UK/USA The Taste Winners 2014: Diary Day 1

Louise my host, colluder, creator of the USA PopUps with our Mentor Ludo ...goal to get my own phot with Chef whilst here !
Louise my host, colluder,, fellow winner The Taste US for our USA PopUps.  Here with our Mentor Chef Ludo …goal to get my own photo with Chef whilst here

Let’s start with the end of day 1.

After being collected from the airpot by Louise we had the opportunity to have” get to know you” chat as we hit the Freeway at peak rush hour. Louise’s natural chatty style, her knowledge of the history of LA and its impressive food scene communities was so refreshing. She instantly made me feel so comfortable and that travelling half way across the world to do PopUps with her was truly the best idea.

The Thirsty Crow Bar- Silverlake LA. Cocktails on Day 1
The Thirsty Crow Bar- Silverlake LA. Cocktails on Day 1

I loved hearing her stories, history of the area, what’s she up to, our plans for the next 12 days, we arrive at her super cool quirky and compact apartment dropped off, freshened up and set off for a few cheeky drinks at the local “The Thirsty Crow”.




Louise recommended the very delicious Traditional Manhattan at “The Local” and this is when I popped my “boozy soaked” cherry as never had a Manhattan before- it was good.  I also added a Moscow Mule for good luck it’s was happy hour after all!

Pho Cafe delicious food and a walk away from the apartment
Pho Cafe delicious food and a walk away from the apartment

Then we meandered to Pho Cafe and met her husband Ryan, another delightfully super cool guy, funny, knowledgeable and easy to talk to, making me feel truly at ease.

We ate a delicious meal and chatted .Now I knew I was going to experiencing firsts throughout my visit but 2 in one day. I had never had Pho before and its delicious, clean broth with the thinly sliced beef added beansprouts,vegetables was so delicious, the Vietnamese crepes made with coconut batter stuffed with beef and prawn,shrimp and then added to the wafer thin pancakes that we soaked at the table before stuffing with the fresh lettuce, julienne vegetables and sauces was just what was needed after a super long flight.

Dinner was Pho and I has traditional Beef , Crepe with prawn and beef, pancakes we stuffed with vegetables with the crepe mmmmm
Dinner was Pho and I has traditional Beef , Crepe with prawn and beef, pancakes we stuffed with vegetables with the crepe mmmmm

My appetite sated, and my Pho cherry popped too, the days journey was starting to hit me , my eyes getting heavy from the traditional Manhattan and boozy morello cherry cocktail and the Moscow Mule doing it’s job and a full belly from delicious light fresh Pho and Crepes. We wandered back through the lovely warm evening to the apartment for me to proceed to pass out in my lovely cool room Louise had set up for me with a gentle hum of overhead fan sending me into a very quick instant slumber.





The many hours before …………

Day 1 started with a 4am alarm call with the sound of U2 it’s a beautiful day, my loaned retro vintage suitcase (thank you to Mr Price aka Mr V1ntage) for the historical bag all packed – badly I’ve not got this packing lark down, I don’t think I’ve even packed what I need weather wise or just relevant clothing !Just a quick wash, brush, tad bit of mascara just to look awake and Husband drives me to Manchester Airport for the Long haul adventure.

Checking in has a little fun attached I have packed  my chefs knifes and roll so declaring this means we need to go get the bag scanned separately and it’s overweight – what the heck have I packed? All aboard the big red plane.

The Big Bird that's taking me to USA- how do these things take off and stay up for so long !!!
The Big Bird that’s taking me to USA- how do these things take off and stay up for so long !!!

The jolly manicured Flight attendants welcomed us aboard walked us though what we could have had seating nice and wide , then we were shuttled into the back of the plane and into cattle class and literally now understood why my flights were so cheap!

I truly love getting on and getting off somewhere so exotically different form your starting point I just don’t like the enforced intimacy with strangers. I truly understand why one would save up and travel first class!

Squashed and squished into my seat row 38 E, I feel like a caged chicken, enforcing my thoughts on always buy free range, as i was  literally typing with my elbows forced by my side , my wings are clipped..Im truly glad my poor husband isn’t traveling with me today as he would have got his ear bent for this experience. I had even unsuccessfully attempted a twitter blag to get upgraded – that didn’t work either! I’m restrained to my  small seat destiny………It’s only a hip and a hop across the Atlantic so no worries!

I started checking out our fellow passengers – a hugely eclectic grouping if ever I saw one, tall, small short, fat , thin, stylish, er not so stylish, cool and the not so cool, nervous and over noisy hiding their flight anxiety ..was going to be interesting journey I’m sure.

So 10 hrs and 45 minutes to be feeling like a caged chicken – cluck cluck- , my fellow right hand side passenger had no awareness of personal space whatsoever leaning directly into my seat, I am sure she was reading as I typed but didn’t get the hint that I was making by documenting my woes about her ( she was flicking her magazine , using both armrests , leaning over and we hadn’t taken off yet!)

Now on the left handside a fellow understanding passenger, was visiting relatives ( he said he was a regular traveller) had the same sentiments as me – worth it in the end just a little bit hell like getting go there

Silver lining flying home from NYC so that’s a 5 hour flight – always seek a silver lining !!!!

Now some entertainment occurring behind in row 39 ( some specifically seat E and F ) 2 very loud young ladies one who was already proclaiming her flight issues and her drug use of Valium and diazepam and added paracetamol to ease any concerns she may have had the proceeded to sing , and the other one chatting on off her phone ( we hadn’t taken off yet!) swearing, chatting about roof parties and if you didn’t know the password to get in is Rooftop!

So as we sat in the runway my USA adventure and am sure the next 10 plus plane hours are going to be interesting.

In those first few hours mad a few goals to myself:

  • Firstly I need to travel better and make some money = need an agent!
  • Secondly this was a real reason to lose weight, if I wanted to continue my travels and feel comfortable this would be a vast improvement on comfort levels
  • Thirdly this was a forced environment and would do me good to be more people tolerant, if I can do this in a flying tin can then I can transfer it to when I’m on terrafirma!

Overall the rationale is  I truly dislike people in my space , no if your not getting this I truly truly dislike this ……..and I’m disliking this neighbouring person very much and how I’m going to remain calm and polite in the flight will be a test of my patience and also a test of my tolerance.. 1 hour in and I’m ready to unleash a full “Debbie Chat ” on her!

Oh update ……..My front passenger has now preceded to move backwards and push his seat into my lap freaking brilliant. NOT.

I genuinely love flying but I’m getting incredibly annoyed by my nuisance ignorant right hand side passenger : Aaaaaargh why would you read a full size newspaper. 

Got a bit of a reprise as they were doing a crossword, thought I could like her as I love a good crossword, but in reality she continues to consume my seat and she is half my bloody size she also reads her newspapers so her nose touches the paper and is also wearing glasses ( only me am sure – why oh why!) – note I’m allowed to comment on glass wearers as I am one myself. Now I’m just being mean and need to relax.

SOLUTION block out and distract oneself so I preceded to consume myself into hours of movie and tv watching.

4 hours in and my Neighbour proceeds to tell me how small the seats are, no shit Sherlock as you have been sat in mine as well as yours for the past 4 hours, I manage to politely say yes and how important it is to remember we are all in the same cramped position and to respect each other’s space. Fell completely on deaf ears as she proceeded to wiggle around and hit me with her neck pillow ! Can see why plane rage occurs! The “behind seated ladies” have been in their drug induced asleep throughout, so other than my internal voice turmoil and discomfort all is calm aboard the Big Red Bird!

I’m offered a gin and Tonic and this aids in a calmer relaxed state. At 1/4 of the way, watched Tammy great movie and stellar cast – Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Dan Ackroyd,and Melissa

I attempted to eat a moist but tasteless chicken dish thing, I would eat something with Louise later …..just waiting for more Gin! That’s the answer I believe.

Preceded to drown myself in watching the TV option ,a bit of Lorraine Pascale – why am I not on my own TV programme I’d be so much more entertaining ,played who wants to be a millionaire and blasé won $2000 but didn’t use any life’s ? Doh

7 hours in and I’m losing the will to stay calm – Im very proud of myself so keeping my mouth shut out of respect for my elders and also noting to self that I do have patience and tolerance and should use them more often!
After watching ANOTHER TV show, this time Dawn Porters This Old Thing , which even though I like her,  the TV show was rubbish,

Another movie Dawn of The Apes and then

Another movie The Other Woman with Cameron Diaz,  I managed to waste another 3 hours.

My very close Neighbour has chosen to fall asleep ( away from her husband) feet up leant into my seat- experience is getting worse not only has she constantly moved but her continual lack of spatial awareness has astounded me- how I have kept quiet is beyond me.

More TV and movies I think.

At last, Im now on 35 minutes and counting down with very Puffy ankles and feet I have  Switched off from annoying Neighbour, feel exhausted fro doing nothing.

TV and movie washed out I was so ready to get off the plane and start what I actually came here for.

Experiencing the real LA and NYC with a super talented American, eating and drinking with Louise deleting the 10.5 hours of plane discomfort.

Arrived at last LA, through immigration and ready to meet Louise
Arrived at last LA, through immigration and ready to meet Louise

Land in LA time 420pm which is 2230 UK time so I pan to stay awake as long as is possible to attempt to avoid the jet lag.

Recuperation at my age takes time .

Squeezing a PopUp in and hiking , experiencing LA and ensuring we get to well deserved famous LA and starred Trois Mec Chef Ludo may ignore me on social media but in person he cannot! (That sounds a bit angry, not meant in that sentiment at all, just be nice to have small connection with our Mentor even just a flashing moment and a photo memory).

The journey is deleted as quickly as I see Louise smile to collect me from the airport – getting to the destination is always the reason and makes it all good.



Now Day 2 adventure begins……

LA river Corp event - outside dining PopUp event No1
LA river Corp event – outside dining PopUp event No



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