30 July 2015

July Favourites

1. Honest Burgers Karma Cola special. It's no secret that I think Honest Burgers' signature burger — the eponymous Honest Burger — is one of my top three burgers in London. They also do monthly specials, but the Honest Burger is so near-perfect that it takes a good 'un to tempt me away. This month's special is a cola-boration with Karma Cola and sounded so epic that I couldn't say no. For £11.50 (£12.50 if you order a Karma Cola too) you get an amazing burger with smoked cheddar, Karma-Cola-braised beef, pickles and chilli coleslaw. Oh, and the standard Honest rosemary chips (NB, standard isn't the right word, because they are awesome).

Unsurprisingly, the result is delicious. But if that isn't motivation enough, £1 from every burger sold is being donated to the Karma Cola Foundation, the proceeds of which go to support cola nut growers in West Africa. Everybody wins.

2. Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series. Regular readers will know that I'm a regular reader—I'm currently reading my 93rd book of the year—and I'm always looking for inspiration for the next book on my e-reader. This means that when I discover a writer I like, I tend to make my way through their back catalogue. There are five books so far in French's series about the (fictional) Dublin Murder Squad. Each book is narrated by a different detective and involves a contemporary crime that also links back to the detective's past. The narrator will often have been a minor character in the previous book.

I actually read the latest book in the series, The Secret Place, last year, but have since been working my way through in chronological order. My favourite so far is The Likeness, in which Detective Cassie Maddox goes undercover to try to work out who killed a woman who looked just like her. She goes to live in the house of the murdered woman—a graduate student with friends that evoke Donna Tartt's The Secret History—but finds her objectivity wavering as she becomes more involved with her doppelgänger's life. French combines compelling plots, engaging and flawed narrators, and beautiful, suspenseful prose. Be warned, though, because she isn't fond of endings where everything is tied up neatly.

3. Southerden SE1. I've walked past the tempting windows of Southerden's Bermondsey Street café and patisserie many times, but by the time I make it to Bermondsey Street on a Saturday, I've already had at least one doughnut as part of the SoLoDo running club. Luckily for me, though, Southerden also occupies one of the arches on Dockley Road, as part of the Spa Terminus Market on Saturday mornings.

It took me a while to choose among the delicious-looking sweet treats, but in the end, it had to be a doughnut and I loved the sound of the pineapple doughnut, topped with a dried pineapple ring. It didn't quite have the sinful ooziness of Bread Ahead and St John doughnuts, but it was bloomin' tasty nonetheless. Get them straight from the oven at Unit 11, Dockley Road.

4. Chinatown. I've now watched enough films on Netflix for its movie recommendations to be halfway decent. I was pleased when Chinatown popped up as a suggestion because I haven't seen it in years and I'd forgotten how much I liked it. Great performances from Faye Dunaway and especially Jack Nicholson, great plot, great twists: this is gritty noir at its best.

5. Futurama. Most of the TV shows I watch are pretty dark, or at least dramatic, so I like to keep a lighter show on the go too. After I rewatched all of Friends, I moved on to Futurama, of which I've probably seen a handful of episodes over the years but I never really got into it. Several of my friends are big fans, though, and I keep missing out on their jokes, so I'm binge-watching my way through the archives. A couple of seasons in, I think it's great! I'm very late to this party, I know, but if you like witty, sharp animated sci-fi shows, you won't be disappointed. It's set in the 31st century, so it doesn't matter that it first aired in 1999—it's aged very well!

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