In our previous post I mentioned that Evan and I recently took a pretty stupendous trip to Europe. We managed to get to England (London and Yorkshire), France (Paris and Giverny), Venice, and Barcelona. We blissfully promenaded each town, museumed, saw some theater, explored some music, visited loved ones, and more than anything… ate. No really, we ate an implausible amount of food.
We started in England, where rumors have always deplored the atrocious quality of food, yet we were pleasantly surprised to find that a revolution has occurred. (Our dear friend Elaine, who hosted a dazzling dinner for us while we were there, has sworn as much for years, but still we remained dubious…) While we were there we found a huge surge in farm-to-table cuisine, farmers markets, and trendy variations on classic themes.
Take for example, Evan’s fish and chips. This baby was cooked in apple cider and tarragon batter:
I have to admit that I even genuinely enjoyed mushy peas! But I should acknowledge that the peas we had were in no way frozen or from a can, but were decidedly fresh and sweet and springy. And quite mushy indeed.
We found a little pub near the Borough Market, a heavenly place for foodies to salivate and peruse… and if one has the checkbook, maybe even buy. The pub felt authentically British, and was located on top of the grain stores where the old brewers would have traded. They had some of England’s regional ale offerings on cask, which is officially the best way to get beer.
While Evan was playing it fast and loose with vegetarianism (take the slab of lamb below he said was impressively and deliciously rare… without requesting it as such) I found England incredibly easy on the veggie-friendly. Every menu had several vegetarian options and we found some pretty stupendous animal-free restaurants. Food for Thought was one of those shocking hole-in-the-wall places that has a (completely justified) line out the door and down the block. Vanilla Black offered the heaviest vegetarian meal in Christendom, full of playfully presented plates, complete with amuse-bouches and tantalizing little garnishes. (Not to mention Whipped Jacket Potatoes and Crispy Shallots with Tomato Syrup and Wensleydale Cheese, which. was. GODLY.)
And of course no trip to England is complete without enjoying a spot of tea with some loved ones. And so we did. Quite often. Here I am in Yorkshire enjoying the dreamiest of days in our wonderful friend Jane’s sunlit dining room, with her courtyard behind.