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Tuesday 4 June 2013

Queen of Hoxton Summer Rooftop - Dead Man's Hand

Sunday 26th May - Day 2 of entertaining Anglo-American Parisians in London started a little later than Day 1, with late nights at O'Neils and masked balls starting to take their toll.  The plan was to meet them at 2pm on the new summer rooftop at the Queen of Hoxton (where Wigwambam was during winter), along with a totally different bunch of American students who are over for a couple of months.  I was 10 minutes late and found my two groups (who had no knowledge of the other) already sitting at opposite ends of the rooftop like kids at some awkward school disco.  Eventually we managed to squeeze on to one table and enjoy the chillout atmosphere altogether on the rooftop.  The sun came out, BBQ food was devoured, and Pimms and pints were consumed.  I don't know if they are planning any frozen drinks that are mentioned on the website, but it had only been open for two days.  It got very busy as the afternoon wore on, so get there early if you don't want to sit on the "grass" floor.

Aside from just the regular bar and BBQ, the QoH rooftop has other tricks up its sleeve.  Rooftop Film Club is running fun evening film screenings (scrape up any remaining tickets here) with headphones and drinks on various nights throughout the summer.  If those are sold out, there are other showings in Peckham, Kensington and London Fields coming up too.  

The Queen of Hoxton also has one off events on the rooftop - I am very excited about their alternative Sports Day taking place on July 6th that I have bought a team ticket for.  The games will include Beer Pong, Rock Paper Scissors, Limbo and Frying Pan Ping-Pong, with retro sports clothing encouraged.  What's not to love?

I had to leave Tim and the gang for a few hours as I had booked something else that afternoon a couple of months ago.  Tim is a natural List adventurer anyway and took them up the Oxo Tower (it was Miranda's birthday after all) and then for a Brick Lane curry so they did well in my absence.  I sped off to Farringdon to meet Natalie, Mary and Joe for a mad, interactive murder mystery poker-themed adventure called Dead Man's Hand run by A Door in a Wall.

We were told to meet from 17.00 at Grand Union in Farringdon which had been transformed into the Underhand Poker Club.  We were greeted by the shady club owner who showed us to a table where chips and playing cards were laid out.  Here we had time to come up with a team name - we went for Bowling Mums in reference to a TV show called The Amazing Race which involves teams running around the world solving clues.  We also read about the murder and character back stories, checked out the final hand of the deadly poker game and researched the locations for clues given in a handout before the start time at 18.00.  Just before the kickoff, there was a staged scene as an inspector barged in to the club and threatened to close down the club if we didn't find the killer for him.  It was all pretty silly, but set the tone well.  We rushed out on to the empty streets of Farringdon and methodically worked our way through all the clues.

There were all sorts of comedy set pieces that we had to get involved in, including some makeshift surgery, some amateur surveillance work and a spot of minigolf (or Mini G as we were told to refer to it as).  Otherwise we were solving little puzzles, spotting hidden clues or waiting for phone boxes to ring.  We were constantly bumping in to other teams working their way around, but it was never too congested as there were so many routes to take.  Thankfully it was a nice evening - it would be a fairly unpleasant experience in the rain as we were outdoors for the majority of our 2.5 hours of sleuthing.  Here are some of their photos from the event as I was too wrapped up in it all to take any good ones!

We made our way back to Grand Union to piece it all together and write up our report on all of the suspects.  We had missed one clue but luckily had enough to come up with a reasonably good explanation for it all.  The majority of the clues were fairly straightforward which could perhaps be improved, and I would happily have spent more time wandering around working stuff out.  Previous games from A Door in a Wall have lasted the whole day, hopefully another will come along soon.  We assumed that everyone had come to the same conclusion as us, and probably in more detail.  We were therefore pleasantly surprised when we were announced as the winners!  We were given a trophy, some chocolates and a free tour of London voucher to redeem at some point.  A great victory for Team List / Bowling Mums.  Keep your eyes peeled for future games.

Pleasure Rooms?
Team List Leader with the Dead Man's Hand trophy
I made my way back over to Old Street to reunite with the Parisians (plus some London extras) who had been currying on Brick Lane.  My initial plan was to try out the new Nola Bar but it was sadly shut for a couple of days so we went back to Underdog - the hidden beer-cocktail bar underneath Brewdog.  This was the second place (after to Meat Liquor) to make The List in my first proper post a few months ago.  They have extended the excellent beer cocktail menu - I'm always a big fan of puns and "Agave Maria" (with hickory smoked pineapple) is a good'un.

I also couldn't resist popping in to Beigel Bake again on the way to the bus stop, only to discover that they were out of salt beef with no more arriving for at least 90 minutes.  Miranda's request for a birthday cake didn't go down too well with the slightly terrifying lady behind the counter, and she was given a pretty substandard brownie instead.  However my 30p apple strudel was worth every penny!  We made our way our way back to Liverpool Street and prepared for the London night bus experience.  Mine ended up nearly empty with one man DJing for the whole bus using his phone, whereas the others had the opposite, totally packed, standing in the aisle version.  I didn't see Tim again as he was off to a Stag do the next day but I agreed to meet the girls at midday under the clock at Waterloo for the Real Street Food Festival.

Monday 27th May - Day 3 - I didn't really think through that Shannon and Miranda wouldn't know which clock I meant, so we spent 15 minutes or so waiting in different places before finally heading over to Southbank together to fill up on tasters from Real Street Food Festival - the next one is 23-26 August.  I went to the same festival a couple of months ago (read more here) so I'll be brief.  We worked our way around a lot of the stalls, including some old favourites and some new faces - 

Anna Mae's Mac'n'Cheese - pesto, bacon and pasta is all I need to survive

Pizza Pilgrims - cutting pizza into 6 of 4 proved tricky!

Bell and Brisket - cheese blowtorched to perfection - they were worried that they wouldn't meet Shannon's high expectations after she did a victory dance upon receiving her salt beef sandwich, but unsurprisingly it was superb

Bleecker St. Burger - very moreish NY cheeseburgers,  next time I will have to order Angry Fries

The Ice Kitchen - delicious ice lollies in a variety of inventive flavours - Chocomel Almond was fantastic

We also squeezed in some octopus dumplings, fresh watermelon, some craft beer and a slice of banoffee pie - not a bad haul for three people.  We let it all settle on the swings in the cosy Udderbelly Magners forest, which is well worth checking out for a quiet drink, before heading our separate ways one last time.

Thanks to Tim, Shannon and Miranda for an entertaining weekend, even if they didn't pick up as many new List points as they would have hoped.  Tim keeps himself in touch of the lead for when he returns to London in October - List Leader Natalie, be warned.


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