Tuesday, April 9, 2013

London Adventures, Part 2 (Bath)

It feels really strange being back in Boston and already back to my normal routine (especially given the fact that just yesterday I was still in London). I already miss it - so much so that in the past 36 hours, I've started to find ways to incorporate it into my Boston life! I made Marmite on toast with a soft-boiled egg for breakfast and I found a store that carries clotted cream so I'll make a proper afternoon tea in a minute. Before I completely crash and burn due to my continued jet lag, I want to show you Bath:

Ready for our road trip in the Roadster

First a little detour to Avebury

It's older than Stonehenge! Archaeologists still don't know the purpose of the stones....

You can just feel the history

Simon was very glad to be there... ;-)

Partial view of the stone circle that encompasses the village

I felt like I was in a scene from Lord of the Rings when I saw this gnarly tree

Straight off a film set, right?

Thatch roof tavern 

Avebury Manor

Manor grounds

They had the manor set up realistically and you were allowed to touch/interact with things in the house, which made it even cooler

Atop my throne (squishy accordion chair)

The bed they made for the manor was originally too tall, so they had to lop off the top

After we finished looking around Avebury, we drove the rest of the way to Bath and checked in at our beautiful B&B, One Three Nine

Complimentary champagne to greet us :)

After a quick snooze, we headed to Pulp for an aperitif 

Passionfruit Caipirinha - one of the most delicious cocktails I've ever tried 

We had dinner at Brasserie Blanc - the atmosphere was cozy and the food...well, you'll see :) 

Perusing the menu

Crispy Goat Cheese Parcel with Tomato Chutney

Chateaubriand (for two) with haricot verts, chips, and Bernaise sauce

And for dessert - my first ever Baked Alaska

....wait for it....


A lovely meal - good food, good wine, fantastic company, in a beautiful city

Next morning - breakfast in bed! 

Om nom nom

Receiving room of the B&B

Exterior of One Three Nine

On to a day of site-seeing! This is the Bath Abbey (don't worry, you'll see more of it in a bit)

Unwashed building...

...washed building right next door 

Hey look Dad - you have your own cookie shop in the UK!

River Avon 

Pulteney Bridge - it was modeled after the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence, it's one of only 4 bridges in the world lined with shops

River Avon weir 

Great Pulteney Street - because of its pristine condition, it's often used in period films

Lunchtime at Yo Sushi (note the conveyor belt on the left)

Freshly made sushi delivered right to our table via...

...conveyor belt :)

Dessert :)

The Circus - a round residential area in Bath

The architecture is so stunning! Everything is evenly proportioned and aesthetically pleasing to the eye - a recreation of classical Palladian architecture

The Royal Crescent - if you look closely on the left side of the picture, you can see the ha-ha (a trench in the lawn that keeps grazing livestock out of the front portion of the yard without interrupting the view from the building)

Piece of art I really liked :)

More of the Bath Abbey

Beautiful fan ceilings 

Absolutely stunning

Later that evening - cocktails at Sub 13

Love this shot - great profile with the bar sign in the background

Next - dinner at Casanis, run by French chef Laurent Couvreur and his British wife Jill (he runs back of house, she runs front of house)

My appetizer - Tarte aux Fruits de Mer (seafood and leek tarte with quail egg and lobster dressing); Simon got the Ravioles d'Escargot (snail and cepes ravioli with garlic parsley and beef reduction), which was equally as amazing

Poitrine de Porc Confite (slow cooked belly of pork, sweet onion tarte fine, roasted winter vegetables, confit potatoes, and cider reduction sauce)

(note the creme brulee description)

Jill writing the specials for the next day

For dessert - the cheese plate

After dinner drinks at The Dower House in the Royal Crescent Hotel


We had quite the drink ordering mishap - I got a strawberry cocktail that happened to have Malibu (I'm allergic to coconut) and Simon got something with Amaretto (I'm allergic to almonds)...luckily these were just flavors and not the actual food items, or we could have been in big trouble!

Next day we opted to have breakfast in the dining room at One Three Nine 

Very cheery and bright

More artwork I liked

(can you spot Simon?)

My first Full English Breakfast (minus the all-important beans)

View from the front stoop of One Three Nine

New favorite product alert! Naran Ji hand soap from Molton Brown (I bought 3 bottles to bring back with me) 

What could this be?

(you can see the Abbey in the background)

Complaints used to be written on lead and thrown into the baths 

This one was about a stolen cloak

My 'illegal' photo (not supposed to sit on the pillars)

So excited to be seeing Bath! 

I made a wish :)

How they used to heat the saunas - the floor would be laid on top of these little pillars and hot water/steam would filter through underneath


Gladiator Simon

I got to see a very cool exhibit that gave the history of linen folding

You wouldn't believe the time and effort put into making these linen centerpieces!

View from the window

A whole section on miniatures

Spot of tea at Sally Lunn's (Assam tea is refreshing)

We saw a news program about the new class segments and the BBC had a questionnaire for you to fill out to determine your class (this was mine)

One of the most exciting parts of the trip - Menu Gordon Jones. This restaurant is ranked number 2 out of over 300 restaurants in Bath and normally has a 2 month waiting list...but we decided to stay an extra day and phoned up the night before in the *rare* off-chance that they had a table available. Lucky for us, a party of six had JUST cancelled, and we got in!!!

The restaurant only seats 14-16 people 


The very cool element about Menu is that there is *no menu* - it all depends on what the chef wants to make that day, what ingredients are in season, and what's in stock (so the menu can change in the middle of service if he runs out of something or changes his mind)

We were lucky enough to have Sarah, the maitre d', willing to type up the menu and email it to me, so we got to know exactly what we had!

First up - delicious purple carrot bread with olive oil and a sweet balsamic reduction

White Aparagus Espuma

Chocolate, Spiced Carrot Bread, Seared Foie Gras, Caramelised Cauliflower, Sango Radish

Absolutely fantastic flavor profile - a perfect balance of sweet and savory

Paupiette of Cornish Lemon Sole, Beer Braised Puy Lentils, Sautéed Oca de Pérou & Wild Garlic, Aubergine Caviar, Purple Sprouting Brocoli

Again - mouthwateringly delicious

Slow Cooked Loin & Crispy Sweetbread of Lamb, Celery Risotto, Sautéed Monkbeard & Shitaki Mushroom
(this might be my favorite course - the sweetbread was to die for)

Blackberry Sorbet, Marinated Cucumber & Cabbage Water
(unusual sounding, I know...but it WORKED)

Rhubarb Soufflé, Vanilla Ice Cream, Cinnamon Doughnuts, Fruit

Rounded out the night with a nice cup of tea

Watching Sarah brew coffee in what looked like equipment from a mad scientist's lab

~By far this is one of THE most amazing meals I've ever experienced. The food was out of this world, the wine pairings were spot on, and the service impeccable. I can't wait to go back!~

"Proper" Full English Breakfast the next morning 

View from our 2nd B&B - Three Abbey Green

Out the window and onto the green

Last bit of site-seeing in Bath - the Abbey Bell Tower Tour


The clock. Funny story - it's actually owned by the city council (not the church) and so when it came time (haha) to install it, the council decided to have it face their office...even though it didn't face much of anything else.

Beautiful view

I was so scared (I really, really dislike heights)

I'm climbed all 212 stairs!

Heading out of Bath and looking at the picturesque countryside

One last stop before heading home - Castle Combe

Quite a few movies have been shot here, including the old Dr. Doolittle!

Town church

Last shot of this vacation-within-a-vacation 

Bath was amazing and relaxing and beautiful....everything I would want in a 3-day getaway. It was so full of history! I will definitely be back...

I'm about to drift off, Part 3 coming soon!
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1 comment:

  1. So, in most of your posts the food is the thing--and these pics are pretty amazing. But. My fave pic here is the one in Bath captioned Beautimous. What a perfect picture! Definitely postcard-worthy. The Tarte aux Fruits de Mer and the Paupiette of Cornish Lemon Sole have been voted Most Beautiful by ME, but those are the damned ugliest breakfasts I've ever seen! (The last two, not the first at the B&B). :)