Sunday, 15 December 2013

Enchanting Edinburgh

I spent 3 and a half days walking around Edinburgh, happy to be back in the cold once more, and ecstatic to be eating different kinds of food. I've been to Edinburgh 3 times now, and each was the lead up to a trip we made for a wedding. The city comes alive in August during the Fringe Festival, and we spent many hours walking around, trying to catch shows and picking at the different food stalls. Unfortunately for me, I had to upgrade my phone a few weeks later and hadn't backed up my images. These are what I managed to salvage. 

Sashimi bowl

i was awesome

Yes, do...

look at his big toe! 

My favourite meal

Monday, 9 December 2013

You Can Pat My Bun Anytime

There’s this blog I follow that’s written by a regular London girl – ok you guessed it, it’s called thelondoner – duh. I absolutely love her lifestyle, and can’t imagine how she eats the amount she does and stays as superbly beautifully skinny as she is. She travels, eats, cooks, parties and looks amazing doing it all. Before leaving for our trip, I spent a few days poring over her website trying to identify places to eat at that weren’t the regular places. 

Hello grey skied London
Now there's a place I could live in
Being extremely lazy and also incredibly tired out by the time we got to London (10 days of walking everywhere in extreme heat will do that) my friend’s living room and couch seemed like the most inviting option every time we decided to make a plan, and needless to say we didn’t go many places. Queensway is full of takeaway restaurants and we may have cleaned out the Peking Duck supply that week (thanks Four Seasons). 

why would anyone want to leave the house?
The one lunch we did drag ourselves out for turned out to coincidentally be one the burger places I’d read about online. And surprise, surprise, it was also conveniently in one of my most favourite, though cheesy and touristy, bits of London – St Christopher’s Place. 

waiting in line
Hello Patty & Bun. Walking past it, you wouldn’t look at it twice. The walls are a slightly unwashed white, with graffiti and industrial lighting everywhere. The storefront is painted a bright post box red, and the line that winds its way down the street tends to catch the eye. The smells wafting out catch the nose too! 

We were lucky to have caught the front of the line, and didn’t spend more than 20 minutes waiting before we were shown to a table. The menu is relatively simple – 6 burgers, some sides and desserts. 

erm yes, i'll have them all

Who are we to resist chicken wings? Spicy and hot, they were crispy on the outside and fell off the bone as soon as you picked them up. A sprinkling of spring onion on top complemented the taste perfectly. Delissssssshussshhh. The chips with rosemary salt go really well with just the wings, as well as the burgers. 

We ordered the special of the day – the Jose Jose Chilli Burger – a deluxe double patty with 2 kinds of cheese, house smoked mayonnaise, chili chorizo relish, pickled onions and other things I can’t remember – as well as 2 Smokey Robinsons. Smokey Robinsons are beef, brioche, bacon, their own house smoked mayo, cheese, tomatoes and caramelized onions. I decided to be slightly healthy and order a side of house salad with my burger. I’m sorry I’ll never do it again! 

to be fair, it was pretty good
The burgers were huge and a bit of a struggle to eat in one bite, but I managed just fine. Soft, juicy and every so smoky, the Smokey Robinson just calls to you. I’m not a big onion fan, so I had to open my burger up and get rid of the top coating, and I have to say it didn’t make much difference. 

deconstruction so you can see
taking off the onions
The meal was over pretty quickly, the service is fast and the burgers don’t take more than 15 minutes to get to you once you’ve ordered them. If you’re travelling to London anytime soon, I definitely recommend Patty & Bun. They’re just off Bond Street so you can pop in between shopping runs. Try and avoid weekends, I’m pretty sure the lines will be unmanageable. And don’t take it out of context if you hear people yelling ‘Great Buns’. X

Monday, 2 December 2013

Lungo Il Tevere - A Riverside Story

Walking through the streets of Rome at night is fun. We’d decide where to go for the night, and then get completely side tracked. On our way out for dinner one night, we crossed a bridge (which I identified later as Ponte Sisto) and saw a line of brightly lit white tents winding down the side of the Tiber. 

What could this be?
Being eternally curious, and always up for adventure we wandered down to the riverside. It turned out that this was Rome’s annual summer market, held between June and September every year, called Lungo Il Tevere. 

Eye catching, and dangerous steps for me
We filled plastic glasses with red wine Sangria, and slowly wended our way down river. The fair was full of all sorts of fun festival like things – open bars, restaurants, cafes, live music, tents selling things no one actually needs, toys, video games, dancing, and most importantly – street food. 

Great place to hang out
I'm pretty sure the sangria stops are timed. No sooner had I drained my glass than the next bar showed up. At 5 euros a Sangria, we took a pretty big hit walking up and down that night, but hey – who’s complaining! 

While we had originally planned to eat dinner in Tratsavere, the irresistible smell of fried food, fish and calamari drew our attention. After buying bags of candy and sweets from a candy store, we sat ourselves down on a slightly rickety wooden table by the river and tried to decipher the menu.

Couldn't resist

I can’t remember the name of the place we stopped at, but I do remember that there is a big wooden wall with an anchor spray painted on it, and fishnets hanging outside the kitchen and a fantastic view of the bridges. 
Loving the view
I’m a big fan of pointing at people’s food and saying ‘I want that’, which is exactly what we did. The result was a bucket of steamed mussels in white wine and cream, a plate of deep fried prawns in their shell, and grilled calamari in a bready batter. 

The way I eat shellfish is pretty amusing to most of my friends, I’ve spawned hours of jokes with the way I eat crab. Rome was in for a surprise! The mussels were perfectly steamed; though I wish the sauce had been slightly thicker and that I had thought to ask for crunchy bread to go with them. 

The prawns were fantastic – I couldn’t tell that they were fried; we crunched through them in minutes, shell and all. I couldn’t bring myself to eat the heads and ended up with a pile of tiny prawn eyes staring up at us. 

Little prawnies
We had a great evening walking up and down the riverside, it's amazing how many fish we saw in the water even though it was more polluted than I expected. Huge black fish with funny orange mouths that could have been the grilled fish on offer ;) Lungo il Tevere opens every night from June to September at 8.30pm and is a draw for locals and tourists alike, and a great place to hang out and feel like you're part of the city and its incredible charm and allure. I loved that we were sitting by a slow moving river on a starry summer night - molto romantico! Highly recommended if you're visiting. 

Streetlight people