Cafes in London

starbucks2

That’s a strawberry marange cookie! It was amazing and I don’t even like marange. Oh, and my name isn’t Sharol.

While in London, Linn and I visited a handful of chain cafes for quick sugar boosts and breakfast. England had two of it’s own, Costa and Nero, and then of course Starbucks. Starbucks, we’d expected to be the same here as it is in the States and Sweden. As far as drinks and those fun surprise misspellings of names, it was! A few different treats, of course. But the actual cafes weren’t as cozy. The interior design was a little more like a Subway than a Starbucks as we’ve come to know them.

costa4

Costa was the first one we tried for breakfast.

Tourist note: In Sweden hotels have AMAZING breakfast buffets that are included in your stay. If you’re used to this, you may be incredibly disappointed with London hotels. Ours offered breakfast but it was in a crowded, windowless dungeon and pretty much just a toaster machine with white bread and butter, some cereals and coffee. We’re spoiled, so we went to a cafe instead.

costa5

I mean, look at that! Who would stay in a gloomy room fighting over toast when you could get this?

costa1

Breakfast! We tried Costa twice (two different locations). The food was good but in both cases the staffs were incredibly unhappy and stressed and the coffee wasn’t very good.

costa6

Which is a shame, because my latte was so big it had two handles.

nero4

Nero ended up being our favorite. The staff was great, the coffee good, and they had scones with clotted cream just in time for Linn’s clotted cream love.

nero2

We also tried Nero a couple times in different locations.

nero1

And we really liked their cozy decor. We’re suckers for comfy chairs and wallpaper.

nero6

In the end, for us, it was:

Nero – Yes.

Costa – No.

Starbucks – Drift through for frappuccinos. No, I do not live a healthy life when I travel.

 

All pictures of me were taken by the amazing Linn!

Upcoming posts: The POD and Travel in London.

Continue Reading

Food Adventures in London

foodsushi1

Yo! Sushi. This is a chain of conveyor-belt sushi shops. We saw a bunch of them while walking around and finally stopped at one to scratch Linn’s sushi itch. I, unfortunately, do not like sushi. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty and tidy and I’d love to love it- but I don’t.

foodpizza1

Our hotel was in Earl’s Court and there was a bunch of restaurants (plus Earl’s Court Station) just around the corner. On our first night we were so hungry that we checked in, dropped off our stuff, and then picked the nearest open place we could find that looked good.

foodpizza2

Zizzi was a great pizza and pasta place in Earl’s Court. They had a huge pizza oven you could see and a bunch of different choices. I went adventurous and took a white pesto sauce pizza with pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, spinach and sweet potato. I also tried a lemonade. It was tart. Very tart but very good.

foodbubbles3

Mooboo! We tried bubble tea for the first time. Tapioca bubbles in fruity tea. The staff was super helpful and explained our choices and the difference between the kinds of bubbles.

foodbubble2

Linn liked it. I did not. Despite not liking it, I drank it all because, well, it had a straw and was cold and London has almost no trashcans.

foodindian2

On our second night we were in Soho looking for a place called PingPong but ended up finding Masala Zone instead. There were a few vegetarian choices. I really wanted to get the paneer but it had a three chili rating that I was told by the waiter was serious and could not be altered so I decided not to tempt fate and picked a one chili dish instead. I was right to be careful. The one chili rated dish was a good level of spicy and I did not need spicier, not even for cheese.

foodindian1

Linn got a mixed plate that looked really good. I was a bit jealous but mine was good too.

foodindian3

For dessert we had chai teas. I haven’t really been a fan of chai in the past but this was really great.

foodping1

The next day we found PingPong in time for lunch! It was warm out and we were pretty excited to start off with iced teas.

foodping3

The baby bok choy was AMAZING. Everything was really good and the menu is set up so that you can order small amounts of multiple things in order to try a lot of different dishes.

foodping4

Mushroom stuffed bao and two different kinds of vegetarian dumplings! Of course they had lots of meat dishes too. I know Linn had as many dumplings/bao as I did but with meats. Clever, because then I couldn’t steal any of hers.

foodping2

This was probably our favorite restaurant of the trip. The others were all really good, we didn’t have any bad experiences with our food adventures, but this was just extra amazing. There’s a pretty good chance we’d come back again next time we’re in London.

foodburgers1

Last was Byron in Earl’s Court. We were wiped out and hungry after a full day running around London so we decided to go back to our hotel, drop off our stuff, and then try another place close by. This time we went for burgers.

foodburgers2

I had a mushroom burger. The patty was a grilled portobello mushroom with goats cheese, roasted red pepper, spinach and aioli sauce. I also had mac&cheese and fries. Linn had a cheese burger and sweet potato fries.

All of our food experiences were really good. There was always vegetarian options (and not just one) and we never ran into anything we didn’t want to finish.

Pictures of me were, of course, taken by Linn.

Our cafe experiences will be in another blog post, coming up soon!

Continue Reading

Afternoon Tea at The Orangery

orangery1

The Orangery is located just on the other side of the Kensington Gardens, so we booked a teatime there, planning to take a look at the palace first. It worked out great and afterward we took a walk around the gardens.

orangery3

We had afternoon tea. I took Assam tea and vegetarian sandwiches. We each had our own pot of tea, which is good because when we share we run out quickly.

orangery2

This is the Royal Palace tea set! So pretty but so pricy. It was available for purchase in the Kensington gift shop.

orangery9

Scones, clotted cream, and jam. I was not overly impressed by clotted cream but Linn liked it.

orangery6

Finger sandwiches! They were cuter than they were tasty. I think the cheese one was my favorite and the pickle one my least favorite. Of course that meant that I got two of the pickle sandwiches because that’s just kind of how the world works–even when having afternoon tea in London. But because it was afternoon tea in London, and a new experience, I ate both of my pickle sandwiches quite happily.

orangery4

Desserts! So pretty. The cake was spongue with a raspberry filling and the macaron was, well, a macaron, but the chocolate-orange mousse was really nice.

orangery7

Upcoming blog posts: Food Adventures in London and A walk through the Victoria & Albert Museum.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Dumplings in Stockholm

beijing82(Tofu Bao at Beijing 8)

We spent the weekend in Stockholm and managed to go to three different dumpling restaurants. They were all pretty great.

beijing83(vegetarian dumplings steamed and vegetarian dumplings fried / miso broth and noodles)

Beijing 8 is a chain of restaurants, super inexpensive but really good. I was really surprised how much I liked the tofu bao. I’m not usually a fan of tofu but it was great.

beijing8

And the dumplings were good! I’d definitely go into a Beijing 8 again.

eatEAT was a real sit down, dinner time, restaurant. I’ll admit, I’m charmed by a places that gives me a cup of tea to start with while reading the menu.

eat3

Phong finally got his hands on noodles. They were in a curry sauce, a little spicy and really good.

eat2

I tried both of the vegetarian dumplings on the menu. The mushroom dumplings were AMAZING. The purple ones in the pictures are kimchi filled dumplings in a beet dough. I did not realize they were in a beet dough when I ordered them. The filling was good but I’m really not a fan of beets, it overpowered the whole thing which would have probably been great if I liked that flavor.

holymonkey

Holy Monkey! Located in the train station in Stockholm. We went here on our way in from the airport. We were so hungry! Cute little place and the food came out really quick. I was sitting next to Linn so I took a picture of her sushi too. The vegetarian dumplings were good and I really liked the plum sauce. I wasn’t a fan of the cold noodles underneath but both Phong and Linn liked them.

friends

Continue Reading

Biskvi

A what? Biskvi!

biskvi1

I first encountered the biskvi on my very first trip to Sweden. It is a stapel of swedish pastries but, I feel, often goes unnoticed next to the prettier, brighter and larger treats in the glass cases of the cafes. I originally mistook this little guy for a cookie. It is not a cookie. It has the sugar intensity of a whole cake crammed into cookie size.

biskvi2(Strawberry biskvi)

The classic biskvi is a cookie bottom (usually crunchy outside and soft inside) with a mound of butter cream coated in chocolate. It is intense but, in my opinion, not all that great.

After my first couple biskvis I was pretty much done with them. That all changed when I saw a white biskvi with purple on top in the pastry case at Cafe Kakmonstret in Umeå. Unfortunately, every time I get my hands on the violet biskvi at Kakmonstret, I eat it so quickly that I never get a picture. -_-

And so began the dawn of flavored biskvis!

biskvi4(Daim candy biskvi and a pear biskvi)

biskvi3(Lemon biskvi)

I wouldn’t mind if biskvi became the new sugar fad. If you’re in Sweden you should give them a try! I, obviously, suggest flavored biskvi over original.

Continue Reading