Happy New Year, zesties! This year is going to be a good one. I am so excited to get into gear and accelerate into this new year, better yet, into this new decade, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, where I have yet to discover many many new places, gems and secret spots. My New Years resolution: continue on my quest for London Zest. But first, let me recollect on my favourite London discoveries of 2009.
1. My fave neighborhood: Though I live and breathe the Notting Hill life, Farringdon was by far my best 2009 discovery. Quirky, industrial and cool, it offers some of the hippest London restaurants, cafes and boutiques. St John's for a good old British dinner, Modern Pantry for a funky North London breakfast and Quality Chop House for the most bizarre and out of the ordinary steak dinner.
The Modern Pantry, Farringdon
2. My fave brunch: Bistroteque in Bethnal Green/Shoreditch is always my back-up brunch alternative when I am looking for a little jiggy jiggy. The food is delicious, the scrambled eggs and mushrooms are mouthwatering and the avocado on toast has won me over big time, while the musical background provided by the extravagant and bizarro restaurant pianist have made me a usual at this hot Shoreditch spot.
3. My fave shop: Aime on Ledbury Road is the hub of all the designers that are cool (and somewhat affordable) in my book: Isabel Marant, APC, Vanessa Bruno etc. It's a mystery the shop is always nearly empty, when it's just off of Notting Hill's hip and posh-laden Westbourne Grove.
Aime, Ledbury Road, Notting Hill
4. My fave shoe brand discovery: Bloch Ballet flats are the most comfortable, adorable and affordable ballet flat on the planet, available at Bloch in Covent Garden, Liberty's and Selfridges.
5. My fave jewelry store: Kabiri in Marylebone. I have not yet found an equally diverse jewelry store in London. This eclectic shop offers some of the most original, creative and wearable pieces.
Kabiri, Marylebone High Street
6. 2009: the year of the bicycle: Wandering down the streets of Islington, I discovered London's, better yet, Britain's, most beautiful bicycle shop, Bobbin Bicycles. In this gem of a jewelry box, I found my Christmas present, the vintage, the gorgeous, the one and only Gazelle bicycle.
7. London, the land of tea parties: Sketch Tea Parlour and Liberty's Tea Room have given me a new appreciation for Britain's staple beverage and favourite afternoon activity.
Sketch Tea Parlour
8. My fave open market: Borough, of course. No further explanation required.
9. My one and only lunch destination: Leon's on Carnaby, Canvey and Regent Street, organic fast food joint, has me addicted to their Superfood Salad, Beef Chili and Carrot Juice.
10. My fave Notting Hill discovery: All Saints Road, with the yummy and neighborhood find, Italian Ripe Tomato restaurant, and the sweet and lovely The Jacksons, the gem find of the year, with the coolest boots.