LONDON DAY ONE: LET THE FOOD AND BEVERAGES BEGIN

Sandy and I met at the airport around 7:00 at DFW Terminal D and after passing through security with no fatalities, made our way to the Admiral’s Club. There we enjoyed a couple of drinks – Sandy a Sprite and me two glasses of wine – until we made our way to the plane. We were among the first to board in Business Class. This was deliciously different from our flight to London two years ago, on the way to Wales. That trip involved my knees rubbing against the seat in front of me for nine hours, and trying to sleep with my head on the tray on the back of the reclined seat in front of me. I’m not sure how I un-pretzeled myself after that, but I swore I would never be tortured that way again. I couldn’t move my neck for MONTHS.

Therefore, our investment in Business Class this time. Once you take a long flight somewhere and do it in Business or First Class, you’ll never go back to Coach. Not without tears and gnashing of teeth. We got situated in our adjustable recliners and were instantly handed a glass of champagne. We were also handed the greatest thing ever. Warm mixed nuts. This was an unexpected treat. A treat until the flight attendant scooped the bowl of nuts away from Sandy mid-bite and moved her on to the next course.

Around this time we learned the other flight attendant, (a.k.a. The Good One) was a wine drinker and who returned to us often. (Well, more ME than US.) Then, after we took off, our multi-course dinner was served. This too went well, except the scary flight attendant kept snagging Sandy’s plate while her fork was still moving back and forth between the appetizer and her mouth. The same thing happened with the salad and the main course. The only thing the woman didn’t snatch away was the ice cream sundae, which remained long enough for us to watch the last of it slowly melt. The rest of the flight was wonderful. I think I actually slept maybe 5-6 hours, basically undisturbed, unless you count your left leg falling asleep and getting that pins and needles sensation. But overall, it was heaven in comparison.

Once we exited the plane, Sandy kept referring to our last time in London and how we got to the train, etc. Since I had been nearly comatose the last time we came through Heathrow, I was no help AT ALL.

After waiting 2 hours to check into our room (time that was spent on the terrace eating the Sea Box and Meat Box and having a Kir Royal or two, we showered and changed, then staggered out into the perfect 75 degree weather.

20130809-232429.jpg

20130809-233134.jpg

We strolled to Westminster where we immediately entered the souvenier store and then began snapping photos like tourists. Sandy is operating a new camera – the Cannon G15, so there’s a bit of experimentation going on. I was operating my iPhone 4S, which refuses to turn off unless its battery is completely drained. The attached photos are mine, as the internet connection isn’t working yet to download Sandy’s “professional” photos.

20130809-232547.jpg

20130809-232052.jpg

20130809-232703.jpg

20130809-232857.jpg

This evening we had the requisite fish & chips and are turning in “early.” Tomorrow, friends Amy and Dave meet us and we head to The Tower. After I drown myself in coffee. At some point I’m sure we will be experiencing pub fare. A lot of pub fare. And a tour of London by those who live here.

So far, I have noticed the British seem to be stingier with water than the Mexicans and French are with ice. Dehydrated from the plane, I asked for a big glass of water and received a thimbleful that was never refilled. Is water short in the UK? Do we need to stage a telethon to save the water? Has anyone heard of a large glass around here that holds more than 4 ounces?

That’s all I know for today. Wish me hydration. And that the air conditioning in our room motivates itself to cool us at least as much as the cool setting on my hairdryer. Otherwise, I may break glass in case of emergency and enjoy the 60 degree night air just beyond my reach.

Advertisements

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Somehow, my whole life has become food related.

“What did you do for Easter?”

We ate at the club.

“What did you do this weekend?”

Ate at that new restaurant.

“What did you do last night?”

Ate blue point oysters and fresh halibut.

“What are you doing for Mother’s Day?”

Eating at a buffet where I can continue to stuff my face with cheese, crab, shrimp and pasta salad until I explode. Oh, and after that, have a big heaping helping of prime rib, thank you.

For someone who exercises maybe five times a year, I need to tap the brakes on this.

Robert isn’t helping. This weekend he became totally obsessed with what we were going to do for dinner Saturday night. He started emailing me about it Friday afternoon.  By Saturday afternoon he was in bad shape. The good news is, he KNEW he was obsessing, but somehow couldn’t stop himself.

The same thing happened in France. We had restaurant reservations almost daily for lunch and dinner. Again, I’m not complaining, but this cannot be good. What to eat. Where to eat it. How best to photograph it so you can show people on Facebook.  “Look! I’m eating! Isn’t it amazing!”

IMG_0718

How about this?

IMG_0799-300

Annoyed yet?

002 *

What about now?

001

Okay, now I’m depressed I have so many food pictures to choose from.

I can tell you for a fact, there are only two people interested in what you are eating. You and your mother.

And your mother doesn’t really care. She’s just being supportive because for once it’s not a picture of you with a drink in your hand.

(There may be a few exceptions.)

Sandy and I are currently planning a trip to London. The good news is, we don’t make a big deal out of lunch and dinner plans. We’re usually too busy trying to view every castle within a 20 mile radius and then get off our feet. We know for certain we will be eating fish and chips. Other than that, I have no gastronomical expectations. (Fill in your own joke about English food here.)

Regardless, I’m sure a few pictures of menu items will appear on my Facebook timeline. Or Twitter. Or both. After a couple of pints I will no doubt decide there are people out there waiting with breathless anticipation to see what I’m eating during my vacation. Apologies in advance.

Bon appetit!

 

* Picture #3 above is Robert’s invention. The Meat Tower. Sausage and bacon rest upon a bed of hash browns with grilled onion, drizzled in maple syrup. Heart attack on a plate, but oh so good.

BALLPARK ADVENTURES

I went to a Texas Rangers game last night – courtesy of a friend who has season tickets and couldn’t attend. I caught a lucky break, as the temperature for the day only reached the mid-90s, therefore, it was actually bearable (although still not what I would call pleasant) in our shaded seats.

 

As it happened, we parked on the opposite side of the ballpark from where those seats were located, so we began our evening with a trek through the throngs of humanity lurching about the stadium in search of sustenance, bathrooms, or a good cell signal. As we waited in line for a beer, I caught a whiff of 5-day old cigarette-sweat, beer, and unfulfilled potential.

Ah, humanity. Thanks for reminding me why I stay home so much.

Once in our seats I was diverted by all the good people-watching around me. The couple in front of me with a little boy who had zero interest in the game at hand, but was totally focused on the game IN his hand – his mother’s iPhone. He was also really good at being belligerent.

Behind me, a woman kept asking her date if there wasn’t some sort of time limit on how long a pitcher could take to throw the ball in the direction of the batter, rather than sending five tosses to first base in an attempt to get the runner out as he took a lead toward second. She refused to believe his answer. 

Then there was the guy in the row in front of us to the far left. Rather than trying to squeeze past the very large individuals on HIS row, he decided I looked easier to get past, so climbed up to our row each time he exited. Didn’t matter if I had a lap full of food and drink myself, while they had nothing in their laps except their laps.

The second time he scooted past me resulted in my wearing a bit of the melted cheese I had been inhaling in a very unladylike manner. He’s lucky I didn’t trip him. One should not get between me and melted cheese. (Or whatever that orange glop is they put on nachos at the ballpark.) The window for eating ballpark nachos is a small one. The cheese has to still be hot enough to not reveal that it is really some sort of petroleum by-product, and the chips should still resemble chips and not wilted disks of cardboard. Once the first 3 minutes have passed, the magic spell is broken and you realize what you’re doing to yourself.  

During the “kiss cam” portion of the night’s entertainment, a proposal took place. The camera angle was terrible – the Rangers’ mascot was holding up a sign we couldn’t read, because we were looking at the back of it. Before the poor guy on bended knee could get a yes or no, the director must have lost interest because he moved on to what I think was a mother and son, whose expressions revealed utter and complete horror; the same look I would be sporting if they found me sucking the cheese off the front of my shirt.

At the end of the evening, the Rangers had won (barely) and I could sense what felt like  cellophane making its way through my veins.

I COULD EAT A HORSE (SADDLING UP FOR FRANCE)

We are scheduled to leave for France in a few weeks. (Cue the panic attack regarding what to wear, how we’re going to navigate, communicate, or order anything I recognize as food that doesn’t involve brains or horsemeat.) The chevalier situation is actually the most disconcerting as I’m sure my husband is going to try to freak me out by sneaking it past me. If I find I have been tricked into eating horsemeat I will throttle him in a foreign country and end up on the show “Locked Up Abroad.”

I tried to explain to him that as a former rodeo queen and horse trainer, the thought of eating one of those gorgeous animals is repellent. I learned during my short stint as a ranch manager in East Texas when I was 20 that each horse has its own personality. Some are adorable, some demanding, and as we used to say, some had nothing wrong with them a bullet wouldn’t fix.

But I wouldn’t EAT them.

Here’s where I get totally off topic and talk about cats. Why? Because even though this could be a separate post all together, I have no self-restraint today.

During the ranch days, I also learned that barn cats have a pretty high mortality rate. We always had strays around the barn. They’d get into the walls and have litters. Some would survive and we’d feed them and tickle their heads while they slept in a cluster of ears and tails on a pile of saddle blankets. But some didn’t survive.

This still seems so surreal to me – but part of my responsibilities was to take the kittens that hadn’t survived, roll them up in the empty paper feed bags, carry them down beside the lake in the evening and cremate them. I suppose I managed that because it was part of my job, and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. A city girl might freak out, but a country girl, a ranch hand, would not. I really wanted to be a ranch girl.

Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly wimpy I remind myself of those days – standing alone by the lake as the sun went down (after checking the area for water moccasins) and setting kittens on fire. Dead kittens, but still, kittens. 

Looking back I wonder why the people who owned the ranch didn’t have the cats fixed – but maybe that’s just a country thing. If you took every stray cat you found on your property to the vet you’d be running a recovery home for wayward cats, rather than a horse ranch.

AND we’re back to horse talk. Maybe I should get tested for A.D.D. But where some might say this post is disjointed, I prefer to call it “dynamic.” 

This whole horsemeat as dinner thing is troublesome because I seem to be able to turn a blind eye to beef, pork, and yes, sometimes even lamb and veal. If it helps, I feel terrible afterward though. Especially if City Slickers comes on and I see Norman’s soft little snout. Believe me, I would be a vegetarian (or at least give it a try) if I could eat lettuce and actually LIKED vegetables other than corn, carrots, green beans and peas. Unfortunately, those are the only veggies I will eat without a deep-fried breaded coating and/or ranch dressing. Or cheese.

So, what have we learned?

No chevalier for dinner, although I HAVE threatened a horse before.

I am tougher than I look.

Everything is better when battered and fried, but I should probably consider vitamin supplements, or a V8. 

If I go missing after the trip, watch for me on Locked Up Abroad.