All About Nutrition at Aprés Food Co.

Allie Abgarian

Tired of forcing yourself into eating almonds, quinoa and flavourless salads? Suffer no more, because there is a place in the City where you can have great food and love it, too. Aprés Food Co. in Farringdon is where all your nutritional foodie dreams will come true.

Launched by two friends from Dorset, Catherine and Danny, Aprés Food Co. will be celebrating its one-year anniversary this Thursday and is already a hit with locals. The unassuming space is as chic as a Parisian café, with a relaxing atmosphere and well-thought-out artistic touches.

The mouth-watering food might have something to do with its popularity, too.

Healthy AND good

Two minds, one health movement
Both owners bring something different to the table. Danny is the business brain with knowledge of what makes a great food experience (with excellent cooking skills to boot), while Catherine is a walking library of nutritional information and a superb chef. Together, they are disrupting the healthy eating industry with a simple ethos: it’s not about counting calories, it’s about making sure that what you eat is nutritional, and above all, that you’re enjoying your meal.

Danny and Catherine, owners of Apres Food Co

Drink Me, Eat Me
Let’s talk drinks first. If coffee is your morning beverage of choice, you might be shocked to find out that you’re essentially taking a cattle prod to your delicate adrenal glands every time you start your day with caffeine. Instead, Catherine recommends that you set your body up with a nutritional juice drink – fresh stuff, not that concentrate you find in your local shop – and wait for an hour before the first cuppa.

We sample the home-made organic Aprés shot, a fiery delight of apple, celery, cucumber and ginger, followed by a glass of cold-pressed juice that contains an incredible 30 different vegetables and fruits. There is also a good selection of raw smoothies, flavourful teas and coffee.

Breakfast-Roll-Galore

Orgasmic oh-my-god-so-good…
We know what you’re thinking…surely it’s all kale? Wrong. Aprés Food Co. is here to prove that delicious comfort food doesn’t have to be fatty or make you feel like a stuffed chicken. With both a breakfast and lunch menu on offer, choose from no-bread breakfast pots, granola and porridge to breakfast rolls, bruschetta (try the avocado and poached egg, drizzled with chilli and garlic oil) and warm plates.

Forget English Breakfast, you want the Aprés Cooked Breakfast: you’ll salivate over the orgasmic home-made oven-roasted sweet potato hash browns and maple-glazed smoked streaky bacon. No Heinz beans and unsatisfying half-cut beef tomatoes here either; Catherine and Danny make their own baked beans and slow-roast organic tomatoes in coconut oil.

The gluten-free bread is made on-site, too and in case you’re wondering, all dishes are gluten-free. There’s no refined sugar in any of the meals, either.

Let’s be realistic, City workers are busy people. If you can’t find the time to sit in for a meal, you can order the Aprés Power Pack, a day’s worth of meals for £25. Just pick it up on your way to the office.

We smell a cook book in the near future…

Top 4 Non-Traditional Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day this Year

Nicole R.Nolan

Roses are red, violets are blue… And not everyone is smugly coupled up and ready for soppy old-fashioned romance on 14th February. Being single doesn’t mean one has to neglect oneself or become totally disconnected from all things sensual. Similarly, not every couple is strewing petals around the bedroom and sipping champers. The stereotype must end. Singletons should get out there and have fun alongside those who run in twos this year. To this end, here are some wickedly alternative recommendations for embracing your sexuality this Valentine’s Day (whether you be bravely one or part of a more adventurous pair).

1. DIY Porn Workshop – The Book Club, Shoreditch

Run by sexual liberties campaigner and queer pornographer (and owner and director of “Dreams of Spanking”), Patricia Blake, this workshop will delight those whose tastes run to kinkier endeavours in the bedroom. Promising to show how porn can be “a safe, inclusive medium of sex positivity, self-care, and of course, fun”, from 8pm until 10pm Blake (who describes herself as a lover of “tea, cats, and caning”) will be teaching how to make your own porn movie – and feel good doing it. Tickets cost £12 and the workshop will include video examples of inspirational shot-at-home porn. It goes without saying this is an 18+ years event.

2. Vagina Club: V-Day – Betsey Trotwood (Downstairs), Clerkenwell

A night replete with the spoken word, some fabulous comedy, apt poetry and music too – all in celebration of… You guessed it: the vagina. Hosted by the author of the Vagina Diaries herself, Ania Placzkiewicz, there is the opportunity to apply for an open mic spot and recite “an ode to your lady parts” (or those of your lover) yourself. Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £5. Sure to be both intimate and laugh-out-loud hilarious.

3. Arabic Poetry of Love and Lust: 7,000 Years of Female Desire – Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch

Celebrating classical and contemporary female writers and the sexual desire they portrayed in their verse, Queen of Hoxton’s current seasonal rooftop pop-up plays host to an evening of Arabic poetry of desire – from a female perspective. Move over boys: your lust’s got nothing on the girls (and tickets only cost £4). Run by Saqiq Books, from 6pm until 10pm readings will span 5,000 years of “female wit and desire”, including selections from “the insatiable elegance of Hafsa bint al-Hajj Arrakuniya’s verses to the gleeful scorn of Wallada bint al-Mustakfi”. There will also be visual representations of these themes in the form of Róisín O’ Loughlin’s Radical Love touring art exhibit, too.

Nature Morte late

4. Nature Morte Late – Guildhall Art Gallery, Mansion House

Nonetheless, if after all these suggestions you still fail to find the energy to go out on Valentine’s Day itself, perhaps you will take comfort from the prospect of concocting a Gothic love storyboard with “a macabre edge” on Friday 16th February. Think taxidermy and pressed flowers; think a “Death Drawing” Memento Mori Still Life workshop with the background sounds of DJ Museum of Vinyl; think also of the prospect of tea with Oscar Wilde. Intrigued? The evening runs from 7pm until 10pm and tickets cost £15. Head out under cover of darkness, black soul.

Chinese New Year: Top 4 Asian Restaurants

Allie Abgarian

This Friday marks Chinese New Year and most Londoners will make their way to a tourist-filled Chinatown, in order to munch on spicy fried beef and sweet and sour chicken. We recommend a visit to the City instead, far away from hungry crowds, queues and a hidden gem for refined Asian cuisine.

As always, to make your life a little easier, we have rounded up our top four restaurants with plenty of culture, flavour and fantastic food on the menu.

Chinese Cricket Club

 1. Chinese Cricket Club – Founded in 2009, the restaurant has an AA rosette, and it’s no surprise. The options are a plenty with lunch, à la carte and set tasting menus.  Influenced from different regions of China, head chef Ken Wang has blended exotic dishes with much-loved classics such as Wonton soup and aromatic duck spring rolls. Try his signature Dim Sum platter. followed by a main of Chengdu chicken alongside a side of sautéed Pak Cho or seafood fried rice. Finish your meal with a Lychee custard tart. Share if you’re feeling friendly, we wouldn’t…

For Chinese New Year, the venue has created a special menu and is hosting a Lion Dance performance at 7pm on Friday. There will also be a calligraphy stand and each guest will be given a red laisee packet, a traditional Asian gift during holidays and special occasions.

MBER

2. MBER – A short walk from Monument tube station, you’ll find MBER, a Pan-Asian restaurant. Head chef Jonathan is originally from the Philippines, and has worked in several of London’s finest restaurants for over 20 years. His inspiration comes from his childhood family dinners, and the menu is a treat, especially for those who like light and fresh Asian foods. There are eight categories: salads, raw & cured, crispy, grilled, steamed, curry, sides and dessert. Definitely a place for Instagram #foodporn fanatics, dishes are part art, part meal.

Yauatcha Dinner

3. Yauatcha – Yes, it’s a chain with multiple venues in London, the United States, India and Saudi Arabia, but Yautcha isn’t your average dim sum tea house. Quality is key, with the brand having established itself as one of the best Asian food experiences in the capital. There’s too much on the menu for us to even begin to describe the goodness, but the dumplings are a must. We recommend the Lobster dumpling with Tabiko caviar, ginger and shallot, or the sticky rice wrapped in a Lotus leaf, with chicken and dried shrimp. Pair with tea from a range of light, floral, complex or robust tastes.

Bao Bun at Ping Pong

4. Ping Pong – Finally, there’s Ping Pong. Modern interior, an intimate setting, and delicious baos and buns. There are plenty to choose from: Char Sui (BBQ pork), chilli prawn, aubergine, soft shell crab, duck, and vegetable (cauliflower, fuzhu, mangetout, carrot and cashews). Yes, there are other dishes too but when faced with so many wonderfully fluffy, white, warm balls of happiness, there’s only one thing to do. Eat them ALL. For dessert, get yet another ball, the classic Mochi, which consists of soft rice pastry with an ice cream filling.

Single in the City: 4 Speed Dating Nights this Valentine’s

Allie Abgarian

Found yourself without a special someone but don’t fancy an anti-Valentine’s party? Want to go on a date but tired of Tinder? We don’t blame you. Do something different this Valentine’s and try an offline dating event. To help you through the jungle of love, we’ve put together a list of the City’s best speed dating nights.

No Valentine? No problem. Just find one on the day.

Core Bar speed dating

1. Date In a Dash – This is one for the fellas, because the tickets for ladies have already sold out! Held at the stylish Core Bar between Bank and Mansion House tube stations, this speed dating event welcomes singles aged 32 to 44. As expected, this is a numbers game: 15 to 20 people, four to five minutes per date. You might want to think of a funny anecdote before you start. Never been to a dating event before? Don’t worry, it’s easy. Fill in a scorecard and give it to the host at the end, who will collate the matches and send you an email with the results. OK, so it’s a bit nerve-wracking. The event starts at 7.30pm, tickets cost £10.

Baes R Us date night

2. HS91: Baes R Us – If you’re willing to travel just outside the City for the prospect of potential love, this is the one to join. Hot Since 91 is hosting three nights at the 60s themed bar WM94: gay, straight and lesbian events between the 14 to 16 February. This is the modern, hipster version of traditional speed dating. Aimed at young creatives, you’re bound to meet a man or woman in trendy spectacles, a beard (hopefully the man) and with a flexible tech job. Guests will be welcomed with a complimentary cocktail upon entry. 30 mini-dates, four minutes per person. Starts at 7pm, tickets cost £15. Closest tube station is Liverpool Street.

Leman Street Tavern

3. Single & Mingle Valentine’s – While we’re on the subject of hipsters, you can also swing by Shoreditch in your hunt for a partner (and we’re not talking about a sweaty grinding session at Cargo). Best polish those charming skills, this encounter will be short and sweet. Leman Street Tavern has shaved down the minutes, only three per person but with an interval between rounds. It’s ladies choice, here. When the last bell rings, they will get the chance to put their names in one (or several) gentleman’s envelope. The cheapest event on our list, only £5 a ticket. The venue has a great spirits list, too. ‘Cause you know, liquid courage.

Dion St Paul's

4. Friday Night Speed Dating  – Keep the Valentine’s spirit alive until the weekend, because this one takes place on Friday 16 February. It’s all about millennials. Guests will be aged 22 to 32 with four minutes to impress their future beau or bae. Held weekly at Dion, a champagne bar in St Paul’s, this is a proper event. No scorecards or notes in envelopes here; instead, use the brand’s own app, Mixeo, to find out who fancies you and message them directly through the app. There are currently tickets available for both men and women, £22 per person. Hurry, FNSD sells out quickly.

Already got a lover but don’t know where to dine on your date? Try one of our top six restaurant choices for Valentine’s Day.

Jazz Turns 80: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis Celebrate at the Barbican

Nicole R.Nolan

On 16th January 1938, the American public was presented for the first time with a different kind of music than they had ever been used to on the classical stage, thanks to the then-debuting artist Benny Goodman: it was Jazz, in all its authenticity; more than that, it was “racial integration on a stage of unparalleled prestige”. That stage was New York City’s Carnegie Hall and this month a celebratory remembrance of that night – Jazz’s “coming out” – takes place here in London, at the Barbican. Rightly considered a “monumental moment in music and social history”, this tribute to that night and to the “King of Swing” himself is, simply, not to be missed.

In an era obsessed with Dance music, that original audience 80 years ago had their eyes and ears opened, Goodman revealing “real Jazz elements and extensive improvisation”. For anyone who considers themselves a fan of the genre, imagine hearing an artist run away with his own sound for the very first time, that display of musical genius both awe-inspiring and scintillating. Music of the spheres indeed; and the aural ecstasy of that night has, of course, continued to this day, evident in Jazz’s ever-increasing popularity.

To this end, on 27th February at 8pm, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) and Wynton Marsalis (together with other soloists) will recreate that original performance, made so great by Goodman, but also carried on and woven into Jazz’s evolving history over the years by the likes of Count Basie, Fats Waller, George Gershwin, Louis Prima, Duke Ellington, and many more. As with these types of performances, the versions on the night will be both established and new, there will certainly be “burning solos”, but most of all will be that bated breath moment when the musicians get down to a “mid-concert jam session”. If you’ve never listened to live Jazz, you really are in for a treat.

However, if you miss that evening, JLCO and Wynton Marsalis will be back the next night, 28th February, at the same time, same place with a concert dedicated to musical legend Leonard Bernstein, in what would have been the composer’s 100th year. Once the Barbican’s resident orchestra President and having conducted the London Symphony Orchestra on the site in 1986 for the Queen, there seems no more fitting venue.

(Photo by Gordon Parks//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

“One of the finest Jazz bands on the planet”, JLCO is presenting a series of new arrangements of Bernstein’s classics (arranged by Grammy Award nominated Richard DeRosa and JLCO trombonist Vincent Garner); classics such as those from Candide and West Side Story. Nonetheless, given the sprawling talents of a man who was also “conductor, showman, educator, activist”, the repertoire selected from will range far wider than these established and beloved numbers. Furthermore, highlighting Bernstein’s educational role, the evening will provide “insightful background about the musical selections”, utilising an aptly Bernsteinian “informative approach”.

Standard tickets for both performances cost between £30 and £45.