So my friend J is in town from NYC, for a week of business school at LBS in Regent's Park. Coincidentally, Columbia installed them at a hotel barely two blocks from my place.
So Wednesday evening we met for dinner and a long ramble through Regent's Park.
J is a park snob - he lives near Central Park, and when he stays in London likes Hyde Park and St James's Park. He had to admit that my park is also quite nice. And --- that I live in a cute neighbourhood! :)
And if I have to say "park" one more time I shall scream.
He knows I am blogging about this afternoon's adventure, and for his immortalisation on my blog has picked the nickname "Titan" or "Stallion". Um, no.
Determined to return to Yaugo***......you see I have forgotten the name again. He's been before and loved it. When I blogged about nearly getting in there with Delightful, I called it Yaugotcha but it's not (!)
We met at Baker Street Station, took the tube down to Oxford Street, and promptly endeavoured to get lost. When we found ourselves at Wigmore Street, we got my map out (the one I never carry with me!) and stood on the corner looking like a pair of American tourists *blush*
That didn't work for long, so we actually went into a hotel lobby to ask directions. This, after insisting on Wednesday that he never asks for directions, being a guy and all...
Turns out we'd gone the wrong way out of the station in the first place and instead of going SE we went NW.
On the way there we walked through the true Soho, the part the tourists don't infiltrate and no one but locals know - a real rabbit's warren of narrow streets filled with xxx shops with names like Bend Over. J says that the Soho in NYC is the same*. We figured that if he were to set up in London, he'd have to live somewhere like Primrose Hill and we'd hang out with Jude Law, Ewan McGregor and the rest of the Primmy Hill gang. But definitely not Soho because he would get sooo hit on around there.
By the time we got to Yauatcha (that's it!), we totally deserved the treat.
We sat downstairs for Dim Sum. Yum!!! We had Char Sui Cheung Fun (my fave), almond and coconut coated crispy King prawns, glass noodle and caviar-wrapped King prawns (his fave), and mushroom parcels. We agreed that, although really delicious, it was the most awkward and difficult food to eat. Nothing gets to the mouth in one piece. But the Japanese bamboo chopsticks are superior to anything else (like the heavy melanine ones in Chinese restaurants). Sorry, melamine...melanin is a skin pigment.
(Do excuse today's stream of consciousness.)
Then we went upstairs for tea and dessert. Paralysed by the choices, J saddled me with the responsibility of choosing the tea, while he escaped to gawk at the dessert counter. So after a few questions to the waitress I chose the Orchid tea - it tastes like how orchids smell.
Did you know that between Green tea and Black tea, there is BLUE tea??? It is less fermented than the black, has less bitterness than the green, and a medium amount of caffeine. However, the orchid was a flower tea which is comparable to the Blue, if I remember correctly.
For dessert, I chose the Shanghai Lily: a tiny light white chocolate-encrusted cake with lychee-liqueur-soaked lychee bits in the centre and a pretty pink rose-flavoured fuzz on the outside, topped with a dollop of pink rose jam and a red rose petal. Every mouthful was a delight, but it was so pretty I hadn't wanted to break into it in the first place.
J chose the Galangal something-or-other: a small brown dome of custardy mousse that tastes just like the brulée part of crème brulée. It was topped with a cute swirl of sugar art.
This place is so chic. Every counter is supported by lengths of aquarium. The downstairs is dark, with a ceiling like a starry night sky. Getting into the bathrooms is like penetrating a fortress, with dark heavy Japanese doors and handles like metal Japanese characters. Each cubicle is like a miniature cell lined with black marble, and what makes it really worth a visit is the sink. The water from the tap on either side runs down a stepped incline of black granite to the drain in the centre. Official mark of a chic establishment is Molton Brown toiletries (cf. The Townhouse on Beauchamp St.)
(I TELL YOU WHAT - this Christie's cataloguing training really stands me in good stead!)
J said I had to provide the "cool" today, but this place was so "it" I didn't need to have any at all.
Stuffed to the gills, we walked to the National Portrait Gallery and went in for a half hour of the World's Most Photographed People exhibition.
There was Queen Victoria, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and Muhammad Ali.
I didn't have a favourite sitter, only certain pics that appealed to me, though at a push I'd choose Audrey Hepburn every time.
Back out into the street, a brisk walk through Trafalgar Square, Haymarket, around St James's Square and out past Christie's, then up Piccadilly to a Starbucks - like most Americans, J was implanted with a homing device for that place - and then on to a bench in the middle of Green Park, where, with no alcohol in my system, my attempt to say "sympathy vote" came out as "symphony boat".
When the breeze blew chilly, we headed back to SJW.
Mileage? Don't know, forgot the blasted pedometer again.
* Whereas Soho in London is named after an ancient hunting cry, SoHo in NYC means South of Houston Street. And this Houston is not pronounced like the one in Tx, but rather like House-ton. This I once heard was due to a falling out between members of the Houston family after which both places are named.