Travel: London

london 2013

london 2013

My husband and I just returned from London, he planned a special trip to celebrate our ten-year wedding anniversary. Growing up, I visited England on summer vacations and my husband had traveled there for business, but we had never been to London together.

A booming food city with little language barrier*, exploding with incredible bars, shopping, architecture and culture (do you notice the order of priorities?), we could not think of a better place to commemorate our years together.

*However, it truly is one of the most international cities I’ve experienced. It was crazy at dinner to be surrounded by the chattering of languages from all over the world.

tea in london

We were greeted at our hotel with a proper tea service.

london view

I snapped this shot from the Tower of London.

bloomsbury's flowers

Window display at Bloomsbury's Flowers on Great Queen Street

Dear friends who live part time in London tipped us off to some great restaurant recommendations and we were thrilled the suggested venues. Each met our usual vacation dining criteria: most were casual in comfort, upscale in quality ingredients, had excellent international wine lists and menus that depart from our usual Santa Barbara fare.

salad at h. nichols london

My lunch salad at Harvey Nichols, complete with ham hock, quail eggs and blood oranges.

wine london

So many restaurants with great international wine lists

Aside from eating and drinking our way through the city we went on two amazing tours, the Winston Churchill War Room (perfect for this Mr. Churchill fan and WWII junkie) and a special viewing of the Crown Jewels (which seemed an appropriate anniversary experience).

As always, I’m excited to get back to my kitchen and garden, working to recreate some of my favorite London discoveries and share them with you.

valerie war room

Sitting at Mr. Churchill's War Room desk— incredible!

london mug