I love London and I haven’t been back since I studied there…so it’s not like I really needed an excuse to go down for a long weekend. But then E’s Dallas-living-and-loving friend said he was going to come up for for the Cowboys vs. Jaguars game so it made perfect sense we’d meet up with him and go as well. As it turns out, he wasn’t able to make it, luckily we’re able to amuse ourselves for a long weekend in London.
We landed Friday night a little late and so were off to a stressful evening- made it to our dinner reservation about 20 mins late. We ate at City Social which was supposed to have fantastic views and pretty good food. I’d say both are a little over-rated. The views are kinda obscured by the glare from the domed glass ceiling. And the tables are very long and close together, so I couldn’t really hear E (or the waiter) and felt more like I should carry on a conversation with the person next to me. The starters were both excellent actually- a potato gnocchi and French quail with creamed corn and pancetta. Then our mains, E had a “rib-eye” which was not a rib-eye and of course came with various sauces for it. I had cod with chorizo, baby squids and squid ink aioli and some very medeteranian style cooked veggies. Overall my dish just didn’t go together. It was really off. We shared some type of tropical flavored dessert that was pretty good though and very light. Oh and the martinis….while good, were very very tiny. And why hasn’t the UK realized the greatness of blue cheese stuffed olives?
Saturday we went to a couple markets and ate our way through them and just walked around the city. Did a little shopping. Had to get my Lululemon fix…and check out a dress I liked at Ted Baker, some coats at Barbour. I also fell in love with this hat…like hard core love but at £110 I really couldn’t justify it. Just because I really have no where to wear it but Highlands Games…it would go smashing with my Barbour. Oh the looks Stella and I would get as we go for a walk in matching Barbour and a grouse feather fascinator…
But it was a lot of walking. Nearly 27K steps in total says the ole Fitbit. We went to Le Garrick for a pre-theater dinner. On our way there we got to duck in by a skating rink and watch some fireworks that were on for The Lord Mayor’s show. Then it started raining cats and dogs and we ran the rest of the way to the restaurant. It seems the ground floor is just a small bar more or less. We were directed downstairs and the staff was lovely and took our umbrellas and rainy coats. It was such a small, warm, intimate cellar. We had fantastic French food- I had the cassoulet and E has mussels. And of course some Kir Royal. Then we headed off to Phantom of the Opera. I had never seen any production of it before and of course London was top notch. I was most surprised that The Big Bang Theory’s Soft Kitty song is a riff from Phantom.
We started Sunday with breakfast inside Covent Square. Where I found this great reindeer!
I love reindeer! London was all decked out for Christmas and even though it was early November…I loved every second of it. Then, of course, did some more shopping (Le Coq and Nike and Cupcakes)…and then got my sushi fix at Sticks and Sushi. Then it was time to head to Wembley for the Dallas Cowboys game.
Wembley is pretty amazing. In the short time we walked through to our seats I passed 2 champagne bars….great in my book. We had a great time, it wasn’t too cold, it didn’t rain. Before the game there was a moment of silence in remembrance for WW1. It was incredible to have the entire stadium silent. Then during the National Anthem and God Save the Queen, every seat had a plastic bag to hold up which formed 100 poppies around the stadium. It was really touching. And the Cowboys won…so I guess that’s who we were rooting for….so that’s good, right? And we made nice new friends, although we missed Raul. I will say I kinda love the UK’s enthusiasm for American Football. And I was kinda disheartened with the lack of Bears’ jerseys. I know you’re thinking, why would there be Bears jerseys at a Cowboys/Jaguars game? Well, because UK American Football fans wear whatever NFL apparel they have to any game they go to. The mass was wearing about 50% Cowboys gear (‘tis America’s Team) and the other 50% of the gear is pulled from all the other 31 teams. A big NFL hodgepodge. You wouldn’t know what game you were walking into based on apparel. But really lackluster showing for the Bears.
On Monday he headed straight away to the Tower of London to see the Weeping Window. It seems there wasn’t much press in the US about this, but filling the moat (dripping out of a window of the tower) was 888,246 handmade, red, ceramic poppies to represent all the lives lost in WW1. If you were quick, you could buy one of the actual poppies for 25 quid…but they went fast as you can imagine.
After taking all that in…headed back to our hotel to pick up our bags and took a short bus ride back to Covent Garden to get us some Shake Shack. I had never had Shake Shack…it came to Chicago recently and of course I missed it. But I’ve had a friend that has raved about every time she gets back from New York so I jumped at the opportunity. It might have been the most expensive fast food of my life (£28.50) but honestly…it was well worth it. I even had a vanilla shake. God…so good. And it was Aberdeen beef! So, supporting my community of course. For what seems so highly regarded (Aberdeen beef), I don’t understand why we haven’t found a good steak yet.
And so ends our little weekend get away to London. We took the tube to Heathrow and I had some time to try out some new Burberry purses (Christmas is coming after all) our flight left on time. I’ll have to write a post about picking up Stella another day. But it involved me with my pants around my ankles, covered in mud (at least I’m calling it mud…it may have been sheep crap.)