after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

London Photostorm Round 3

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t says:  Aaaannnnndddddd … we’re back!  Time to bring us up to date:

I need to apologize.  What follows will be several pictures that 99.9% of you won't care about.  But I can't help myself.  I really can't.  What I saw was more beautiful than anything I saw in any museum the entire trip.  First, you need to read the backstory.

I need to apologize. What follows will be several pictures that 99.9% of you won’t care about. But I can’t help myself. I really can’t. What I saw was more beautiful than anything I saw in any museum the entire trip. First, you need to read the backstory.  So we visited that store, Hedonism wines.  It is the wine store I would have (if I had millions of dollars) – it was set up beautifully, smartly, with the right amount of reverence for these legends of wine.  Now, don’t get me wrong – “my” wine store wouldn’t just have expensive wines (it would have “interesting” ones!), but if you have opulence upon opulence like this one, like complete verticals of Petrus, you might as well show it off …

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You don’t like Petrus?  How about Latour?

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Or maybe you crave cult Cali Cab?  How bout some Screaming Eagle?  No big deal …

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Ohhhhhh … you’re having a “party” – then don’t bother with individual bottles – go for the double-magnum …

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Oh, I’m sorry – you said “party” – I meant to say go with the Methusaleh … of frickin’ PETRUS … in 2005 …

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Tired of cab?  How about an entire room of Sine Qua None?  But what room of this “whimsical” wine would be complete without a bit of creepy-ass whimsy – stay tuned for the close-up:

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weird, right?

le chabanais

For dinner that night, we then walked to Le Chabanais.  For background, we went with some of our friends to Le Chateaubriand in Paris.  Le Chabanais is Le Chateaubriand’s follow-up restaurant in London.  And we, being totally cool/hip went the the first week it was open.  For real.  They initially were supposed to open in May, but then had to delay due to some sort of technical issues.  Then, literally as we were in Liberty shops, g got the email that they were opening up the that very day (it was a Thursday).  I called them up and immediately booked for Saturday.  Boom.  That happened.  And so we were granted access to an “exciting” new London restaurant!  And given how much we liked Le Chateaubriand, we had high expectations.  So how did it go?  Well, it started slowly with the above butter-and-raddishes with our bread.  Not a bad start, but nothing as “wacky” as that slurped ceviche we had before …

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g then had a course that took her head clean off.  This take on crudo made her take pause and comment, “wwooww”.  She was sold.  Was it the broth?  Was it the celery (g loves a man who knows how to make celery …)?  No idea – but boy am I glad I found her first …

chabanais

My first dish was an interesting take on tomatoes two ways with ground Iberico pork.  It tasted like meatballs in tomato sauce, which, while very good, didn’t quite take my head off – I wished it had more of that identifiable Iberico-porky flavor.

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g’s main, which included lobster, beans, a porky broth, and what appeared to be cranberies was quite delicious, but verged a little on the sweeter side.  She liked it, but I think her mind was stuck on her first course …

chabanais

… and then my second take on Iberico pork really brought some thunder.  With intentionally “burnt” broccoli (i.e. just the way I like my broccoli) and other leaves covering the treasure trove of perfectly seared meat underneath, I was shocked at just how a simple preparation could taste so good.

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We finished off with a “warm chocolate mousse” and a lavendar creme brulee.  My chocolate mousse hit the spot perfectly – it wasn’t crazy, but just exactly what was needed.  Meanwhile, g + lavender = heaven.  Done deal.

Overall, we liked Le Chabannais.  The food was good, but in my opinion, it lacked some of the boundary-pushing “greatness” of Le Chateaubriand.  g made the case that they would probably shape up in the upcoming months to begin introducing some of the experimentalism that made the original so much fun.  The service was also still “figuring it out”, which is appropriate for Day 3 of opening.  But I will say – the “wine guy”, who basically became our server because we talked to him so much, was EXCELLENT.  Don’t get me wrong, our “actual” server (i.e. the one we had who took our order and our bill) was great, too, but that wine guy was the one who played us like a fiddle.  If anyone at at Le Chabanais is reading this, the one who we loved was the skinny , dark haired guy with thick black glasses, from Southern France with a French accent.  Give that man a raise.  He was accomodating and friendly and complimentary in a way that was the perfect combination of youth and professionalism.

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This clipped photo had a pic of “Sunday Dinner” at Truscott Arms reminded us of the most incredible family-style feast of meat we’ve had in a long time.  Vegetables, pottatoes, yorkshire pudding, lamb + beef, jus … it was amazing.  It made us regret our previous meals at The Elgin, which, while “fine” just didn’t compare.

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On another occasion we brunched at a cute nearby cafe: “Ozone Roasters”.  I ventured the lamb belly + kimchi burger … except that it didn’t have any kimchi on it.  So the burger was kinda boring.  But as I didn’t have the heart to tell anyone that mine lacked kimchi, it’s my own damn fault.

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We nabbed some gelato at this super-awesome place at Borough Market.  What made it aweome?  Well, they charge each cup or cone with a squirt of chocolate sauce.  The texture of the gelato was also amazing – it’s what Capo Giro used to be.  And then the flavor – oh geez – the pistachio and creme brulee I got was amazing.  In short, pistachio creme brulee with a shot of chocolate should be a real thing.

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What trip to London would be complete without a full English tea?  Not ours, of course.  We did it up right at the Tea Room in Harrod’s.  While not having quite the “fancy” of the other fancy restaurant in Harrod’s that also does tea, this got the job done with cute sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, dynamite huge-ass desserts.  We. were. stuffed.

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Oh, this is the “Bannoffee” Cheese Cake.  Complete with gold leaf and a gold-looking exterior … cuz you know … when you think “t”, you think “bawler gangsta’ “.

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Why is there a pictur eof a fancy cake?  It was pretty.  No, I have no other secret wedding coming up.  And surely a 2nd wedding for g and me wouldn’t have so “boring” a cake … but maybe if I knew someone who needed to have a frou-frou wedding, this would be a perfect cake.

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What else did Harrods have?  Well, aside from pretty much “everything”, they had a pretty impressive wine cellar as well.  While they were boasting “There is only one sale” on the advertisements, they definitely walked the walk with having some nice bottles at nearly 50% off (2010 Angelus, 2010 Cos) … but they were marked up by ~75% to begin with, so maybe in the end not that much of a sale.  But of course – when you happen to come across a special-for-Harrods set of ’61, ’82 and ’89 Haut Brion, all you can do is let that single tear stream down your face and that moth fly out of your empty wallet.

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These probably won the award for the most expensive single bottles I saw on the trip.

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Our final meal was at St. John Bread and Wine.  It started off with a question: what happens if you take pig skin, cut it into strips, and then fry it?  You get something that tastes even awesomer than chicken skin!  It had the same unmistakeable melt-in-your-mouth qualities of pig fat, but the structural integrity of a fry.  Great with barbecue sauce!

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The lamb was excellent …

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… but it was outdone by this tiny-ass quail.  Seriously – although small and timid, this thing packed a lot of punch.  We couldn’t figure out if it was the aggressive seasoning, some sort of weird brining or what, but this quail tasted more quaily than any quail I had had before!  Sure, there were other items, like potted pig, the salad, a wood pigeon, etc.  But it was this quail that really crushed it at dinner.  Of note, we did consider a steak-and-potatoes dish, but as two of our tablemates came down with gastroenteritis when eating a similar meal on their last day before coming home from Paris, we decided not to tempt fate with a repeat.

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Dessert was remarkable for the most decadent scoop of chocolate ice cream ever!  Seriously!  They served their other ice cream as three-scoops but recommended that diners only go for one scoop of this one, as it was “just too rich to do any more than 1 scoop”.  I had it and agreed.  I almost wondered if they found some way to sneak in even more fat than normal ice cream!  Did they use heavy whipping cream or something?

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drb went for the lemon sorbet and a shot of vodka.  He opted to pose for this picture with a shot of his tatooed bicep.  Basically, in a single picture, he has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s a man’s man.

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Oh sticky pudding.  How could we go to London and not have some?  You were clearly the best dessert on the table, and shame on us for not having ordered one for the each of us.

In summary, our time in London was pretty gosh-darn awesome.  We encountered lots of great food, did a lot of shopping, and had a blast with our friends.  If it just wasn’t so expensive of a city, we might head back sooner rather than later!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

2 July 2015 at 11:36pm

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