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I’m Internet-famous! Just for a week…

I’m Internet-famous! Just for a week…

The trouble with the world of the Internet is that everybody is now a publisher. Everyone can write what they want, and publish it – so EVERYONE thinks they’re a writer, or creator of content, and there’s no quality control. Thus, what has become more important than the ability to publish is the ability to write something that someone else “likes”, in the words of Facebook.

And finally, after 15 years of being on the Internet, this has kinda happened. (Well, it happened a few times for me in my early career, but not lately).

Qype – a Europe-wide reviews site – has seen fit to name me Qyper of the Week for a review I wrote of a Brazillian grill last year. So, y’know, this is an achievement of sort…

I'm Qyper of the week!

The Hawksmoor in Covent Garden, London

The Hawksmoor in Covent Garden, London

Ob. disclaimer – we went to a Qype event and the soft opening of the new Hawksmoor in Covent Garden

Good luck on actually finding the place (psst: it’s pretty much opposite the famed Pineapple Dance Studios) – and once you do, you’ll find a very imposing set of double doors.

But get past those and there’s a friendly host who offers to take your coat. Not many places do that these days for free, so there’s a good start!

Down the steps, and as someone else mentioned, it’s a throwback to urbane 1950s New York, with a dark bar thronged with people supping cocktails and generally being fabulous. There’s not really any such thing as a bad cocktail, but the Hawksmoor Julip was tastily bitter, and the Concealed Weapon certainly was.

The bar snacks on offer are highly recommended – the lobster roll are oozing in gorgeousness and something slightly Oriental, while the lamb cutlets were very easy on the stomach.

Of course, all it did was whet the appetite, and we’ll have to come back one night for the steaks in the dining room, which looked opulent, spacious, gorgeous and well-lit.

Definitely somewhere you’d take Christina Hendricks on a date *swoon* and far more visually impressive than its predecessor.

Check out my review of Hawksmoor – I am almostwitty – on Qype

LondonEating & DrinkingRestaurantsSteak Houses

Playing with Windows Mobile games at the Old School Yard (Qype)

Playing with Windows Mobile games at the Old School Yard (Qype)

Ob. disclaimer – I went to the Old School Yard courtesy of Qype for a mykindofphone.com event

As soon as I walked in, I knew it was my kind of pub. Huge screens, games to be played, drinks to be consumed, and a feeling of space. The main problem was a distinct lack of chairs – but if you’re playing, why are you sitting down?

There’s even a tiny back garden with some faux grass if you need a sense of fresh air – or you can stand outside the pub itself, which has plenty of space. There’s even a wonderfully decorated basement with all sorts of nick nacks and decoration touches.

On the night we were there to look at Windows Mobile phones and gaming, there was even a very knowledgable cocktail meister serving some delicious cocktails (we counted watermelon and ginger amongst the ingredients) and some oh-so-juicy burgers. Nom om om.

I was handed a surprisingly svelte’n’sexy Windows phone to play with for five minutes. It had a very whizzy user interface that begged you to swipe and swipe away, and it’s certainly come on leaps and bounds since my last-thwarted attempt to get a Windows phone to work with me, back in 2008. The games looked fun, the screen looked bright and colourful, and the interface seemd incredibly responsive to my touches. Aside, that is, from the touch-screen keyboard which was responsive but just couldn’t quite cope with my drunken attempts at writing a text – but then again, I’ve never gotten on with touch-screen keyboards generally.

If only there was a way to actually try a phone in the real world for a while before you bought one – I’m in the market for a new phone, but have yet to find a cool phone with a physical keyboard – and touch-screen keyboards and I just don’t seem to get on yet. And yes, I’ve been told that I need to train touchscreen keyboards to respond to me – but quite frankly, if I have to train an input device, then something’s gone wrong straight away. I already know how to read and write – I don’t need to adjust my reading skills for a different book, do I?

Cinephilia in West London

Cinephilia in West London

The ideal living room - Cinephilia

The ideal living room - Cinephilia

Ob. disclaimer – I was invited via Qype to a night at Cinephilia West, a film cafe/bar/screening room in Westbourne Grove. My review of the place follows:

If you like food, or cinema, this is DEFINITELY the place for you.

First off, it’s a learned cinema fan’s paradise. The basement is the ideal living room, stuffed full with cinematic books and DVDs for sale, and at the end a huge screen where they hold evening screenings. It’s a fantastically chilled out place from where to watch your favourite obscure film (Brazil). They hold screenings of curated films once a week, and it sounds like a fantastic way to broaden your film knowledge.

The ground floor holds film exhibitions, and a very very good selection of film magazines that you can just pick up and read. Plus there’s wi-fi if you want to work on your killer screenplay.

Alongside all this is a cafe, but not just any cafe. The sangria is gorgeous, and the cakes are oozing with seductive delights.

If I had one complaint about this place, it’s that it’s obviously not for your average-going Odeon mainstream person who prefers Doctor Doolittle to Doctor Parnassus. And the price for food heaven is a bit high …

But for years I have often lamented the lack of film-centric places in West London. Now there is one, and I can’t see how it could get better. (well, unless they held screenings of Doctor Who)

Check out my review of cinephilia – I am almostwitty – on Qype

"Care to taste the wine, sir?"

"Care to taste the wine, sir?"

A Planeta/Carluccio's wine tasting

A Planeta/Carluccio's wine tasting

On the very rare occasions that I go to a posh pub or restaurant and someone else orders the wine, for some reason I am invariably asked if I’d like to taste the wine. To which I usually wait while the waiter pours a little into the glass, I sniff, swallow and generally nod my approval. If he’d poured blood, vinegar or urine into the glass instead, I probably couldn’t tell the difference.

Hell, there was one night back in my single Cardiff days, when I invited some young filly back to my flat after a drunken night out, and she asked if I had any wine in the house. I only had a bottle of white wine which had been opened a while ago, which I poured into a glass. She drank the glass, made a face, and left shortly afterwards. When I tasted the wine (waste not, want not), I was a little perturbed to find that it tasted more of vinegar than wine. Even I know that’s not the effect you want – and I hate the smell of vinegar anyway.

Plus I still have about six bottles of wine which have followed me from Cardiff to Llandudno to Manchester and London. Woe betide the next six people who invite me to a house party and tell me to “bring a bottle”. Because that’s what they’ll probably get…

So when an invite from Qype emerged for a wine tasting from the wide range of Sicillian wines by Planeta I thought I’d give it a go, and take the taste buds out for a spin. See if they could actually TASTE anything.

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