Eric’s 40th: A birthday in London

After breakfast we left our hotel and headed north to the Brick Lane area. As we came to the north end of the street we found a collection of street vendors selling delicious smelling ethnic foods, so we made a note to come hungry on Sunday next time. As we wound our way through Shoreditch, we visited some of the side streets hunting street art – some had changed since our last visit, along with a few new pieces worth photographing.

street art  x-ray handstreet artstreet art  I want it painted black

Our final destination was the Sunday-only Columbia Street flower market. It was a beautiful day in London, so it seemed like half the city was on this narrow street looking at flowers. We gave up about halfway down because it was so overcrowded that it was hard to enjoy.

Columbia Road Flower Market  Columbia Road Flower Market

Next, we took the overground train to Greenwich while being entertained by a aspiring comedian conductor. He was spouting dubious ‘facts’ for each stop which made the trip go by a lot faster. We exited at the Cutty Sark stop and got a quick photo of the ship before detouring through the Greenwich Market. Leandra spotted a biltong stand near the front, so she negotiated 2£ worth of venison biltong. I was admiring some T-shirts from one vendor, but at 30+ £ each, it was more than I wanted to spend.

Greenwich Park was unsurprisingly popular on this warm Sunday. After passing the Maritime Museum, we enjoyed the view from the top of the hill, and made sure get a photo on the Greenwich meridian line. The museum was expensive, so we skipped that option.

Greenwich from the observatory

standing on the mean line!  mostly in the western hemisphere
standing on the meantime line!

Further in the park was a lovely flower garden landscaped with different azaleas and rhododendrons, plus some irises too. There were a lot  of ducks and pigeons in this area as dogs were not allowed.

gorgeous blooms in Greenwich Flower Garden

selfie @ Greenwich Flower Garden

On the way back to the train we stopped at The Greenwich Union, Meantime Brewing’s pub near the park, to rest our tired feet over a beer (a very spritzy Lervig Fish & Cow Berliner Weisse for me, Meantime Porter for Leandra).

The Greenwich Union (serving Meantime beers)  beer-1

After switching hotels, we changed for my birthday dinner at Salt Yard. We ordered an Italian cheese board, Patatas Fritas, and several other tasty small plates. The selection of Italian and Spanish wines was also quite nice, with Eric enjoying a Rueda and an Rosato, while Leandra choose a Primativo.

beer-2

Our favorite beer bar in London, Craft Beer Co., was only a few blocks away, so we made that our final stop of the day. Over the course of several hours Leandra tried the barrel aged Outta Kilter (pretty good), the Partizan stout (very good), and the Siren Broken Dream (her fave).

beer-3   beer-4

Eric started with the Siren Calypso berliner weisse, a nice light sour with some hops, then the By The Horns Sour to the People berliner weisse. To top off his birthday night he tried the Talisker 2000 distiller edition, which was briny with light smoke and a mild fruitiness. As usual, we had a great time at Craft, especially to celebrate a birthday milestone!

Memory Monday: Cocktails @ The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell

I found this bar listed in an article on excellent bars several months before our trip and planned to surprise Eric here for birthday-eve drinks.

Upon arrival we grabbed an open couch near the door but were told that table was reserved and did we mind sitting at the bar? No problem. The house cocktail list is diverse and contains several unusual house-made mixers and infused spirits, including oak liqueur, samphire syrup and plum shrub to name a few. Also, the relocation really worked out for us because we got to interact with the bartender Max who described the experimentation they do and also gave us several samples of scotch, mixers and even their lovely rose negroni.

I started with a twist on a kir royale that was made with oak liqueur and champagne, while Eric chose the Priory Sour. My second cocktail was Dreaming of Salmon, simple, yet full of flavor. Eric put Max to the test with his second drink – something with Caol Ila Distiller’s Edition scotch and under 15£. He received a variation on an Old Fashioned that was fantastic.

cocktail menu @ The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell  cocktails @ The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell

We both really liked the vibe in this semi-hidden and relaxed cocktail bar and would definitely return on future trips.