I still can't believe that it's been 9 years and a couple of months since I've been to London. We lived here 3 years before moving to the PNW and we took every advantage of living here by traveling, seeing shows and going to every museum we could. It had been so long I just decided to come back and since Jim didn't want to join me I decided to take a cooking course at Leith's.http://www.leiths.com/ It's a week long and starts tomorrow.
I arrived Friday and took a nap to get ready for the evening. I met up with my great friend John and we then joined some of his students at a pub. I had completely forgotten that it's ok to drink outside in the UK. So we stood around, had a couple of pints and then John and I headed to dinner at Giraffe. It's a chain but it was quite good. The Pasta Puttanesca was a delight.
Saturday I headed up to Birmingham and met up with Chris and Gemma at the Bullring, a big shopping center just across from the train station. The area was packed with people Christmas shopping and the atmosphere was festive in a way you don't get in less populated areas.
After a walk a bite to eat and a walk along the canal we stopped in at the Hotel du Vin bar, Pub du Vinhttp://www.hotelduvin.com/hotels/birmingham/birmingham.aspx The inside of the pub was cozy and not too crowded. We were able to find a table and hang out for awhile. Chris and I started with a local IPA served in a metal tankard and Gemma had a malbec, always a good choice. This would be a wonderful hotel to stay at if you have an overnight in B'ham.
Today I wondered over to my old 'hood, Shepherd's Bush. So little had changed but so much had. I know, that seems like it doesn't make sense, but the neighborhood itself is pretty much the same. What has changed is that they built a huge shopping center on the edge town. I'm going to head over there after class sometime this week.
I had seen that there was a new gastropub in Shepherd's Bush so decided to try it out. It's called The Princess Victoria and it is a little bit of a hike, but I thought it was well worth it. I tried the half pint of whitebait and pork scotch egg. The place was absolutely packed so I sat at the bar. When I asked if there were any tables, the bartender said it was completely booked, so I stayed at the bar. I must say everyone was very friendly and took good care of me even though I was sitting at the bar alone and had this funny accent. It is a little bit of a hike down there but I think it was well worth it particularly because I knew the area. http://www.princessvictoria.co.uk/aboutus.html
After about 6 hours of walking and a final stroll along Sloane Ave, I decided to call it a day and am relaxing now in my lovely space. I plan to get to bed early so that I can be fresh and ready for a day of cooking.