Restaurants & Bars

Two weeks in Europe - highlights

Sid | Aug 2, 200203:09 PM    

My wife and I, along with another couple, just returned from two weeks in Europe. We spent 4 days in London, 1 week on the French coast of the Mediterranean Sea and a weekend in Paris.

Here are some highlights and observations from our trip.

Highlights - in no particular order:

1. The bacon in London. The traditional English breakfast was wonderful of which the bacon was clearly the highlight. Also the bacon sandwiches at Bruno’s Café on Craven Road near Paddington Station. The guys behind the counter were great.
2. The Clachen, 34 Kingly St. West End W1 Just behind Liberty’s department store on Kingly St. The Herb Stuffed Bangers and the Scottish Steak and Ale Pie were outstanding. By far the best pub we visited. Abbott Bitter and Green King Ale on tap weren’t bad either.
3. Kahn’s Indian Resaurant, 13-15 Westbourne Grove Bayswater. We stumbled upon this place for lunch after an exhausting day of sightseeing. I had the Chicken Dhansak and my wife had the Sag Chicken. These people clearly know the difference between spicy and hot. Yum!!!
4. Walking into the dark little basement bar of our very cheap London hotel and hearing “Pictures of Lily” by The Who blasting from the jukebox. RIP John Entwistle.
5. Abbott Bitter, Abbot Ale, Green King Ale, Boddington Bitter, Caledonian Ale, Guinness Stout, Strongbow Cider, Stella Artois, Budweiser Budvar (the real Czeck stuff, not that rice crap from St. Louis), Caffrey’s Ale…and thank God not a Miller Lite in sight.
6. Mussels and fries in the south of France. The mussels came served a large bowl with a side of bread. The juice form the mussels made an irresistable dipping sauce.
7. Jogging through the streets and trails of Le Pradet in the Cote d’Azur to the intoxicating scent of lavender and eucalyptus.
8. While staying with friends in Le Pradet, we had several incredible meals including Tuna and Rouget grilled over an open fire and sautéed zucchini flowers. Locally made wine accompanied every meal as well as fresh tomatoes and peaches picked from their own trees. Thank you Franco and Luisa!!!
9. Lance Armstrong, nuff said.
10. Crepes with Nutella and bananas from the street vendors.
11. Chez Omar, 47 Rue de Bretange Paris 3. Our first experience with Moroccan Food. We ordered chicken, beef, and merguez sausage. I liked the beef best. The vegetables and couscous were also good.
12. Playing our own version of “Where Waldo” by searching out all of the Starbuck’s. Our host in France had an interesting perspective on the proliferation of Starbuck’s in London. He travels to London occasionally and is grateful for their presence because he knows he will get a good cup of coffee there. Any place else and you are taking you chances.

Observations –
1. President Bush doesn’t seem to be nearly as popular worldwide as the American Press would have us believe.
2. Mass Transit is wonderful.
3. There was a noticeable absence of overweight people.
4. Taking a nap is one of the best ways to finish a meal.
5. The coffee we had was always good but rarely consistent. I usually ordered café au lait and only once received coffee with a side of warm milk. Maybe it was for simplicity or because they figured I wouldn’t know any better but I usually got a cappuccino.
6. The flight attendants on United Airlines were OUTSTANDING! Thank you for a great trip.
7. The Tour de France is one of the few major sporting events you can attend without having to purchase a ticket.
8. Two weeks is a long time to be away from our kids. It was nice to come home.

Until next time.

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