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What I ate in London

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I'm a huge fan of the Grub Street Diet posts from New York Magazine. Each Friday at 2pm, I log on to see who's been featured, and what they've spent the week eating. Usually, it gives me extreme New York based food envy - whether it's sandwich cookies from Jenny Slate, two Thanksgivings with Jessica Seinfeld or Chrissy Teigen's Starbuck's cup of red wine.

So, I thought that I'd do my own version after gorging myself senseless in London over a long weekend.

Thursday
When we arrived into the city, I was dismayed to realise I'd officially lost my London legs. I couldn't figure out how to get to the hotel, which was five minutes from Waterloo, an area I used to know inside out. So I was sweaty, pissed off and dying for a drink. Once we'd dumped our bags, we ended up going just a little bit down the road to Wahaca. The original plan was to go to BOBs Lobster, a funky little lobster roll van which was parked under a nearby bridge, but even that seemed like too much of an effort. 

Wahaca's was the easiest option, and it was an immensely good decision. The last time I'd eaten there was in the Covent Garden branch a million years ago. It's certainly spread its wings since then (there's another one in South Bank, just around the corner) but the food is still incredibly good. We started with a hibiscus mojito which was a delicious combo of tequila, hibiscus, mint and lime. SO GOOD.

Hibiscus Mojitos

I was planning on the ceviche tostadas, but there was a special alternative with raw salmon, avocado, chipotle mayo and crispy onions. It was delicious. I also had the pulled pork tacos, and shared some of my friend's fried sweet potato chunks. I announced that I was getting churros for dessert, but was stopped by my mean friend, who said it was too late for sweets. It was actually a pretty good decision, because it was kind of late by the time we ate. We contemplated another mojito but instead had some rooibus tea in bed.

Salmon tostadas in Wahaca

Friday
I had a million meetings on Friday, starting out at Le Pain Quotidien in Notting Hill. The breakfast menu looked AMAZING but I knew brunch was on my horizon, so I had a soup bowl full of coffee and a small fruit cup. It was good, but the fruit was fridge cold, which made it kind of hard to eat with my super sensitive teeth (I have full body convulsions if I so much as see someone bite into ice cream)

After that meeting we took a wander down Portobello Road, which was deliciously quiet, it being a Friday. Pretty quickly the hunger set in, so we went to Granger & Co for brunch. My friend couldn't believe how busy it was "On a Friday! What are they all doing here?" but we got a table. I ordered the orange juice and avocado on rye, which was gigantic and smothered with huge chunks of ripe avocado. But my friend had ordered better, with pale blue boiled eggs and massive sourdough toasted soldiers. Luckily, she decided we could do a halvers/schmalvers, so I got to eat both. 

The plan was to get a coffee and walk down to Hyde Park, so when we walked past a fancy chocolate shop I went in to pick something up to go with it. In a brilliant bit of pricing genius, everything seemed so ridiculously pricey that by the time I got to the bars at the back, £3.50 seemed like a bargain. It was deceptively packaged though, so that only bought me 45g of chocolate. I went for the salted caramel milk chocolate, and I couldn't taste any of those ingredients. It was only OK. The Divine version is amazing though, if you ever see that. 

I couldn't see a good coffee spot in the park, so got a cup of tea and an americano at a stand, which was actually pretty good. We ate and drank watching joggers pass us by, while I (somewhat ironically, considering I cannot run) critiqued their technique. 

I had another latte at my next meeting, all the while wishing I had gotten a green juice that the other girl had ordered. I made up for that at The Marylebone, where I had a gorgeous green combo with spinach, basil, coconut water and lime. 

I was meeting a friend in Peckham for the rooftop cinema in the evening, so had a burger on the roof. It sounded really promising but was only OK... it was supposed to be smothered in jerk sauce but was dry and kind of plain. I made up for it with my favourite cinema snack - popcorn with a bag of minstrels thrown in. The popcorn was so sweet it made my teeth ache, but it was worth it. 

Saturday



I was heading to the KERB Street Food Fest in South Bank, so had what was lying in the hotel room for breakfast - a few minstrels and those Dr Karg emmental and pumpkin seed crackers, which look really healthy but are really not. Instead of eating straight away at the fest, we took a walk to build up an appetite, so I had a latte from Pret while we strolled.

Then it was all in for the street food. It was a tough decision, but in the end I went for the Don Macaroni mac and cheese from Anna Mae's, which I've been dreaming about for months, I swear. It was covered with crispy bits of bacon, basil oil and a basil leaf. It was deliciously rich, so much so that I had to stop eating it twice so I could hold my belly and moan for a while. For shame, because it wasn't even such a huge portion. I had it with a ginger beer from Hackney,

Mac and cheese with ginger beer

It kind of ruined my plans to get something else, but I did have dessert room, so I had a sea salted caramel ice cream from Sorbitium Ices. Oh man, it was divine. Really thick and creamy, with a hint of smoky salt. If I had been hungrier, I would have gotten a sundae from them, but I was alarmingly full.

Sea salt caramel ice cream

That evening, I went back to the fest for more. The worst part was I was still full from earlier, so I could only manage a portion of skin on triple cooked rosemary fries, with crumbled feta on top. The Greek van was serving up a halloumi flatbread which looked like the business, but again, see: fullness. We got a chilled bottle of cava from Sainsburys, and I stole two coffee cups from the machine so we could drink it down at the river, which was the best decision I've ever made in my life.

Skin on rosemary fries with feta

The night finished up with a few too many Coronas.

Sunday
I did not feel great on Sunday morning. After a bit of groaning, a few more minstrels and crackers, I managed to check out and head to the airport. I swung by Boots and picked up some rehydration sachets, which I forced down outside Liverpool Street station. Hurrah! Hangover almost cured. What tipped me over the edge was the discovery that Patty and Bun have a location JUST over the road from the station. Nothing would have made me happier. I got a cheeseburger that bled all over me, more rosemary fries and I was just in heaven. One of the best burgers I've ever eaten (and possibly the messiest). All in all, a pretty good hangover cure.

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