It’s crazy how quickly a trip feels so distant. We’ve been back for a week now and with my book deadline closing in fast I’m only now sitting down to tell you about our trip to London.
First of all, thank you for all the great recommendations. I tried to reach them all but failed miserably. I did not, however, fail in eating lots of incredible food and falling deeply in love with that city.
As I mentioned before, the purpose of the trip was to come together with a number of people with different areas of expertise to brainstorm concepts around the idea of a healthy vending machine. The original idea was submitted to TravelBrilliantly.com a stunning site created around the idea of innovative travel created by Marriott Hotels. The winner was Anjana, a beautiful, intelligent young woman from Atlanta, Georgia.
I went into the trip with a very standard concept of what a healthy vending machine would look like but around that table we talked about curated boxes, refrigerators, juice bars and deeply discussed what exactly is healthy eating. I was keenly reminded of the beauty of collaborating; of not being tied to one idea but rather allowing others to help shape, focus and refine the concept.
Before we sat down to talk about the idea we visited a number of places around the city getting inspiration for healthy eating and great design.
Spitafields City Farm - A unique teaching farm in the middle of the city. The train zooms past while the pigs tear through the path to return to their pin. Locals are encouraged to get involved and get dirty growing native edibles and learning about healthful living at the same time.
H. Forman & Sons – For authentic, smoked Scottish Salmon. Here you can see the entire operation then head upstairs for a stunning breakfast featuring their smoked salmon. It also happens to be located right across the river from the Olympic Stadium so the view is definitely not terrible.
Farmer’s Market – This is where I lit up. People poured through the gates eager to buy fresh produce, towering meat pies and fresh fish being scaled right in front of you.
Gabe and I also got to do a bit of exploring on our own:
Ottolenghi – I was a little star-struck walking into this space. I’ve read about it in all three of their books. It did not disappoint. I only wish we had more time to linger as we raced through the streets of Notting Hill to get there before they closed.
Nopi - Another Ottolenghi spot. You must make a reservation here as it is always full. Start to finish this place was perfection.
Rasa W1- Great Indian food, not too expensive.
St. John’s Bread & Wine – This place required a second visit and I’m a little sad there wasn’t a third. The old spot bacon – essentially toasted white bread with English bacon – was one of the best things I ate in London. We also had yogurt (why is European dairy so much better than ours?!) with poached quince and then came back the next day for their donuts. The custard donut is the best I’ve ever had. The restaurant is located right across from Spitafield’s Market which is perfect for a bit of shopping while you attempt to work off the bacon and donuts. Thursday is the best day to go for antiques (the plate you see in the photo below is from the market).
Monmouth – I was tempted to have Gabe give a coffee tour of London as he made his way to several shops and had a great experience in many. Manmouth was the one place I went with him. They have several beans from all over the world. My macchiato was great but the butter cookie has made a lasting impression.
Borough Market - It’s crazy on a Saturday but still totally worth it. I only wished I had a kitchen to cook in so I could snag some mushrooms, cheese and vibrant produce. Instead I settle for Raclette; melted under a flame than drizzled onto buttery potatoes. A few little cornichons on the side.
Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt and Pickled Red Onions
Roasted Yams, Ginger Yogurt and Pickled Red Onions
We had already eaten before I realized how close we were to Ottolenghi. I couldn’t not get several things when we got there. Most of what I chose was sweet and all were amazing. This vibrant salad of orange yams, purple pickled onions and bright green herbs lured me in and I ate it in between bites of lemon polenta cake and a s’mores cookie. For me it’s perfect for the Thanksgiving table; classic, seasonal ingredients combined in a new, fresh way.
For Gabe’s family we are doing a latin inspired Thanksgiving which basically means that I found a recipe for Turkey bathed in chiles and I had to have it. I’ll be adding cumin to the yogurt that I’ll mix with a bit of Mexican Crema and topping it with Cotija and cilantro along with the pickled red onions.
Serves 6 as a side
2 pounds yams, about 2 medium
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup / 115 grams whole-fat greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon (or more if you like it stronger) finely minced ginger
Pickled red onions
a handful of Italian parsley leaves
Preheat your oven 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Toss the yams with a hefty pinch of salt and the olive oil. Add them in a single layer to the prepared pan then roast for 40 to 45 minutes until they are tender and charred in parts.
While the yams roast combine the yogurt, ginger and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Let the yams cool to room temperature before you transfer them to a serving platter. Dollop the ginger yogurt on top. Finish with pickled red onions, parsley leaves, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and flake salt.
I may, for Thanksgiving, add a bit of Feta to the mix as well.