Feather your food nest with champion chicken at Clockjack Oven…

Chicken & chips. In the words of the world’s wisest piece of crockery, the all-knowing Mrs. Potts, it’s a tale as old as time and for good reason – it just works. However like many things that should just work, the potential is there for it to fail on a spectacular level but thanks to Clockjack Oven, you don’t need to worry about that in London.

This small but brilliant restaurant is 5 minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Circus tube as the chicken flies and wing on heart, I’d walked past it dozens of times before without ever stopping to take note. I shan’t make that mistake again. Picked in no small part thanks to a bunch of enthusiastic reviews from my frankly fabulous fellow Time Out Tastemakers, on paper Clockjack seemed to tick all the boxes for a mid-week supper; centrally located, takes reservations, reasonably priced menu, awesome sounding food. Trust me when I say that places catering to all of requirements in London are getting fewer and further between so if you find somewhere that does, make a note, share it with others, be thanked forever. Read More

Chains, independents & trucks; where the LA food scene is really headed…

680’000…2/3…67%…$500k…3 million.

Nope. Not the numbers of food items I’ve consumed, dreamed of, thought about, Pinned, Instagrammed or Tweeted this year.

In October 2013, there were nearly 680k restaurants operating in the US*. Interestingly, the majority (2/3) of those were independent – that is, not part of a national group – yet when compared to their culinary brothers-in-arms, the chains, they brought in far less revenue with 67% making below $500k a year; less than 25% of chains fell into that category.

Here’s another interesting fact – in 2012, there were an estimate 3 million food trucks in the US**.

Yep. I’m just gonna let you take a moment to absorb that. Three million. That’s a lot of wheely delicious food on the move…sorry, sorry, that’s the last time I spring a joke on you worthy of a place only in a Woolies 6 pack of crackers.

What’s my point here? Why am I raining numbers down on you in a style reminiscent of Grab-a-Grand from that staple of Saturday night TV, Noel’s House Party? Because having eaten recently in all 3 venues, it got me thinking about the sort of food America is known for and wondering if that’s changing as quickly as the rest of the global culinary landscape.

There are more independent restaurants than chains…there are a considerable amount of people each year starting up something new & different?

Chains generally make more money…over 1200 of them gross upwards of $5m annually suggesting that what people actually want is what they’ve always had?

More food trucks are popping up each year than it’s possible to keep track of…people want mouth-watering food minus the eye-watering pricetag?

In a country with 318m+ people, it’s not really surprising that they all want something different but perhaps this indicates a step towards a brave new world of food; although chains will never go out of business, sprouting up next to them now & seemingly refusing to go away are places that either inspire you to try something different, freeing your tastebuds from the same food you’ve had forever or reinvent it, leaving you thinking about what you ate long after your carton/box/paper plate is recycled. Read More

Pacific Catch; the perfect place to get your local stripes in San Francisco…

Right chaps, today’s post starts with me getting something off my chest, out in the open and laid bare for you all to see.

I simply can’t hold it back anymore…I have an admission to make.

I love San Francisco.

I do. I really really do. I heart it in all it’s blue-skied, green-grassed, natural-and-man-made glory.

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When we put it on the roadtrip list, I thought I’d like it. I thought ‘hey yeah, San Fran looks pretty cool and sunshiney and pretty…woo hoo!’

Psssh, what did I know? Those words are pale and insipid compared to the compliments this city should be getting.

It’s gorgeous. It’s clean. It’s friendly. It’s full of happy, healthy, glowing, outdoorsy people but it also has libraries, museums & galleries for those who prefer to work up a sweat by the turning of pages or the viewing of world class exhibits.

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You can eat pretty much anything you crave from a global menu of deliciousness; you can blend in with the locals at any number of coffee houses & cafes; you can string your camera round your neck and proudly proclaim your tourist proclivities at the wharf, the parks and the piers. You can get your photo taken with Yoda for heaven’s sake. Oh SF, you slay me.

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