more photos can be found over on flickr.
this stylish spot in soho also wins for most incredible bathroom (check out the shameless selfie above). but after having drinks in their "parlor," we were whisked into the "gallery:" a pepto-pink dining room with david shrigley art adorning the walls. both gleni and i had the udon noodles, which were crazy delicious. like, i neeeever clean my plate, and i almost did this time! from the pop-up forks on the menu to the quirky flatware and the astronaut toilets, it's not hard to see why sketch is one of the most instagrammed restaurants in london.
the blues kitchen, london
real talk: gleni and i have been to some of the best bbq cities in the country. we're talking austin, nashville, and new orleans. however, we both agreed that this place had the most kick-ass southern cooking we've ever had. she had the burnt ends, i the gumbo, and we were both pleasantly surprised, since we stopped in here on a whim. bonus: they had an airstream trailer inside the restaurant that you could rent for parties 'n such. whoa!
un zèbre à montmartre, paris
on our final night in paris, we made our way to this small bistro on rue lepic, a main drag in the montmontre neighborhood. the menus were all handwritten on lil' chalkboards, and it was bustling on a saturday evening. as we housed pieces of french bread dripping with camembert and sipped our red wine, i said aloud "THIS is what i've been missing here." it just felt right, y'know? the tuna steak and some shared creme de caramel rounded out the meal. no frills to be found, but immensely satisfying.
cannibal royale, amsterdam
soooo, our dinner experience here didn't end well due to our own poor choices (just say no to space cakes, y'all), but i will tell you that we had phenomenal nachos and ribs just prior. observe said ribs:
there was also fabulous, cozy ambiance that made us feel right at home.
callooh callay, london
it was like a more whimsical cheers! we made friends with a sweet bartender named chloe, who let us charge our phones behind the bar. she talked openly about recently ending a dry spell as a snarky friend provided running commentary, and then some stoned pals wandered in to offer some more comic relief. but most importantly, my drink had a light-up ice cube and gleni's had a stroopwafel on top. into it.
dirty dick, paris
a tiki bar in the heart of paris' red light district? one of these things is not like the other. a different bartender pal from london (danny at happiness forgets) recommended it to us, and it helped us end our parisian experience on a nice note after some unpleasant encounters with rude waitstaff at other establishments/a general feeling of unwelcomeness in the city. the crowd was mixed -- parents, 20-somethings, and everyone in between -- and the vibe was fun, campy, and unpretentious. i ordered the "monkey seed, monkey screwed," which consisted of banana, salted caramel, pineapple and whiskey. aw yeah.
mounir forever. after reading about this out-of-the-way cocktail bar on a blog, we found ourselves among only 2 other patrons on a sunday night and cozied up to the bar, beginning a wonderful friendship with mr. hamza. he lit drinks on fire (see video), gave us great suggestions for food and drink, and laughed at our stupid stories. we enjoyed his company, the beverages, and the bar's understated elegance so much that we returned on our last night, and ended up establishing facebook friendships with him. please go there if you find yourself in amsterdam -- the drinks are admittedly a bit pricey, but the craftsmanship behind them makes it well worth it.
no need to go into detail about these except to say that they were both adorable and rustic af. a blogger's dream!
hart & lova, london
back to black, amsterdam
known as the "williamsburg brooklyn of london," shoreditch is full of cool graffiti, boutiques, and filthy dirty hipsters. we spent an entire day and evening here -- wandering brick lane, eating the neighborhood's famous salt beef beigels on the street, enjoying iced coffee on a cafe's roof terrace, combing through the racks at vintage shops, browsing vinyl at rough trade east, and snacking on deceiving "cocktails" (which were just bowls of cereal) at the cereal killer cafe.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS:
- having a proper british tea at the tea terrace in london and taking 20 billion pictures because it was like an effing alice in wonderland-y dollhouse in there:
- singing along to zayn's "pillow talk" while drinking a pint in a london pub
- seeing this juxtaposition of ariana grande and westminster abbey:
- spending 10 minutes in the most terrifying bar that gleni or i had ever been to: crobar in london. described online as a "heavy metal bar," it sounded all well and good for two streetwise rock 'n roll-loving girls. that is, until we found ourselves in a small, dark room with a poor man's alice cooper, a leering white trash (british trash?) couple, and some guy with a ton of face tattoos ... all of whom where staring menacingly at us. we knew we weren't supposed to be there, they knew we weren't supposed to be there. unfortunately, we'd already ordered beers, so we chugged 'em as fast as we could, made moves, and crossed all of the heavy metal bars off of our list for paris.
- having the following conversation with a bartender in london while wearing my hanson/nirvana shirt:
him: "is that hanson on your shirt?"
me: "yes, but it says nirvana."
him: (laughing) "so is it a hanson shirt, or a nirvana shirt?"
me: "the world may never know."
- wandering down the street in paris as a group of four little girls in front of us all gnawed on baguettes. PEAK FRENCH!
- trying to order a croissant in paris at a sidewalk cafe and being brutally rebuffed by a mean waitress with a playboy bunny tattoo on her neck. "NO CROISSANT!" she reprimanded me, saying something in french and storming off. it was like the goddamn croissant nazi. i accepted defeat and ate some of gleni's crepes instead. :(
- eating fresh, hot stroopwafels at a flea market in amsterdam. total sugar coma, but completely worth it:
as soon as i set foot outside of the train station in amsterdam, i was in love and immediately declared it my favorite city of the trip, despite the fact that i'd spent less than 20 minutes there. but i've always been inexplicably drawn to it (no, not just because of its chill laws), and my expectations were exceeded. beautiful architecture and canals, super-friendly (and english-speaking) people, a unique cycling culture, and a laid-back vibe all contributed to my affection for amsterdam. plus, the treats! you'd order a coffee and get a little piece of cake with it, or a sandwich and get a cute "soup sample." i love the dutch, guys. it was the only place i was truly sad to leave, so i bought a touristy beanie and a little house souvenir to keep amsterdam alive in my heart forever ... or, at least until my next visit.