Thursday, 27 January 2011

Top Tables

Ann’s on the go again this Saturday. Here she is with more insider tips from the world’s Top Tables…


"It was an all American evening at the White House dinner for President Hu Jintao. First, fish canapés – shrimp from Ipswich Bay Massachusetts, and smoked trout fillets from Idaho.

Next, Anjou pear salad with goat cheese, fennel, black walnuts, and white balsamic vinegar. And then, poached Maine lobster with orange glaze carrots and black trumpet mushrooms. A lemon sorbet, followed by a main course of dry aged rib eye steak, double stuffed potatoes, buttermilk crisp onions and creamed spinach. Dessert was old fashioned apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

Wines? Dumol Chardonnay Russian River 2008 – from a solar powered winery on a biodynamically farmed vineyard in California – with the lobster. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Columbia Valley 2005 from Washington State – an exceptional vintage, according to the wine makers – with the steak. And Poet’s Leap Riesling Botrytis 2008 with the apple pie. It also comes from Washington State – and you have to be a private cellar member to be allowed an allocation.

Cooking was done by the regular White House chefs, and included herbs and honey from the White House garden.

I consulted Fannie Farmer, the American cookery bible, on ‘double stuffed potatoes’, but hers are only single stuffed. However, there are plenty of recipes around for ‘double stuffed’ – bake your potatoes in their skins, remove potato from skins, mix with butter, cheese, ham or anything else you have around, replace in skins, bake until golden. Not sure where the double part comes from – double the calories?"

And for more foodie titbits join Ann's West End Foodies' Walk this Saturday January 29th, 10.45 am at Green Park tube, Park exit.


Check out the NEW, dedicated Foodies’ London website HERE.



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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

It's a London Thing No.22: The Olympic Games

THIS POST WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BUILD-UP TO THE 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES

It’s a London Thing is our Wednesday series in which we turn the spotlight on a unique aspect of London – perhaps a curious shop, sometimes an eccentric restaurant, a hidden place, book or oddity. The subject matter will be different every week. The running theme, however, will remain constant: you have to come to London to enjoy it. It’s A London Thing.



The Olympic Games: a Greek thing, historically speaking. We can’t argue with that.

The Olympic Games: a French thing, in terms of the modern Games being the brainchild of Pierre Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. Absolument.

But by 12th August 2012, the Olympic Games will be indisputably A London Thing. Because by then no city will have staged the event as often as London – three times.

In 1908, when the reputation of The Games was at a low ebb following the 1904 St Louis Games, where the competitive events were reduced to something of a sideshow to the concurrent World’s Fair, and after the eruption of Vesuvius ruled out Rome as a host city, London stepped in.

In 1948, with the world struggling to get back on its feet after the Second World War, London stepped in once more and saved the day, staging the tournament that went on to be dubbed “The Ration Book Games” – and a great success they were, too.


This Strand magazine (above) was published on the day the Olympics opened in 1948.

It could therefore be argued that had it not been for the London Olympics of 1908, and then the London Olympics of 1948, the modern Games may not be around today.

No contest. Hand out the bronze to Los Angeles and the silver to Athens. Strike up God Save the Queen. The Olympic Games: It’s a London Thing.


POST UPDATED 6/4/16

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Plaque of the Week No. 75

You've seen them all over the city: discs, tablets, cameos and plaques commemorating the great and the good of London Town. Every Tuesday we track down a London plaque (Blue or otherwise) and put it centre stage on the London Walks Blog. This week…



Going slightly off the central London beaten track this week, our plaque is most unorthodox… particularly given that it’s not even a plaque, per se.



But we’re including it for its eccentricity – and for the delight of the attraction to which it leads us.

There have been dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park since 1854, a legacy of the Great Exhibition, the relocation of which gives the area its name.

The dinosaurs – that’s one pictured below – are the work of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (1807-1889) – sculptor, natural history artist and lecturer on zoology in collaboration with Sir Richard Owen (1804 – 1892), the comparative anatomist and paleontologist who coined the words “Dinosaur” (meaning Terrible/Fearsome Reptile).


The dinosaurs were renovated in a £4,000,000 project in 2002, and were officially unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh.


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Monday, 24 January 2011

In and Around London... Painted London


Monday is mute on The Daily Constitutional (well, almost mute) – because Monday is the day when we post five images captured in and around London by London Walks Guides and London Walkers.




Collated on a theme or an area, if you've got some great shots of our capital and want to join in send your pictures to the usual address.


Painted London…



A little bit of Cuba down Lambeth way.





A painted lady of Newman Street W1.




Dinner is served at Borough.




A scene from 1854 at the Crystal Palace Park Café 2011.




A painted reading room at Crystal Palace station.




POST UPDATED 3/5/16

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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