Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winter is coming...

Oh, my favorite A Song of Ice and Fire Tumblr? Oh yes, winter is coming...

Especially with a post like this, which incidentally highlights Matt Ridley's point in The Rational Optimist about how trade and trust have raised our living standards so much that an impoverished person has a higher standard of living in these ages than a lord in medieval times (roughly the era for A Song of Ice and Fire).

I may just need to start a Tumblr account.

Back from London!

I was revisiting one of my favorite cities last weekend, London. I literally was there for a long weekend - flew in Thursday morning (was not tired because I got five hours of sleep on the plane), dropped my stuff off at the flat in Notting Hill my friends and I were renting, and then went out and enjoying the Tate Modern and Spitalfields Market.

As for Friday, we went back to Spitalfields Market, where I finally ran into a photographer who I had last met in autumn 2008 and whose stacked espresso cup photo I desperately wanted to buy for myself (after buying it in 2008 and giving it to a friend). I loved the slightly sepia photo and the Bialetti stovetop espresso maker in the background. Anyway, the photo is below for you to enjoy (and appropriately marked with the watermark telling you where to get it if you like it). I have not decided where it should go in my house yet - maybe in my kitchen?

The rest of the weekend was great too. We went to two markets, Portobello and Broadway. At Portobello, one of my friends and I browsed through antique maps, but could not find any that truly tempted us (a friend of mine in DC has a few great framed maps of Cyprus and the world, so I was looking for something that could compete, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). However, I found this amazing truffle olive oil that I will now use the next time I make the roasted squash and mushroom salad from the Otto cookbook, Molto Gusto.

At Broadway Market we grazed at the various food stands there - I enjoyed some street Persian food, some falafel like thing called a kookoo. Though looking it up later, it appears that it is usually a frittata.

Of course, I can never resist clothing shopping in London, and this time was no different. Rather than some excellent shirts from T.M. Lewin though, I ended up getting two gorgeous leather jackets from Tomcat Leather in Covent Garden. Coincidentally, it is right next to this wonderful cheap vegetarian restaurant that I had not been to since 2006. And yes, we went there for dinner too, where I had their Moroccan plate - almond couscous mixed with harissa (my idea), and some other Moroccan specialties which I can't remember because as good as they were, I got the plate for the couscous.

All in all, I had a great time visiting London again. I am not certain when I'll next be back there, but since I am applying for school there, I am crossing my fingers that my next visit will be more permanent. In the mean time though, I'll be recreating that almond couscous and posting pictures.