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England Lunch

Lunch at Bill's Restaurant

Lunch at Bill’s Restaurant

Today was one of those days that you follow through on a recommendation from a friend.  Wednesdays are usually my burger, fry and milkshake days but today I decided to stop by Bill’s Restaurant and shake up my normal lunch routine. Bill’s restaurant is located in the Rushden Lakes shopping district and boasts an amazing view of a lake with swans. The inside of Bill’s is so inviting with its shabby chic decor.  I loved looking around at the walls while I ate.
Entrance to Bill's restaurant
Bill’s has a lunch and dinner menu to include a separate vegetarian menu. Currently they are celebrating Veganuary and have an entire menu with vegan options for the month of January. I ordered a vegetarian lunch but didn’t get to order off their Veganuary menu.  Don’t worry, I’ll go back soon to bring you guys the deets.
My friend ordered the daily special which was a grilled chicken with Rosemary and Brie cheese on top, served with a side of broccoli and.  She was kind enough to let me take a picture and have a bite. I love a good rosemary chicken and the Brie on top was just the icing on the cake.
Chicken lunch special at Bill's restaurant

Vegetarian lunch options

For my starter, I ordered a sweet potato and ginger soup. I must admit I was skeptical about how the ginger would taste. I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome it was. Not only was it appealing to the eyes it tantalized my tastebuds. It was garnished with micro greens and pink peppercorns.

For my main, I opted for the carrot, cashew nut and mushroom Wellington. It was placed on a bed of mashed butter beans and served with a side of long stem broccoli. There is something about flaky phyllo dough that makes me all happy inside. The broccoli was perfectly cooked and the mashed beans were very reminiscent of mashed potatoes. Once I poured my gravy on them there disappeared..I don’t know what happened.  They were on my plate one minute and the next minute they were gone. Let’s just say mashed beans will be a thing in my house very soon.  My Wellington was outstanding!! The carrots were tender, the mushrooms melded with the cashews and created magic. I highly recommend this dish if you are looking for a vegetarian option at Bill’s. Just don’t do like I did send burn your mouth trying to scarf it down lol.

Overall it was a great dining experience and I honestly don’t know what took me so long to try it.  I’m looking forward to going back already.
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Uncategorized

Afternoon Tea at Claridge's Tea Room

Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s

Claridge’s Hotel is a 5 star hotel and one of the oldest Hotels in London.  It’s only proper that they also serve up one of the oldest English Traditions – Afternoon Tea.  Claridge’s has been upholding the Afternoon Tea tradition for 150 years.

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Uncategorized

Afternoon Tea in England

Afternoon Tea in England is a long standing tradition that dates back to 1840 a.d. which was introduced by the Dutchess of Bedford. What started out as a way to fend off hunger until dinner time became an English tradition. Every place that serves afternoon tea has it’s own flair.  Many restaurants will serve afternoon tea on the weekends only, some will have a small dedicated menu. Tea rooms on the other hand have a pretty set order of Afternoon Tea.  It has been my experience that every afternoon tea starts with finger sandwiches and end with scones and clotted cream. Many Tea Rooms have a variety of teas to choose from.  Here are a few places that I recommend.

Claridge’s Tea Room

Brook Street, Mayfair, London

W1K 4HR

Betty Bumbles Vintage Tea Room

30 Market Square St. Neots, UK

PE19 2AF

Sandringham Cafe & Restaurant

Sandringham Palace, UK

PE35 6EH

St. Ermin Hotel Tea Lounge

Caxton St. Westminister London, UK

SW1H 0QW

Peacocks Tearoom

65 Waterside Ely, UK

CB7 4AU

Categories
Dinner England

Tap and Kitchen Oundle

Tap and Kitchen

One of the most adorable towns in England I’ve been to is Oundle. At the request of one of my very best gal pals, I made the journey to Tap and Kitchen in Oundle to say farewell over dinner. I was impressed my very first time so I returned bringing along my family so they could experience a Tap and Kitchen meal. This review is a combination of both experiences which were lovely.
Tap and Kitchen is just on the outskirts of Peterborough. Right as you pull into the town it is on the right hand side and it has it’s own little wharf. Don’t go too fast or you will pass right by. The parking lot is gravel, so on rainy days be sure to have some wellies close by. When you walk inside you are transported to a homey shabby chic place. There are velvet chairs and frilly lampshades hanging from the ceiling. There is also an outside seating area but I don’t suggest outdoor seating during rainy season.
Tap and Kitchen Oundle reminds me of one of my favorite places I like to consider one of the best kept secrets in Tampa – Stein and Vine. The menu changes daily so if you see it and want it get it, because chances are it won’t be there tomorrow. The bar is stocked full of gin and other spirits and flowing from the tap are local beers. Now to the best part…the food.

Starters

I ordered something new as a starter.  Pea Kofta with minted paneer, harissa mayonnaise and pickled onion.  The harissa mayonnaise is the perfect dip for both the pea kofta and the minted paneer.  If you ever see this on the menu, order it.

These scallops were featured on my Instagram account and are quite possibly the best scallops I’ve ever had. These king scallops are served on a bed of peas, chorizo, samphire and potato puff. Not only are the colors visually appealing, the texture of the peas, potato puff and chorizo complement the scallops.

Main Courses and Sides

Ever since I had my first bite of sweet potato gnocci, I’ve been hooked. The first time I tried it was at Boca Brandon.  Anytime I see it on a menu I have to order it and this time was no exception. There is just something about the sweet, savory, melts like butter gnocchi that can not be denied. Pair it with some asparagus for that added crunch and voila you’ve got yourself a star dish. I was so convincing with my order, three of my friends ordered the same thing. I’ll just say none of us were disappointed.

On my second trip I got the pork belly for my main.  The pork belly was placed atop of wholegrain mustard mash, savoy cabbage with pan jus. The top of the pork belly was seared just right.  My husband got the salmon with roasted vegetables. The mains were simply amazing!!

I was initially skeptical when I ordered the zucchini, tomato and chorizo side.  I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.  Somehow it worked.  The zucchini was still firm and the chorizo gave it just enough kick.

Desserts

One of the most common desserts in the UK pubs is sticky toffee pudding.  As you can see from the picture below, it’s a monster of a dessert.  If you haven’t had sticky toffee pudding, visit Tap N’ Kitchen for one of the best around.

Me and my one of my best gal pals as we say see you later.  She is the reason that Tap and Kitchen is forever a part of my life. Thanks Brook!

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Categories
Cambridge England

Sushimania buffet in Cambridge

I love a good sushi place so when my friends mentioned driving to Cambridge for a all you can eat sushi buffet, I was game. Our party was fairly large 4 adults and 4 children so when we walked up we were told there was a wait to get in. I usually take this as a good indication. If there is a wait, it is pretty popular and pretty good.

Sushimania menu

There are two options of ordering. You can order from the menu a la carte or you can order from the buffet menu. It’s a little over £17 for the buffet per adult and you can have up to 6 items on the table at once. Basically if you have 6 adults you can only have one item and once you finish that you can request something else from the menu. Oh and you only have an hour and 45 time limit to eat, can’t sit there all day.
DSC04150
I would love to say that it was a wonderful experience, unfortunately it was not. I’ll paint the experience picture first, don’t worry I’ll be brief. We were seated upstairs, they accommodated our prams being downstairs which was nice. Once we were seated, we were just kind of left for a bit. I had to make eye contact with someone I assumed was our waitress and ask her how we are supposed to order. She brought over menus but failed to explain how to order. A gentleman who I assume was either the owner or manager came over to retrieve our order cards, but immediately questioned our order. In a very accusatory tone, he explained that children could not share our food and that if we were caught sharing we would be charged half price for them. I understand the underlying principle of the policy to ensure that people aren’t just ordering and sharing plates. However he hadn’t even gone over the order to see what order was for who. My children’s order was from the a la carte menu. Our entire service we were being watch to see who was eating what, uncomfortable is putting it lightly. Ready to see what we ate?
Ordering from the sushimania buffet menu as a group isn’t as convenient as one may think, all of our sushi rolls came on a single plate. We were left to guess whose was who’s because well our waitress didn’t explain. I ordered a duck roll that was duck and cucumber with a duck sauce. It was pretty good. I also ordered a Nigri roll one with eel and one with octopus. The texture of the eel was different than I expected and the octopus was good.
Sushi rolls from sushimania buffet
I also ordered chicken udon noodles, a teriyaki chicken skewer and a spicy tuna roll.  The teriyaki chicken skewer was good and my children enjoyed it.  I did not finish the spicy tuna roll, the fish didn’t taste fresh.
 

Here are a few tips to know incase you decide to give Sushimania a try:
The miso soup does not come with a spoon, you are supposed to drink it.
When you are ready to place an order put your menu up in the air (they will come grab it).
As previously mentioned, children are not allowed to share your plate…tell those scavengers to get their own lol.
 
I have not given a bad review in a very long time.  In fact no dining experience I have ever had has been this abysmal.  Perhaps both the food and the service are better if you order from the main menu.  Perhaps it was just an off day.  Whichever the case I will not be returning.  In a sea full of fish, there is literally other sushi out there.
 
 
 

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch England

Brunch at the River Terrace Cafe

England is full of quaint towns and unless you happen to live in one of them chances are you’ll never have the pleasure of seeing them. The movie Joker just came out and my darling husband got us tickets for a Matinee. Yay for a day date without the kids. Our friends decided to join us and requested to have brunch before hand. This is how I was introduced to the darling review terrace café.

Nestled right up against the River Great Ouse, I drank my hazelnut latte that the barista had just finished brewing. I sat with my friends and husband engaging in small talk occasionally staring at the menu. Brunch decisions are always difficult for me. I am especially partial to Eggs Benedict as I have pretty much made that the standard by which I rate brunches. I ordered a fruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam to hold me over. It had been calling my name from the moment I’d walked in. There was little evidence left behind with exception of the remnants of powdered sugar on my fingertips.

Fruit SconeFruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam

Clotted cream is a thick cream made from whole milk using a steam bath or steam then cooled slowly in a shallow pan. 

After much back and forth between the Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine and Breakfast bowl; I settled on the latter. As if quinoa, tomato pesto, a poached egg, spinach, mushrooms and a blistered tomato weren’t enough; I upgraded it. Salmon and halloumi cheese took that breakfast bowl from an A to an A++. They key to eating th bowl is to cut up the mushroom and tomato, then pop the poached egg. Lastly take the tomato pesto and pour it all over the bowl making sure to cover the quinoa. Not only does it look good but it is well balanced too. It has almost every element of the food pyramid: grains, protein, vegetables, dairy and even some fats/oils.

 

 

 

If you are ever in the area of St. Ives, UK which is roughly 20 minutes from Cambridge stop by. Grab a latte, stay for brunch or if you’d prefer to dine a little later try their lunch.  It’s a favorite amongst the locals and I’m sure it will be a favorite for you too.

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Categories
Food Guide

British and Irish: 1000 foods to eat before you die.

Living in England gives me a pretty fair advantage when it comes to this list of 1000 foods to eat that are British and Irish before you die. I have currently tried 10 out of the 63 recommended food items. Listed below is my current list of foodcomplishments:

Afternoon Tea

A long standing tradition that dates back to the nineteenth century. Afternoon tea isn’t your sweet tea or iced tea. The best kind is a loose leaf tea similar to what you would have purchased at Teavana in the U.S. In the U.K. my favorite tea company is Whittard’s and their tea combinations are wicked. A more formal tea where you go out will also typically provide various tea options to include the famous Earl Grey and breakfast tea. Most afternoon teas include a serving of biscuits with clotted cream and jam. If you go to the right place, you might get lucky and check three things off your list. To see my afternoon tea recommendations click here.


Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash sounds pretty gnarly and if you get the right one it tastes pretty gnarly too. Simply put it’s sausage and mashed potatoes but the former sounds much better. The most common meat used for sausage is pork but don’t be dismayed, there are other types available for those who don’t eat swine. The most common sausage used is the Cumberland banger (sausage) but you could really get fancy and use any sausage. One of my favorites is a chicken and sage banger it definitely speaks to the savory side of me. One of the best places to get a bangin’ Bangers and Mash is at The George located at 2 High Street Spaldwich, Huntingdon UK PE28 0TD.


Black Pudding Hash

It looks just as appetizing as it sounds. So crazy little tidbit here, my daughter has a computer game called crazy café. One of the levels had a British breakfast and it included making a plate of black pudding hash, beans, eggs and mushrooms. I know some of you are wondering who thought up that combination. During the war food became scarce and well we know how that goes. I don’t know how it works but it works. So fast forward to us living in England and guess what is included in the traditional English Breakfast…you guessed it Black Pudding Hash. I was reluctant at first but you know what sometimes you have to eat in the moment. So to date the best Black pudding hash I’ve had has been at Johnson’s Farm in Huntingdon, UK.


Biscuits

These are your Pillsbury biscuits although a good southern biscuit is great. English biscuits are more of a biscotti texture. To Americans the closest thing to a biscuit would be shortbread biscotti I suppose. Many biscuits are served with cheese as they are sturdy enough to support a good brie with a nice chutney. That’s they way I eat them at least.


Borough Market

If you ever have the pleasure of making it to London or if you live in the UK and have not made it to London. Let me be the first to go on record and say visit the Borough Market. There is almost something for everyone there. I’ve had some amazing Paella, Ethiopian Food and Mushroom Risotto. It is set up food market style so you are free to roam from vendor to vendor and chose whatever is speaking to your soul.

My only recommendation is get there early and if you have a fear of crowd’s this isn’t the venue for you. It is literally shoulder to shoulder on Saturdays. The typical hours are 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, although Monday and Tuesday there are limited vendors. Mushroom Risotto from Borough Market London


Clotted Cream

The book describes clotted cream as the cream of raw milk that is left for 12 hours and then scalded. It’s so hard to describe but it reminded me of whipped butter the very first time I tried it. It is usually accompanied with strawberry jam and scones. The clotted cream at St. Ermin’s Hotel Tea Lounge is pretty darn good.





Fish and Chips

The signature dish of England is pretty much fish and chips. Any pub you go into will most likely have fish and chips as a staple on the menu. Chips for the record are what American refer to as fries except they are chunky so we would probably consider them almost wedges. The fish is commonly Haddock, Whiting or Cod and is usually covered in a light batter.  If you are fortunate the fish will be fried well enough that it isn’t drenched in grease. Drip a little lemon juice over that bad baby and Bam you are on the money. If you are in the area the fish and chips at the Duke of Cambridge is definitely worth a stop.

Fish and Chips


Mushy Peas

If you like peas you may be turning your head ever so slightly at the thought of mushy peas. If you don’t like peas I’m sure you are asking yourself how did this make it on the British and Irish 1000 foods to eat before you die list.  Well, the short answer is mushy peas are a British thing and hopefully I can convince you to give them a try. They are made using fresh early peas and usually mushed with some butter. Most of the peas lack salt so be sure to add salt and pepper to give them a good flavor. My favorite mushy peas to date have been mint mushy peas served at one of my favorite places the Brampton Mill.




Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

Sunday Roast is a thing in England and perhaps throughout Europe. Roasts can be roast beef, pork or chicken and they are usually accompanied with Yorkshire Pudding. I’m sure almost everyone growing up has had at least one Sunday Roast fresh out of Grandma’s kitchen. There really is not much different in American Roasts and English Roasts. What is different is Yorkshire Pudding. The name is deceiving as it is not pudding at all. It’s actually a puffy egg bread that baked and sometimes braised with roast drippings then covered in gravy. Currently, my favorite place to have Sunday Roast and Yorkshire Pudding is at the Brampton Mill in Huntingdon.






Scones

I added scones to my list because well they are quintessential of afternoon tea. If they are homemade the texture is a bit wonky but man oh man a warm English scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam will make your taste buds do the happy dance. Scones are often accompanied with clotted cream and served with Afternoon Tea as mentioned above. Best scone to date I ate at Betty Bumbles Vintage Tea Room.


Scones at afternoon tea





Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs are essentially a boiled egg incased in a meat such as ham or pork sausage. It is then breaded and deep fried. If I know what thing, I know deep fried foods are good. Due to the small nature of an egg, it makes a great appetizer. I’ve only tried them once and that was at the café at Sandringham palace and they were good. I know there are some amazing scotch eggs out there and I’ll keep searching until I find the best ones.

Scotch Eggs


If you’ve tried any of these dishes already let me know what you think. Is there anything on the list that isn’t already there? Also, be sure to check back for more additions to the list of British and Irish 1000 foods to try before you die as I continue to explore more food.  Be sure to check out the master list here for an overview of all the regions.

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Categories
Food Guide International

Foods to Eat Before You Die – The Ultimate Foodie Guide

If you are a food lover like myself then you may be interested in the mega list of different foods to try. I received the book 1,000 foods to eat before you die as a Christmas gift and I’m trying to work my way through it. It’s pretty much the ultimate foodie challenge.
The book is broken down by Region to help digest the massive amount of food recommendations. I find this to be helpful if you are traveling and want to cross a few things off the list or just experience the country’s culture. Listed below are the regions and it’s easy to see why the list has 1,000 items. In good spirit there are things that I’ve probably tried but not authentically. I think parcial credit can be given. For instance eating swiss chocolate that was gifted counts but the experience of eating it in Switzerland is much cooler. In instances like that, I’ll definitely update with the experience.
To see what I’ve tried click on each region. I will update this post each time I cross something new off the list.

  • British and Irish (English, Welsh, Scottish)
  • French
  • Belgian and Dutch
  • Italian
  • Spanish and Portuguese
  • German, Austrian and Swiss
  • Scandinavian (Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish)
  • Eastern European (Balkan, Bulgarian, Georgian, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian)
  • Jewish
  • Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern (Afghani, Armenian, Iranian, Israeli, Lebanese, Yemeni)
  • American and Canadian
  • Mexican and Latin American (Argentine, Brazilian, Colombian, Cuban, Peruvian)
  • Caribbean (Haitian, Jamaican)
  • African
    • North African (Egyptian, Moroccan, Tunisian)
    • West African (Nigerian, Senegalese)
    • East and South African (Ethiopian, Kenyan, Mozambican, South African)
  • Chinese
  • Japanese and Korean
  • Thai and Southeast Asian (Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Vietnamese)
  • Indian
  • Australian, New Zealand, Tahitian

This will be one heck of an adventure. Let me know if you’ve tried food from a specific region and what your favorite region is.
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Categories
Belgium Breakfast and Brunch Brussels

Peck 20 dominates brunch in Brussels

To peck at something means to slowly eat at it little by little. But Peck 20 will have you writing Webster’s dictionary to redefine the word.  While vacationing in Brussels with my family and friends, I looked up food in Brussels on Instagram and Peck 20 appeared.  Brunch all day?? Um hell yeah!  Up the hills and over the cobblestones we set off in search of greatness.  We planned our trip by looking at google maps and it was a mere 20 minute walk from our hotel. If you’ve ever been to Belgium you know the cobblestone streets present a challenge for adults at times. Yet here we were pushing a pram over cobblestone roads on a mission to get to Peck 20s…..I’m letting you know now, it was worth the trip.


We arrived shortly after breakfast which was a little disappointing because after reading the description on the menu their pancakes and smoothie bowls sounded delicious.  Next time we will get there before 11:30am for sure! 

Their menu offers gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options which is refreshing for those with dietary restrictions.  Additionally, they have indoor and outdoor seating available but parties bigger than four can be a bit of a challenge due to their demand.  Don’t be discouraged, we waited and were fortunate enough to sit our party of 6 by combining two tables.  Now on to the important stuff…..


WAFFLES

 

What do you get when you combine a Belgian waffle with breakfast?  Well for me it was a happy plate.  There are 5 different Peck Waffles to choose from and I almost ordered every single one.  What I love about their menu is that they included a waffle for the vegetarians.   I ordered the drunken sailor waffle which was a homemade leek waffle topped with two poached eggs with “groovy gravlax” salmon and their psycho sauce. 

Leeks are vegetables that belong to the same genus as garlic, onions, and chives.  

Surprisingly the waffle did not have an overwhelming leek taste. The consistency is the same that you would expect from a regular waffle.  The addition of the salmon and psycho sauce just took it over the top.

 

 

 

The real star is the Speachless Waffle which probably got it’s name from the fact that it will literally leave you speechless.  The only thing that could be heard were moans of complete and utter satisfaction.  Get this…the waffle is a chorizo waffle…topped with house fried chicken, two poached eggs, grilled cheddar AND bacon then topped off with a little psycho sauce as if this waffle wasn’t crazy enough. My husband ordered that and I only got a bite…Next Time I will order one for myself. 

 

Drinkz

 

What’s a proper brunch if there are no drinks involved.  Peck 20’s has something for everyone.  If you fancy coffee, they’ve got it.  Fresh pressed Juice more your thing??  They’ve got that too.  And if you just happen to need a pick me up from the night before.  Guess what?  They’ve got you covered.  I ordered a Bloody Mary made with jalapeno infused vodka. *insert your favorite comic strip fight sound*  Pow….Bam…Zing  it had it all.  The spicy kick on that drink was great.  I also ordered a fresh pressed apple and ginger juice and man o’ man was it great.

 

 

If you are looking for one of the best breakfast/brunch eateries around, then Peck 20’s is where it’s at.  Next time you are visiting Brussels, stop by Peck 20 for breakfast or brunch.  You won’t be disappointed and tell them Mettlefork sent you.

 

As always lovelies, 

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Categories
Copenhagen International

DØP hot dogs in Copenhagen are dope

Remember the OSCAR MAYOR song? If you do.. congratulations you just dated yourself.  If you live up North then you are probably a Nathan’s hot dog fan and if you live down south you most likely enjoy ballpark franks. Regardless of what your hit dog preference is døp hot dogs will run circles around them. They are literally in a class of their own.

Whoever fed Phil…feed me too

I must say a huge thanks to Phil Rosenthal for recommending this place on the show.  On my recent trip to Copenhagen I went on a scavenger hunt to find døp and see if it truly lived up to the hype. My husband was skeptical all the way up until the first bite.

I ordered a couple of different hot dogs with the intention of getting to try them all. Do you all know he wouldn’t share his? The one that I got him….just stingy. He finished his off and went back for seconds. I don’t know what it is that makes Copenhagen dogs so special. Perhaps it’s the special mustard that complements the sweet pickles or maybe it’s the ketchup?? I don’t know but what I do know is that these døp dogs are dope. You can’t really go wrong with any choice you make. You can get any of the sausages on a bun so you don’t have to feel pressured to get a hot dog instead of a sausage. Additionally, the side of mashed root vegetables that came with the sausage were perfect for my toddler.

Franks are dogs and dogs are weiners so does that mean that Frank is a weiner?

Best hot dogs in Copenhagen at døpDøP hot dog stand“Doggonit” my hot dog is gone
If you are running around the city center be on the lookout for døp I promise you won’t regret it. I’m already looking at flights to get back.