Mmmm, duck

Five-spice duck confit pizza
My first pizza in London.

Random ingredients from other projects included bread flour, yeast, shallots, and five-spice duck confit. So of course I made a pizza.

Architectural inspiration

The steeple of St Bride's church
The steeple of St Bride’s church

It’s undeniable that London is steeped in history. But what’s particularly cool about this city is that much of its history is still relevant today. London’s certainly got its fair share of gravesites of old obscure kings and buildings that matter only because they’re old and survived the blitz, but it’s also got lots of theater pubs still putting on stage productions today, nursery rhymes that get stuck in your head that refer to actual places still standing (or reconstructed), and ancient landmarks of worldwide significance.

Case in point is St Bride’s church, specifically the steeple (whose current iteration was created by none other than the famous architect Christoper Wren). Apparently, in about 1776, a young pastry chef named William Rich wanted to impress his bride-to-be (as if being a pastry chef wasn’t enough already!) with a spectacular dessert at their wedding. The tradition at the time was simply to pile up a bunch of scones and little cakes, and Rich wanted something more for his bride. So he took inspiration from Wren’s creation and designed the first stacked tier wedding cake.

Unfortunately no drawings of Rich’s cake exist so I suppose we can’t truly verify the story, but there is one bit of irony I find amusing. We don’t know if Rich’s creation was stable enough to endure a full day on display before collapsing (as wedding cakes are occasionally wont to do!), but it’s definitely a fact that his source of inspiration certainly shrunk some. Wren’s own tower was originally 234 feet, but collapsed 20 226 feet in 1764 due to a lightning strike.

Tasting notes from Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux

Clos de Menuts
2008 Chateau de Beaulieu
Montagne-Saint-Emilion (sub region)
40% merlot, 30% cab sauv, 30% cab franc

2012 La Fleur de Chateau Haut-Piquat
Lussac-Saint-Emilion (sub region)
100% merlot.
I bought this bottle for €14, which we ended up drinking in a bit of a rush the next night. We found out that to get it home would have cost 40BPS just to check a bag. So, no, we didn’t do that!

La Rose Brisson
2012 Chateau la Rose Brisson
Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (sub region)
85% merlot, 15%cab sauv

Restaurant du Loup – 5 out of 5 stars

Read my disclaimer about restaurant reviews.

Restaurant du Loup

Restaurant du Loup
66 Rue du Loup
33000 Bordeaux, France

Date: Dinner on April 28, 2016

The Good: Very welcoming, intimate dining room, well-executed food.

The Bad: Our table was awkwardly situated behind a decorative pillar.

My menu:
White wine kir aperitif
Amuse of split pea soup
Starter of foie, two ways: Seared slab with roasted pears; foie terrine
Main: Entrecote with sauce bearnaise, scalloped potatoes, two pieces of broccoli, puree peas (I think), and a section of bone with marrow and a little spoon!
Cheese: Brie (that actually had an aroma and flavor!) with house-made zucchini jam (much better than it sounds)
Dessert: Layered bavarois (mousse and cake) with light vanilla ice cream and passionfruit drizzle
Glass of house red wine

Foie gras two ways
Foie gras two ways

Entrecote with sauce bearnaise
Entrecote with sauce bearnaise

Bavarois with passionfruit
Bavarois with passionfruit

What I paid: About the equivalent of $55 USD.

Value? Absolutely. Not a cheap meal, but the value here was found in the quality of the food and the graciousness of the service. Being the definition of value, I think I got more than I actually paid for.

Dine-again status: Yes, definitely.

The Story:
Our booking here was a mistake. We originally meant to dine at a similarly named restaurant down the street, about a block away. When we noticed the mistake, we decided to keep our reservation anyway. And I’m very glad we did.

The server was Martine, the owner, who has owned the restaurant for 23 years along with her brother. She was very sweet and welcoming, and wanted to make sure we knew everything we were ordering. She had pretty good English skills but a few of the specific ingredients tripped her up. She ended up using her phone (as did we!) to look up what we could; the entire experience was was amusing and light-hearted.

The food coming out of the kitchen was wonderful and spot on. Everything was seasoned perfectly. The surprise of the evening was the jam/jelly served with the cheese course. It was different from anything I’ve tried before, and it turned out to be zucchini jam, made by Martine herself.

The evening was wonderful and we were nearly the last couple to leave. If there weren’t so many other amazing restaurants in Bordeaux, I could easily imagine myself eating here every night.

The Vineyard – The SRP

Sunday Roast at The Vineyard
Sunday Roast at The Vineyard

The Vineyard
179 Upper Street
London, N1 1RG

Typical roast; the veg serving was scant and the gravy a little thin, but the beef was pretty decent and the Yorkshire pudding was large and generous. Delicious roasted parsnips, too.

Our friend Ryan was in town from the US, so that was the high point of the Sunday Roast this weekend.