Although I've been blogging "normally" for the past week and a half, I've actually been on vacation and periodically putting up posts I'd written before I left (good time to get through my backlog). In reality, I left for Europe on Christmas Day, taking one of my nieces with me to meet her sister in London. I'm nearly home again and my blog is going to be taken over for the next few weeks by my travel posts as I take a break from baking and assume people other than myself will also be trying to eat healthier and don't need the added temptation of more baking recipes for a little while. Not to worry though, I'm sure by February (if not sooner), I'll be back in the kitchen again. For now, here are my travel (and eating) adventures.....
After an 11-hour flight, we landed at Heathrow first and waited for my other niece to join us from her travels in Madrid. I've been to London quite a number of times before so I knew we could travel conveniently on the tube to get to our hotel. Our hotel was some distance from Heathrow, made a bit more challenging in that several lines on the tube were closed for planned maintenance (not so convenient but still faster and cheaper than a taxi from Heathrow) but after an hour and a half, we finally made it to where we were staying at the Crowne Plaza Docklands. I'd stayed in this area before on my last business trip to London and I'd gotten a good deal on the rooms from tripadvisor.com so it was only a minor inconvenience that it took so long to get there.
Fish and Chips (hold the mushy peas - I wasn't that jetlagged)
I rarely sleep on airplanes and this flight was no exception so I was pretty exhausted by the time we arrived and the niece who traveled with me was falling asleep sitting upright so for our first night, we kept it low key by having dinner at the Docklands Bar & Grill which was attached to the hotel. Since we were in the UK and I have a thing about trying the local food, I opted for the fish and chips. This was a riskier choice than you might think because that was one of the first things I had tried on my first-ever visit to London and it was the worst thing I'd ever eaten in Europe - greasy, limp, tasteless fish with the skin still on and soggy, greasy, over-salted fries. To be fair, I'd bought it from some hole-in-the-wall café at the time whereas this was a real restaurant so I thought it would be a safer choice.
And so it was. The fish was fried crisp, somewhat greasy still but not overly so and the fries were done well, crisp on the outside, mealy on the inside. Phew. My nieces also enjoyed their orders: a winter salad with butternut squash soup and a "Chicken Supreme" which we weren't quite sure what was supreme about it but she said it was delicious.
By the end of the dinner, my niece who I traveled with could barely keep her eyes open and I wasn't much better so I was ready to call it a night. Fortunately we weren't far from our hotel room since the Docklands Bar & Grill was in the hotel so it was time for shut eye so we could prepare for the real start of our trip the following day.