Last day overseas

Oxford
We got up early to take Emily to Oxford.  Jessica did a program with ASA last year, which she loved so we stuck with ASA.  Emily will be there through mid-August.  110 kids from the US and Internationally.

She could have left with the group from the states but it didn’t make sense considering we were already in Europe.  We took her to the area in Oxford, which ASA has staked out for classes and dorms.  Pretty sweet.  They were also incredibly organized…very impressive. Everyone gets their own room and the rooms are a decent size for a college campus. 

We got her bag up to her room and Josh helped her unpack, literally.  He folded and helped organize her.  It was quite cute.  Then, we left.  What is really nice is Emily is going with a very very old friend.  Her best buddy from the time she was one year old.  They were 2 peas in a pod.  Cute as a button together.  In many ways, when we lived in the suburbs, her friends family, became like our own.  I have so many fond memories of those times together.  Funny enough, when we left, so did they.  We moved to the city and they moved to Greenwich.  Emily was 6.  But, we have kept up and Emily gets to see her friend at the beach once a summer.  Last summer, as my friend and I were talking, we realized that both of the girls were thinking of doing a program in Oxford the following summer.  Perfect.  The girls would go together.  So, Emily is there with a very old friend, which is probably comforting for both of them.

We grabbed a train back to London and had lunch at Daylesford Organic in Chelsea.  The concept isDaylesford
fantastic and would be well suited to NYC.  Wish someone would open it up near our home.  Maybe I should open it up? 

The store is clean and white.  A large marble table downs the middle of the restaurant/store.  Community seating.  There are pre-made salads, a cheese area, a salami/sausage area and a sweets area surrounding the right perimeter of the room.  Then, on the other side there are fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, jellies, and other jarred goods as well as a small frig for chickens and meats to prepare at home.  Upstairs, there is a store full of pots, pans and accessories for the kitchen.  You can eat there, breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner.  We had a beet and mozzarella salad, sautéed red cabbage with golden raisins, Thai chicken salad and there are many more including scones, desserts or a burger.  You can pick from 1 – 2 – 3 salads for a plate.  You can also pick up a loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese, a few chicken thighs, a head of broccoli and a peach to bring home.  Everything is organic.  Across the street is there butcher.  Loved it. 

We all hemmed and hawed afterward on what to do and in the end, Josh and Fred returned to our hotel and Jess and I hit the town.  We walked down Elizabeth Street that is in a growing area of Chelsea called Belgravia.  We stopped in the Chocolate Society shop (love the name), and a fantastic hat store, Phillip Treacy that makes hats for “rock and royalty”.  After, we hopped in a cab and went over to Selfridges.  It is a bit overwhelming in there.  Like a Barneys but British.  A bit louder and less subdued.  I tried on a pair of pants that were so ridiculously expensive that I can probably buy in the states.  What will be interesting is to see is how much they cost in the states?  Have prices gone up more from last fall? 

We left Selfridges and ran over to BStore.  BStore is on Seville Row.  When I was in college, Seville Row was stuffy mens clothiers.  No longer.  BStore carries a variety of young designers who are up and coming.  They also create and manufacture the shoes for Opening Ceremony ( which we found out speaking with the owner ).  Two guys, who have impeccable taste.  Wonderful stuff and labels I have never seen. 

The store closes at 630 and we got there at 615.  We apologized at 630 but they were happy to help us since we were making some purchases.  At 640, a woman walks in the door, and we look at each other and say hello.  She is the person who waited on me the other day at Dover Street Market.  Her husband is one of the owners of the store.  Probably the hippest, best dressed couple in London.  It was quite funny and they both assured us that we had hit the two best stores in town.  Small town.

Hakassan
Jess and I flew back to the hotel where Fred and Josh were waiting to leave for dinner.  We changed in less than 5 minutes and ran out the door.  No need to run.  We were going to Hakkasan.  Our reservations were confirmed for 730 but they weren’t in the book.  So, we sat at the bar until around 845 until they finally found us a table.  They were nicer as the evening went on but they weren’t so charming from the onset.  Like it was our fault? After all, they screwed up because Fred had the confirmation on his blackberry ( gotta love that ) and knew the girls name who did work there.

Hakkassan is a happening underground Chinese restaurant.  The menu is extension and interesting.  We had dumplings, salt and pepper squid, Berkshire pork with pomegranate sauce, silver cod fish with honey and champagne, Peking duck which sliced and served over rice noodles like a salad (although I think they got that one wrong), asparagus with lotus root and I think that covers it.  For me, the problem with Chinese food, which I rarely partake in, is that it looks good and tastes good going down but it isn’t good by the time the meal finishes.  It makes me feel like a log. It will take me a while to do Chinese again.  We never eat it in NYC but once in a blue moon decide to go to Chinatown for dumplings, Peking duck or dim sum.  Dim Sum, same thing, you think it will be so much fun and then you walk away feeling ill.  I make Chinese at home, which I do like but not eating it out regardless of how high end it is. 

We went home, packed and crashed to wake up for a very early pick up to Heathrow.

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