As I write this blog post, we are still continuing to eat our way through London. It feels like a long time ago that we had our first full day in the city. I just looked through pictures and copious notes to recall where we ate when we arrived. This trip has been so epic, that it feels like a lifetime ago.
Trying to fit in food among heavy sight-seeing is a skill. Sometimes the meal is an important part of the experience and sometimes it's just sustenance crammed in as we hurry to the next destination. This trip has been filled with tons of both. The leisurely and frenetic. The Sunday Roast dinner and the Boots pre-made sandwiches. We've done it all.
As we had not yet adjusted to UK time and we were excited to start our adventure, we woke up very early that first morning. The streets of London were unusually quiet. In addition to the early hour, it was a bank holiday Monday and a lot of businesses were closed. This quiet London has not been replicated on any other day of our trip.
We were with Dan's parents and we walked through Chinatown to a section of London where Dan used to work. Dan took us to a place where he likes called the Mediterranean Cafe.
The cafe had an amazing deal for a full English breakfast.
Admittedly, I'm not a breakfast person. However, I've learned to appreciate a Full English Breakfast. I've learned that beans are not limited to being a BBQ Side dish and that mushrooms can be a breakfast food that exists independant from an omelet.
The Mediterranean Cafe does a good breakfast at a good price. We all had the full English, except for Dan's mom, who is vegetarian and stuck with eggs on toast. Eggs on toast is another concept that I've warmed up to. I like eggs and I like toast, so why not pile it up? There are so many things that I've never seen in American and this is just breakfast!
The cafe across the road was boarded up, but the unfortunate choice in name begged to have a picture taken.
We have taken a lot of coffee/tea breaks on this trip. Sometimes several a day. Our first one was at a restaurant with a great name, The Slug and Lettuce. I've since learned that The Slug and Lettuce is a restaurant chain. The one that we visited was located across the street from The London Duck Tours meet-up spot, close to The London Eye.
The Slug and Lettuce serves coffee from Costa, a UK coffee chain that I've really enjoyed.
Something that I can't get used to in the UK, is slot ( or as Brits call them, Fruit) machines everywhere. Except for maybe certain parts of Nevada, in America the machines are generally hidden behind the walls of casinos. It's very unusual to see them outside of casinos. In the UK, there are everywhere. I found this one in the hotel lobby that was adjacent to The Slug and Lettuce.
For as long as I've known Dan, I've been aware of an ice cream product called Mr. Whippy. I assumed that it was soft serve ice cream and I'm not entirely wrong...yet, not entirely right. We found a Mr. Whippy truck and bought a cone. It seems to only come in one flavor, vanilla, but you can add a piece of Cadbury's Flake to give it some chocolate flavor.
So what is Mr. Whippy?
Not specific enough?
Okay, I can best describe is as having the texture of soft serve ice cream, but the taste of Cool Whip. It's so very yummy. Dan did not over-sell Mr. Whippy!
We ended the day first day with tea and mixed fruit cheesecake at the National Geographic Cafe. Nothing spells adventure more than National Geographic and the minute that I saw that they had a cafe, I had to stop in.
Admittedly, the cafe isn't very exciting. It's a fairly bland space and the only bit that ties it to the brand is a large screen TV showing nature clips. The food and service were good, but nothing special. I went in wanting more from the brand and just got a normal cafe experience. Bummer.
This is just the beginning of our culinary adventure in the UK, much more to come...