Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bacon Cheeseburger at Saison

Bacon Cheeseburger by pjpink

Bacon Cheeseburger a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
I've come across quite a few tasty burgers in this town. Saison is now tops on my list. Ground sirloin with fixins, including pickled onions (a big fave). I recommend adding smoked Cheddar and bacon for an unbelievable experience. The fries are pretty damned good too. To add even more joy, wine is half off on Wednesdays!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carolina Cheer at Amuse

Amuse by pjpink

Amuse a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
What a wonderful summer cocktail at Amuse. The Carolina Cheer features Bulleit Rye Whisky, Cheerwine reduction, Strega, lemon juice, and a splash of soda water. Mighty fine.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pork Duo at Belmont Food Shop

Pork Duo by pjpink

Pork Duo a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
The Pork Duo at the Belmont Food Shop was heavenly when we dined in May. The quaint, tiny spot is worth the trip. Menu changes on a regular basis.

South of the James Market - Opening Day

I did make it to opening day at the South of the James Market, but was a bit delayed in posting photos. It was great to see the wide variety of vendors be it veteran suppliers or new ones.

Flickr has a group called Richmond Area Farmers Markets. Please add to the photos of your favorite area market.

In the meantime, enjoy some first day photos!

Pine Fork Farm

Japanese Turnips

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bunches of Flowers

Carnitas Tacos

Markiss Blowfish

Radishes

Smokin' Hot Pizza

Soul Ice

So Cute




Tea Smoked Duck at Fat Dragon

Tea Smoked Duck by pjpink

Tea Smoked Duck a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
At Fat Dragon my experiences have been hit or miss. But the Tea Smoked Duck is the bomb. Go ahead and drool. And for a casual place that mainly focuses on draft brews, the wine service is stellar.

The Original Burger at Burger Bach

The Original Burger by pjpink

The Original Burger a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
Burger Bach cooks up some of the best burgers in town. A very tasty treat! Fries are good too.

Two Manhattans Straight Up

Two Manhattans Straight Up by pjpink

Two Manhattans Straight Up a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
The outdoor setting and these Manhattans were the best thing about Portico. Most of the food was decent, but did not wow. And my NY Strip was less than stellar - Half of it was medium rare (my desired temperature); the other half was well done. Unfortunately, I had tucked into the medium rare side first. To top it off, the wait staff was also a bit off. He did not listen to a specific, yet simple, request and did not ensure the request was honored. Portico is a bit of a drive for us and not necessarily worth it, despite the gorgeous outdoor setting.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The River Cafe in London

Sitting along the Thames near the Hammersmith Underground stop The River Cafe transports one to an airy, natural setting to enjoy incredibly delicious Italian-influenced offerings. We arrived for lunch which started at 12:30 PM.

The River Cafe

The decor is bright and contemporary and full of windows to allow light to grace the dining area. The River Cafe also offers patio tables. Since it was sunny and the trees had not leafed out enough to provide shade on the patio, we chose a table inside seated by a floor to ceiling window.

Tables and Chairs

Sunny Day

This was our last lunch in London so we splurged a bit and began with a Telefonino cocktail. A refreshing concoction containing Zucca Rabarbaro, Campari, Punt e Mes, Lemon, and Fever Tree Tonic.

Telefonino

In keeping with the Italian them we ordered a bottle of Dolcetta D'Alba to accompany lunch.

Dolcetto D'Alba

For our Antipasti we splurged again and shared a plate of Mazzancolle ai Ferri - split and chargrilled Scottish langoustines with fennel, sea salt, and olive oil. We were expecting something small. We were surprised and pleased to receive a generous portion, although we could have easily begged for more. These little lobsters were the very best plate of food we enjoyed in the UK. The wood fired oven grilled them to perfection and they tasted so succulently sweet that we were exclaiming our delight with every bite. But beware, the knobby spines can be sharp and while cracking the claws open to get at every luscious bite, blood was drawn.

Scottish Langoustines

For our second course we made selections from the Primi section of the menu. Hubby kept with the seafood theme and ordered Spaghetti alle Vongole with clams, chilli, parsley, garlic and Fiano di Avellino (an Italian white wine). Tasty clams with just the right seasoning. I opted for a meat-free Tagliatelle al Limone - with Amalfi lemon, chopped rocket, creme fraiche, and Parmesan. Subtle lemon flavor paired with the pungency of the rocket (arugula). The creme fraiche contributed to the richness of the dish. Simple, true, but the quality of the ingredients and the execution of the kitchen turned simple into extraordinary.

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Tagliatelle al Limone

We could not resist getting dessert. The River Cafe features several ice creams. I had scoops of pistachio and chocolate. Yummy. Hubby went one step further and had an Affogato with Whiskey. All hail to the Brits.

Pistachio and Chocolate Ice Cream

Affogato with Whiskey

The River Cafe was a great experience. It was expensive, but worth the splurge for us. The menu can change daily. While there were no issues with us walking to and from the Hammersmith Underground during the day along the Thames Path, the restaurant cautions walking at night.

Orange Curve
 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Eat at Hereford Road in London

We had a kick ass meal at Hereford Road, a small place housed in a former butcher shop in the Bayswater area. If you go to their homepage, you will see the table we ate at. Side by side facing the open kitchen. These kitchen side tables were for walk-ins (which we were) while the proper tables were towards the back of the restaurant. We were thrilled with the kitchen view.

Hereford Road

Dynamic Duo


We began with a French Cabernet Franc from Saumur Champigny and a plate of bread. A beautiful beginning to the evening as we cozy up and watch the waitstaff and kitchen staff dance.

French Red

For starters we chose a Spinach and Ramson Soup and Roast Quail with Radishes. Ramson is in the alluvium family and is also referred to as wild garlic. This soup was delicious and sported an incredible green color. We ordered the quail because the table next to us did and it looked divine (tasted so, as well).

Spinach and Ramson Soup

Roast Quail and Radishes


The second course consisted of Middlewhite Pork Shoulder with Parsnips and Pot Roast Duck Leg with Fennel. Middlewhite pork comes from a rare breed of pigs known for their quality. The portion was more than adequate and it was so nice to have mashed parsnips as well. And the duck leg was huge and incredibly delicious and tender. I raised my knife and fork to begin carving and the leg fell apart at the touch. Just like a pot roast. Amazing.

Middlewhite Pork Shoulder and Parsnips

Pot Roast Duck Leg and Fennel

Even though we had enjoyed a hearty meal hubby could not resist an Apple Crumble and Ice Cream for dessert. I settled for a glass of Armagnac.

Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

Armagnac

This was truly a great meal in a lovely setting. I highly recommend checking it out if you are in London. The menu can change daily and focuses on items from the UK. Reservations are recommended.

Open Kitchen Portrait

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vinoteca Marylebone London

Once again another simply marvelous spot just a couple of blocks from our hotel, The Cumberland at Marble Arch. A small wine bar serving seasonal plates and tasty wine. I highly recommend Vinoteca.

Vinoteca

We ordered wine, of course. A bottle of Domaine Caillot Bourgogne Rouge. Mighty fine.

Bourgogne and Company

To start we enjoyed Kohlrabi, Radish, and Cucumber Salad and Confit Pork Belly with Pickled Red Cabbage and Applesauce. Delicious.

Kohlrabi Radish Cucumber

Confit Pork Belly


For mains we had Corn-fed Chicken Breast with Lentils and Roast Squash and Gressingham Duck Breast with Grilled Chicory and Blood Orange. Heaven.

Chicken Breast over Lentils

Duck Breast with Chicory and Blood Orange

The place was bustling. We arrived somewhat early and snagged a table before the crowds came in. We enjoyed peering over the counter to see the open kitchen in action and appreciated the speed and efficiency of the wait staff.

Kitchen Orders
Speedy Service

Sunday, July 07, 2013

London Eye

DSC_0474 (3) by pjpink

DSC_0474 (3) a photo by pjpink on Flickr.
The London Eye at night.

Cambridge

We were torn between taking a day trip to Cambridge or Oxford. Cambridge won out. We hopped a train and had a fairly decent trek into town. We were "winging it" with no particular places in mind. The colleges that were open to the public all had some type of museum or historic element that could be visited. We popped into the Natural History Museum to find a restroom and we discovered a dinosaur skeleton (and a school group).

We tackled two places. The first was the Fitzwilliam Museum. The entry was free, but no photos. The building was quite large and the collection a jumble of old paintings, a ton of 18th century porcelain, and a smattering of contemporary pieces. While the museum may never forgive me for saying this, it seemed like a place to house the collected items of former students.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Green

The second place was Kings Chapel at Kings College. This storied Gothic building featured the carvings and stained glass one expected. The fan ceiling was spectacular. There is a cost to tour, but well worth it.

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Graffiti has a long tradiiton
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We also strolled along the River Cam admiring the punts and the idyllic scenery. When I picture Cambridge or Oxford, these scenes come to mind. What is not shown on TV are all of the vendors hawking punt rides. I guess everyone must make a living somehow.

Through the Trees

Punts

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My kind of punt
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We enjoyed lunch at The Cambridge Chop House. Hearty meat selections for lunch. All delicious.

Table for Two

Gayda Syrah
Gayda Syrah was a wonderful companion to our meal
Ham Hock and Chicken Terrine
Ham Hock and Chicken Terrine served with toasted bread and apple compote. Lovely
Beetroot Cured Salmon
Beet Cured Salmon delighted my hubby
Honey Roasted Duck Leg with Bubble and Squeak
Honey Roasted Duck Leg with Bubble and Squeak. Duck legs in the UK are huge and very tasty.
Sausages and Buttered Mash with Peppercorn Sauce
Sausages and Buttered Mash with a Peppercorn Sauce. Who says British food isn't good?
I will leave you with a few more photos of Cambridge:

Red Pointer

Toni's Ices

Laundress Lane

Cambridge View

Keep Off The Grass

King's College Silhouette

Cambridge View

Round Church 1