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Kim Shook

England Trip Report

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The first thing that I have to do is to say thank you to everyone who answered my call for help regarding this trip – your contributions to the food, accommodations, dress, tipping, etc., etc. (both here and in PMs) helped make this trip the best we’ve ever been on. Also – to all you British folk: please don’t scoff at our food choices and opinions :laugh: . As I said in my NYC report, keep in mind that we are country mice and not accustomed to your local food. We probably just missed many good places and I’m sure that we enjoyed meals that would seem terribly ordinary to you. But enjoy them we did, so we were happy!

It’s taken me forever to get this report together – life intervened when we got home in the form of work, family health issues, possible home renovations. But, actually, perspective may not be a bad thing. I should also say that we truly didn’t have a bad meal throughout the entire trip (except for the predictably execrable pre-flight Applebee’s airport dinner). The ‘good restaurants’ (all recommended by eG’ers) were fantastic, not unexpectedly. But, more surprising, was how good the ‘ordinary’ meals and snacks and regular grocery store food was (not to mention a couple of desperation convenience store meals – more later re: that!).

Saturday, May 14th

One of our first stops in London, after dropping our bags at our friend’s flat was the astounding Fortnum and Masons. I could have wandered for HOURS (but didn’t want to incur the wrath of either Mr. Kim or our indulgent host) and spend thousands of pounds (Mr. Kim again). Gorgeous confections:

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14-5K by ozisforme, on Flickr

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14-8K by ozisforme, on Flickr

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14-10K1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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14-10K2 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Beautiful meats, cheeses, dairy, produce, baked goods:

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14-10K3 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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14-10K4 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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14-10K5 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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14-10k7 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Not to mention an amazing array of things to serve those beautiful things on or in, to cook them with and a great selection of cookbooks. I wished that we were going to be in London long enough to have a picnic just so that I could order one of their lovely hampers.

So many people recommended Ottolenghi, Sofra and Leon that I was anxious to try at least one of them and even carried everywhere a Google map that I’d made with each one of their locations pinpointed so that we could go if we were ever near one at lunch time or breakfast. Alas, we never seemed to be from what I saw. I was so sorry to have missed all three – I’d been drooling over the menus and photos and descriptions for weeks! We ended up at EAT for lunch the first day. I was expecting Panera and was so pleasantly surprised! EAT is a London based chain - sandwiches, soups, desserts, etc. MUCH more interesting than Panera - and it shouldn’t be – the sandwiches are Panera are made when you order them, at EAT; they are already made up in boxes on a refrigerated shelf. They have no business being as good as they are. No pictures because my friend, while understanding my obsession (he even reminded me to take pictures in the other places), thought that EAT was just too ordinary to take pictures of! We shared a very good hummus, avocado and harrissa sandwich and the best Cheddar cheese potato chips I’ve ever tasted.

More wandering and more food-centered sightseeing! Macarons really ARE the new cupcake – we saw them everywhere:

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14-22k1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

I love the fact that English department stores still have food halls (maybe really big stores in the US still have them, but in Richmond and Washington, DC, they disappeared years ago). Lola’s cupcakes in Selfridge’s:

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14-25m by ozisforme, on Flickr

See the price on the giant cupcake? £45 – that’s almost $72 :shock: !!! I am charging way too little for mine.

LOVED the ‘American’ aisle:

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14-26k1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

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14-26k2 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Crisco, Kraft Mac and Cheese, JIF, Marshmallow Fluff, Karo, and even Shake n Bake!

The three of us had dinner that night at the beautiful and dramatic looking Quo Vadis (thank you, thank you nikkib!):

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14-27m1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Our friend, Craig, started with the Sea Bass Ceviche:

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14-36m by ozisforme, on Flickr

This was lovely – perfect texture and perfectly seasoned. The avocados suited the fish so well.

Mr. Kim started with asparagus and a poached Bantam egg:

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14-35m by ozisforme, on Flickr

He really loved this (not a fan of asparagus, so I couldn’t say). Another shot:

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14-37m by ozisforme, on Flickr

This picture illustrates something that I noticed during our entire trip. We ate a LOT of eggs and every single one was perfectly cooked (for us) – nice firm whites (no snot, Maggie!) and unctuous, oozy yolks. I guess everyone in England likes eggs the same way that we do!

My main was Braised Ox Cheeks and mashed potatoes:

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14-38m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Again – just a perfect rendition. They were tender, but substantial and the sauce was winey and beefy all at once. I didn’t come near to finishing this – who knew oxen were so cheeky?

Craig’s main was Spotted Ray with Capers, Browned Butter and Curly Kale:

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14-40m by ozisforme, on Flickr

I have a question here. I don’t think I’ve ever had spotted ray, but I assume that it is basically like skate, which I have eaten. The flavor was marvelous, but it was very spiny. We discovered that we could actually eat the cartilage, but it was a bit disconcerting and we weren’t sure if we were really supposed to.

Mr. Kim’s main was the hit of the evening (maybe the trip) for him:

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14-39m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Line Caught John Dory w/ Braised Fennel. He said it was the best fish he’d ever eaten in his life and he’d eat it all the time, if it was available. Understand that Mr. Kim is fairly new to the fish world. When I met him, his experience with eating fish was mostly limited to tunafish out of a can and Friday fishsticks. He’s slowly become more of a fish eater, but he likes it occasionally rather than on a regular basis. So this reaction says a LOT about that delicious dish!

We all shared three different ‘afters’. Bitter Chocolate Crunch:

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14-44m by ozisforme, on Flickr

A gorgeous little square drenched in glossy dark chocolate and topped with a wisp of gold leaf. Inside was more dark chocolate mousse on a crisp crust:

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14-46m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Cheese plate:

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14-43m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Bath Soft, Stinking Bishop, Tovey, Perl Las and Montgomery Cheddar. Just lovely – I could have made an entire meal of only this!

Home Made Petit Fours:

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14-45m by ozisforme, on Flickr

A tuille, a macaron, a meringue and various candied fruit paste (I can’t remember what the little crackly topped bite at the back was). Lovely and light and the perfect end to the meal.

Another perplexing thing at the end of the meal was this:

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14-42m by ozisforme, on Flickr

eXpresso. That pronunciation of espresso has always sent shivers down my spine (like ‘marscapone’ does) and considered that only the likes of Sandra Lee pronounced it like that. I think it even crops up sometimes in the various eG ‘pet peeve’ threads. But I think that I recently heard Mario Batali say ‘eXpresso’ and here it is on a very reputable restaurant’s menu. Have I been ignorant and arrogant without cause?

Sunday, May 15th

Breakfast the next morning was a Tesco express chocolate croissant (yeah, I know, but it was Sunday, I was hungry and we were hurrying to a Matins service at St. Paul – and it was pretty good, too, as grocery pastry goes).

We had a pre-British Museum lunch at Pret a Manger nearby. Pret yet another London chain that is much, much better than it should be, considering that the sandwiches aren’t made as you order them. I had the Wiltshire Ham and Greve cheese baguette and it was VERY good (can’t remember what Craig and Mr. Kim had and still no pictures).

Dinner this night was at The Wolseley in St. James. The building was built in 1921 and is gorgeous inside and out. I liked the Wolseley even better than Quo Vadis (thanks for this recommendation go to PoppySeedBagel and patrickamory) – though Mr. Kim was still think about that John Dory! About a week later, Ms. Hillary Clinton dined there with the British Foreign Secretary, so eGer’s really know where to go, huh? I suspect that this is the main reason that I loved it so much:

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15-197m by ozisforme, on Flickr

That is a Croustade of Quail Eggs w. Hollandaise. Is that the cutest thing you’ve ever seen or WHAT? The pastry was crisp and buttery. The eggs were poached absolutely perfectly and the hollandaise was smooth and thick and delectable! Honest to God, if I’d been in a diner, I would have requested a yeast roll to sop up every atom of the eggy-saucy goodness at the end!

Craig’s starter was Avocado Vinaigrette:

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15-196m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Beautiful, smooth and creamy avocados.

Mr. Kim’s starter was another of his favorite dishes of the trip – and another fish:

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15-195m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Servern and Wye Smoked Salmon w. Buttered Soda Bread. Possibly the very best smoked salmon I’ve ever eaten. And the bread was great, too.

My main was something that I knew I would have to have at least once in England, and it was Sunday evening, so it seemed appropriate:

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15-198m by ozisforme, on Flickr

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15-201m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and Roast Potatoes (pay no attention to those green things in the corner – they were CRUNCHY – bah – and weren’t Brussels sprouts, so I didn’t give them the time of day). Gorgeous and delicious. I’d give anything to be able to make a Yorkshire pud like that!

Craig’s main was Seared Mackerel w. Celeriac Remoulade:

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15-200m by ozisforme, on Flickr

I’ve never cared much for mackerel, but this was very good and the remoulade was exceptional.

Mr. Kim’s main was Steak Frite:

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15-199m by ozisforme, on Flickr

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15-202m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Here, I’m afraid, his inner American came to the fore. He said it tasted good, but was awfully small.

I was the only one who ordered dessert:

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15-210m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Strawberry Tart. It was very good – lovely strawberries and a super crisp crust. I ended up sharing.

Monday, May 16th

Craig’s flat is near Hyde Park, so on the way to Paddington Station, we stopped at a little place called The Chelsea Deli for breakfast. Since it was my first real breakfast in England, I knew that bacon was in order. I had a bacon butty:

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16-1k1 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Mr. Kim opted to add eggs:

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16-1k2 by ozisforme, on Flickr

For those that don’t know about English bacon – just look at that! Lean and gorgeous! They call American-style bacon ‘streaky bacon’ and I have no idea what they do with it, because I never saw a slice. I was accustomed to it, because my English Nanny used to smuggle it into the US years ago when she visited. Half of her suitcase would be filled with Cadbury chocolate (impossible to find in the US in those days) and this amazing bacon. Mr. Kim hadn’t ever had it before and was in heaven. The texture is very like ham, but the flavor is much more complex – somewhere between ham and bacon.

Thus fortified, we set out for our day – Westminster Abbey, a double decker bus tour (I thought it might be hokey, but it was actually wonderful sitting back and letting someone else drive and park and all – if we’d had more time, I would rather see everything on our own, but 2 1/2 days is a very short time), a short Thames cruise, St. James Park, etc. Lunch, was unfortunately coach station snack shop sandwiches and a Cadbury bar, necessitated by us lingering at the Abbey (no pictures, but not bad, actually).

We walked from Buckingham Palace to the one and only fish and chips place that was recommended by Harters. Master’s Super Fish is way out Waterloo Road (my navigation skills made it farther than it actually WAS) and I could tell that Mr. Kim wondered where the hell we were going. We were rewarded finally:

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16-159m by ozisforme, on Flickr

We ate lots of great food on our trip and I was very careful to get recommendations for the high-end restaurants that we went to, but I think that I was most excited about my first real English fish and chips. I have to thank you, Harters, for recommending Master’s. It was a wonderful meal. We sat down and ordered and then they rather startled us with this:

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16-160k4 by ozisforme, on Flickr

An amuse? In a chippie? Did this bode well? Had Master’s gone all upscale on us since Harters’ last visit? Nope. The delivery of our fish settled that matter. I had plaice for the first time since I was a little girl at the Mucky Duck in Santa Monica, California (and that was probably American plaice) and had forgotten what a lovely, light tasting fish it is. I was swooning over my gorgeous fish, proper chips and big, crunchy pickled onion, all doused with vinegar:

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16-160k5 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Mr. Kim chose cod and it was lovely, too:

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16-160k6 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Bite:

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16-160k7 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Two and a half days in England so far. Eight more to go and then two and a half more in Paris. I’ve got lots more to report, but I thought I’d break it up to make it more manageable.

I have begun blogging our trip. If you would like a fuller, but less food-centric report, it starts here.

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Excellent report, really enjoying it.

Generally you wouldn't eat the cartilage if you're eating ray, but who am I to say you shouldn't?! Ray is actually one of the classic fish to have battered with chips in a Dublin fish n' chip shop (not so common in the UK perhaps?) although the bones mean it requires a bit of surgery to eat properly. Still my number one choice.

Can't wait for the next instalment.

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Hi Kim - so glad you enjoyed it! Skate is now listed as being overfished in UK waters so Ray is considered the eco friendly alternative although yes it is incrediably similar. They also take it off the bone/cartilege at Quo vadis (something ive only ever had there and at Momofuku in NYC) so you were not eating any cartilege just the fish which retains the shape of cartilege even once its removed. Looking forward to reading the rest of your blog and trying not to get too home sick!!!


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Remembering of course that Skate is a Ray and some places (not Quo Vadis I hasten to add) might list Ray when they are using Skate.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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"Expresso" for coffee.

I'm ancient enough to recall when it was commonly called that in the UK. Havnt seen it written down for years, although I confess to occasionally forgetting it is no longer 1970 and pronouncing it like that.

"Streaky bacon" - in this household, only ever used as an ingredient - perhaps when pancetta is too "foreign" for the dish. Mrs H loves this for her breakfast when we visit America - very, very crisp. Woman has no taste whatsoever, IMO. :laugh:

Next trip, come to the north west - where we invented fish & chips.

John


John Hartley

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Actually, about the streaky bacon, the major use in our house is to cover the turkey before roasting at Christmas. The streaky rashers keep the turkey moist, and have the added advantage of turning into a very fine bacon helmet when removed.

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Interesting, I much prefer streaky bacon, I would rarely go for a piece of back bacon in a bacon buttie.


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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You're killing me over here...I was happy just to see some great marrow bones, but wow, great looking food. It has been great reading about your trip, the food photos ALMOST top Mr. Shook's driving....

As far as the eXpresso thing, my pet peeve is "chi-POLE-tee" instead of chipotle....

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Just re-looked at the piccies and am most taken by the eggs. Clarence Court stuff is common in supermarkets - but I've never seen a pack of mixed Burfords and Legbars.

Posh "dahn sarf" innit?


John Hartley

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By "Posh" I think you mean "Better" :smile:

(retires to sofa awaiting barrage of abuse)


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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You see....you see....YOU SEE!

Sofa, eh?

There's posh.

It's a settee oop north.


John Hartley

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More! More! More!


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Excellent report, really enjoying it.

Generally you wouldn't eat the cartilage if you're eating ray, but who am I to say you shouldn't?! Ray is actually one of the classic fish to have battered with chips in a Dublin fish n' chip shop (not so common in the UK perhaps?) although the bones mean it requires a bit of surgery to eat properly. Still my number one choice.

Can't wait for the next instalment.

Hi Kim - so glad you enjoyed it! Skate is now listed as being overfished in UK waters so Ray is considered the eco friendly alternative although yes it is incrediably similar. They also take it off the bone/cartilege at Quo vadis (something ive only ever had there and at Momofuku in NYC) so you were not eating any cartilege just the fish which retains the shape of cartilege even once its removed. Looking forward to reading the rest of your blog and trying not to get too home sick!!!

Well, I called it 'cartilege' because I wasn't sure what it actually was - but it was hard and long and thin like a bone. But we could crunch and eat it. And to repeat myself - it was some of the most delicious stuff I've ever eaten.

More is coming - unfortunately, idiocies like work and laundry and errands get in the way, but I'll be posting soon, I promise!

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Keep going! Loving this!


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Looking forward to more Kim.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Days 4-6 Oxford & the Cotswolds

Tuesday, May 17th

This was the morning that we left London. Mr. Kim went out to get breakfast while I organized things at the flat. He came home with this:

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17-1k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Be still my heart – a full English!! (Except for the mushrooms and grilled tomato, which was fine by me!). I have ‘issues’ with English sausage (I prefer all meat versions of sausage and will have my cereal in a bowl, thank you very much), but even THAT was welcome to this crazy Anglophile! The bacon was fab, of course and the eggs perfect again! Mr. Kim has this prejudice against those beans, though. Having an English stepdad (some of you probably remember Ted Fairhead who used to post here) beans on toast was a regular breakfast item for me growing up and we always used Heinz vegetarian beans to approximate English baked beans. Mr. Kim believes that if there is no pork in beans, they are not fit to eat (I can see his point, but still like beans on toast myself).

So it was off to Paddington Station again for us. This time, we took the train (as opposed to the Tube) back out to Heathrow to pick up our car. Mr. Kim was the driver and I (and the blessed GPS – Jeeves, by name) the navigator. As you can imagine, hilarity ensued for the following eight days. Since it has nothing to do with food (except we did eat in the car a couple of times), I’ll spare you all the car stories. Suffice to say, we never got irretrievably lost, hit anyone or anything, or got a moving violation (MOVING violation – ‘nuff said about that). We arrived in Oxford, shaking bags of terrorized jelly some time later. I had chosen the Turf Tavern for lunch. I can’t even remember where I heard about it (it wasn’t here), but when I looked at pictures online and saw the menu, I thought it sounded like a place we would like. It is also VERY hard to find – down crooked alleys and around multiple corners. I am so glad that I noticed that mention, where ever it was because it was EXACTLY the kind of food and place we were longing for.

The place is charm itself – quaint and OLD with a friendly staff and great outdoor seating:

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17-5k by ozisforme, on Flickr

We started with a pint of something dark (sorry) for Mr. Kim and a half of cider for me:

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17-6k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Cider became my drink of choice in England. I’m not a beer/ale drinker, but I love cider, so I was in heaven. Mr. Kim IS a beer/ale drinker, so he was in heaven too. Nice, that.

Mr. Kim had a cheeseburger with Shropshire bleu, chips and some soppy cole slaw:

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17-6kkkkk by ozisforme, on Flickr

We had slaw a few times in England and I have to say that it is the one thing that we didn’t find that they do better than the US. It was, without exception, overly wet for us. I like creamy slaw, but this was just too much. But the burger was great and the cheese was fantastic!

I had another wonderful meal (you’re going to get tired of hearing that) – Beef & Abbot Ale pie with chive mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage:

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17-6k6 by ozisforme, on Flickr

With lashings of really good gravy.

Look at that pastry:

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17-6k7 by ozisforme, on Flickr

We had a wonderful tour of Oxford – we wished that we had more time to wander on our own, but were glad of the knowledgeable tour guide, who took us places and pointed out things that we never would have seen otherwise. The dining hall at Keble College:

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17-27m by ozisforme, on Flickr

How could food NOT taste good in such a setting? Even this stuff:

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17-41k by ozisforme, on Flickr

What do you suppose Florida Chicken is?

We left Oxford, sorry to not have more time, but very excited about finally getting to the Cotswolds! Onrushpam gets a HUGE thank you from us for suggesting a website for rentals in England. It was through that website that we found the 400 year old Grade II listed cottage that was to be our home for the next three nights. Green Court:

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18-6k6 by ozisforme, on Flickr

It was everything I wanted – old, charming, in a village and it even had a kitchen:

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18-8k2 by ozisforme, on Flickr

We were too tired to try to ferret out somewhere to eat, so we just went to the nearest place that we could find on a map. It was called The Ragged Cot and was just beautiful:

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the_ragged_cot by ozisforme, on Flickr

Originally a 17th century coach house, it is now a gorgeous upscale inn and restaurant with gardens and lovely outdoor seating, a snug and a sign proclaims that it welcomes dogs and wellies. The people were friendly and welcoming. So why were we so underwhelmed? I’m not sure that it wasn’t my own fault. The food was upscale and I just don’t think that that was what I really wanted for my first meal in the Cotswolds. We should have probably just gone to the pub down the High Street from Green Court.

We started with homemade bread and marinated olives:

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17-95m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Mr. Kim also had the cream of wild mushroom soup:

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17-96m by ozisforme, on Flickr

He said that the mushroom flavor wasn’t really very apparent.

My main was New Season Lamb Cutlets, Wilted Wild Garlic, Janssen Temptation (a layered potato dish) and Marjoram Relish:

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17-100m by ozisforme, on Flickr

The Janssen Temptation was very good – a TAD undercooked, but delicious. But all that liquid at the bottom? That is a big pool of pure melted butter. It kind of sapped the flavor of the lamb.

Mr. Kim’s main was Honey Cured Pork Chops, Vichy Carrots and Warm Potato Salad:

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17-99m by ozisforme, on Flickr

The pork was excellent – tender and juicy and VERY porky.

No dessert – we were exhausted and already thinking about curling up under the fat, ploufy duvet at the cottage.

Wednesday, May 18th

Our hostess had stocked the kitchen with bread, butter, tea, milk and basic condiments. I’ve already mentioned how much better we found the ‘ordinary’ food to be in England. The bread is a good example. It was just regular plastic bagged supermarket bread (I later found the same brand in a Tesco) – but the taste and texture and even the size was world’s away from Wonder! I actually had a hard time getting it in the toaster!

Our first stop was a Tesco supermarket in Stroud. On my blog, I had to explain WHY I would take the time to go to a supermarket while on vacation. It’s nice that I don’t have to do that here! I do love going to markets in new places and seeing all the things that are different and unusual and they are great places to find gifts to take home. But this was the first thing we saw when we walked in the door:

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18-8mm by ozisforme, on Flickr

Sigh

We were very excited about the Crunchie and Flake ice cream, though:

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18-8m by ozisforme, on Flickr

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18-8m3 by ozisforme, on Flickr

And, of course, the odd crisp flavors:

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18-9mm by ozisforme, on Flickr

And THIS was interesting:

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18-9m by ozisforme, on Flickr

We bought some bits and pieces and a few gifts (Mars bars, McVittie’s biscuits in a commemorative Royal Wedding tin) and loaded up on our favorite English candies – Flakes, Crunchies, Maltesers, etc.

Lunch was in Painswick, an impossibly charming Cotswold town – my favorite place in England. We ate at the pub – the Royal Oak Inn:

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18-40k7c by ozisforme, on Flickr

The owner, Keith Ayres (who I don’t think is the chef) is a bit of a wise guy – they serve a dish called Puppy Dog Pie that has caused some controversy. He even put up missing dog signs around town. Lunch started with an unusual (and gratis) appetizer:

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18-40k8 by ozisforme, on Flickr

That is a delicious blackberry sundae. The server asked if we would like it since she’d made too many. Well, it might have been in the wrong order, but I’d never turn down fresh blackberries!

For lunch we shared a local cheese plate:

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18-40m3 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Stinking bishop washed with pear juice, also with nettle rind, local stilton, Hereford hop cheese (with hop rind), baguette, butter and quince paste. The chef (or Mr. Ayres – if they aren’t the same person – sorry) brought it out and patiently named and explained the cheeses to us. He also told us something that I’ve never heard before – he said that the quince paste was to be used as a ‘palate cleanser’ – not to be eaten with the cheese. I’ve never heard that and always just piled a sliver of paste on top of my bread and cheese. Who’s right? The cheeses were just gorgeous – the stinking bishop was our favorite.

We debated trying to find somewhere to eat dinner, but I was ACHING to use that kitchen – even in a small way, so we had dinner from the bits and pieces that we’d purchased that day (mostly at Tesco).

That BACON:

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18-107k by ozisforme, on Flickr

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19-1m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Bread and cheese:

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19-2m by ozisforme, on Flickr

The cheese was Stilton and Laurels Farm Red Leister. We love anything stinky, so the Stilton was our favorite.

Cox apples and strawberries:

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19-3m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Some gorgeous little tomatoes:

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19-4m by ozisforme, on Flickr

I had the best BLT (minus the L) I’d ever eaten:

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19-4m2 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Dessert was dark chocolate shortbread and a raisin scone:

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19-1k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Thursday, May 19th

Breakfast the next morning was bacon butties with the rest of that incomparable bacon:

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19-2k by ozisforme, on Flickr

And some really good clementine juice that I wish I could find at home:

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19-3k by ozisforme, on Flickr

We drove to Chipping Camden and I drooled over the windows:

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19-15k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Gorgeous town and not too crowded.

Does anyone know what this is:

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19-45k1d by ozisforme, on Flickr

There were fields of it all over the Cotswolds. Obviously cultivated. My MIL thought maybe Canola?

We drove to Upper Slaughter and walked the public footpath the mile to Lower Slaughter. Two more amazingly picturesque villages – places that, as an American, I hardly believed existed. We had lunch at beside the River Eye at The River Café:

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19-56k3 by ozisforme, on Flickr

A really lovely place to relax and eat and the locals were good company:

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19-56k7 by ozisforme, on Flickr

The place is a combination gift shop, ice cream parlour, restaurant and museum. Other than the two manor house hotels, it seems to be the only commercial place in the village. And that’s the way the locals want it apparently. The owner, a jazz singer from London is not a popular fellow in Lower Slaughter, it seems. Be that as it may, we had a simple but good lunch here. And were serenaded by lovely 1940’s music (my favorite era). Mr. Kim fell in love with two things at the River Café. One was this fantastic ginger beer:

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19-53m by ozisforme, on Flickr

The other was my sandwich:

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19-56k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Cheddar cheese and pickle. He did the whole “where have you been all my life” with that combination. That lovely salad is called a ‘salad garnish’ in England. Everywhere we went that modest phrase appeared on menus and we got these really good side salads.

Mr. Kim’s sandwich:

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19-55m by ozisforme, on Flickr

Roast beef and horseradish. A little dry, but tasty.

We got to Bourton-on-the-Water a little late in the day for any real sightseeing, but I managed to find an open cookware shop and did my own brand of sightseeing. I wanted every tea towel I saw (I LOVE English tea towels), but managed to only buy a new tea tray. I needed a new one and do you know how hard it is to find a tea tray in the US? They had DOZENS – mine is pink and has cupcakes on it. Naturally.

We also stopped in a little mini-mart here (we had become addicted to Crunchie Biscuits and were hoping to restock) and found THIS:

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19-167k by ozisforme, on Flickr

WTF????

We had dinner in Cirencester at the Black Horse. During our trip, we really tried to eat at ‘Free Houses’ as much as possible. The Black Horse is part of the Marston’s chain. But it is not exactly like eating in a Red Lobster. There were still the pub regulars – like the old guy who nursed his pint all night and read the newspaper. And the food was pretty good – my meal was certainly better than any chain I’ve eaten in in the States:

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19-179k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Pork and Hereford Cider Hot Pot – pork slow cooked in Hereford cider and sage sauce with caramelized Braeburn apples, Chantenay carrots and new potatoes. The bread was awfully good, too.

Mr. Kim’s meal:

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19-180k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Sirloin steak, half a grilled tomato, peas and chips. The less said about that hard clot of a ‘tomato’, the better – but the chips were great and the steak was pretty good.

Friday, May 20th

This was the morning that we left the Cotswolds, so we packed up, bid a fond farewell to our little cottage and went to Cirencester to find breakfast. Our wonderful and reliable GPS (named ‘Jeeves’ by us) found CAKE (or maybe The Cake House – I can’t remember):

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20-1k5 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Breakfast was teacakes:

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20-1k6 by ozisforme, on Flickr

And yet more bacon butties:

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20-1k7 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Terribly reluctant to leave, we did a little window shopping. Lick the Spoon – a chocolate shop:

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19-168k by ozisforme, on Flickr

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19-169k by ozisforme, on Flickr

Sadly, closed at that hour of the morning.

A butcher shop:

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20-1k8 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Pasties!!:

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20-1k9 by ozisforme, on Flickr

Farewell, Cotswolds…On to Avebury, Stonehenge and Salisbury!

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Kim

Your yellow flowered plant is rape. I have a bottle of cold pressed rapeseed oil that's as fine as any extra virgin olive oil you'd want to find.

And, just to clarify, about "Free Houses" and those that are not - a free house is independently owned and "free" to buy it's beer anywhere. Those that are not "free" may also be owned by someone other than the brewery (such as Marstons) but are "tied" to the brewery for beer supplies, by very longterm contracts. Of course, the breweries do own many directly.

Lovely to see how you enjoyed myself - it's some years since I was last in Richmond, VA, but have recollections of good eats there.


Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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Kim

Your yellow flowered plant is rape. I have a bottle of cold pressed rapeseed oil that's as fine as any extra virgin olive oil you'd want to find.

So Mr Kim would also be correct - rape in north america is called canola (from Canadian oil) in an effort to be politically correct.

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You were nearly right about Canola. Canola is a (trademarked) cultivar of rape. Whether your picture shows that cultivar or not, I'll leave to the botanists.

As an Englishman who has been out of England for 15 years, I'm finding your thread is tweaking some heart strings. I look forward to more.

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I am loving this! The grocery pics, the bacon butties, proper fish and chips... :wub: And since you obviously got home safely, I can laugh at the driving adventures instead of hand-wringing over your safety--Mr. Kim is a champ!

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Great, great reports. Boy do I miss that English bacon (and the baked beans). Keep them coming!

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Great stuff, Kim. I love it. BTW hot dogs in a tin = just the sausages, of course. The Germans do the same in jars ? Leastwise, the jarred ones I've seen have been German.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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