Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream

What would England be without Cheddar Cheese? What would a holiday be without ice cream? How would I to know that I would find them on my plate in London as a dessert? I had the pleasure of having a long lunch with friends at the Gilbert Scott Restaurant in London. The restaurant is in the newly refurbished and recently re-opened St. Pancras Hotel. It is very old world in service and d├ęcor. In scanning the list of deserts I found one item of particular interest: Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream. This was most unusual to me and it had to be very good or very bad. Using the food that I just finished as a guide I knew it had to be good. It was interesting.

In a multi-star restaurant presentation is everything. The desert came on a brilliant white plate with no fancy chocolate swirls or garden plants. It was plain and simple. The ice cream sat upon what looked like a crab cake. Or, should I say crab-shell cake, as it was rather hard. After chipping into the central core of this moon rock I found a delightful raspberry filling. The ice cream was next. It was soft, as in slightly melted, and vanilla-cream in color. I found the initial taste to me mild and the mouth-feel to be pleasant. It was ice cream so it was refreshing. Then, as it warmed in my mouth if changed in taste. At least to me it did. The cheddar flavor started to come out and gave me a dry-bitterness in my mouth. I was interested in trying it and glad that I did. Would I recommend it to you? Yes. It was something new away from home. OK kids, you can try this at home. Take a small bite of cheddar cheese and a spoon of your favorite ice cream and see what happens. Have the video set to record. Dairy Queen would be amused.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Citical London Bike Ride

I was sitting in my room at the Imperial Hotel off Russell Square and thought I heard an unusual noise coming from the street. As I peered out the window I saw bikers coming north on Southampton Row. This was not unusual as there are many people biking in central London, even during rush hour. What was unusual about this was that there were bikers by the hundreds. They took the both northbound lanes and eventually swept over and shut the southbound lanes. They turned to go around Russell Square and ride further into Camden, At the turn some bikers stopped all traffic going south. Needless to say the drivers were not happy especially with high petrol prices and a fuel shortage due to a tanker driver strike looming.

Petrol prices in March were one-pound forty per liter and in US dollars that come to $8.50 a gallon. Some petrol stations were closed and they had no gas to offer and the government was activating the British Army to deliver petrol to England’s filling stations. Needless to say tensions are high in Britain right now.

The ride, which also included many skateboarders started under Waterloo Bridge. The event is world-wide in nature and put together by Critical Mass. It was not exactly a legal parade so to speak and no police were present to provide safe passage for the riders. Part of the ride was to focus on people who were killed by hit and run drivers and also to focus on sharing the road. This point may have been lost on the group as they consumed the road and caused gridlock for the gas guzzlers. I think the many drivers watching their fuel gage plummet to the E as they sat on the road thought these people were akin to terrorists. Most London bikers obey the law and ride “with” traffic and not “against” the law. I am just glad that I was five floors up.