The Borough Market, London

Come with an appetite to The Borough Market because there is bound to be something for you.  Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, meat, seafood, or freshly prepared Indian food and paella, you’ll find it.  Most of the cheese mongers are French.  For a second there, I forgot I wasn’t still in Paris.

The Borough Market is located near the London Bridge Station, at 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Notting Hill Carnival, London

The Notting Hill Carnival takes over Notting Hill every August Bank Holiday.  Hundreds of thousands of people turned up for the annual celebration with Caribbean roots.  We went for the tail end of the 2-day festival, and caught the parade, listened to music, ate food, and danced.  Everyone was having a blast.  Seriously, even the police.  (That video is worth watching.)

Maybe I was crazy to be expecting floats like in the Rose Bowl Parade or Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  These were just basically open trucks blasting music, with people following in costumes, but with an energy I’d imagine you’d only find at Mardi Gras or in Rio.

We followed the parade and ended at Beach Blanket Babylon, which is apparently normally a very upscale restaurant.  When we got near Beach Blanket Babylon, there was a crowd formed around a woman dancing, who we decided to call “Mavis” since we never learned her name.  She was from Ireland and had been living in London for decades.  She was truly the life of the party.  Men at least 20-years her junior lined up to dance with her.  (Okay fine, we lined up to dance with her, too.)  She never missed a beat, as the crowd cheered for literally hours.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

José, London

José, 104 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UB.

Tapas in London?  Sounds safer than fish and chips.  We went to dinner at José and sat at the bar, ordered tortilla, charcuterie, goat cheese with figs on toast, wine, and of course, dessert.  The food was good, but the decor and atmosphere did me in.  The restaurant had a really lively vibe, and everyone working there looked like they were enjoying themselves–which was really infectious.  Although I went with Jude, I felt like it was a place that could be fun alone, with friends, or on a date.

Timeout liked it, too.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

72 Hours in London

72 hours in London is just enough time to eat, drink, bike from Tower Bridge to Notting Hill, go to a carnival, eat, drink, drink some more, see some sights, and get lost.
London started off on a bad foot, really quite literally.  I couldn’t seem to figure out the tube or bus* and taxis wouldn’t stop for me, so I ended up walking 6 miles or so my first night, in flip flops (this is becoming a theme).  I did, however, have some killer Indian food with my cousin near Covent Gardens at Strand Tandori (45 Bedford Street, London WC2E 9HA).
Given that it was a Sunday, all the pubs closed early, so my attempt to get a drink with Jude ended in many bartenders telling us, “Sorry, we’re closed.”  That is, all but The Hide Bar (39-45 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF).  They had really nice cocktails and the waiter told us a bunch of cool restaurants and bars to check out.  He claimed that Bermondsey Street had some of the best restaurants in the city: José, Zucca, Pizarro, and Casse Croût.  He also recommended Happiness Forgets and The Zetter Townhouse in Shoreditch.
Monday morning, we returned to Bermondsey Street and I had my first proper latte in nearly a month at Bermondsey Street Coffee (163 – 167 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW).  I also ate their yogurt and granola combo that was seriously amazing.  I generally am not that excited about yogurt and granola, but it was worth going back for.  (Unfortunately, they had a different one on Tuesday.)
Stay tuned for more about José, Zucca, the Notting Hill Carnival, the Borough Market, and how the London bike share program measures up to the vélib.
*For those going to London, download the “London Tube” and “Bus London” apps.  I would have been much better off had I had these the whole time I was in London!
© Sarah Milstein 2013