London for 1 (+2): Borough Market
There's something about turning 40 that feels like the end of December. (Are you all sick of me complaining about turning 40 yet? Don't worry - it'll all be over by Sunday). There's this need to come clean, to work things out, to have everything neat and organized and put into little drawers (I'm speaking both literally and figuratively, as always, of course).
Guess what? It's not going to happen, and I'll just have to reconcile myself to the fact that life may, indeed, begin at 40, but it's not beginning at point zero. I'll just take everything with me, the good and the bad, and we'll see what happens. That means I'll probably won't clean out my closet and organize my notebooks before Sunday, and I won't be able to make everyone I know happy. But maybe just a couple of people, then? And in the next 3 days, shouldn't I be able to cross some tasks off my list?
Like, the last of the London reports.
Borough Market has to be one of the nicest places in London to spend your Saturday morning. Start with the very best coffee at Monmouth Coffee Co. where they make their coffee exactly the way I like it: with a huge drip filter. When you're sufficiently caffeinated, just wander around - tasting samples of bread, pastries, cheeses, hams, sausages, chutneys, and pickles and jams.
I've heard it said that Borough market is mainly for tourists. I did not get that impression at all, and really, I can't see how tourists could keep this market alive - they wouldn't be the ones buying bacon, sausages, bread and vegetables, right?
I did have the very good fortune to be wandering the market with 2 locals: Dutch expat Natasja, who is a reader of this blog and who, when she noticed I was going to London, had sent me page long emails with all her favorite London culinary hotspots; and her Canadian boyfriend, who on this particular morning was shopping for meat to put on the barbecue. Exploring a market with locals actually buying stuff is so much more fun than just browsing - you get the chance to chat with the sellers, and one thing I noticed was how extremely proud and enthusiastic everybody was about their produce. From the Spanish hams at Brindisa, to the Polish sausage guy, the sweet ladies selling their home made Indian chutneys and pickles, the Melton Mowbray pork pie guy, and most notably the staff at Neal' s Yard Dairy - everyone took the time to talk, to explain, to share.
Natasja took me to Maria's market cafe, a tiny stand right in the middle of the market where you can get every English breakfast imaginable - bubble and squeak, sausages, eggs and bacon, washing everything down with huge mugs of black tea with milk. We had what's called an egg and bacon bap - eggs and bacon on a soft roll... can you imagine a more satisfying breakfast after a late night in the pub?
Thanks Natasja for taking the time to tell me about your London - too bad I wasn't there for longer, I would have tried out all the restaurants and pubs you mentioned! and for showing me around the Market, it made my visit so much more special.
For the rest of the London trip reports, see here:
I love London
Dinner at Konstam
Lunch at Hereford Road
Lunch at Bocca di Lupo
Now, feast your eyes!