Friday, July 30, 2010

Haddon Gold and Berkswell Cheeses

While roaming around Soho's new farmer's market, I picked up cheeses from two stalls. The top one is Haddon Gold from Crudges Cheese. The description reads: 'Beautifully smooth & creamy, with a bit of bite, Haddon Gold is made with raw Organic Jersey milk from Hutton Grange Farm, Great Rollright, deep in the rolling Oxfordshire countryside.' A remarked that this cheese was incredibly buttery, and I have to agree - best eaten in small quantities, but lovely.

The other cheese is Berkswell from Neal's Yard Dairy, which is a hard sheep's milk cheese. Here's the description: 'Rich, sweet, fruity and nutty. Sometimes with a fruity acidity that reminds us of pineapples, sometimes creamy and biscuity, but the flavours are always, long, deep and mouth-filling. The texture can be slightly grainy and depending on age varies from quite firm to moist and relatively soft.' This was tangy and nutty, and my favorite cheese of the day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pizza East

56 Shoreditch High Street
London E1 6JJ

Pizza East has been written about by loads of people already, but it took me a while to get there. While it's not that far from where I live, it's just inconvenient enough for me that there were always other places to try first. P and J happened to be in the area for some talks though and persuaded me to meet them there for dinner. P had been before and said that he remembered that the appetizers were great, so I started with fried whitefish (above), which were crispy and briny but unfortunately a bit one-note in flavor by the time I reached the end of the plate. P's selection of cauliflower carbonara (cauliflower baked in a creamy sauce with bacon) was excellent, as was J's crab dip. Since I don't see any of these on their online menu, I assume they must change their menu regularly. I had to get pizza for my main, seeing as how it's a pizza place, so the sausage and broccoli pizza above was ordered and it was pretty decent, though a bit under-seasoned. The crust was chewy and crisp, which is better than a lot of pizza in London, so I think I'd go back here and try some of the other toppings. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Matsutake Sushi

Washington Dulles International
Concourse B

Dulles, VA 20166

A major surprise of this trip - sushi at the airport that is better than many places in London. I had a California roll and a salmon and avocado roll - both contained generous fillings encased in perfect, just slightly warm sushi rice. The two rolls were plenty of food since they came six large pieces to a roll - the salmon tasted incredibly fresh and the sushi chef behind the counter deftly filled the takeout container for me as I dashed off to catch my flight. Glad I stopped here, since the meal on the plane was nearly inedible (banana pudding, oh how I hate you!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Harry's Tap Room

Washington Dulles Airport
Main Terminal

After logistical nightmares left me at Dulles with a 10 hour layover (which I used to chase down my lost suitcase), I figured I should at least try and find some decent lunch. Sadly, my lack of boarding pass meant I was restricted to the Main Terminal, and Harry's Tap Room was the only restaurant in the area. I asked the waitress if there was anything she'd recommend, and she said the Creole Cuban sandwich was great, so that's what I got. And while it is not all that authentic, it was still yummy - plenty of ham and roast pork with a layer of gooey Swiss cheese gave it a lot of flavor, and the fries were hot and crisp. The pineapple wedge was a nice light dessert after that salt and fat bomb. While this was good, this meal was surpassed by my dinner, coming up next...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


2600 Hillsborough Road
Durham, NC 27705

M had the brilliant idea of stopping at Locopops since it's the perfect antidote to hot weather and an un-air conditioned car. Their whole gimmick is unusual popsicle flavors. I picked out a lychee and lemongrass popsicle and stuck in in my mouth, only to realize it was so cold that it froze to my inner lips. After I managed to pull it out (while M laughed hysterically at me) I found out I had pulled off some skin and was bleeding from my popsicle injury. Ridiculous. It didn't stop me from enjoying the popsicle (though much more carefully) and ordering a ginger beer float popsicle afterwards (I justified this because both of my popsicles only came in small sizes, rather than the large size). Highly recommended - just don't hurt yourself like I did.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mad Hatter Bakeshop & Cafe

1802 West Main Street
Durham, NC 27705-4840

M took me to Mad Hatters to grab some breakfast before apartment hunting - there were so many amazing baked goods that I couldn't settle on just one, so I got two! The blueberry scone was remarkably tender - too often scones are dry and sandy, but this one was the perfect balance between moist blueberries and crumbly pastry. I also grabbed a pumpkin muffin, which was phenomenal - the pumpkin and spice flavor was spot on and it stayed delicious even a day and a half later. A glass of sweet tea rounded off my breakfast of champions (something which I have become slightly obsessed with now that London is hot enough to crave iced tea constantly). 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Super Taqueria

2842 N Roxboro St
Durham, NC 27704

M lives around the corner from this place, lucky her. Her car's air conditioning broke down so we dropped her car off at the local garage and came here for a bit of lunch. Absolutely freaking delicious. I started off with a trio of tacos: carne asada, lengua (tongue) and carnitas. There's a great little salsa bar where you can load up on pico de gallo, red and green salsas and extra cilantro, onions and limes. They were all fabulous, though I think my favorite was the carne asada. I couldn't help myself - the tacos were so good I had to go up and try the ceviche on a tostada as well - a mix of fish, shrimp, tomatoes, onions and cilantro came out on top of a crisp corn tostada which was wonderfully refreshing in the heat. Altogether, I think lunch was less than $8, which is why I miss the US so much sometimes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Raleigh Times

14 E. Hargett St.

Raleigh, NC 27601

D took me to the Raleigh Times with a few other people during her lunch break - we had come for the pulled pork nachos, but shockingly, they were out of pulled pork. Instead, we went for the next regional specialty on the menu, the fried pickles (I was dubious, but turns out there's no need to be). These were thinly sliced pickles in a crisp, light batter, served with ranch dressing. I loved them, but they are awfully salty and I'm glad we chose to share one order among the five of us. Since it was so hot outside, I decided on a salad for lunch - the Asian Tuna Salad with seared rare marinated tuna, bok choy, butter lettuce, shredded carrots, red bell peppers and soy sesame dressing. It was exactly what I wanted - cool and refreshing flavors - nothing mind-blowing but it certainly hit the spot.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sammy's Tap and Grill

235 Avent Ferry Road
Raleigh, NC 27606

D and R asked me what I miss about the US that I can't get in London, and buffalo wings are pretty high on that list. They'd heard that the wings at Sammy's Tap and Grill were pretty good, so kindly drove me there so we could pick up some wings for dinner. We ordered 10 medium wings (above) and 10 with Sammy's Sauce (very very peppery - the wings were drenched in black pepper). Alas, our order for some celery sticks to go with the wings must have been forgotten as they were not in the bag when we got home. The medium wings were pretty decent, though I'd prefer them crispier, and Sammy's Sauce was interesting but not something I'd order again. Hella cheap though - they say their wings are 50% off every day, which is hilarious - so the 20 wings (plus missing celery) was $11 with tax and tip. Next time, I'd be tempted to go back and eat in and try one of the many beers they have on tap.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TGI Fridays

13225 Worth Ave.
Woodbridge, VA 22192

Another road trip, another chain restaurant. Sadly, TGI Fridays is no Waffle House. I ordered a Cobb salad with no blue cheese as I was craving vegetables, and above is the hot mess that I was served. I mean, I love bacon and cheese, but what in the world is going on here? On top of that, this salad could feed three people. I can't believe I'm complaining about portion size, but this was just a disgusting amount of food and has no business being served as a single meal. D had passable chicken fingers and fries, and poor R had the same salad as me but with no chicken because for some reason, chicken is not gluten-free at TGI Fridays, so he stopped eating partway through as the cheese and bacon overload really threw his salad out of balance. I know selection is limited when you're on the road, but I think I will go more out of my way to avoid TGI Fridays in future.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Waffle House

Somewhere between Washington DC and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Waffle House is one of those places that I only ever go to when I'm on a road trip through the South - I've only ever seen them on the side of interstate highways. The cries of joy whenever you realize you can stop there for a bite to eat are loud and clear. For A's bachelorette, we were travelling out to Harpers Ferry together and needed some lunch to keep us going. A and I split a Texas cheeseburger platter - a patty melt on two slices of Texas toast, which comes with a large order of hashbrowns. My favorite thing at Waffle House is the hashbrowns so I ordered my own portion, well done, which you see above - crispy potato strings mixed with ham. I have never laughed so much over lunch - I love my girls and getting to eat at Waffle House with them just made it even more special!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Cork Wine Bar

1720 14th Street NW
(between N R St & N Riggs Pl)
Washington, DC 20009

I arrived just in time for dinner with my brother and his fiancee - they suggested Cork Wine Bar for some tasty small plates and good wine. This is what we ended up ordering:
  • Grilled Asparagus, ricotta, capers, lemon oil, grilled bread
  • Sautéed kale, garlic and pecorino
  • Sautéed Branzino, French lentils, caramelized cipollini onion, bacon, lemon oil
  • Hudson Valley Duck Salami (New York)
  • A cheeseboard with 3 selections, I think Midnight Moon (goat), Humboldt Fog (goat) and Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk (cow) though my memory fails me a bit
  • And a quail dish that I can't find on their online menu.
We ordered a bottle of La Montesa, Rioja, Palacios Remondo 2004 to drink and I enjoyed it, though I am starting to think that the wine markup in the US is a lot higher than I expect. I'm not sure what the total bill was since J treated us all to dinner (thanks J!) but the food was delicious and well prepared and presented, so it was a nice place to try a lot of different dishes and catch up on conversation.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


21 Park Road
N8 9TE

Banners is what I will always associate with living with F and A - Sundays often involved all three of us waking up with massive hangovers, stumbling over to Banners for some of their reviving Banners' potatoes and bubble and squeak, or huevos rancheros. For old times' sake, F and A and I gathered there again for lunch - strangely I went a little off the usual order and got the special of steak and eggs, with a side of Banners' potatoes thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately the steak and eggs were nothing special - the meat was a little overcooked (I asked for medium rare) and the eggs were a little dry. The Banners' potatoes were as good as ever though, salty nuggets of bacon interspersed with crispy potatoes and onions. Yum. I'm sure I'll be back for more nostalgia, though I'll probably stick to the bubble and squeak next time.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


43-45 Charlotte St
London W1T 1RS

Frozen yogurt has arrived in London (well, it arrived a while ago, but I'm a little behind the curve). Oddly, all the yogurt places have bizarre names (Frae, Snog, Yog, etc.) and so far, they each seem to offer plain yogurt and then one flavor (but different ones). Yog offers pomegranate flavor, so I tried that - the yogurt is very slightly pink-tinged and has a faintly fruity taste, but it is not very noticeable. I have the same complaint about Frae's green tea flavor - why don't these places pack real flavor in their frozen yogurt? Anyway, it's about what you would expect - slightly tart, a smidge creamy and definitely cool and crave-worthy on a hot day.

Friday, July 02, 2010


6 Charlotte Street

Lunch with J on a warm, sunny day meant that we wanted to sit outside, and I was craving salad. Luckily J knew about Mizuna, which do fresh tossed salads (as well as pre-prepared ones). I opted for a Tuna Nicoise with no red onions, which is just how I like it - all of the ingredients tasted fresh and I also asked for dressing on the side so that I could add the perfect amount for my taste. It was quick and reasonably priced, and we were fortunate enough to snag a little table on the sidewalk as well. If I worked in the area, I'm sure I'd be here a lot for lunch.