Afternoon Tea at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant, London

Before I left for London, I researched and researched places all the touristy things I wanted to do and some of the yummy places where I wanted to eat. Afternoon tea was very high up on my list, after all, in my mind it’s so quintessentially English. Websites like Chowhound recommended the Mandeville Hotel, and brief a browse through their menu convinced me to go there. But the day my mom and I wanted to get afternoon tea, we weren’t close to the Mandeville Hotel. It was an awkward in-between time after having spent hours at the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey and before we had to go see Legally Blonde: The Musical, a time that we both agreed should not be spent transporting ourselves to and back from where we were staying (a lovely hotel in Kensington) or unnecessarily wasted trying to find a new landmark.

We had just been to Harrods for the Chocolate Bar the day before and on our way out, we had meandered into a remote part of the children’s floor and found the Georgian. It was our last full day in London. Afternoon tea had thus far remained elusive. Towards Knightsbridge we went (again). And we were there for nearly three, incredibly relaxing, tasty hours.

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Chocolate Bar at Harrods: A fun indulgence

One of those iconic, must-see landmarks of London, Harrods is like Rodeo Drive but inside a single department store building. A super-high end department store with an amazing, Egyptian-themed elevator that doesn’t feel pastichey at all, salespeople that all smile at you (even though you clearly are a tourist), and a food court that literally explodes with gourmet teas, jams, cookies, and confections.

When you get away from that hectic lowest floor however, you’ll eventually run into Harrod’s Chocolate Bar. On the menu: everything chocolate! Brilliant, I know. And to my delight, everything was served with a fanciful dusting of cocoa powder. Completely decadent and over-the-top, snacking at the Chocolate Bar was a perfect way to participate in the Harrods lifestyle without buying a Prada.

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Gordon Ramsay at Claridges: A Gourmet Experience for £30

On every trip, I think it’s perfectly alright to splurge on something special. For our trip to London, my mom and I splurged on lunch at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants and tickets to the multi-Laurence Olivier award-winning West End production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.  Now, for some people, Legally Blonde: The Musical may not be the best choice of all the shows along the Strand, but having seen it, I can tell you that it was just perfect. While smiling from the first song to the last, itching to dance on stage with every upbeat number, and laughing at all the classic lines re-imagined from the film, we completely didn’t realize that a good two hours had elapsed.

Similarly, Ramsay’s intimate little restaurant inside a luxury hotel may not be the Mamma Mia of his restaurant empire, but we were treated to a relaxing, tasteful, and altogether delightful lunch. At first I was worried that three courses would not be enough for each person, seeing that we had American appetites and were already unused to the smaller “large” coffees, for example, but I didn’t need to worry. It was all just right.

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Jamie’s Italian: A warm experience in Oxford

Hi… remember me? It’s good to be writing on here again. The vast majority of March was pretty insane, to say the least. But I’m glad I’ve since gotten the chance to take a breather. With winter finals out of the way, the southern California sun is much more of a welcome presence than a torturous tease for the deskbound college student.

Oh, and in the meantime, I went to London for a week. It was a surprise trip after finals and I heartily welcomed the change in pace.

While there, my mom and I explored many of the typical historical sites within the city. But for one of the days, we thought it would be fun to head to Oxford for the day. It was, simply put, the perfect day trip. A mere one hour train ride out of Paddington Station in central London and a cozy, collegiate atmosphere that allowed the two of us to wander on our own without tour guides herding us along the narrow, cobbled streets, I highly recommend anyone who will be in London and is a bit weary after all the shuffling between the Tower of London and Harrods.

Anyhow, it’s a good thing we wandered somewhat aimlessly because we stumbled upon the Jamie’s Italian location in Oxford.

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