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.
* * * * *
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the
White Continent of Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are
some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is
one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination
is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more,
but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages.
Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.
Treasures of Ireland: A Pint of the Black Stuff
The Palladian Traveler attempts the perfect pour
as he files his latest dispatch from inside Europe's most popular tourist
Would You Believe She Can Carry 800 (Yes, 800!)
As she came around the corner we could not believe
how big she was. Massive, and yet incredibly beautiful almost elegant
in fact. Her lines were so symmetrical she seemed to blend into a classic
example of astonishing good looks. The other fact that amazed all of us
was how quiet she was. We felt sure that with the obvious overwhelming power
she evidenced, she'd be extra loud. It's a cliché, but she was as
quiet as a church mouse or "as quiet as dreaming trees."
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.
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on
the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought,
"Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part
I'm not a morning person so I had no problem leaving those
early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their
red snapper for dinner.
John January and Linda Berry Have Chemistry
Chemistry by its very definition is the spontaneous reaction
of two people to each other, especially that sense of mutual attraction
and understanding. This month John January and Linda Berry release their
new project, Chemistry 101 and together they explore a range and
depth of musical styles on both organic and physical levels. As a joint
labor of love, January says Chemistry 101 is pretty straight-forward.
Hanging Out in Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is legendary around the world as one
of the best surfing spots. Its waves and beaches are so great, it is also
officially known as "Surf City." But as I learned on a recent
getaway, the town is more than just tasty swells and beautiful white sand;
it also boasts gourmet restaurants, luxury, ocean-front hotels, great
shopping, and tons of California coastal charm.
Tahiti and Her Islands
Just their names (pronounce each vowel!) conjure up romantic
images: Tahiti Nui, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Taha'a. Her
people are gentle; the air, tiare-perfumed. Warm lagoons, majestic peaks,
tropical fruits from the land and bounty from the sea all tantalize the
senses. Paradise! As near as can be found on planet earth. And, in my
experience, the finest way to explore her is on a ship designed for that
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.
Costa Rica's Green
Sitting at an umbrella table in downtown San Jose overlooking
the Plaza de la Cultura is like a page out of Hemingway's "The
Sun Also Rises." The plaza is laid out in a maze of stalls where
passive vendors sell sparkling silver jewelry by the trayfull, hand-carved
clay masks, colorful Guatemalan belts, area rugs, and hammocks perfect
for a midday siesta. Three men play an old wood marimba over the buzz
of the crowd while a steaming plate of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) is
served to an elegant lady who was performing with her guitar...
California Road Trip
You would never guess that you didnt have to
leave the mainland USA to find an Island with lush gardens, oceanside views
and fabulous food all minutes away from downtown San Diego. I wondered what
exactly we were heading towards, an Island in the middle of a city? It sounded
slightly absurd, never-the-less, we drove onto the property of Paradise
Point Resort and Spa and were pleasantly surprised.
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