London Eats: Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the hottest cookbook authors right now. His cookbooks are extremely popular in the Lowe household. My mother received three different copies of Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook for Christmas. Since then, she has made most of the dishes in both Jerusalem and Plenty. (Thanks, Mom, for feeding us well.) So it was only natural that visiting Ottolenghi was a must while we were in London. Although the trek up to Islington was challenging, we finally made it and it was so worth it. The space and the store’s goods were incredible – as was the food.

The baked goods featured in the store front were beautiful and incredibly colorful. They were also very fresh. We watched as the baker continued to emerge from downstairs with new baked goods.

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Most of the Ottolenghi stores are known as “delis.” Here is the prepared food displayed for take away:

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We sat down to eat. We first got the selection of breads which were all delightful, especially the cornbread with sun-dried tomato in it.

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The free range chicken (spiced with orange, grain mustard, garlic, honey and sage) with sides of char-grilled broccoli and mixed green beans. Everything had incredible spice to it. My one problem was that because they simply serve you the prepared food, it was all cold (I’m not a fan of cold food). I got over it.

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More desserts.IMG_7471  Our selection for dessert was the passion fruit tart with meringue. It was to die for.IMG_7478

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London Eats: Borough Market

London’s Borough Market sits on the south end of the London Bridge at Southwark Street & Borough High Street. We headed there one day in search of good food, as always. What we discovered was one of the best markets, if not the best food market, I have ever been to. Selling a mix of produce and prepared foods, Borough Market has a delightful range of food to munch on and buy to make munchies of. The selection reminded me a lot of San Francisco’s own Ferry Building Farmers Market, but the space (in a large, open but covered space) reminded me of a cleaner, more-gourmet version of Barcelona’s La Boqueria.

Wandering around, checking out the scene:

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By the time we left the market, we were overwhelmingly full. Our stomachs were filled with some of the most delicious food items London has to offer.

The chorizo sandwich at Brindisa was recommended by goop, and I would recommend it to anyone traveling through the market. The sandwich itself was delightfully simple and oh-so delicious. It simply consisted of perfectly toasted ciabatta, chorizo, piquillo peppers, and greens. Mmmmmm…

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Next we tried the scallops with bacon (on a bed of bean sprouts, yes) from Shell Seekers, which we’re fresh and therefore tasty, but definitely not mind-blowing.

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We also tried the pork belly sandwich from Roast. Though pork belly has been declared as oh-so passé by now in the food world (at least in my San Franciscan mind), I can never resist a well-prepared and accompanied piece of pork belly. This pork belly was paired with chewy, flavor-filled crackling and Bramley apple sauce. The crackling was a delightful surprise, and it’s flavor and texture went deliciously with the soft, moist pork belly in the sandwich. After a while, however, most of the crackling was stuck in my teeth. Still, this pork belly sandwich, with its perfect balance of salé and sucre, ranks among my top favorite sandwiches ever.

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Some of the food items we didn’t get to try (though we were recommended them and wanted to, our stomachs simply wouldn’t let us) included the duck confit sandwich from Le Marché du Quartier and handmade pasta from La Tua Pasta. We’ll have to return to London and the Borough Market to try those. Any excuse to return to paradise, aka the Borough Market.

-M

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