Among the things I enjoy most about the food blog community are the very wonderful and very kind friends I have met online. Keiko, of Nordljus, was one of my first such friends. After a year of missed attempts to meet in London, we are finally able to meet up. Keiko suggests meeting at The Wolsley for tea.
Hubby meets with me outside our hotel and asks about my foray at the British Museum. It's hard for me to keep the hysteria out of my voice as I recount the presence of the mummy. He's trying very hard to be sympathetic but he's on the verge of laughter. He thinks it's funny that I am as fascinated by ancient Egypt as I am terrified of the same. Like an adolescent boy who has discovered the joy of taunting girls with reptiles, he finds grabbing me and shouting, "Anubis has you!" while I scream irresistible. He might not find it as enjoyable had he been my date the night I saw "Stargate" and proceeded to scream in shock when one of Ra's guards is seen for the first time with his jackal headed helmet. My date got to deal with a babbling idiot for five minutes. Needless to say, there was no second date.
"Well let's go meet your friend," Hubby says when it becomes apparent that he is neither sympathetic nor empathetic.
"Meet me by the Eros in Picadilly Circus," Keiko's message had suggested.
Both Hubby and I remember the fountain of Eros on our ride into the city from Gatwick. I am reliant on Hubby's natural New York instincts to guide me through the subterranean transit system and the surface streets. His navigational abilities far surpass mine. And while he is not as unerring as Kaly, she has the benefit of a frequent visitor's familiarity with London. It's very interesting, the differences between them: Kaly, an adoptive New Yorker, moves like a darting little fish, wending her way in and out of the pedestrian London traffic and requires me to follow her efficiently and quickly. Hubby, a native New Yorker, simply drops a shoulder and surges forward, parting waves of people as I follow in his wake. Broad shoulders and a purposeful stride are useful.
Seated at the fountain, we are discussing our planned excursions for the week when I see a woman searching the area: it's Keiko. A quick hug, exclamations at meeting and we're off.
The Wolsley is not so far away, only a few minutes' walk. It's a lovely building, a cafe-restaurant with soaring ceilings, wide windows and marble work. Keiko orders the risotto with girolles; having had that the night before, I pick a coq au vin; and Hubby has the duck confit. Keiko, whose photographs are absolutely stunning, shows me her camera and manages to snap some photos of an oddly compliant Hubby (who never likes his picture taken). A few minutes pass as I ooh and aah over her camera before a waitress approaches us and explains that photography is not permitted in the restaurant. Chastised, we put away our cameras but not before Hubby did a wicked imitation of the waitress. Our entrees are delicious though the coq au vin is a bit rich -- very hearty, very heavy.
Keiko is as elegant and as sweet as the confections for which she is known on her site. She brings gifts for me: tea and elderberry syrup. I cannot wait to go home and make something special to go with her wonderful gifts. I am so excited to meet Keiko -- it's the same joy I got from meeting Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness -- a fellow foodie!
When we part ways with Keiko, Hubby notes, "She's so very nice."
And I think, all the food bloggers I know are absolutely lovely...