Britannia Rules! and An Anniversary Come and Gone.

I have so much to tell about our short trip to London, so I will divide it into two posts over the week. To reacquaint you with the purpose of the visit, my aunt treated me to accompany her to her friends wedding. They are English and Dutch executives who lease her condo in Chicago. To justify this generous gift, we decided to call it an early 4oth birthday. My birthday is not actually until November.And I’m just realizing my One year Blog anniversary has come and gone. I think I have come a long way blogging. Anyway we flew out Wed to arrive on Thursday. Certain Someone got great rate at the the fabulous and posh Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair. Talk about 5 star luxury. We couldn’t check into until later so we walked around the neighboring Bond Street and visited the shops. My aunt is a social type and tried on some gowns in shops the assistants say was frequented by the late Princess of Wales. They had photos of her up around the shop. Who knows. We then had a quick lunch at a pub. My first meal was a traditional Shepard’s Pie.My aunt and I waited a while for someone to take out order. We soon learned we had to to the bar and place the order. Classic good fare . Finally I had access to our room and took a shower to visit my old friend Ellen. I was to take the tube to Westminster and meet her at another pub called St. Stephens. The after work crowd crowded the place, but my old wine club/ Alliance Francaise pal was waiting in a cozy corner. We cooled down with cider before we drank a glass or two of wine. Another classic English thing I love. Crisp cold , slightly alcoholic cider. Ellen’s partner joined us, and we decided to go onto dinner. I really wanted Indian. A friend of mine recommend the area of Brick Lane. That was far off, and they suggested we stick to Mayfair. The restaurants were pricier but there were some good ones. We rang my aunt who had crashed on the 1,000 count sheets, and she got ready to meet us. The concierge Mohammad recommended a excellent hotel in walking distance by Marble Arch called La Porte des Indes. This was an unusual and elegant restaurant owned by the Blue Elephant Group with locations in London and Brussels. They feature Indian /French cuisine inspired by the creole cooking of Pondicery.
The menu made it hard to decide to get the best of everything we decided on the tasting menu option.
Great pickles, steamed fishes, lamb,poulet rouge,etc. Then an elegant dessert trio with Asian and french fused classics.Think star anise chocolate mousse. I got the cook book they sell and plan to make some of these dishes. It was outstanding!
The next day I woke bright and early to hit Jane Asher’s Cake shop. Shes an actress and ex girlfriend of Paul McCartney before Linda, and is known for her cakes, etc. I wanted some hard to find back home sugar craft supplies. She had lots of Wilton, but lots lot unique items I haven’t seen yet. If only the dollar weren’t so low against the pound!I settled on sugar diamonds, some lustre’s I haven’t seen at home, some cutters etc. Compared to a cake shop I saw later on the trip, she was bit more pricey but the ambiance and neighborhood of Chelsea were what you were paying for. Her staff was very polite. I then headed for the highlight of my trip Borough Markets. This is the oldest food market in London and Kittie recommended I didn’t miss it. Was I blown away! I’ll let the pictures describe my experience I purchased some Indian spices and curries, sea salts , and a fantastic fresh grilled sausage and bacon sandwich with the strongest English Mustard. Who ever perpetuates the myth that English food is bad and boring needs to get over there ASAP! I love whats going on there.

Next on Coco Cooks…. An English Breakfast, wedding, and some pig roasts thrown in!