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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Michelin Stars for Less in London

It can be expensive to eat well in London (unless you know all the great gastro pubs) but there are several ways to eat at the high end for less. On this trip we ate at a couple of Michelin starred restaurants that offer great pre-theatre and lunch deals. We can highly recommend L'Autre Pied for lunch and Arbutus for a pre-theatre supper. 

Once again we loved L'Autre Pied for innovative, fresh and decorative cuisine. Located just off Marleybone High Street this one star Michelin restaurant is the sister to Pied a Terre. With a simple modern interior the staff are friendly and we found it a relaxed venue for a family Sunday lunch. Just to gve you an idea of how kind they are they accommodated N. and S.'s guide dog in training puppy and even cleared up after him when he dumped the water bowl all over the floor, priceless. Notably they didn't seat anyone else at the table next to us! 

The food is very good and our Sunday lunch was just under thirty   pounds  for three courses which for food of this type constitutes a bargain in London . Clearly influenced by molecular gastronomy there were the requisite foam sauces along with a variety of colors, flavors and textures. I think the photos give you a good idea of the feast we enjoyed.

N. had Herefordshire snails to start...
D. opted for the beetroot starter....
Dover sole with carrots and foam!
Another fish dish, this time cod, gorgeous!
I loved my main course of partridge with lentils and a cumin/North African flavored foam.
A pre-dessert taste of banana bread was delicious!
Our pre-theatre meal at Abutus was also great, we've eaten here before and always enjoyed it. It is an elegant but relaxed place with seasonal Italian influenced food.  

The two course pre-theatre  menu  was  just under twenty pounds without dessert and just over with it which is a good value in London for food of this quality. The kale and potato soup was delicious, though a little on the salty side, and the sheep's ricotta gnudi were divine. Coated in a spicy tomato sauce they were served with spinach and flavored delicately with lemon, wonderful!

D. opted for a lamb dish which was very good.
Tip: On our last trip to London we had a fabulous lunch at the two star Michelin Hibiscus  in Mayfair. This is  elaborate, elegant food we would highly recommend. Their mid-week lunch is an opportunity to try the very best of modern British cooking for  and they sent along an amuse and a pre- dessert too. 
Though we haven't tried them yet  the Michelin starred Indian restaurant Tamarind, Wild Honey  and  L'Atalier by Joel Robuchon all offer more affordable pre-theatre or lunch deals we're looking forward to teying.

Have fun and eat well!

Here's the puppy - as you can see she was wriggling nonstop!





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