Tag Archives: free

another free burger from a new opening

8 Sep

london 6.58pm 18.3C cloudy friday 2017

this is to commemorate the opening of the new restaurant ichibun in chinatown. 500 free burgers to be given away. the name sounds like itchybums. but maybe that is just my dirty mind. haha.

just before 5pm when they start the free offer, they did an opening ceremony in front of the entrance, and gave out free glasses of sake. i did not take any, as i dont really like alcohol. but my fellow queuers did, but i think it might be rather strong… at least from what they tell me. 

inside there was a ground and lower floor,the ground floor contain the kitchens, slap bang in the middle of the floor, so quite a change from hiding the kitchen away… i was seated at the bar area in the lower floor. the ceiling was papered with drawings, and the walls lined with liquor bottles. every inch of space was decorated that might explain the long time it was boarded up …the renovations took so long.

  i googled it and saw an old picture in google of the previous business , hk diner, that it replaced.

the place was supposed to be japanese, but the menu is not very … it has burgers, which is hardly japanese , is it? i ordered the hokkaido, it is a double (meaning there were two of them) 90gm beef patties, with mushroom slices on them, the mushroom were called white truffles at least that is what it says in the menu. but it does not have any smell nor taste of what i had thought truffles smell of… i mean these were like ordinary shitake mushrooms. the lady sitting next to me agrees.

she too was on her own and we started chatting. she heard of this free offer from the londonist. i heard of this from time out. the selling point of the burgers was that it was made from wagyu (wag means japanese, yu means cow or so they tell us in their website) … but once it is minced i think it has lost its uniqueness, that marbling effect of fat and meat that characterises it. at least that is what i think it is unique about it…

(since then i read this that it is aged angus beef with truffle oil. i thought with that japanese sounding name that it must come from hokkaido or at least come from japan… but i should have known that japan has not got enough land to rear beef cattle in enough numbers to make its mark on the world.) just goes to show if u call it by some japanese sounding name, it seems to increase its cachet. 

though what do i know. haha.

just purely from what i tasted, it did not taste any different from all the other beef burgers of the other high end restaurants that i have eaten. but perhaps it is just me with my peasant taste buds that wont know anything even if it hit me. that is why i dont think i shall buy truffles, or wagyu beef, it would be wasted on me.

but it is the first time in all my eating at these pricey burger places that i was able to hold the burger in my hands and eat it without the contents falling out all over the place… so maybe that is a record. haha.

it does mean it is not overfilled , unlike all the other £11 burgers that i had eaten in the free openings of various other burger restaurants… where there are so much stuff in it, you have to eat it with knife and fork. haha.in fact,  i prefer those,  after all, if i have to pay that price i would want it overstuffed with ingredients.

chatting to the lady next to me, she said i should check out the toilet, it has the japanese water closet with all the buttons … i said i must do that before i go, and later i did. and it was really rather nice to have water shooting up my bum like that.hahah. (ooops, skip that bit if u are a eating your dinner now haha.)

when u open the door to the toilet, the toilet seat cover mysteriously rises and the whole thing switches on and lights up…. you almost expect a fanfare to sound as well. what a performance. i wonder if it also automatically closes the lid when you exit and the door closes. and hey, maybe in the women toilet, it does the opposite and brings down the seat when u open the door. or perhaps it never lifts up at all, ever.

when i left the place,after about an hour, the queue outside was still long, and stretching way round the corner. it is certainly worthwhile to arrive at the head of the queue when u attend these free bies…  not so long to wait.

i enjoy these freebies, so dont think i am ungrateful for them. the lady next to me ask me if i would come back, but i think you can guess what my answer is .

there have been a lot of these burger high end restaurants opened in london, and i even heard some of them are feeling the pinch, so this opening might be a bit late in catching up with the trend. still it seems this chain of restaurants are very big worldwide, and it is only now that they are bringing it to london. the bartender says they are opening 2 more branches in mayfair etc. i cannot imagine how london can support so many branches. but then they must know something i dont. the backers it seems are past masters as they are the owners of wagamama and other high end restaurants in london. the names of which i failed to catch when i was told it during a conversation with one of the bar staff; while waiting for the food to come. i had a chat with the lady next to me as well. it is fun to just do that with fellow solitary diners. that might explain why i never go with friends… it is too much bother to try to interest them with this and to arrange to meet and all that. 

maybe these places are just an excuse to drink… because the central well contained the bar, and the diners sit round it. so it might be trying to mimic the japanese bars that abound in japan, where locals sit around and make it their regular drinking spot, to go to meet friends and drink, or more likely interact with the bar staff behind the counter.  and have the occasional meal. are there enough japanese people to support it i wonder. but this place dont have sushi nor sashimi or tempura at all… just maki. so maybe it is trying to attract westerners and make this their drinking den. it might work if u can get those drinkers in… that is where the money is i think. 

even the front facade is made to look like a traditional bar in japan. 

this place was supposed to open june 2017. and i found out ichibuns are in subang jaya too, though that opened in 2015 and is closing soon. they seem to have a different menu from this one… it seems they serve buns, hence the name perhaps. so this burger place is a move away from their signature dishes. one wonders whether they are related, or what. or have they been bought and the new owners are changing its style and menu.

added. i have just got an email from byron, giving me a buy one and get one free hamburger, and their menu says theirs is 6oz , whilst this one 90mg is 3oz. so no wonder the hamburgers were so easy to handle with the hands… they are smaller. i did wonder why i felt more full when i ate the double hamburger in byron’s, rather than this one. because even though their double hamburgers cost about the same,  the byron ones are two 6 oz. whilst the hokkaido is two 3 oz.

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i have rejoined the sports centre

7 Aug

london 3.53pm 20.9C cloudybright monday 2017

i used to be a member,it is in a sports centre near me and it enabled me to use their swimming pool free , and to use their showers too, which was a real plus, because the water jet was hot and gushing…. that was about 2yrs ago when i just stopped going. too lazy i guess.

but now i am kick starting my fitness regime, with a all men only circuit training, and the shower in that gym reminded me what i was missing… those showers are real refreshing.  i thought i better rejoin.

i had lost the membership card i had last time, but fortunately heard from my friend from usa who on his visit here, managed to get the free membership and it is opened to westminster residents. the swimming is free, and the gym sessions are £3.50 which is something new because when i got that free membership last time, there was no such reduced entry to the gym.

it was a very quick painless affair to register for the membership card. all i had to do was let them see a utility bill, i gave them my electric bill, showing my home address… and my passport. and that is it. i got a card that presumably let me in free. i have yet to use it, as i decided, instead of going in to swim straightaway,  i thought i shall go see the hokusai exhibition at the japan embassy, and i am glad i took the passport along, because to get inside i have to show them a photo id, and have my bags scanned. wanting to see photo id is not usual practise to see an exhibition. the advert whcih told me of them did not mention this.

the exhibition is showing the original prints that he did. so not what  we would think of as original art, as it is reproductions from woodscreen. and not all the scenes that he made of mt fuji were shown. i dont suppose they got the original drawings that he must have made before they were transferred to the woodscreen. now those would be extremely precious, if they exist at all.

it featured the great wave, and the red fuji. the great wave is well known. some would know the red fuji too. 

this article shows how people use it in street art . some artist painting it on the wall of his house in camberwell.  and the article also mentioned a hokusai exhibition going on at the british museum now till 13aug. i did not know that. you have to buy a ticket to see it, and you have to get a time slot. but it seems according to their website, advance tickets are all sold out and u have to buy the daily tickets, a limited amount each day and u got to queue up each day… whilst the exhibition in the japanese embassy is free and when i went this morning, not many people. it goes on for a week i think. perhaps i am a phillistine, and dont know how to appreciate art, but when i see the woodcuts prints they look like prints… i mean you can see them in pictures and they wont look different. they dont have the texture of drawings and paintings on paper… which gives that special effect to viewers. these look like printed works, which of course they are… so seeing the original printed works dont really strike you. only when u remember that these prints were produced in the early 1800s, they are very old, and their colour is still so vibrant, that it catches you , or it did me. they look like they were done recently and that is why it does not strike me at first… it is a strange feeling you get, looking at them, thinking what is so great about them? i mean apart from their subject matter and the skill in the execution which is really striking , until you remember these are 200 or more years old and their colours are still so vibrant and  look like they were printed yesterday.

experiences vs things, but if u get them free,

3 Jul

london 12.25pm 22.3C cloudy monday 2017

well, here i am again in the primeburger place in st pancreas station, and have just finished my free milkshake, strawberry and a large one costing about £5.40 usually. it was very nice. and i am happy to have got it. and whilst drinking it, i happen to read this article about buying experience rather than things. people advise that if u want to be happier, u should spend on experiences rather than things. but this research trying to find out if there is a significant difference, shows there is not a lot to be noticeable. but what is this recent experience of mine? which category is it. for one thing, i got it free, so i did not spend money. also i got a thing, something to eat, so i guess it is an experience. it was lovely but it is finished now so i kind of feel sad it is finished and that there is no more. it is really that nice. so an experience dont last long. so why do they say it is better than things. ? with things i can use it again and again and get the pleasure of it everytime i use it. with experiences it is once only and then gone, and it is hard to get that feeling again. it is not easy to bring back that feeling. that is why i used to wonder why they advise people to go for experience, over things. now we have this study showing there is not much difference. 

but i notice something in this study. it seems happiness is just in spending money. that is the common factor in both those actions… so does it mean u can simply find happiness just by spending money, does not matter what u spend it on? or does it mean u get definitely more happiness if u get both or either experiences and things free.

 

 

added. 2.59pm 22.4C sunny. follow up on this happiness thing, and whether u can be happier if u spend money, or happier if u dont spend money and still get things or experiences.

i have another free experience. i am now in the virginmedia lounge in the haymarket, near picadilly circus. i have seen it many times as i pass by to catch the bus 88 home, and see people inside through the glass window, reading the papers, drinking coffee/tea and biscuits.

one day , a few days ago, i decided to go in and ask them and it seems i need to be a virgin money account holder. it so happens i had a statement from the virgin pension fund that i put in £3000 years ago, and had not bothered to redeem it when i got to retirement age and it said it is a virgin money account. so today i gave them the number, and it works, i can apply to use the lounge. and so she gave me an ipad with a form to fill in, and took my photo and gave me a card to use whenever i use the lounge. it is a really pleasant space, free coffee/tea and biscuits to help yourself and lots of today’s newspaper. there are young people and old people here. i wonder how come i have not heard of this place before.

there dont seem to be any virgin media business being done here. (later, i see there is a bank counter of some sort, a small area hidden away in a corner. ) at least not that i can see. though the form did say virgin media will send me stuff via email if i agree to  use the lounge by becoming a lounge member. 

 there is this young chap sitting across from me, i noticed him using his smart phone and plugging it in to charge. anyway, he started to put on a hoodie, and i was so surprised i asked him do u feel cold? he said yes. but it is so warm here, i was sweating buckets when i first came in. anyway we fell to chatting, and i found out he is from manchester, here for adele’s concert which she cancelled. but he had allready paid for his hotel room and train fare so came to london anyway. so today he will be going back, having come on saturday. imagine all that money spent to see a concert that did not happen. i bet the concert costs a bit too. now i am aware of it, i see the other two young people sitting around me, and i wonder if they too are refugees from the adele’s concert. haha. 

on the bus back, i was reading the metro  and saw this article. 

 

 

so that is how much the tickets cost for the concert. seems like a lot of money. and you cannot really see much when u are seated so far from the stage. unless these are very close to the stage. but i remember when i saw madonna, for much less than this, we could only see her on the screen,if we want to see her  close up, when in reality, she was a small dot on the stage far away. she got many dancers prancing about energetically on stage so much of the visual entertainment was from them.

i asked him how did he know of this lounge. and he said it is all over the country. in big cities,like manchester and edinburgh.( he said the edinburgh one is very impressive and much nicer than this one and told me i should make a trip there to see it. haha. i said i would not go there just to see the virgin lounge … and i mentioned that there isn’t much to see in edinburgh… apart from the fringe. he said there is plenty to see, and that the beach is nice … mention of a beach in edinburgh surprised me because when i was there long time ago, i never knew it was near the sea. he showed me the beach in his smartphone. amazing that i never knew it when i went there…i have always thought edinburgh as being inland.)

and it seems when he started up his bank account with virgin they told him of all these lounges. its quite possible that when i started the pension fund they have not got these lounges set up and since i only put in the money once and never add any more money to it, i guess i was not in their books for them to update me on the news. 

i asked him what is downstairs, as the staff had asked me if i had been downstairs when i was at the coffee machine,  as if there is something to see there… so i asked him what is downstairs and he said it is set up to be like a aircraft cabin. with aircraft seats… well i shall pop down and see it, because the toilets are down there too.  but it is surprising that i did not know of this place… just goes to show a lot of things can go on hidden away. this is the hidden life of cities that can be hidden even from long time residents like myself. added. i did go down to see the  downstairs. it is very nice, like a aircraft cabin, with aircraft seats and another coffee machine and biscuits, and even a fruit bowl, with bananas , apple. and have woman attendants dressed like air stewardesses. 

added. 8.39am 6.7.17 thursday sunny 21.6C . read in the metro today that they now allow advance train tickets to be bought 1 hr before departure. so u can buy advance fare £37 one way manchester-london instead of the full fare £83. i still think it very expensive at £37 one way. you can fly to europe for less

free fries

26 Jun

london 3.04pm 22.3C sunny monday 2017

monday is a lot of fun now that primeburger is giving out freebies. today it is free chips, and include their loaded chips, with cheese and bacon. quite a meal in itself actually. the sun is really out in full force, but yet, the weather website says it is only 22.3C. funny that, i would have thought it is warmer. in fact, i am dressed only in a t-shirt and football shorts. and glad of the airconditioning on the top deck of the new style doubledecker bus. 

 

quite a lot of chips. but then so it should be, it costs £4.50 normally. i wonder what next week’s freebie will be. milk shake maybe.

life is free

25 Jun

Everyone complains about anything they can and say nothing is free. Think again, are you sure nothing in this world is free? Can you think of anything in your life that was free and you didn’t have to pay a single cent for it? I can think of one very important thing. It has four […]

via Quote 17 — Chaotic Shapes

we all know of the saying, nothing in life is free… but life itself is free. it is a gift bequeath by our parents. 

prime burger free burger

12 Jun

london 6.30pm 19.7C sunny monday 2017

back to work monday for most people here in london. john went back by train to bournemouth this morning too.

however, for me, i got a email this morning from prime burger giving everyone it seems on their weblist a free voucher to  a burger at their two branches… in euston and in kings cross.

a generous offer (it is to be repeated every monday for june and july) to celebrate the summer of love festival in chelmsford, which they are connected with, and also to mark the 50th anniversary of the beatles sgt pepper lonely hearts club band album.

it is supposed to be a ground breaking album, and there is even a whole tv program about it,john and i saw it yesterday, showing why it is so, but it is so technical… that even when the guy played it on his piano, i could not tell the difference or why it is that groundbreaking. john saw it to the end, i lost interest long before it finished.

anyway, a free burger is more something i can understand. so i printed it out in my library and took myself to kingscross… i have tried their euston branch but never seen their kings cross branch… so i was curious to go there.

it is in a prominent position in the st pancreas international section of kingscross, on the ground floor, unlike the euston one, which overlooks the main concourse on a mezzanine floor. i could order any burger as long as it is not a double burger, so i asked for the aoili truffle burger… at £9.50. i thought it must be something if it costs so much more than the others. but it was nothing special… if there was truffle there it missed my notice entirely… i have not ever smelt truffle or seen what it lookslike,  so dont know really what it is… and i am still ignorant of it after eating this burger.

it is a nice burger, eaten with the hands, which is a bit of a handful and a mouthful, instead of cutlery… i know hamburgers should be eaten with the hand… but it does mean the insides move about if u are not careful… after i had eaten, i saw a chinese couple, man and woman, handle it and learnt that they wrap the paper it came in all round it just leaving only the top open and then bite into the food. the man had to unwrap his again to add the ketchup,from a condiment pot on the table; and the mayonnaise in a small paper cup that came with the hamburger. (oh, i just have a thought, do u think that ‘mayonnaise ‘ is really the aioli truffle? hmm, i wished i have smelt it first , but it did not taste of anything when i put a dollop of it on the burger. )

i noticed also that the little marker that i was given when i ordered the food at the counter was really a bleeper, which also lights up, and it is supposed to tell u to go to the counter to get the food. but i was playing with my chromebook and it was blocking my view of the bleeper, and i never heard that bleeper, or maybe i heard it but did not connect it with my bleeper; so i failed to notice it.

but it was nice of the waiter to bring the food to me or i would be wondering what happened to my order. haha. so that means it is self service, and so no service charge… that would be a selling point. i have forgotten if they charge service charge in the other chains , maybe not.

now i remember, this chain gives out these bleepers, and i did use it the last time i got free burgers from them, when they first opened the euston branch. it was 30.10.2015. there i got their double burger too. which is really very nice and very filling. and they provide cutlery that time. that time they did not have a code in their voucher, so anyone(and did too, some of my friends did)  could go multiple times to get the free burger…they must have learnt that lesson, because this voucher has a specific code which can only be used once.

  maybe it is only this kingscross branch that dont give out cutlery. or it might be there is a cutlery counter somewhere and i missed seeing it. but no one else was eating with cutlery this time.

you would think i would not want to be eating anything after that meal. but you would be wrong. i came back and had a nap of about 2hrs and woke up and was hungry and ate some more of the left over roast chicken we had yesterday. i made a gravy out of granules from a jar. it is not bisto, but something like it. i can understand why the british likes their bisto gravy. it really is so easy to make and it provides moisture to the dry roast chicken and roasted and boiled veg that accompanies it. i used to make gravy from the drippings in the pan but i have given up doing it now. too much bother and the result is not consistent… making gravy from the gravy granules in a bottle is so much easier and tastier too. 

 

 

bargains

11 Mar

london 6.28pm 15.8C (it is warm) night time, saturday 2017

i stopped off at the chinatown bus stop, thinking i shall have a look to see if there are any bargains in the grocery stores .

there was a long queue, snaking down towards the chinese looking gateway on wardour st. they were all waiting to get some freebie at this shop that sells bubble drinks. at least that is what i assume, because on the shop window was a card saying ‘card needed’.

these bubble drinks seem popular, but i have tasted them, and i am not too keen on this kind of drink. too sweet. they are a version of the chinese drinks u can buy in malaysia, with jelly like something in it. i think, chendol is another version of it. chendol is delicious. unlike this.  here the western version is really horrible. a round jelly like thing which have a glutinous texture when u bite into it that is horrible.

but it seems they like it, all those people , there were families with kids in the queue, if they are willing to wait for so long in the queue.

as for me, i carried on to the grocery stores, and saw the new loon moon have 24 instant noodle mee packs for £2. so that is still available. but i did not buy it, as i find this instant noodles rather tasteless. i think i prefer to buy the ordinary flat noodles or vermicelli noodles, even though they cost more.

anyway the loon foon supermarket opposite i saw have two packs of fresh chillis, about 250mg, for 30p each. in their bargain box. they are large chillies, so not so strong. but they are cheap at this price so i bought the two.

talking of freebies, there will be a free ben and jerry icecream given away at selected stores on dec 4. every year ben and jerry gives out free icecream, at this time. i did not realise that the time is near.  but luckily noticed a website that i go to now and then. it is called coconuts ,who sent me an email notification to  tell me of their revamped website  about news from s.e.asia. and there was an article there mentioning they were giving ben and jerry icecream in a branch of ben and jerry in bangkok. and mentioning it is a world wide thing too.

that made me go into the ben and jerry website in uk, and found it is so, too. but only in two stores in london. this is unlike last year when more stores participated. notably the one in leicester square. but this year not all the stores branches are  doing it. only  two stores doing it this year in central london are in odean camden, and odean holloway. there are other stores in wimbledon, walthamstow, etc. but rather far for me to go. 

added 29.3.17. seems they have changed the venue for the free icecream. it is only at fulhum vue, walthamstow, and sutton now.