JAMIE likes to celebrate her birthday and this year was particularly special for her as it fell on 11-11-11. Last year there were just three of us (and Kobra sprouting in Jamie's belly) in Buenos Aires.
Back in London, she wanted to share the occasion with friends. So we arranged it - at Lomito, an Argentine steakhouse in Northwood, Middlesex, close to where we used to live.
First, though, we spent the day at Greenwich Market in south London. Neither of us had been there before. It was easy and relatively quick (though expensive at £8 per adult) to get to by train. Change on the Jubilee Line at Finchley Road for Canary Wharf, walk about 100m to take the Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark and the market is about 400m away.
It's a happening place. Zenchai loved it, too, because there were several stalls selling antique toy cars and he got to rummage through boxes trying to find a good deal. He ended up buying a couple of matchbox cars at £1 each and was satisfied with that.
Jamie went there for some vegan cupcakes. She'd read online about Ms Cupcake and thought they would make for a good dessert in the evening at the steakhouse. So we bought one each for everyone invited and a few extra.
They looked great even if they were a bit pricey at £2 each. But, to be honest, they were too sweet. If you need proof, even Zenchai couldn't finish his and what five-year-old turns away a pudding?
However, we did enjoy some Ethiopian nosh for lunch, though there wasn't really anywhere suitable to sit down and eat it, especially as it was so chilly (in the summer you can go to the nearby park). It wasn't what I'd call typical Ethiopian, though. There was so much else (foodwise) on offer that you'd be foolish not to revisit - next time we might try Brazilian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Carribean or Italian.
Aside from food, the market is great for arts, crafts, collectables and, as already mentioned, antiques. The stalls change on a daily basis. Check out their website for more details.
We headed back while it was still daylight with, amazingly, the London Underground running without a hitch. Then later in the evening, with Zenchai in bed, Jamie, Kobra and I spent the night with friends dining at a restaurant with a unique atmosphere.
After nearly a year in Brazil, it felt strange getting dressed up in trousers, shirt and shoes!
As for the food, even for non-meat-eaters like ourselves there was plenty to tickle our tastebuds, which is ironic given how I sometimes have a hard time finding something suitable in vegetarian establishments. The food matched the mood and setting. A great time was had and Jamie looked happy, which was the main thing. I won't mention her age, though!