The beauty about London, and any big city, are the restaurant choices and diversity that we have in abundance. I am a sucker for a good meal out, and a sucker for trying new places. During my birthday weekend (ages ago, I know) we tried our luck at Bloody French Canteen. A restaurant that, according to the staff, has been there for about 7 years, but that I have never heard of.
The menu was decidedly French with classics like onion soup, cheese fondue, beef tartare and confit of duck. I have only good things to say about the food, it was so flavourful, great texture and very tasty. French food with a bit of a modern twist. The only thing I can't get on board with, is the odd service. I constantly had the feeling that we were the first customers on the first day of opening the restaurant, probably due to the lack of confidence in the waiters. It wasn't bad, it was just very odd and very very slow. From the time we asked for the bill to the time we received it, at least 30 minutes passed. In a restaurant where only 4 tables are taken, that is a very very long time to take for such a small task. Although, if you want to give modern/traditional French food a try, and you order the bill when you get your main course, then you can sit back and enjoy the food itself and let life just happen outside the door. You are busy eating, after all.
While out walking I came across this little heart shape in the pavement and it reminded me that sometimes we have to look for the smaller details, appreciate the smaller things and keep our eyes and minds open.
As another week has passed and we are slowly closing in on March, London is getting colder, I am getting dry lips, and the months of travel/visits that awaits me has started. This week it was my dad coming over to London to celebrate a rather high round year by dining in style over a 2 day period. I am still full. We got him a room at 45 Park Lane, which I think I can now proclaim is my favourite London Hotel, with The Corinthia as a close second. There is just something so alluring, comfortable, stylish, elegant, secret and luxurious about 45. A drink in the bar is something that would cheer me up if things has been a bit shit lately. But then again, a full English cheers me up as well. It's the little things in life!
Stamp it, paint it, emboss it, engrave it, you name it, and I will buy it! I am so incredibly weak for anything that has my initials or my name on it. It almost borders on obsessive, like I need to keep something with me that can remind me of my name and who I am. Maybe that is it. Or maybe it is the feeling of something made for me specifically: an embossed wallet is distinctly more mine than just a plain old wallet. A bracelet with my initials on it is useless to most people but me. I almost want to order little fabric tags to sew inside my clothes, like we had as kids, just to make that new Uniqlo shirt a bit more mine.
Have you ever started listening to a song, immediately decided you din't like it, wanted to turn it on, forgotten it, and then suddenly finding yourself singing along? I thought so, it's not just me. Yesterday while watching the Brits Justin Timberlake came out of hiding and introduced me to Mirrors, which I hated and then loved. So much so that I downloaded it when the show was over and made the boyfriend go crazy while playing it over and over again. You gotta love JT, in his tux, rocking it. Give the song a chance, it only gets better the more you sit
I thought I had learned not to make last minute decisions, and still I do, without fail, make them all the time. This Monday morning: it's too early for the gym and generally too early for me to do anything but sip a cup of tea in a half coma, but I have managed to get myself showered and to the dentist. I should probably mention that the dentist is located across the street from where I live, but let's forget about that. I made it and that is the most important thing. It's been a little while since I have seen a dentist, mostly because I keep on moving from country to country, but also because it is painfully expensive to see a dentist in Norway. The type of monetary pain that I normally reserve for a luxurious purchase of the handbag variety, which happen very seldom. But here in the UK the NHS takes care of business and so I am at this dentist office, waiting for my name to be called.
I was sitting there, in the dentist chair, half asleep, wondering why on earth I wanted the earliest appointment available, waiting for the verdict. And here it goes: my teeth are in great condition (good news), I should floss every day and not only when I remember (less good news) and my 4 front teeth are very thin and I should do something about it (bad news). Supposedly my teeth are suffering because I drink so many sugary drinks, juice and eat sweets. Don't I know how bad sugar is for my teeth? Am I totally uninformed? I tried to tell the dentist that I never eat or drink any of the above but she looked at me with a disappointed and disapproving look, like I was lying to her. "I am telling the truth" I want to yell. "I have given up sugar! I promise!" But I don't, it's too early.
The dentist suggests we get going with some fillings, after all the next appointment has cancelled and she doesn't want to a. Be bored or b. lose out on the money. I'm going for b. here, but it doesn't really matter. What matters is that I can hear myself agreeing, and sitting back in the chair, without one seconds thought of the consequences. I have no idea, at all, how long this will take or how annoyed I will be at this split second decision. I have no idea how it is to have fillings at the back of your front teeth. No idea at all.
Fast forward to any day after, let's say today, and I can't get myself to stop running my tongue across my teeth. Want to know how it feels? Like I haven't brushed for 10 days. It's this feeling of constant unpleasantness. I can't chew properly, or bite anything with my front teeth, I can't grind my teeth. I can't stop thinking about it. Whatever is going on in the world, I am very occupied with my teeth, thankyouverymuch.
So, the solution? I am still searching. I can remember the dentist mentioning that the fillings will last 10-12 years, so only approximately 11 years, 11 months and 28 days left then. No biggie, right? It's a bit longer than I was hoping for, and I might go crazy before that time is up, but, friends say that I will get used to this. Get used to not chew properly? I think not people, I think not.
I am always up for experiencing new food and new restaurants and it's a little bit sad to say that I haven't tried ramen until now. It is essentially a very soupy dish with noodles, and to be honest, I have never been to excited about a noodle soup for dinner when there are burgers and steaks to be ordered. But I can't go through life eating every burger I come accross, and so it was the ramens turn last Wednesday. As with many of the London food trends, a couple of amazing restaurants will pop up around the same time, so it's not always easy to choose where to go, but we went for the restaurant with the strongest Asian heritage: Shoryu. Not a bad choice. I am surprised of how much I loved ramen, the broth, the noodles, the BBQ pork pieces, crispy onions and the EGG. I know. An egg. But it is utterly delicious. And so extremely filling. We were contemplating some starters but were too hungry to wait for the ramen, and that is probably the wisest decision I have made all week. This bowl of soupy goodness is enough to fill you up and make you skip dessert. And maybe the next day's breakfast.
This Friday we went to a comedy show at Soho Theatre, to see a Norwegian stand up comedian (supporting the home country and all that). The show was fun, but finding yourself hungry in Soho at 8pm is a disaster because it is possibly the busiest time for restaurants there. Soho in general have so many amazing places to go to, but there is a trend of not offering reservations, which means there will always be a queue. Everywhere. And when you are starving, queuing isn't on top of the list of things to do. So when we find ourselves in this situation, we always end up walking to Chinatown and eating at Lido, one of the restaurants I know will have good food. And there is always a table, if you are 2 people, or 8. I am a sucker for crispy duck and can't turn that down, but they also have amazing green beans that make me think I could go vegetarian.
I am not a fan of gift giving for Valentine's Day, a day that has been largely created/developed by the card industry and it's friends. Not to say that I would mind gifts on any other day of the year, just to get that out there. But Valentine's is much nicer when the focus is on food, drink, love and one or two roses. So as I am not expecting gifts, I will have to buy myself this shirt, so that I can, literally, wear my heart on my sleeve.
You know, breakfast in a restaurant, it can't be beat. Yesterday morning a colleague went to Tom's with me so that we could start pancake day in style. However, when the chef decides to add sugar in his pancake batter, I pull out and have to go for something else on the menu. This is life when you don't eat sugar. The lucky result? I had the BEST omelette I have ever had. Ever. Hash browns, bacon and cheese inside, it just can't be beat.
So I went for the omelette, but my colleague stayed true to pancake day and had the mascarpone pancake which she said was very good.
I'm Christine and I currently live in London with my husband where I do my best to go to as many restaurants as possible, bake, DIY and occasionally let my hair down and go to a museum. x