London Foodies
Vapiano Tasting Session

If you follow us on twitter you’ll know that we’re slightly obsessed with Vapiano

Vapiano, a German chain that has gone international (including La Réunion), serves up fresh pastas, pizzas, and salads made right in front of you. And you get to choose the sauce, toppings and type of pasta. They have two locations in the UK - one off of Oxford Circus and the other is on Bankside. We were invited in to have a taste of their summer specials that are on until the end of August. 

We were really glad to get a taste of all they have to offer because we usually just order our favourites - the linguine carbonara and the fusilli pomodoro e mozzarella w/ extra chillis (pic below).

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Below are some of the dishes we got to try:

Gazpacho with fresh vegetables, tomatoes and king prawns. It’s served with some toppings including eggs,cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers and a slice of their delicious bread. 

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The Insalata al Melone - cantaloupe & watermelon with mint, prawns and lettuce with a balsamic dressing.

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One of our favourite dishes with the Mixed Summer Tomato Salad with fresh green, red and yellow tomatoes and red onions &  balsamic dressing. We liked it so much we didn’t get a chance to take a pic!

After the soups and salads the pastas came out! We sampled the Pasta Serenita with cucumbers, crayfish & white onions in a white wine sauce and pappardelle pasta.

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Next we had the Pasta con Pancetta with pancetta, garlic, cherry tomatoes, sage, olive oil and spaghetti, which we thought of as a less creamy carbonara.  

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Next we had our favourite dish of the evening the Spicy Thai Pasta with green coconut curry with red onions, mixed peppers, sugar peas, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and spelt fusilli pasta. It was just the right amount of spicy and we loved its kick. 

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We rounded out the pastas with Vapiano’s best-seller the Scampi e Spinaci.

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We also sampled the fun BBQ Chicken and the fresh Pesto con Spinaci pizzas

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The crown jewel of the pizzas was the Pizza Perla filled with buffalo mozzarella, spicy rocket salad, cherry tomatoes, & ham. We thought it was a bit too doughy, but the mozzarella was delicious! 

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We finished up the evening with our favourite drink of the summer, an Aperol Spritz and lots of great desserts - panna cotta, tiramisu, hugo dolce, and our favourite the crema di fragola.

 

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Joe’s Southern Kitchen & Bar

imageOne of us started a new job this week so we decided to have a celebratory dinner at Joe’s Southern Kitchen & Bar, the recently revamped Navajo Joe, in Covent Garden. We never had the opportunity to go Navajo Joe, but we’re big fans of southern style cooking from the good ole’ US of A and were eager to try Joe’s reincarnation. 

Located right off of Covent Garden’s main piazza and split across three levels it’s the perfect spot for a date or to meet friends. If you’re feeling peckish you can grab a seat at the bar and order off of their bar menu (which has a great selection from their main menu).

Joe’s has an extensive drinks menu, we particularly liked how their cocktails were split into two categories: ‘Coqs’ (bartenders’ choice) and ‘Coquettes’ (more approachable). They also have a nice selection of American beers. We went with the ‘Pamela’, which was Sauza Hacienda tequila, Blue Curacao, vanilla syrup, lemon and pineapple juices. 

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We also had the Original Apple Rekorderlig (which is surprisingly hard to find!) that came in a frosted beer glass that was perfect for this hot weather.

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We started our meal with artichoke and spinach dip served with crusty bread. This one of our favourite dishes to get when we’re in the States and hardly ever see in England. The only issue we had is that we ran out of bread too quickly because we devoured it! image

For mains we went with the Southern Style Macaroni and Cheese with spinach and Joe’s 8oz Long Horn Burger with American cheese, bacon, caramalised onions, pickles and fries.

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The mac n cheese was perfectly crispy on top and creamy underneath. It also had a great spicy kick to it that we weren’t expecting, but loved. 

We really enjoyed what the caramalised onions added to the burger, as well as their homemade BBQ sauce.

We couldn’t decide what to get for dessert so we went with a slice of the pecan pie with Jim Bean Honey cream and the Frozen Oreo Overkill with banana fudge and hot chocolate sauce. Our lovely waiter also brought out some of the Bourbon Milk Punch for us to sample. 

The Oreo Overkill was our favourite - it was a massive slice of oreo ice cream on an oreo crust.

We really enjoyed our dinner at Joe’s Southern Kitchen & Bar. The food was great and the service was spectacular. Our waiter was great - super friendly and extremely knowledgable. 

Joe’s specialty is their beer can chicken, but since one of us is veggie the other couldn’t face eating a whole chicken alone. However, we will definitely return with friends!

 

Truck Stop

This was the first 4th of July I spent outside of the US EVER! While I love living in London, the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays - especially since I’m from a small town that goes all out with a festival, fireworks and parade. Plus I’m a sucker for all things patriotic (I may have had a ‘Party in the USA’ themed birthday party or two). 

When I saw that the masterminds behind Street Feast and Tweat Up were teaming up to present Truck Stop, which just happened to launch on the 4th of July - I knew it would be the perfect place to celebrate.

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Truck Stop is a gathering of the 20 of the best food trucks in London. Having seen (and drooled over) pictures from friends at Truckeroo in Washington DC, I was excited that London was getting its own version. 

You can visit Truck Stop the first Thursday and Friday of the month through September at Wood Wharf (you can find all the details here). Tickets (available here) cost £10 and get you entry plus 10 Truck Stop dollars to use at the bars. 

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imageTruck Stop at Wood Wharf

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Aperol Spritz 

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Mother Clucker

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Anna Mae’s

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Meantime Brewing

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Super strong Street Feast Fizz

Reminiscing about how great London 2012 was!

Exmouth, July 2013

Gino’s East, Chicago, USA,  April 2013

Happy 4th of July!!

We weren’t able to be in States this year for the 4th of July for the first EVER! Here are all the things we’re missing:

Funnel cake from the town festival

Fried everything (especially pickles)

Nachos at a baseball game

Cheese fries from Kennywood

Ice cream cones from Twist & Shake

Happy Fourth of July!!! Please don’t celebrate with these…

Love your local(s)!

We love supporting local businesses, especially when they’re great! Here are some of our favourite places in the Battersea/Clapham Junction area. 

Brunch 

We’re big fans of brunch and luckily we have lots of options in our neighbourhood. 

The newly opened Breakfast Club on Battersea Rise (you can read all about our love for it here or here) is our top pick for brunch. Like many places in the area it’s busiest on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Our tip: Why not take a cheeky weekday breakfast before work they open at 8AM? After all breakfast is the most important meal of the day ;)

We’re also big fans of Powder Keg Diplomacy's breakfasts. Good portions, reasonably priced and you can make a reservation. Powder Keg is perfect for catching up with friends over a boozy brunch. We love their decor, conservatory dining room and signature lemonade. No cheeky weekday brunches here - they only serve breakfast on the weekends.

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Powder Keg Diplomacy’s vegetarian full English breakfast  

Tamra on Northcote Road is another great place to grab breakfast on the weekend- if you can get a table. While quite small, they do have a larger outdoor seating area that comes with blankets. They also recently started serving Lebanese meze and wine in the evenings. 

Take Away

What do you do when you’re craving fish n’ chips, but are too lazy to make the 8 minute walk to the chippy on Northcote Road (which happens to be one of favourite fish n chip shops in London)? You call the Fish Clubon St. John’s Hill (they have a Clapham High Street branch too) - they deliver straight to your door. We’re particularly fond of their beer battered halloumi and sweet potato fries. 

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Our first trip to Indian Moment (preserved for posterity here) was just the start of our love affair. With free delivery and easy online order system - we tend to order from here at least once every three weeks. My favourite dish is their motter paneer and I could eat their poppadoms all day long. During peak times on the weekends you can tend to have a long wait - so order ahead! It’s also a great place to eat out at and they tend to do great deals during the week.

When the Cattle Grid on Northcote Road relocated to Battersea Rise, we were left wondering who would fill their space (and hoping that it wouldn’t be another estate agent). We were pleasantly surprised that Brixton’s Franco Manca was opening another outpost. While we’ve visited the restaurant, one of guilty pleasures after a long day at work is to place an order as soon as we’ve gotten off the train at Clapham Junction. We have the walk timed perfectly to reach Franco Manca just in time to pick up our pizzas to enjoy at home!

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Want to grab a quick bite before catching a train or just out for a leisurely walk? The Breadstall on Northcote Road has a great selection. Their sausage rolls are ranked among the best in London, we love their fresh pizza and sandwich selection and have we mentioned their desserts?! Try the salted caramel cherry brownie, the carrot cake or just about anything. They also serve Monmouth Coffee and bagels from Bricklane. 

Eat-in

We can’t really say enough about the Draft House (but we tried to here). We love their love food and the service is always great. Mondays you can grab a burger and a pint for £10. We can’t get enough of their mains and to make a special trip to try their desserts - loved them, especially their brownies.

The Draft House’s Beirut Burger

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The Plough is one of the first places we found when we moved to the neighbourhood. It’s a great place to grab dinner or catch up with friends on a weeknight. They have a wide selection of small plates and sides that are great for sharing. If you’re feeling really hungry their mains are great too. What’s great about the Plough is that they change their menu up every couple of months, which keeps it fresh (although I’m still mourning the loss of the blackbean sliders). We also love that they have Meantime on tap! 

Ben’s Canteen on St. John’s Hill is popular for their brunches and roasts. We love their dirty burgers and the menu provides us with a little taste of home! They host different events like craft nights and pop-ups. And they have great deals like 2 for 1 cocktails on Tuesdays and a Sunday night burger saver. 

The Byron on Northcote Road was our first introduction to the chain. I’d always see them in trendy areas and viewed them as boozy burger joint. However, that is not the case with this location in the center of Nappy Valley. This Byron is almost always full of families with children running wild (really). If you’re looking for a great place to take a date on Friday night this isn’t it. That being said, we do prefer their burgers over other chains (especially GBK). And if you’re looking for a family friendly dinner in the area then this is your place. 

Sweet Tooth

When I moved over from DC three years ago I had the froyo bug and was waiting for London to catch it. When we moved to the area two years ago my prayers were answered - there was a self serve froyo shop located just an 8 minute walk away. Samba Swirl has several locations (Angel, Chiswick, & the lovely Northcote Road) and have six flavours to choose from that change daily. While a bit of a froyo purist (give me the original any day) they do great seasonal flavours - we were pleasantly surprised by the watermelon recently. They also have a great loyalty scheme. 

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We really are spoiled when it comes to sweet treats. Oddono’s Gelato opened up last year and is one our favourite places to stop on a warm day walking back from Clapham Junction or when we’re out for evening stroll. 

Another staple of Northcote Road on Saturdays is the Dessert DeliIt’s hard to resist walking by it’s overflowing stall with dessert shots, cakes, pies and some of our favourite brownies.

8 Northumberland