Bloggers are like buses. You wait seven months for one... and then eight come along together. I started this blog last August and, though I've communicated with quite a few fellow electronic diarists via comments and email since, I'd never actually met one in the flesh, so to speak, before Saturday.
My weekend adventure started with an invitation to go shopping. Not just any old shopping, but a trip to London's best food bazaar, Borough Market. As this is somewhere I love, just 20 minutes from my house on the 149 bus, and the invitation came from a blogger with whom I really empathise, it was an absolute no-brainer. Especially as Roshani and Goon had arranged to meet visiting American bloggers Vanessa and Dave Balchen from What Geeks Eat.
The only problem was that I get up early every day of the week and Saturday morning is my time to have a lie in. So by the time my dad and I got down to Southwark we'd not only missed the best of the fruit and veg, but we'd also missed the Bishop heading off to join the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on their march to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
Never mind, I thought, I'll drink to that!.
Roshani and Goon from "Living To Eat",
shopping at the butcher's stall
Escaping a cold Spring day, my hosts had retired to the Anchor, where we soon met up for a beer (or two) (or three). Sipping on some fine London ales (Spanish Rioja in Ros's case), we engaged in delightful discussion of a wide range of topics ranging from soul music to Sri Lankan hoppers and just about everything in-between. I've been very fond of Ros since I discovered her blog. She so obviously loves food and is an experimentalist with an open mind, prepared to try anything and to make mistakes. I so much prefer food bloggers like Roshani to those who copy the work of professional chefs and aim for perfection in what often looks to me like plastic food. Most importantly, Ros has a palate.
After a few beers, the Balchens disappeared off to continue their London sightseeing. Ros, Goon, Mike and I popped back to the market to buy some ostrich meat from Gamston Wood Farm and then headed off to eat at Borough Market's famous brasserie Fish! (What do you call a fish with no eyes? Answer). This seafood restaurant provided excellent value for money with a large choice of simple dishes using fresh, well-cooked fish. It made the perfect end to a great day.
But my weekend with bloggers didn't end there. For quite some time now I've been a regular reader of Food & Drink in London, a restaurant review blog by Howard Vaan and Ben Bush. Howard lives just a few hundred yards from me in Hackney but we'd never met.
Occasionally Howard and Ben review places that I've been to, allowing me to exchange opinions on the food. Other times they review places where I'd love to eat but haven't yet got enough cash in the piggy bank to permit a visit.
My Sunday lunch companions -
Howard, Ben, Krista and Jessica
When it came to the wine, just have a look at the picture above. See the cork floating in the bottle? Now click on the photo to enlarge it. Yes, you're reading it correctly. It's a Château Margaux. Young maybe, but Margaux is Margaux is Margaux. I've lost my Premier Cru virginity at last!
We discussed many topics as the afternoon sped by, many of which I must admit are no longer with me as a result of the claret and champagne. I do remember that we all exchanged our thoughts about blogging and it was interesting that everyone had a different perspective on what was good and less good in the world of food blogs. I found it really interesting that we all had quite different likes and dislikes - to me that's what makes blogging so exciting.
Not surprisingly, by the time I said my farewells, Howard's kitchen was looking like a war zone. Remains of the roast lamb, empty pots, pans, bottles, glasses and eggshells. And, amongst the wreckage, every food blogger's most important kitchen utensil... the camera!
To all of my new friends - thanks for a great weekend and... Carry on Blogging!