The gods smiled on Kevin and bestowed upon him a business trip to London last week, and they practically cooed and giggled over me by allowing me to tag along for the trip.
If you're in need of a little escapism, are curious about or planning to go to London, or just like the drone of my writing, this post of my London trip highlights is for you.
Near the London Bridge lies a series of old buildings under subway tracks where centuries ago, traders of grain, fish, meat and vegetable sold their products. It's a bustling food market, which Kevin aptly called "Dickensian", that houses over 100 stalls seemingly randomly dropped throughout three main market areas.
It's crowded, there are turns and twists, and a dizzying array of fresh and prepared food. It's not really a farmers' market as it's not big on produce, but if you need cheese, bread, meat, seafood, dessert, wine, flowers, meat pies, chocolate, cider, etc., then this is the place (well, at least on Thursdays through Saturdays).
One of my favs at Borough Market was this heavenly stand that had multiple half-wheels of Raclette (a French cheese known for its wonderful melting properties) broiling away under heat lamps. If you order a plate, the nice gentleman (he was actually relatively sullen, I'm just calling him nice because he gave me food) will slough off a layer of gooey melted cheese onto a heap of perfectly boiled potatoes and dish it up with some gherkin.
One of the ritzier and prettier neighborhoods in West End, right by Hyde Park. I loved meandering the streets and looking at all the gorgeous architecture and window shopping at the stores in Bond Street (which seems to be on the border between Mayfair and Soho).
I learned that the late afternoon tradition of having tea, scones, sandwiches and dessert is called afternoon tea, not high tea. High tea is something else--what that is, I don't know. Anyway, in the world of Mina, afternoon tea is not complete without champagne. Even though champagne doesn't really go with desserts. That never stopped me. Because I persevere.
The afternoon tea at the Haymarket Hotel is a little bit of a splurge but SO WORTH IT especially if you can sit in the airy and bright Conservatory.
Very rarely is there something more special than a glass of bubbly. But when it comes to afternoon tea, you really have to talk about the clotted cream. Somewhere between the consistency of butter and cream, this stuff is just thick gobby creamy goodness. I mean do you see that beauteeousness?
4. Dogs (imaginary and otherwise)
You've already met Molly, a bear of a mastiff that I met in Regent's Park:
I actually took Kevin back to Regent's Park later that day and pointed out the exact spot where I had met Molly earlier that day. Like it was some sanctified patch of dirt and grass.
But we also came upon the new window dressing for Mulberry, which included:
5. I feel like I should have a nice number of five highlights. Hm...oh, the lemon sole at Hereford Road restaurant. We made the trek out to this Notting Hill restaurant, opened by a chef that trained with Chef Ferguson at St. John, the restaurant that made a splash of cooking very good British food with excellent ingredients, and using all parts of an animal. At both St. John and Hereford Road we had some excellent meat, such as roast bone marrow and veal breast, but the highlight was absolutely the lemon sole.
Not a pretty picture, but this fish was delectable. Tender yet firm, cooked incredibly well and so wonderful with a healthy dose of lemon. I admit that I don't often finish my entrees (I get full easily), but with this one, Kevin stared at me a little mortified as I, with my fingers, pinched up every last morsel that couldn't be scrounged up with my fork. The food made up for the incredible cacophony that fills the restaurant.
There were obviously other great things, but I'll inflict those on my family.