Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blogger Sucks

I have been trying for two or three days to post more pictures from Paris, but Blogger won't load them.  I cleared my cache, and got two to load no problem, but then it stopped.

I've fired off an angry and probably useless message to the Help forum (apparently Blogger has no staff), but does anyone have any other suggestions for me to try??

Your reward for your help is more pictures from Paris! :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some Paris Pics

Waiting for Miss Chef to get out of the shower, thought I'd upload some randomness.

the kiddos and I at the Arc de Triomphe

Crazy bird lady at Notre Dame corrupts the children,

Interior of Sainte Chapelle

Our very own gargoyle

Miss Chef and I and Notre Dame
 Today (Monday) is Museum Day: Louvre, Cluny and Pompidou.   I think our feet may revolt soon.  Onward!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day Five: London Again

Whoo-whee, I am way behind.  We've already been in Paris for a day and a half, and I still haven't posted my last London pictures.  So here are a few...

The Old Borough Market:

Yes, it's real.

Miss Chef buys lunch.

Then a short walk over to the Globe Theatre.  We had tickets to see All's Well That Ends Well.

It was amazing being in such a faifthful reproduction of a 500-year old theater, with the beautiful wood and painted stage around us.  Yes, those people stood for 2+ hours, through a rain shower and all.  The performance was wonderful, the actors excellent.  This is not a cheesy money-making scheme, this is a great way to fully appreciate Shakespeare's work.

Afterwards we walked across the Millenium Bridge--the one destroyed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Princ--to St. Paul's Cathedral.

There was a service in progress, so we couldn't do the full tour, but it was beautiful to be in there with the music echoing in the nave.  After a quick look inside, we hopped a bus to Fortnum & Mason, where we got rid of a few pounds on luxury foods.  Mustards, chocolate, wild strawberry jams....and we haven't had a chance yet to taste any of it!

One of the window's like the Sak's of food!

Look kids, Big Ben...


...and a panaroma of the Thames with the London Eye.

There.  Now, I have to get ready to go; we've got an appointment at the Eiffel Tower this morning.  Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day Four: The Artichoke

Wednesday we went off-schedule.  We spent the day at home watching the kids while my brother and sister-in-law fulfilled some business obligations at Wimbledon (aw, shucks).  Although we had to scratch Stonehenge from our list, it was a bit of a blessing.  It was high time for some down time, and we both ended up inadvertently napping at different points of the day.  We also got to play some wiffleball between downpours.

However, that evening was Miss Chef's big night--reservations at The Artichoke, an up-and-coming restaurant in Amersham, west of London, which is angling for its first Michelin star.  We went with my brother and his 12-year old son, who acquitted himself admirably through an eight-course tasting menu including things like crayfish foam and rhubarb granita.  He even got a compliment from the chef! 

So, without further ado, here is our evening in pictures (non-foodies may enjoy the intro photos).

Entering Amersham.  You can see the village at the base of the hill.  Also, notice everyone driving on the _wrong_ side.

A building across the way from the restaurant, which was much less...historic looking.

The menu.  We did not opt for the cheese course, as we were ready to burst by then. .

Beet & goat cheese course.  Like a circus on your plate!

Seared scallops with pickled, coriander carrots & toasted coconut.  Succulent.

One of the mains: lambe with spelt, radishes & turnip

Fillet of rock salmon on bok choy, with a square of cauliflower mousse and the aforementioned crawfish foam (which hid some surprisingly delicate crawfish tails).

The other main: hazlenut- and truffle-crusted wood pigeon, with more mushrooms and some salsify.

One dessert was peach sorbet with barley and some other stuff I don't remember.  I got the strawberry dessert, whose photo didn't some out so well.

Our reservation time was 7:00, and we didn't leave until after 11:00.  Yeah, we had a really good time.  Thanks to my brother, who drove us all there and back, and allowed us to enjoy the full set of paired wines with each course.

Needless to say, Miss Chef and I slept in a little the next day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day Three: Brighton

My sister in law drove the kids and us out to Brighton for the day.  The original plan was to stop at Stonehenge, then spend the evening near the beach.  But with cool temps in the 50s and 60s and rain showers rolling through, it didn't seem worth the time.  So we just cut it down to a day visit.  Stonehenge would have to wait.

We visited the Sea Life aquarium, walked along the shore for a bit, and had lunch at Jamie Oliver's Italian.  As I write this, I am two days behind in my journaling, so just a few pictures of our day...

Miss Chef and the kids look out over the other side of the Atlantic.

Inside the Sea Life aquarium

The pier

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day Two: London

We straggled onto the 10:00 train from Oxshott into London, and ended up straggling back on the 10:00 that evening.  Much later than we'd expected, but it turns out there's quite a bit to see and eat do in London.

We started with a hop-on hop-off bus tour.  I don't remember what this building is, but it was striking.  If anybody knows, feel free to tell me in the comments!

Tower Bridge; HMS Belfast in front to the left.

The new city hall and "the gherkin," the latest additions to London's eclectic skyline.

The City is guarded by dragons.

Our first London pub grub was quite good.  Bangers and mash: the bangers were bangin', the mash was ok, the gravy was great.

ham and leek pie w/veg and chips--the pie and chips were fantastic

The White Tower inside the Tower of London.  Holy cow, this place is huge and confusing.  It wasn't on our list, but I'm glad we decided to stop in. 

Miss Chef enjoyed a nice view of Tower Bridge from the moat.

...and then some goofball decided to get in the picture.

This chapel is the oldest remaining part of the original Tower, and also where Lady Jane Grey made her last prayers before the execution ordered by Bloody Mary.

Further down the Thames, a nice view of the London Eye.  It's very big.

The cloisters  of Westminster Abbey with Parliament tower in the background.  There are no pictures allowed inside the abbey, so you'll just have to believe that we were in there.  Miss Chef got bored by looking at a bunch of dead people.

The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square, and the countdown to the Olympics.  It was raining rather steadily by this point, but you haven't experienced London if it hasn't rained on you, right?

A re-creation of a Van Gogh done in living plants.  Very cool.

Soho in the rain.  Miss Chef loved the facade of this pub.  We didn't go in, though; we were headed to Foyles bookstore.

Another pub meal, this one pretty mediocre.  Chicken and cider pie.  The pie was overdone and underdone at the same time, but the veg was quite good.

Fried brie with Cumberland sauce and a mache salad.  This was very good; there were orginally three pieces of brie, but we were hungry.

Since the food was so mediocre, we wandered around 'til we found a little Belgian waffle place for dessert.  We chatted a bit with the two girls running the place; though a bit of a cheap place, it was kind of fun.  Then we got on the tube and back on the train for home. 

Today, day three is not really planned; a day trip to...somewhere.  We were originally to go to the beach, but the weather is supposed to be cool, so we'll spin the wheel and go somewhere else.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day One: Hampton Court Palace

In spite of the title, don't expect daily updates!  But I'll start off strong.  I'm going on 30 hours without sleep right now.  I think all those long hours working two jobs is paying off!

Anyway, here are some photos so far.

Not Hampton Court Palace.  Just our home away from home.

Here we go...

This is more like it.

First stop is, naturally, the kitchens of King Henry VIII.  There were two of these massive the first of 3 huge rooms.

Yes, we are in England.  Just a reality check.

Out to the gardens...Smurfy trees!

The kids stop to enjoy a luscious English garden.


A real golden gate

A final view of the the Georgian facade.