Brick Lane’s salt beef beigels

Yes I said beigel, not bagel. If you’ve ever been to London’s Brick Lane, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. At one end of the street (far from the many Indian restaurants and sweet shops that frequent the Whitechapel High Street end of Brick Lane), sits two little competing establishments that specialize in hot salted beef served on a fresh beigel. Each has their loyal fans, and their differences basically add up to a Coke vs Pepsi type of argument. One, called the Beigel Shop, has a bright yellow sign and the other, the Beigel Bake, has a bright white sign. Both are open 24 hours, and are a favourite for fulfilling late night/drunk hunger pangs.

Beigel Shop

Beigel Shop

Beigel Bake

Beigel Bake

We stood there on the dark street, and looked at each other in puzzlement. Which one to pick? Both had plenty of people going in and out of them. In the end we went for the Beigel Shop’s yellow signs, as at the time the service seemed to be moving at a faster pace than the other one.

menu

menu

Just look at those prices! I think this was probably the cheapest meal I had while in London.

rest of menu

rest of menu

There are also a wide array of desserts. Nothing too fancy – mostly bars, cookies, cake, etc.

dessert case

dessert case

They assemble each sandwich on order, and tailor the toppings to your taste. (Although, more with a surly look rather than a smile, but that’s supposed to be part of the charm of these places.)

beigel sandwich assembly

beigel sandwich assembly

And here is the finished product. It was a good-sized sandwich… about the size of a hamburger.

salt beef beigel

salt beef beigel

The buns all have the traditional bagel hole, but that’s where the similarities end. These beigels are soft. So soft that they’re actually fluffy and more closely resemble a hamburger bun than the harder, denser bagels that we’re used to in Canada and the US.

beigel bun

beigel bun

Once your teeth sink past the soft bread, they hit the hot salted beef. It’s tender like true Montreal Smoked Meat but not as spicy. Mixed with the sharpness of the mustard and pickle, each bite of the beigel is sure to satisfy any craving for meat or salt.

inside the beigel

inside the beigel

I debated ordering another one or going to the other beigel place to try their version, but eating one was plenty of food for me that night.

Beigel Shop
155 Brick Lane, Spitalfields
London
(yellow sign)

Beigel Bake
159 Brick Lane, Spitalfields
London
(white sign)

Beigel Shop on Urbanspoon

S&M Café, London

It’s not everyday that you get to eat at a place called S&M. And then you have to explain to people that it’s not as kinky as it sounds, as it actually stands for sausage and mash. S&M Café is a local chain in London that specializes in “great British grub,” and we were there specifically for one of their breakfasts. More specifically, a Full English Breakfast.

S&M Café

S&M Café

I’m told that you can usually get the full English breakfast experience at most pubs, but this restaurant was recommended to us by a friend and their Spitalfields location was near where we were staying, so it made a great spot for us to grab some food before heading off for sightseeing for the day. Customer service was fast and extremely friendly – our waiter joked around with us every time he came around to our table.

We were there in the morning so we only saw the breakfast menu, but a quick glance at their regular menu posted on their website shows that they have a number of other traditional British fare available, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options.

The menu

The menu

Of course, the first thing that we ordered was the Great British All Day Breakfast for those in the group who were new to the experience. Toast, bacon, sausage, bubble and squeak, egg, baked beans, mushrooms, and tomatoes filled the plate to bursting.

Great British All Day Breakfast

Great British All Day Breakfast

Now, I have eaten full English breakfasts before (although then it was called full Scottish breakfast because it was in Edinburgh, and those ones had the option of adding haggis, vegetarian haggis, and/or black pudding), and I knew how greasy those plates can get, so I was more than happy to try something different. I opted for the Vegetarian All Day Breakfast, which included all the same items except that it replaced the bacon and sausage with Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages. (I think it was the cheese that convinced me that it was the right way to go.)

Vegetarian All Day Breakfast

Vegetarian All Day Breakfast

I have to say that although the regular sausages and the bacon were good, my Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages were spectacular. Crunchy on the outside, they had the texture of cornbread on the inside and great mix of leek and quite mild cheese flavours.

Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages

Caerphilly cheese and leek sausages

The bubble and squeak was a mixture of mashed potatoes and vegetables, including squash blossoms.

bubble and squeak

bubble and squeak

We stuffed ourselves silly, and rolled out of the restaurant while complaining that we were too full to walk.

condiments - mustards, ketchup and HP sauce

condiments - mustards, ketchup and HP sauce

S&M Café
various locations in London, England
www.sandmcafe.co.uk

S & M Café on Urbanspoon

Fat Franks, Edmonton

You know summer is finally here when the Fat Franks hot dog carts start to appear on the street and the vendor is wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

These people make THE best hot dogs in the city. You can’t go wrong when ordering from Fat Franks, whether you like honey ham smokies, jalepeno and cheddar smokies, bratwursts, or any of the other choices. They even have veggie dogs for those on a meatless diet.

While I do change it up every once in a while, my regular order is a jumbo dog on a lightly grilled whole wheat bun, topped with lots of ketchup, a tiny bit of yellow mustard, lots of their fantastic relish, and a scattering of  fresh onion. I love that each stand usually comes with a selection of every condiment under the sun – from Asian hot sauce to dijon mustard, and sauerkraut to hot peppers.

What do you like on your hot dogs?

Fat Franks jumbo hot dog

Fat Franks jumbo hot dog

Fat Franks
Permanent and seasonal locations listed on their website.
www.fatfranks.ca