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Published: December 27th 2016
We slept-in today, really need to catch up on some sleep. The day was primarily devoted to shopping and possibility Westminster Abbey, but the hours are very restrictive, closes at 3:30 and we hadn’t even finished a late lunch by that time.
Today is Boxing Day, a holiday throughout the UK and most of the common wealth. Here it is also likely the busiest shopping day of the year. The holiday has little to do with shopping, the tour guide the other day gave us two explanations for the holiday, but no one really seems to know what it is and where it really came from. One version is, that in centuries past, boxing day was the day the churches open the boxes in the church that were set there for donations to the poor. They were opened the day after Christmas and then the money was donated to the poor. The version that seems to be the most popular stems from the gilded age and days before that. The servants had to work on Christmas taking care of the lords and ladies and their festivities. They were given the day after Christmas off. The lord of the manor would
then have all of the leftovers “boxed” up and given to the servants to take home to their families, hence Boxing Day being celebrated the day after Christmas. Today, it really is just another day off and a day of shopping and sales.
We chose of all days, Boxing Day to go to Harrods. You think Macy’s is crowded, you haven’t’ seen Harrods on Boxing day. Prices are slashed as much as 70% and you can barely walk through the isle there are so many people. Macys in New York may be the biggest store in the world, but Harrods is a much more interesting experience. The food alone is worth going. There is an entire food market within the store. You can get everything from meat to cheese and breads to chocolate. It isn’t just one floor either. In addition, there are at least 12 restaurants throughout the store. Just in the meat and poultry section there are 5, a steak bar, oyster bar, rotisserie, and two seafood bars. Not to mention on other floors, the champagne bar, truffle bar (everything has truffles and you have to choose between black or white when you order) prosecco bar, pizza
bar, burger bar, Chinese, sushi, and on and on. The main restaurant is the Georgian on the 5th
floor. There are also several places to have tea.
We were here for two reasons one to get a Christmas ornament and two to have lunch. All of the restaurants were packed but we finally; found one on the 5th
floor tucked in a corner in the what we call the Egyptian wing. The escalator shaft is decorated in an Egyptian motif on each floor 1 through 5. We got there at about 3 and didn’t get out until 4:30. Service was slow but the food was good. Jerry had a trio of tea sandwiches, (chicken salad, roast beef and smoked salmon) I had a nicoise salad.
Before moving on, it is time for a little comment (maybe rant) about how rude and inappropriate people, no matter where they are from or what their background, can be. First, Harrods is packed and you can barely move through the isle, but certain people (and you know who you are) have such a sense of entitlement that they block the isle in large groups of people, walk 4 astride through the isle
and then some clutch their purses looped through their elbow in one hand and their packages in the other and barrel straight down the middle, not caring who or what they may knock over on their way. But worse than that was the three women who took up an entire table (meant for two not three) where we were eating and had a single cup of espresso and then proceeded to sit there for 2 hours. They were there before we were seated and left 5 minutes before we did. But they did need the table so one daughter could go out shopping while the other sat there on her phone and helping her mother play word games.
I felt a bit sorry for the staff, who would want to work on a day like that, but when we purchased our ornament, the clerk basically through the change at me. I gave her 10 pounds, and the best she could offer was tossing the change in my hand with a curt “here’s your change” not your change is 8 pounds 50 pence and place it in your hands but just kind of drop it towards your hand and hope
you catch it.
We survived Boxing Day at Harrods, we should have T-shirts made. We then headed back to the Tube and to Westminster, the streets around Harrods were crowded, Times Square crowded after shows let out.
It was dark by the time we arrived at Westminster, so all we managed was a couple of pictures of the clock tower (the bell Big Ben is inside the tower) and the Abbey. AJ here is your picture of Jerry in his proper British cap. It was then off to Tesco to by some wine for wine-thirty (which we now almost always have in our room as we rest for dinner.)
That brings us to dinner. We are learning that pretty much everything is easy walking distance form our hotel. The difficult part is that often there is no direct route and you can get lost with all of the twists, alley’s and turns. Tonight, the restaurant was very easy two blocks over and 12 blocks up. Holborn Dining Room at the Rosewood. The Rosewood is a very upscale hotel so we figured that the dining room (after all it was called a dining room not restaurant, pub or
bar) would be fairly upscale as well. The interiors were very nice dark wood panels, and certainly had the look of an upscale dining room. There was also a Gin bar on one end of the room (didn’t have a chance to try that out but did have a fairly decent Martini or two before dinner) and the staff is dressed in tartans, so it is pretty Scottish in theme.
What wasn’t upscale were the patrons inside. Jeans, t shirts, sweatshirts no one besides us made any effort to look presentable. Even jeans would be fine, if they were clean, not ripped up and pulled up on your waist not down around your ankles. Nonetheless, it was quiet and you were pretty much unware of the others in the room. Well except for those who kept coming in and just sitting down where they pleased, then having to be led back to the host stand to wait to be seated properly.
Enough of that on to the food. Jerry started with champagne and I had a martini (its England, you think I am not going to drink gin?). It took us a few minutes to get through the
Jerry and the Clock Tower
Which is the home of Big Ben the bell
menu and decide what we wanted. After asking a few questions we made up our minds,
Jerry started with the Dressed Cornish crab. It was very light and had a nice romesco type sauce. It was good, but still not Dungeness crab from Oregon. I had Monkshill Farm scotch eggs (this dish was winner of the Scotch Egg Challenge). Now, if you’re like me you don’t know what a scotch egg is, so the classic scotch egg is a soft-boiled egg encased in sausage and bread crumbs then deep fried or fried. What I had did not have the sausage but a very delicious bread crumb coating and a perfect soft boiled egg in the middle.
The entrees were a Dover sole in a brown butter, lemon and parsley sauce. When the fish first came out they told us it was not cooked properly so they took it back to make sure it was perfect. I also had them take back my Pot roast lamb breast, so it would not get cold. Jerry’s fish was perfectly cooked and deboned. The brown butter sauce really added that extra bit of tastiness to the fish. My dish was a breast
of lamb in a roulade then baked in the oven. It had a nice rich sauce and was served with a green sauce (think mint pesto) and celeriac remoulade. We shared a side of creamed potatoes (not mashed mind you but creamed) Tomato & Shallots and a Green garden salad. The potatoes were good the other two lacked any seasoning or flavor and the tomatoes were mushy.
We ended the meal with Sticky Toffee pudding and Jerry had a spiced custard tart with eggnog ice cream. The toffee was very good, much like the caramel I make but darker and thicker. English pudding is not like our pudding, they are basically small dense cakes. With dessert, I had a nice class of Sauternes and Jerry had a French Sherry (Maury Solera 1928 Cask No. 765).
The prices were reasonable, but when you’re having a good time, you tend to forget things add up quickly, especially when you have drinks before and after dinner and a bottle of good St. Emilion
The stroll home was quiet and not many people on the street. When we got back to the room we had a glass of wine and passed
While I was typing this entry, it occurred to me how time consuming this is, I typically do it at the end of the day or, like now the next morning before we head out. That wasn’t really the thought I had, the thought was I do not see how all these people are constantly tweeting, snap chatting or whatever else, it would just consume your life. I mean we have seen people so self-obsessed that they have their selfie stick up in the air pointed at them as they walk down the street. Does anyone really care that much about someone walking down a street? I do this primarily so Jerry and I will remember everywhere we have gone, when we are 90 and sitting in our rocking chairs somewhere in the South of France. If I also happen to impart some information to others that they might find useful that is a bonus. For me, blogging is not about thinking that everyone is dying to know what I am doing but more just sharing my experiences and to help us remember. Travel is a very personal process and everyone has their own style and way of
doing things. As appalling as we may think it is to get coffee from Starbucks or eat at a US fast food chain when you’re in a foreign country, for others I guess that works. Anyway, that’s my two pence on blogging and travel.
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