Sunday, March 9, 2014

A food tour of the UK

First stop, layover in the Stansted airport. They actually had an entire sushi track, but we just went for the prepackaged stuff.

Our hostel in Dublin had free breakfast which was pretty much just unsweetened cornflakes and toast. Nothing to get too excited over.
Temple Bar Market

Luckily we went there on a Saturday, the only day the market is open and I got a vegetable quiche. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a real quiche since there was hardly any egg, but it was layered with tons of veggies and was a huge slice for 4.50 euros. I split a rhubarb crumble with my friend Pragna also, and I have converted her to a rhubarb fan.

The Fanta in Europe is so much better than in the states. It lacks the overwhelmingly neon orange color and tastes more like the Arancia San Pelligrino.

The first night in Dublin we went to a restaurant/bar called Celts. I got what was supposed to be mushrooms on toast, but it turned out to be a breaded portabello mushroom. I also ordered a 4 euro side of spinach which was definitely not worth the 4 euro.
We of course had to have Guinness at the Guinness factory, and none of us could finish our free pint. It was a very sweet, and almost thick beer and too strong for my tastes.

I found CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER in Dublin. I had to buy a jar. I actually ate most of it since I couldn't take it on the plane with me to Edinburgh so about 8 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches later plus some spoonfuls, it was practically gone. (don’t worry I shared some of the sandwiches. Emphasis on some.)

We got dinner at a Tesco, which is a small supermarket, and filled up at the salad bar. It was "fill to the brim" for 5 euros and there were pasta salads, rice salads, bean salads and mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes tasted like mayo, but the indian curry and raisin and rice salad were delicious!

We were told to go to Butler’s chocolate cafe and I got 4 truffles there. The Irish Cream, dark chocolate hazelnut, white chocolate almond, and double chocolate. They were delicious!

Breakfast before heading off to horseback ride was at a pub near the DART station. I had the traditional Irish breakfast (vegetarian version) with toast, roasted tomatoes, eggs, baked beans and mushrooms. I tried the brown sauce on my eggs instead of ketchup and it was a great decision.

In our Scotland hostel, we had to pay for breakfast, so Emily and I ended up each buying a kilo of cereal. Which is a lot of cereal. We figured we had all our time in Scotland, plus in London since we took a bus to finish it. And we did. I got tropical granola with dried mangoes, coconut, banana chips and raisins which went well with my mango carrot yogurt.

Emily and I stopped for lunch at a random cafe on the way back to our hostel in Edinburgh. I had a goat cheese and sundried tomato panini (they call them sunblushed in the UK).

One night Emily and I got a 3 euro meal deal from the grocery store and made some veggie stir fry in the hostel kitchen. A lovely person let me use some of her oil, which was hemp oil so it kind of smelled weird but it cooked fine and our teriyaki stir fry was done in a jiff.

This store like Forever 21 had so much Haribo gummies right by the checkout stand. I controlled myself and didn't buy any.

Another place we all went for lunch was at Nando's which had burgers, salads, fries and other goodies. I ordered the blackbean burger with mango lime seasoning in a pita pocket. 

At Mums, I had the vegetarian version of Bangers and Mash with two veggie sausages (carrot and broccoli and mushroom tarragon) along with garlic corguette (zuchinni) mash and carmelized onion gravy.

Banoffee pie is a UK specialty and we had heard about it in Dublin. We searched all over scotland to find somewhere that had it and finally came upon a restaurant called Howies. We rushed inside to find ourselves a little underdressed, and asked for the dessert menu. Banoffee pie is similar to a banana cream pie but with a shortbread crust and toffee caramel sauce.

In north Berwick, Scotland we went to a little cafe and got quiches. I got goat cheese, pesto and sunblushed tomato and broccoli salad (like the one my aunt makes with raisins, mayo, and red onions). I stopped for dessert at another cafe and got pancakes with custard and maple syrup. Good decision.
Before I left I had to make sure I stopped at the Baked Potato shop which was near our hostel. I had passed it a couple times and really wanted a baked potato in the UK.
It ended up being a vegan baked potato bar so I had a vegan version of Haggis (which the real version sounds kind of gross but it's a traditional dish) and baked beans on 2 baked potatoes (that was the small size!) The Haggis I had was made of oats, lentils, spices and other good stuff and was delicious with the baked beans. She even added some garlic butter. Nom Nom.

In London we of course had to try all of the specialties. While we didn't make it to Kensington gardens for High tea, we did find a Tea and Crumpets food cart at Camden market. The owner was very friendly and told us how her dream is to open up a food cart in New York someday. She gave us a little taste of Marmite which is this salty yeast paste that some people like on our crumpet, but after seeing our faces she slathered on a ton of butter and strawberry jam.

Another staple I had to try despite being vegetarian was the fish and chips. Luckily I found a restaurant that had "Tofush and Chips." It came with avocado tarter sauce and was probably the most delicious meals I had in the UK.

 Overall, I enjoyed the food in the UK. It was nice to see some familiar dishes as well as trying some traditional comfort food. While I love pastries, it was a nice having cereal that wasn't 5 euro a box, peanut butter and pancakes and syrup for breakfast.

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