After our lovely foodie holiday in France, my daughter and I headed back to busy London, where she lives. We had a whole wonderful day together, on which we celebrated my birthday and an early Mum’s day. But on my last day in Europe she had to get back to work.
But I had previously contacted Kay Gale, whose blog I’ve followed for as long as I can remember. She is the author of the The Single Gourmet and Traveller. Posts of her culinary endeavors, restaurant experiences, and trips around Europe have always appealed to me. She is, indeed, the single gourmet and traveller, and I’m a bit envious!
Kay had penciled me in for April 23rd. I thought we’d manage coffee and a pastry, but Kay was so accommodating that she carved out five whole hours of her day in order to show me around the lovely area she calls home. I was very excited. She told me she lived in Richmond.
In the U.S., we’ve got it easy. Someone asks you where you live and you give a city and a state. That’s it. No township, county, province, borough, by-the-mountain or in-the-valley. In Europe, it’s completely different.
If I was smarter I would have looked everything up on a map, but I didn’t. I was probably on foodie overload. So it turns out that Kay indeed lives in Richmond, a suburb or borough of London, officially called Richmond upon Thames. But Twickenham is the town in Richmond where Kay lives. I swear the Brits use all of these names interchangeably. And I say this with no disrespect whatsoever, just confusion!
In any case, Twickenham is a lovely town southwest of London that stretches along the Thames, also known as the home of English rugby.
I took a car from central London to Kay’s lovely home, and was initially surprised at how tall she is! It’s odd how you have preconceived notions from blog photos!
Kay was just as nice as I expected. We immediately hit it off. To save time, she drove us here and there, to give me a thorough tour of the area. Richmond is quite busy; it’s not in the countryside. But its location along the Thames makes it beautiful and peaceful. This was especially so on this warm April day, with the flowers blooming. And there’s nothing like the new spring green as in England.
We started our tour with a coffee at Ruben’s Bakehouse, a popular bakery in the area. Then we checked out Eel Pie island, which is an actual island in the Thames. It’s an artists’ residence, only open to the public on specific days.
We walked along the Thames, observed some beautiful Georgian architecture, and walked around Richmond Hill, which has a spectacular view. Part of the view is occupied by the gorgeous Richmond Park along the Thames as well. We also stopped in at her favorite Italian deli, Food on the Hill, where I spied some beautiful pasta called paccheri lisci.
And then it was lunch time. Kay chose A Cena, an obvious choice to me because she has written about this restaurant many times. It’s an exceptional Italian restaurant in the heart of Twickenham, or Richmond. Kay and I shared the fried cauliflower offering as an appetizer, served with a lemon-caper mayonnaise. It was perfect. We both chose the sea bream, topped with an anchovy drizzle, for our main course. The featured photo is of Kay and me in A Cena.
The chef and owners of A Cena take their Italian menu quite seriously, and change it up often. They even offer regional Italian meals occasionally, which Kay attends. The most recent of them was the food of Piedmont, which Kay wrote about here.
After lunch we walked more, and talked even more. Then there was sorbet at Gelateria Danieli. We finished the day at Butter Beans, a coffeehouse at Richmond Station, where I was picked up for the drive back to my hotel. There, I reflected on my time with the lovely Kay, who was so generous to spend her time with the fellow American food blogger.
I’ve had so much fun meeting food bloggers; I’d previously met three of them – all men. Kay is the first woman blogger I’ve spent time with, and our connection was easy and comfortable. We’re both mums in love with our children, good food and travelling. But I especially enjoyed Kay because she is a lover of life, and is very proud of the area she calls home. I’m honored that Kay was willing to spend time with me. It was so nice to meet her in person.