It’s time to move on to another country, which means it’s time for a bunch of random photographs.
Yes, I ate another burger, but in my defense I dare you to watch this video and not immediately want to eat that hamburger.
(And I actually tried to eat the second burger in that video — which tantalizingly features a layer of black pudding between the two patties — but alas, it seems to have been removed from that restaurant’s menu.)
The burger I got is from a place called Burger and Beyond, which is in the Camden Market, a really interesting outdoor food court of sorts along a river.
Look at the crust on those patties! A thing of beauty.
And the burger itself was absolutely fantastic — cheesy, beefy, juicy and amazing. I awkwardly sawed it in half with a fork so I could get a view of its midsection, and I mean, look at that.
If I were reviewing it for Tasty Burgers, I’d give it four out of four. It could have been slightly juicier and beefier, but that’s a very minor complaint for a superlative hamburger.
I’m not going to post about every museum I went to, because like I said, I went to a bunch (they’re free! So why the hell not??). But I did want to quickly mention the Natural History Museum.
It’s another ridiculously large, super impressive museum in London. And though a lot of the exhibits are obviously directed at children, there’s some good stuff here.
Including dinosaurs! It’s hard to go wrong with dinosaurs, though apparently they usually have an enormous dinosaur skeleton (of a diplodocus), which is currently on tour. It’s a shame to miss that, but it was still a pretty impressive exhibit.
Plus, is it even possible to look at stuff like this without having the theme from Jurassic Park in your head? I submit that it is not.
When I was at the Borough Market, I noticed one vendor selling a duck confit sandwich that looked so good, I had to go back.
I mean, look at that griddle full of meat. I want to shrink myself down so I can dive in like Scrooge McDuck into his money bin. Of course I went back to try the sandwich.
The sandwich has some greens and some kind of sweet onion jam, but what really matters is that tender, crispy, greasy duck. They let it sit on the hot griddle long enough to get nicely browned throughout, giving you a really generous amount of crispy bits interspersed throughout the tender meat.
Though I would have liked to go eat at St. John — a restaurant that’s pretty famous for helping to popularize nose-to-tail eating in London (and the world) — it’s a bit out of my price range. You know what is in my price range? A restaurant called Hereford Road that was opened by a chef who worked at St. John.
Hey, when you’re on a budget, you take what you can get.
They have a set menu at lunch where you can get an appetizer, a main, and a dessert for £15.50.
It’s a pretty amazing deal, though aside from the dessert, nothing was particularly great. There was a starter of liver on toast and a main of bubble and squeak (which is kind of like a meatless hash) which comes topped with thickly-cut pieces of pork belly. Everything was a little bit too greasy; I don’t know if you can really tell from the photos, but there was oil leaking out on the plate on both of those dishes. And while the pork belly tasted okay, the skin was so tough I couldn’t cut through it even with a steak knife.
The rice pudding for dessert, on the other hand, was pretty magnificent. I don’t think I’ve ever had rice pudding that didn’t come out of a can or a cup, so my standards probably aren’t super high, but it had a deliciously rich custardy flavour, and the rice had the perfect texture — soft, but not too soft.
I’m just going to admit it: I don’t quite understand the vast majority of the oddball, experimental modern art that you find at places like the Tate Modern.
All this stuff? I don’t get it.
That looks like a pile of garbage to me. At least with more traditional art, even if I don’t necessarily understand what the artist’s intention was, I can appreciate the beauty of the art itself.
Meanwhile, here’s a scrunched up pile of barbed wire.
I don’t get it.
Nope, don’t get that either.
I think I’m just a meat and potatoes guy when it comes to art, and I’m okay with that.
There are a lot of traditional British foods that you can very easily find back home — meat pies? All over the place. Fish and chips? Yep, they’re everywhere. But the type of eels that they serve in really traditional pie shops in London? I don’t think I’ve ever seen those back home.
There are actually a couple of distinctive things about the pie shops here: the aforementioned eels, obviously, but also the greenish sauce that you can see here:
It’s called liquor sauce, and it’s traditionally made with the same liquid they use to cook the eels, along with a generous amount of parsley.
It looks kind of like gravy, but tastes nothing like it — it has a bright, herby flavour that compliments the meaty pie really well.
As for the eels, they were ultra-soft — almost gelatinous — with a funky, fishy flavour. I liked them, but I can definitely see why they’ve mostly fallen out of favour over the years. They’re a little bit intense.
Situated underneath some train tracks, the Borough Market is really distinctive and absolutely crammed with vendors selling delicious food. My kind of place.
It’s also surprisingly enormous. It’s the kind of place where you think you’ve seen everything, then oh wait, there’s another corner over there with about a dozen dessert vendors.
There were a ridiculous amount of places I would have been happy eating at, but since I had heard good things about the chorizo sandwich at Brindisa, that’s what I went with.
Featuring zingy chorizo sausage, a slice of roasted red pepper, peppery arugula, and enough good quality extra virgin olive oil to give it a distinctly nutty flavour, this was a sandwich that absolutely did not disappoint. It’s served in a fresh, toasty ciabatta that’s pretty much perfect. It was so good.
Pretty much all of the major museums in London are completely free — free! — which is an absolute gift when you’re on a budget. So I’ve been to a bunch, obviously, because why not?
I kind of figured they’d be lesser, somehow, being free and all, but that’s definitely not the case. The National Gallery, London’s main art museum, has some really impressive art on display.
It’s actually kind of insane that they don’t charge for it.
And I mean, how do you go wrong with an art gallery that has a Ninja Turtle room? Not sure why Raphael wasn’t invited though. I guess those sais are pretty dangerous.
Plus, there’s this painting by Picasso; it’s weirdly similar to Jigsaw from the Saw movies. It seems too close to be coincidental, but who knows.
The Victoria and Albert museum is a nice compliment to the National Gallery — while the National Gallery focuses on paintings, the V&A has a more diverse collection encompassing all areas of art and design.
It’s absolutely enormous. If you wanted, you could easily spend a full day here.
And they actually do have some paintings as well, so whatever you like, you’re probably going to want to check out the V&A.
Plus, as a compliment to the weird side-eye baby I posted about at the Louvre, here’s a weirdly muscular baby:
I’m pretty positive the artist of this painting had never actually seen a baby before. “Hey, babies are super buff, right? That’s why they’re so stocky? Because they’re so jacked? Yeah, I’m going to paint this baby super ripped.”
Like in France, McDonald’s menu in England is pretty boring. It’s mostly the usual suspects, though they do have something called Cheese & Herb melts that are basically just mozzarella sticks, but in nugget form.
It’s gooey fried cheese, so yeah, it’s good. It comes with what they call “Rich Tomato Dip,” which is an overly sweet marinara sauce that was way too cloying to be particularly edible.
They also have a “Great Tastes of the World” promotion running right now, so I got a fried chicken sandwich from that menu: Jamaican Chicken with Spicy Jerk Sauce. It was fine, I guess, but it basically just tasted like a standard McDonald’s fried chicken sandwich. You could barely even tell the jerk sauce was there, and it certainly wasn’t spicy.