Hello, and welcome to your new blog.
Welcome to the Dictionary’s new blog. I mean, the blog itself isn’t new. I’m new. I’m not new actually, just new to you.
Jess. I’m Jess and I’m going to be in charge of writing. The blog. That you’re reading right now. And from now on. I live in London. In Dalston, just up from Shoreditch. But I’m from New York originally – I moved 10 years ago. So, I know what it’s like to be here and want to find all the good place, to want to not spend ALL YOUR MONEY in this crazy expensive city and to constantly be trying to translate English Englishness!
But honestly, London is hard. Its big and dirty and ugly and wet and people don’t look at you on the tube. And its completely glorious. It took me 4 years to realise that I loved it here, and I imagine you have less time than that. But you should love it. And I think it’s easier to absolutely fall in mega total knee deep love with London than I thought. And I will hopefully help you navigate this soon to be deep, sometimes unrequited, lusty life-long affair with this excellent city. Like Pandarus to your Troilus and Cressida or Jimmy Kimmel to your Kim and Kanye.
For this first blog, I’m just going to go through my favourite places right around the hostel. Just a little flavor of stuff I really love and places I find myself going back to over and over and over again. Like a starter guide. But a really personal Jess-shaped starter guide. For you. And you. And you and you and you and you.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. And I’m fickle. I throw the word favourite around more than any other ‘f’ word. And I have no qualms about bad language. So this is just the start. There is lots to do in London, and lots to come from me with all sorts of tips and thoughts and general musings. So here we go.
Leila’s (breakfast, Lunch) There is actually no where I’d rather be than eating eggs at Leila’s on a sunny mid-week morning. 15-17 Calvert Ave, E2 7JP. Wed-Sun 10am-6pm
Monty’s Deli – You can take the girl out of New York… but you can’t ever make her stop loving deli sandwiches and bagels. This is the best place in London for a pastrami sandwich, a bagel and lox, an egg cream and a slice of babka. If you know what I’m talking about, go. If you don’t REALLY GO! 227-229 Hoxton St, London N1 5LG, Tues-Fri 11am-3pm + 6-10pm, Sat 11am-4pm + 6-10pm, Sun 11am-4pm
Goodhood – Its just SO. FUCKING. COOL. And expensive. BUT SO COOL. Always worth a look even if just to ogle its awesome stock of brands like Ganni, Baserange, Comme des Garçon and loads and loads of good homeware. 151 Curtain Rd, EC2A 3QE Mon-Fri 10:30am-6:30pm, Sat 10:30am-7pm, Sun 12-6pm
Stretch – I have been going to Stretch since they opened. They have 2 locations, one by Columbia Rd and the original studio off Broadway Market. Best teachers in London, loads of classes and workshops and some good other fitness options. Check them out, especially if you’ve travelled a lot recently. Try to squeeze into one of Calli’s classes, she’ll wring you out and send you flying upside down with a massive giggle. http://stretch-london.com for classes, locations and prices
Broadway Market on a Saturday. I know, I know. Its on all the guidebooks and full of people and tourists but it’s the best. I lived off Broadway Market for 3 years and I still never get bored of the stall and the shops and the coffee and people watching. Start with Carl’s 90 minute yoga class at Stretch, get a snack from one of the many food vendors, coffee and croissant from Pavilion, grab a beer from Nobel Fine Liquor, head to London Fields and watch the world go by. Then eat some more at the greatest ever bakery, E5 or get a bao from Bao at Netil Market and settle in with cocktails at Off-Broadway. Best. Saturday. Ever.
This is a hard one so I think each entry will end with a “pub of the week”. There are toooooooo many good ones. So! I love pubs. I love pubs almost as much as I love puppies. Which, as you’ll find out, are the things I love the most in this world. I love puppies. I Love them. Anyway. This week, I’m gonna go with the Royal Oak on Columbia Road. It’s the pub I go to when I can’t think of anywhere else to go, and the pub I go to when I just want to nip in somewhere and relax, and it’s the place I go when I need to meet someone and it’s the place I can’t walk past without at least thinking how nice it would be to just be inside there instead of going wherever I’m going. And its very VERY close to the Dictionary. 73 Columbia Road, E2 7RG