We slept 12 freakin' hours our first night at the hotel. It was bliss. No basset hound hogging the bed and dorfing at us to wake up by 7. I said that in a post on Facebook, and Eugene made me LOL by commenting "What's your hotel address? Sending a British basset right over" along with this photo:
I followed up with a comment that included the Grady-looking-surprisingly-alert photo from Part I. "*Grady realizes I was talking about him. Is annoyed for a moment and then goes back to sleep,*" I wrote.
That (Saturday) afternoon, we caught a matinee of "The Play That Goes Wrong," which was very funny. But by the time it ended, I was good and ready for it be over. It was so thorough in its wringing of laughs out of a situation in which a you-know-what goes you-know-how, that it was almost exhausting.
This sign outside the theater was fun:
Back at the hotel, which was a very short walk from the theater, we grabbed a table in the hotel lobby bar and had pre-dinner cocktails. Because we were on vacation. And because we hadn't been able to get seats the night before when we arrived back from Urinetown, the musical, not the place. (We'd ended up ordering wine from room service instead.)
Anyhow, I'm reminded now that while we were standing around and hoping a table would open up Friday night, a woman with a strong Southern accent who was maybe in her early 50s came up to us and insisted she take a photo of us in front of the big and purty (and somewhat tacky) Christmas tree using Tony's phone. It was really sweet of her to do that—"bless her heart"—but the photo was terrible and unusable on this here blog. I think the big problem was that she was too far away from us.
Back to Saturday night: I drank an El Clandestino, which featured lemon curd, and Tony partook of an English Rose, one of whose ingredients was rose liqueur. He asked them to leave off the Bergamot Foam, because he wasn't sure it wouldn't contain gluten as a thickener.
We got to talking about nature shows. Because why not. Tony was a huge fan of Meerkat Manor and watched every episode; I've seen none of them. We also talked about that pretty well known National Geographic documentary Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas, which we'd both found to be fascinating. Hyenas—the ones in the TV show were the spotted variety—are particularly interesting. The females are the dominant sex; they're larger and have external genitalia that resemble a penis. And as the title suggests, they fight like crazy with lions.
During the course of the conversation, I suggested shish kebab as the name for a group of meerkats.
We had dinner at Brasserie Max, my favorite restaurant from our previous trip. There was a kalanchoe on the table, next to the salt and pepper shakers, which are so prominent that they seem to be (but aren't) what I'd intended to take a photo of:
I said a group of kalanchoes should be called a cataclysm.
I ate so gatdam much at BM, and it was all really good. I started off with the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup With Chive and Truffle Salsa. For my entree, I got the bone-in Parmesan-Crusted Veal Schnitzel. It was huge:
I said there was no way I was going to eat the whole thing. Of course, I ate the whole thing.
Even better—maybe—than the veal cutlet was the side dish of rich, velvety, spicy red cabbage:
The flavor and texture were sublime.
After a Lobster and Prawn Cocktail, Tony had duck again as his entree: a duck breast that came with the same braised red cabbage I'd ordered as my side and a Red Currant Compote.
For dessert, I devoured a two-tiered Passion Fruit and Blood Orange Semifreddo.
I then waddled down to the basement of the Convent Garden Hotel, where Tony and I watched—both of us for the first time—It's a Wonderful Life. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit and teared up at the end, but it was incredibly dated. The worst fate that could have befallen Mary if she hadn't met George was becoming an "old maid" librarian, aka a career woman who loves books. And Annie, the Bailey family's black maid, was a very stereotypical character, though she did have some of the best lines.
Here's the Christmas tree in the lobby of the CGH, right near the entrance to Brasserie Max: