31 12 / 2012

Borough Market | London, UK.  So much food, so many memories :)

Borough Market | London, UK. So much food, so many memories :)

29 9 / 2010

If you find yourself in London right now, or happen to be heading there soon, here are a few of my city favourites:

Coffee: It has to be Kaffeine, on Great Titchfield St, only a short walk from Oxford Circus but pleasantly tucked away from that chaotic intersection. An Australian/Kiwi-run business, not only do they brew a splendid drop of that black nectar, but they also sell yummy cafe food (much of which is made in house). Think Portugese tarts, Anzac cookies, super moist brownies, and always fresh and lively salads (my favourite being their version of the Waldorf salad). And they’re always ready with genuine smiles and warm service; I became a regular on my second visit.

Borough Market Brownies!

Food Markets: Over by London Bridge, Borough Market is the place to be for artisanal and just plain tasty foods of all kinds: French pastries, vegetarian lunches, frankfurters and bratwursts, homemade confitures and chutneys…the memories alone are making me hungry! Brave the Saturday crowds for a divine slice of Belgian chocolate tart for £2.00, and definitely stop by the cheese and sausage stalls (in the part of the market next to Southwark Cathedral). Also encouraged: a taste test of all the brownie varieties to be found in the market; there are about four or five different brownie vendors, each of whom claim to make the best in the Borough…at around £1.50-£2.00 a slice, giving into temptation is so easy, so cheap, and so worth it. (You can also pick up fresh fruit and vegies in the main market area.)

Inside my favourite room in Hertford House, home to The Wallace Collection

Museum: The expansive British Museum in Bloomsbury is iconic, and the Natural History Museum over in Kensington is where it’s at for inquisitive minds of all ages. But my favourite is The Wallace Collection, hidden away in W1 (yes, that’s possible) amongst leafy, residential terrace houses. Recommended to me by Peter from Kaffeine (gotta love a barista who shares his city secrets!), the collection features gilded gold grandfather clocks, centuries-old porcelain figurines and trinkets, Rembrandts and a long room full of Dutch Masters, armory and weaponry, even a Marie Antoinette room housing the most pieces from her private collection to be found anywhere in the world. In my opinion, these are the most opulent rooms in London that are accessible by the public for the whopping admission price of free. Yep. Free.

Kensington Gardens in Bloom

Gardens: Hyde Park might be livelier, but walking through Kensington Gardens in the springtime is something to behold. You’ll see all kinds: families, loners, couples, aristocrats, little kids, littler dogs, joggers, all sharing the beautifully manicured greenery. Sit by the lake and pass the time drinking wine with friends while watching the swans, or escape into the heart of the gardens and surround yourself with only trees and grass and silence.

11 9 / 2010

Today, my slow lunch consisted of a fresh baguette from a local boulangerie (bakery), either dipped in extra virgin olive oil, or eaten with slices of rosette (a type of French salami) and generous wedges of brie.

Votre dejeuner est invalide.

07 8 / 2010

I love SF, and I love that SF loves food.

The hungry hungry hippos/people swarming the food trucks parked at Fort Mason

Today’s food adventure started when I went down to the Mission for photowalking and had amazing tacos for lunch. Found a little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop called Grand Coffee, where I drank some blessed black nectar and had a nice little chat to the barista while I enjoyed my cup of joe. Then it was over to Japantown for first dinner, where I sipped on green tea, and ate gyozas and avocado sushi. With the appetite to match that of an adolescent boy, I made my way to Fort Mason for the weekly food truck gathering, "Off The Grid", where there were lines aplenty and ZOMG such good food! For second dinner, I had a bowl of ramen with braised pork shoulder, and vanilla bean creme brulee for dessert.

And now I am enjoying the rewards of such a full day. FOOD COMA.

25 6 / 2010

(photo via efilpera @ flickr)

Mon and I are in Treviso!  This place is like something out of a storybook.  We’ve already had amazing pizza (I had “una Bersagliera”, ordered in Italian and understood by the waiter, yays!) and incredible gelato (flavours: menta, limone, e frutti di bosco).  I can’t wait to go exploring in the beautiful sunshine today. :)

(photo via efilpera @ flickr)

Mon and I are in Treviso! This place is like something out of a storybook. We’ve already had amazing pizza (I had “una Bersagliera”, ordered in Italian and understood by the waiter, yays!) and incredible gelato (flavours: menta, limone, e frutti di bosco). I can’t wait to go exploring in the beautiful sunshine today. :)

17 5 / 2010

crispy tacos with chicken, pinto beans, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. NOMMMM.

good mexican food. unsurprisingly, it’s incredibly hard to find in london. which is so harsh when you want exactly that which you can’t have…

but the first chipotle in london is now open, on charing cross road. so naturally, jon and i made a special effort to meet there. and you guys, it was so satisfying!

burritos happened. tacos happened. overly generous bags of tortilla chips happened. oh yeah, and GUACAMOLE.

08 5 / 2010

(via deirdren @ flickr)

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I love food. While I don’t claim to be an adventurous eater, sampling the local fare is one of my favourite ways to immerse myself in a new place. Not only does it make for tasty expeditions, it also provides many opportunities for people watching. In my opinion, the most candid and insightful picture of a community and its locals can be observed in its food culture.

Sure, I can agree that a trip to The City is not complete without visiting the sights. But my view is that any NYC experience would be sorely lacking without floppy pizza, New York-style cheesecake from Juniors, and of course, those infamous bagels “with a schmear”. Though I took every opportunity to dig into those iconic foods, my most memorable food indulgences in New York were snapshots into the daily lives of New Yorkers, whether uptown on a snowy Sunday, or a midweek business breakfast. A chance to listen in on the retelling of a wild night at VYNL Chelsea, or the airing of office politics over a Shackburger.

This totally happened and it was better than my wildest dreams.

By far, my favourite food memories from my time in New York involve eating with my relatives who live in Brooklyn. Not only were they kind enough to put me up with a room to myself, but they were generous with their time and made every effort to ensure that their home felt like it was my home, too. Arriving at their doorstep after more than a month away from home, the thing I desperately craved? A home-cooked meal. And just about every night, that’s exactly what I got - family banquets in true Asian migrant style. I’ll never forget the insistences of my aunt to “Eat! Eat!” (apparently because I “never eat anything”). Or the lively chatter around the table. Or the wonderful, lovingly-prepared meals put together by my cousin Tiffany with such humility, while still managing to keep up with her two young sons. And let me tell you about my staple breakfast…fresh filter coffee, and perfectly-toasted bagels with a healthy dollop of cream cheese. Some mornings, my aunt would hear me start to rouse as I woke, and would prepare the coffee so that it was ready by the time I’d hauled myself out of bed and into the wide world. Great or greatest?!

So. Much. Food.

It’s something special to be on the other side of the world, and to be embraced so openly and whole-heartedly by people you’ve only ever seen in photos. Indeed, the size of their generosity was surpassed by only one thing…the amount of food at Chinese New Year dinner! Stir fry noodles, char siew, roast chicken, and even a batch of chocolate cupcakes made their way in there somehow! And this, above all, typefied exactly why I love food and what it all means to me. It means family, generosity, sharing, and celebration. It’s about gratitude and pride, and every great meal I’ve ever had bursts with the unmistakable combination of these flavours. I can’t wait to see what my next New York meal has in store for me…

15 3 / 2010

Jacquie and Kim from Sydney get ready to murder a dessert at PF Chang’s in Portland, Oregon.