Monday, November 15, 2010

The start of a weekend in London

Time for a long weekend. Armistice day in France = visiting AG, who I went to school with and who was my roommate for 2 years while she's in London. Equally as food-obsessed as me. She works so I had two days of entertaining myself until the weekend. I didn't really feel like going to any museums (although I did drop by the British Museum for two hours) which left only two things - shopping and eating. You can guess which one I focused more on. And so I took myself over to Covent Garden with the intention of wandering around, looking at some stores and finally finding my way over to Wahaca, a Mexican market-based restaurant. First, I'd like to mention that I'm too tall to stand against the "leaning seats" in the tube- I have to bend my head forward. It is not a comfortable position. Also, unlike at the Abbesses stop in Paris, at Covent Garden you get a warning that "there are 193 stairs, the equivalent of a 15 story building" to get to ground level so really, unless you're in fantastic shape, you best be taking the elevator. Which I wisely did. 

After wandering around, trying some things on, taking a picture in Neal's Yard (Dairy and Remedies are both there), the rain started to drizzle, as it most certainly always seems to do in London, so I started in the direction of the restaurant where I seated myself at the bar and proceeded to order an agua de Jamaica. But they're not as cool as me (hah!) so they just call it Hibiscus water. Menu held the usual suspects - tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, burritos, etc etc. But most things are served as small plates. I seemed to have missed this and when I got my pork torta with conchinita pibil, this arrived:

Tiny torta! £4.85! Good but not as good as the ladies at the back of Tehuitzingo grocery store in NYC. This was when I realized that this is glorified street food at expensive prices. Good, sure, but also overpriced. But then again, isn't everything (£4 one-way tube ride?...I got an Oyster after that). The agua de Jamaica previously ordered was downed in a few gulps and then I was convinced to get the hibiscus margarita (tequila during lunchtime, fabulous idea). Good but not great - the one with hibiscus and blueberries at Toloache in midtown Manhattan is a thousand times better.

Despite my better judgement and sensing I might still be a tad hungry, I ordered one more small plate - black bean tostadas.

Disappointment. Don't get me wrong, the flavor was there but it wasn't really a tostada but a large round tortilla chip with a teaspoon of refried beans, topped with lettuce and tomato, corn and blackbean tasted more like I was eating chips + fresh salsa than a tostada. But I must commend them on the two accompanying salsas they serve - a chipotle salsa and a habanero salsa. The chipotle brought an earthy smokiness (perfect for the torta) and I thought it was spicier than the habanero, which kinda just numbed your mouth while the chipotle set your lips on fire. Conclusion: if this is some of the best mexican food in london, there are most definitely opportunities to be had.

On Thursday, I had two lunches. The first was an overly-greasy fish and chips of which I ate maybe about 1/3, and the second was wagamama. I couldn't come to London again and not eat there! Actually, the only other time I have been to wagamama was sophomore year in college when we based our operations management project on them.

Behold the chilli men (hah, funny name) - soba noodles (I got really excited there because I thought it was like buckwheat soba but no, tear) with mangetout (wiki says this means either snap or snow peas), spicy tomato sauce, chicken and veggies. Exactly what you need when its cold and drizzling outside so it totally hit the spot although it was actually not as tasty as I remembered. The spicy sauce was heavy on the heat and lemongrass, light on the veggies and noodles overcooked. In retrospect it may have been better to order two appetizers...oh well, can't always win can you?

I would also like to add that had I decided to live in London, my blog might be titled "eating my way though M&S" - there are so many things there that I want to eat. Its like TJs on ready-made, ready-to-eat, takeout crack. Look at these juices!

Stay tuned for more small-plate obsession in London, lots of veggies and some market tidbits. Oh, and one of the most awful services ever in the form of ridiculously long waits. Yay!


  1. you left the juice in my fridge ... how much did you really love it?

  2. i liked them (the pear moreso than the mango, i love mangoes but not mango juice)! i was just full and didn't want to be a fattie like we discussed we wouldn't be.

  3. how did those tostadas compare to grandma's tostadas. mmmmm, i would pay 20 american for one right now!!!