The Travelling Gourmande in London

Hot Cross Bun

And here we are, back from a fabulous week-end in London! Our friends Zoe and Richard (wonderful and kind and funny and smart) had invited us to stay at their house in Lightwater (lovely and bright and cosy and welcoming). We spent two fun-filled days together, walking and shopping, talking and joking, eating and drinking, and just generally having a grand time. And! and! and! I got to meet a food blog friend in real life!

Here is an account, as food-focused as truly yours!

# of Restaurant meals eaten : 3
- At Felicitous in Notting Hill, a delightful picnic of antipasti and bagels in their tiny downstairs seating area (sprouted beans salad, marinated artichokes, roasted asparagus, smoked kalamata olives, herb sausages with relish).
- At The Red Fort in Soho, a hip yet delicious take on Indian food (venison in mango sauce, baby aubergines with coriander and tomato).
- At The Wolseley in Piccadilly, my first ever “high tea” (a feast of assorted finger sandwiches, fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, assorted pastries and a pot of Assam tea served with an tiny hourglass to time perfect infusion) in a beautiful and impressive 1920′s décor.

# of Cool bars visited : 2
- The Criterion (where they have awesome bottles of Pouilly Fumé)
- The American Bar at the Savoy (where they serve the world’s tiniest bottles of Diet Coke)

# of World’s tiniest bottles of Diet Coke brought back so my friends won’t think I’m making it up : 1

# of Delicious home made food items sampled : 5
- Zoe’s lasagna, the best I’ve ever had
- Zoe’s scrumptious puffed apple pancake
- Zoe’s family nut bread, one of the 14 loaves baked by Zoe and her grandmother for Christmas in Seattle
- Richard’s grandmother’s strawberry jam and orange ginger marmelade, made for her church fund raising

# of Recipes shared by Zoe the amazingly talented cook : 2
- Zoe’s best lasagna ever
- Zoe’s scrumptious puffed apple pancake

# of Foodie Heavens in which I behaved like a kid in a candy store : 2
- Books for Cooks, following Jackie’s excellent advice
- Fortnum & Mason

# of Food related books purchased : 2
- It Must Have Been Something I Ate, by Jeffrey Steingarten
- The Recipe Writer’s Handbook – Revised and Updated, by Ostmann and Baker

# of Food magazines bought : 1

# of Food items brought back : 253
Broken down into :
- Jars of Blueberry Curd : 1
- Jars of English Mustard with Horseradish : 1
- Crunchie bars : 2
- Assortment of Walker shortbreads in decorated metal box : 1
- Marks & Spencer Hot cross buns : 6
- Bags of Marks & Spencer extra-strong tea (my parents’ favorite) : 240
- Marks & Spencer Indian dishes : 2

# of Marks & Spencer Indian dishes burst open in luggage : 1

# of Cool gifts purchased for self : 3
- A multicolored angora wool hat, at Accessorize
- A beautiful mug with the word “fresh” engraved in purple on it, at Ceramica Blue
- A cute tea ball decorated with a little green and yellow teapot

# of cute Tea balls decorated with a little green and yellow teapot I immediately broke while opening the package : 1

# of Beautifully sunny and crisp days : 2

# of Miles walked around the city : 1.7 gazillions

# of Knees rendered sore in the process : 2

# of Surreal orange suns watched in a collective state of hypnoses : 1
The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern Gallery

# of Footbridges crossed over the Thames : 1

# of Martians seen : 1
Woking is the setting for a scene in H.G.Wells’ 1898 War of the Worlds, and an awesome statue was built to celebrate the novel’s centenary. Needless to say we just had to see this.

And last but definitely not least…

# of Food blog friends I was thrilled to meet in real life : 1
Jackie, my alter ego from The Daily Bread, with whom we had tea at the Wolseley on Sunday.

# of Food blog friends who turned out to be exactly as beautiful and friendly and funny and interesting as I expected her to be – if not more so : 1

# of Exciting food gifts generously offered by said food blog friend : 8
A box of Marrons glacés from Italy, 3 Packages of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from America, 3 Caramel Shortcakes from Great Britain, and 1 jar of Red Onion Confit from Jackie’s kitchen.

I know she intended to blog about this yesterday night and have refrained from reading her version before posting this – to avoid bias you see – but off I go now!

Restaurants

Felicitous
(also a food store)
19 Kensington Park Road
London W11 2EU
+44 20 7423 4050

The Red Fort
77 Dean Street
London W1D 3SH
+44 20 7437 2115

The Wolseley
160 Piccadilly
London W1J 9EB
+44 20 7499 6996

Bars

Criterion
224 Piccadilly
London W1V 9LB
+44 20 7930 0488

The American Bar
The Savoy Hotel
Strand
London WC2R 0EU
+44 20 7836 4343

Stores

Fortnum & Mason
181 Piccadilly
London W1A 1ER
+44 20 7734 8040

Books for Cooks
4 Blenheim Crescent
London W11 1NN
+44 20 7221 1992

Ceramica Blue
10 Blenheim Crescent
London W11 1NN
+44 20 7727 0288

  • http://gastroblog.com Jackie

    Ah, Clotilde, you are too kind! (I was also going to mention that you have won my Most Perfect Eyebrows 2004 award in my post, but did not want to go over the top in my effusive gushings.)

    Sorry to hear about the Indian meal explosion in your luggage!

    You must make Zoe’s lasagne recipe and blog about it, because I’m very curious now!

  • http://www.fivefoottwelve.com/HobbyWhore/hobbywhore2.html gwen

    what is that delicious looking thing?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Jackie – Count on me for the incredible lasagna recipe! I just hope I can make it as delish as she did!

    Gwen – It’s called a hot cross bun! Originally a typical Easter pastry and now thankfully available year round, it’s a little loaf of sweet brioche with currants and raisins, moist inside and slightly sticky at the top. Sliced in half, with butter and jam, it’s heaven!

  • http://home.att.net/~michelle.fierro/ michelle

    Your site is fabulous!!!
    And yummy!

  • http://mamamusings.net/ Liz

    Oh…please post the puffed apple pancake recipe! Please!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Michelle – So glad you like it!

    Liz – Zoe got the recipe from her aunt, who got it from Bon Appétit! I cannot guarantee she followed it exactly (she let us sleep in while she made it!) but the recipe can be found on Epicurious : http://www.epicurious.com/run/recipe/view?id=107071

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0129838/ Donna in Harrisburg

    London is one of my most favorite cities… so accessible, so colorful. Last trip was in December… ha, ha, ha — the Tate (I needed several pints after that!). I have been known to single-handedly restore the british economy with my shopping trips through Fortnum and Mason. The food hall is my haven… I’ll spend hours just oogling at the gorgeous food. And, there’s always beautiful platters and dishes downstairs.

    Above all else, it is warm and comforting to know that there are sister-spirits out there in the world… our great not-so-big wonderful world.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Donna – Oh nooooo! I missed the platters and dishes!! Let me go back, let me go back! :)

  • http://www.mum-mum.info Wena

    haven’t been back to london since i left british soil. wah! looks like it was a fun fun time.

    apple pancakes… now that’s a good thought. going to scrummage around zoe’s site for the recipe. :)

  • ISABEL H

    I got a ‘truckload of shortbread’ for xmas and it/they were lovely. We are off in our house truck soon to explore our beautiful country and then maybe the world.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Isabel – Have a safe and fun trip, and pack loads of shortbread to last you through it! :)

  • http://www.2tastyladies.com tejal

    I stood staring for ages at that hypnotic weather project too! Felt like a human amongst others bred in a lab seeing sunshine for the first time–very odd!

  • http://www.aforkfulofspaghetti.blogspot.com aforkfulofspaghetti

    Aha! So you had a high tea, and at the Wolseley, too (good choice)… What did you think of it?

    It sounds as though you had a wonderful time. Next time, you must also visit Borough Market (if you haven’t already been) – the ultimate London foodie destination…

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