London Recap, part II – Dining Guide

Hotel-bar-snacks

So enough about the sites of London – let’s talk about the FOOD!

I often hear from people that, especially when traveling internationally, they tend to frequent places that are familiar (US chains), end up being disappointed (crappy hotel restaurant), or end up spending way too much (concierge recommendation). We always make the effort to do some research before we leave to have a few reservations made for the trip.  Then, once you’re there fill in the rest of your nights with places you find yourself in travel guides, recommendations, or simply places you see on your journey. This trip, we ended up buying a 1-month phone and data plan from a UK provider and converting an old iPhone we brought with us so we could check in with Z and hear from my parents how she was doing. Having this was SO helpful to have the internet to get around the city and be able to research places to dine. Truth be told, it was only about $23 and we had unlimited data for the 8 days we were in the UK. Plus, we could then text with the friends we were visiting in Scotland.

All of that said…here’s how we ate our way through London (good thing we walked and walked ALL day!!):

Anchor-and-Hope-London

Our first night in London we hopped right over to Anchor & Hope in Waterloo, an authentic English gastropub with communal table seating and all sorts of English classics on the menu – it was great. To start, we split this goat cheese and beet salad with mint, an unexpected bite we will be sure to add to our homemade version.

 

English-breakfast

English breakfast of a scone with jam and cream at a French patisserie right near our hotel.

 

crisps-3 crisps-1 crisps-2

The flavors of crisps (potato chips) were unbelievably unique…and odd. We tried the fish & chips in the middle photo and brought the beef burger home for our Z (hamburgers are her favorite).

 

the-Grazing-Goat-London

Sunday-Roast-London

We had made a reservation for The Orange, but then decided to visit their sister restaurant The Grazing Goat on Sunday night for an English Sunday Roast – so many restaurants serve a traditional Sunday Roast menu on Sundays (of course) that we wanted to try it. I had the chicken and it was to die for!

 

Hyde-Park-picnic-London

I mentioned in my first London Recap that we picnicked in Hyde Park. Well the full story is that we stayed around the corner from famed department store Selfridges – where they have the most fabulous food store with amazing prepared foods from around the globe, cheese counters, meat counters, bakeries, florists, everything you can imagine! It’s like a Whole Foods x10. So…we went there to grab some yummy treats for our picnic lunch. Notice we’re eating on my Turkish Towel – the perfect travel companion! Also – yes, we tried more crisps, these roast chicken crisps were not good. =(

 

Salt-Whiskey-Bar-1 Salt-Whiskey-Bar-2

We used Yelp to figure out a well-liked Indian restaurant since Indian food is so big in London. We ended up at Salt Whiskey Bar – which from the appearance just seemed like a place to drink whiskey and smoke with a hookah, but when we got our food, we totally agreed with all the reviews. We started with the cheese balls, left (SO much better tasting than their name would lead you to believe) and then got the classic chicken tikka masala.  Yum…

 

Clos-Maggiore-London

The nicest restaurant we dined at was Clos Maggiore, voted the most romantic restaurant in London! We were celebrating our wedding anniversary, so we figured, why not? We made this reservation before we left and mid-week at 6:30 was the only time left! Anyway…the food was amazing, I had the Scottish Monkfish pictured above.

A few notes:
– for lunch every day we ate on the go, usually a little sandwich from one of the “on the go” places.
– unfortunately we never had dessert so I never tried sticky toffee pudding!
– You’re probably wondering where fish and chips are on this guide!  Well, we did have fish and chips at a pretty nice place for lunch one day – it was a gourmet version and I didn’t take a photo because I thought we’d go to a try the dish again at a pub. I found this list helpful when trying to find a place. We had planned on going to Sutton & Sons, but…we ran out of time and meals. Next time!

breakfast

So there is my London dining guide – I hope you find it helpful the next time you cross the pond!

*top photo of some bar snacks at a hotel bar down the street from where we stayed.
*bottom photo of breakfast-on-the-go one morning at Selfridges Food Market.

London Recap, part I

Picadilly-Square-London

We’re home from our UK holiday! We had such a great time exploring London and then paying a quick visit to Scotland. Our little Z vacationed at my parents’ house while we were away and we missed her SO! But it was really nice for my husband and I to get away and explore on our own…which meant we could stay out late and then sleep in as late as we wanted – oh the luxury! We did a lot of touristy things like tour the Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels…we toured Westminster Abbey and Churchill War Rooms…we traveled on a Double Decker tour bus to see the sites…we visited the Tate Modern…we took a cruise down the River Thames…we toured Kensington Palace and surrounding gardens…we saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace…

But, we also really tried to just take in the city with eating at local pubs…picnicking in Hyde Park…taking the Underground everywhere we went…drinking Pimms Cocktails…enjoying the buzz of activity in Covent Garden…we even went and saw a movie one night(we saw Gatsby, not much else was playing). Obviously we did fashionable things too like visit Harrods…shop at Harvey Nichols…have tea at Selfridges and pop into every Zara in site to look for these shorts – no such luck, btw.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos with you today to recap the London portion of our trip. Later this week I will share photos of the amazing local food we tried and what restaurants we went to, and next week I’ll share our 36-hour jaunt to Scotland! I hope you enjoy…

Parliament-Big-Ben-London

selk-guided-tour-london crisps

changing-of-the-guard-buckingham-palace-london

The pomp and circumstance at the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace was like nothing we’ve seen (above photo, we were sitting on a huge wall overlooking the entire area).

Tower-London-Guards Gates Underground-London

Westminster-London

Tower-Bridge-London

London-Sign wine

Two things above: 1) The word choice difference b/w the US and UK kept us chuckling all week and 2) Single glass wine to-go: seriously the best idea ever, we found these in an M&S food mart.

Hyde-Park-london

We picnicked in the Rose Garden of Hyde Park and then walked around after…I loved that the park was so crowded on this beautiful and sunny London afternoon! I also loved that there were slingback chairs available to sit and relax!

picasso-tate-modern-london Selfridges-Tea-LondonHM-The-Queen-Bobblehead-London

london-phone-booth

Street-Performer-Covent-Garden-London

The street performers were everywhere in Covent Garden.

London-Underground

What to Wear – As a Tourist

While we’re in being tourists in the fabulous city of London this week I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on what to wear while you’re being a tourist. When you’re traveling to a place like London, you know you’ll be out and about all day visiting museums, parks, famous stores (Harrod’s!!), all the while trying to look great because you’ll be posing for tons of photos, trying to be comfortable because you’ll be walking miles, and trying to be dressed for the weather – which – in a place like London is a giant variable.  SO! With all that in mind, here is what I’ll be wearing while being a tourist this week in London. Seeya later mate (trying to fit in a little)!

What-to-wear-as-a-tourist

 

1. I am addicted to my chambray, similar to this from Madewell so I will absolutely be wearing it a lot on this trip; 2. A cute baseball cap from kate spade Saturday if it’s sunny and you need to protect your face; 3. A necklace because you still want to accessorize while you’re being a tourist! I love this one from Topshop for a pop of color; 4. You should always carry an umbrella in London, it might as well be cute like this one from Anthropologie; 5. A white tank for under my chambray – these BP double scoop neck tanks from Nordstrom are my fave; 6. I love a bright pant – and they look so great with chambray tops, especially in your vacay photos! I love these Toothpick jeans in Fresh Purple from J. Crew; 7. Our good camera – the Nikon D60 for all our photo taking; 8. ;My favorite Silver Sparkle Converse sneakers – the perfect urban sneaker for a gal who loves sparkle and comfort; and 9. A crossbody bag to hold all your stuff and wear comfortably all day. I have one the same shape and size as this kate spade bag and it’s perfect for travel.