Over the past three and a half years I have written about my personal dining experiences from England and around the world. My collection will continue for as long as I have a passion for great food, travel and good company. My reviews are much more personal then you would normally find as I focus on the company as much as I do on the food.

I am hoping that those featured in my collection will be taken back to the moment and also on the memories they have from that day/night.

I am not a "margarita pizza" kind of girl when it comes to trying new foods. There are of course tastes I will sample once and never again - such as a battered chickens foot, however it is all about the experience of tasting something new and making up your own mind

I love food and writing and I hope this comes through when reading my blog. The aim of it is simply to make you smile

All the best


“Mmmm Mmm Mmm Do I Smell Fried Chicken!” Mama’s Food Shop Manhattan June 2012

Since visiting, unfortunately I have heard that Mama's Food Shop has closed down which is a real shame. Although I won't be able to return to try the banana cream pie, I still wanted to share my enjoyable eating experience here.

I had left the “big smoke” after nearly 4 years and arrived at the “big apple.” I was very lucky to embark on a fantastic life opportunity spending the summer months in New York.

The weather in Manhattan is as summer should be. I could finally put my winter boots to bed, after wearing them in the UK all the way from November until June!

Adam and I caught the Subway down to the East Village to meet a friend Brandon for some afternoon drinking in a local garden bar. A few hours later we were ready for an early dinner, so headed a couple of blocks down to Mama’s Food Shop.

Southern food is not a cuisine readily available in London, aside from “The Colonel” at KFC. As much as I secretly enjoy it on the odd occasion, I highly doubt any southern Grandma would count it as authentic!

This casual self-service food shop has been open since 1995. As we walked in I said, “mmm mmm mmm do I smell fried chicken” in my impressive attempt at a southern accent. I then heard customers say, “this is fantastic” with a satisfied expression, as they tucked into their platefuls of homemade style southern comfort food.

There is a feature wall covered from top to bottom with an array of miss matched self portraits, alongside floral patterned curtains, and a pea green ceiling, which make it look like an old fashioned sitting room. You will find hot sauce in glass condiment bottles on the tables, which is an all time southern staple, and poured generously over just about anything...with an exception of the banana cream pie! 

You should only come to Mama’s when you are ready for a tremendously filling meal, as the portions are wholesome and hearty, just as home cooked food should be. For $13.50 I ordered mama’s fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and mac and cheese. Adam ordered the same with sides of broccoli and corn salad so we could share. The perfectly cooked chicken was indeed “fantastic” just as the other diners had described it. There was a subtle flavour of rosemary on the golden brown crispy coating, leaving tender chicken inside falling off the bone.

Sweetcorn is at its best when in season just like other fruits and vegetables. The salad was fresh and zingy, made with shredded corn off the husk, tomatoes, red onion, herbs and lemon juice making a great accompaniment to the chicken.

Eating a piece of fried chicken simply cannot be done with any airs and graces, as you just have to get right on in there. I for one needed plenty of napkins to wipe my face, hands, dress, legs and anything else near me, as I seem to be a bit of a messy eater!

Fried chicken is just one of mama’s basics she serves up. Others include roasted chicken, pan fried tilapia and meatloaf. There are lots of seasonal and traditional sides such as collard greens, tomato and watermelon salad, beet salad and corn bread just to name a few.

Here I was sat in the quirky east village on my first week back in New York, sipping fiery ginger and mint iced tea, eating southern soul food at its best. The talked about $5 banana cream pie had sadly sold out earlier in the day due to its popular demand.  I will just have to make another visit during my stay, so I can sample the calorific slice of heaven for myself! Note to self that I must pack baby wipes in my handbag next time to avoid any spillages!


200 East 3rd Street, Manhattan, NY 10009, United States
(212) 777-4425

“Let The Falafel See The Pita” Shlomo's Falafel King Tel-Aviv May 2012

Tel-Aviv was my chosen destination for the start of the summer 2012. My itinerary included two weddings, a day trip to Jerusalem, a dip in the Dead Sea and time to relax with family, friends and my fiancé in the sunshine.

I stumbled across Shlomo Falafel King, situated on the corner of Nordau Street and Ben-Yehudah, whilst walking to the local supermarket a stone throw away from the Grand Beach Hotel where we were staying.

At the street food stand, you are asked “Kama?” translating to “how many?” You pay, you eat, and then you tell the next person you see “oooh I just had a great falafel”. There is no menu as they mainly sell falafel, aside from a couple of alternatives including latkes (potato cakes) and shakshuka (Middle Eastern poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.)

This impressive business has thrived for 45 years. I spoke with Gabi the owner, who has carried on the successful falafel making tradition from his parents. It is a no frills, simple street shop selling one of the most popular tastes of Israel.

I arrived during the lunchtime rush, where I watched dozens of people casually hover around the serving stand in no kind of orderly fashion.  There are no such things as a queue or line in Israel! Some passers-by pulled up on motorbikes to collect their order and then sped off, whilst others relaxed, and enjoyed eating the contents of the wax paper parcel on some nearby wooden benches. The smell of falafel was in the air on Ben Yehudah!

The operation starts with the star of the show- the falafel. These are cooked fresh to order, a batch at a time. I watched the young boy working alongside Gabi take a utensil just smaller than an ice-cream scoop and fill it with the raw falafel mixture. Traditional falafels are a delicate mix of chick peas and Middle Eastern spices. As a vegetarian dish, this is really satisfying. The falafel ball is then dropped into the hot oil for some deep frying action. Whilst cooking, a fluffy, fresh white pita is carefully slit open to make a pocket for the filling. Humous lines the bottom, and then let the falafels see the pita! Israeli salad which is a mix of diced tomatoes and cucumber is added, as well as finely shredded white cabbage and salty pickled cucumbers. The pita’s are packed to perfection, and are piled high with all the fresh ingredients.

Just like the saying “roast beef and all the trimmings”, the traditional falafel has its own additions which completes the masterpiece. These include tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds and olive oil), mild or fiery red or green chilli sauce, and plump picked chillies for an extra kick! All of this for 15 shekels which equates to £2.50!!! You just cannot go wrong!

This is street food served at its best. The falafel king has continued to be successful over the years as its customers enjoy this simple snack, whether it is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or in fact any time of the day, and certainly gets my recommendation.

After my first sampling, I shared my “find” with friends and relatives holidaying in the city. When I returned the next day, I found them all outside at lunchtime eager to try for themselves with my brother in law first up!
Out of the many food stands in the area, there are very few which have a long standing reputation, such as Schlomo’s, as most seem to only last a year or so before they need to reinvent themselves as something new.

If you do find yourself in Tel-Aviv, and fancy ‘fressing’ (meaning - to eat a lot without restraint) a good falafel, head in the direction of Shlomo Falafel King and you will not be disappointed!

Falafel Shlomo & Sons, corner of Nordau Street and Ben Yehudah Street, Tel Aviv