London's 34 Restaurant:
Linger with a Leisurely Weekend Brunch Story by Ruth J. Katz
Photos courtesy of Caprice Group
just off regal Grosvenor Square, 34 is an elegant oasis in a region,
Mayfair, which is a haven in and of itself. A relative newcomer to London's
restaurant firmament, 34
has become an instant culinary classic. With its burnished ginger banquettes,
rich oak parquet flooring, and open kitchen as a centerpiece, it has
fashioned a welcoming hearth and homey table for visitors; and indeed,
there is a literal hearth, 34's charcoal grill (custom-built in Argentina)
Part of the Caprice Group, 34 is a sister restaurant
to the many bold-faced names in the group: Le Caprice, Scott's, The
Ivy, and the destination restaurant, Daphne in Barbados (where I dined
a few years ago and where I murmured to myself after my meal, "That
is one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed.") In addition, under
the company umbrella are some of London's most prestigious private clubs,
including Annabel's, George (where the hamburger is to-die-for), and
of course, The Club at the Ivy.
34's remarkable grill, fed by natural fuels, is known
as a parrilla and is ideally suited for the kind of meat repasts
for which the Argentines are lauded the cornerstone of which
is the churrasco, the beef (usually) which is prepared in the
Argentine churrascaria, or beef restaurant. Head chef, Harvey
Ayliffe, has developed an eclectic menu, using the grill not only for
beef, but also for seasonal game, fish, and shellfish. The beef served
at 34 includes Scottish, dry-aged, grass-fed; Australian Wagyu; and
US prime, corn-fed beef from particular ranches with which the restaurant
has a relationship.
Weekend brunch is a lovely treat here and on a balmy
Sunday, I enjoyed my meal there, as well as a stroll around the nabe.
First, ask for the ingenious drink menu, as there is an entire page
devoted to Bloody Mary and her cousins.
After fortification, then dig in: My colleague savored
the lobster Thermidor omelette, so rich and creamy it was sinful; the
crab and grilled asparagus frittata was a great twist on a classic,
as were the buttermilk pancakes with cured bacon, which we drenched
in sweet maple syrup.
The smoked salmon, dill, and bacon hash was an extraordinary
combo, and the pan-fried calf's liver, with maple-cured bacon, pickled
shallots, and sage was a savory and succulent main course. There are
also a few interpretations of American classics, like the Southern fried
chicken/coleslaw sandwich and the 34 hamburger, with dill relish. (Oh,
did I mention that the menu also sports get this lobster
macaroni. Talk about obscene.) Save room for dessert, as it's another
walk down Tasty Lane: roasted plum, caramel, shortbread, and brioche
ice cream; warm almond and honey cake with roasted figs and yoghurt
ice cream. Ummmmm...
As for the ambience, designer Martin Brudnizki has taken
inspiration from English, Edwardian, and Art Deco styles. The bar, at
which guests can dine or enjoy an aperitif, has garnered awards and
is the perch for the house pianist, Sunday to Wednesday evenings (and
from Thursday to Saturday, a jazz trio performs).
If you luck out and have as lovely and balmy a day as
I had, then walk over to Grosvenor Square (home to the American Embassy
until the new one is built), where you can sit and enjoy the serenity
of the outdoors. Pay respects at Britain's 9-11 memorial, honoring the
67 British citizens who died that day. There are two pergolas, with
quiet seating, where you can enjoy a contemplative hour.
Restaurant 34: 34 Grosvenor Square (entrance on South
Audley Street), London, W1K 2HD; telephone: + (0)20 3350 3434
Let Ruth know what you think about her traveling adventure.
* * * * *
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Treasures of Ireland: Piped Inside Ashford Castle
The Palladian Traveler enters into a world of regal
elegance wrapped in Irish charm as he files his latest dispatch from inside
one of the Emerald Isle's most storied fortresses.
Chuuk + Wrecks = Scuba Divers' Paradise
As we dropped down to 25,000 feet I saw one of the
most extraordinary panoramas I'd ever been lucky enough to witness. The
majesty of it all and the stunning vistas that lay below and before me were
spectacular. It was as beautiful as spring's first rose, and it made me
understand why so many pilots on commercial jetliners love their job; they
get to see so many awe-inspiring sights from the cockpit. My view was that
of a vast vista of the Pacific.
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very
much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from
last years Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little
ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already
fed and are rubbing their stomachs.
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing
as the Man who Lived There
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from
the president during Black History Month Frederick Douglass has done
an amazing job... it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's
legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC
surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself
would be a good place to start.
Crooked Eye Tommy: 'Butterflies and Snakes'
When you load the CD Butterflies and Snakes into your
sound system, you know from the onset Crooked Eye Tommy isn't your run-of-the-mill
blues band. The entire recording is based around multiple styles, assorted
genres and two lifetimes of influence. From the swamp-like vibe of the
opening track through the weeping steel guitar highlighting the finale
there's a brand new, old school familiarity that resonates throughout
each one of the 11 original songs.
Discovering Art, Culture and Cuisine in Lancaster
Lancaster has always been one of those cities that I pass
through on the way to some other destination. But last week was different.
I finally took the time to explore the place and wow, was I surprised!
I discovered a downtown full of charm, culture, cuisine and community
spirit. My recent getaway began when a friend and I drove about 60 miles
north of Los Angeles toward the Mojave Desert and checked into the Towneplace
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Photographer Deb Roskamp focuses her camera on La Paz,
Baja California Sur. The resort property is CostaBaja, and the boat tours,
which include snorkeling at the UNESCO protected site, Isla Espiritu Santo,
were conducted by Fun Baja. The photographs are intended to speak for
Monte Verità: In the Footsteps of Anarchy
Just as I reach the end of a squiggling, multicolored
path, an acorn plummets from an oak tree above me. It lands at my feet,
just as the path culminates at a mandala of Venetian glass, eight feet in
diameter. On the worn-out front lawn of Monte Verità, the Mountain
of Truth, this path, Chiara's Rainbow, evolves through the colors of the
spectrum red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and finally violet
before arriving at the mosaic mandala where psychic energies supposedly
prevail. The falling acorn brings me to the present moment.
The Impossible Happened: Itís Time to Get to Work
All of us are stunned, across the entire political spectrum,
by the results of this election. Many are both sickened and saddened,
while others are jubilant. I am guardedly optimistic. I think it's too
early to despair, or to celebrate. In my experience nothing is ever as
bad as it seems, or as good. But there is great cause for concern.
Japan: Bullet Trains, Monkey Shows and Whale Steaks
Last month, I went to Japan for three things... Ok,
let me back up a little bit already. The #1 reason I went to Japan was to
visit my girlfriend, Yuki, and she will kill me if I don't say that, so
there it is. Hi Yuki! Anyway, so after that, reasons number 2, 3, and 4
were the following: I wanted to ride a bullet train, go to a monkey show,
and eat a whale steak. That's right. That's right.
The enormous Sonora Desert, a colossal 120,000 square
miles of splendor that spreads like a great tapestry of textures and colors
across international boundaries from Arizona into the State of Sonora
in northern Mexico is one of North Americas grand, untrammeled natural
treasures. The complex, sun-blessed region of bright dry heat, brilliant
low-hanging stars, and long, ever-changing shadows that shift with the
sun as they drape like endless silhouettes across craggy walls, mountain
ridges and hidden canyons, is a vibrant land with tales to tell.
Travelís Triumph over Terrorism
After a three-month adventure seeking beauty in the
world, many thoughts race through your mind, especially when you have quit
your job, run out of money, and have no clue what comes next. However, a
philosophical discussion on the meaning of life with a perfect stranger
is not one of them.
Seville The Most Gay-Friendly City in Spain
I find it nearly impossible to sleep on airplanes. When
I couldn't sleep on the overnight Delta flight from New York to Andalusia
last September, I scrolled through the movies (blah) and other entertainment
(double blah) until I came across the TV show "Game of Thrones".
I knew of it, that it was bloody and sexy, but had never seen it. I watched
more than heard three episodes before dozing off. As I found out later,
it was the perfect introduction to my visit to Seville, Spain.
Leviticus 20:13 Sent by Tom of Pasadena,
It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana
was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've
been interpreting it wrong all these years!
Love Is Better the Second Time Around (Lake Como)
As our wedding plans came together in the summer of
2007 my fiancée Dorothy and I began to focus on the honeymoon. Hawaii?
New York? London? Paris? Rome? Both of us had travelled to these iconic
places in the past, but in our conversations we quickly realized that neither
one of us had ever had a truly romantic visit to any of these wonderful
destinations. Dot and I had both been in long-term, "complicated"
marriages, where romance had not been on the plate for many, many years.
The Last Place Youd Visit: A Few Days in Europes
Least Visited Country
Im a biased traveler. Having fallen in love with
Europe on my first trip to Italy with my father as a 14 year old, it is
to this continent that my travel plans always seem to lead. I return to
somewhere in Europe now every May to see old friends and favorite cities.
But with each trip, I have a firm goal: to fit in at least one new country