I’ve been terrible at posting but brilliant at documenting. Oh, and, if you were about to guess, I’ll just say that YEAH, it’s a post about food.
It’s pretty obvious if you look through my iPhone’s photo album, my life is documented by pictures of shared meals. This is no surprise to anyone with some semblance of typical social life. When you get out of the office, the evening is yours to convene with friends who are also freed from their shackles. And, oh, it’s dinner time too.
There are always many restaurants on my list that I want to try, and my way of justifying the expenses is to kill two birds with one stone and get my quota for social-time in, too. Wait, is that just wrong of me — which is the means to the end, friends or food? Well, the beauty is how innately tied the two are. While sometimes I do seem to “use” my dear dear friends to be my restaurant posse, food is the medium through which conversation, shared experience and memory join. Also, mmm, mmm.
Below, some memorable meals I’ve shared (and put away, if you will), the experiences and what they have meant to me:
Saturday Night: the 3-hour wait at Burger & Lobster, rewarded. Met old friends and new ones while first bonding in waitlist solidarity at a nearby pub, then bonding over our hard-earned lobster fest (at, finally, 10:30pm), then, recharged, ended up dancing all night at the Playboy Club (strangely not a sleazy place at all — actually a lot more demure than most sweaty clubs in London…). Yumfun.
Sunday brunch at Sandy and Joe’s — and baby Esmé. Met friends-of-friends, a slightly older crowd of still very fun, bright and entertaining expat Americans, so while I felt a bit out of place being 10 years younger than everyone (or was it the massive hangover that was giving me an out-of-body experience?), it was still a comforting and fun circle to plop around the couch with. Oh and, by the way, a fabulous Sunday brunch spread of oven-cooked scrambled eggs (18 eggs in total, for 8 people!), smoked salmon, Mexican barbecoa (braised ox cheeks tacos, a trad Mex breakfast), lemon-rosemary cake, cinnamon buns, scones, lots of clotted cream and jam! Faint.
Date Night: The (Formerly) Doomed Carribbean Place!
Ever since BEFORE Will and I were dating, he’d wanted to take me to a this “amazing” Caribbean restaurant in Camden (called the Mango Room). Every time we scheduled it for a Wednesday, but EVERY time, something came up unexpectedly — ie., Contemporary Art Evening Sale at work, for which I had to stay in the office til 10pm. After 4 months it was time to give it another try. And… we got there! Our first date night. I overcame my fear of sweet cocktails with a phenomenal Piña Colada, and had a traditional Jamaican “saltfish and ackeee” to start, goat curry for main. Mm, gamey goat goat. Now that we’ve broken the spell with a successful night out, what’s next?!
Oyster at the Market
My friends Warren and Irene came to visit me at my cake stand at Sloane Square market and grab some good market grub. The current winner is the oscure Peruvian stall shoved behind all the other stalls. Hidden gem — they make a dang good meal of char-grilled chicken and pork and creamy beans, seasoned with cilantro and other spices, atop a bed of fluffy quinoa. How do I know, even though I’ve never ventured there to buy one? They go and buy different lunches, and we reconvene at my stall and share bites with each other. The cakes are on me 🙂
Another favourite is a now-ritual we do — get a plate of freshly shucked oysters from the Maldon Oysters truck. W’s favourite is with a squeeze of lemon and black pepper; mine is sherry vinager with tiny diced onions. We clink the oysters’ jagged edges to each others’ and shoot em down — a pre-shooter for potential Saturday late-night fun.
Celebrating La Vie en Londre
A girl from highschool at Lawrenceville, Vicky, was in town so we thought we’d get a little Lawrenceville reunion together. Karl (blonde one), Justin, Vicky and I are only a year apart. We weren’t friends in high school, but now that everyone’s “grown up” it made no difference. It was fun to reconnect, especially in a country far away from where we’d all started — which as it turns out, is for all four of us NEW JERSEY. Four New Jerseyans in London…
I chose the Windmill pub, one of London’s few remaining, absolutely charming and old-school pubs. It’s on Mill Street, right off of Regent’s Street. They supposedly have award-winning pies and I thought it’d be great to celebrate our being here with some classic British grub. My Shepherd’s Pie was hands-down the winner — served bubbling hot in its own mini casserole dish, topped with broiled cheese and leeks….
I’ll leave at it that for digestive purposes….
What was the last big meal out you had, and how was it enhanced by the friends you had enjoying it with you?
In the pipeline — This Easter four-day weekend I’ll be way oop North in Scotland with Will’s family. I can’t wait to get some me some nature, peace and quiet, fresh clean air and some cheesecake-baking too. Will update for my first Jane-style travel post!