Sunday, 16 December 2012

London Restaurant Recommendations

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Okay, it's time for the round-up of my favorite places to eat in London!  We're going to go by price, since I know that's often the most important consideration for visitors to this fine and expensive city – bear in mind, though, that London is very expensive, so when I say places are 'cheap' I mean sort of 10 pounds for a main, 5 if you choose very wisely.  It really doesn't get cheaper than that, except in McDonald's or a local 'chippie' (Fish n' Chip shop).  So here we go!

Cheap places (usually better for lunch than dinner):


Baozi Inn, in London's Chinatown, is a teeny little place that serves really good (and apparently authentic) Chinese dumplings, soups, and other dishes.  It's great value for money and quite cozy, so perfect for a stop-in on a rainy afternoon fighting the crowds in the West End.

New Culture Revolution is another great (and cheap!) Chinese place – lots of basics on the menu, noodle dishes and stir-fries etc, but my absolute favorite is the dumpling soup with pork and Chinese leaves.  The broth is homemade, the dumplings are tender, and the meat tastes healthy and clean, not full of gristle and grease as you sometimes get.  The location in Angel is just off the super-busy high street, and they always have room for walk-ins (at least so far), so it's a great option for lunch or dinner away from the maddening crowd (are you sensing a theme in my restaurant choices?  You sense correctly!).


Borough Market is always a good idea if you're looking for an inexpensive breakfast or lunch – note that a trip to the market is rarely inexpensive, as there's so much temptation that I almost always run out of money very quickly, but it's easy to get a great sandwich or a delicious plate of something Greek/Italian/Spanish/you-name-it for about a fiver (the above meat pies are even cheaper).  Can't beat that!  Plus, the people watching is divine.  The only drawback here is that it's all outdoors, so your usually-lovely seat in the next-door churchyard might be a bit soggy if the weather is doing its usual English thing...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Sometimes You Just Have to Eat Out

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As you all know, I've been crazy busy these past couple of months, and one of the knock-on effects of that is not having as much time to cook/bake.  I spend a lot of evenings after work online, answering emails and writing body blog posts and, when I can, vegging out and staring at the wall, and before I know it it's time to go to bed to get not enough sleep before I have to wake up and do it all over again – meal planning and cooking have taken a very distant back seat.

Luckily, I have a boyfriend who is usually willing to share dinner duty, but I also eat a lot of pasta and frozen fish cakes and quick-roasted whatever-veggies-we-have.  When I do eat something lovingly planned and cooked without any time pressure, it's usually because I'm eating out.  And that's the other way in which I'm lucky: I happen to live in a city which, contrary to its out-of-date reputation, offers a lot of delicious restaurant choices.  Even luckier: when I go home to San Francisco or visit NYC, I have even more choices, spread across a different selection of cuisines.

I want you guys to know the great food that I know – especially here in London, since it can be so difficult for visitors to find tasty, affordable food here.  So to that end, I'm going to start a new type of post on this here blog; I don't have time to write full-on reviews of every restaurant I love and have loved (that would take forever and by the time they were all posted half the restaurants might have changed ownership or gotten more expensive), but I can certainly list them for you and add some links for further info!

So keep your eyes peeled.  First up will be London, since I think that's the city that most urgently needs the PR, but then I'll also do posts for SF and NYC, and maybe even Rome and Paris.  I'll make a new page (like the Recipes page) and gather links to the posts there, so that if you're visiting one of my fair cities and don't want to have to hunt down the original post you can get back to it easily.

Should be fun!  Now I just have to find time between household chores, work, publicity, and trying to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night...  Don't worry – I'm on it!