Category Archives: Eating Out

Just When You Need A Friend

I have many things to share, but first things first…

You know those times when you just need to see and talk to a friend. Well, just when I needed a friend, Erin came to visit me in London!

She flew in on March 2nd we got to explore the UK and Ireland for 10 days.

March 2-4 – London

We took the first few days to explore London. On the first night, we went to a great chic restaurant called Med Kitchen before going to see Chicago!

The next day, we walked down the Thames River, visiting sights like the Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, and Tate Modern. I hadn’t been to the Tower of London since my last trip over four years ago, so it was great to go and see things like the crown jewels, the ravens, and the Royal Armories’. I think it’s a great place to take people since there’s something for everyone! I mean, what girl doesn’t want to look at the crown jewels?? And i think most guys like checking out the swords and armor from past kings and princes.

That night, we went to a great wine bar called Gordon’s. I’ve been to some pretty cool bars/restaurants, but this one may take the prize as coolest atmosphere.

It’s the oldest wine bar in London (established in 1890) and one section of the bar is literally in a wine cellar with low ceilings lit solely with candles on the tables.

They serve a limited menu of cheeses, bread, olives, and sliced meats.

Their wines come from all over the world and they can all be purchased by the glass or bottle.

On the 4th, we went to Noting Hill and walked down the famous Portobello Road.

The Portobello Market (which i wrote about in December) takes place here on the weekends, but on the weekends this street looks just like any other road in London.

Still, some of the stores were open and Erin scored a great deal on scarves in a variety of colors.

This is where the bookstore, The Travel Bookshop, from the movie “Notting Hill” is located (yes, it’s a real bookstore).

We also found this cute cupcake place called The Hummingbird Bakery where their special of the day was a chocolate & marshmallow cupcake. YUMMY!!

After Portobello Road, we took the tube to Westminster Abbey! I know i’ve said it before, but i just absolutely LOVE this place. This was my fourth trip to the Abbey and it was still as interesting as the first. I know when you’re traveling through Europe, all the churches seem to blur together after a while, but this one is worth seeing! Even if it costs £15 to get into.

March 5-7 – Dublin

Very early on the 5th (4:10am to be exact), Erin and I hopped in a cab, that took us to the tube station by my house, where we boarded a bus, that took us to the airport an hour away, to board a plane that took us to Dublin, Ireland. The benefit of what felt like torture at the time was that we were in Dublin by 8, checked into our hotel at around 10, and then had the rest of the day to explore the city.

We started out with the Book of Kells at Trinity College.

Unfortunately, there’s no photography allowed inside (although, i’m not sure photographs could ever do it justice). You really just have to see it for yourself. For those that don’t know, the Book of Kells is an “illustrated manuscript in Latin, containing the the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables.” (courtesy of Wikipedia. You can read more about it here).

From here, we grabbed lunch at a pub and then headed to arguably the most famous and well known tourist spot in Dublin…

Yes, the Guinness Storehouse!

They have a great self-guided tour that teaches visitors about everything from the ingredients that go into the beer, to how the barrels were made by hand, to an exhibit featuring past advertising campaigns. The best part was the prize at the end of the tour…

The free pint of Guinness at the from the 7th floor of the Storehouse!

Well, as you can imagine, after the long day we were beat, so we called it an early evening so we’d be well rested for our tour the next day!

On Saturday, we took a guided tour to Glendalough, Wicklow, and Kilkenny. There were a number of tours to choose from, but we were sold when we read “Panoramic driving through Braveheart, P.S. I Love You country” in their advertising pamphlet.

The Paddywagon - Our ride for the day

Glendalough Upper Lake

Brownshill Portal Tomb

Whenever I travel to a new place, i always have an image in my head of what it will look like. Most often, this image is wrong. Of course, Dublin was nothing like i thought it would look. The city was older, almost like it was stuck in the late 80’s or early 90’s. However when we took this tour out of the city and into the countryside, it was exactly what I pictured Ireland to look like.

March 7-9 – Glasgow

On Sunday morning Erin and I headed to the airport and flew from Dublin to Glasgow, Scotland. We both immediately fell in love with this city! The architecture is incredible and the people couldn’t have been nicer. Sure, most people decide to go to Edinburgh when they visit Scotland, and I think Glasgow has gotten a bad reputation for some reason. But we found Glasgow to be a great place to visit! The city is laid out well, making it easy to walk around or take the underground which literally makes a circle around the city. Another plus was that things in Glasgow were super cheap (in comparison to London of course).

The best part of all though was having our own personal tour guide!

Erin, Jeremy, and I at Loch Lomond

Josh Reynold’s brother, Jeremy, is living in Glasgow and was kind enough to give us a guided tour on his day off. We started out with breakfast at an amazing place called Kember and Jones. It was difficult to pick one item as everything sounded so good, but Erin and I both ordered waffles and we were not disappointed. We got lucky with some incredible weather so after breakfast we had a chance to walk around the city.

At the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

After roaming around Glasgow, we picked up some sandwiches and hopped on the train to Loch Lomond. This beautiful lake was waiting for us there…

This view + picnic = perfect lunch!

Of course, in true Scotland fashion, there was a castle by the lake, and we even found a park to play in!

That night, Jeremy took us to a restaurant called Brodie’s in Glasgow where we got to enjoy things like haggis and black pudding. Incase you’re wondering what haggis is, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum has a stuffed one in their animal exhibit so I took a photo…

Yummy!

On tuesday, March 9th, we hopped on the train in Glasgow and headed back to London.

I’m sad to report that the fun pretty much slowed down there. Erin got sick in Dublin, and I got sick in Glasgow so it put a damper on our plans the next couple days.

All in all, it was a great trip though, and I am so thankful and happy Erin decided to spend her spring break across the pond.

More on all the other things going on in life soon!

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Eating Out, Friends, Things to see

Keeping busy

Can I just start by saying that I can’t believe it’s the last day of February already! 2010 is definitely flying by.

I feel the need to pick things back up after my last post, so that’s what I’m doing at 1am on a Saturday night!

Here are a few things that have been keeping me busy in London…

1) Adding a new section to my blog – I’m calling it, Eating Out. The link to the page is right above this post, or you can just click here. I started collecting business cards from my favorite restaurants a few years ago and I decided keeping this information to myself wasn’t fair. I need to share these amazing finds with the rest of you incase you happen to find yourself in one of these cities. So I’ve spent the past couple weeks creating these pages, tracking down websites, and I finally feel like this baby project is ready to share. Of course, i’ll be adding more places to it as continue my travels. Just note, I will ONLY be posting restaurants that I have dined at personally. If you have a restaurant recommendation, I’d love to hear it though!

2) Planning out the summer – Yes, summer will be here before we know it, and come mid-June, they’ll be throwing my ass out of London if I don’t have a job. We also have a wedding in our family in August so I’ll be planning a trip back to the States then. Now if I can just figure out what to do in July…more on that later.

3) Backup plans – Along the same lines of planning out my summer, i’m also trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing with my life if I’m unable to find a job here. Some options have been thrown around, just incase. I have rejected a few, but I’m still contemplating others. No details to share yet, still discussing with the parental units. Again, more on this in the next few weeks. Definitely by the end of March. Or early April at the latest. Yeah…

4) Museum visits – One of the best FREE things to do in London is visit the many museums. Not only are they free, but there’s so much to see that you can spend several days exploring them. In a previous post, I mentioned my trip to the British Museum, and a few weeks ago, I finally made it down to Tate Modern. While visiting the Tate, i came to the conclusion that modern art is totally and completely lost on me. I’m not sure if I don’t get it, or if I just don’t like it, but either way, my favorite thing about the Tate was the cafe on the 7th floor looking over the Themes River and the City of London. They make a great cappuccino!

5) Learning Italian – Yes, i’m still taking Italian classes. I have class every thursday night, and I love it. I’m not fluent or anything, but it’s something fun where I get to meet new people, and hopefully some day in the future I will be fluent in Italian.

6) Getting ready for a special visitor – I can hardly contain my excitement! One of my best friends, Erin, is coming to visit me on tuesday. She’ll be here for 10 days, and while she’s here we are going to take a trip to Dublin and Glasgow. Looking forward to making a trip out of the city and doing some exploring again. I miss that about Italy.

That about covers it for now. Hope you enjoy the ‘Eating Out’ section of the site. I’ll be adding more restaurants so keep checking back…OR sign up to receive emails when I post a new blog! Just type your email address in the box on the left (above the Twitter feed and “book i’m currently reading” section).

Speaking of which…

The book I recently finished reading… The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

The song i’m listening to on the tube…“All The Right Moves” by OneRepublic

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Book Reference, Eating Out, Friends, Italiano, Song Reference, Things to see, Travel

San Diego

“Which of course in German means a whale’s vagina” – Anchor Man



San Diego is really an incredible place. While I was there we had rain, clouds, and sun. The temperature would go from 75 during the day to 55 at night. While the rest of the country was hit with unusually cold temperature, we actually had it really good.

By the time I made it home and got adjusted to the time change, I had my first of four dentist appointments. I can’t remember now if I mentioned this before, but my tooth got infected the first week I was in London. It was very painful, but after a round of antibiotics the infection went away. Unfortunately, I needed to get a root canal. Yay! Anyway, at this first appointment the doctor told me that the tooth was infected again and they could do the root canal until the infection was gone. So back on antibiotics I went.

Christmas Day


Friends always ask me about how my family celebrates Christmas (and Thanksgiving and Easter). We don’t really have any major Christmas traditions at my house. Last year my uncles and cousins came to visit so the house was filled with 10 people, this year it was just the three of us. Some years we would spend Christmas Eve at my Great Uncle’s house, some years we don’t. Keeps things interesting I guess. Oh wait, the one tradition we had at my house was that during the holidays (including Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas) my dad would work about 12 hours a day while I was home. For the first time in 25 years (thanks to the recession) he didn’t have to do that. The selfish-only child in me was pretty happy about breaking that tradition.

Yes, we put up a tree and George and I both have stockings (yes, the dog has a stocking but my parents don’t). We don’t do a big Christmas dinner cuz there’s always a Persian restaurant open and my dad would much rather prefer to go and eat there if it’s just the three of us. Bottom line, no matter how many of us there are at the house, we always wait for everyone to wake up and have breakfast, and then we open gifts. We spend the day together. That’s what counts, right?

The Party

My parents like to throw a party every year. When I left for college, the parties started taking place during Christmas time. Food is ordered, furniture is moved, appetizers and desserts are made, and the liquor cabinet is stocked. This year, the gathering took place the day after Christmas. I made a few things, mom made a few things, and dad did the grocery shopping.

NYE

Just before New Years Eve, I had my second dentist appointment. This time, the infection was gone, and they were able to do the root canal. It took 3 hours. Enough said.

On the 31st, I had a couple visitors from Nashville 🙂

Yes, Lauren and Lucy came to visit me in San Diego! First stop when they arrived was In-N-Out. It was Lucy’s first time and luckily she really liked it. That evening we went to dinner with my parents, and then headed down to Little Italy for a little drinking and dancing with my friend Amy.

On new years day, Amy hooked us up with passes to the world famous San Diego Zoo. Luckily, the animals were actually out and about when we reached them so we got to see a lot of them up close.

We saw the koalas

And the panda

Here are the giraffes

The rhinos

The polar bears

We even got to see the lion

The next day we went down to La Jolla Shores (one of my favorite places in San Diego) and saw the seals that have taken over the beach there.

We also went down to the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado (a must see if you ever visit) and walked down the beach.

And finally, we went to Old Town (the original city of San Diego) and had margaritas, taquitos, and nachos.

On their last day, we headed over to Point Loma (a new thing for me) and saw the old lighthouse. Of course, they couldn’t leave without one final In-N-Out trip…and one to take with them for Erin.

Essential California Sustenance

2010

Dentist visit number three was on the 7th. My crown came in so they needed to take the temporary out and put the permanent one in. Luckily they take an x-ray of it before they cement it in (wonder how many times it took them to get that process down) cuz mine was definitely a little big. They sent it back and said they’d call when it came in on Monday or Tuesday. Great. The crown did come in on Tuesday (appointment number four) and the whole process was finally over.

My mom’s cousin, her family along, and her sister came to visit us on the 11th for a week. It was really great to see them and I was so glad I had pushed my flight back so that I could spend a few days with them.

Finally, on the 14th, I said goodbye to family, George, and San Diego and headed back to London. Home was great, but I was definitely glad to be in London again.

Ciao,

Sheila

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Filed under Eating Out, Family, Friends, Movie Reference, Things to see