First Dinner in London

 I should be in a British pub drinking lager and smelling old cigarettes. Instead, I’m sitting at a blond wood table in a tasteful airy restaurant with papered columns made to look like old marble, a display of large glass vases filled with green olive oil and various vegetative matter on the wall facing me, small candles flickering on the tables, and a menu that is heavy on pizzas and pastas with surprisingly reasonable prices. The waiters speak something eastern European—maybe Polish. The couple next to me is speaking Russians, a man at the door with two little girls was friendly and American, a table of six Americans is seated across the way. All very comfortable, all very chic, and as far from the London I remember from the 1970s as it’s possible to get.

 The glass of red wine arrives—Italian and huge! For £4.05 (about $6.00), it’s a bargain. It must be at least eight ounces. I order ravioli and salad. Both come very quickly. OK – I’m in London and I shouldn’t complain about the food, but I have to say that the actual food does not measure up to the attractive surroundings. The ravioli sauce is a bit on the thick and slightly cool side—obviously microwaved. It was a dish that should have been amazing and…wasn’t. But I’m so hungry that I inhale it. At least the ambiance and the price are great. Total bill is around £20 (about $32) for wine, a bottle of sparkling water, a salad and a huge bowl of mediocre but certainly edible ravioli. I couldn’t do better at home.
And so to bed!