While I love trying new foods when I travel, I’m not one of those people for whom every meal has to be the end all, be all. That’s why I enjoying staying in places that have a kitchen, even more so during this trip since I was feeling under the weather.
Eating at home
One of the first things we did was hit the grocery store, and one of the first things I stocked up on was Marmite.
I know you can get it in the States (I spotted it at Whole Foods recently), but it’s cheaper in London. And why not enjoy it while I’m there? I particularly like it on cheese toast.
Because I had a bad cold, a few nights I craved spicy Korean instant noodles. Luckily there was an Asian market right nearby. I also picked up tofu, romaine lettuce, and KitKats.
The only bad thing I ate at home was a pizza from Tesco’s. Why get a pizza from Tesco’s, you may ask? Whenever I go to Paris or Spain, I stock up on supermarket pizza because it’s really good. Not so in London apparently. It was horrible — but I ate it anyway.
Ole & Steen
We popped in here for breakfast one morning (or second breakfast for me). That’s where I found I couldn’t use the five pound note I’ve been holding since 2013. Oh well. I still had enough for a delicious bacon sandwich.
Looks like Ole & Steen is also in New York. Not so exotic then, but I definitely plan on getting some Danish pastries from there.
Another (second) breakfast place. I really liked my cappuccino and bacon sandwich —
— but the woman behind the counter was oddly snotty to me while she was nice to Yiannis. I feel like she gave me a weird look when I walked in, and after the bad experience with the cashier at Tesco my first day, I couldn’t help but think she saw me as a potentially rude tourist from China, despite the fact that a) I was with a white dude and not a big tour group, and b) I was speaking perfect English. However, the guy who actually rang me up at TABxTAB was perfectly nice.
When we returned another day so that Yiannis could pick something up, the same woman looked all uncomfortable. I made sure to give her a snotty look.
This place had a wide variety of fresh and yummy foods. I imagine it’s good for people to grab and go during the work week.
Originally we stopped in because the cookies in the window looked tasty, but it turned out to be really good in general. My salad was a bit boring, but it still tasted fresh and hit the spot in terms of greens and fiber. I also had a cold press apple juice, which seemed cheaper than back in the States. It was delicious and just what I needed for my cold.
This Greek place wasn’t too far from our apartment. While I enjoyed my dish — I think I got a gyro platter — I found it overpriced. Yiannis wasn’t impressed.
Maltby Street Market
This was my favorite food-related activity. The Maltby Street Market is much smaller and low key than Borough Market. I’m sure it gets hella crowded, but we went on a chilly and rainy day so there weren’t too many people.
There were lots of good choices to eat, but I ended up having this creamy pasta and ham dish at a sit-down place.
It was pretty good (and the guy who helped me was very nice), but afterward I kicked myself for not getting a Scotch egg. I thought I’d see plenty later but I didn’t.
At the end of the market was a gin distillery. We partook in their free tasting — the women who ran it were so nice and fun — then Yiannis bought two cocktails and a bottle of gin. I only bought a bottle.
Borough and Portobello Road Markets
I so loved Borough Market when I visited in 2009 (gah, almost 10 years ago), but it wasn’t as great as I remember. That might have been because I went on a weekday so not everything was open. Also, I didn’t feel like waiting on a long line (damn you cold!) and got a random sausage roll. Normally you can’t wrong with sausage rolls, but this one was not good, maybe because the grumpy lady didn’t heat it up for me. Regardless I took two bites and threw it out.
We went to Portobello Road Market at the recommendation of the women at the gin distillery, and also you can’t stay in Notting Hill and not go. They suggested going early to beat the crowds, and I’m glad we did. On our initial walk it wasn’t bad, but on our way back it was mobbed.
Since this is mainly an antiques market, you might be wondering what it’s doing in a post about food. That’s because that was the only thing I bought: a corn fritter, which was tasty but would have been better heated up (what’s with you people?) and a fantastic apple donut. The filling was very apple-y and not runny at all. Plus the woman who gave it to me said, “Here you go, love,” which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
We popped in this cute place sort of randomly while we were walking around Chinatown and SoHo. (Again, shout out to the wait staff who treated me like a human being.)
I wasn’t hungry since I had had a homemade cheese, Marmite, and courgette sandwich on the road as well as two youtiao in Chinatown. So I just had a cocktail.
It was a basil gimlet with balsamic vinegar. Yum! As you might be able to see, Yiannis didn’t want his egg (too runny for him) so I had that too (guess I had room despite the sandwich and fried dough sticks).
Next up: museums!