Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The meal of our lives!

On Friday, August 27th, Christopher and I celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary. Its hard to believe that its been 5 years since we said our vows; we've seen and done so much in such a small amount of time! We decided to celebrate in London at the restaurant Gordon Ramsey at Claridge's. If I had to describe the evening and the meal in one word, it would be: Surreal.

We chose to have the tasting menu; The Menu Prestige, which consisted of 6 courses. The first course was an Amuse Bouche. An Amuse Bouche is like a pre-appetizer; a small hors d'oeuvre that is designed to whet the appetite and ready the palette. Our Amuse Bouche was a small cup of soup; lemon grass and ginger with chunks of apples. It was my least favorite course of the evening, but it wasn't bad.

Course number 2 was my favorite! Pan seared salmon with Parma Ham, watercress salad, and Horseradish Ice Cream. Yes, you read that right, Horseradish Ice Cream. It was... to die for! The salmon melted in your mouth... it was incredible. And the ice cream was amazing!

Course 3 was lobster and crawfish ravioli in a lemongrass and coconut bisque. It was divine! When you see the picture, I know you're thinking, wow, just one ravioli? But seriously, with six courses, I was fine with just little tastes of everything! We were so stuffed when we left!

Course 4 was the main course and we opted to share the Beef Wellington. I had never had it before, most everyone knows I am not a big red meat fan, but Beef Wellington is something that has intrigued me. And rightly so... it was divine! We had it medium-rare (I'll give you all a moment to let that sink in... I, the meat hater, had it RARE...lol), which is what the chef suggested and it literally melted in your mouth. It was a flavor explosion! The different textures were amazing... the crunch of the puff pastry, the sort of creaminess from the mushroom paste, and the beef... just incredible. It was served with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.

Course 5 was the pre-dessert. It was a 3 layered shot glass of strawberry preserves, buttermilk panacotta, and fresh mint sorbet. It was fabulous! Christopher and I joked that we needed another, that we just weren't ready for dessert-dessert and needed another pre-dessert to get prepped.

Course 6 was dessert. Christopher had a cold chocolate fondant with raspberries and popcorn. I had a raspberry souffle! Both were amazing!

After we finished eating our dessert, one of the managers came out and brought us a small almond cake with a candle in it. In chocolate on the plate, the chef had written Happy Anniversary. Even the almond cake was good...lol

After we finished our wine (we had 2 bottles... a pinot grigio and a Rose), the manager came out and asked if we'd had a good anniversary. We told him it had been amazing. He asked if he could make it better... we said sure and he asked us if we'd like to see the kitchen! I think I peed a little! We had seen other tables be asked to visit the kitchen and I was absolutely dying to go! Christopher offered to ask if we could go back there, but I didn't want to be the tacky American's who just asked to see it, ya know? Its much more special if YOU get asked. So anyway, of course we said yes and it was so awesome!!!

We got to see the different stations and even meet the head chef (he's the blonde guy right behind my head). It wasn't the loud, crazy chaotic mess you'd expect it to be. It was relatively quiet (especially compared to what I expected) and so organized. Everything was like a choreographed dance. Beautifully executed.

There is a section of the kitchen called the Chef's Table (its actually right in front of where we are standing), and its a table that you can book with up to 6 people and you get to dine IN the kitchen. The chef creates a menu just for your party, you get your own personal waiter and sommelier and we ARE doing it at some point in our time here.

I've also made the decision to go to Culinary School. I realized that food is a serious passion of mine and I would be stupid not to do something with it. Its going to be expensive and a challenge, but its going to be so worth it!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


As most everyone knows, Christopher and I both managed to be stateside most of the summer! Christopher had a class he had to attend in Virginia Beach and he ended up being able to take a little bit of leave both before and after his class and got to go to North Carolina for the first time in about a year and a half. It was an absolutely PACKED summer "vacation".... we definitely didn't do much relaxing...lol

The first weekend Christopher was home, Josh, Brandie, and Izzie came down from Washington DC to visit! We went hiking, celebrated the 4th of July, Dad's Birthday, fought some robots (according to Iz), and all in all had a wonderful time!

South Mountain State Park
We hiked more later that week, but I dont have pictures on this computer...lol. We, and by we I mean, Me, Christopher, Mom & Dad Wofford, Mom & Dad Koenig, Jared, Matthew, Carly, Carly's Mom and Dad, and Carly and Matt's dog Abby...lol. It was a full crew of us hiking around. We went to Brown Mountain and it was gorgeous!

I went up to VA Beach to visit Christopher for the weekend and we headed down to the Outer Banks. Both of us spent most of our lives in NC and had never been to the outer banks! So that was pretty fun. We saw Cape Hatteras light house (which is the tallest brick lighthouse in the world) and climbed the steps to the top!

He came home the weekend after that and went with me to Jenn Love's wedding!

His mom and Dad and I went back up to VA Beach a couple of weeks later and we did the outer banks thing all over again. Hatteras, The Wright Brother's Memorial, and the beach!

Christopher graduated from school and had a little over a week of leave in NC before he headed back to England. In the middle of that week, I headed out to San Francisco to see our friends Kellea and Aaron and the new addition to their family and my God-Son; Kylan! I spent 9 days in California, helping them out and doing a little bit of sight seeing.

We attempted to go to a donut shop that was featured on Food Network for their Maple and Bacon donuts, but they were sold out of said specialty because, as the rude and snippy girl who was working said; "Those are just too popular". Lame. But the rest of San Fran was cool! We drove up Lombard street and it literally felt like I was laying down it was so steep. We walked around Pier 39 and had dinner at an awesome restaurant overlooking the bay.

The view from the top of Lombard Street
There was SO much more, but I'm back in the UK, exhausted and ready for a nap, so I'm signing off! Stay tuned for more Europe travels... we're planning a Mediterranean Cruise soon!