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May 25, 2011 / aasdel

“I got nasty habits; I take tea at three.” Mick Jagger

It was four thirty…

I had a friend in town and we had been wandering around the city all day. We were dreaming of sitting down and I was wondering where we could go. I try to remember what I would do if I was back home in Montreal. Maybe have a coffee at Starbucks? But an American chain store didn’t feel right… It took us a while before we realized it was almost five; Tea Time. Perfect!

I’d never had tea in London before, or anywhere in England for that matter (Ok, let’s try to forget that I’ve never gone out of London yet). Once, a few months before living Montreal, a group of girlfriends and I decided to initiate ourselves to the custom. It was wonderful then and so I was excited to experience the true tradition in the mother land.

We went into Bea’s of Bloomsbury as I had heard great things of it. Situated on a large road, it is not the romanesque gateway you would expect. (While walking to get there I wondered a few times if we were on the right path or if we had missed it.) The inside of the shop could improve, I think. The open kitchen in the back of the store looks  too industrial for a tea time place. Maybe it’s because I see this as a luxurious practice; delicious finger food served on cute porcelain, exotic tea, all that surrounded by a Victorian decor. But I must admit, I was sitting on the wrong side of the table. If you looked the other way, it was lovely. And I was not disappointed by the food.

We ordered the Afternoon tea. For £12 each, we got a proper scone with lashings of clotted cream and jam, one cupcake,  marshmallow, a mini Valrhona brownie, a white chocolate brownie (to die for!!), a mini Belgian Blondie, a pistachio financier and a mini meringue. That’s nine items! And I must not forget, a pot of tea. For three extra pounds they would have added mini savoury baguettes. Now that’s the real deal! But we came a little too late and they were out of stock. I could have written a paragraph on how good everything was and I won’t. I’m just going to say that I’m planning on going back, it’s so affordable.

There’s something I have to share too; if you plan on having tea, either skip lunch or supper. We were not able to finish it all and we didn’t even have the baguettes!

May 21, 2011 / aasdel

Apples, pears, and oranges too, fruits are sweet for me and you. Carrots, peas, and broccoli, vegetables are good for me!

– And they are even better when they come from the home counties! –

One day, while running around Highbury park, I saw a farm-direct delivery truck. I beamed the name into my head as I didn’t want to forget it. It seemed to be a company that delivered local goods and AG and me had been talking about finding where we could get fresh produces around our neighborhood. It’s funny how it found me instead. (Well not really but I find it much more romantic to think it happened this way.)

When I got home I checked it online and, oh joy, it was exactly what we were looking for! It is a weekly online ordering service that offers produces from local farmers. From fruits and veggies to meat and fish, with the option of milk, eggs, baked item, preserves and more. Really, they have a great range of yield. But don’t expect to find pineapples or oranges though, way too exotic. Right now the only fruits they carry are apples, pears and strawberries. Check their website, it’s well presented.

For us, the cherry on the cake is the location of their depot. It’s right in front of  “le péché mignon”! That means no delivery cost as we can easily pick up our order there. Its remote position in a little alley doesn’t catch the attention. I think I would’ve walk right by if I didn’t know it was there. So, lucky for me that I saw their truck first.

Here’s a picture of a few things we bought. Now time to cook !

May 16, 2011 / aasdel

Humongous Hyde Park, I have found your heart.

Roses aren’t really my favorites flowers. I find them too cliche, too common. But when you stumble upon a million of them, while trying to escape the buzzing city,  it’s challenging not to find them attractive. Though, that might be due to the cheerleaders effect.

Ah! And what is the cheerleaders effect you might ask me! Well, I don’t want to take any credit for it and therefore I’m going to quote someone  from a very serious, social-analizing, TV show; the cheerleading effect is “when a group of males or females looks hot, just from being in close proximity to each other. However, if you were to scrutinize each one individually you would see that they are either simply average looking or even repulsive”.  This thesis can be applied to a garden of roses. I find Hyde Park’s garden absolutely gorgeous. But if I looked at a single rose, the probability that I’ll find it average is pretty high since I don’t care for them that much.

With that said, I truly recommend you to have a walk trough its aisles at this time of the year (I’m not sure if roses last all summer). Your eyes will be dazzled and your nose  filled with sweet aromas. This is the perfect spot for a quick picnic too! The only thing missing would be a few Celsius degrees.