You wouldn’t think it but I’ve always found pub crawls to be quite educational. In my early twenties, they taught me that I could indeed keep up with the boys and manage be to fresh-faced and chipper for my retail gig at 9am the next morning. By my late twenties, they taught me that those magical abilities had disappeared. And now, in my thirties they’ve finally taught me something worth sharing at my next dinner party. Some history of the London Docks; yes ladies and gents… I went to a pub crawl, didn’t get smashed and actually learnt something. Early-twenties me would be shocked, surprised and just a little bit impressed, I think.
I’d like to pretend I changed my ways all on my own but that would hardly be plausible. In reality, I have Eating Europe Tours and our very enthusiastic guide Nicole, to thank. We walked, we talked, and we ate and drank more than enough during this four hour experience… it was filled with lots of fun facts and stories about a part of London I don’t know well at all so the time literally flew by! We started our tour somewhere in Rotherhithe looking out onto one part of the Thames, ended down by St Katherine’s Dock, looking out onto another part of it… and saw a lot along the way. Here’s what you can expect if you decide to join the London Old Docks Historic Pub Tour…
The other day, a friend and I were talking about London pubs. There’s no shortage of them and getting a decent drink is hardly ever an issue, but if you’re after some decent pub grub, there are pubs and then there are pubs. When it comes to the food they serve, not all are created equal and the difference between great, pretty good, and god-awful is very noticeable.
The god-awful ones will usually have signs out the front claiming to serve the best ever burger or Sunday roast and proudly display photoshopped, too good to be true pictures of said burger or roast. The great ones are equally easy to find, they’ll be the ones geo-tagged on Instagram of where the best burgers or Sunday roasts actually are. So what about the pretty good ones?
Since embarking on this ‘photograph it, eat it, write it’ malarkey, I have been lucky enough to be invited to some rather enviable events. Usually when I tell a certain someone about some cooking class I’m attending or a great dinner invite for a new restaurant, he smiles, nods… feigns some excitement so as to not crush my enthusiastic little foodie heart, tells me he’s sure I’ll have a great time etc etc… All very supportive stuff.
However, there has been one event which commanded his full attention as soon as I mentioned ‘Ireland’ and ‘spirits such as whiskey’. Those who know a certain someone will no doubt remember that he takes great pride in his Irish heritage and his ability to drink whiskey, always a double and neat. So what was this event about? Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, were throwing a bit of a party at the Irish Embassy to showcase some of Ireland’s finest whiskey, gin, cream liqueurs, poitin and craft beer producers, and I was invited along for a taste.
As the days get longer and warmer back home in NZ, I have been reminiscing about the great Kiwi summer. My Facebook newsfeed is already fast filling up with updates on the increasing temperature, photos of early alfresco dining, and of course, talk of the first summer barbie. There is something comforting in the hiss of meat patties hitting the grill or covering charred sausages in Watties tomato sauce, all with a beer in hand. Ahh, those were the days… With daydreams like these, coupled with the fact the London summer has definitely left the building, it was no surprise that my heart did little somersaults when I head about Meatopia UK.