This photo I took in London last week reminds me of the lyrics of Silver Bells. I could feel the Christmas classic’s rhythm in the busy sidewalks, hustle and bustle, and general air of festivity and expectation as folks hurried on their way in the December dusk of this great city.
Silver Bells, by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Silver bells, silver bells It’s Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling, (ring-a-ling) hear them ring (ting-a-ling) Soon it will be Christmas day
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks Dressed in holiday style In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas Children laughing, people passing Meeting smile after smile And on every street corner you hear
Silver bells, (silver bells) silver bells (silver bells) It’s Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling, (ring-a-ling) Hear them ring, (hear them ring) Soon it will be Christmas day
Strings of street lights, even stoplights Blinkin’ bright red and green As the shoppers rush home with their treasures Hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch This is Santa’s big day And above all this bustle you hear
And in memory of my Dad, who would probably be listening to this right now while drinking his coffee and reading the paper if he were still with us, here’s the iconic recording of that ubiquitous holiday song by Bing Crosby. Perhaps Dad and Bing are harmonizing on it in heaven.
London during the holidays is teaming with people admiring how it glitters and glimmers with over-the-top decorations. Here are a couple of photos I snapped from the top of one of those iconic double-decker buses as it passed through Regent and Oxford streets.
In stark contrast, here’s a little tree that was all by itself in a long, lonely hallway between terminals at Heathrow Airport.
Dear Reader, I stood outside this butcher shop and charcuterie at 110 Holland Park in London and gawked.
And then I went inside C. Lidgate’s and gawked some more.
Oh, to have a local butcher shop like this nearby when planning a dinner party or Christmas feast! It’s a carnivorous cook’s dream (with apologies to all of my vegetarian friends). There’s a huge selection of meats, fish, poultry, sausages, cheeses, house-made pies and casseroles, condiments, cured meats and deli items (even Scotch eggs!), and everything is displayed beautifully, looking almost Victorian in its lushness.
From a review by author and food writer Hattie Ellis on the Lidgate’s web site:
Chefs, dedicated carnivores and the locals of this foodie neighbourhood come here for anything from a lunchtime sausage roll to a magnificent rib of grass-fed beef for a dinner party.
The staff are super-friendly and were quite welcoming to this Texas foodie gal, telling me that the shop has been in the same family for 5 generations since it originally opened in 1850. They didn’t mind my gawking at all.
I refrained from snapping photos inside Lidgate’s, because there were customers eager to be waited on, and I was something of an interloper, a traveler who could only window-shop and imagine what it would be like to have a neighborhood butcher shop like Lidgate’s where I could source all of my meat. I think I may have emitted a bit of a jealous sigh when a man asked for a chicken carcass to make stock, and the butcher said, “Right away!” That just wouldn’t happen at my local grocery store meat counter.
But if I’d been willing to annoy those regular customers going about their meat-shopping day with my shutter-bugging, I’d have gotten images of the house-made pies for you. They were things of beauty. So for you foodie-tourists, here are some of the photos from the Lidgate’s Facebook page.
Oh my goodness! Can’t you just see this bounty on your holiday table?
Just a reminder, Glover Gardens is not a commercial blog and has received no compensation from Lidgate’s. I’m just sharing as a public service, so you can window shop along with me.
And for the family, I’ve put Lidgate’s cookbook on my Christmas list. 🙂
It Started with Mom’s Food Crush on Paul Prudhomme and Her Collection of His Cookbooks
My Mom, an excellent cook, had a food crush on Paul Prudhomme. She bought every cookbook he published until her death in 2000, and those books were well-used. Marked-up, dog-eared and stained, they are family treasures.
As my first culinary teacher and mentor, Mom made sure I also got a copy of every one of the cookbooks, too, so I could share in the Chef Paul magic. I was a very young adult when Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchenwas published in 1984, and I’m sure that his recipes influenced my tastes and later, my recipes.
When she died, I inherited Mom’s Chef Paul cookbooks (and lots of others). I instantly started using her books instead of mine, because there’s a lot of love and family history encrusted in those pages. Along with the cutting boards my Dad made, these cookbooks are at the top of my Prized Possessions list. My own dog-eared copies of Chef Paul’s complete works are packed up and waiting for my son (known as the Musical Millennial in these pages) to have his own home and kitchen (after college and grad school).
Mom and Dad Fell in Love with K-Paul’s Restaurant
Even with Mom’s food crush on Chef Paul, it took a while for my parents to get to K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, the restaurant in New Orleans that he ran with his wife, Kay. Together, their names are the origin of the restaurant name “K-Paul’s”. Finally there on a culinary road trip in the late 80s, Mom and Dad absolutely loved their dining experience at K-Paul’s and raved about it from that day forward. (It was one of their first big empty-nester trips, and I’ve never really forgiven them for not taking me along.)
Mom was ill for the last few years of her life and definitely too sick to cook, but she was a devotee of all of Chef Paul’s cooking shows on PBS in the late 90s. It was fun to visit her and watch his shows, commenting on his recipes, reminiscing about the dishes we’d made from the cookbooks, just being foodie nerds together.
Well, I never made it to K-Paul’s with Mom and Dad, and Chef Paul died in 2015.
K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen is Alive and Well
K-Paul’s is still in daily operation in the French Quarter, and you can still find tried and true Louisiana Kitchen dishes there. The Grill-Meister and I took a tenth anniversary trip to NOLA this summer, and finally visited this family legend restaurant. More than 30 years after Mom and Dad’s discovery trip, it was everything they said it was, updated for this century. And yet, still a little homey, which is the promise of the sign, the original from the late 70s (as far as I can tell from online research).
Let me tell you about it.
The bread basket sported jalapeño rolls and two different little muffins, one of which, the carrot-pecan (and molasses, I suspect), had the Grill-Meister enthralled.
We shared Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp, and it was heavenly. Just the right amount of crisp batter on the tomato slices, with shrimp in a piquant brown sauce sandwiched between them.
Oh, the main courses! We ate, and we ate, and we still couldn’t finish them. I had the pan-fried fish and shrimp with jambalaya and the Grill-Meister had the blackened drum. Both came with gloriously sautéed vegetables and the drum was accompanied by a very creamy, very large dollop of garlic mashed potatoes.
Our waiter was magnificent: well-versed in the intricacies of the menu and daily specials, funny, solicitous and there when we needed him – but without hovering. Exactly the qualities we hope for in a waitperson.
We made friends with interesting folks at other tables.
The ambiance at K-Paul’s is casual and fun, with recipes on the walls.
It’s a well-oiled machine – we enjoyed watching the food come out and get served within moments.
Some folks say that K-Paul’s is a tourist destination, and they’re right. That’s just fine. It’s worth the trip. It was for Mom and Dad back in the 80s, and for the Grill-Meister and me last June.
And as for those heirloom cookbooks, they’re still in use here at Glover Gardens. We make Chef Paul’s blackened fish about once a month – check it out here.
Gumbo Recipe (and Stories) Coming Soon
I’m in a Paul Prudhomme mood because I’m making gumbo tonight, and he was one of my gumbo mentors. I’ll publish my version soon, hopefully in time for Thanksgiving and those turkey leftovers. Turkey makes marvelous gumbo.
it all just grabbed me trees sky mountains fence road shed “my eyes were happy”
Outside of Jefferson, Colorado. Beautiful, peaceful, inspiring. Credit for the phrase “my eyes were happy” goes to The Girl Who is Always Hungry (as she’s know in the Glover Gardens blog), after seeing similar sights in Jefferson last autumn.
Which reminds me…we also had the Blizzard on a Train last autumn in Colorado while trying to check out the fall color…one year ago today.
A few weeks ago in Paris, when the day’s work was over and my time was my own, I strolled through the busy streets with camera in hand. Dinner can wait, I thought, as I took in the champagne-tinted light on the buildings during rush hour. The image below inspired the post Something about the Light in Paris.
And now I’d like to share the rest of my little jaunt. A little boy and his grandfather out on their own evening walk stopped to say hello on a quiet residential street.
As I approached it, Place Victor Hugo captured my fancy. Take a stroll with me around the circle that honors the famous French author and politician, and you’ll see why.
The sky was dark and interesting, a perfect backdrop for the roundabout and its fountain.
There were cars and buses and taxis whizzing by atop the charming and picturesque cobblestones.
There were motorcyclists doing dinner deliveries, and others zipping through the traffic.
There were brave bicyclists, everywhere.
Pedestrians were pausing to stare at their cell phones, perhaps waiting to hear where to meet companions for a glass of rosé.
There was a big fruit and vegetable market, and a small one. The vendor at the small one was very friendly and posed for me.
The customers at the larger produce stand were on the phone, perhaps asking what to pick up for dinner.
On the phone
Making a selection
There were people lingering by the Victor Hugo metro entrance, and others rushing to get to platform, passing under the gorgeous art deco archway sign. This metro stop has been open since 1900.
Street crossings happened only on green; traffic lights were well-respected in this busy roundabout.
Dogs were being walked.
Let me at ‘im!
After catching the sun’s last golden rays on the buildings (see the first photo above or Something about the Light in Paris), I finally stopped for a quick dinner of smoked salmon at one of the canopied little bistros.
I have realized that I perceive my surroundings more clearly when I’m out snapping pics. What a wonderful unintended result.
i see more of life
looking through the camera’s lens
framing it for you
Life is good.
For more Glover Gardens posts about the City of Light, click here.