Valerie heard from a website about West End Live 2010, so we thought we’d take a jaunt down to Leicester (pronounced “lester”) Sqaure to check it out.

The West End Live show happens in an area of London that houses most of the major theaters and shows, and highlights some favorite songs from almost every show playing. It’s a bit of a preview for all the shows, and every act gets about 15 minutes. Wicked, Lion King, Hair, etc, all show up and drop a few songs. This is all for free.

Valerie and I came late, and most of the good acts had already performed earlier in the day so they could make their afternoon matinees, but we did see a few lesser known shows, and a recap with the cast of Avenue Q.

After the West End Live show, we walked down to Parliament to get an up-close view of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.

Outside of parliament, there are ongoing protests. There aren’t as many civil liberties in the UK as there are on our soil, so this surprised me. Apparently, the UK only recently removed a ban from public protesting outside of parliament. I’m actually surprised there arn’t as many equivalent protests in Washington, but I guess thats because there isn’t a lot of public grass outside of the C’apitol or White House.

If you are in the United States, and feel like protesting, you can probably find a good one to show up at with this website. A warning though, you typically need to be unemployed to protest to this degree.

Also, I took the time to get some HDR shots of the architecture, these are some of my favorite HDR’s to date:

For our last night in town, Valerie took me Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in London, Jamie’s Italian.

It was a very tasty, fun and informal venue, Valerie and I got many small portions instead of two big courses, so we could try a lot of different recipes.

Food we tried (quoted from the menu):

  • WORLD’S BEST OLIVES ON ICE
    The best large green Mammoth olives with (Jamie’s) special caper and anchovy tapenade and music bread
  • POSH TRUFFLE CHIPS
    Insanely good with Truffle oil and Parmesan, proper posh! (Chips are french fries, truffles are some very rare delicious fungus)
  • BEAUTIFUL BUCATINI CARBONARA
    Crispy fried smoked pancetta with ribbons of courgettes, tossed with eggs, thyme and parmesan cheese
  • SCALLOP AND SQUID INK LINGUINE
    The best seared Brixham scallops with chilli, parsley, white wine and capers
  • TRUFFLE TAGLIATELLE
    Finely shaved wild black truffles folded with butter, parmesan and nutmeg, a real luxury
  • ICE CREAMS
    Three delicious scoops of seasonal ices!  Served with any two of these toppings: smashed honeycomb, crushed nuts and seeds, seasonal fruits, hot butterscotch sauce! (Valerie got 2 vanilla, 1 honeycomb, with seasonal fruits and crushed honeycomb)
  • ITALIAN SEASONAL BAKEWELL TART
    Delicious almond tart baked with lovely fruits of the season

These were all delicious choices, though Val and I would have probably skipped the squid ink linguine given a chance to go again. We also chose the bakewell tart because they were out of the Tiramisu, which was aggravating because the blokes next to us had a piece, so we just missed it. I’m going to write Jamie Oliver a note and tell him I loved his restaurent but was disappointed I couldn’t try his Tiramisu, maybe he’ll send me some.

Valerie and I had a romantic time, but it was bitter sweet because it was out last night in town. Still, it was one of the funnest weeks of my life, and I wish I could repeat it a hundred times. I thank Valerie for being such a lovely ambassador to such a fun city. Maybe some day I’ll be able to stay for more than a week in Europe, that’s crazy talk.