Hello Northern Line. I’ve missed you. Yes. You. Even though you totally suck at rush hour. But when you’re empty and you make the sounds that you do, I do love you. You’re efficient. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re clean. (Except during rush hour, with all the newspapers flapping about.) You’re — strangely — comfortable, you with your blue velour cushioned seats. London Bridge to Angel, in no time then.
Yes. I was back. A flight to London in the $800 range? This is a good thing. Lots of points on my credit card, letting me stay three nights at the The Park Lane Hotel? Even better.
Too bad The Park Lane was such a dump, relatively speaking. The carpets had seen better days. Way way better better days. But at least the bed was comfortable. Oh, and they had one of those outlet panels that let’s you plug in an American plug. Even though you’re in the UK. Nice.
To make myself feel better, I took myself out to dinner. At Dinner. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. You know, this guy. I would like to thank — profusely and obviously so — the maitre’d at Dinner for squeezing in our table of six on a Friday night at 8 pm. And into a very prime table no less. I’m sad we never got a chance to meet. Or hug. Because truly, this was one of the loveliest of evenings…definitely hug-worthy. Even if @leeturnerconn — aka Feathers –was ready to pass out at the table. (Pregnant. Twins. We forgive her.) But that Meat Fruit (pictured)? Like silk. Edible edible silk. (Foie gras. Mandarin. You get it.) The maitre’d also popped for a round of biscuity champagne, a wonderful surprise that made an already festive evening even more so festive.
The Tipsy Cake — a wonderful pineapple creation — nearly brought me to tears. Happy sad tears for everything I had left behind and everything yet to come. (Even though this was the end.) Slow-roasted pineapple. On a spit. Carmelized and only-God-knows-what-else-brioche with custard — custard which I am normally not a fan of, but which worked marvelously well here. I didn’t want to leave Dinner, and nothing could spoil anything, not even the couple at the table next to us, who stopped to (rudely and obviously) count the number of (perceived) Americans at our table. Sigh. We’ve been in the country a while now. We talk with our inside voices. Really. (And you two didn’t talk to each other one bit your ENTIRE meal. Sad!)
The Verdict: You should go to Dinner. If you don’t live in the UK, you should get on a plane and fly there. Just don’t cry. Like I did, in the terribly short taxi ride “home,” against the darkness of Green Park, wide awake with jetlag, wondering how I could make this all never end.
Chin up though! After a spin through Borough Market Saturday morning, where I had one of these…
and wept with happiness (that’s the chorizo & rocket sandwich from Brindisa), @tehbus suggested I come on over to Ferdies Food Lab that evening, which Simon himself had invited me to a week or two earlier. I took this all as a huge sign and headed over to Aldgate East to meet the gang for what would turn out to be a memorably bizarre evening. (You know…where there’s a man wearing a beret who talks about his black cape, and there’s someone else who manages to tell an entirely different story to everyone there about how they came to be there, and then there’s an in-depth discussion of the pros-and-cons of “adult” dating Web sites and before you know it, someone has drank all your wine so you’re drinking someone else’s and hope they don’t notice before it’s time to leave. And then you try to take a taxi home but the black cab driver kinda goes a lot crazy on you — only the second time that’s happened over hundreds of cab rides over more than seven years — to the point where you just pay him and get out in the middle of traffic at Oxford Street tube, even though you’re going to Green Park. )
The main of slow roast lamb was — and I hate both of these words — moist and succulent. Hard to turn away from this dish. I sorta wanted to take away the leftovers. But I had nowhere to put them. (Sob.)
The next morning, I went to Automat in Mayfair for the most disappointing of American breakfasts before heading down to Brockley for the most amazing of barbecues and the most beautiful of skies. And then the Big Green Egg came down from the skies and gifted us all with food and we were very happy.
…or is it?