New Years Day

24 Feb

My natural alarm clock woke me up at a fairly reasonable hour in the morning. However, due to the noisy party next door to us preventing me from getting to sleep the night before, that fairly reasonable hour in the morning did mean that I had to rush to get ready for breakfast before we would be forced to check out of the York and Albany. Good thing I was so looking forward to my first meal of 2011 – the benchmark to the success of the rest of my year.

Scraping my greasy hair into a ponytail I trotted downstairs into the trendy bar area and took a seat to face the window in order to view 2011 in all it’s glory and also do a bit of people watching. As the breakfast was included in our dinner and hotel deal, I was tempted to order the most expensive dish just to get my money’s worth. In the end I went for Eggs Benedict as with my strong belief (superstition) that your year will carry on based on how it began would surely mean that I would spend 2011 being sophisticated and lapping up hollandaise sauce. I encouraged Mark to order some french toast because I also wanted to start the year with a bit of that.

I was distracted while I was waiting for my breakfast by the girl sitting next to us who I took an instant disliking to. Quite the opposite to me, dressed expensively in casual glamour, she took odd nibbles out of her bowl of muesli in between bursts of furious texting on her blackberry. I couldn’t help but think of how her poor choice of breakfast would end up being an entirely unfulfilling year for her. However, I refused to let this bother me, and with an ‘ahem’ and a holier-than-thou smile I gently gestured towards my plate of eggs with my cutlery and promptly dived in.

Eating utensils hovering above my plate, I waited for the customary flood of sunny yolk to spill out of my eggs a la Roast, yet I appeared to be stuck waiting. It probably took me half a minute to realise that there was going to be no food theatrics and my first bite confirmed an overcooked poached egg. My second bite included some ham that, call me pedantic, tasted just a bit too hammy of the supermarket basics variety. I am fussy with pork in general and can never exactly pin down exactly which piggy products I do not enjoy, but hammy ham is definitely one of them. I wish I could say that the hollandaise managed to wipe out the flavour, but it had no kick to it at all, and the creaminess meant that the whole dish was too rich and bland. I could feel the smug glare of the girl next to me as she registered my disappointment, yet she could not see through my soul at my full despair I was feeling inside as I tried to come to terms with the fact that 2011 would surely end in misfortune for me. Mark’s french toast was sweet and sumptuous, though he struggled to finish it. At least his year will be filled with joy.

Luckily, I didn’t have to feel too sorry about not getting my money’s worth as Mark’s complaint about the noise the night before meant that they knocked 25% off our total bill when we went to check out.

A couple of hours later we ventured towards Finsbury Park in order to meet my good friend Frances for a spot of lunch. We had grand ideas of eating some aubergine bread in a local pub that she had tasted and fallen in love with a few weeks prior, but along with everything else on Stroud Green Road it appeared to be shut. Our only choice was Pizza Pappagone. My two previous experiences there ended in me being booed for not biting the top off a banana positioned suggestively between two profiteroles, and another embarrassing disaster of a combination of two bottles of cava and a spinachy pizza mess both consumed within 20 minutes. Pizza Pappagone’s only saving grace was that it was open and according to a friend it is okay if you order pasta.

As soon as we entered we were engulfed by the noise of many screaming children. They probably weren’t screaming, but if you have so many children in one place at the same time, the noise that spouts forth always seems to be one to make my skin crawl. We accepted a table anyway and perused the menu. I wasn’t particularly wowed over by anything, so I half-heartedly ordered some sort of veal and cream sauce tagliatelli affair. I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea. I suppose I was just preparing myself for the year of disappointment I was destined for after my depressing breakfast experience.

It tasted of absolutely nothing. Just a selection of textures in a bowl. No seasoning at all and even with a vigorous shake of the salt dispenser it remained a selection of textures that were just slightly salty. Frances had the winning dish which tasted vaguely of tomatoes, but Mark’s tasted of nothing much as well. I could have cried right there and then.

After contemplating whether to leave a tip or not (we did, it wasn’t the fault of the waiters) we left, knocking children aside as we lunged for the exit. Waving a mournful goodbye at Frances, Mark and I headed off back to his. I was in a sombre mood during the car journey, watching flecks of drizzle hit the windows. Mark acknowledged that though my year had not started off in the brilliant way I had expected it to, we did have a jolly walk through Primrose Hill and Camden and it is always nice seeing Frances… so maybe, just maybe, 2011 won’t be as awful as I expect it to be. I took in what he said and nodded my head. For in the face of disappointment I will keep my head held high and take joy from anything else in my life. And there is always next year to look forward to.

Pizza Pappagone
131 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3PX

One Response to “New Years Day”

  1. Jess White February 25, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I think my Pappagone’s lasagne is microwaved when they reheated it as well. im not sure if it’s even worth putting their address up on here.

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