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London Black Book Part II

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A few hours of sleep and a run in Hyde Park revived me after nearly eight straight hours of eating and drinking, and had me anticipating breakfast at Daylesford Organic’s flagship London store. I have long been waiting for Britain to export Daylesford Organic to the States. The Martha Stewart-meets-Blue Hill at Stone Barns philosophy stems from Sir Anthony and Lady Carole Bamford, who 20 years ago turned their 6,000 acres of farm land in Gloucestershire and Staffordshire organic and started raising free-range poultry, Aberdeen Angus beef, making their own milk and cheese and growing their own produce. The family even produces wines and olive oils from its vineyards and olive groves in France. I experienced the Daylesford trifecta in London’s Pimlico neighborhood: At the café, breakfast at the long wooden communal table included an expertly prepared cappuccino and poached eggs and mushrooms on thick, toasted homemade whole-grain bread. Up the street is Daylesford’s garden store, a greenhouse style shop that sells flowers, garden supplies and country-chic home furnishings and antiques. And across from the café is Daylesford Butcher, where the farm’s organic, sustainably raised meats are sold. (Before I left London I got one last Daylesford fix at the just opened Notting Hill store. The upstairs has the same country market feel of the other stores with shelves of artisanal foods and just-picked produce. Downstairs is something completely new: a raw food bar.)

The rest of my day was dedicated to Marylebone High Street where I  browsed Sir Terrance Conran’s design mecca, The Conran Shop; ducked down Moxon Street for lunch at the café in La Fromagerie, one of the most amazing cheese shops I’ve ever visited; explored the shelves of Daunt Books, a 19th-century book shop that organizes both its fiction and nonfiction by geographic region – a travel junkies dream. I was still on the same street come dinnertime so I grabbed a stool at the communal table of The Tapa Room, the casual sister restaurant of the elegant, pricier Providores, which is just upstairs. For less than $25 I had one of the most satisfying meals of my trip. I ordered a glass of Mt. Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir from the New Zealand-focused wine list and two small plates: a pan-fried Manouri cheese with black fig and pea shoots and a paprika roasted sweet potato topped with caramelized onion, edamame, Greek yogurt and arugula. Bob Marley and Tom Petty played from the speakers and the young couple next to me insisted I try their mochi-wrapped banana and caramel ice cream dessert that was topped with Thai puffed rice and strawberries — amazing!

I couldn’t leave London without visiting a British pub, so I made a late night trip to Waterloo for a pint of Wells Bombardier cask ale at The Anchor & Hope, London’s version of the Spotted Pig - a very proper ending to my first whirlwind tour of London.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.