South Bank of London

Walking along the Thames, you can go from one end of London to the other in about an hour or so (if you don’t stop to look around… but I highly recommend that you do!)

One sunny, lazy weekend morning, I decided to start my day with an eccles cake from St. John’s bakery, on Druid Street close to Tower Bridge.  I hear their donuts are to die for as well, but an eccles cake is a little more special to London.  After wandering to Bermondsey for Kappacasein for the world’s best grilled cheese, which I couldn’t even find sadly (but they’re back at Borough Market now so next time I’m in London I can find them!), I decided that it was best to get my day going instead.

St. John’s Bakery

Eccles Cake

Many people think that Tower Bridge is actually London Bridge.  However, London Bridge is nondescript while Tower Bridge is beautiful, tall, and colorful.

Tower Bridge

On one end of Tower Bridge is the Tower of London, which houses the crown jewels.  And it’s also really close to Brick Lane and the East End.  However, I was walking along the other side of the Thames on this particular day.  You’ll eventually reach Tate Modern, Britain’s premier modern art museum.  If you cross the Millennium Bridge, you’ll reach St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married.

St. Paul’s Cathedral and Millennium Bridge
Tate Modern

 Keep walking along the Thames and you’ll reach South Bank London, home to the National Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Gabriel’s Wharf, Oxo Tower Wharf, and of course, the famous London Eye.

Fesitvals along the South Bank
View from Jubilee Bridge

Oh London, London.  One of my favorite cities that’s for sure.

Central London

In the middle of London sits Trafalgar Square, home to the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column.  As most museums in London are free, the National Gallery and adjacent National Portrait Gallery are amazing ways to pass the time in London, especially with works by Van Gough, da Vinci, and more.

Climbing the Lions in the Square
Nelson’s Column
National Gallery

When you walk down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square, you can see all the government buildings, which are quintessentially London-esque.  You even pass by Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives! (I was really excited because “Love Actually” is one of the best movies of all time, and Hugh Grant is oh so adorable).  You eventually reach Westminster Abbey, the House of Parliament, and Big Ben, and that’s when you know you’re in London!

Westminster Abbey
House of Parliament and Big Ben

Matt’s in the Market – Seattle

Recently, a few friends have mentioned me blogging so I decided to try to take it up again.  Hopefully the next several (or many actually) will be me catching up on my travels over the last six months or so… I’ll finish up London, Paris, and San Francisco (yes, I went again) and also sneak in a few Seattle restaurants in there as well.

Earlier this week, before Snowmaggedon/Snowpocalypse/SnOMG hit, we lunched to Matt’s in the Market, a small, yet well-known gem, above Pike’s Place Market.  I have no idea why I hadn’t tried Matt’s until now.  The location is prime, the setting softly romantic, and the food just as delicious.

Stumptown Coffee BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Stumptown is one of my favorite coffees (and it’s from Portland too!) and so I just had to try this sandwich.  I also hear the lamb burger is to die for, so that will be the next sandwich on my list when I go back.  The pulled pork was just the right amount of salty, and the cabbage slaw added a nice coolness to it.

Crab and Cod Chowder

Not too heavy or too oily like most chowders, and with large chunks of cod and crab, this was probably the favorite on the table.  Especially on a cold, Seattle day, the chowder definitely warmed our tummies.

Crab and Arugula Salad

The meaty chunks of crab and the creamy avocado made this salad.  I loved the crispness and cleanness after the other heavier dishes.

Matt’s in the Market is a definite Seattle staple.  With such fresh seafood, produce, and bakeries nearby, it’s no wonder that the food is just as fresh and wonderful.  Next time though, I’m bringing a boy along with me to soak up all the romantics the place has to offer 😉

Update Fail.

So I officially fail at updating. I’m not even halfway through all my London posts! And then there’s Paris! And then all this Seattle stuff! Aaah. Update fail. I think I might just do a few major posts about London and Paris, although that would never do it justice.

But for now, I will do this. Because I don’t know where I’ll be in five months, I’m assuming I have five months in Seattle left. And because I love food so much, I needed to make a food list of places I want/need to eat at before this deadline. But seeing how my list grows at an infinite rate, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to finish it all!

Recommendations are more than welcome!
1. Bakery Nouveau – especially after Paris, I’m in constant need of patisseries and bakeries.  And croissants and pain au chocolats and tarte tartins and macarons and anything French.

2. Hiroki – Japanese desserts.  Desserts, enough said.

3. Paseo’s – I know.  How have I NOT been here yet?

4. Serious Pie, Lola, Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen – Tom Douglas is genius.  And Seattle’s celebrity chef.  And his donuts are supposedly to die for.  (Even Giada says so… and I believe everything Giada says)

5. Canlis – Consistently voted one of Seattle’s best, most romantic restaurants.  However, since I don’t have a romantic interest, it makes these romantic dates hardly likely.  Sad.

6. La Carta de Oaxaca – They opened a sister restaurant in Queen Anne!  Fish tacos are said to be heavenly.

7. Maneki – Homestyle Japanese restaurant in the ID.  Too bad I never travel down there…

8. Matt’s in the Market – Seattle seafood staple.

9. Revel – Fusion Korean food that has been on the Food Network!  Same owners as Joule, not that I’ve been to Joule either, but both come with high praises.

10. Sushi Kappo Tamura – Note to self, make reservations.  The one time I wanted to go eat there, they were booked till like 10pm.

11. Veraci Pizza – Supposedly some of the best wood fire oven pizzas around.

12. How to Cook a Wolf – Again, another Seattle staple.

13. Spinasse – Seattle’s best Italian.

14. Spur Gastropub

15. Quinn’s Pub

16. Book Bindery

17. The Walrus and the Carpenter – Good bar with good drinks.  AND THERE’S A DRINK WITH PIMM’S! ❤ (if you go to London, and you’re a girl, you have to order Pimm’s at a pub.  It is simply divine)

18. Pai’s – Food truck serving Thai/Hawaiian fusion.

19. Red Mill – Yes, I have yet to go to Red Mill.  So sue me.

20. Skillet Diner – Originally a food truck, Skillet now has it’s own diner.  Now I don’t have to go chasing after a truck!

Okay, I wanted to make it an even 20 (even though this list could go on forever.  And I’m surprised at myself that there isn’t more dessert on there… Hm that may be a problem.  Haha.

I’ll let you know how I do conquering all the food in Seattle! (at the rate I’m going, I’m going to FAIL miserably…)

Stonehenge

Our plans to visit Stonehenge as a large group kinda fell through… only three of us were able to get tickets before they sold out for the day and time we wanted to go.  Luckily, I was one of those three and got to see the mysterious Stonehenge!

After a 2 hour bus ride (which we all passed out on since we had a late night out the night before…), we finally arrived!

Seeing the rocks and hearing about the mystery behind the rocks was really cool, but honestly, at the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of rocks.  If I weren’t in London for five weeks, I wouldn’t have made the trip out there.  But because I had the time, I was able to go and it was really fun trip and a great way to get to know two of the girls a little better.

Borough Market

One of the highlights of London is Borough Market, a glorious food market found near London Bridge every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  I swear I went every week I was in London, because I couldn’t stay away!  The amount and variety of food here is beyond anything I could ever imagine, and every time, I had a hard time deciding what to eat!  It is the place for the best food crawl, and next time I’m in London, I will do just that!

Saturdays are the busiest, with crowded aisles and loads of samples from every stall.  It is a great place just to people watch, but with so much food around you, it’d be hard to say no to food.

Borough Market Map

From the various food stands, I knew I needed to try the Brindisa chorizo sandwiches.  I thought they might have been overhyped after reading various Chowhound boards and blog posts about how this was one of the best, if not THE best sandwich in London.  But after my first bite, I knew why it had gained such recognition.  It seriously is one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten in my entire life.  My mouth is watering even at the thought of it!

Brindisa Chorizo Sandiwch
Blueberry Cheesecake

The next time I went back, I had the baguette sandwiches from this stand with a really long line.  The meats all sound delicious, but I chose the chicken (go figure) and they place it inside a baguette along with a little slaw and lettuce.  Then they have a variety of sauces from you to choose from and you can put any combination and however much you want on your sandwich before digging in.  It is sooooo good (but not as good as the chorizo) and is almost impossible to fit the thing in your mouth (unless you have a big mouth like me).  Definitely super filling so be ready to eat this and save some room for dessert after (if you can!)

Baguette Sandwich Line
Chicken Sandwich

With very little room left in my stomach, I needed dessert.  And so we had some goat’s milk ice cream at Greedy Goat, where they had a honeycomb flavor!  Oh how I wish we had honeycomb here!  Everyone in my program knows how much I love honeycomb and toffee.  I obsessed over both so much!

The best cheesecake I’ve eaten is also found at Borough.  Man, Borough is just a food lover’s heaven.  Ion Patisserie has a large variety of cheesecakes, and although their intense flavors, such as tiramisu and toffee pecan are merely okay, their regular and fruit cheesecakes are superb.  I had the raspberry cheesecake and it was divine!

Cheesecake Galore
Raspberry Cheesecake

My last and final trip to Borough Market, I had to try something new even though I wanted the chorizo sandwich.  The burger stand next to the baguette sandwiches had a chicken burger that was infused with coriander and lemon.  It was again, really good and I could eat it again (but would choose the chorizo over it).

Burgers
Chicken Burger

And for dessert, a brownie!

And baklava!

Borough Market is definitely a stop I will need to make next time I’m back in London.  I can hardly wait for that day!

Busaba Eathai and Gelupo

Who would’ve thought Thai food in London would be so delicious?  Busaba Eathai accomplished such a feat, and did it on a budget too!  Wandering around Covent Garden one night, we found the restaurant, and since it was a soft opening, got 20% off our entire bill!  What a steal!  And even without, the prices were still reasonable and who would’ve thought I’d want to go back multiple times to Thai food?  You’d never hear such a thing about places on the Ave from me!

The pad thai was so delicious, just the right texture and not oily at all.  I could eat it over and over and never get tired of it!

Pad Thai

Debating over the pad thai or crab fried rice, I had to steal a couple (okay, many) bites of a friend’s dish because I couldn’t resist.  It was super succulent with large pieces of real crab.

Crab Fried Rice

And I can never end a night without dessert.  So we headed to Gelupo in Soho.  I can never say no to some gelato, ice cream, or froyo!  And boy was it good.  Didn’t become our regular, but delicious nonetheless!