Back to London, a trip in two parts. And although it was gray and rainy and dreary for the entire Part I of my visit, it was still amazingly wonderful. To the few citizens of Chicago who read my fair blog, I hope that if we do not ever meet, I have at least one little small impact on your life: You pack your bags and go to London sometime. Eight hours on a plane is NOTHING. It is worth it. You should go. (But leave your sweatpants and pillow at home. Just a pet peeve of mine on airplanes. A bit precious, innit?)
Although I saved money on the Amsterdam leg of my trip, I SPENT money on this part of the trip. I splurged on The Haymarket Hotel, located right off Trafalgar Square. A while ago, I spent one night in the Covent Garden Hotel (also a Firmdale hotel) and LOVED it. So I was excited to try a second property. The Haymarket did not disappoint. The staff were all amazingly lovely and helpful and the facilities were gorgeous and I just wanted to roll around in the bed for ages and ages and ages. On my first night, the hotel staff left me stationary. And room spray. I wanted to write you all love letters from London, old school style.
The bathroom in my room at The Haymarket was as big as, if not bigger than, my hotel room during Return to London, Second Part. (Stay tuned.) Nice Miller Harris products too.
I dropped into MEATliquor for lunch one afternoon. I could barely see my burger and onion rings — thank goodness for the flashlight app on the iPhone — but everything was pretty darn good in a really messy sort of way. Although I still prefer my bun more toasted. Holds up to the meaty juices better, you know. This was also a tremendously good value of a lunch at just TWELVE POUNDS for a burger, onion rings, and Diet Coke. Do it.
But I’m skipping ahead. On Sunday afternoon, I met up with partners-in-crime, Ben & Antonia, for one of those perfect Sunday Lunches. Elliot’s Cafe in Borough Market. Great lighting. Great food. Great service. I got a little teary-eyed afterwards, really.
I won’t torture you with the steak tartare starter or the lovely strawberry and elderflower jelly we had for dessert. And all of this PLUS MORE for just 25 QUID per person. That’s $38 USD. People like to tell me that the UK is more expensive than America (especially people who have not lived in both countries), but on food, I disagree. In London, you will get better quality food for less money. I am sure of it.
Cultural break. I went to the National Gallery. It was very stressful as there were many children having severe meltdowns. I had to leave. But I admired the mosaic tile floor in the entrance landings. Gorgeous.
Had to, had to, had to, had to revisit Spuntino. LOVE Spuntino. You will too. But get there early like I did because it is VERY small and there are only 20 covers or so, mostly bar seating. So if you go and there’s a queue and you have to wait forever, you will hate Spuntino. But if you get there early and can get a seat, you will love it. I promise.
And then, lucky lucky me. Pierre Herme in London was having a little launch event for their new line of breakfast products as well as their line of lemon products. Long-term readers will know I am a sucker for all things lemon. So I went and it was gorgeous. There was hazelnut praline spread — it took Mr. Herme three years to create this — and then there were lemon macarons and lemon chocolates and lemon pound cake and I rolled myself out of there, a bit addled by lemon in the best possible way. Mr. Herme, please come to Chicago.
Love London. Love it, love it, love it. I’ve missed it so much that I made sure I visited twice in one week. Stay tuned for Return to London, Second Part.