Tag Archives: mortlake

Bonnard show at Tate Modern, Zizzi Italian, Oliveira Brazilian vegan food, Cote for brunch — London

I met another friend of 39 years, Jemima, who came all the way from her home in the northern town of Ludlow to meet up, for the first time in about four years. What a treat! She suggested an exhibit of work by Pierre Bonnard at the Tate Modern, one of my favorite London “it” spots. The exhibit itself turned out to be stunning (Go! Go!)

South Bank was packed with people, many speaking languages other than English, strolling along the Thames on a sunny day with a brisk wind. Such a buzzy place. London seems so vibrant, healthier than ever and yet Brexit looms, creating an odd sense of doom.

We had a good lunch at Zizzi, a chain Italian restaurant with surprisingly good food that, even more surprisingly, arrived at our table very quickly and still tasted good. (We shared pizza and a salad.) We also had a really nice view of the Thames and all the hubbub along the South Bank.

on Saturday night, Francine, Russ and I had highly unusual vegan and veggie Brazilian food at Oliveira in East Sheen. We are now back on Shalstone road where Russ is engrossed in a chess channel on YouTube that he swears by (Power Play Chess, should you be so inclined.)

On my last day in London, Francine, Russ and I had a nice brunch (English breakfast for Francine and I) at Cote restaurant in the pretty Richmond village of Barnes and then were blown by an intense wind along the Thames path, back to Mortlake.

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Iowa girl done good in London! Pickle & Rye American sandwich shop

Met a talented young American couple at their cheerful sandwich shop in the London neighborhood of Mortlake yesterday. Val Miller grew up in Grinnell, Iowa, went to school at Central College in Pella, Iowa, fell in love with London during a semester abroad here (I did the same decades before.) While traveling around Europe, she met Alex Minor who grew up in Delaware, went to culinary school in San Francisco, worked in a restaurant in Italy. Three years ago, They opened their smart upscale shop called Pickle & Rye, serving large, well built, yummy sandwiches and are doing so well they are opening a second larger one nearby. The shop is decorated with U.S. tchotkes including mugs from Iowa and Des Moines on the tables. What a kick for Iowans in particular, and for my English friends who have visited us several times in Iowa. Did I mention the sandwiches are delicious? It is easy to see why they are doing well, given the quality of the food and their friendly Yank personalities. They are getting married soon in Grinnell and are determined to ride Ragbrai next summer, which I have been trying to convince my English friends to do for years. Word has it Richmond is home to the most Americans in London, but the customers I saw there were Brits.

On a crisp sunny day, we walked along narrow lanes lined with hearty flowers spilling over old brick walls to Barnes, which feels very much like a country village at times. we bought spelt flour, duck eggs, homemade hummus, crumpets and Florentines at the small outdoor Saturday market, then walked back up along the Thames to Mortlake Common where the local school was putting on a little fair. Then I feel asleep on a chair in my friends’ peaceful garden.

Later we went to an excellent Nepalese restaurant with an amusing name, The Greedy Buddha, in my old stomping ground of Fulham with my former neighbors from 34 years ago on Sullivan Road in Parsons Green, providing a little reminder of who I once was.




Filed under DINING, London, Uncategorized

South Bank, Covent Garden, Soho, Mortlaker…London!

Wow, London is hopping. As I walked along the South Bank of the Thames on a sunny but not too hot June week day, I was amazed at how many tourists there were, throngs of strollers, large groups,of school kids in matching uniforms, lots of people speaking German or “American,” buskers and street people, cafes and pubs packed with seemingly carefree people like me (if only).

In the four years since I was here last, there are even more cool high design bridges across the Thames, beyond the now sturdy once-wobbly bridge and more to possibly come, according to a story in the Evening Standard, I think, about a newly designed bridge inspired by The High Line in NY that would be heavily landscaped (how cool is that?) The Tate Modern is under construction and It appears, expansion so the enormous turbine hall was cordoned off. Interesting modern high rises have popped up all around it. So much so that I can hardly find once prominent
Landmarks like Southwark Cathedral. I did find the Borough Market which was near London bridge, not Blackfrairs as I remembered and I had some Indian street food.

Walking about 15 minutes to Covent Garden, I found even a denser concentration of tourists clogging the streets, watching the street performers, eating at the restaurants, crowding into the shops. My favorite scene was a group of about eight women in black full length robes, their faces almost completely veiled, eating macaroons at an outlet of Laduree, the famous Paris bakery that I fear is turning into a chain. (There is also one on Madison Avenue in NYC). in Neal’s Yard I was glad to see that the famous cheese shop of the same name is alive and well. the small place was packed with gorgeous cheeses and customers. Alas the hippie dippie bakery in the yard is long gone.

In Soho, on Greek Street, I found one of my favorite French cafes, Maison Bertaux which was larger and more elegant than when i visited last but just as as charming and with really delicious pastries and excellent cappuchino. I had a tart of fresh raspberries and clotted cream piled high.,The only glitch was paying. i asked and was told in advance that I could use a credit card but lo and behold the credit card machine wasn’t working. shades of Peru where there were allegedly broken credit card machines all over. I then had to pay with a twenty pound note I had saved from my last trip but the proprietor was not happy. Apparently the bill was “out of circulation” I.e. old. Who knew? But he finally took it, with a pained expression.

I met an old friend at her publishing office on The Strand and we tried to go to another old favoritE, Gordon’s Wine Bar but it too was packed so we ended up a nearby pizzeria apparently owned by Gordon’s that was quite good called Fratelli la Bufala, although not one but two appetizers we ordered included huge portions of, you guessed it, Buffalo mozzarella. Interestingly, the only meat served was buffalo. On the train back to Mortlake in southwest London, I bumped into my friend F. who am staying with, which was lucky. she was going to meet our other friend U. for dinner so we all ended up at a Swedish restaurant called Stockholm where they ate herring and reindeer burgers and I drank water. Ahhh London!


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Filed under DINING, London, museum exhibit