Sunday, 26 April 2009

S1E8: UK 2009 - The road back to London Town.

After our big day of driving around Scotland, we said farewell to the beloved country and headed back over into England on our way back. Our destination for today - York. What a fabulous little city! People keep asking me what my favourite place was, and while it is hard to pick one I can definitely say that York is the place I wish I could have had more time in. The Minster there is beautiful, the Museum Gardens are lovely (squirrels and daffodils) and the streets are gorgeous and meandering and full of fun little shops. Including The Cat Gallery, which was rudely closed when I found it. Woe!

Dinner in york was at this fantastic place called El Piano. Jen and I chose a few dishes to share. They have cheap set meals, or they have a pretty decent menu of nummy treats you can get in either tapas (£3.95) or main (£5.95) size.

The Mixed Fried Boat - Falafels, Corn Fritters and Onion Bhajis. The fritters and bhajis were fabulous. Sadly Jen, being the lightweight the she is, could not finish her half of the boat. And while I can generally out eat most people I know, one thing I have low tolerance for is deep fried. So not all of this got eaten. It was sad. The falafels were pretty ordinary though, they were really chalky and just a bit blergh.

The Mixed Salad Boat - Salsa, Waldorf, Coleslaw, Potato and Tabbouleh. Oh yeah! Something fresh to balance out all that fried. Also so we don't get scurvy and die. They make a delightful range of salads!

Aztec Tofu Squares - organic tofu lightly seared in sunflower oil and Latin spices. This was my personal favourite. The tofu was so tasty and chewy and just darn perfect! Get it! Get it!

Thai Thai - delicate yet spicy coconut cream over red pepper, baby potatoes, & wild rice. Jen's favourite! This was really yummy and creamy. Not as good as that tofu though. ;)

Dessert Number 1: Cheesecake - baked with scheeze and seasonal fruits - virtually cholesterol free. So yummy. So fabulous. It was light and baked and lemony and limey and just delightful. Jen couldn't finish it, which was a shame. It meant I had to eat the rest of it all up. Woe!

Dessert Number 2: Sticky Toffee Pudding - exquisitely rich with treacle sauce. Oh hell yeah! This totally hit that toffee pudding spot that didn't quite get there in Bath. So yummy, so much sauce. Such heaven!

We rolled our full little bellies to our final hostel (hurrah! No more hostels for me ever), which we got to share with 90 school children. Oh joy. And then the next morning we set off for our last stop - Cambridge. My dad did his PhD at Cambridge, so it was quite exciting to go and visit the place he spent three years of his life. And it was lovely. And the boys there have the most adorable poshy accents. And we heard three of them having a very serious and academic debate about something. I don't remember. I just remember their lovely poshy voices. Hee.

For lunch we went to the Rainbow Cafe. A lovely place with a great atmosphere and stuffed animals on the benches. I don't know why. We had a giraffe and a lion. Cute!

My main was Libyan Cuscus Bil-Khodra (£8.95) - Couscous with seven vegetables, spinach, chick-peas, courgette, onion, garlic, green beans & carrot. Subtly spiced flavoured with North African herbs & spices. Served on couscous with Mediterranean parsley & salad garnish. Which was really nice, except that three quarters of the bowl was filled with the cous cous and I really wanted more vegetable mix! Too much cous cous.

I chose dessert off the specials board - Rhubarb and Strawberry Cheesecake. It was completely different in texture from the previous nights adventures, much creamier. And just delicious!

Then it was back to the car to make the final drive back to London. Amazingly, we made it on schedule and without getting lost! We bid farewell to the lovely Miss Fanny Price after driving nearly 3,000km with her and went back to Jen's place. So nice to be not at a hostel!

For dinner, Jen made me her famous pumpkin soup, which is completely vegan until she stirs sour cream into her own bowl. Why would you ruin such a beautiful soup? Because it is an awesome soup. Pumpkin and spicy and oh so warming. And I made some roasted garlic pitta bread to go with it. A lovely dinner!

So we are almost at the end of the journey, one last post to go!