Saturday, November 19, 2011

London: "Don't cross Euston Road at night!"

We took the train to London on Friday afternoon to meet Nancy and Stephen, who'd flown in over night. From Paddington, the four of us decided to go straight to the hotel, the Thistle Euston, so Tea and I could discard our packs -- while the specially purchased 40-odd-litre backpacks were working out well, we saw no need to push our endurance right out of the gate.

That accomplished, it was supper time. After picking up our Eurostar tickets for the morning, the reality of the pop-in on a Friday night in London smacked us square in the face: we struck out a number of times before happening upon a sign pointing us to Thai food. Nancy and Stephen were a bit skeptical -- not of the cuisine, I should point out, though it would be Stephen's first taste of Thai -- standing outside the Dolphin, but once we assured them that our favourite Thai back home was also served in a well-worn pub -- specifically, at the Suffolk Arms -- they warmed up to the idea.

Aside: the funny thing was, later that night, at the Skinners Arms -- great pub, incidentally -- Nancy got talking to this American journalist now based in London, pretty much spitting distance from the Dolphin. He waxed lyrical about a number of subjects, including, importantly, how rough the Dolphin is -- like the Tooth Fairy lost a night's spoils out front come any given Saturday morning, apparently -- and, get this, how we should never cross Euston Road at night. He made to bless us when we squeaked how we'd have to do that very thing to get back to our hotel. Small wonder it was such a steal!

However, never fear, dear reader: we had a fantastic meal at the Dolphin -- so good, in fact, that that was Stephen's meal of choice at the end of the trip as well, back in Cheltenham, although from Thai Emerald (also excellent), as the Suffolk Arms doesn't serve it on Sundays -- enjoyed a few pints at the Skinners Arms and then at the lovely Bree Louise -- they were hosting a Disney themed fancy dress party, and us with tickets for Disneyland Paris the next day; you can't make this stuff up -- and made it back to the hotel safe 'n' sound.

For you real ale fans, highlights of the evening included:
  • Titanic's Anchor: lovely gold, with a big kick of bitter hops
  • Facers' Landslide (gravity fed!)
  • Ascot Ales' Winter Reserve (also gravity fed)
  • Otley's O8: first time I'd tried this "deceptively smooth" beauty

Up next: Disneyland, French style!

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