Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Mexican Knits

My gammy leg is recuperating well from surgery so after months of tedious immobility I'm desperate to get back out into London and all she has to offer.

I had a physio session this morning, rather than head home afterwards I went to the marvellous Prince Charles Cinema which is a brilliant place if you're at a loose end during the day. They show films a few months after main release and charge a lot less than most London cinemas. With membership you can see an afternoon film for £1.50. Bargain.

I met up with my lovely knitting friend Claire to watch MILK. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I'm not sure enjoy is the right word. I was outraged at the lack of basic human rights and horrendous bigotry the US gay community had to fight against not all that long ago. I knew some of the details but seeing it on the big screen, interspersed with film footage brought it to life. Given the rise of the anti-gay Prop 8 lobby during the US elections last year the film was even more poignant. I highly recommend seeing MILK, Sean Penn is superb as are the other actors.

After the film finished Claire and I emerged into the bright sunshine scrunching up our tear stained eyes and went in search of food. We both like to eat in independent cafes and restaurants so we bypassed the Starbucks, Pret, and other chains and went to Wahaca on Chandos Place in Covent Garden. I'd tried to get in here before but the queue had been huge so coming in mid-week mid-afternoon was ideal.

Despite being in the basement Wahaca has a light and airy feel and tries to emulate Mexican street dining in an upbeat, contemporary manner. There are several things I like about this place. Firstly the canny name. Oaxaca in southern Mexico is pronounced Wahaca, can you imagine Brits and tourists where Oh-axe-a-ca is? Secondly, the food is as ethically, locally and sustainably sourced as possible. While the food is Mexican in flavour most of the ingredients, including their hot sauce are from Britain. Thirdly, the food is delicious. I've been to Mexico a couple of times, the food in Wahaca is on par with the best food I've eaten in Mexico and some of it is better.

There is a good choice of dishes, both in size and flavour. We decided to choose several tapas size dishes for variety. My favourite out of quesadillas, tacos, tostadas nopalitos with cactus, were plain old black beans which were cooked to creamy perfection. I'm going to try recreating them at home. If you visit Wahaca it's also worth ordering a coffee as it comes with a small square of perfect chilli chocolate.

Claire is a professional knitwear designer. Check out her website, Monty. It's full of quirky knits and wearable every day clothes. She's so talented. She's got a new book coming out and I was privileged to a sneak preview, hot off the press. Most kids books seem to finish at age 3-4 so Claire has got her book spot on with patterns from 3-10years in Easy Kids Knits. She's having a book launch at Loop in the near future so come along and see her designs.

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