Tag Archives: pub

BBQ and Antiquing in Winchester, Virginia

Historic Winchester, Virginia has a rich past; from its origins as an early European settlement, it has endured through the French and Indian War, the American Revolutionary War, and the American Civil War – a lot of conflict for one tiny little town!

We rolled through on a sunny spring day and pulled in to check it out.

Winchester Virginia Old Town

Winchester Red Fire Truck

Winchester Historic Main Street

Winchester Virginia Town Hall

Winchester Union Bank Bar

The colors of the Union Jack flag caught our eye, and we couldn’t resist stopping for the familiar taste of a British ale.

Winchester Virginia Union Jack Pub

Winchester Virginia Union Bank Beers

Someone fulfilled a boyhood dream of owning a pair of authentic American cowboy boots…

I have to say, the western flair is hardly detectable under trousers (or, you know, Wranglers) and I’m not complaining about the extra height it gives a guy either!

Men's Cowboy Boots Brown Leather Stitching

Bonnie Blue is the local bakery and market and they do a mean Texas-style barbeque menu. We spotted it on the corner long after the scent of pulled pork and smoked brisket caught our noses. It’s a real American menu, bacon cheddar biscuits on the counter, and bottles of soda pop in the fridge!

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Lunch

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue BBQ Entrance

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Pig Door

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Menu

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Cheddar Bacon Biscuit

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Interior American Flag BBQ

We sampled the beef brisket, the crab cake and the pulled pork barbeque sandwich – piled up with sides all around – then sat outside on picnic table in the sun enjoying our vittles.

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Beef Brisket BBQ

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Crab Cake Cole Slaw Greens

Winchester Virginia Bonnie Blue Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich

Dan's Antiques

We stopped a little way out of town in Augusta, West Virginia at Dan’s Antiques for a little roadside bargain hunting.

A big red barn of curiosities, we scoured the rows of dusty shelves, turning over old trinkets and browsing interesting antiques.

Dan's Antiques Finds Flag

I found a neat brass box with a nautical motif and a very cool old oyster can that I plan to put on the kitchen counter and store utensils in.

Dan's Antiques Brass Box Oyster Can

Dan's Antiques Oyster Can

Dan's Antiques Sitting Outside Porch

And so, the American road trip continues…

Eddie's Tires Berkeley Springs

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And we’re loving every detail along the way!

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Good-bye, Parsons Green!

I was so lucky when I first moved to London and got a little studio flat just off the Kings Road in Fulham. I fell in love with the area, and never left. Then we got our little mews house in Parsons Green, and I can honestly say that there is no other neighbourhood in London I’d rather live. It’s a truly special place.

Fulham Parsons Green Lane

Fulham Epple Road

Parsons Green has plenty of curb appeal, with endless rows of streets to wander down on a sunny day. I’ll miss spending Saturday mornings making the rounds to all my favourite shops and stops. Here’s a few in case you’re ever in the neighbourhood:

Fulham Epple Road Doors

Fulham Road Cologne and Cotton

Cologne & Cotton is the only place I’ll go for bed linens and bath essentials. I can’t resist their luxurious cotton nightwear. They stock fancy European fragrances and toiletries, and a selection of adorable children’s items – in case you’re on the hunt for a perfect baby shower gift.

Cologne and Cotton Blue Stripe Sheets

Fulham Road Nomad Books

Nomad Books is the indie bookshop that every neighbourhood in London yearns for. With a steady rotation of staff picks, there’s always a  recommendation in the window to tempt me inside. The cafe buzzes with the sounds and aroma of freshly brewed java, great with a new novel and a crumbly slice of cake.

Fulham Road Nomad Books Window

Parsons Green

Parsons Green The White Horse

Every neighbourhood in the city has its local public house. But living here we’re blessed with one of London’s most iconic pubs, The White Horse. The beer garden gets rammed in the spring and summer when the outdoor grill gets fired up, wafting the sweet smell of barbeque across the green.

Parsons Green The White Horse taps

Parsons Green The White Horse Beer

Parsons Green The White Horse Drink

Parsons Green Elizabeth King

Grocery shopping is never a chore at Elizabeth King (also known as Bayley & Sage). We’re spoiled for choice with its impressive range of fresh fruit and veg, homemade pastas and sauces, and heavenly pastries and baked goods. And we’ve never come away from here without a big, gooey hunk of cheese from the dairy case.

Parsons Green Elizabeth King Fruit

Parsons Green Elizabeth King Shopping

Parsons Green Elizabeth King Tomatoes

When it comes to health and fitness, I’ve got it pretty good in my neighbourhood. There are a slew of places to get my fitness on. For my gym kit, I go straight to Sweaty Betty. They sell comfy, stylish activewear, and they host free yoga classes in the shop several times a week.

Parsons Green Sweaty Betty Pilates Socks and Leggings

Bootcamp Pilates is an old fave. Everyone knows them by now. Sure, it isn’t the poshest or sexiest studio in London. But it’s gooood.

Parsons Green Bootcamp Pilates

Bootcamp Pilates Fulham Parsons Green

Every corner of this neighbourhood is now so familiar and feels like home. There have been many crazy dinner parties, and quiet weeknights in, and rainy Sunday mornings reading The Times with a steaming mug of tea. So it was a with a heavy heart that we packed up everything and watched the removal vans be loaded one by one. This place holds so many wonderful memories of our years in London.

Mustow Place Parsons Green Rose Red Door

Mustow Place Flat Upstairs Sitting Room

Mustow Place Sitting Room Upstairs

Moving Day Mustow Pl

Moving Day Mustow Place

Moving Van

Moving Day

Moving Day Beam Me Up To The Container

Moving Day Boxes

Moving Day Eddie Van

Moving Day Van Postcard Crazy New

Soon, all our earthly possessions will be aboard a shipping container, crossing the Atlantic to the shores of the New World. We don’t know what will happen next on our new adventure, what people we’ll meet, or good times we’ll share. The only thing we know is that we couldn’t have picked a better place on the map to spend our time in London.

Long live the Green!

The Only Way is Sussex

Summer is slipping away. The first days of September are upon us and you can already feel it – the sudden bite of cold mist, the crispness in the air. Soon, the first frost will fall, our tans will fade, and all our activities will be ushered indoors – board games by the fire, hearty pub lunches and shopping the holiday sales – all the while bundled in chunky wool sweaters.

Knowing the warm weather days are numbered, this weekend we headed south in pursuit of the last bits of sunshine. Our chase took us all the way to West Sussex, a coastal county of protected countryside, Blue Flag beaches, and its own fair share of castles and stately homes.

Petworth House is the former aristocratic seat of the Percy family, and has since been the family home to a series of titled heirs, along the way amassing an impressive collection of British art – including the largest group of JMW Turner paintings outside of Tate Britain. Bits of the house and a few of the art galleries have been turned over to the National Trust and are open to the public. Here’s my little peek inside:

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The interior of the house convincingly captures the intact details of a bygone era in British history. The outside grounds were designed in the mid 1700s by legendary English landscape architect, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, making Petworth Park a lush pleasure ground to enjoy one of the last days of the fading summer.

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We lunched at The Richmond Arms restaurant just down the road, in a charming Sussex rural village a few minutes outside of Chichester. My salmon was the perfect translucent pink, served over a homemade corn fritter with a dollop of crème fraîche and a delicious summer salsa. My tangy, tropical dessert allowed me to savor the taste of summer that little bit longer.

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Sides almighty!

Sides almighty!

Passionfruit posset & coconut tapioca topped with guava sorbet

Passionfruit posset & coconut tapioca topped with guava sorbet

Homemade honeycomb ice cream & rasberry sorbet

Homemade honeycomb ice cream & raspberry sorbet

The light was fading and the tide had already rushed back out to sea by the time we pulled into West Wittering Beach. The sand was silky, albeit starting to chill, under our bare feet – but there’s something about standing on the edge of an island, so close to Europe we could pick up French radio stations across the English Channel.

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It seems so bittersweet that we can’t prolong the seasons – but I’m happy to celebrate all the adventures I’ve had this summer. Who knows … maybe there’s even a few more sunny days ahead yet! Here’s hopin’.

A Very London Birthday

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I just celebrated a very London birthday. The perfect London birthday, in fact. Me and my love – and my city, faithfully waiting outside my door with its party hat on to help me celebrate.

It started with flowers… simple and beautiful. My favorites – peonies! What is it about flowers that make a girl go ga-ga?

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Lunch at a London institution – The Ledbury. A jewel in the crown of British fine dining, everything about this Notting Hill landmark exudes luxury and taste. From the parmesan tarts with radish, to the Dr. Heger wine decanted tableside, through to the final course, I didn’t want my birthday lunch to end. We stretched it out as long as we could, over almost three hours – they had already started ironing the tablecloths when we finished our coffees.

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Ceviche of Hand Dived Scallops | Tokyo Turnips, Seaweed Oil and Frozen Horseradish

Ceviche of Hand Dived Scallops | Tokyo Turnips, Seaweed Oil and Frozen Horseradish

Cornish Turbot | Broccoli Stem, Crab and Black Quinoa

Cornish Turbot | Broccoli Stem, Crab and Black Quinoa

Cheese Trolley

Cheese Trolley

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Alphonso Mango | Citrus Curd, Burnt Meringue and Kaffir Lime Beignets

Alphonso Mango | Citrus Curd, Burnt Meringue and Kaffir Lime Beignets

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I couldn’t resist a spot of shopping as we promenaded down Ledbury Road. Can’t show you yet – but no doubt it’s going to be my summer showstopper!

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A few cheeky drinks at the pub with friends for the road…

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So thankful for friends and family near and far, a hunky man to spoil me like a princess, and another storybook London dalliance!

Kitchen Table at The Mall Tavern

One of the hardest parts of assimilating into my new London life has been embracing English pub culture. It’s taken me over two years and I still don’t quite get it. Let’s face it, I like the finer things in life:  monogrammed cotton stationery, scented candles, gauzy linen tee shirts, the intoxicating scent of warm leather in a new car. Pubs are drab, clammy dens where you can taste the sweet tang of stale beer and deep fat fryer haze in the air. It’s impossible to get served in one, so you clamour for the barman’s attention and order a pint of ale, only to take a sip and discover it’s warm. People in pubs do not cast so much a glance your way, let alone approach you. If you attempt to engage new faces in conversation, you get the most mystified silence before they turn their greasy fingertips back to their crinkly mylar bag of crisps. You sit there and shift despondently in your pew-like seat amongst the uninterested crowd, and think to yourself how you just don’t quite get the pub scene.

Then I was tipped off by one of my most glamorous friends about The Chef’s Table at The Mall Tavern. It combines the comfort and informality of a pub atmosphere with a private dining experience that teases all of your senses because it is located inside the kitchen, where you are served a 3-course blind tasting menu by the chef himself, Jesse Dunford Wood.

Tucked away discreetly only moments from Notting Hill Gate, our party arrived to the pub on a drizzly Friday night and ascended the creaky stairs through the intense heat of the kitchen to our table. We squeezed comfortably into our seats between the walk-in freezer and the dishwasher, huge windows cracked open to let in the cool, misty air as patrons drank pints and chatted in hushed tones on the lamp-lit curb below.

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As steel utensils clank inside pots, and plates clatter across the countertop, wine gushes into my glass and I become a part of the symphony of a working pub kitchen.

The starters came out first, with the chef serving and describing each dish.

mallab‘Oysters & Champagne’ amuse bouche

mallsaladHeirloom tomato and Lincolnshire Poacher salad

mallchestnutChestnut hummus with rosemary pita bread

mallchix‘McTucky’s popcorn chicken nuggets’

mallbrieA pub favorite, fried brie with cranberry sauce

mallsalad2Ricotta with roasted butternut squash and sprouts

malleggWarm egg yolk in a halibut consommé – served in an eggshell

mallegg2You have to stir the yolk and broth together to create a creamy fish chowder.

mallchefChef Jesse Dunford Wood

Before our entrées even hit the table us girls were already so full we lamented not wearing leggings to dinner, or better yet a tent dress!

mallkievChicken Kyiv

mallporkPulled pork and roasted tomato

Finally, the plates were cleared and we all breathed a sigh of relief. That is, until the chef returned to roll a wide strip of parchment paper right down the middle of the table.

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mallcuteWhat have we gotten ourselves into?

For dessert, the lights dimmed, a fog machine whispered little puffs overhead, and the music came on to Willy Wonka singing “Pure Imagination.” And with that, the chef began to paint the table with a palette of chocolate mousse, caramel sauce and deconstructed raspberry cheesecake.

malldes2 malldes3 malldes4 malldes5Lemon jelly, Arctic Roll (piña colada ice cream wrapped in puffy sponge cake), toasted marshmallow, deep-fried custard bites & banana purée

An impressive composition of a pudding! Spoonful after spoonful of sinful versions of sweet. After a few bites, I felt like Violet from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ – I needed to be rolled out!

Though at long last, I am finally beginning to get the English pub tradition.