Archive for the ‘Blog Exchange’ Category

Brown Cow or Stew anyone?

Mack is leaving us this week, so were having a VERY last minute meet up tomorrow at Armanos cafe Tower Bridge….

“The bread is fantastic, contributing to sandwiches that blow the likes of Pret a Manger out of the water.” Flavour Magazine

With a reveiw like and a riverside veiw that i doubt we can go wrong – then we have the company of one Blogging LA’s finest to ice the cake!

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image by discoverlondonbridge.co.uk

so why don’t you come down and join us at around 10.30am and sample the Brown Cow for yourself?
The full details can be found on the facebook event page, but while your there why don’t you join our facebook group and become a fan of Metroblogging London!

See you there!

Happy May Day!

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I remember seeing pictures of May poles and kids dancing with ribbons when I was little – I was always jealous. I partook in my first May Day celebration today – and made up for lost time . . . .

How much cooler would “Far Out” be

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(At the Hyde Park Corner station)

Pret-a-Portea for Two

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Yesterday, after a long and unsatisfying day in London, I took my honey out for tea at The Berkeley. As previously mentioned, the plan was part of my continuing drive to experience the fabulous life of London as described by American television. While The Berkeley offers a traditional afternoon tea service (scones, finger sandwiches, etc), we booked specifically to enjoy their Pret-a-Portea.

A few weeks ago, we’d enjoyed a more tradtional afternoon tea at The Savoy. Service was king there – I think every employee checked on us at one time or another. The Berkeley was a bit more, shall we say, hands-off. But never mind that: the treats were divine. Little cakes and cookies decorated to match runway designs from fasion’s cutting edge.

Okay, technically, the tea was SO last season (Fall/Winter, not Spring/Summer), but since I don’t get Vogue anyway, it was all pretty and fresh to me. The bottom level of our 3-tier treat tower was comprised of savory canapes that were also very nice. After our day spent dealing with the American Embassy, we opted for the Champagne service at a premium over the regular tea. We also tried to get cocktails, but par for my time in the UK, the bartender didn’t know (and had no net access to look up) how to make Brandy Manhattan, so it was more Champagne and eventually a nice pot of Darjeeling for us.

Click here to check out more pictures of the tea service and tasty fashionable bits. My favorite: the Yves Saint Laurant pink bow vanilla fancy bag. Rob like the Missoni striped eclair.

This Is Not A ‘V for Vendetta Post’

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The last time I saw Parliament was in ‘V for Vendetta.’ Great flick, but needless to say, I much prefer this, whole Parliament. But on to the story . . . .

The year was 2004. I was in Philadelphia working on the ill-fated John Kerry campaign when I met a man from Scotland in American to witness our election fun. He was an elected official himself – on his local council back home. Flash-forward to 2006 and here I am in the UK on my way to London to take a tour of the Houses of Parliament – courtesy of my friend’s MP, who arranged the day for me.

There was a notation on my pass that said my group (that’d be me) was being accommodated with another MP’s group. And so it was that I joined up with a tour organized by Andrew Turner, the Member of Parliament representing the Isle of Wight. The craziest part: the rest of the party was from the Isle of Wight in Virginia – one of the original American colonies. It was my American in London with Americans day.

Sadly, photography is not allowed inside the Houses of Parliament – which sucks because the place is Gorgeous, of course. And for a complete government nerd like me, it’s the nerdy bits that I most wanted to capture in pixels. One highlight: there is a chamber decorated with paintings of the members of the Houses of Tudor and Stuart. Our tour guide ran through them all – who married which kid to what country, who beheaded and divorced whom, who reigned when and why – in such a rapid fire manner I managed to retain roughly .2%

I get chills walking the halls of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Walking through the ornate halls of the Houses of Commons and Lords gave me a similar thrill. If you’ve never done it, call your MP today and check it out. For his part, Mr. Turner was a wonderful host, greeting our group and sitting down with us (okay, them, I was just a fortunate, hanger-on) after the tour over tea and biscuits discussion British government and politics, comparing and contrasting the UK and US’s institutions. I won’t pretend to be literate, let-alone an expert on British politics, but he was such an open, knowledgeable man – and he voted against the war – that were I ever to move to the Isle of Wight, I do believe he’d have my vote.

Table, Trout for One

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Today I braved the rush-hour train and tube to head to London for a tour of Parliament (more on that later). After several hours on my feet – in the wrong shoes – I decided lunch was in order. When hunger hit, I was on Oxford Street. Not knowing the neighborhood and not being down with MickeyD’s, I hoped a train to Knightsbridge and treated myself to lunch at Harvey Nichols (as part of my quest to be a lame tourist, VH1′s-The-Fabulous-Life-of-London-style).

I knew I’d be spending a bit more than necessary for just a meal, but it’s about the experience, right?

Well, the menu was interesting if not overly-varied. I was headed for a ceasar salad with chicken when I looked over and saw a rainbow trout for 3 pounds less – that seemed like a good deal. I’m not an expert with fish preparation, but the Harvey Nichols people seemed bent on overpowering the trout with the bed of stir-fried veggies (heavily marinated and practically carmelized). It wasn’t that the flavors were bad – there just wasn’t much fresh fish to be tasted. I sprung for the roll (extra one-pound fifty) and a glass of wine because it seemed like a wine sort of afternoon.

So, in sum: at least I can say I went, but next time, I’d probably splurge at Harrods. (Which I did do later in the day at the Harrods Chocolate Bar. Yum.)

News From Around the Metroblogging World

If you click here right now, you can catch streaming coverage of the 100th Anniversary of the Great Quake that leveled San Francisco 100 years ago. It’s a big event in the City By The Bay.

The quake, an estimated 7.9 on the Richter scale, lasted almost a minute and led to a fire that lasted for over 4 days. Thousands died and tens of thousands were homeless, living in tents and shelters in Golden Gate Park and in makeshift tent-cities around the Bay Area.

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A Siren Ceremony is ongoing right now . . . (and I’m sure the footage will be available later today as well).

It’s odd to watch such a thing in my home city from so far away on a sunny afternoon in an earthquake-free country. But as I stare at the tiny, slightly-grainy window on my computer screen, listening to old air-raid sirens, church bells, and fire-engine sirens wail for the length of the earthquake’s time, I feel humbled. For many Americans – and people around the world who watched live – the persistent sounds of sirens are linked to the events of 9/11. Even if not, sirens are seldom a good sound: meaning death, injury, fire, and loss.

All the firehouse doors in San Francisco were opened moments ago – something they literally could not do 100 years ago, as the earthquake bent buildings and the earth, sealing in those who wanted to save the city.

Those sirens wailing now remind San Franciscans and those who live in areas prone to sudden fits of an angry Mother Nature how tenuous our hold on our homes is. Here in London, I don’t have to worry about earthquakes, but knowing what struck San Francisco 100 years ago and what could strike again at any moment still makes me appreciate the beauty of cities – of people coming together to build a community, in spite of all the things that could destroy it.

Marquis of Drunk!

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What’s the best thing about blogging for an international website? Ready made friends in cities across the world!

Fellow SF Metblogger Rob and I met up with some of the London gang at the Marquis of Granby pub on Saturday evening. Loads on energy in that pub, let me tell you. There was a group of guys in the corner who, by the sound of it, were enjoying the most high stakes, high action football game in English history. Yet, the TVs were off – so they must’ve just been enjoying their own action. Their energetic enjoyment forced our table to exchange shouted pleasantries and life stories.

Fortunately, since it was a pub, there was plenty of drink to easy our raspy, yelled-out throats. I ended up overdoing the beer a bit – but at least there were some tasty treats to go along with it. Like Yorkshire pudding bits with a side of gravy (I don’t need the gravy, but I LOVE Yorkshire pudding). Definitely can’t find that at pubs in the States!

It was great joining up with the London writers who could make it out. I’m planning on coming back a few times before I head back to SF – so hopefully, I’ll catch more of what London has to offer with a fine group of writers! And, of course, any and all advice from readers and writers on what to see that might not be in my guidebook is welcome!

Dior and Dinner

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I hope you all appreciate that you have one store here that can get you everything you want (baby elephants even, or so I’ve heard). I’ve heard about Harrods for years – and maybe it’s just a silly touristy thing to look forward to seeing, but I loved having a quick wander through the many departments and fantasizing about a day when (post winning the lottery, naturally) I could pop into Harrods to pick up everything I need for a dinner party, the outfit and the dinner!

Streetwalking

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Coming to London for the first time, it can be hard – nearly impossible – to know where to start. There are dozens of museums – all of them huge, shopping to make a gal drool, loads of tea rooms and pubs – and the city itself is a museum, with most of its buildings older than my entire country (and certainly older than my current home, most of the buildings in which are just now celebrating their 100th birthday, post earthquake).

Luckily, the local tourist center here in my temporary home of Ipswich provided some handy flyers on things to do in London (because you can never have too many guidebooks). One of the leaflets described London Walks.

We selected one that started right when we’d be arriving: and so, at 7pm, we met our tour guide and set out on the Old Knightsbridge Village Pub Walk.
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