Tag Archives: Restaurant Review

Wedding Morning Breakfast at the Fairmont

Quiche at Le Marche

TRAVEL THERE: WHAT I DID ON THE DAY OF THE WEDDING

Waking up in my hotel room, my first thought was, “This is it.  Bassem and Mariam’s wedding day.”  My next thought was a sense of gratefulness that I hadn’t allowed Bill to talk me into a tour on the day of the wedding.  I planned to relax all day.

Back to Le Marche Cafe

When we headed out of the room on our second morning at the Fairmont, there was no question about where we’d have breakfast.   We were going to Le Marche, as much for the delicious food as for our friend, Ahmed. We were momentarily disappointed when Ahmed was not there to greet us, but when we asked for him, the other guy faded into the background and a wide-smiling Ahmed appeared to welcome us back.

We sat down to peruse the menu and enjoyed several chance encounters with family, who passed to and fro in the lobby.  The groom scooted by on an errand, then along came the bride and her mother with a trail of attendants.  The attendants were in charge of the luggage and a rolling rack which was transporting the wedding gown.  Don’t worry the gown was completely covered, so there was no peeking.  Double kisses all around!

Next to arrive were nephew Steven and his friend John.  They decided to join us for breakfast and enjoy the attentions of Ahmed, the new friend of the family.  The meal was delightful.  I ordered a scone and got a second one on the house.  Steven ordered a chocolate croissant and got a Danish to boot.  Bill was delighted by his generous slice of quiche.  John, however, did not have such great fortune with his selection.

John’s Egyptian fantasy meal was a plate of fresh dates and figs.  He arrived a day or two before we did and asked for this delicacy at every opportunity and though he continued his quest throughout the whole trip, I don’t think he found it anywhere.  So much for Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Ahmed was so disappointed to admit he couldn’t provide the plate of dates and figs, but he suggested fruit instead.

John wanted to know how the fruit was presented.  “Is it on a platter or in a bowl?” John asked.  “Whatever you like,” Ahmed assured him.  “Is it a fruit salad?” John asked.  “No,” Ahmed replied, “it is a salad in a bowl.”  That being settled, John decided to see what would appear.

Ahmed roamed back and forth between the kitchen and the table.  Beverages were the first to appear and for awhile it seemed that was about all we were going to get.  Then the orders dribbled out.  First the pastries.  Then a while later, Bill got his quiche.  We were all just about done, when we started making noise about the missing fruit.  Ahmed was contrite in his protestations and assured us the fruit was almost there.

Ahmed, you were a treasure, but the fruit bowl, salad or whatever was a disappointment!  I’m sure any American could have driven to the nearest Kroger, bought some grapes, apples and oranges, returned home to chop them up into a bowl and then delivered them to the family, faster than Ahmed delivered up the same boring bowl from somewhere in the bowels of the Fairmont.  Not even a pineapple slice, no melons, nothing.  Just grocery store fruit!

Going Separate Ways

Bill was still having a difficult time believing I did not want to fill up every moment of the trip with tours and museums, but I was truly new and improved.  When Steven and John suggested he join them for a trip to the Khan-il-Kalili, I had my fingers crossed he’d join them, so I could have some alone time.

The crossed fingers worked.  The guys headed off on their adventure and I created my own spa day.  Come back next week and see how it went.

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Edith’s French Bistro

Edith's French Bistro, Dallas TX, Spot On Images

Beyond Tantlizing

TRAVEL HERE:  BON JOUR EDITH!

I’ve been holding out on you.  In our pre-occupation with kicking off Spot On Images, I haven’t been as faithful as I once was with sharing the delights Bill and I discover as we wander about the Metroplex.  In my defense, we haven’t been quite as adventurous in recent months, because we’ve been focused on kicking off our new venture.  We got a little lazy, returning frequently to old favorites and depending on those ubiquitous chain restaurants.  Recently, we ran into something that was so good I couldn’t keep it to myself.  

My Turn to Choose, As Usual

“Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know.  Where do you want to go?”

Sound familiar?  We say the same thing and more often than not we answer it geographically.  If we’re up north, we’ll go to Watter’s Creek.  If we’re sticking close to home we’ll go to the Rockwall Square.  If we’re in a more central location, like downtown Dallas, Mockingbird Station is a favorite.  Once at one of these areas we wander around a bit until something grabs us.

For this trip we went to Mockingbird Station.  An interesting rotation of restaurants cycles through and we’ve found several favorites there.  Unfortunately many of them have been short-lived flashes in the pan, but we keep trying, because we usually find something good.  It is our sincere hope that this new restaurant will beat the odds.  We love it and we’re sure if you try it, you will too.  So give it a spin and let us know what you think.

This time, when the usual question came up, I chose Edith’s French Bistro.  The name featured three words I love.  “Bistro” suggests an easy-going casual restaurant.  “French” is one of my favorite cuisines.  And Edith?  Well, those who know me well know it was the name of my favorite aunt, certainly a fortuitous omen.  Right on all counts.

Edith's French Bistro, Dallas TX, Spot On Images

Charming Decor

While we were in the mood for an adventure, we weren’t in the mood to break the bank.  Since French restaurants can often come with a high price tag, we tentatively wandered in the door and took a look around.  We immediately noticed the decor wasn’t all that Frenchy.  Tasteful and inviting most certainly, but in a contemporary, fresh sort of way, rather than white tablecloths and intimidating waiters.

Even as we breathed a sigh of relief, the pastry counter caught our eyes and lured us to gaze longingly at the treasures waiting there.  We were greeted by a handsome young fellow who seemed glad to see us.  We’d arrived much too late for lunch and quite early for dinner, so there weren’t many other patrons to distract him.  He told us of drink specials and raved about the food.  It all sounded good, but in truth, we quite liked him and he was the primary reason we stayed.  Well, that and the pastry counter.

Edith's French Bistro, Dallas TX, Spot On Images

Sleek and Modern Space

Tyler sat us in his section and we perused the menu.  Edith’s was hitting all the marks.  Inviting decor, pristine housekeeping, charming waitstaff and a great selection of food.  I liked that the menu wasn’t one of those exhaustive tomes with a million choices and nothing I really wanted.  Instead, there was a two-sided card.  I could have easily pointed at random and ended up with something I would have loved.

Bill opted for the French Dip Sandwich, but I needed some guidance.  As tempting as they sounded, I stayed away from the breakfast options which were available all day and the crepes.  Even though I was excited by the Frenchness of it all, I found myself lost between two not-so-French options.  They had something called a Ghost Burger which sounded heavenly.  Well, maybe heavenly isn’t the exact right word, because Tyler warned me it was spicy, but just thinking about the description makes me hungry all over again.

I landed on the Shrimp Mac & Cheese which Tyler assured me was his favorite dish.  For now, it’s my favorite dish also, but I intend to visit the restaurant frequently and challenge that opinion.  We quizzed Tyler about the restaurant, wanting to know how long it had been there and if there really was an Edith.  I am proud to announce there is an Edith.  She arrives very early every morning to make the magnificent pastries in the refrigerated case.  They not only look remarkable, they taste that way, too.  I know.  I had one of the eclairs and to my delight it was filled with chocolate.  I’m sure it would have been just as delicious filled with vanilla cream, but if you know me you can imagine how the chocolate thrilled me.

When the bill came we were reminded of the friendly prices.  Certainly visit during happy hour (before 7, I believe), because wine by the bottle is half price, but don’t be afraid to go at other times, because the prices are very affordable all the time.  In fact go frequently, because we need to keep this gem around.  As we grilled Tyler about the restaurant and its Edith, we discovered that her husband has a restaurant right across from her, but as much as I’d love to check it out, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be that close to Edith’s and not eat there.

Come back here on Wednesday, because we’ll be visiting the bride’s home in Cairo on the day before the wedding – one of my favorite events during my entire visit to Egypt!   I wouldn’t want you to miss it.

(BTW – these delicious pictures were taken with a phone.  Imagine what they’d look like if Bill had his “good” camera with him.)

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Baalbak Lebenese Restaurant in the Sonasta Hotel

Marvelous Maggie

TRAVEL THERE: EASTER LUNCH WITH FAMILY

In this particular blog, I’m going to rave about our niece Maggie, but please understand, there is no way we could have had such a great trip if not for all of our wonderful nieces and nephews.  I’ve already told you how glad we were to see Mirette and Ayman at the airport and how our trip was enhanced by Steven and his traveling companion.  The list goes on, but Maggie was my rock.  She guided me through the challenges of gift-buying and what to wear for the wedding and what to pack for everything else.  Her English is perfect, so she’s easy for me to chat with.  She’s also the one who pulled together a perfect Easter Lunch for all the families on the day before the wedding.  Kudos to this sweet, bright, beautiful lady!

Egyptian Customs

I’ll have a lot more to say about this when we actually get to the wedding, but they don’t do marriages exactly like we do.  Rehearsal dinners are not a thing there, for instance, but Maggie wanted an opportunity for all of the family to get together, so from her home in Michigan, she planned a delightful luncheon for the whole group, including a car to deliver us from the Fairmont to the Sonasta Hotel where the luncheon was.

Egyptians don’t do lunch like us either.  My lunch juices start flowing about noon, but Egyptians don’t start thinking about lunch until around 2 and a midnight dinner is nothing too far out of the ordinary, but it’s usually more like nine-ish.  Which brings me to my dining schedule while I was there.

As I’ve mentioned, we usually had a huge buffet for breakfast and according to what we were doing that day, it could be anywhere from very early to nearly 11 AM.  Whatever time breakfast happened, I needed to load up. If we had an early breakfast, chances are I wouldn’t see food again until late afternoon and that afternoon luncheon might or might not be the final meal of the day.

If we had a later breakfast, it really became brunch, and I’d try to avoid a mid-day meal and hold out until that late dinner.  From time to time that meant the application of a little chocolate to my thighs via my mouth, and I tried to keep that to a minimum, but I had plenty of chocolates, thanks to the Ghaly’s beautiful gift.

Most days I was able to keep my intake to two meals, but then something would happen and I found myself eating three feasts in one day, along with some snacks forced on me by an eager hostess.  That I only gained five pounds on this trip really was a miracle.

Lunch at Baalak

Baalak, is a lovely restaurant in the Sonesta Hotel featuring regional specialties – kofta, grilled veggies, stuffed grape leaves, eggplant casserole, macaroni in bechamel, rice, potatoes, grilled chicken – all the good stuff.  However, they only serve dinner.  As I have mentioned, Maggie planned this incredible feast long distance and it was a doozy.

When we arrived I gave the traditional two kiss greeting to everyone and while I wished I could have completed the gifting then and there, this event was to honor the bride and groom, so all I had was their gifts.  The balance of the afternoon was spend around the table enjoying one of the most congenial and delicious afternoons you can imagine.

We are an international family.  We’re spread out throughout Canada, the US and Egypt, but I’ve heard of relatives in Paris and as far away as Australia.  The careers represented range from medical doctor, to teacher, to investor, to stay-at-home-mom, to laundromat entrepreneur, to financier and the list goes on.  The children are beautiful, precocious and indulged.  We are very interesting to ourselves, but probably not to you.

The next day was the wedding, but we’re not there yet! Come back next week for more family fun.

 

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Good Morning Cairo

Hookah Anyone?

TRAVEL THERE: MY FAVORITE THING AT THE FAIRMONT HELIOPOLIS

My favorite thing at the Fairmont wasn’t a thing at all.  It was Ahmed, the waiter in the Le Marche Cafe.  Le Marche was my favorite place for breakfast during the whole trip.  Having to face down a buffet every morning actually gets pretty old.  Le Marche was a little a la carte cafe and while the food was good, Ahmed was marvelous!

Breakfast Not Included

Breakfast-included is kind of an Egyptian thing, but since the Fairmont is so Americanized, you could make breakfast-excluded reservations.  And this is a good place to tell you, it is very Americanized.  Except for a few decor items and the over-abundance of Arab-looking staff you could be in a hotel in Middle America for all you could tell from the interior surroundings.

For some folks that’s a recommendation, but not so much for me.  I love my American creature comforts, but I also like them to come in an exotic package if at all possible.  Our next hotel will do just that, but let’s get back to breakfast.

Before we headed downstairs, I dutifully perused one of those huge leather-covered tomes I’d hidden away from us the night before.  With it I got a feel for breakfast possibilities.  Here’s a rundown from the hotel’s website:

Dining choices at Fairmont Heliopolis are truly endless that varies from Lebanese favorites at Al Dabké, genuine Egyptian cuisine at Egyptian Night, authentic Thai delicacies at Lan Tania, modern Chinese specialties at Noble House, authentic Mexican cuisine and fantastic margarita’s at Maria’s, classic Italian cuisine with a modern twist at Leonardo, All-day dining at My Kind of Place, the freshest sushi and sashimi at Saki Sushi Lounge, Indian cuisine at Raj, chill-out outdoor venue at Pizza bar, contemporary international cuisine at Aqua E Luce, French patisserie at Le Marché, fast dining style at Marilyn and pool bar serving light snacks at Blue Lagoon Bar.  

My reading told me we’d end up at Le Marche, but we were having a lazy, late morning, so I wasn’t opposed to browsing the lobby.  We walked past Le Marche and saw My Kind of Place, which had a sign announcing, “Breakfast Performing Here.”  I certainly wasn’t looking for dancing eggs and the sight of a buffet didn’t seem tempting.  Price being one barrier and the number of upcoming breakfast buffets being the next.

Marilyn’s was a Marilyn-Monroe-Themed cafe, but it looked closed right then.  We saw the Thai restaurant, the Mexican Restaurant, the Italian Place and some of the others, all waiting for dinner time.  Continuing through the lobby we happened on Aqua E Luce on the Towers side of the hotel.  They didn’t have a sign telling us breakfast was performing, but there was a buffet, which by the way did seem a little more inviting than the one over in My Kind of Place, if you are ever interested.

We kept on walking and found the Towers Pool.  It had a Pizza Bar and lots of hookah equipment.  Before I left Egypt, I also discovered it was the location for their Egyptian Night, but that story is for another day.  We began to re-trace our steps and found our way to Le Marche, just as I had anticipated, but I hadn’t imagined there would be an Ahmed!

Le Marche – ask for Ahmed!

Le Marche Cafe

Le Marche has a pastry counter filled with delectable treats and we were salivating over them when we were approached by Ahmed.  We confessed to be overwhelmed by our breakfast choices and Bill asked him if there was a menu.  Ahmed and Bill were soon swapping stories in Arabic as I drooled on my own.  Ahmed ushered us to a seat and continued his banter with Bill.

Bill suggested we share one of the croissant sandwiches with turkey and while I really wanted one of those humongous pastries, I acquiesced and asked for the bonus of a Coke Zero.  Bill isn’t much of buying beverages in restaurants, but we had come down without our water bottle, so I got my Coke Zero.  This was treat, not only because it was a splurge to get a restaurant soda, but because most of Egypt has Diet Coke, not Coke Zero and while I’d prefer a Diet Dr Pepper, I prefer Coke Zero to Diet Coke.

Ahmed was polite, solicitous and not at all inappropriate, but he should have just set down at our table.  He and Bill became fast friends in about two minutes.  The two of them chatted throughout the meal.  When we got the croissant sandwich it was delicious and plenty for two.  The conversation was so friendly I was concerned that I might be sitting most of the day.

The Rest of the Hotel

When breakfast was over, we headed out to check out the balance of the hotel.  We found the gift shop, laundry and offices.  Then we found out way out to the primary pool complex, which was extensive.  There were a number of pools, a hookah cafe, indoor squash court and clay tennis courts.  We found a pretty nice playground and gave the fitness center and spa a thorough inspection.  High marks on all counts, including the friendly staff.

We looked at our watches and realized time was flying.  Bill contacted the groom, who was in the salon getting a mani/pedi.  He was about to head over to his bride’s home to transport her to the hotel, but he offered to drop us off at his sister’s place.  That sounded good to me, because I was ready to quit carrying around gifts and start delivering them.

Come back next week for the fun!

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Seeking Standard Service

Photo from Yelp

TRAVEL HERE:  SECRET SERVICE MIGHT BE A BETTER NAME FOR ROCKWALL’S NEW RESTAURANT

If you lived in the Rockwall area and I told you a new restaurant was located behind the Sonic on Ridge Way, you’d have a clue about where to look, but unless you actually went behind the Sonic, you’d never find Standard Service.  The restaurant fills a space on the back side of a crossfit gym.  The only signage is on the front of the restaurant and can’t be seen from any of the nearby streets.  You’d never see it if you turned next to the Sonic and headed to Lowe’s, which is the destination of most of the traffic.

My Secret Agent 

Loree Posard Kiethly does my hair and she’s my primary source of info about what’s happening in Rockwall.  I have no idea who all sits in her chair, but they have the inside scoop on all kinds of things, from what restaurants will open soon to where the local swingers rendezvous.

“Have you been to Standard Service?”  I thought she’d found a new garage or service station, but come to find out it was a new restaurant.  Then she told me its location – near a corner I pass pretty much every time I come or go to my house.  I didn’t want to accuse my friend of lying, but it sure didn’t sound like a good spot for a restaurant and I certainly hadn’t seen it.

The gist of her information was that a restaurateur opened Standard Service as test, because he was considering building near The Harbor.  As soon as he opened the awkward test location, he instantaneously had a loyal following, so the lake-view restaurant is a go.  Obviously, a trip to Standard Service was required.

The Standard on a Sunday Afternoon

Our visit to Standard Service was on a Sunday afternoon in May.  Perhaps the traffic was slow because of May’s many distractions, like moms and grads and brides.  We also arrived mid-afternoon, rather than at a meal time.  Most of the patrons were at the bar gazing into the multiple tv’s spread around the restaurant.

Bill and I walked away from the experience with two totally different impressions.  He loved the place.  The tall shelves full of wine and liquor were fascinating to him.  He thought it had a good vibe for a local place and a good number of patrons for a Sunday afternoon.  He didn’t particularly like what he ordered, but said he’d come back and try something else.  He couldn’t wait to get home and tell a friend who’s opening a liquor store about the tall shelves.

That wasn’t me.  To me the layout was confusing.  We entered a foyer that seemed like a dead end.  Once we got our bearings we saw double glass doors to the right.  There seemed to be two bars, one on each side.  The primary bar is to the right and then another smaller one is on the left.  There aren’t many tables.  The look is industrial, complete with the exposed air conditioning ducts – not one of my favorites.

The service is good enough to put a lie to the name of the restaurant, but I wasn’t crazy about the food.  It wasn’t bad.  The small burger had an unnecessarily greasy bun in my estimation, but it did have a reasonable price.  The sweet potato fries were the food hit of the day.

Much of the things I don’t like about Standard Service have to do with my personal taste, so that should be taken into consideration.  The industrial look of it, the televisions all over the place, the paper service items – these might be the very reason you would visit, but they don’t beg me to come back.

So, should you go visit Standard Service?  If you live out here in Rockwall County – I’d say, for sure.  If you’re out here anyway, you might as well, because while our restaurant selections have been improving since I got here a few years ago, this is about as good as it gets.  No reason to drive over from Dallas until the new place by the lake gets built.

Come on back Wednesday, for tales about the Fairmount in Heliopolis, Egypt and then next week I’ll share another Dallas area adventure.

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Shopping Extravaganza

Another Lazy Afternoon at Watter’s Creek

TRAVEL HERE: WATTER’S CREEK AND THE ALLEN OUTLET MALL

Having safely escaped the Lavender Festival, Deb and I pursued a couple of our favorite pastimes, holiday or no holiday – dining and shopping.  Come along with us.

It Shouldn’t Have Been a Secret

I’d been keeping a secret from my bestie and didn’t even realize it.  Watter’s Creek is a favorite haunt of my husband’s.   The whole multi-purpose development is built around a charming open space.  A grassy hill slopes down to a creek.  Water fowl wander among gleeful children.  A sampling of beautiful people hang out on the patios of a handful of restaurants surrounding the park.  It’s a relaxing oasis from the hustle and bustle, with just enough hustle and bustle of its own to be entertaining.  Many a Sunday afternoon Bill and I make our way to Watter’s Creek for an early supper.  A quick perusal the pictures in my Facebook feed could verify that I’ve made several attempts to notify the world of this pleasant place to hang out.

There’s another reason I didn’t realize Deb was unaware of the charm of Watter’s Creek.  Countless times we’ve shopped the Allen Outlet Mall and then gone to Watter’s Creek and had lunch at Brio, usually on the patio.  I can’t begin to count the number of times Deb and I have lingered on that patio solving the world’s problems and venting over some of our more irritating challenges.  I could have sworn that at least one of those meals ended at DSW, checking out the clearance racks, but I guess not.

As we discussed where to have lunch, we tipped our hat to Brio, but Deb was in the mood for adventure.  When I told her there were other great restaurants in the same complex she gave me an accusing look.  I’d been holding out on her!  She thought the whole thing was an apartment complex with Brio and a Cheesecake Factory stuck next to the highway.  She navigated her car to Watter’s Creek and I directed her around the side of our usual hangout and into the main shopping area.  She immediately loved it.  We parked in one of the garages and headed to a restaurant I had mentioned.

As we strolled, I realized the restaurant ratio at Watter’s Creek was rising.  Bill and I had peeked in the window of the Village Burger Bar, but had never even seen Firewater Kitchen and Bar at the end of the row.  Deb and I turned a corner headed to what I thought was Savor, a tasting restaurant Bill and I had enjoyed on one of our visits – but Savor had become The Cellar.  It looked more barish than foodish, so I recommended we head around the corner to Bonnie Ruth’s Cafe.

A New Favorite is Found

At Bonnie Ruth we opted for the patio and almost immediately declared it our new favorite.  One of the reasons Deb and I are such fast friends is that we love the same things and one of the things we really love is al fresco dining.  If food is good inside a restaurant, it’s our opinion that it’s even better on the patio.  Hubby will join me al fresco – if the weather is perfect, the sun is at the right angle and he’s in the mood.  For Deb and I, there either has to be a snowstorm or pounding rain to deter us from choosing the patio.  Otherwise we’ll at least try to convince the hostess to let us sit out there.

I’m glad to finally have someone who loves Bonnie Ruth the way I do. I’ve tried to indoctrinate Bill, but he’s resisted me.  We’d visited the Frisco location several times and it just didn’t click with him.  I’ve suggested it several times at Watter’s Creek, but he’s always more interested in the restaurants that border on the park, so he can watch the beautiful people and the ducks.  So I sigh and follow him to another choice.

I even tried to get Mom to enjoy Bonnie Ruth’s back when we spent our Thursdays together.  As most of you know, she now spends all her days on a higher plane, but I still keep a catalog of restaurants to try out on her.  See, Mom loved to eat out, but had you been her chauffeur, as I was for many years, you wouldn’t think so.

Finding Restaurants for Ruth

Mom was perpetually on the look out for the perfect cafe.  It needed to have sandwiches, soups and salads – and there were extra points for quiche.  She didn’t want to stand in line to order.  They should have tablecloths and eschew serving food in paper or plastic.  Servers should be attentive and the price had to be right.  That’s a pretty tall order.

Most sandwich and soup places, like La Madeline, Panera and Corner Bakery, start with a line, have bare table tops and the service never adds up.  Then for some reason none of my other favorites, like Bonnie Ruth’s or Lavendou’s, passed her test.  Lunch time would roll around and I would start listing every spot I could think of, but she’d keep that I-don’t-think-so look on her face until I thought I’d expire from exasperation.  Then she’d happily settle for Cantina Laredo, Chili’s or some other place that didn’t match any of the criteria she’d spelled out for the perfect cafe.  She didn’t do al fresco at all.  I loved her, but not for the same reasons I love Deb!

The Yes Hook at Cabi’s

Back to Bonnie Ruth’s Patio

So there I sat on a lovely patio drinking a glass of wine with my bestie.  Heaven – short and simple.  The food was good.  I had a sandwich with poached pear and cheese on delicious bread.  Deb thought she was ordering a Chicken Pecan Salad sandwich, but she ended up with just the salad.  Both were delicious, but the poached pear number won the day.  I’d tell you the name of it, but it’s not on the menu on their website.  We topped it off with some insane chocolate cake drenched in praline sauce.  No calories there, right?

After dessert we hit a few stores.  One was DSW where I got four delightful pairs of shoes for about $60.  In case math is not your strong point, that’s an average of $15 each.  Bestie paid more than my total for one pair of shoes to work out in.  No wonder I don’t like to exercise.  Who wouldn’t rather have four pairs of shoes over one pair of sneakers!

Then we went on to our shopping mecca – Allen Outlet Mall.  Warning, there is all kinds of construction going on there, so your visit will be painful, but your pocketbook will be happy.  My two favorite stores are Cabi and White House/Black Market – and they didn’t disappoint this time either!  WH/BM offered up a pair of leather and suede jeans -originally $450 – that I got for $19.99.  There were a couple of pairs of leggings (suede fronts, stretch backs) that were originally $350 each – yep I got them for $19.99.  A pair of black capri’s and a black divided skirt wanted to come home with me for similar prices.  Cabi was having a 50% off sale that included clearance, so I dropped a few dimes there, too.  How can I resist buying size six trousers?

So, I went a little long today, but it was a fun day.  See you next week!

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Happy at Heathrow

Lunch at Huxley’s

TRAVEL THERE: A DEFINITELY DELIGHTFUL LAYOVER

No matter how pleasant an Atlantic-crossing flight may be, I need a break when it’s over.  Hanging out in an airport may not be the most fun I can have, but it can be some fun – and this time it was.  It had been a while since I’d been to Heathrow and I have nothing but nice things to say about it.

Welcome to Heathrow

Our bags were checked through to Cairo, which was a blessing, but we had to change terminals.  That’s never fun.  At Heathrow that means you take a bus to the first terminal, follow the purple signs forever, take another bus to the other terminal and get delivered to a skillfully-organized dime-dropping opportunity.

After our brisk walk following the purple signs, I was ready for lunch.  We arrived in the departure lounge and were a bit overwhelmed.  This place is a shopper’s paradise and they have some pretty good food, too.  After checking out the possibilities at the terminal map, we made our way to a place that sounded sort of pub-ish.

My Post Fish & Chips Grin

Hungry at Huxley’s

One nice thing about Heathrow was their choice of restaurants.  You weren’t stuck with your usual food court choices.  I was craving authentic fish and chips, so we made our way to Huxley’s, described on the Heathrow website this way: 

“With its handsome dark-wood chequerboard floor and leather banquette seating, Huxleys could pass for a new-wave gastropub, but the menu has no such pretensions. Expect simple compilations of the best ingredients: slow cooked pork belly, old English pork sausages and 21 day aged steak. Thick-cut sandwiches, pie and mash, all-day breakfasts, beer battered fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding continue the British theme. “

I had to look no further than front and center on the menu to figure out what I wanted and Huxley’s did not disappoint.  The British Classic was everything my taste buds had been craving – and the minted peas?  Marvelous!  Bill had some sort of sandwich and a beer.  I wanted a beer, but I opted for a diet soda instead.  I was still trying to watch my weight at that point and I was busting the calorie budget with my beer-battered fish.

As we waited for our food to be served we observed what others were having and admired something called an Eton Mess as it was delivered to another table.  Fresh strawberries, crushed meringue, whipped cream and ice cream.  What was there not to like?  We toyed with the idea of finishing our meal with the same, but there was no room in the tummy after I inhaled all the gorgeous fish and chips.

Let’s Go Shopping

To me, the star of the shopping mall was Harrod’s.  Not only is it a British classic, the space it occupied was spectacular.  I saw at least six things that I wanted to come home with me before I even entered the shop.

Bill was attracted to the duty-free shopping.  That’s where he discovered that I had been right about the Jack Black Scotch.  We could have bought it for a great price at the airport and not had to sacrifice pounds in our luggage.

There was another little shop that represented another brand now associated with all things British.  I’m not a Hogwart fan, but I had to take this picture for Hannah Beth.  We were able to enjoy both floors of the Heathrow Terminal 5 shopping opportunity before they posted our gate on the departure monitors, but we managed to keep the credit cards in our pockets.

I caught up on my travel journal – it’s always quite detailed in the beginning, but by the end of the trip I’m not such a faithful diarist.  I wandered around a bit, trying to take advantage of this chance to stretch my legs.  I also made my pre-boarding potty stop.  That’s when I found this guy biding me farewell and  I couldn’t resist capturing him for you.

Our flight was called and we boarded.  Come back next week for our exciting arrival in Cairo!

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Filed under DESTINATIONS, International, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL