London: Day Six, Fri Aug 19
We both slept pretty well. Richard always sleeps well, it’s one of his talents. I ran out to our local bakery for the last time, sniff. I got an Americano for Richard, a latte for me, a bacon and egg sandwich that we shared, a pain au chocolat for me and a chocolate croissant for Richard. All of it delicious. We watched the usual morning news show.
We caught a bit of the end of a cooking show hosted by Nadiya Hussain, who we love from *The Great British Baking Show.* She made a chocolate caramel flan in a bundt pan and oh my Lord it looked so good. I’m definitely making it at home.
The tube system was on strike starting that day, through the weekend. We knew this ahead of time and planned accordingly. Our one destination was a restaurant we love, about a half hour walk away from the hotel, a cute place called Maggie Jones, cheekily named after Princess Margaret, whose husband was Anthony Armstrong-Jones.
I’d been there once before, on a previous trip, Richard had been there many times. Richard accurately describes it as “a real fire trap” - - wooden floors, wooden booths, wooden chairs, a narrow and rickety stairway, and would you believe large ancient wicker baskets full of dried flowers hanging from the rafters? And lit candles at every table, of course. It’s a wonder we go there.
We both got the prix fixe - - I had an onion and cheese tart to start, sort of quiche, amazing. Richard had a mushroom soup, also amazing. I had the poached salmon with boiled potatoes and Richard had the pork with applesauce and mashed potatoes. The pork was too fatty for him so we traded. It was a little too fatty for me, too, but I ate it anyway. He loved the salmon. He had the vanilla ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce for dessert and I had a chocolate pudding. A charming meal, perfect for our last meal out.
Let me backtrack a bit. We had a little time to waste before our lunch reservation so we went to TK Maxx two blocks away, the UK version of TJ Maxx. I was looking for a new baseball cap and found a cute one, medium blue in a sort of chenille fabric. No branding on it, which it just what I wanted. Sadly I decided it was time for my beloved Roger Smith Hotel baseball cap to go in the trash. This was a hand-me-down from Richard very early in our relationship and I wore the hell out of it. The Roger Smith is our favorite hotel in NYC - - it’s a cute, quaint, somewhat tired boutique hotel near Grand Central Terminal. The former Director of Sales at the hotel is an old friend of Richard’s and would often give us a suite for a special occasion, either for cheap or for free. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more luxurious than staying in a hotel in the city where you live. We probably stayed there six or eight times over the years, and it was always very special. I was very sad to throw out that baseball cap but as you can see from the pictures, it was time. It’s fine for a baseball cap to be a little ratty, but when the plastic bill is sticking out of the fabric, that’s a sign.
Back to the hotel. We packed the bag, always a sad thing to do. I found an NYC-style pizza place nearby but they were closed. There were a few Italian restaurants in the neighborhood but none of them did slices, which is what we wanted. I ended up finding slices at the bakery where I got our breakfast nearly every day. It wasn’t great but it was just fine. The highlight, for me, was the small bag of vinegar and pepper potato chips I got to accompany the pizza.
We watched a sweet one-hour bio of Maureen O’Hara. We turned in early since we had to be up at (gulp) 4:30am.