I love, love, love being in the mountains; there is so much variety in the weather. Here are two versions of the view from the back porch of Little House in the Rockies, close-ups of the mountain range behind us. What a difference a day made!
A winter storm dominated the view in the first photo, and only Palmer Peak is visible. The snow-filled sky cloaks the higher summits of Mount Silverheels behind it.
The next afternoon, the broad expanse of this part of the Front Range is exposed, with Palmer Peak dominated by the higher mountaintops behind it.
A snowstorm came and went between these two photos, and we were snug and warm in our little cabin, watching.
Watching the storm roll in, watching the snow hide the mountains, watching the birds take a few last seeds from the feeder.
I still think of myself as a little girl from a small town who is constantly surprised by her life, and sometimes find it hard to believe that I have a “favorite Italian restaurant in London”. In my 20s, that sentence would have been alien to me; I didn’t even make it to Europe until I was 34. This post is about that favorite little restaurant, and its fame-worthy Spaghetti Carbonara.
It’s Not Just My Opinion
Da Corradi’s carbonara was fantastic!
I think that was the best Carbonara I have ever had.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara with fresh ham is the best you’ll ever eat.
Online reviewers of Da Corradi, a tiny, family-run Italian restaurant in London’s Mayfair district tucked back in the Shepherd Market, agree with me about their Spaghetti Carbonara: it’s the best.
My TripAdvisor review from way back in 2010 when the Grill-Meister and I visited was titled Marvelous – so good we went twice in one week, proclaiming:
The Spaghetti Carbonara is the best I have ever had – even compared to the same dish in Italy.
It’s true. I’ve never had a better carbonara, and I’m fairly sure I never will. It’s that good. Just the right balance of rich creaminess from the egg and cheese, saltiness from the ham, and al dente spaghetti, with a liberal sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. Close your eyes after taking just one bite and you’ll expect to find Northern Italy when you open them. I try not to eat heavy food like this very often, but there’s never even a question that I’ll order anything else at Da Corradi. The only question is how much of it I can consume, and the answer is always: more than I thought!
The food at Da Corradi is hearty-homestyle rather than Mayfair pretentious, and the prices are very reasonable. More reasons to keep coming back!
The Peeps are as Fun as the Food is Good
The staff at Da Corradi are a big part of the overall experience. They’re cheeky and flirty (in a family-friendly way) and their banter with each other betrays an affection and respect that is charming. They collaborate to ensure that your experience with them is fun, filling, and fulfilling. You don’t exactly have a waitperson, you have a wait-team.
A Celebrity Hang-Out (or Hide-Out?)
In its 40+ years of serving great Italian food, Da Corradi has attracted a lot of admirers beyond this Texas gal and the online reviewers I quoted above. The wall overlooking the tiny main floor dining area sports photos of celebrity diners who must enjoy the carbonara and cheeky charm as much as I do. While high-end Mayfair is swarming with tourists and beautiful people, Da Corradi’s exact location within Shepherd Market is a little off the beaten path, a perfect place to avoid the madding crowd. Shepherd Market’s web site says, “This unique little enclave is tucked away between Picadilly and Curzon Street, in the heart of London’s Mayfair. A hidden gem known for its wonderful relaxed village-like atmosphere.”
They Trust Me, They Really Trust Me!
I am blessed with a wide network of friends and foodies in many locales across the world who feed me, enjoy sharing a restaurant meal together, send me their food pictures for the blog, and give and take restaurant recommendations. I love love love it when someone trusts my choice of a restaurant; it’s like setting friends up on a blind date and having it work out (only better because there’s no chance of divorce or blame). It feels good to influence where someone has dinner halfway across the world…just call me the restaurant matchmaker!
Tiramisu and Espresso
Enjoying the carbonara
Holding up the menu for the photo to send to me
Life is good. And so is the Spaghetti Carbonara at Da Corradi in London.
I love to travel and that affection extends to airports, I suppose because they are the gateway to that next big adventure. And I think many airports have picked up their game in the last few decades – it seems like new terminals and renovations have a bigger focus on aesthetics with bright and appealing spaces, art that inspires and a real effort to reflect a sense of place. I’ve found myself taking more and more photos in airports, unless I’m sprinting for that next flight during a too-short layover.
At Dulles in Washington last week, I was enchanted by the rainbow wall and snapped a few photos, including a little boy running along the wall touching all of the colored panels. It wasn’t until I uploaded the photos today that I noticed a sharp contrast in the way adults reacted to the wall – they didn’t even glance at it.
And here’s the little boy. I want to be like him, to take time to touch the rainbow.
luminous colors buoyant carefree little boy share your joy with me
Brrrr! I’m in Paris this week and took a very long power walk the day I arrived to shake off the airplane doldrums. By power walk, I mean almost 6 miles. That’s a lot for lil ol’ me! I started out east of the Arch de Triomphe and made it all the way to St. Germain – in sub-40° misty gray weather.
It was the first Sunday of the month, and that meant that L’avenue des Champs-Élysées was closed off to auto traffic and super-open to pedestrians. I didn’t know about that and wondered why all of the police vehicles were blocking the road, and the military personnel were checking the bags (including mine) of folks who wanted to walk down this most famous of Parisian avenues. I though maybe a terrorist had created a semi-lockdown situation.
But no!It turns out that first Sunday is actually big for family outings in Paris, even on this most cold and wet day. The people-watching was magnificent. The experience was magnificent. Walking down the middle of this historic street with no cars on it was magnificent. Children and dogs were…magnificent.
I was bundled up, but it was super-cold! I needed to warm up in a café with a cappuccino. I got near Café de Flore and Le Deux Magots, expecting one of them to be my solace place. My son and I visited this area on a trip to Paris (click here) where an experience motivated him to write an award-winning essay, and I was eager to warm up in this area. Les Deux Magots was closed for renovations and Café de Flore was packed and on a waiting list, so I took my frozen bones over to Café Louise across the street. I made a great choice!
Ordering a sparkling water and a cappuccino, I admitted to the waiter that I was very, very cold. I was so very impressed with the hospitality that he and Café Louise provided:
The sparkling water came with a very heavy, beautiful crystal glass. The cappuccino warmed my hands after I removed my gloves. The waiter came right back after delivering the beverages and gave me a complimentary snack, “quiche bites”. Oh. My. Gosh. Rich, simple and delicious, I was cold-no-more after devouring them.
The waiter visited often and made me feel like an important guest that they were just hoping to host that day…as though I was expected. I just love that Parisian hospitality.
Thank you, Café Louise. You made me feel at home on a cold, foggy, gray Paris day.
mystery diner savoring thoughts and pasta silent silhouette
Dining at my favorite Italian restaurant in London (Da Corradi), I used my phone to snap this picture of a man who came in, ate alone, and left. He didn’t seem lonely; he seemed thoughtful and deliberate. He didn’t read a book or squint at a tablet or smartphone. He simply ordered his pasta and wine, ate and drank them, and left. I like to eat alone on solo travels, and in looking at him, I decided that he does, too, and jotted down a quick haiku to post with the photo.
But when I looked at the photo later and cropped it, there was an Edward Hopper / Nighthawks feel to it, especially when I looked at it in black and white. Not the style, just the mood. The camera sometimes sees things differently than the eye. I like that. I changed the haiku a little to match the photo. I’m learning about this stuff from another blogger (not the photography – I have a long way to go there – but the wisdom of letting the material drive the finish product).
Staying in a hotel a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London recently, I wasn’t sleepy one night and set out on foot at midnight, camera in hand. The moon was full. I was enchanted.
Just outside the hotel, St. Paul’s loomed large on the left. The streets were alive that full-moon Friday night. My camera trigger finger was hyperactive.
A haiku for that moment, when I was truly in love with the night, the cathedral, the moon, and London:
the full moon beckons ~ ancient cathedral’s appeal: London’s bright magic
I walked all around that magnificent, centuries-old landmark, passing lovers and cyclists and police, and snapped these photos to share with you. If you go to London, don’t miss a chance to go to St. Paul’s at midnight in the moonlight.
Incidentally, after my 360° tour ’round St. Paul’s with the camera, I slept deeply and soundly for 10 hours, dreaming of days gone by and the rich history in these magnificent structures.
You can read about St. Paul’s and its 1,400 years of history here. I took a tour of the inside the day after my midnight photography jaunt, but interior photos are not allowed. And, along the same lines as my post Reading London: A Chance Encounter Down Memory Lane, Literally , I read a book just after this trip that was set largely at St. Paul’s, just after the Great Fire of 1666. The Ashes of London was an excellent read and a great way to absorb the feel of St. Paul’s and it’s massive hulking presence in another time.