We're all going on a summer holiday....to N17. Who wants two weeks in Benidorm, when you can have an afternoon at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, watching them lose on penalties to Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup (what would have once been called a pre-season friendly).
Luckily, not my wife, who was far more excited about a visit to Chick King, followed by the footy, a few beers and a kebab on the Seven Sisters road and night in the glamorous Finsbury Park Travelodge.
I decided to extend the enjoyment by planning a day in town as tourists. Starting with a walk around the corner (a good thing as, bearing in mind this was London in August, it was chucking it down when we woke up) to the Happening Bagel Bakery. Notice I was wearing my Spurs colours in enemy lines, we are firmly in A*senal territory here (Cuckoos in the nest in my opinion, back to Woolwich with ya! - TE), and there are multiple flags and banners in the bakers.
I would happily put up with their allegiance to the Woolwich for their poppy seed bagels, a plethora of poppy seeds firmly adhering to both sides, stuffed with smoked salmon and a generous schmear of soft cheese.
We also shared a huge hunk of 'baked cheese', a wobbly, claggy (in the right way), creamy cheesecake, which reminded me of my Nan's recipe from the Hellmann's Mayonnaise cookbook. The very highest praise. It took a bit longer, but I also enjoyed a hulking wedge of sticky coffee cake, adorned with slivered nuts, that we bought home and then promptly forgot about until later in the week.
The next stop of the day (the sun had kindly decided to make an appearance by this point) was the London outpost of Mikeller, in Shoreditch. I particularly wanted to bring the Ewing here as the bar was opened in conjunction with Rick Astley, one of her childhood favourites.
She doesn't sing often (she doesn't get a chance with me around) but she does give a cracking rendition of Never Gonna Give You Up, especially after a few beers. So this seemed like the perfect place to get her in the mood.
Our first beers were Rick's Berliner, a berliner weisse with passion fruit, and an organic cherry sour. I enjoyed the Berliner, finding it an easy-going summer sipper, but the Ewing found the promised cherry and expected lip-puckering punch in her choice slightly underwhelming, especially at £5.80 for a half.
These were followed quickly by half of Hazesan Allihops, a hazy NEIPA, and a glass of hop-infused Riesling, which went particularly well with their honey roasted cashews. Even better were the Marmite hazelnuts that accompanied my half of their classic Beer Geek Breakfast stout. A bar par excellence.
While we were sat there enjoying our drinks, the Ewing was trying to follow England's day five collapse in the first Ashes test. So she was pretty happy I was camouflaged (I was wearing my best summer shirt, obviously) behind the cheese plants. Unfortunately she could still hear me talking....(but if you weren't talking, you wouldn't be there and life would be so boring, so keep talking x - TE)
With England all out before tea, we decided to head across town for an early dinner. Some of my best holidays (certainly some of the hottest and most drunkenly) have been in Italy; not to mention that pizza is still, on balance, my favourite food. So, to bring back some of those summer vibes I chose 50 Kalo Di Ciro Salvo as our next stop.
Owner Ciro Salvo is a third generation piazzola of a family-run pizzeria near Naples. The first branch of 50 Kalo opened in Naples in 2014, and this is their first UK outpost; located on a rather uninspiring stretch at the top of Northumberland Avenue.
Inside is all faux Italian marble columns and high ceilings, with the back of the restaurant dominated by a huge red-tiled, wood-burning pizza oven. A vibe, along with a cold bottle of their house lager, that obviously made the Ewing feel peckish. To be fair, most vibes make the Ewing feel peckish.
We started by sharing a frittatina di buccatini. Described, rather oddly, on the menu as an 'eggless pasta omelette', this was essentially a deep fried macaroni and cheese ball with smoked provalone and chunks of ham. However it was described, it was absolutely delicious. Cheesy, crispy, salty, and the perfect aperitivo while waiting for the main event.
Our first choice was the carciofi e capocollo, a pizza bianca with artichokes and pork neck. This looked the part when it arrived at the table. A puffy crust with a leopard-spotted cornicione, and generously topped.
The Ewing's main criticism of the Neapolitan pizza is it's tendency into a central soupiness, but this avoided any soggy bits. If I had a criticism, it would be that I found it a bit heavy going towards the end; the richness of the toppings calling for a foil of chilli heat or a touch of acidic tomato.
We also ordered a red pizza - this time a classic margarita, despite the Ewing's meek protestations that we should add anchovies or olives or anything other than just cheese and tomato. Maybe it is a sign of my old age, but I've really started to appreciate the simplicity of a margarita over the last few years (although I'm still partial to a good good slug of chilli oil).
This version was even better than the artichoke and pork neck; the blistered spots on the base bringing a bitterness than set off the sweet tomato and milky mozzarella. Perfect simplicity and a very good pizza.
All holidays have to include an ice cream and our last stop was a scenic walk across Trafalgar Square, to Grom, another Italian export, this time from Turin in the north. Committed to making gelati and sorbetti free from artificial additives, stabilisers, or thickeners, they use fruit from their own farms and milk and cream for all their gelati sold across 40 locations worldwide still comes from Piemontese dairies. But will it match up to a Mr Whippy?
Flavours are very much old school with classics such as as the famous Torino gianduja (chocolate and hazelnut), Italian nougat, Sicilian pistachio and Crema come una volta, translated as 'the way it used to be', a simple cream base with a hint of lemon.
I chose the signature Crema di Grom, a plain cream base mixed with Ecuadorian chocolate chips and Grom's own polenta cookies and a scoop of Piedmont hazelnut, while the Ewing plumped for the coffee and the salted caramel.
Who said beige food was boring? While the crema di Grom was a little too sweet, and the biscuity chunks were a little less chunky than I'd have liked, the rest were superb. A special shout out must go to the incredible coffee that was both intense and creamy and the hazelnut, made without any cream to let the flavour of the nuts shine through.
And the great thing about having a holiday in your home town? You don't have to pack up your suitcase and go home.