Tag Archives: dining

Photo of the Day – Vapiano

March 26, 2010

Fresh basil growing in front of you. Have a piece.

Last night I checked out Vapiano, an Italian style restaurant with a cool modern twist. The buddies I went with love this spot off Oxford Street (Great Portland Street Actually).

Vapiano’s system is wicked trendy. When you walk in, you are handed a card – much like a debit card, which keeps your tab until you pay before you leave. You order your food in designated areas, like a cafeteria, and watch them cook it in front of you while you are waiting. Vapiano definitely takes pride in their fresh food attitude.

The menu ranges from fancy drinks, to personal pizzas, to antipasti, pasta dishes, and cute desserts.

Make sure to grab your seating first though as you wouldn’t want to be carrying plates of food around with no where to sit – this place fills up fast with the hip and trendy crowds. It’s definitely a place where locals meet their friends and tourists enjoy their time alike. 

Trendy vibe, cool people, and even cooler food.

My shrimp scampi made in a jiffy. Grade B+/A-. I'm a tough critic.

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Photo of the Day – Dinner At Murray’s

March 25, 2010

Okay, so this is from yesterday actually. Last night, I had dinner with some cool people at Murray‘s flat. (This is like free press for you, man.)

I forgot to take a picture while we were eating, so here is the left overs and dessert. That's right, I made the cookies.

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Covent Garden

Covent Garden was a little more posh than I expected. It’s primarily a cool steel and glass structured building where artisans and their crafts filter out and off to the side.

Inside the CG.


Inside the building are cute little shops where one can drop a lot on soap that looks and smells like candy or a variety of teas and modern ornamented tea sets. The crafters in this area are more pricey and capitalized than those on the outskirts. There can be found hand blown glass ornaments, sewn kitsch dolls, or watch a scene get painted in a matter of minutes. Restaurants in this portion are more like fair foods that are slightly less greasy, smell a lot more appetizing, and will make your mouth water.

The symbol of CG.


Surrounding the center is cobbled walking areas where street performers set up and large crowds of tourists and Londoners alike gather. This is great for kids and their parents as the street performers cater their routine towards adults and children; there are a few jokes in there that slip right over their heads. There’s the small church and garden, as well as other aesthetically pleasing pieces of architecture. Heading off on the side streets, there are numerous cool and trendy shopping stores, however, if you are set on a pair of Doc Martins, be ready to drop at least 70 Quid.

Pretty crowed, only I don't get why. Maybe they don't know either.

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Buying Food In London and Eating It Too

London is expensive. I knew this long before I decided upon studying and interning in the city. It became even more obvious when I got to the city and looked at the price tag of everyday objects.

What seems to be cheap, correct me if I am wrong, is the price of food.

Being a poor student, the goal is to buy the best quality food for the most affordable price. Organic isn’t a must, but quality and freshness is a definite necessity.

In the last 24 hours I’ve bought food to prepare at Tesco and Sainsburys. The items I bought at the Tesco Express were just to get me started, but consisted of ten slices of prepackaged (unfortunately there was no deli) sandwich meat, two cartons of 100% juice, spaghetti, a loaf of bread, cheddar cheese, salad tomatoes, and apricot jam from France. The bag of food rang in at 13 pounds. If I do a quick calculation of the exchange rate by doubling 13 pounds, my bag of groceries cost $26. Not too bad, and some of those items were on sale.

At the Sainsburys, while I was looking to buy food for a real meal, I bought more and spent less. I bought a small jar of pasta sauce (It seems there are only small jars of tomato sauce, perhaps because one should mix it with real vegetables and tomatoes.), olive oil, mushrooms, dark soy, a head of broccoli, one carrot, one pepper, two bulbs of garlic, ginger, and two onions. The grand total for this bag of food was 9 pounds and 2 pence! Double that and its $18 for a bag of groceries that would have cost more in the United States.

This is cheap right?


So far so good.

When it came time to cook my stir-fry, however, the stove didn’t work. I turned on all the burners. Nothing. My housemates tried them, and they had no luck. Then I decided to dial the “emergency” number of the people who own the complex. Just as the I dialed the last number and the receiving end began to ring, my housemate ran out of the kitchen saying, “Rosie, I got it!” There, unlike in the U.S., is a switch to turn the stove and oven on. And this switch was hidden behind a container of kitchen utensils. So, with a laugh, I turned on the burner and fried my vegetables.

Click to see a slide show of my cooking skills!

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