Sometimes the best ideas happen at 3:00am, especially when they are bubble-fueled. I decided instead of going home to Highbury-Islington after St. Pancras that sleeping in Colindale was the smartest idea. After all, no one should taxi home alone and it was Palm Sunday. I had ambitiously scheduled “Church” on my London itinerary before meeting a friend at The Drapers Arms for brunch. In spite of our devout religious efforts the morning went a little differently than originally planned. We made it to church alright… I’m surprised the roof didn’t cave in when we stepped on premise.
My friends have two adorable little boys, and they will be attending Christ Church School in Hampstead soon. They have been attending this church for a while now as a family. Since I have always loved Hampstead (me and every other American) I figured a nice morning in the area was in order.
The architecture was certainly impressive from the outside.
It was such a glorious day out that we decided to
recover bask in the sun at a local coffee shop down the road called Shamineh’s Art Gallery Cafe.
One Chai Tea Latte and bottle of water later and I was a new(er) woman.
I saw this dog while sitting there. Why don’t they make dogs this obedient on our continent?
I tried my hardest to make it on time for my brunch plans but that was an epic fail. If only London wasn’t so sprawling. I ended up heading to The Drapers Arms alone. Normally I never have issues dining solo, but for whatever reason that day I felt super awkward. Perhaps the-hang had heightened some anxiety issues and jet lag wasn’t helping my cause.
Well, yep there it is… This is the front of The Drapers Arms. (I feel my photographer friends cringing over this pic already hehe) Behind it is the bluest London-sky I ever did see! After I walked in and surveyed the dining area hoping to see a familiar face, I gave up and perched at the bar. It was Sunday lunch and the place was packed to the gills with Londonites “Too cool for school”, with their jumpers (translation: sweaters) tied around their shoulders and ray bans rested on their foreheads. The space was so airy and the sun was shining right through the tall open windows as I gazed at the pink shower of cherry blossom petals outside. I felt like I was in a movie.
My bartender was good people…He was attentive, not overly chatty and honest about the menu. (Sometimes you just don’t want to be spoken to.) When I asked what they were known for he pointed out their shared roast for Sundays. (True story, they come out on amazing ornate platters that could turn a vegetarian into a carnivore with that massive puddle of skinned gravy and potatoes permeating the room.) For smaller options (dining solo, and yes he asked) he recommended the seasonal special of Asparagus with quail egg to start. He also suggested the braised venison with pistachios and home-made pappardelle, or the slow roast Blythburg pork belly with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables & apple sauce as main courses. Evidently the Asparagus was a really big deal to my bartender as he couldn’t push that plate any harder with his OTT excitement about England’s Asparagus high season! (Really? You do learn something new everyday.) It’s just not a vegetable that gets that much hype/thought, except for its association with less than desirable smells it has tendencies to cause. Poor Es-pa-rrra-gooose!
I didn’t listen to my suggestions and paid for it. As I chose the whole brown crab (served chilled) with an herb salad and mayonnaise, I got that look of uncertainty from the bartender. He told me it would be a good choice if I didn’t mind “fiddling around with utensils and that sort of thing”. Of course that was British for: “RED FLAG! DON’T DO IT! YOU’LL NEVER HAVE THE MAN-POWER TO CRACK THE SHELL ON THIS BLOODY CRAB.” So what did I do? I had the pretty woman moment except I was at a bar and all alone with a crab and not escargot. I think I got about two bites of meat out of that giant crab. Sad story.
As if I wasn’t already fazed by the hardware. #slipperycrabproblems?
So Sunday was pretty chill after my frustrating run-in with Mr. Crab. I walked around the shops and began plotting purchases. With so many cute coffee shops in the area day two’s caffeine-fix consisted of a trip to Maison D’etre Cafe for an iced mocha. I really wanted an affogato, but they ran out of vanilla gelato. T’was a sad moment for PeanutPimpMama since she really wanted an ice cream. What better way to justify unnecessary dessert in the middle of the day than mixing it with your espresso?
This coffee shop sits caddy-corner to the Highbury-Islington tube. It had a nice buzz each day I passed by with its fair share of lap-top loungers. I dig the vintage paper straws they use.
The evening brought me to my first live improv show ever (by invitation of my friend from the Paris days in 2007). Afterwards I wound down at the flat with the vino pictured above (what you get for 8 pounds) and a home cooked meal of gnocchi with mushrooms, sundried tomato and peas in a creamy Stilton sauce with fresh cracked black pepper. Ingredients were all purchased at my favorite Waitrose Express. Not too shabby for impromptu home-made yum yumzz.
Bloated and yours,