Tag Archives: dinner

London’s Markets

London’s Markets

If there’s any way to get to know London, get away from the sites and start exploring its side streets. The best side streets to start with are those that host markets.

My Top 4:

  1. Portobello Road Market
  2. Brick Lane Market
  3. Camden Market
  4. Borough Market

Portobello Road

Many would agree Portobello is the mother of all markets, which caters to the young and old. The best day to go is on Saturday as even on Sunday less than half the street vendors set up shop. Go in the morning beginning at the Ladbroke Grove (tube stop) end and work your way south towards Notting Hill Gate (tube stop). Much of the road is filled with old flea market items and some antiques that could be your favorite London souvenir. This is also the best place to get fresh produce, fish, meat, pastries, goodies – and lunch. Several giant pans of paella, gourmet sandwiches, crepes, sausages, African foods, and French goodies is just some of the dishes you have to choose from. Crowds are massive but tourists and locals mingle alike, just be cautious of pickpocket. Have your camera ready to shoot as you never know who or what you will see. Check out the Banksy graffiti at the top, note the road gets more posh as you head south, and don’t forget to check out a flat where George Orwell once lived.

There will be several performers.

Food for lunch, food for dinner, food for later.

 

Brick Lane Market

Brick Lane in east London (Aldgate East tube stop) is home to many Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants and businesses. Go any time of the week for good curry, spicy samosas, and other sweets, but Sunday is the best day to visit Brick Lane as the street and side streets boast flea market goods, delicious unique food made right in front of you, and the best used and new fashions. While many of the vendors are Indian, there is a huge young British twenty-something hipster culture. You will find clubs and bars pumping danceable music even in the middle of the day. The street also has to remarkable graffiti art. At the southern end of the market is the Whitechapel Art gallery – small but worth a pop in.

Brick Lane.

 

Paste and paper street art.

Spray street art.

Camden Market

If you are or you like punk-hippie-young-earthy cultures check out Camden market (Camden Town tube stop) on Saturday or Sunday. You can get a tattoo, piercing, eat delectable food for cheap, catch a show, buy some spiked leather, trendy clothing, or some of your favorite hits on vinyl. It’s definitely worth a visit, even the architecture is like nothing else in London. Definitely don’t go during the week as nothing is really happening.

Borough Market

Borough Market is the best place in London to grab a healthy, cheap, gourmet lunch, fine meat, wine, and produce on a Saturday afternoon. Nestled between brick buildings and archways on the south bank, this is definitely on hot spot for locals and tourists alike. Take the tube to St Paul’s cathedral, cross the millennium bridge, maybe pop in to the Tate Modern, make your way past the Globe, and dig in.

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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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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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