I've been traveling for work quite often in the last year, and London is one of the cities on my quarterly itinerary. It's tough to find the energy to go out in the city after a long workweek punctuated by jet lag, but it's always worth it—and very invigorating.
My favorite thing to do in any city is to simply walk. In London, my favorite route is from my hotel in Covent Garden down to Westminster Abbey, past the houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and then back up via the Victoria Embankment and across the Thames on the Waterloo Bridge.
There's a great exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery right now on Virginia Woolf—detailing her life and focusing on (of course) portraits of the author. They also have first editions of Woolf's books on display, featuring woodcuts by her sister, artist Vanessa Bell. For those interested in book cover design and its history, it's pretty wonderful to see those originals. I would love to own a set of Woolf books re-released with the Bell woodcut prints!
Of course, all that walking makes me hungry. I had two great meals full of summer color on my last trip:
This Peruvian restaurant serves up fresh, healthy, and delicious small plates. I had 'Gigi's Ceviche', with Cobia kingfish, watermelon, red onions, red peppers, radish, lemon balm cress, purple sorrel leaf and flower, and rocoto tiger's milk.
I followed that with the 'Shoots, Peas and Beans Salad', which you can see on the menu above. The truffle potatoes and sacha inchi dressing really put it over the top.
This restaurant focuses on the local and seasonal—and reminds me of some of the places I love here at home in Brooklyn.
I started with the heritage tomato salad, with Brockhall farm goat's curd and Bloody Mary jelly. The colors were outstanding.
Then I had the Tidenham duck breast and pie, with greens, sour cherry, and crispy duck skin. The miniature pie was stuffed with (I believe) aromatics and minced duck. Delicious.
And no meal is complete in London without a little pudding at the end. I had the berry pudding, with sour cream ice cream.
Speaking of London color, if you haven't already checked out Farrow & Ball's new color blog, The Chromologist, you should. I go once a week to get a color fix!