Here I am several moons ago at Harbour House Café, looking delirious, stupid, alive.

We’d driven along Pacific Coast Highway from Long Beach and we were on our way to Huntington Beach to sip Jamba Juices with surfers.

It was probably about the time that London was going hell for leather on Americana. Everyone announcing things like ‘brioche buns!’ and ‘American cheese!’ and ‘nine pounds a pop!’ all over the internet, in the pubs, and at the pop-ups.

So we must’ve felt quite special to be sitting there next to the Pacific Ocean in a real place, with leather booths and Coors Light posters and burgers that cost approximately a ninth of nine pounds. We didn’t eat a meal; we had chilli fries and malt shakes. Sometimes – even when meals are your favourite things in the world – the best days are the ones where you don’t eat meals at all.

When I got home from that trip I remember tirelessly searching for authentic Carnation malt powder (Horlicks is fine) and eyeing up authentic Hamilton Beach milkshake makers (beautiful and about £500). But you can’t chase that shit. You can’t turn your flat into California by having the right machine on your counter. Rattan bistro chairs won’t turn your living room into Paris. Things belong in their places.

It’s OK to invite California indoors every now and then, though. Especially in the middle of a London heatwave – or, summer – whatever you want to call it. Go absolutely LA-LA for a second. This shake is the one.


50ml milk
100g vanilla ice cream
1 tbsp Horlicks
1 tbsp peanut butter
10g salted pretzels
Whipped cream (for the top – if that’s your thing)

1. Put everything in a blender and blend well (I used a NutriBullet because I live in Hackney).
2. Pour into glasses and top with cream and pretzel crumbs.