Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summering in Europe - Round 1

Okay that title might be misleading totally inaccurate.  Summering in Europe conjures up images of 81' yachts filled with attractive sun-seekers in different Missoni bikinis for each day of the week, sipping vintage bottles of champagne.  I wasn't quite doing that.  Actually, I wasn't anywhere close to doing that at all.

As luck would have it, I got to travel to the U.K. for work.  Don't get too excited - I was not heading to the bustling metropolis that is London.  No no, I was off to even more exotic Milton Keynes.  According to my UK friend, Ed, Milton Keynes is a fairly new city.  I thought he meant it was incorporated in 2001 or something.  Apparently, in the UK, "new" means anytime after WWII.

I was staying at company facilities for 2 weeks.  The food was generally lackluster.  Believe it or not, I was also repulsed by the extensive dessert selection so I did not eat dessert a single night at the center. There were few highlights: brownies during snack time, an attempt at chicken korma, and the croissants that were left in a warming oven enough to make them crispy (as they should be).

I know you are all excited to see what fine cuisine I was served on my Delta flight to Amsterdam.  First of all, I would like to mention that KLM and Singapore have spoiled me rotten.  Last year, on my flight to Cape Town on KLM, I was given a delicious ice cream treat.  I was eagerly anticipating this on my trip this time, as KLM/Delta are joint venture partners.  No luck.  Nowhere close.  I didn't even get a warm croissant in the morning before we landed.  Come on, Delta, pick it up! On the bright side, I am 5,000+ miles closer to Gold Medallion.
{Not as bad as it looks}

I didn't have as much time at Schipol as I thought I would have - so I wasn't able to go to that cute crepe place that opened last summer that has cute little teacup seats.  Maybe next summer.

Back at Milton Keynes, our managers did take us out to dinner once a week.  The first place was more of an olive garden/red lobster type place.  Casual dining, extensive fun drink menu, etc etc.  I ordered a steak and unfortunately it was more well-done than I would have liked it to be.  I did however, enjoy two desserts.  The toffee cake (not as good as I thought it would be) and some kind of crisp with a faux creme anglaise.

{Sure, I may have said the Toffee Cake was just okay,
but I did manage to eat most of it}

The second place our managers took us to was called "The Birch Woburn".  It was a cute pub/restaurant about 15 minutes away from our company facilities.  We even had a personalized menu! We arrived to several long tables set up with red and white wine, and with baskets of fresh, warm bread.  

I started with the pan fried halloumi cheese.  You can never go wrong with halloumi cheese! This was served with some stir fried vegetables, and I devoured every last bite of it (though this shouldn't come as a shocker to you).  

As my main course, I ordered the lamb chop.  This was great and came out just as I ordered it - medium rare.  It came served with something called "bubbles & squeak".  I'm not sure what it was at the time but it tasted like potato latke.  Upon further research, it is usually made with leftover roasted vegetables and consists of cabbage and potatoes.  

And let's not forget dessert! I saw a passion fruit cheesecake on the menu, and of course I had to try it.  It was almost as good as my passion fruit ice cream pie, and I was impressed with the passion fruit served on the top (I've yet to find an actual passion fruit in grocery stores).  

{I of course took a bite of it before realizing I hadn't taken a photo yet}

Passion fruit appeared to be a recurring theme in the UK.  At the Marks & Spencer grocery store at Heathrow, I picked up a snack for my ride back to Milton Keynes (about an hour away from LHR).  

I was also impressed by the quality of the salads at Marks & Spencer. This one below came with quinoa, avocado, spring peas, feta cheese, mint and rocket.  It tasted fresh and it seemed healthy (I didn't use most of the dressing).  For the record - M&S is in Terminal 5 in the arrivals hall.  I don't know how late it stays open but I was there at 11pm.  I thought there was one in Terminal 3 as well, but I didn't see it when I landed at LHR again.  

Lucky for me - I was able to do some traveling around in my 2 weeks - stay tuned for more - including Michelin starred restaurants and exciting Swedish candies! 


Anonymous said...

passionfruit dessert looks deelish.

yes marks and sparks is awesome. i wish there was one in nyc like that! or in the US in general.

Unknown said...