Thursday, July 2, 2009

Double Decker Dining: My Tourist Spots Have Menus

As much as people ranted about how fun London would be and all the things there were to do and see the bustling city, no one I spoke with before leaving for England had anything nice to say about the cuisine. I was told the food was mediocre at best, and honestly, in part, I cannot disagree.

One of the most intriguing parts about London, however, was the cultural diversity that makes the city so colorful. Walking down the street one would not only see people of an array of elasticities, but you would hear people conversing in a handful of language within mere minutes. Waiters and waitresses were not only English, but French, Portuguese, Spanish, and more. This quality is not only fascinating, but redeeming. No, British food is nothing to rave about, but should you venture out of the pubs, the city is graced with a range of cuisine options. China town boasted dozens of restaurants and Japanese, Italian, and Indian districts offered similar ranges of options. I may not have enjoyed British food, but there were definitely indulgences that were beyond delicious.

Unfortunately I realized after arriving in London that my digital camera was stocked with a backup memory card that held a whopping 15 or so photographs, so even though I planned to document the food I ate via pictures I was, and consequently you ;) were, deprived. I'm going to share a few of my favorite dishes with you anyway and drop in photos when I can!

1.) I always thought waffles were a breakfast food. WRONG. The waffles we came across in London, instead of syrup, were topped with heaping scoops of gelato, a neat pile of whipped cream, and a choice of sauce. Waffles = dessert. At least that's now the only use I have for them! Taylor and I went to this particular restaurant, Rendezvous, twice. The first time with his family when we all seemed to lean toward chocolate options.

Dessert Waffle

You can see them in that picture fairly well. Mine had a scoop of Chocolate Hazelnut gelato and another of Cappuccino, drizzled of course with caramel sauce. The place had probably 40 different gelato flavors, I was really tempted to get Chili Chocolate gelato, a deep rich chocolate with chili flakes that had a really interesting kick to it.The second time we went was with a friend of Taylor's, Gomez. We followed awesome Indian food with waffles topped with an assortment of fruit gelatos. My choices were Black Currant and Pomegranate, Taylor opted for Pink Grapefruit and Mango, and Gomez chose Strawberry and Kiwi, but all four of us had bright green Kiwi sauce drizzled all over the top. So. Freaking. Delicious.

2.) Taylor and I went out for dinner by ourselves one evening and stumbled across an adorable little French restaurant. I hesitated to order a dish that was labeled as a "casserole," but it sounded like it might be good and I gave it a chance. It was like no American casserole I had ever seen. A big bowl of seafood and vegetables soaking in a thin white wine cream sauce was placed in front of me, with a couple crusty pieces of bread along side to soak up stray sauce. I think I nearly died of happiness that night. And not only was dinner absolutely divine, but for dessert I ordered a large crepe filled with generous slices of bananas and doused in dark chocolate. Need I say more?

3.) Digestives! They sounds like something for the elderly, but they are actually these round whole grain "biscuits" (a.k.a. cookies) covered in either milk or dark chocolate. I discovered them at a convenient store, of course picking up the dark chocolate variety, and loved them so much I brought home a couple sleeves. I think they will be perfect with a cup of tea, but I had them, in my infinite oddity, dipped in Fage 2% greek yogurt and they ROCKED.

4.) As I mentioned briefly before, Taylor, Gomez, and I ventured out for Indian food one night. We started walking down a street full of various Indian restaurants and were immediately hit up by man after man standing outside of their respective eateries trying to convince us to eat there. It was hilarious! We were offered free rounds of drinks, menu price discounts, and fixed price offers that were all supposed to lure us into the advertised joint. We finally settled on one where we each order a different dish that was brought out in it's own round metal bowl. We were then handed plates where the boys mounded rice and I places pieces of naan and spooned our curry type concoctions on top. It was, again, soooo good. I've always been a fan of Indian food, but I feel like the options in the Indianapolis area are severely limited. If anybody has any good recommendations, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

5.) I go through phases of food fixations. Over the winter I was hung up on Moroccan and Mediterranean type dishes, for example. For now, I'm going French, they do everything oh so well. For Mrs. Browning's birthday we went out to a place called... Pasta Brown, I think? Whether I remember the name or not, I certainly remember the dish! I've never been very drawn to mussels, they kinda creeped me out a bit, but after Mrs. Browning ordered them I decided to give them a shot. MUSSELS ROCK. I got this big pile of pasta topped off with prawns and mussels in a bath of white wine tomato sauce. In a word, perfection. Mussels are so incredibly rich without feeling heavy. They taste like an indulgence, but don't weigh you down. Lucious, lucious, lucious, I'm adding them to my list of favorites. Just thinking about it is making me drool...

6.) Poons. Actually formerly Poons. Believe it or not, Karen, the Brownings' ever faithful handheld GPS, led us to a restaurant it called, I kid you not, Poons when we were in search of Chinese food. After a good 10 minute search we found out that it was actually no longer Poons.


Very classy. Admittedly, we didn't actually eat here, but do you really blame us?

I think that's enough sharing for now, I could go on forever really, but we'll save black currant greek yogurt, Yagamama fried noodles, rhubarb tart, coconut creme tart, roasted pepper and goat cheese sandwich, and countless other endeavors for another time ;). I've got chickpeas soaking for raw hummus at the moment though, so that should be up in a couple days and I'm also plotting a recreation of some of my other London dining experiences that I'll for sure share (crepes and olive bread are just a couple!) so hopefully those will be success stories soon! BYE!!!

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