These Are a Few of My Favorite Things
As I prepare to head back across the pond for the holidays, I've been thinking about some favorite places, things, and experiences from the last four months. Posting a list feels a bit cliche or obnoxious at this time of year, when "best of" lists are as proliferate as renditions of "Oh Holy Night." But I'm writing it anyway...It's good for me to look back and see the garland of good things strung together over these four months. And I just love spreading the word! For now, here are the food-and-drink-related favorites...More to follow. Cheers!
|The Coach and Horses|
- The Coach & Horses - I'll gladly make the trip across town just for the chance to sit at the corner table with a good Belgian beer and a notebook. Beautiful dark wood interior, excellent food, and pleasant people-watching. It's an unspoilt, local place.
- The Gipsy Moth - This is a simply gorgeous pub with outstanding food in my favorite haven, Greenwich.
- Herman Ze German - I passed Herman several times before actually going in to give it a try. Honestly, I was a doubter. I doubted that I would actually find good, authentic German food in what appeared to be a fast-food chain with a cartoony logo. Wrong! Mouth-watering wurst, amazing pretzel rolls and the best fries in London, served with a smile by German expats. My addiction is such that I often plan my route home so that a pretzel roll stop at Herman "just happens" to be on the way. I even got a loyalty card. And I don't get loyalty cards for just anybody.
- Jersey Black Butter - Discovered in the shop of Slow Food UK, tucked away in Neal's Yard off of Monmouth Street. This is regional specialty from the island of Jersey is the best apple butter you will ever eat; apple cider is boiled and reduced over several days, then jazzed up with apples, sugar, lemon, spices, and licorice...It's perfect on toast, and is a great cure for porridge's natural blandness. :)
- Ploughman's sandwich: Good bread, mature cheddar, pickled onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo. Thank you, Britain, for this combination. Also good with plum chutney.
- Paul - Oh my stars, the macarons!
- Monmouth Coffee - The first time I went to Monmouth I was overwhelmed by the number of options, and by the aficionados in line ahead of me, placing detailed, rapid-fire orders with authority. A tall skinny barista with ironic hipster glasses must've sensed my social awkwardness levels skyrocketing because, despite the long line, he turned his full attention to helping me find the perfect coffee, asking all sorts of questions like a doctor diagnosing an ailment. "Do you like your coffee strong? Do you take it with milk? Sugar? Do you prepare it in a cafetiere or in a filter machine? Do you prefer a more acidic coffee, or something more nutty and caramel-y?" He scooped several different kinds for me to smell, describing each one's different aromas and taste characteristics. I was in love. My favorites so far are the Fazenda Serra do Bone (Brazil) and the Finca Las Nubes (Guatemala).
- "Flat white" - So honestly, I didn't actually know what it was the first time I ordered it; the woman in front of me just sounded so expert and classy when she ordered it...So when I arrived at the till and the frazzled cashier needed my order, pronto, I found myself breezily saying, "Yes, a flat white, please, for takeaway." Thankfully this mystery drink proved to be delicious. Is it treasonous or in some other way controversial to say that I prefer it to a latte?
- Badger Ales - I've been surprised by how little craft beer I've come across here. It's been sweeping the US over the last couple of years, and in DC/VA I was spoiled by close proximity to ChurchKey, Bier Baron, and DogFish Head. Most of the pubs I've been to here have fairly generic offerings. But in the grocery store I've come across a line of good ales by Hall & Woodhouse, a Dorset family brewery. I haven't tried all their offerings yet, but so far I've especially liked the Fursty Ferret ale. Partly because it's so fun to say. Fursty. Thirsty. Fursty. Hehehe....