Posts Tagged ‘Eats & Drinks’

Super Saturday!

I finally went out last night for the first time in weeks now that everyone’s back in town! It was so great getting to see everyone again; highly reinvigorating and a good way to start Lent Term. Aside from the amazingness of seeing everyone again, I also discovered one of my new favorite places in London: Porterhouse! We started our night there yesterday and they have my most favorite strawberry-kiwi cider drink (they score automatic points for that), plus a great atmosphere and a live band! Here’s proof of happiness:

With classes beginning on Monday, I hadn’t had a great deal planned for today. My friend’s boyfriend is in town until tomorrow and we all planned on linking up for lunch today so I could finally meet him. After looking for veg-friendly joints around town, we decided to hit up Covent Garden’s Food for Thought. Now, I have been to FFT on one occasion, but it was for take-away late in the evening and the selection was super limited. Today, however, we were (literally) first in line when the doors opened and had a seriously delicious veggie meal! I was the only vegetarian in the group and the other kiddos (read: carnivores) loved the food, too! Super healthy, super affordable, super homemade and super delicious! If you happen to hit it up while you’re perusing Covent Garden (it’s on Neal Street), definitely opt for the Caribbean stew if it’s on the menu. It’s a bowl of pure deliciousness. I surmise it’s secretly laced with crack cocaine; it’s highly addicting. Side note: it’s cash only. Sad.

After our rendezvous in Covent Garden, P. and her boyfriend, A., had planned on catching a matinée showing of Les Mis at the Queen’s Theatre in Soho. Since I didn’t have any afternoon plans (aside from doing nothing and being holed up in my room), a small group of us ended up going together! We snagged tickets for a super affordable £15 each and ended up with a pretty decent view! I am a serious musical-lover and I definitely expected great things of one of the most renowned musicals of all times. Although the performance was great and the music was spectacular, I wouldn’t see it again. There are some musicals that I would see over and over (The Lion King, Wicked, Phantom), but this is definitely not one of them. It’s pretty depressing & the plot is semi-confusing if don’t familiarize yourself with it beforehand. That being said, it was still a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon & worth £15! Next on my list of musicals: Avenue Q. I’ve been dying to see it for months & I am definitely going before it stops playing (March 2010).

Now it’s 730P, I’m back at home after a fun-filled (and freezing!) day and am ready to sit in bed in my pajamas drinking hot chocolate (Wen, if you’re reading this — I DO like hot chocolate). Class is starting Monday and the reality is finally setting in. Gotta get a few readings done today and tomorrow so I can bring my A game this week!

Hope everyone’s weekend is superb!

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Malta, Days 3 & 4

So, now that we’re finally settled, it’s time to re-cap days three and four in magnificent Malta. Wednesday was a visit to the beautiful Blue Grotto in the morning (a place that came highly recommended by my grandmother and my late grandfather), followed by an evening of family fun with Sylvana & Joe and a night out in Paceville (pronounced Pah-tchay-ville).  We spent Thursday exploring the capital city of Valletta, followed by our last supper, courtesy of Teddy & Angela.

Wednesday’s weather made for a perfect sight-seeing day. Though a ferry to the Blue Grotto wasn’t really on the agenda (it was too blustery), we had an amazing view and got some great shots of the water from above — the area was seriously fantastic; definitely a must-see for anyone in Malta!


After our Blue Grotto trip, we checked out some other old (3500 years-plus) temples and got a pretty sweet glimpse of the island of Filfla (you can see it in the background)! It’s super tiny and uninhabited — it looks like a big rock floating in the water <3.

Our dinner on Wednesday was super delish & entirely too much fun with two kiddos running around.

For one of the first times since my grandpa passed away, I was reminded of how much I miss seeing him and talking with him. I felt an urge around day two to call him and use my newly-acquired Maltese skills and suddenly remembered that he wasn’t there anymore… definitely made me a bit sad, but it was nice being able to see where he was born and where his family came from.

After our dinner and family time, we headed out for a far-too-late night in Paceville, courtesy of one Paul Sebastian (aka best tour guide ever). After getting home at around 230A and enjoying three qaghaq tal-ghasel, I felt I had done my work in annihilating my poor family’s kitchen.

We hit up Valletta on Day 4 and it definitely ties with Mdina for being the cutest city! There are so many fun shops there and loads of cute cafes & eateries (and gorgeous views)! We had a seriously delish lunch at Cafe Jubilee before departing. Paul had mentioned the Maltese chain earlier and it definitely lived up to expectations — good food and totally affordable!

Missing the sunshiney days and happy people of Malta already!

To see the whole Malta album, click here!

Borough Market Bonanza!

I have been dying to go to Borough Market since I arrived in London and I finally made the trek there today! I started the day off right by meeting up with four lovely ladies from my course for a mid-morning brunch near the market at The Table Cafe on Southwark Street. If you’re looking for delicious food in a perfect price-range, this place is definitely worth hitting up. We all had fantastic breakfasts (I got the eggs florentine — delish!) and it was around £40 for the five of us, including drinks (check out there delish breakfast menu here).


After we were thoroughly fed and caffeinated we hit up Borough Market! You may recall my visit to Spitalfields & Brick Lane earlier in the year where there was a load of amazing foods tempered with a fantastic mix of arts, crafts and vintage goodies. Borough Market is different from Spitalfields and Camden Markets in the sense that it is just food. For being a market dedicated to deliciousness, it’s actually quite huge! There are goodies to feed any appetite: ridiculous amounts of cheese, homemade jams, granola, meats, cakes, cookies and mulled cider on every corner. Here’s a bit of a pictorial tour:

{Row after row of nuts, dried fruits and chocolate-covered everything!}

{My friend, M., was like a kid in Costco on Saturday when she saw this stand.
I have never seen so many marinated goodies in one place!}

{Loads of stands selling fresh fruits and veggies! If I wasn’t heading to Malta tomorrow, I would probably have picked some up!}

{Mulled wine & cider on every corner for £3. Make sure you have some coinage handy — shopping is always so much better with mulled wine in hand.}

{How cute are these shortbread owls?! This stand had the most delicious looking cookies ever! I picked up some gingerbread and oat cookies plus some ginger flapjacks for my flatmate. Mmm!}

Now this stand below, Spice Mountain, was one of my faves in the whole market! Mind you, there were loads of great places, but I’m a sucker for cool goodies that you would probably only ever see on the Food Network.


If you’re like me and enjoy cooking in your free time, this stand has some seriously cool herbs, spices and specialty spice blends. Think things like mango powder, lemon grass stalks, spearmint salt, sumac and tamarind. Their selection is seriously endless, plus a great place to grab spice blends for ethnic cuisine night! You can also order online — they have some really cute gift sets, too!

Definitely a fun way to spend a weekend morning! Borough’s normally only open Thursday through Saturday (8A- 5P), but they actually have special hours for Christmas, with the market operating nearly every day beginning on the 20th of December. Check it out and drop me a comment to tell me what you think!

Anyone else have any favorite markets to check out?


When in Rome… (Rome, Day II.)

After our fun-filled and relatively stress-free first day in Rome, we had a solid plan of attack for Day 2 of our Roman Holiday: a trip to Santa Maria Maggiore (which we could see from our room), a stop at the nearby (and famed) Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and a bit of shopping followed by an evening pub crawl at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore sat right down the street from our hotel. So close, in fact, that we overlooked in on day one. Although it’s clearly an amazing structure, we had no idea that it was such an old and holy site. The inside is said to date back to roughly the 400s and the Borghese tomb sits on the premises.


After our quick stop here, we started our journey to the Trevi Fountain, about 20 minutes walking from our hotel. Although I hadn’t really known what to anticipate, I have to say that the Trevi Fountain was one of my all-time favorite parts of the trip. The structure is absolutely breathtaking — pictures really can’t do it justice. It’s massive (85 feet high and 65 feet wide)!

It is said that if you toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, your return to Rome will be a swift one:


There are loads of touristy stores around the fountain, so I was able to snag some super cool gifts for my family nearby [if you guys are reading this, expect some cool Roman gifts for the holidays!] After hitting up the Trevi, we headed north to the Spanish Steps. Although neither of us really knew what to expect from the famed steps, we discovered an interesting mix of art — not at all what I had expected!


Apparently they’re dubbed the Spanish Steps because they’re near the Spanish Embassy. All seems to make sense now! After, we enjoyed loads of delicious sangria and pizza and people-watched before heading home for a quick nap before our evening outing.

That evening (after a much-needed power nap), we jumped on the Metro to the Spanish Steps to meet up with a pub crawl group. Unfortunately, the pub crawl was 25 Euros (more than we really wanted to spend) and seemed to be plagued by legal-by-European-standards-18-year-olds from the US. In lieu, we cabbed it to nearby Campo di Fiore, a little piazza that houses a number of fun pubs and restaurants. We decided upon a placed called Magnolia and ended up spending hours there munching on bruschetta and focaccia and talking with a 91-year-old Roman that we referred to as nona (grandma). She had been living in the area for all of her 91 years and had been dining at Magnolia every day for lunch and dinner!

All in all, we had a fun-filled, relaxed day and saved our energy for our trip to Vatican city, Castel Sant’Angelo and the streets of Rome on Sunday. Stay tuned to see pictures of the Vatican and some of Michaelangelo’s amazingness!


Mmmm…Mildred’s <3.

As luck would have it, my blonde Californian flatmate happens to be a fellow vegetarian with a love for all things chickpea. The chances that we got placed into the same flat are probably relatively astronomical and very fortunate since I now have someone to share my soy and hummus-loving ways with. Yesterday night marked week number two of our newly-minted weekly ritual involving veggie love at Mildred’s in Soho. Mildred’s is all vegetarian (and mostly vegan) and has a pretty solid variety of vegetarian fare.

Mildred'sI had some of the best tostadas ever (aubergine + courgettes  + guac = heaven) and Lindsay’s chickpea, pumpkin & beetroot burger looked amazing! Plus, the side of sweet potato fries is intensely amazing if you love sweet potatoes. {Side note: For anyone that’s yet unaware, sweet potatoes are the most amazing food of life and, thus, my favorite food on the planet. Sweet potato pie, sweet potato latkes [for the Jew in me], sweet potato casserole… delish.}

Lindsay

Check out Mildred’s main courses here — even for the carnivores out there, you’d be surprised at how delicious vegetarian food can actually be when prepared properly! Can’t wait for next Wednesday!!

Does anyone know of any other London-based vegetarian spots worth hititng up?

Sending lots of veg love your way,

Signature Stamp - Shannon