Before studying abroad, I spent hours and hours surfing the web to come up with a list of places I wanted to go to all over Europe. Most were restaurants or revolving around food (shocking, I know), and BuzzFeed was one website that gave me some great advice. Something that caught my attention was the article "An Exclusive First Look at London's New Cereal Cafe" (Check it out to know how I got convinced to go: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/15-things-we-learned-at-londons-first-cereal-cafe#.rmEqP4JG)
As a breakfast queen, and specially a lover of all sugary cereals, I just had to make the trip to try out the new cafe called The Cereal Killer Cafe. This place serves around 50 different cereals, 15 different milks, and 30+ toppings. The bowls cost about $5-10 depending on what you get and what size. They also have many customized "cocktails", which are combinations of cereals, toppings and milk that the staff put together. I would have chosen one of them, but I was being an airhead and thought they were actually drinks, not cereal bowls... So I'll have to save what I wanted for next time. Cause there will definitely be a next time.
They don't just have cereal though. They have drinks such as coffee, lattes, hot chocolate, and juices. And then the menu is further boosted with sides to your cereal such as 10+ types of poptarts and different toasts that you can enjoy with butter, jelly, Nutella, etc. I was just there to have an interesting cereal experience, so I didn't indulge in these options and I can't tell you how they were. But, I doubt any place could mess up those simple staple breakfast items!
Because of the crazy amount of choices, I was immediately overwhelmed and stressed out with what to choose. It is very hard to pick cereals that go together in the same bowl with the same toppings! I had a dilemma because my favorites are fruity pebbles and cocoa pebbles, but that just would not work. I went with Jessica and she had similar problems with her favorite cereals not working together, but she just decided to get two separate bowls of each, which were captain crunch and then cocoa pebbles with a sliced banana. I decided to pick the chocolate version of my favorite pebbles and went with one bowl with cocoa pebbles, reese's pieces, almond milk and crispy m&ms. If I was coming to this place, I was going full-out, and that's exactly what this bowl of cereal was.
This sugar-coated bowl of deliciousness was just what I needed for a late afternoon lunch pick me up. And it was perfect to fuel me after a long, hard workout! (kidding) But I enjoyed the experience and felt like a kid again. I am excited to go back and try out one of their customized "cocktails" and try cereals and British candy toppings I've never had!. If you are a cereal-lover like myself, I recommend trying out The Cereal Killer Cafe.
Everyone knows London is known for their tea, so I obviously had to experience afternoon tea the right way. And by right way I mean High Tea at the Ritz Carlton. Don't ask me what the difference between regular afternoon tea and "high" tea are, but all I know is that my high tea experience was incredible. The Ritz hotel offered a great experience and it made us feel like true Brits.
We came for the tea and ambiance... and we stayed for the endless amount of food. We didn't know it was unlimited food until they kept bringing us more trays when we hadn't even finished the first one. We were totally ok with that and I'll explain why.
After chilling on the couch and getting served water in the bathroom, then getting our coats hung in the cloakroom, we were already feeling fancy. And this is before the waiters in tuxedos came to get us for tea time! Once we sat down, we skimmed through the twenty or so options of tea, but since I'm not a big tea connoisseur I just went with their recommendation of English Breakfast Tea. It was tinted red and had more flavor than I expected, so I loved it! But honestly I wasn't there for the tea... I was excited about all the finger foods. Get ready for the list of what we had:
Course 1: Six sandwiches
Ham Sandwich with Grain Mustard Mayo
Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Chutney
Cucumber Sandwich with Cream Cheese, Dill, and Chives
Chicken Breast Sandwich with Horseradish Cream
Scottish Smoked Salmon with Lemon Butter
Egg Mayo Sandwich with Chopped Shallots and Watercress
.... We all probably had two of each of the little crustless finger sandwiches. I mean when they put another whole tray of them in front of you and they look so perfect, who could resist?
Course 2: Assortment of pastries like chocolate cake, tiramisu, and macaroons
.... This was the dessert before the second round of dessert before the third round of dessert. Sounds completely unnecessary, but once again we were ok with it. I've never had a macaroon before and it was nothing what I expected. It was very moist and I really liked it! I thought it was going to be more airy and not really taste like anything, but it had a ton of flavor and I will for sure get some from Harrods at some point.
Course 3: Freshly Baked Raisin and Plain Scones with cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve
.... This cornish clotted cream is another name for the best whipped butter you'll ever have. That, along with the strawberry jam, melted right on top of the split halves of the warm scones. We all couldn't just have one, and since they were constantly bringing them we had 2, or 3, or maybe 4??
Course 4: Orange pound cake with whipped cream and a raspberry shortbread cake
At this point we were all stuffed beyond belief, and the even thought of eating one more ounce of sugar was making us nauseous. But since it was already all paid for and we were only doing this once, we just haaaad to eat every last bite that they put in front of us. And it was so worth it. I don't even like orange cake, but this one was so moist I just couldn't put it down.
All in all- the five girls I went with and I had the time of our lives feeling like British royalty and enjoying endless amounts of tea and finger foods. If we did it all again, I think we would all eat the same amount even though we had a stomach ache for the next day. Reminiscing on it, we concluded that we definitely ate more in one sitting than any other group ever has for afternoon tea. And we are proud of that.
I've now tried out three different London food markets and to say they were satisfying is an understatement. These markets are filled with a wide variety of authentic food cooked right in front of you, and I can't get enough of them! The U.S needs to have more than just farmer's markets on the weekends, even though those are great (i.e. spicy cheesy bread at Wisconsin's Capital Farmer's Market). London is showing up America in the food market category and I'll tell/show you why.
Last week I went to Camden Market, as suggested by past study abroaders, where there were over 50 food tents of different cuisines. It's funny that I thought the Exmouth market (my last post) had a ton of options, but that one only had like 10! The picture to the left shows the view of the market from above. You can see all the tents and the crowds of people we had to maneuver around! Our group that went spent about 45 minutes walking around back and forth trying to decide what we wanted to have- there were too many options so we were all stressing out! The best decision of the day was to try out three different tents and split the meals with someone else.
The first part of my three part meal was an Italian tent that made pizza quesadilla things. They rolled out the dough very thin and baked it for a couple minutes in the oven. Then they spread the oil, mozzarella, prosciutto, spinach, tomatoes and pesto. They cooked it on a stove top and folded over the other side of the dough to make a quesadilla looking pizza. It was basically like thin crust pizza that you fold in half when taking a bite out of it. It tasted amazing!
The second part of my three part meal was a falafel bowl. It had lettuce, couscous, chickpeas, falafel patties, some type of grilled cheese, and a greek yogurt sauce. I loved that it had so many different components and it was very filling! This dish was also healthy (compared to the pizza and many other options) so I felt good about it too!
And last, but DEFINITELY not least was the third part of my Camden Market meal extravaganza: mini dutch pancakes drenched in warmed Nutella and sliced bananas. This was by far the best part of my day, as dessert always is for me. The batter is poured into a pan that has little circular indents to make the mini pancakes and they are poured and cooked in front of you within three minutes. Then they are all plopped on a plate, drizzled (more like doused) in Nutella and topped off with a whole sliced banana. They stick in two toothpicks and those are the utensils used to eat the dish. They were decadent, but not too sweet, and the perfect ending to a great food exploration day at the market. My friend went to a different dessert tent that had chocolate covered strawberries and bananas topped off with some chocolate candy! We shared both of our desserts and this one was also fantastic- and really cool looking (hence the colorful picture). I've already shown so many people pictures of these desserts, and it instantly is followed by "OMG I'm coming with you next time you go". And obviously I said I'll go any day any time!
About this Section
This section highlights any type of noteworthy experience I've had with food. It also covers some of my traveling adventures! I am an avid traveler and love trying out new cuisines and local foods wherever I go. I will give any and all the details of the food I've tasted around the world.