13.11.07

National Portrait Gallery

Another venue disallowing pictures, today I went to the National Portrait Gallery, which is really just how it sounds. It's a gallery dedicated to portraits, chiefly painted ones, of historic figures from around the UK over the past 500 or so years.

The exhibition goes back to the Tudor monarchs and, through a collage from Andy Warhol, finishes up with the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. I wasn't completely sure what to expect there, but a nice history lesson accompanies each segment of the archive, as well as some specifics being noted alongside the portraits themselves.

Thousands of portraits await visitors, and it took me well over 2 hours to tour the venue from top to bottom, finishing with the retrospective of Diana, Princess of Wales on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of her death.

I had some time to kill this afternoon so after the National Portrait Gallery, I went around to the other side of the building where it's located and stepped into the National Gallery.

Art and I really don't get along. I just don't get the attraction, it doesn't entice me, it does nothing for me, but nevertheless it was rather cool to see original works by notables such as da Vinci and Raphael. I didn't spend much time in the National Gallery, so alas I didn't see works by the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donatello and Michaelangelo.

After the National Gallery, I went for dinner. For a couple weeks now I've been craving Mexican food, and let me tell you, if you want good Mexican food, London is NOT the place to go. Out and about in Greenwich the other day I saw a couple Mexican restaurants which really didn't look all that wonderful. However, a couple weeks ago on another jaunt I came across a place called The Texas Embassy which looked passable. Alas while I remembered the name, I didn't remember where it was located. I ran across it again today, and for the curious, it's on the same block as Canada House, just a smidge west down Pall Mall from the National Gallery.

The food was tolerable, but certainly not fantastic. I've been to Mexico but once, and that was on a day trip to Tijuana when I was 11 and visiting San Diego with my mother and sister. I don't recall us stopping for food then, but my affinity for the fare started in San Francisco, and California is absolutely one place you can go for kick-ass Mexican food. In the past I've tolerated places like Julio's Barrio (which is mediocre at best) and I'd probably have to rank The Texas Embassy about on par with Julio's. Not terrible, but far from the best I've had. My craving for Mexican food doesn't kick up often, but the next time it does I probably would not go back there.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Sean said...

Europe and Britain are not the places to be if you ever want Mexican food (authentic or americanized, take your pick). I remember at the end of a six week sojourn totally jonesing for some nachos. I also recall back in 1990 that chinese food was pretty hard to come by. Curries in England and Indonesian in Holland, no problem, but hardly a Chinese place in sight. We finally ended up at one in Kent during our last evening in the UK when my buddy's cousin suggested a place. It was odd - similar menus to Chinese restaurants in Canada, but all the "unusual" things we never ordered were the norm there, while our favourite standbys were the never-ordered oddities over there.

Oh, the museums were good, too. I guess that's what your post was about. ;-)

6:22 PM, November 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My late friend Aaron, who was from the San Francisco area, used to complain about the poor quality of Mexican food in London as well. Perhaps his biggest lament was that he could not buy Monterey Jack cheese. I remember a night it seemed like we scoured Shepherd's Bush for Monterey Jack without success.

Miranda

6:46 PM, December 19, 2007  

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