Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Take a deep breath, and.....

Well, it's certainly been a whirlwind of a fortnight with the realisation of our long anticipated European holiday - oh the sights that were seen, the sounds that were heard and the MASSIVE amount of incredible food consumed! So bear with me as I walk you through two weeks of food, fun and several 'cheesegasms'.

We kicked things off immediately upon landing in London. After a quick shower and costume change we met up with my little sister and headed east for brekkie in Spitalfields at St John Bread and Wine (offshoot of the Smithfield restaurant). We gorged ourselves on Old Spot bacon sandwiches (you can see me pictured here with my laughing gear wrapped around one!), porridge and prunes and poached fruit, yogurt and brioche. A perfect way to kick of for a couple of gourmet travellers!

The next couple of days were filled with treats from Hummingbird Bakery , great coffee at Coffee Plant in Notting Hill and tapas in Covent Garden before we crammed a few things in a bag and nicked off to Paris.

After scoffing a desperate microwave cheeseburger on the eurostar and catching a few much needed z's we made are way to the hotel. (A little note needs to be inserted here...I started writing this post in October and stopped after getting to this point because I needed to find the name of the kindly Parisian journalist who made our time in the city of lights oh so faboosh...H has told me a million times but it is very French and I cannot commit it to my hopelessly English speaking brain so the post continues and he will be known only as Mr Paris until I can correct it).

Update - The food writers names is Henri Yadan...YAY!

The Raddisson Trocedero was simply stunning. It was everything I hoped it would be. Classic French furnishings, perfect location! Henri met us before we had even checked in and whisked us away to L'Arc, a modern French restaurant in a prime position with the most perfect views of the Ard de Triumphe you will ever see. We ate like kings and banished all memories of the microwaved cheeseburger. Unfortunately I have no idea what we ate as we didn't order, we were just fed but the butter alone was worth the journey!

That night we ate at Michel Rostang - a hook up via H's employers..who also picked up the tab (it is always a concern when the woman - that's me - is handed a menu with no prices...) Again we were treated and ate like royalty. The wild duck being the absolute highest point among many.

We had only one full day in Paris and that was spent on a day trip to Versailles. A cycling day trip that is. I won't bore you with the details but let me say this...if you book a cycling tour please ensure you know how to ride a bike, otherwise there is a genuine risk that you will fall off said bike and scream the 'F-Word' at your husband in the middle of one of the most picturesque places on the planet resulting in American tourists 'tutting' disapprovingly...let's move on. We did have a fantastic picnic after a stop at the markets (pictured). This was also the site for the aforementioned 'cheesegasms', which involved H making very strange noises as we approached the many fromage stalls.

Our final night was spent at a newish restaurant recommended by Henri, Mini Palais. Again all French menus but very helpful waiters who confirmed my guess at 'chicken' and proceeded to bring me a bit of very fine roast chook...i mean le chook.

We were back in London 5 minutes before my bestie and her husband packed us in the back of the vauxhall for a mini-break in Cornwall which included a visit to Rick Stein's Seafood restaurant in Padstow. It DID NOT disappoint. There is a couple of pics here, yes that is a half lobster/full foie gras lobe salad. That was H's entree. And yes that is me attempting to fit the entire crab in my mouth at once, BRILL!

For our final few days we spent most of the time in pubs with breaks for visits to Borough Markets and a very speccy lunch at the Harwood Arms in Fulham, including English lamb shoulder, venison and grouse...yummers.

So that about sums it up, I'll spare you the emotional turmoil of returning to a place we once called home and still long to, and once again having to say good bye to my most precious friends not to mention my little blister (sister)...hmmm, maybe you weren't spared after all.

I'm sorry it took so long to wind this one up, i started writing in October and am typing now well into the new year but here it is...almost time for another trip me thinks!