Last June a friend of twenty years invited us to visit the Swinging City and mailed us the keys to her flat in St. John’s Wood. What a treat! It was our third trip to London and having done the usual tourist activities multiple times, we sought out new experiences. It turned out that friends from Mexico City were also in London. With five children in tow, we laughed (instead of cried) as we maneuvered busy London streets on bicycles with a fearless Fat Bike tour guide. The next day, we followed the River Thames by train to Henley, to watch the Royal Regatta. We enjoyed a lunch of two pitchers of Pimm’s and a platter of seafood under a tent and then giggled as we climbed the bleachers to take our seats and watch the crazy blazer parade and buff rowers haul boats in and out of the water.
Our week in London included a rainy stroll through Hyde Park where we rented paddle boats and enjoyed the sunshine and a reasonably priced lunch (for London anyway!) of lamb burgers and coconut magic bars. Seeing Nadal and Federer up close while eating strawberries and cream at Wimbeldon was certainly the highlight of our journey. Every time we visit London, the Churchill War Rooms is at the top of my list of things to do. The lines can get long, so get there early or just before closing. We bought a copy of Churchill's Wit and Wisdom that delights children and adults alike. The pages are dog-eared and clearly cherished.
What to do on a Sunday? Visit a market! The food and shopping equally please. (It is at the Brick Lane Market that my son found his most favorite t-shirt: Batman reading the newspaper in his underwear, while Robin irons the Bat Suit.) Lunch at Brick Lane included trips up and down the food stands to see what might lure us back. Finally, it was the delicious smell of roasting pig on a spit that tempted us most. A cockney accented gent carved the pork, spread Siracha on the bread, scooped applesauce from a kettle warming on the open fire, and finished our sandwiches with a handful of arugula as our mouths watered.
PLENTY: VIBRANT VEGETABLE RECIPES FROM LONDON'S OTTOLENGHI by Yotam Ottolenghi
NIGELLA BITES by Nigella Lawson
JAMIE AT HOME: COOK YOUR WAY TO THE GOOD LIFE by Jamie Oliver
CEVICHE: PERUVIAN KITCHEN by Martin Morales