Monday, April 23, 2012

London, England -The Pantechnicon Public House & Dining Room

It occurred to me that I have yet to blog about the gastropub in London where I spend the majority of my social hours, not only because the quality of the food is great, but because it is only about 39 paces from my flat. The Pantechnicon Public House & DiningRoom, or ‘Pantech’ as we call it for short, is part of the Cubitt House family of restaurants that serve the neighborhoods of Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Pimlico. The Pantechnicon is situated on Motcomb Street in Belgravia, and I will argue all day with anyone who dare say it is not the quaintest and most picturesque cobblestone street in all of London!

Wholemeal Buttermilk Pancakes, caramelized banana, whipped cream and maple syrup

Free Range Eggs Benedict: toasted English muffin, Canadian maple ham, spinach, and hollandaise sauce

The Pantechnicon is the sort of place you can come to at any hour of the day and sit for just drinks, a light bite or even a full meal. I am a big fan of their breakfast, as well as their Sunday Roasts with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. Their desserts are imaginative and always hit the spot. On a sunny day, if you can score one of the outside tables, there is no better place to sit and waste the day away. I bring every guest that comes to stay with me in London to The Pantechnicon at some point during their visit. 

Lightly battered fish and chips with mushy peas

Market fish of the day

Sunday Roast: Whole Suffolk chicken, sage and onion stuffing, potatoes, cauliflower, beans and roasted carrots

Sunday Roast: Kilvarock Farm pork loin with apple sauce, crackling and trimmings

Apple tart with burnt caramel ice cream
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

London, England - Sunday Lunch at The Wolseley

On Sunday I went for a long, lazy lunch of steak and red Burgundy wine at one of my favorite spots in London: The Wolseley. Not only did their Sunday roast and Yorkshire pudding hit the spot, but imagine my surprise when James Bond, aka Daniel Craig, waltzed through the door and was seated at a nearby table!! There are few celebrities that get my heart racing, but Daniel Craig definitely falls into that category. This is really what makes The Wolseley such a great venue: spot-on food, the soaring ceiling and pleasing interior, lots of buzz, and almost always a celebrity sighting.

My lunch mate: Daniel Craig

Mixed beetroot, blood orange and horseradish salad

Chicken soup with dumplings

Sunday Roast: Roast beef and yorkshire pudding

Filet de boeuf au poivre and honey glazed carrots

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Marbella, Spain - Villa Padierna Palace Hotel


Saturday night we drove about 40 minutes to Marbella on the Costa del Sol to have dinner in the dining room of the beautiful five star golf resort Villa Padierna Palace Hotel. This impressive hotel with perfectly manicured grounds is perched under the hills and affords a view all the way down to the Mediterranean Sea. The hotel itself is decorated in a neo-classical style and also has a spa, a medical wellness center, five dining venues, two golf courses, and an American Golf Academy, which is Europe's only school specializing in short game and custom classes.

From the golf course looking down to the Mediterranean Sea

Floating rose petals in the lobby
The formal dining room had very attentive service and in addition to an a la carte menu, offered a special chef's tasting menu of six or ten courses for the Easter weekend. We all opted for fresh fish straight from the Mediterranean and finished off with some sumptuous desserts.

Amuse bouche: lamb sweetbread
Fresh sea scallops

Seasonal mixed vegetables

Parmesan and truffle orzo with poached egg


Sea bass

Chocolate brownie with chocolate mousse, vanilla bean sauce and Bailey's ice cream

Bread pudding with raisins and vanilla ice cream

Marinated pineapples with coconut ice cream

Apple sorbet

Petits fours
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Malaga (Coin), Spain - Casa Paco de Coin Restaurant

I just spent a lovely Easter weekend at my dear friend's farmhouse villa in Malaga (Cartama), Spain and woke up to this stunning mountain/pool view (above) from my bedroom window each morning. Every day began with a wake-up call of brilliant sunshine streaming through my window and a cacophony of animal sounds: roosters cock a doodle doo-ing, peacocks that sound like cats meowing, birds (of all kinds) tweeting, horses neighing and bees working the orange blossoms. 

Once out of bed, we would go for a long walk around the house and surrounding grounds and check out all of the flowers, lemon, orange and grapefruit trees.

By the fig tree we bumped into two lost goats who somehow wandered onto the property to eat all of the yummy leaves on my friend's land.

Then we would go and pick lots of lemons and oranges both for breakfast and to bring back home with us to London.

After breakfast we spent most of the day lounging outside by the pool and soaking up the Andalucian sunshine. Temperatures for the weekend were in the low 70s with just a few wispy clouds in the sky: perfection!

I just loved all of the different Spanish tiles around the patios of the house; the designs were beautiful and the vibrancy of the colors just popped out at you.

For lunch on Good Friday we went to a wonderful Spanish restaurant called Casa Paco de Coin in the town of Coin, about ten minutes from the house. 

Iberian ham

The local house red wine

A delicious iceberg wedge with homemade dressing of lemon, garlic, olive oil and salt

An avocado and artichoke starter

Mixed salad with the famous bluefin tuna in olive oil that southern Spain is noted for

Possibly the best pork I have ever eaten: Iberian pork baked in sea salt

Knocking off the salt crust

Some french fries and green peppers to go with the pork
Vegetable soup with bread and egg

Seared bluefin tuna over a puff pastry with pine nuts, tomatoes, carmelized onions and baby lettuce

Warm chocolate brownie with fresh whipped cream

The outside patio at Casa Paco de Coin

After lunch we went back to the house for a long nap in the sun by the pool, the smell of orange blossoms wafting through the air.
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