Ah, back to the blog world! Had to take a hiatus for a day or two…story in the next post.
Coming over here, one of the aspects about London I was most excited about was its cuisine. I’ve always known British food has its differences from American food, and I remember trying some things during my family’s previous trip. But that was three days, two years ago, barely enough to remember. This time, one of my trip goals is to embrace the cuisine as much as possible, and I think I’m doing a decent job of it so far.
It might be impossible for me to try everything before I leave, but I’m going to try as much as I can. These are my favorites thus far, not in any particular order (although I am partial to tea and scones).
Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any grumbling stomachs or sudden cravings caused by reading this blog post.
|My delicious full breakfast from Nicholson’s|
It’s a flavor of tea and a full meal, and they marry together quite wonderfully. I had my first full English breakfast a couple days ago at a lovely little pub called Nicholson’s The Porcupine in Westminster. I discovered it on my own after strolling around Covent Garden and stopped in to give it a try.
The full English breakfast includes eggs, sausage, what they call “bacon” but what looks more like thin-sliced ham to me, toast, beans, tomatoes and coffee or tea. I’m not a huge fan of fried eggs, and didn’t realize they came fried, so that was a surprise. I ate them, though, and they were delicious, but I still prefer my eggs scrambled or deviled. The ham/bacon was also tasty, as was the sausage, especially when dipped in some of the runny egg yolk. I tried the beans; they weren’t my favorite, but I liked them better than the tomatoes. I definitely want to find another great place for a full English breakfast while I’m here. But if I can’t, I’m perfectly happy being a repeat customer at Nicholson’s.
Tea & Coffee
Last time I was here, I couldn’t drink the coffee unless it came from Costa. I don’t know what it was, but something about it didn’t taste quite right, so I stuck to Costa or tea.
Clearly I wasn’t looking in the right places last time, because now I cannot stop drinking coffee. Not that I could in general before, but you know what I mean. Mochas are so different here. They’re far and away more coffee/espresso than chocolate, and the chocolate taste is very subtle. I love it. It’s a problem. I had a true macchiato today for the first time. I liked it, but I think I’ll keep to my mochas.
Coffee here is like a work of art. Each mocha I’ve ordered, and my macchiato today, have been perfectly mixed and crafted, and the foam on top is always pristine. The fancy cafes even put little designs in the top, like this mocha I got at a place called Notes. I almost feel bad for taking a sip because I feel like I’m destroying a masterpiece! But then I remember my lack of caffeine and that mochas have full shots of espresso in them.
|Afternoon cream tea at Patisserie Valerie|
Afternoon tea is huge over here. It’s usually held shortly before dinner time. I want to find a super fancy high tea somewhere, just to say I’ve been to one, because I feel like that’d be pretty awesome. One of my professors from VT told me about a nice place to go, so I want to check that out with some friends eventually. Today I went to a cafe called Patisserie Valerie, which is right across the street from Nicholson’s. I actually found it when I went to Nicholson’s and took note to come back for tea and a pastry.
An order of “cream tea” generally comes with a pot of tea, two scones, jam and “clotted cream.” I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with my clotted cream. I tasted it by itself, and it didn’t seem like something to eat individually, so I used it like butter for my scones. Great decision on my part. Scones here are a lot like what we call “biscuits” at home. They have a similar general consistency and texture, but are sweeter, and sometimes have raisins in them. I like them a lot, though. They aren’t as thick and heavy as the scones we make in the States.
No, not like sweet dessert pies. A staple in the English cuisine is the meat pie (or veggie pie, if you aren’t a meat person). They’re very similar to chicken pot pie, from what I can tell. Pies generally contain some kind of meat (or multiple meats), veggies and potatoes wrapped in some kind of pastry dough, and are then baked to golden brown flaky deliciousness. At our first dinner here, we all had meat pies with beef and vegetables. Lots of times, pies come with mash and gravy; I take mine sans gravy, and it’s just as delicious. The other day, I had a “steak and ale” pie from a cafe called Eat. I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but another person in my group had eaten one the day before and liked it, so I took his word and tried it for myself. Another great decision. I will definitely be having more pies while I’m here. Maybe I’ll figure out how to cook one so I can make them back home.
I’ve seen American favorites, like Snickers, Milky Way and Reese’s, in markets, but I don’t go for them as quickly as I go for Cadbury. Cadbury Dairy Milk bars are to die for, and I have to resist buying one every time I see them. I’m also a sucker for the chocolate/mint combination, and the Nestle Aero bars totally satisfies my cravings for mint and chocolate. They’re like the Hershey Air bars, except with mint in the middle. I’ve been told Wegmans sells these, so I don’t have to worry about bringing any back with me. I might have to smuggle some Cadbury and M&S bars in my bag, though. I bought these four bars the other day. Trying to make them last for my entire trip. I’ll let y’all know the success of that plan on June 23.
To try later…fish & chips, from an actual pub. There are plenty of places on the streets to buy it, but it always looks so greasy and gross. I’d trust a pub way easier than I’d trust a street vendor.