Saturday, May 17, 2008

Eating London

While some people measure their London experiences by how much stuff they can buy, in a way, I measure mine by food. That is, I like trying cuisine that is new or different, or at least not what I'd eat on a regular basis. Being a vegetarian, that's not always easy because most dishes have some kind of meat in it. Interestingly enough, London seems to be a very "vegetarian friendly" city. Most places has some kind of veggie alternative. In fact, my hotel has a veggie version of the traditional English breakfast which consists of two really fat link sausages, baked beans, mushrooms, tomato, eggs, ham and hash browns. Mine, of course, had no ham and substituted a really tasty veggie sausage. (This breakfast my roommates and I received free because our weird European tub faucet wouldn't shut off, and there was no maintenance staff available to fix it for two hours.) There is a nice vegan vegetarian restaurant in West Kensington called 222 Veggie Vegan. While there a had a nice tomato, cucumber and smoked tofu salad, and a really fancy-named dish that turned out to be spaghetti and tofu, the sauce very heavy on the Cabernet.

At Portobello Market today, I tried a Ghanaian dish called Spinach and Agushi with rice. Agushi is crushed melon seeds which is kind of mixed into the spinach...very spicy and really good with the rice which was sort of similar to Spanish rice. Then of course, although I am vegetarian, I had to try some fish and chips, which is simply one big piece of deep fried cod and french fries. (Paris actually does have really good french fries, by the way. That and salad was mostly what I ate for the day there; with a few pieces of cucumber sushi.) I've also been to a couple of Indian restaurants; a really nice one in Salisbury (after our Stonehenge trip) called Shah Jahan. But both don't seem to serve traditional Indian chai tea, and they seem to think I don't know what chai tea is. (The waiter in Salisbury even laughed nervously at the fact that I even could pronounce 'chai', and still brought me what tasted like plain 'ole tea. Anyway, I'm just going to assume they don't serve it here.)

And, speaking of sushi, I found this cool little place recommended by Rick Steves (PBS's Travels in Europe). It's near Piccadilly Circus and it's called Yo! Sushi. They prepare sushi which they place on a conveyor belt and you pick whichever one you want. The color of the plate tells you what the price is. I chose about three purple plates of vegetable and salmon sushi. They even have sparkling water on tap right at the bar in front of you. (Have to hit that one again before I leave town.)

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