Tuesday, April 9, 2013

London Adventures, Part 1

It's 5 am and I've been up since 4 after crashing around 8 pm last night (darn jet lag), so after an hour of trying to fall back asleep, I decided to do the first part of the EPIC BLOG SERIES about my fantastic trip to England. Here goes!

The start of an epic journey....

Woke up just as we were landing and got to catch the sunrise

First day - took myself on a little walk near Roehampton to pick up some odds and ends I'd forgotten

...one of which being the all-important contact solution. (Can you see why this stood out to me?.....They have a *Boston* brand contact solution - even on my first day in London I can't escape it!)

The ever-present red telephone box

View from inside the library

Returning to the scene of the crime - 4 years ago Simon and I met at Be at One bar in Putney

We got photobombed in our first shot together

Unfortunately no pictures of the AMAZING dinner we had to celebrate Simon's birthday at Enoteca Turi, but you can take a peek at the menu to get the idea

Beautiful apartments across the street from Simon's home - we kept peering up at the top flat and dreaming about the view from the top balcony

Day out - first stop, Piccadilly Circus!

Statue of Anteros with the neon signs behind (like a mini Times Square in the middle of historic London)

Of course I got the fish and chips and mushy peas! We met up at Bill's with a few members of Simon's family for a fun lunch in the city. 

Next stop - site seeing! We went to The British Museum first. This area used to be an open courtyard but then using the lottery (which funds museums) they renovated the interior and built this incredible roof - no two panels of glass are the same due to the shape of the ceiling.

Rosetta stone!

Proof that I was there ;-)

So cool!

We also got to go to the opening day of the Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit - I wasn't able to take pictures but you can't visit the link to read about it (extremely moving to see the casts of those stuck in the ash of the volcano)

Mom - this made me think of you!

Cute and fresh sushi shop....

....where you get to go through and pick up individually-wrapped pieces of sushi!

That night we headed to Parson's Green for dinner and stopped at White Horse Pub for an aperitif  

I opted for a refreshing blackberry cider

We went to Cote Restaurant for dinner where I had the most buttery mussels I've ever had...

While on the bus heading to our next stop, noticed something a little funny...B@Juan's! Same font and style as Be at One (silly knock-off?)

Why are we on a double-decker bus? Why is it moving? Where are we going?

Heading across the bridge...

We rode past this place on the bus and Simon said "there's the British Society of Sculptors." I didn't see the sign (I was too focused on the sculptures that looked like TV satellite dishes) so I thought he was kidding (he likes to do that - tell me things that are ridiculous thinking I'll believe them because I know so little about British culture). We had to walk back to verify that it, indeed, is a society of sculptors.

Couldn't resist stepping in to Aux Merveilleux de Fred see what the amazing aroma was...


Stay away from my sweets!

We were greeted with a beautiful Chihuly sculpture...

...I have several pictures from the exhibits but can't remember the details of everything - please forgive me for being unable to recount the history of all the pieces...

Madeline - this made me think of you! :)

Shot of the courtyard

The dining area (for a quick bite)

Look at all the sparkly things!

Haha I really liked the lips ring...

...and this fun necklace (on the left)


Harrods for a little shopping excursion 

Jimmy Choos riding the bus around Parliament ;-)

*LOVE* this gorgeous diamond necklace...I found out shortly after taking this photo that pictures weren't allowed, but I got to keep it anyway :)

So many dates!

The food section of Harrods was *heaven* for me...meat market, chocolate, cheese, seafood, produce...all high-quality, delicious foodstuffs 

Yes please

I really do need a bigger stomach...I wanted to eat everything in site!

Mmmmmmm....foie gras 

Caviar is served on mother of pearl sets so as not to taint the flavor of the eggs

Just how I like my OJ - smooth with 'no bits' (that cracked me up)

Next up - a 'secret' cocktail bar! 

The entrance of Bart's - very misleading...

Ring the doorbell, someone opens the little peephole, and if you're cool enough, you're in!

Luckily we were cool enough... ;-)

Unique decor 

I tried the Pickled Ploughman - Sipsmith's gin, Chambord, Blue Stilton (cheese), grapes, honey, and grenadine. A very savory drink (I think I could only stomach one every few months or so), but absolutely delicious....

How on earth do 2 people rack up a 130 pound ($190) bill just on cocktails?! Somehow we managed...

"Distinctly" Salt & Vinegar (the whole trip it cracked me up to see how literally things were named and described in Britain)

Day 4 - Brighton! We went to see Simon's friend (also named Simon) and had tapas at Casa Don Carlos

"Do not touch anything, at all, whatsoever" 

Brighton Pier

Overlooking the beach

Fresh seafood snacks 

The pebble beach (no sand here - just small stones!)

A small series of photos of In-Step-Simons

The pier

Traditional jumping picture :)

Spectacular view

Couldn't resist a funny shot on the pier

Bye bye Brighton

Then on to Boho Mexica to celebrate Hallie's birthday

Birthday girl telling a story


James and Charlotte

Simon talking to Hallie's husband Craig

More animated story-telling :)

After-dinner drinks at The Commercial Tavern

Lamps on the ceiling

Sunday lunch at Trinity Restaurant with Hallie and Craig and Mark and Becky

Hay Mayonnaise (MUST learn how to make) with radishes

So true ;-)

Tart of Cornish Crab, Lemon, and Herbs

40 Day Aged Dexter Beef Sirloin, Roast Vegetables, Yorkshire Pudding, and Bone Marrow 
(I *will* learn how to make a proper Yorkshire Pudding)

Simon showed me where the 'brains' go in a the Yorkshire Pudding animal 

Chocolate Cremosa, Mascarpone Cream, Chocolate Smear

Off to The Sun for board games and a digestif (Hallie, Craig, and Simon setting up)

Becky and Mark in the zone

We're winning!

Happy Emily

You would think I wouldn't have an ounce of room left after all of that....but on the way home, we found....CORNISH PASTIES!!!!! I have been dreaming of these for 4 years.....

Excitement and anticipation for the delicacy made by the West Cornwall Pasty Co

Om nom nom (I'm so happy...)

I really wanted to come back to the States and open my own pasty shop, but then I found out that they have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, so I can't...womp womp (click on the link to the article to see what I mean)

Banned in the US (I'm such a rebel)

What could this be?


Surprise! A toy inside your chocolate egg :)

At some point in life, everyone should wake up to the smell of a freshly toasted Pain au Chocolate placed right in front of them

Ok....it's now almost 6:30 am and I'm still not sleepy so I think I'll step out to grab a coffee before getting ready to head to the office. When I get home tonight, I"ll post Part 2 - my trip to Bath!
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1 comment:

  1. Truly, I am overwhelmed! and this is part one of three! Ack! So I will choose just a couple--the Brighton Pier funny shot? Simon's expression = priceless. I want a Kinder Egg. The food photos? who said the food was bland? The drinks? works of art. Museums? ahh...need to do in person. Oops, that's more than a couple!