I love visiting Chelsea whenever I’m in London – so many great restaurants as well as my favorite museum, the Victoria & Albert. This trip we made reservations at Rabbit. From their website:
“Our ever changing menu champion’s local and wild British seasonal produce. We use all things wild, foraged, and locally grown, including sustainable livestock from the Gladwin’s own family farm in West Sussex. Plus we have a range of English Wines from our own vineyard.
Dishes are presented as “small plates” designed for sharing or to enjoy individually. Our team will guide you through the menu to help you make a balanced selection of dishes.”
The food was really delicious and I loved that we were able to share all of the plates. Standouts were the smoked butter and the partridge nuggets.
I love visiting London and this time we planned a weekend trip with our friends Chris and Hannah! From Brussels to London, it’s only a 2 hour train ride – fast and easy!
St. Pancras Train Station is in Kings Cross, so my trips always begin here. I love visiting Granary Square and walking along the Regent’s Canal. Normally we always visit Dishoom or The Lighterman for lunch, but we decided to try somewhere new and more traditionally British – Piebury Corner for meat pies and scotch eggs.
Continuing with vegetarian cooking, I decided to make the Turkish dish Imam Bayildi for dinner. Imam Bayildi contains my favorite veggies – oven roasted tomatoes and eggplant as well as caramelized onions. Yum!
The name Imam Bayildi literally translates into “the imam fainted”. There are a couple of stories behind the name:
1) A Turkish imam swooned with pleasure at the flavor when presented with this dish by his wife and he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish.
2) An imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant and her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening in an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted.
After a long vacation I am always excited to get back in the kitchen! After so much meat and seafood I was ready for a few days of vegetarian dishes and headed to My New Roots in search of a delicious fall dish. The Pumpkin Miso Broth with Soba caught my eye and didn’t disappoint. So delicious! In her recipe she recommends dried seaweed, but in Belgium it’s so easy to find different types of fresh seaweed – including my favorite, samphire – so nice and juicy!
For our last dinner in Porto we decided to eat at Cantinho do Avillez, the more casual and relaxed restaurant of Chef José Avillez. Chef José Avillez is the most famous chef in Portugal and is most famous for his restaurant Belcanto, currently ranked #75 best restaurant in the world. Whereas Belcanto is pure Portuguese cooking, Cantinho do Avillez is Portuguese with inspiration from trips abroad. The cherry gazpacho and green bean tempura were the best!
For our last evening in Porto, we ventured out to the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal to watch the sunset on the Douro River. The gardens are so beautiful and worth spending a couple of hours walking around and exploring.
On our last day in Porto we decided to take a walk through the historic downtown area. The city is not too big and perfect for strolling – given you don’t mind steps and inclines! It’s a shame we didn’t have better weather, but the clouds didn’t take away from the beauty and charm of the city.
Like any Harry Potter fan, if you’re in Porto, you have to visit Livraria Lello. J.K. Rowling lived in Porto teaching English from 1991 to 1993 and was a frequent customer and many say it was a direct inspiration for the books (which when you see below if evident). Livraria Lello is not only one of the world’s oldest bookstores (opened in 1906), but frequently ranks as one of the most beautiful.
View of the beautiful dining room before all of the tables filled up
Koen and I love gastronomic tourism – you really are able to get a sense of the city and culture by eating the food. While in Porto, we couldn’t pass up the chance to eat at The Yeatman, one of only two 2 star Michelin restaurants in Portugal (the other being Belcanto in Lisbon). Most notable is the wine cellar at The Yeatman. Maybe the name sounds familiar if you’ve been reading my posts – it comes from the port house Taylor, Fladgate, & Yeatman, more commonly just called Taylor’s Port.
One of our must-do’s while in Porto was taking a trip to the Douro Valley. You have many options for getting there – renting a car, taking part in a tour that begins in Porto, or taking the train. If you know Koen and me, we love taking the train (hence the Trans-Siberian Express vacation we took two years ago from Moscow and ending in Beijing). So any opportunity for a long train ride – we’re in! Plus that means no one has to drive and we’re both able to enjoy the tasting.