The Date: Sunday, July 8, 2007
The Victim: Stacey
The Damage: Well, it was probably something like £40, but I loaned Stace some money so she could buy some fab dresses and she insisted on paying for a lot more than she should have from there on out.
The Background: It’s funny…I’ve just been on the phone to Rutton (it’s 8 p.m. on a Sunday as a write this), and I told him about my day. And he said, "You’re very good at planning your weekends."
And that gave me pause. Because although I’d so like that to be true, it’s not. I’m a planner, for sure, but planners can’t plan alone.
So yesterday, I was supposed to go over to Al & Louise’s for a barbecue with baby Oscar. (Al & Louise have the distinction of being this American gal’s "English friends.") At 8:30 a.m., I checked my phone and there was a message from Al that said something like…
"Stuck my head in a bucket of PIMS last night. I’m dying. Barbecue is off. Sorry."
So that left me wondering what to do next. (Cue Al Green, Tired of Being Alone.) Result? I read Vogue. I read Travel & Leisure. I update my blog. I start the dinner music mix for Matt & Feathers’ wedding. I hang out on my patio. I rent a car in Mexico. I call my friend Brian who is somewhere in the Middle East. I pick things up, I put things down. In short, I do nothing until around 8:30 p.m. when I head over to Au Lac for dinner with Chris & Evelien.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. I have plans to have brunch with K&A. I get back from my run around 10:30 a.m. and there’s a text from K…they’re not feeling very brunchlike. How about dinner on Tuesday instead?
Sigh. Cue Al Green again. The best laid plans.
Enter Stacey and a "What are you doing?" text around 1 p.m. And a trip to Camden. And the most delicious lunch ever…arepas from Arepa & Co, live from Venezuela. An arepa is a cornmeal patty. I love cornmeal. I love grits, corn bread, corn muffins…and arepas. Ours were stuffed with beef, beans, and cheese. They were super-delicious. You should get one sometime. Get me one too while you’re at it. Or e-mail me first and we’ll go together.
And then…we went to Gilgamesh…
Camden Stables Market
Chalk Farm Rd
Tel: 020 7482 5757
Have you read about Gilgamesh? Well, it’s huge. And you take an escalator to get there. And there’s a lot of carved wood. It reminds me of a hotel in a small city in China. It’s trying really hard from a decor standpoint. But at 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon when the market is packed, Gilgamesh is empty.
We are shown to the bar area and we wait forever for someone to take our order. We just get drinks. Fruity cocktails. They are actually quite pleasing, but they’re pricey. £9.50 maybe? Eventually, our server drops off some complimentary prawn crackers. And an hour or so later when she gives us our bill, it’s £5.23. 🙂 I was so very tempted. But the Catholic guilt kicks in.
I go to the ladies and I am again reminded of being in a hotel in small city in China. There is a mop bucket and some mops in the stairwell, as well as some red velvet ropes. Dude, that stuff should be in a closet. And in the ladies’, there are orange traffic cones. Because apparently, they’re about to start some roadwork. How random.
We tried to eat, but they wouldn’t let us, despite having a bar menu. Apparently, they don’t serve any food between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Not even food from steam baskets. (You know, because that’s hard.) Bummer. But we can have some more prawn crackers.
Stacey and I decide that we would maybe come back to hang out at Gilgamesh. It’s in a good location, and the decor is sorta cool. And it’s so weirdly bizarre. Although I do pray for the rainforests.
So…in our search for sustenance, we decide on a CHANGE of VENUE!
Well, we like The Cuban immediately because there is live music. And the band rocks. And every so often, a few people get up to dance. It’s fun.
We get some mojitos, and we get some food. It’s bar food…quesadillas (with goat cheese?), croquettas, and something The Cuban calls Nachos, but I call "the bottom of the tortilla chip bag, with some sour cream spread on top." Yikes. Nachos are the easiest thing to get right…why do so many (non-American, non-Mexican) people screw them up?
But then I got thinking–what if they got the Arepas guys to come in and make Arepas? (I’ve had arepas in Puerto Rico, so I am guessing that Cubans do arepas too?) That would be a sure hit.
The Verdict: Love Arepa & Co. Intrigued by Gilgamesh, but frightened as well. Had fun at The Cuban, but wouldn’t eat there and would only go back if I knew that there were many mojitos were in my future.