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Taste of London

Resuming our London-based activities, we went to the Taste of London festival on Saturday.

Several dozen tents have been erected on a large cordoned-off lawn in Regent’s Park. About 40 restaurants, over a hundred food, drink and appliance vendors, and 20 sponsors have set up exhibition booths under the tents. Each restaurant booth was offering three “representative” appetizer-scale dishes, while wine, beer and dessert tastings, product demonstrations, sales pitches and an occasional cooking show were happening all around.

It was good fun. Could have been even better if the food was free, but alas, in addition to not-exactly-cheap entrance tickets, each food plate cost £3-5, with an obvious goal of making crowds pace themselves. In our case, at least, it definitely had a limiting effect, as we ended up trying just a handful of dishes, mostly by Becky. Kimmy, who hardly ever eats anything unfamiliar, contented herself with apples and strawberries, offered at many stands. Natasha splurged only on dessert, while I occupied myself with beer “sampling” in little measuring cups.

Our friends Anya and Ari, who profess their love for oysters, were considerably more satisfied food-wise, having tried three or four various offerings of mollusks, in addition to some other exotic concoctions.

At one point, we came upon Nescafe tent, promoting their new coffee machine model. The salespeople did their best to extol the virtues of the apparatus and prepared various drinks for everyone in our party (except me – I drink tea), gratis. The kids got to operate the machine themselves and had hot cocoa. Kimmy liked it enough to come back for seconds. We did not buy the machine, though…

At some point, the cool but not unpleasant weather turned into a windy-rainy kind, and we seated ourselves for a cooking presentation. The chef turned out to be the owner of Mango Tree restaurant in London that we have been to before, which was kind of interesting in itself, but the presentation was not very exciting. We sat through it only because Becky wanted to try the resulting dishes. She managed to take some stuff for us as well, and it was okay, but hardly extraordinary.

Coupled with visiting our friends’ very nice apartment in St John’s Wood, we had a very pleasant day trip. The kids got to play for a short time at an excellent playground (St John’s Wood is definitely a nicer area compared to Southeast London – even playgrounds there have a well-heeled look and feel), and I got to check a minor attraction off my list, crossing Abbey Road at the famous intersection. I guess I cannot profess to be a die-hard Beatles fan, on the account of not feeling anything special about the experience…

In other news, Natasha has long threatened to undertake solo excursions into central London, and last week she actually did, opting for a guided walking tour of the Little Venice area. She definitely liked the activity and immediately started planning for another one. I am trying to keep her occupied during the day by piling tons of errands on her, but she is certainly taking initiative into her own hands now…

She also pointed out that I neglected to mention the excellent job Becky did in presiding over Kimmy’s birthday party. My only excuse for doing it a week after the fact is that I actually had left for the airport well before the party commenced last Sunday…

Anyway, Becky did a great job planning and organizing games and leading kids from one activity to another. There were musical chairs, drawing, face-painting, singing, mask-making, dancing, etc, etc. The guests did not want to leave when the parents came to pick them up. Kimmy had a blast, and so did the fabulous organizer!

Posted in In London