Friday, March 27, 2009

Ok, lets talk about food

Don't we look happy? It's because we are well fed.

We like food, not as one of life's necessities, but as one of life's joys. Our location, between Earls Court and Gloucester Road tube stations, had a bundle of restaurants just right for a tired twosome. We had Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Italian dinners. One night we made it to a gastropub in Fulham and another day we had a midday meal back at Del Aziz. Until I go back to our receipts I'm sorry I can't name most of these yet. But enjoy, and drool...we did.

From the Italian thru the pastries at Paul's to my steak at the pub.







Rain and Sun

The weather seemed to change in London as fast as you can say...Jack Rabbit or some such phrase. Fortunately, in a city you can always duck into a cafe or shop if it gets really awful and what a good excuse for another cuppa. The whole saga was blogged over here which tells about our walk in Kensington Park.

video

But have a look at this little 'class' of young skaterats. One woman was commenting that she had no idea you could find a class for this till her child asked about it. It was certainly fun to watch and hopefully some of them will get a chance to skate in Venice CA where the weather is more conducive to this sport.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back in London, and post Saatchi

It was truly tempting to take another trip outside London...Stonehenge...or even go back to Oxford, since the prior day HAD been forecast to be sunny. Oh well. However, there is so so much to see in London itself, we realized that we really just wanted a bit of a quiet city day.

Our day at the Saatchi was blogged over on my regular blog, and here's that post at Cooking My Life. There is only so much I can blog when I am sharing a laptop with dh so not too much of the trip was posted over there. Just some things to say hello to friends and let them know what's was going on.

After this gallery visit, we had a bit to eat in a little cafe just off the Kings Road, and then dh decided it was a nap afternoon for him, and I decided to take a bus down the Kings Road thru Chelsea to Fulham. No shopping for me, which is truly a sign of my age, and realization that I need so so little, if anything. Eye candy is fun to look at but the temptation is mostly gone. Now food shops are another story.

Some of the sights.
Chelsea to Fulham

Chelsea to Fulham

Chelsea to Fulham

Finally down in Fulham I wanted to see the market, and find a specific restaurant. The market had a lot of clothes etc in addition to food, but then again it was getting late in the day and a lot of the food was gone.
Chelsea to Fulham

Chelsea to Fulham

Chelsea and Fulham

Chelsea and Fulham

Chelsea and Fulham

Cod flaps? are these cod cheeks?
Chelsea to Fulham

Chelsea to Fulham

Finally after a walk back and a lot of walking round Fulham, I find the restaurant I was looking for - Del Aziz. This WILL be a return trip.

Del Azia Fulham

Near the tube stop, I saw this sad reminder of what was happening on the other side of the world.
Chelsea to Fulham


A full day all around and we had tickets for the National Theater that night too for Mrs. Affleck. 10 pound tickets cannot be beat, and we both love the small theaters. Yes, a darn good day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oxford Part 2

We'd had lunch, and now had circled back to a more modern part of the city.
Oxford
Even this, however, had 'that look'. Along this street we saw an old Medieval tower at St. Michael at the North Gate (1040), and we decided that dh would go up. I had one vertigo tower experience in Ulm, Germany years ago and didn't want to chance this one.
Oxford
There were gorgeous views of the city and I was glad dh's pictures were able to capture that gray, foggy, day so well.
Oxford

Oxford
I stayed down in the shop outside the church and talked to the two people staffing the desk. We had a good time also, and it was a lot warmer.
Oxford

The stalwart climber and photographer.
Oxford
Back outside we saw this marvelous post box outside the post office.
Oxford

But now it was getting time to find our way to Evensong. We could see our destination from outside the Christ Church gate but...there was no going in at this time. The entrance to the Cathedral was also on the other side of the quad. We'd find it.
Oxford

We managed a stop in the Oxford University Press shop as we never want to leave a bookstore unvisited and then a pot of tea at The Bear Inn. This was the slowest cuppa tea we ever had, tho good, and by the time we got back down to Christ Church college, it was dark and we wondered how we would get in. Fortunately, a student came up and we all waited for the gatekeeper to return. It was a mad dash thru the night rain and while not as professionally sung as the Evensong in Canterbury, the singing of the students and guests made it a wonderful topping to our day.

Now there was only dinner. Sadly, Jamie's Italian was jammed and we didn't want to wait 45 minutes. Ok, not Jamie's but we did have Italian. My calzone and his pasta, both very good and nicer than the pictures show.
her dinner

his dinner

In the dark night, we waited for out bus, left around 8pm and on 'home' to London. I highly recommend this bus method for those who visit London and want to visit Oxford as well. If you actually want to see more of our Oxford pics, check out the Flickr set.

Oxford Express

A sweet woman who works with dh, came over for dinner before our trip and told us all about her years in Oxford as a student. She gave us a lot of good ideas, and so we booked the Oxford Express, and went as daytrippers to Oxford. The fares for over 60 were especially sweet @ 8 pounds each return.
rainy arrival
Upon a rainy arrival, it seemed a good thing to have a cuppa tea for fortification. Patisserie Valerie hit the spot, and had my favorite teapot - Again!
that teapot again

We walked and walked, with both a guidebook and the college recommendations.
bicycles
But most of the day it was a case of being a few minutes late, or on the wrong day or just not clicking with the colleges we had hoped to visit. But seeing the truly medieval look of Oxford was just about enough.
Oxford

Oxford

Oxford
But we considered visiting the Bodleian Library but decided that a lot of these very special places would take most of our day, so we passed. Had we been spending a week in Oxford it would have been a different story. But just look at this architecture!

Bodleian Library Oxford


Lunch was a quick one in a bookstore right outside the Bodleian and I enjoyed watching this student(?) talking with her family (?).
Oxford

Back outside, it was still raining and yet another site was closed.
Oxford
We had spent a good time in the gorgeous Bodleian giftshop (no photos please!) and the Ashmolean had a great number of wants for me, that I wisely didn't buy, but appreciated. So now a walk down to the market, which was also about to close. More dry goods and stuff at this time of day but still enough food to remind one that it was a market.

Oxford market

Oxford

We saw Jamie's Italian but it was too soon for dinner tho Italian sounded quite tempting on the chilly drizzly day.
Oxford

So, what do we do for the rest of the day before trying to hear Evensong at one of the colleges???

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our Day at Tate Modern

After fresh air and lunch at the Victoria and Albert, dh decided to take the bus back to the hotel, and I needed the walk. Nothing like fresh air and sunshine to revive the spirits.

So revived we were that the next day we decided to go to a museum that hadn't existed when I lived in England - Tate Modern. I had first 'seen' this Tate in a movie starring Judi Dench. I also wanted to see how the old power station actually looked as a gallery. So out we went...but no sun this day.

Day at Tate Modern
The reassuring sight of St. Paul's as we approach the South Bank.
Day at Tate Modern

Day at Tate Modern

Finally inside, it's time to try and capture the vastness of this building.
Day at Tate Modern

Day at Tate Modern

Day at Tate Modern

However...after a brisk walk from the tube station, I wanted a cuppa tea and to see the 7th floor restaurant with its knockout views. Yes, I am feeling peckish.
Day at Tate Modern
Just having a drink usually means standing at the windows, but there are a few seats available and we snag them as soon as we can. I seriously lust after these teapots and enjoy the display and the tea I'm served equally.
Day at Tate Modern

Oh yes, that view...
Day at Tate Modern

Day at Tate Modern

We decide to come back for lunch and debate a reservation. We decide we don't need one so onto some art. First, we see Red Star over Russia which had great posters.

Day at Tate Modern

I believe this one is Ukrainians and Russians have a Common Cry - We Must Not Let the Landowners Rule Over the Workers 1920. There are even portable seats you can cart around so you can sit and ponder the exhibits.
Day at Tate Modern
There are a great many schoolchildren in this museum also, but they seem to have a good knowledge of art and often are with parents who encourage them a good bit and who know their own stuff.

Day at Tate Modern

Day at Tate Modern

Well lunchtime rolled around, and yes, we would go back to the Tate Restaurant - w/o a reservation. There was a good line, but we went to the restrooms to wash up and by the time we were done, our beeper went off. We saw lots of people after us wait a long time, so when in doubt, make a reservation.

Day at Tate Modern
His fish pie
Day at Tate Modern
my roast chicken, and no I am not used to cutting it off the bone with a knife and fork!
Day at Tate Modern
Our shared dessert - well, his but he shared - an apple crumble.
Day at Tate Modern

And once again, that quintessential view - that iconic view.
Day at Tate Modern
A good day, and a museum tiring day, at the Tate, and then a walk back through London. We headed up towards Covent Garden, taking it slowly and looking about, and enjoying saying...Oh we had coffee there, and Do you remember that place? While Bella Italia is a chain, we also have a restaurant with the same name in Annapolis. Yes, the world is small.
Day at Tate Modern
We also saw this chocolate decadence. Wouldn't you like that as a gift!
Day at Tate Modern
Now the sun was doing its late afternoon setting and we still wanted to go to Waterstones on Picadilly. After a coffee and tea, we set out again. No pastries I'm afraid tho I think this toddler got one!
Day at Tate Modern

Day at Tate Modern
Down on the embankment we were told by the bobbies to walk thru St. James Park to get to the nearest tube for our line. Look for the blue bridge they said.It was lovely walking as the sun truly set and the commuters were starting to go home. We asked one man to take our picture and I suspect he had a pint too many already.
Day at Tate Modern
That's dh with the Palace behind him
Day at Tate Modern
and moi with the London Eye behind me. Both of us on 'the blue bridge'.
Day at Tate Modern
Twas another full day in London and we have a lot of the week left. Time to crash for the night.