needed that board of smoked salmon and all the trimmings.

The joy of dining solo is you can often grab a single seat at the bar whilst couples and groups wait in line for a table to be seated, as was the case when I dragged myself from Astoria to the LES for the sole purpose of bagels and coffee one Friday in NYC. I’d overheard the couple sat next to me at the bar say they had waited for over 45 minutes, so clearly Russ and Daughters are doing something right. Luckily I swooped right on in as a solo diner.

The downside of dining solo of course, is that you can’t get away so easily with ordering loads on the pretense of sharing it all, which led to a difficult choice between the small plates. I settled on trying knishes for the first time – potato and caramelized onion encased in dough that had been baked, served with a mustard sauce. They were great, but I must report that the latkes the couple next to me ordered with wild salmon roe and creme fraiche looked amazing, and I did have a bit of food envy. The fishsticks also sounded brilliant  – Gaspe Nova smoked salmon and scallion cream cheese in a rye crust served with two sauces for dipping – cocktail and tartare. An order for next time for sure.

Of course I’d already chosen my main because have you seen those boards loaded with bright smoked salmon, red onion, thick tomato slices, capers, dill and cream cheese on Instagram? I mean, you may not have done, but trust me, they will make you salivate. I chose a toasted poppy seed bagel to accompany the board and it utterly lived up to expectations. 100% would buy and ravish again. Boards also come with sturgeon, smoked sable or kippered salmon if you’d rather mix it up from the classic, and can be ordered as platters for groups of 3-4 people, though they look huge, so I reckon between 5 would be fine too – after all these are American sized portions.

There’s also plenty of caviar on offer if that’s your bag, along with a handful of salads and soups (Matzo ball soup is of course on the menu). Eggs complete the offering, the sunny side up eggs with Nova smoked salmon and potato latkes sounding like a great shout, as well as the Eggs Benedict served on challah bread (i.e. the greatest of all the breads). A strong sweets menu makes you wish you had two separate stomachs for sweet and savory; the cinnamon babka french toast with apple compote, candied walnuts and creme fraiche being reason enough to go to Russ and Daughters with friends so you can ‘order one on the side to share’.

The thing about New York is there is a constantly evolving mass of must eats in the city, and once you find the ones you love, you want to return on every visit along with trying all the new recommendations on your list (oh, the struggle is real). Russ and Daughters is absolutely on my ‘return to’ list – go try it and see for yourself.

Russ and Daughters Cafe: 127 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
+1 212-475-4880
Open every day between 10am and 10pm, bar weekends when they open at 8am

Russ and Daughters Deli: 179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
+1 212-475-4880
Open every weekday between 8am and 8pm, Sat 8am – 7pm and Sundays between 8am and 5.30pm

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Food From Travels New York

Burger Joint

It’s been ten years since my first trip to New York City, and subsequently my first Burger Joint burger. Back then it was one of the best burgers I’d ever had, and I’m delighted to confirm that it remains so a decade later. Hidden away in the reception area of Le Parker Meridien hotel near Central Park, a quick peek around a nondescript curtain will reveal a luminous neon burger sign, indicating that one of the best burgers of your life is nearby. The original NY Burger Joint is tiny with just a couple of booths, the walls scrawled with famous patrons’ autographs from floor to ceiling. The newer Greenwich Village joint is much bigger but still retains the casual, fun vibe of the original – the scrawled walls are still a feature, as is the signature neon lighting the way to New York’s best burgers. The life size gold and white zebra just happens to be a bonus of the Greenwich Village branch.

As with most places that serve up the best of the best, the menu at Burger Joint is simple and small: burger ($8.75), cheeseburger, ($9.25) or either of those doubled up ($13.50 – 16.50). Keeping things small-scale means you can do a few things well (as shown with Bleecker), and oh how well Burger Joint does it. The patties are ridiculously juicy and packed with flavour, the bright yellow cheese melted perfectly between the two burgers (yeah – two, I went double, and you should too). The bun is your standard burger bun, which doesn’t hold up the weight of the meat too well but also, a brioche roll would just be too…much – too fancy for Burger Joint. The result is a messy meal, but I am a firm believer that burgers are best served that way.

Get ‘The Works’ and your cheeseburger will come with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, mayo AND mustard, plus bacon. You know it makes sense. The fries ($3.50) are good – not the best, but thin cut, crunchy and plentiful, though if you’re going double you’ll be pushed to finish it all, especially if you’re after one of their thick milkshakes too. Speaking of drinks, at the original they are kept simple – beer, shakes, sodas. At the Greenwich joint you’ll get a full bar, and am pleased to report that the $12 margaritas are up to scratch.

Honestly, writing this makes me yearn for NYC and these filthy burgers, but I’ll just go eat my salad at my desk and browse Sky Scanner for a cheap flight back, don’t mind me. Make sure you add this place to your NYC foodie hit list else I promise you, you will regret it. You’ve got to have NYC’s best burger on there, haven’t you? After all, if you’re going to do something, do it properly – and that’s certainly something Burger Joint does.

Le Parker Meridien, 119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019, USA
+1 212-708-7414

Update: the West Village branch has sadly now closed but there’s a new branch in Brooklyn instead. Also found in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Seoul, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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Food From Travels New York

Cookie DŌ

Well who knew, dreams dough come true. Of course New York of all places has dreamed up somewhere this magical: a place to buy cookie dough by the scoop, pimped up with different flavours and toppings. Only in NYC.

Opened in January this year in Greenwich Village, Cookie DŌ serves up safe-to-eat, uncooked cookie dough for $4 a scoop, and people are literally queuing for hours to get their mitts on some of the sweet stuff. After I accidentally left a half eaten Levain cookie in a dive bar instead of delivering it home to my cousin’s wife as promised, I was instructed that under no circumstances could I go to DŌ without bringing some back to make up for my faux pas. On the weekends DŌ has queues of 1.5 hours upwards, so being nearby on a weekday afternoon I thought I’d try my luck on skipping the peak time wait – as much as I love cookie dough, time in NYC is precious and two hours can be better spent. The place looked clear! Success! I walked up to the door: ‘err sorry, the queue starts across the street’. Of course it does. Told it was approximately a 40 minute wait, I promptly joined in line and waited my turn, happy to wile 40 minutes away in name of the dough.

Luckily the stress of picking a flavour keeps you entertained whilst you wait. Cake batter with sprinkles and white and milk chocolate chips? Gimme S’more, made with DŌ’s signature cookie dough with added Hershey’s, toasted marshmallows and graham crackers? Or how about the Chocolate Dream made with brownie batter, Oreos and chocolate chips? You see what I mean? It takes a while to choose so it’s almost a good job there’s a queue. It’s worth noting that gluten free is well catered for too, the owner of the store being so herself.

Once you’ve picked your sweet, sweet poison you also need to decide if you’re going to have straight up cookie dough or make a sundae, an ice cream sandwich or maybe a milkshake…are you going to pick up a cookie bomb cupcake or a cookie bar too? There are so many questions to be answered waiting in line for Cookie DŌ that it’s borderline existential crisis. Once you do make it in, there’s a freezer full of cartons of the good stuff to take away to store at home for emergency cookie dough cravings, which is good news as you’ve spent the better part of an hour questioning everything you know about a) cookie dough; b) your sanity at your preparedness to wait in line for so long for dessert and c) run through every regret you’ve ever had and will this be one of them?  The cookie dough will ease the pain of your queue-inflicted existential crisis, so you may as well stock up now you’ve made it to the front. The dough will last 3 weeks in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer, so no worries at all if you got too big for your boots, ordered two fresh scoops and couldn’t make a real dent in it because it really was so sweet – don’t look at me. It’s like I forgot cookie dough is basically just sugar.

I eventually landed on two flavours: Heavenly, which was what it says on the tin, made with sugar cookie with Nutella, caramel bits, chocolate chips and sea salt; as well as Salty and Sweet, mixed with salted caramel, dark chocolate chips and sea salt. In hindsight they were a bit too similar to be a good pairing, though both delicious. The shop had a couple of seasonal flavours on, one of which was Snickerdoodle – cinnamon flavour, which would have been a shout.

But was it worth the wait? Guys, it’s cookie dough, of course it was worth it.  This is the only place in NYC offering cookie dough like this, it’s new and it’s a fad, so naturally there is going to be hype around it. The hype is deserved, but I don’t think it’s worth any more than an hour’s wait, so do try to go on a weekday when it’s less busy if you can – there’s too much fun to be had in NYC to wait for too long, even if it is DŌlicious.

550 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012, USA
+1 646-892-3600

Open: Tue, Wed, Sun between 10.00 and 21.00; Thu, Fri, Sat between 10.00 and 22.00. Closed Mondays.

One scoop $4, two for $7 and three for $9.

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California Food From Travels Los Angeles San Franciscio San Francisco

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out is quite rightly an American institution. Forget McDonalds, forget Burger King and Wendy’s, forget Five Guys even – In-N-Out is the best burger in the US of A. And I’ve had quite a few.

Being British and never having been to the West Coast of America, I’d never heard of In-N-Out until I was a student. I used to camp out on the sofa to watch the Oscars and there were all these reports of stars apparently going to this fast food place for burgers after the ceremony. Katy Perry smuggled In-N-Out into the Golden Globes; Adele swung by post Grammy’s and Anthony Bourdain reckons it’s the best restaurant in LA. It’s rumoured to be one of Gordon Ramsay’s favourite spots and even Julia Child was a huge fan. It’s such a big deal that an In-N-Out truck has catered at the Vanity Fair after party since 2012 to save celebrities going through the nearest drive thru.

Heading off to California at long last with a huge list of food to try, In-N-Out was at the top of it. An American colleague of mine sent me away with strict instructions: get the Double-Double, Animal style. I did as I was told and oh God, did it pay off. Two patties cooked with mustard sandwiched together with bright yellow American cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion and extra In-N-Out burger spread, which comes from a secret 60 year old recipe. It was as near to perfection as a burger can be, made even better by the fact we ate them in the back of our Uber in true fast food fashion.

Being an A-lister favourite, you would be forgiven for thinking it would be at the higher end of the fast food price point. You would also be wrong. This burger comes in at a whopping $3.70, with a regular cheeseburger costing you $2.55. Not only is it the best fast food I’ve ever had, but it’s the cheapest fast food I’ve ever had. It’s nigh on ridiculous.

I only have a few gripes: forget the fries; I found them disappointing. I know those who disagree with me but I wouldn’t order them again, I’d sooner go for two burgers if I was that hungry. Or maybe even if I wasn’t. Secondly, I need In-N-Out to be in London, or at the very least available on the East Coast because it’s nearer and I go to NYC more than anywhere else in the States. Alas they can mostly be found in California, but also have presence in Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Texas and Utah. And lastly, can LAX please up their game and get an In-N-Out in the departures terminal? As much as I want to see a M&S food in the arrivals of every British airport, I absolutely want to kiss California goodbye Double-Double Animal style.

Have you had an In-N-Out burger? Tell me what you thought in the comments!

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California Food From Travels Los Angeles

Willie Jane

My love affair with brunch is well documented. Given the obsession with bottomless brunch we now have here in London originally stemmed from the New York tradition, brunch in America comes loaded with high expectations. Wandering through Venice Beach one sunny Sunday, shaking off the cobwebs from the night before with an excellent Groundwork Coffee, we wander down Abbot Kinney Blvd lazily, stopping to take photos of the incredible street art we come across. With all its great independent shops and little restaurants, Abbot Kinney feels like being in Australia to me – unsurprising given its proximity to the beach. Spotting two tiny fluffy puppies outside Willie Jane, and then the sign for bottomless brunch, we’re swiftly sold on where we’ll be eating that day. There are many great places to choose from to brunch in Venice, but puppies and prosecco? Table for two please.

Starting on the pitchers of mimosas which seemed to have no end in sight, here began one of my odder American experiences, in that the wait staff thought I was Adele. As in actually asked me, apparently legitimately if I was Adele. I’m still skeptical but my Californian friend I dined with was convinced they really did think I was the Oscar winning singer, so okay. I mean, I have the same length hair as Adele and I said ‘hello’ in a British accent on arrival, maybe that’s all it takes in LA. Who knows, but it set the tone for a really fun afternoon with friendly staff and plenty of mimosa refills.

We started off with the warm biscuits served with fresh burnt orange honey butter ($6), which were just as delicious as they sounds. Now the thing about biscuits, and a constant source of debate I have with Americans, is that to me they are pretty much scones. I can hardly tell the difference between them, except maybe slightly in texture. Not that I’m complaining, because both scones and biscuits are delicious, and I love seeing biscuits as a staple on American breakfast menus. Continuing the Southern theme, I had to go with one of Willie Jane’s fried chicken dishes, specifically the fried chicken and chorizo gravy sandwich served with slaw ($15). It was sublime. Proper Southern fried chicken, all juicy under the golden crispy buttermilk and set off beautifully with the colourful homemade slaw and chorizo flavours.

My friend went down a slightly healthier route with greek yoghurt, granola, berries and lavender honey ($8). I swiped a bit and it was excellent. The rest of the menu looks just as good: cinnamon French toast sticks; smoked brisket hash with fried eggs and more Southern style cooking with shrimp grits with scrambled eggs and bacon. Then of course you’ve got bottomless mimosas generously poured for you for the entirety of your time there for a mere $15 per person. Willie Jane has my heart.

We sat in the garden area outside, sheltered from the California sun by a pergola strung in lights and surrounded by pretty flowers and plants. Never rushed, the service was excellent – if a little off their game on star spotting – and I felt I could have easily sat there for hours enjoying the atmosphere and steadily making my way through several pitchers of mimosas. Which I think you’ll agree, is the kind of Sunday every Sunday should be. And rumour has it, Adele’s a big fan.

1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
+1 310-392-2425

Brunch for 2 with bottomless mimosas including tax and service came in at $75.

Disclaimer: I am not Adele nor do I assume her identity bar at house parties when ‘Hello’ comes on. I have no idea if Adele has ever been to Willie Jane, though I do think she’d like it. The wait staff certainly would.

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