Borough Market, London

More images from Borough Market, with a bit of commentary for you!

Gotta love their version of a “you are here” map.

Borough Market map

Borough Market map

Indoor shot of the permanent part of the market. Saturdays, as you can tell, are pretty busy. And this was at about 3 p.m., so who knows how many there were earlier that day!

Borough Market architecture

Borough Market architecture

Outdoor sections of the market.

Borough Market - outdoors

Borough Market - outdoors

You can get cheese at more places in Borough Market than just Neal’s Yard Dairy! Mmm gouda.

cheese wheels

cheese wheels

The variety available at this market is just outstanding. Look at all the sausages!

sausages

sausages

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Kappacasein, London

Kappacasein, a food stall in Borough Market, is the first place where I ever heard of and experienced raclette. This is another place that I had on my “must visit again” list and I wandered the market until I found it.

Kappacasein

Kappacasein

Wait, what’s raclette? Well I’m glad you asked. It’s a big ‘ole round of cheese, from parts of Switzerland and France. The cheese is melted and scraped (literally, as racler is French for “to scrape”) onto a variety of food such as potatoes, pickled onions and charcuterie.

Kappacasein counter

Kappacasein counter

Look at all the cheese smeared over the pepper grinders! Kappacasein uses an Ogleshield cheese (which coincidentally comes from the Montgomery farm that I talked about in my Neal’s Dairy Yard post).

raclette sign

raclette sign

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Neal’s Yard Dairy, London

I have found cheese nirvana and it can be found at Borough Market.

More on Bourough Market and their cheese stalls later. For now, I want to tell you about Neal’s Yard Dairy. I stumbled upon this place the first time I was in London and have dreamt of it since.

Specializing in farm cheeses from the British Isles, they have two locations in London – Covent Garden and Borough Market. The one that I like to visit is their Borough Market store as it’s so close to so many more food vendors. Just look at all the cheese in the window and at the entrance!

Neal's Yard Dairy

Neal's Yard Dairy

On a giant table by the door they feature a specific cheese and happily hand out samples. That day they were promoting Coolea cheese, a handmade Irish farmhouse cheese made from pasteurized cows’ milk.

Coolea cheese

Coolea cheese

And on the other side of the doorway was a giant display of my favourite cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy – Montgomery’s cheddar. A farmhouse cheddar made from unpasteurized cows’ milk, this cheese is a bit dry, crumbly, nutty, a tiny bit sharp, and oh so delicious.

Montgomery's cheddar

Montgomery's cheddar

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St. John, London, England

“If you’re going to kill the animal it seems only polite to use the whole thing.”
Fergus Henderson

The first stop on my Magical Mystery Vacation Tour ™ was a few days spent in London, England. As soon as I knew that would be on the itinerary, I put a visit to the St. John restaurant as #1 on my to-do list in London. I’ve been to London before, but this was a place that I was not able to visit due to time, lack of funds, and the lack of desire of my travelling companion to eat there. This time, I vowed, I would eat there solo if I had to. Luckily, my two friends were interested in sampling the food too! For some odd reason, I didn’t write down any notes – during or after the dinner. But I’ve got notes on every other place I ate at during the month so I’m not quite sure what happened. Please bear with me if my memory is a little hazy on details.

St. John restaurant

St. John restaurant

Founded by English chef Fergus Henderson, there are actually two St. John restaurants in London – the original, which is the one I went to, and St. John Bread and Wine, which has a few different menu items and a bakery. The original restaurant won a Michelin star in 2009 and maintained its star for the 2010 guide. Their specialty is nose to tail eating, where they serve offal among other things.

The restaurant is rather nondescript from the outside and was almost easy to miss, especially because it is located in Smithfield, a neighbourhood full of restaurants and bars, as well as the centuries-old Smithfield meat market.

St. John exterior

St. John exterior

The inside of the restaurant is very simple too – white walls, white paper tablecloths… even the waiters were dressed in almost all white. The first thing you see when you enter the building is the bar area which is a little more casual and has a number of tables and chairs for dining. The restaurant itself is up a small staircase.

St. John interior

St. John interior

St. John interior with view of bar side

St. John interior with view of bar side

The kitchen was open to the dining room and I was able to take a slightly blurry photo. If you look closely you can see the whole pig that someone pre-ordered for a party that evening!

St. John kitchen

St. John kitchen

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L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas

When I decided to go on a trip to Las Vegas, I knew I wanted at least one fancy pants meal. After doing some reading about the various places in Las Vegas, I settled on L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon as the place where we’d have our most expensive meal, to be eaten on the Saturday before we went to a showing of KÀ.

LAtelier de Joël Robuchon

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

I’ve actually had my eye on this upscale chain of restaurants for a while now. I had planned on going there while in Hong Kong last year, but on the only day I had free I wasn’t feeling hungry at all and ended up going to sleep early instead of trying to find my way there. Because of this, L’Atelier was high on my Vegas to-do list.

This location of L’Atelier is located right next to the casino floor and they had the doors propped open, which meant that some of the casino sounds filtered into the restaurant. Part way through my meal they closed one of the doors and most of the sounds went away, so at some point I actually forgot we were right next to the casino. Next to the restaurant is Robuchon’s other restaurant at the MGM Grand, Joël Robuchon at The Mansion (which I considered for my list but crossed off due to the price). And next to that fantastic entrance (look at the chandelier in the foyer!) was the KÀ Theatre.

Joël Robuchon at the Mansion and KÀ Theatre

Joël Robuchon at the Mansion and KÀ Theatre

In Las Vegas, L’Atelier is a one-star Michelin French restaurant. A majority of the restaurant’s seating is at a bar surrounding and facing the open kitchen, similar to a sushi bar. An important part of the dining experience here is watching the kitchen staff make your food. It is for this reason that Robuchon calls this series of restaurants “the workshop,” or L’Atelier.

bar seating at LAtelier de Joël Robuchon with the casino viewable through the window

bar seating at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon with the casino viewable through the window

The decor was very modern with lots of reds and blacks. The kitchen was decorated by large vases of fruits, eggs, and vegetables floating in water, as well as giant fake apples and round hanging greenery.
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Sofra, Edmonton

A group of friends and I planned a night out at Sofra, a Turkish restaurant that none of us had tried before. The interior is small but interesting – lots of wood and a giant horse statue at the entrance. Each table has a charm embedded into the table surface – a glass eye as a charm against the evil eye. I did think about taking a photo of one, but I decided that it would probably give me bad luck or something and erred on the safe side.

To drink, I tried some Turk Cayi – Turkish tea. It arrived in a tiny cup with a spoon and a sugar cube. And it tasted like orange pekoe. Yeah, I felt a little ripped off.

Turk Cayi (Turkish tea)

Turk Cayi (Turkish tea)

Two people tried the pideler – traditional forno-baked pizzas.

The first was the Tavuklu Pide, a chicken, tomato, green pepper and cheese pizza.

Tavuklu Pide (chicken pizza)

Tavuklu Pide (chicken pizza)

The second was a Kiymali Pide, a ground beef pizza with with vegetables and cheese.

Kiymali Pide (ground beef pizza)

Kiymali Pide (ground beef pizza)

Both pizzas had plenty of cheese and the toppings tasted okay, but the pizzas didn’t wow anyone at the table except for the light, flaky crust. Continue reading

Mexico Lindo, Edmonton

One of my Easter meals was a dinner with friends at Mexico Lindo. I had heard a lot about this place, so I was excited to give it a try.

The restaurant is quite small, and was full when we arrived. After waiting for a short time, we were seated. Surprisingly, the later it got, the more empty the restaurant became. So if you want a table on a Saturday night, come at 7:30 p.m. Service was extremely friendly and even a little entertaining. The food also arrived relatively quickly.

To start, we ordered a jug of agua de Jamaica (Jamaica water). This is cold iced tea made from hibiscus flowers. And it tastes like liquid haw flakes (a.k.a. Chinese candy that is addictive like crack).

agua de Jamaica

agua de Jamaica

To start, I decided to go with the sopa de tortilla (tortilla soup). Soup is served at this restaurant in two parts. First, I was given a bowl of tortilla chips, cheese and avocado.

Sopa de tortilla without broth

Sopa de tortilla without broth

Then, they poured on the soup! Yum. Everyone at the table tasted it and thought it was good. Continue reading