London Trip Highlights

My friend Katie and I started and ended our recent Europe trip in London. Here are some of our trip highlights, in no particular order.

– Our friend Sarah, who we were visiting in London, had us meet her at a restaurant called The Only Running Footman after she got out of work on our first night. This actually turned out to be our best meal in London, in my opinion. I had one of the night’s specials: poached smoked haddock with colcannon mash, a poached egg, and hollandaise. Now, if I can only find some smoked haddock around here to try making this myself…

– It was apparent to us right away that the Brits love their “crisps,” and I was fascinated with the variety of flavors available. The patatas bravas and prawn cocktail flavors were winners in my book. I never got around to trying the Cajun squirrel chips. That’s right – squirrel chips. I even have a picture to prove it:

– Whenever Katie and I go to a foreign country, one of the first things we try to do is take a trip to the local grocery store. It never fails to entertain. Below are some items we found at Tesco in London. I left wondering “what about the tongue makes it lunch tongue?” I was also thinking that it’s a good thing that my grocery store doesn’t sell jars of duck fat. Too tempting.

– Everyone in London seems to know how to make a good sandwich…even starbucks (below). Everywhere had an endless variety delicious pre-made sandwiches. They weren’t soggy, weren’t overstuffed, and were very cheap! A different, but related thing I liked about London was the presence of rocket (arugula), particularly in sandwiches. I think everyone in the states should start calling it rocket, too. It sounds more awesome that way.

– Chicken Korma on a kid’s menu! Okay – maybe this wasn’t a “highlight,” but worth mentioning I think. I hate dumbed-down children’s menus, so I was impressed.

– Whole Foods recently opened its first store in London and it happened to be down the street from Sarah’s flat. Katie and I were skeptical when she told us we should stop by. After all, there are plenty of Whole Foods stores in Chicago. Well, this Whole Foods really is a destination. The picture below is of the champagne and oyster bar to give you an idea. The trip was worth it even if only for the truffled brie I bought in the temperature controlled cheese section. I forgot to take a picture of it, but – wow – it was tasty.

– I had some of the best drinks I have ever had at a restaurant/lounge called Sketch. My favorite was the rosemary martini (middle) made with rosemary infused vodka, basil, vanilla syrup, sugar, salt, pepper, pineapple juice, and apple juice. It sounds like a strange combination, but the result was unbelievable. Sarah had a cucumber martini (left) and Katie had a drink called “Duvel In Me. It had grapefruit juice, cointreau, and club soda and was topped with Duvel beer. Maybe I should get more into mixology?

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