19 April 2015

Tasteclub - Hoja


The Tasteclub held our second evening last Thursday night which was hosted by Sara this time. Here is a little background information in case you missed my first Tasteclub post.

My friends and I decided to start our Tasteclub because it was a nice excuse for us all to get together and try new foods. And also to take advantage of the awesome deals you can get using the Tastecard. Since we wanted to make it a bit more exciting we added 4 simple rules to the night out...

1. Each person takes a turn planning the dinner place we will be going
2. This place must be kept secret to all the other members
3. You can't pick the same cuisine type as the person before you
4. The restaurant must be on the Tastecard

Tasteclub # 2


This weeks Tasteclub was hosted by Sara and it was weird being on the other side of the club. Last time I hosted so I picked the place and organised everything and this time I literally knew nothing. Since I like to know everything... I found myself trying to guess where she was going to pick which turned out to be totally wrong! But in the end the surprise was kept and we ended up having a great meal at Hoja.
  
Tasteclubbers
Hoja is basically an Asian fusion restaurant. They had a huge menu to choose from with lots of starters, mains and sushi. The restaurant in fairly new on Upper Street in Islington but it a decent sized space. The waitstaff were very friendly and super accommodating for Nikki's gluten and dairy free needs.

We decided to go for some starters to share which were very tasty and included my personal favourite, prawn summer rolls with peanut sauce.

edamame
vegetable gyoza
chicken katsu
prawn summer rolls
 For mains I personally like a taste of different things so I split a prawn pad thai and ginger beef. The ginger beef was okay but probably my least favourite thing that we ate. The pad thai was very good and not too spicy. I also tried a bit of the massaman curry since I had never heard of it before. Sara having lived in Asia, said it was her go-to dish while she was over there so I tried some of hers and really enjoyed it too. I mean it's a pretty basic chicken with coconut sauce but so tasty! Definitely going to have to get that one again soon.

massaman curry
pad thai
We topped off the experience with a couple bottles of wine and some good conversation. Not to mention leaving the restaurant overly stuffed full of goodness.

Overall I would definitely recommend Hoja. It was a great little spot and served up some really good food.

Hoja
149A Upper Street
Islington, London
N1 1RA
Hours:
Wednesday - Monday: 12.00 - 22.00
Tuesday: Closed

Next Tasteclub meeting has been scheduled for May and hosted by Nikki. Looking forwards to another good night of eats!

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14 April 2015

Tenerife

For my end of term holidays this April I tagged along with some friends who had booked a trip to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. After having a long and busy term at work I was so ready for some sunshine, relaxation and a break from the daily grind of London.


I didn't really know what to expect with Tenerife as I didn't look anything up before going. We had booked a villa to stay in just on the outside of some of the major places to explore on the south side of the island. Our villa was amazing and even included our own private pool which was perfect for some lazy days. We got to soak up some sun and cook some family meals which was a nice change from eating out all the time.

our villa for the week

the birthday boy grilling up some chicken
We rented a car to help us get around and explore which made things so much easier since we could scoot around to visit different beaches during the day and explore the different areas of the island. The beaches were really nice and I liked the idea of them having black sand and one even had a mix of both black and white 'salt and pepper' sand. Which was probably my favourite.



The best part of the trip which I highly recommend to anyone travelling to Tenerife would be to visit Teide National Park. You get some amazing views of the island and the volcano. On the way there we drove up some windy and quite narrow raods which included some breath taking scenery but also was a little scary being so high up and on such narrow roads. I definately had to close my eyes on a few occasions... and no I wasn't the one driving obviously :) We drove to some spots where we could see the volcano and snap a few shots. And the best part was we were literally above the clouds which was something I have never experienced before and it was so amazing.

one of my favourite shots of the trip

All in all I had a great time hanging out and got to enjoy some sangria and tapas which is always a must when in Spain. But the one thing I will say about Tenerife is that if your expecting the authenticity and culture you get from travelling to Spain then this isn;t the place for you. Tenerife is very built up to a huge tourist place. All the restaurants, resorts and bars are very English as they have a huge population of British tourists that flock there every year. It reminded me a bit of going to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or going to Florida in America. If you are looking to experience more Spain culture I suggest not going to the Canary Islands and travelling to some place like Barcelona or Madrid. But if you want a nice sunny and warm vacation spot with cheap drinks and food then Tenerife is spot on. We literally went out one night and for 5 Euros we each got 2 drinks, and 4 shots plus a couple buckets filled with some random boozy mix to share. Needless to say that was a good night ;) 

birthday party at Siam water park

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04 April 2015

another round in Vegas!

Continuing on from my first Las Vegas throw back post I would like to introduce you to Las Vegas two years later where I learned the meaning of the saying...


This trip to Vegas was a bit different from my first time. This time I was going with a group of friends from work for one of their birthdays. I had already been to Vegas so this time I wasn't as interested in seeing all the hotels or walking the strip. I was more interested in laying by the pool all day and hitting up the clubs at night. Which is exactly what we did.



We stayed at New York New York which I thought was such a good hotel. I liked it a lot better than the Flamingo and it still had the same great location. I flew in from Detroit with a friend and we met everyone else there. We all had taken different flights but ended up getting off the plane in the early morning and then hitting up Rock House around 10am for some frozen drinks which I consumed through a plastic guitar because I'm classy like that.


10am vodka pong... Why not?
We had bottle service two of the nights in Vegas at Rok at New York New York and Tao at the Venetian. Rok was such a good night and played some great music. Tao wasn't as much my style for a club but was still a good night out for my friends birthday.


 
During the days we spend most of our time floating around in the pool or walking around the strip in the gorgeous weather. Mostly just recovering from the previous late nights.


Vegas is a great place to visit. I had a great time both times I went there. Would I go back for round three? Probably not as I can think of a ton more other places that I have never been and would really like to see.
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