I am having a lot of burgers lately. I never considered myself to be a burger lover but I am slowly turning into a convert – it has still not replaced my adoration for pizza, but it is creeping up.
After my Five Guys experience I am more and more interested in finding a good burger that is worth the hype.
Now, having friends with food allergies and being a newbie into healthier eating, I want a burger joint to fulfill all these needs. I also want he option of a double patty. I was recently called greedy for that. I don’t care. I like two patties in my burger.
I met E at the Byron’s near Farrington. The team there is friendly from the first hello to the last second you spend in the restaurant. We sat down, mulled over the menu (I noticed they did not have gluten free buns, so no point of bringing S here).
Unfortunately they did not have sweet potato fries on their menu but instead offered courgette fries. I ordered a double patty Byron (a delicious sounding combination of beef meat with dry cure bacon and mature Cheddar with a shredded iceberg, tomato, red onion salad perfectly brought together with Byron sauce). I also ordered the courgette fries and a glass of red wine.
Now, the courgette fries were really disappointing, as they were oily and underseasoned – I only had a couple and left the rest. However the Byron burger did not disappoint. Juicy, tender and flavoursome, it was definitely worth ordering. E enjoyed her burger as well as we caught up on the week, feeling the stress of the day melt away somewhere in between laughing hysterically about our student years and spending 30 minutes trying to establish if someone I remembered as being part of our social circle existed or was made up, as E could not remember him. This resulted in the loudest scream of recognition (I jumped from my chair and so did many other people in the near distance) when E remembered him.
We said our goodbyes and I walked home content with a full belly. Definitely coming back again.
I started dating again. I put on a crisp white shirt, my favourite jeans and my black Doc Martens, sprayed my wrist and neck with Egoiste by Chanel, got my keys, my wallet, made my way to the door and as my hand touched the handle my feet stopped. I stopped. Everything stopped apart from my heart that was beating faster than before, feeling bluer than before, wiser than before, ok with not being ready yet still trying it, giving it a shot, giving moving forward a shot.
I felt as if by walking out of that door I was leaving something behind it. I was leaving part of the hurt behind and in the weirdest way this made me sad because hurting was something that I related to him and now that would not be there. It freed up space for something else. Potentially more hurt; potentially an open door for someone else to walk in. My happiness does not depend on that – it just allows it to have a chance.
I put on my headphones, and Forget by Marina and the Diamonds is almost finished.
‘I’m gonna leave the past behind
I’ve had enough, I’m breaking free
No pressing stop, erase, rewind
That chain of thought that followed me
I’ve put my money where my mouth is
For the first time in my life
I’ve made mistakes but I believe that
Everything was worth the fight
Cause in the end, the road is long
But only cause it makes you strong
It’s filled with peaks & twists & turns
Sometimes you have to learn forget about it’
Let’s take a chance. Let’s do this.
Lyrics from Marina’s website.
I first encountered MasQMenos when I was at Barcelona. After a day of walking in very high temperatures in very uncomfortable shoes, the sight of this tapas restaurant was a balsam for sore eyes (and feet). I remember loving their plates, especially the cold cuts and the cheese selection. We went there again before we left, and the second time was just as good, if not better than the first one.
So, I met K to talk about everything that has happened with F*. The breakup was still quite painful so the moment I saw her I burst out in tears. We hugged for a long time in the middle of the very crowded Picadilly Circus and then made our way to the big Tesco. We stocked up on alcohol, made our way to Soho Square, and sat and talked about it, going in the same circles I had been going in my head.
After a while, we decided we were both peckish and got up to get some food. We walked down towards Soho and after a very indecisive 10 minutes we passed from MasQMenos. The sight of it cheered me up and we walked in, took a seat at the back, ordered tapas and wine, and spent the next hour talking about what had happened.
The food was good (not as good as I remembered it but my lack of appetite and broken heart might have played with my taste buds) and the prices were considerably more expensive than its Spanish counterpart. However it was still a lovely backdrop for a heartfelt discussion, and a nice reminder of a beautiful holiday memory.
We walked out and I reminded myself to breathe. We said goodbye and I decided to walk home. I walked in front of stores fronts, next to couples, over bridges and under a very bright moon. The world surrounds me even if he is not next to me. It will be ok. I will be ok.
Why do I miss him still? A month has passed and my mind still wanders any chance it gets and runs to him. ‘Come on!’ I think with a sense of exasperation. Get over it!!
My head knows but my heart ignores it and aches. It misses him. I miss him. And I know, trust me, I know it is for the best. We were not there, we were not ready, he was not that into me as I was into him, or at least it was not strong enough to keep us together.
I just miss him. I miss the warmth of his skin, his vulnerable eyes, the grey in his beard, the way his lips tasted like ice cream and how happy having him in my life made me.
I just miss him; and I don’t want to give myself a hard time for missing him. I don’t want to say that ‘I should be over him by now, I should have moved on, I should not miss him’. Well, I do. And it hurts. And I will be kind to myself, because that is what I need right now.
I just miss him; and it is ok.
We met with E at Southbank and decided to take a walk. The night was the perfect balance between warm and cool with a lovely breeze and a beautiful view of London. We walked, talked for a bit and then the inevitable moment of indecision came. Where shall we go to eat?
We considered a few options, went back and forth and eventually decided to give Ping Pong a go. We used to be obsessed with Ping Pong when we were living together and E is well versed in the menu and knew what to order for both of us.
We got cocktails (I went for the Peach Earl Grey Julep) and nibbles, and spent the rest of the evening catching up – that is until our dessert came. The chocolate fondant, a beautifully crafted chocolate pudding with a gooey dark chocolate centre and a side of vanilla ice cream. We both looked at each other with awe – this. was. amazing.
We ordered another one, spoons at the ready. I think I found my new favourite way to finish a meal.
I cannot claim I am good at the kitchen. I had a moderately bohehian upbringing, with a mum that would not really cook – I cannot remember food being prepared at our house apart from special occasions. Instead we would have take away every day, strange concoctions, shop-bought sweets, cereal for dinner, cold pizza for breakfast and off-the-packet cakes.
For me food was something that magically made its way through kitchen doors in restaurants, over the take-away counters or brought by relatives. I never cooked as a child or a young adult, so when I was released in the wilderness of real life I was totally unprepared for this mythical magical thing called cooking.
However, this was something I wanted to change. Initially for others: when we were with F* he always cooked these amazing dishes and the one time I had to make breakfast I googled it (and it sucked). So, I decided it would be nice to learn how to cook, so I can cook him something. I booked a class for a Monday; we broke up the Sunday before.
Now, I did not go to the class, because I felt it would be a 2 hour reminder of the dinner I would never cook him; plus, I think it would be unsafe to handle sharp objects while I am crying your eyes out.
However, I thought that I don’t have to do this for someone else; I can do it for myself. So, I rescheduled the class for Friday, and sure enough, on my lunch break I was walking in the Oxford Street branch of Atelier des Chefs.
I immediately relaxed when I was greeted from a lovely team member in the foyer who put me at ease and gave me all the relevant information. It was a quick class, and although it was basic it promised to be quite exciting: by the end of it I would have created an Australian Steak Sandwich.
The class was great, the chef was patient no matter how stupid my questions were (she had to explain to me how to cut bread correctly; and how to cut beetroot; and how to put a steak on a pan; yes, she was a patient person).
In the end I could not help but be proud of what I created: a mouthwatering sandwich with rump steak, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, egg and mayonnaise I made (I mean, seriously, I made mayonnaise).
I put it in a takeaway container, bought a Diet Coke, went to the little square closeby and sat under the trees. I looked at my sandwich and smiled. I did this for me. I wanted to text F* so much and tell him about the day and at that point I missed him more than words can describe. I let that feeling wash over me, and then remembered the pride I felt before and turned my attention to the here and now, to what I have instead to what I am missing.
I took a bite. This is good. This. Is. Good.