Summer is flying past – I can’t believe it’s almost July! I just returned from a lovely trip to Devon and Cornwall in Southwest England but I’m hoping to stay in Chicago for most of the rest of summer. These next few months are Chicago’s best so why do I even live here if I won’t be around to enjoy them?
In the meantime, I’m enjoying my summer with sun, good food and the company of friends and family. Here are a few of my current July obsessions.
Tonica Kombucha is my favorite fizzy non-alcoholic alternative to #champagneallday. Let’s face it, I probably shouldn’t start my mornings guzzling bubbles before yoga class. Tipsy handstands are not advisable. Kombucha is super popular and you’ll see several brands in any healthy grocery store but I’m loving this Canadian brand for its flavors like Ginger Rapture made with fermented green and rooibos teas and coffee with hints of butterscotch.
On the sweet side, I’m celebrating National Ice Cream Month with Asian flavors from Slurping Turtle. Your server might try to sell you on the cream puffs, but you know better. Get a few scoops of flavors like soba, black sesame and red bean to end your meal. Soba is Japanese for buckwheat, and you might initially mistake the light green ice cream for green tea, but it has a sweet, earthy taste all its own. The black sesame has a curiously grainy texture with lots of seeds. Chef Takashi says it’s because the cooks are lazy and don’t purée it long enough to make it totally smooth. Proof that sometimes lazy is genius. And the sweet red bean is way better than any red bean soup you’ll get for dessert in Chinatown.
My favorite hotel I’ve stayed at this year is The Goring. It’s just a few blocks from Buckingham Palace and I can’t imagine that staying at the palace itself could be any more luxurious. There’s a secret champagne garden, gorgeous new lobby mural and the sumptuous Belgravia suites are adorned in vibrant silks rewoven from The Gainsborough Silk Company and bespoke maple, mahogany and walnut furniture. You have a separate sitting room for entertaining friends and an incredibly spacious marble bathroom. This is all grand, but it’s the people, like Ned and Oscar, the jovial footman, that truly make The Goring feel like home.
Just one example of the outstanding service: I had left a sweater at The May Fair, where I was staying prior to arriving at The Goring, and asked a gentleman at the front desk if he wouldn’t mind phoning The May Fair and asking them to please hold my sweater. I planned to retrieve it later that afternoon when I returned from lunch. Lo and behold, by the time I returned after a lovely meal at The Ledbury, Oscar informed me that my sweater was already safely in my room. That’s certainly going above and beyond and I understand completely why Princess Kate is so enamored with the hotel – she attended the hotel’s grand reopening in May and even added her own touch to the horse’s mane in the hand-painted wallpaper mural.