Bukowski Grill, Boring Conference, Ugly Duckling and knowing what you want (and that ain’t kids)

1 Jun

EAT: I’ve heard consistently good things about Bukowski Grill, and it’s not just the fact they’re reasonably priced. So, My friend and I headed over to their Shoreditch branch (they can also be found in Brixton) over at Boxpark.

The Box Park location is small but they have a large communal table outside to seat more people. First off, the service wasn’t great; I’m only telling you this because the food was good, so I’d rather start with the bad news and end with the good. It’s not terrible, but they won’t be getting huge tips (they messed up one of our orders, took forever to bring the bill despite us being in a rush and our server didn’t seem to know the menu as thoroughly as I’d expect). BUT, that aside, when the food came, it was gooood.

photo 1

I went for the Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Burger (Grilled marinated free-range chicken breast served with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and bourbon BBQ sauce). The chicken on its own was nice enough, but not very flavoursome – the bourbon BBQ sauce gave the burger its flavour. The brioche bun was great – it held up well and wasn’t too thick either (sometimes the burger can be more bread than anything else, which is never good). I added a bit of my friend’s red onion chutney to my burger and it went REALLY well – I’d recommend ordering the chutney as a side to give it that little something as the chicken needs it. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good burger, reasonably priced, but the chicken could have packed more of a punch.

photo 2

I also got the small chips to share with my friend (they’re organic, triple cooked and fried in beef dripping) and for £1.75 these glorious chips are an absolute steal. They’re so good that my friend and I had to get another load of them as dessert (hah). We also went for the Waldorf Coleslaw (essentially its coleslaw with walnuts). This was also lovely, but nothing particularly special.

photo 3

My friend went for the ‘Purist’ beef burger and she said it was very good. Also served in a Brioche bun, this is the basic version with just lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. She added red onion chutney to make it a little more interesting and the chutney was great – sweet and savoury all rolled into one.

So, overall thoughts on Bukowski? High quality produce, great range of food for carnivores and veggies alike. VERY reasonably priced sides, lots of sauces and all in all, absolutely worth a visit.
SEE: Another year, another Boring Conference. The Boring Conference is a day-long series of talks about the mundane, by the people who love the mundane for the people who want to learn something new.


Well, in theory it is. When Boring started in 2010 it was very much geeky/everyday people getting up on stage and talking for half an hour about anything from supermarket checkout tills to IBM cash registers. However, as the years have gone on, the conference is less about ‘boring’ people being interesting and stumbling across humour in the process (if anything, their deadpan delivery and love of their mundane made them funny without them having to try). But now, it’s more a series of stand up comics trying to find something ‘boring’ to talk about.

Now, don’t get me wrong, they were entertaining. But when a stand up comic comes on stage and starts with “When I was asked to do BoringIV I struggled when it came to finding something to talk about”. I’m a Boring purist – people should be approached because they love a boring thing, not because they’re ‘funny’ or ‘interesting’ and need to find something boring to talk about.  Anyway, rant over – but it’s something I’d urge James Ward, the organiser, to think about for next year.


The vast majority of talks were great though. There were a few people whose talks were more in the spirit of ‘Boring’. One guy was on stage for half an hour talking about Inkjet printers from 1999 (either made in the year or available to purchase in 1999). He encouraged the audience to give him a scenario and he was able to recommend the printer which would be right for you if it was indeed the year 1999. This was one of my favourite talks – a geeky guy, no power point presentation, great with the audience and making something truly boring great fun.

Other highlights were the lady who did a talk on ice cream trucks. Did you know that legislation just changed – now ice cream trucks can play their jingle for 12 seconds, rather than the 4 they were confined to previously. We also were given a fine example of a bad, and good, 99 flake. The ice cream below suffers from what those in the trade call ‘Brewer’s Droop’ – you want the ice cream to be perky, not flop!


Another highlight was Vincent Connare, the guy who back in 1994 created Comic Sans for Microsoft. A love it or hate it font, he spoke about how the font was meant for a cartoon dog – instead the program was pushed out before Comic Sans was ready, so the dog ended up talking to you in Times New Roman (something Connare is adamant a dog would never happen in real life). OTher good talks included Cookbooks from 1950’s and 60’s (sexist and racist, basically), the 1990’s Saturday night TV show called You Bet! and the contents of Eric Clapton’s bookshelf.

Lowlights – there were a couple of duds. A guy who is apparently meant to be a stand up comic was stood on stage and ate crackers for half an hour, talking about photos he found online of someone else’s family. The talk about eggs also wasn’t great.

One final highlight was a documentary called ‘Lift’ – in which a guy simply filmed people in an East End high-rise in 2001 going about their day-to-day life up and down the building. Watch it below.

LISTEN: Ugly Duckling come from Long Beach, CA. They’re an ‘old school’ hip hop trio but verge more on the light-hearted side of things than, say Wu Tang. They’re very much in the Jurassic 5 ‘old school hip hop’ category.  They love the UK too – they’re currently in the middle of a European Tour and they’re over here pretty regularly. I first saw them in Exeter and they put on a great show. Very energetic, really engaging with the audience and great tunes.

The one below is a personal favourite. It’s one of my most played songs from my summer playlist. It’s upbeat, great to dance to, stinks of summer fun and when I’m on the way to work makes me feel damn cool which mooching through Waterloo station, surrounded by suits. It’s off an EP, so it’s not on Spotify, but I found it on Youtube for you. Enjoy!
LOVE: I don’t kids. I know I don’t want them and it irritates me when people think they know me better than I do and they say I’ll change my mind. It’s less about me being liberal and non-conformist, more about  me having no maternal instinct, me wanting my freedom and me seeing a child making me incredibly depressed and angry.

So why do we still assume that all women will have kids and that men will be taken along for the ride? When I see doctors and talk about my Diabetes they say “when you’ll have kids” not “if”.

This article is one of the first balanced advice columns I’ve seen when dealing with the “Will I regret not having kids” issue. I was impressed.

” The popular theory that a woman’s only purpose on the planet is to make babies dates back to the dark, pre-emancipated ages when giving us ideas above our station could have led to the unsavoury prospect of equal status. Along with the miracle of carrying children, we can also push our bodies to perform Olympic-style feats, and rise to all sorts of other physical fabulousness – so there’s no reason that childbirth should be any less of a right to choose than other challenges.

Living your life childfree has plenty to recommend it, including enhanced personal freedom and less financial stress – and neither option is to be sniffed at. Funnily enough, parenting, though one of the hardest choices you’ll have to make, is one of the few life-changing events that doesn’t bear up to much scrutiny. There’s no obvious appeal to a lifetime of attachment to offspring who feel none of the same responsibility to you and spend their teens working out how to dump you altogether.”

Link to the whole article here. Nice that someone considers my life choice to be a valid one and not something I’ll change my mind on.


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