At long last Matthew and Mary marry. But the fortune of the Crawley family has taken an uncertain trajectory and the specter of bankruptcy - how 2009 - hangs before the family. Will Lord Grantham and his Ladies have to downsize or be saved to continue living their lavish aristocratic lifestyle? More than 7 million American viewers tuned in to watch the Downton Abbey season 3 premiere on Sunday, and food is a dominant player in the storyline.
The glimpse into the workings of a large estate kitchen circa 1920 has many fans searching for the gleaming cooper pots that line the kitchen shelves and the Edwardian recipes that fill the plates of the Crawley family.
What's on the nightly 12-course menu? Shimmering aspics; roasted fowl, including pheasants shot on the estate; soups; salads; vegetables; fruits and wines poured for each course. Much like the pre-bubble-burst, free-spirited 1990s in the U.S., the Edwardians consumed conspicuously.
Looking to eat like an Edwardian? Bring the plastic and a healthy appetite. A dozen oysters on the half shell at McCormick & Schmick's (200 S. Tryon St.) begin at 20 bucks - and that's just a starter. Add to this the $16 foie gras with pumpkin seed baklava, tangerine and pickled sugar pumpkin appetizer at Barrington's Restaurant - and I'll bet on Chef Moffet over Mrs. Patmore any day - (7822 Fairview Road); the $8 roasted beet and apple salad at Bistro la Bon (1322 Central Ave.); the $7 French onion soup at Café Monte (6700 Fairview Rd); the pan-seared Scottish salmon ($24) at Carpe Diem (1535 Elizabeth Ave.); and $24 fire-roasted chicken at Halcyon (500 S. Tryon St.). Your bill now hugs a c-note, and that's only half the courses and without the cost of cellared wine.
Too much? Downstairs, the staff enjoy shepherd's pie. You can find this dish for $16, less on Thursdays, at Big Ben British Pub & Restaurant (2000 South Blvd.). Cheers.