Dining with old friends

My former workmate Louise is an informal social secretary for refugees from the market research software company I worked for in the late 80’s until 1998 (with a 2-1/2 year hiatus). What a wonderful ministry! It keeps us connected in ways that the other companies for which I have worked just do not. So I got an email from her a few weeks ago suggesting a visit to the Americans in Paris exhibit at the National Gallery. I was up for that, but HWMBO doesn’t like “old pictures” (his words). So I wrote back and said that we’d love to go out to dinner with the group afterwards, but would skip the exhibit.

So we met up with the crew outside the NG. For those who are unfamiliar with London, the National Gallery is the imposing building at the north end of Trafalgar Square. Admiral Nelson sits on his column (totally enshrouded by scaffolding at the moment while decades of pigeon guano are scraped off the statue and column) and two water fountains blissfully hiss away defying the impending drought order. Alison is still on her plinth at the northwest corner of the square, and the verdict is that she is weathering gracefully, even if the pigeons seem to have taken a shine to perching on her head.

So, once the assembled throng got together, we had to decide where to go for dinner. A Spaghetti House is around the corner on St. Martin’s Lane, but for years I’ve wondered what the Texas Embassy was like. It’s a Tex-Mex restaurant (an oddity in London) just at the bottom of Haymarket across the street from the National Gallery. So, I suggested that and we walking over there and, oddly enough, got seats right away.

Now I like Tex-Mex (and Mexican) food, but the prices in this restaurant were a bit high, except for certain dishes. Of course, it’s in a very imposing building (I don’t know what it had been, but it could have been an embassy of a middle-sized Commonwealth country such as New Zealand. The Raspberry Margarita appealled, and was tasty, but it’s the kind of drink that makes you want to order another, and another, and then get up and fall on the floor. I only had one. They had a blooming onion (which some at the table had never tasted) on the menu, so we ordered one of those. The difficulty was that it wasn’t sliced quite right so the spears of deep-fried onion were difficult to detach from the stem-end. Of course, being greasy, the batter-outside slipped off the onion inside. We were forced to tackle it with knife and fork. Demerits for that.

I had beef fajitas. Only problem was, the spice seemed to be all in the refried beans served on the “toppings plate”. Eran muy grasientos (they were very greasy, according to Babelfish).

We had a lovely time and didn’t all talk about absent people (catching up), as people at such evenings often end up doing. But, we all refused desserts when they were offered. AND, they don’t have decaf coffee! I switched to Diet Coke after the raspberry margarita. It ended up being

4 Responses to “Dining with old friends”

  1. vasilatos says:

    Cripes, that’s way too much grease, dollink. I’ve been having a potato chip problem, but that’s nowhere near what you’re going through. Knock that off! It’s because I care about you. (Don’t you hate when people say that?) But it’s true.
    Luff, Max

  2. chrishansenhome says:

    An occasional bite or two won’t hurt. I do not make a habit of eating deep-fried food…in contradistinction to most English households, we don’t even own a deep-fat fryer. I will abstain from fat for a few weeks or so and I’ll be fine.

    Anyway, what’s the use of taking statins if you can’t have an occasional fat-fest?

  3. chrishansenhome says:

    Yes, I know this contradicts the last sentence of the original post. So what? I feel less bloated now and am content to feed the squirrel who comes to my window and begs for peanuts. S/he has no problem with deep-fried food.

  4. trawnapanda says:

    could have been an embassy of a middle-sized Commonwealth country such as New Zealand

    that would be the New Zealand High Commission. Commonwealth nations don’t have ambassadors between them, but high commissioners.

    I think that was because back in the days of Empire and Colonies, Whitehall did all the foreign relations for all. Then there would be the phrasing of letters of accreditation, which go between heads of state, eg: Dear President Roosevelt: may I present Sir Fred Bloggs, my ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the United Staes of America. Most sincerely yours, George RI.

    But it starts to grammatically short-circuit when the same person is the head of state of both realms, and the parallel letter introducing the representative from the United Kingdom to Australia or Canada ends up with the Queen apparently talking to herself. (or at the very least, writing letters to herself) Even when Victoria RI was past her diamond jubilee, she never got that gaga.

    Which brings me to Canada House, right next door to the Nat’l Gallery and Alison’s wonderful statue. That would be the Canajun High Commission.

    S/he has no problem with deep-fried food

    You feed your local skwirls deep fried peanuts? I’m SO confused.

    [ps: a photo of New Zealand House, in Haymarket, can be found in Wikipedia , where I also learned that the NZ High Commissioner to the UK is also NZ ambassador to Ireland, and (this seems pretty random) High Commissioner from NZ to Nigeria of all places.

    curious factoid I’ve not have stumbled across had you not posted about a fun meal with friends.]