Haven't Forgotten About You, London / by Nadia Fallahi

What a crazy last month or so it has been. First, I started recruiting for summer internships and landed one with the Content Strategy team at Facebook (and Instagram)!!  I am so excited for this opportunity (even if I get to miss rush and a week of school for it).  So don’t worry, you will be seeing a lot of the Bay on here as well as on my persona and the MHM instagram accounts.

I feel like I have been so in and out of London lately, mainly considering the immense amount of travel I have been enduring.  I guess this is what happens when USC so rudely takes away your three week spring break away from you and leaves you with nothing, but that is a story (mainly a rant) for another time.  While I do love London dearly, I was very excited to visit so many new places during my semester abroad, and traveling has truly been amazing (surprise!!!).  

Also, I took my brother to the famous Ally Pally to see Jamie xx, which, obviously, was an incredible evening.  I have seen Jamie three times in the last year, yet each performance has been so different from the last.  The Ally Pally is like London’s version of The Shrine, just a lot bigger and a ton of food and drink options.  

Throughout the last month of a few days here and there in London (and a couple skipped classes), I have trekked to the top of St. Paul’s, realized that maybe I do like Indian food, found the most incredible coffee shop to do work in and fell in love with some baeristas and juicers. 

 

FOOD

The Detox Kitchen

Walking to class one morning, I passed The Detox Kitchen and instantly was interested.  The small cafe and juice spot was open and inviting, with greenery everywhere and delicious looking items listen on their chalkboards outside.  I have eaten here a few times now, and I love it so much.  The Detox Kitchen is definitely a place that would be very successful in LA — from juices and smoothies to coffees and matchas to various (mainly vegan) dishes to choose from.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner, The Detox Kitchen is always an excellent option.

For breakfast, I usually get one of the wraps, which is filled with eggs, salmon, hummus, feta and spinach, all wrapped in a crepe.  I also like to split the avocado toast and start the day with a matcha latte and a Green & Lean smoothie, with added matcha and ginger, of course!  For lunch, I usually get the sweet potatoes filled with red onion, soya lemon yogurt and honey pecans, the quinoa salad with peppers, spring onions and cashew nuts and the veggie burger.  The Detox Kitchen is a little pricey but still very delicious — you will always leave feeling like a million bucks.

I would not even fathom the thought of eating at Dishoom because I still have a little PTSD from the food when I traveled to India in 2012.  After a week of eating only naan, green salad, weird noodles, Oreo cookies and drinking mango lassis and hella bottled water, I was ready to return home to my favorite chicken farm sub from Tally Ho — also, my dad decided to delve into all the stews, which resulted in major food poisoning — would not recommend.  Anyways, I decided to give in and see what all the hype was about.  The result?  I could eat here every week.

Dishoom is a swanky little Indian jaunt, with a pub kind of feel to it, featuring numerous dishes mainly to share — my favorite.  I love the tapas styles restaurants, especially when I am overwhelmed by a menu, so I can make sure to cover most of what I want to taste.  Over my couple of visits to Dishoom, I have been able to try a good chunk of their dishes, but I will probably still find something new to order there any time I visit.  I like to order some combination of the following: garlic naan, lamb samosas, chili cheese toast, Dishoom chicken Tikka roll, paneer roll, pau bhaji, house black daal, chicken ruby and chicken berry britannia biryani.  For dessert, I looooooove the pistachio kulfi on a stick.  Definitely try to go to Dishoom with friends with similar palettes — as someone who loves a little protein in their meal, it can be hard for me to go with a vegetarian (sorry, Cam).  Dishoom is a must hit in London — just make sure to go during lunch and you MUST make a reservation online.  Don’t even bother with trying to go at dinner unless you have a big enough group to make a reservation with.  I love the Coven Garden location.

 

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain is a basic, global chain, but I love going here for a little fix, especially since it is so close to my flat.  Le Pain is a little Belgian-style eatery that is delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I usually prefer to go during breakfast or brunch.  Never forget the time Daniel and I decided to have “brunch” at 4 PM here…

If you go to Le Pain, you are doing everything wrong by not ordering the avocado toast.  It is perfectly salted and topped with fresh avocado slices and pumpkin seeds.  I also like to get the baked eggs with salmon or the goat cheese salad.  They have an amazing matcha latte, which I usually order with almond milk — make sure to order a large cup.  Le Pain is the perfect spot to pop into when you need a quick bite.  Also, always ask for the different jams to spread all over your breads.

 

Timber Yard

If there is one place I will miss most when I leave London, it will be the Timber Yard (I mean this truly, as I write this, like many recent MHM posts, from the TY).  I glanced over to TY on my walk to Dishoom the first time, and I knew, immediately, that I would quickly return.  I love going to Timber Yard; it’s the perfect place to plop down with a pipping hot matcha to crank out work (or just people watch if you are lucky enough to snag a window seat on the ground level).  While there are a few locations, the TY in Seven Dials (Covent Garden area) is the location I always go to, without a doubt.

I always order the matcha latte with almond milk.  The food always looks incredible, especially the desserts — so much so that I often bring my own snacks as not to be tempted.  I mean, a matcha, pistachio and salted caramel croghnut???? Do you want me to die (of bliss and contentment, mainly)????  I will probably end up ordering a sandwich or soup one of these days.  They also have these juices which crack me up because they come with a literal full celery stalk in each of them.  Also, there is a hot baerista who always wears a grey beanie.


Joe & The Juice

My heart beats for the boys at Joe.  Noelle insisted that I must go to Joe & the Juice in London, as it is one of her favorites.  After my first visit, I knew I was already hooked.  Joe is the perfect spot to grab a coffee or juice on the go or to have in.  I love going to Joe, and you can find me there quite often (as frequently featured on my Snapchat).  

While Joe & the Juice has a pretty extensive menu, I usually stick to the same couple of items.  I order everything without bananas, also.  I really like the Heartbeat smoothie, but my favorites are the Sex Me Up juice and the Breakfast Club Hand Meal.  While the Hand Meal is nowhere near an açai bowl, it does satisfy a good amount of my cravings, and I do love a little granola, too.  Joe & the Juice originates in Denmark, with locations throughout London, so I hope that maybe LA will see one soon.  The boys are the staple of Joe + the Juice, as they only hire men (the feminist in me dies as I write this, but they are really cute and make good drinks, so I will bite my tongue here).  Regent Street has great boys, but everyone can agree that the ones at the Stansted Airport location are the best — I will never understand their level of energy and excitement at 7 AM.

 

Daniel and I ended up here one day in Camden Market because we clearly do not eat enough red meat (mainly burgers) in our lives.  The little location was packed, so we were seated at the counter.  This actually was pretty fun as we got to watch all of the Honest Burgers magic that was cooking up.

Daniel and I (surprise) went for a switcheroo and split a beef and chicken burgers with fries and onion rings.  While the beef was tender and delicious, I think that the chicken was BOMB.  The fries were crispy and not too greasy — you could taste the freshness so well.  

 

 

Hip Hop Brunch

Camille stumbled up a certain Hip Hop Brunch early on in the semester, and it only took us till March to finally come through.  Basically, Hip Hop Brunch was described as a flat price for bottomless drinks (for an hour) and three-course meal, followed by karaoke of various hip hop and rap favorites.  We decided to go all in with this (rather than just showing up for the karaoke).

Five of us went to a ~secret location~ on a Sunday morning in our best “hip hop attire” (as requested in the event letter) to serenade a group of people we did not know and get our grub on.  I, of course, woke up that morning feeling terribly sick which resulted in me passing out at my table.  We told the staff we were celebrating Miracle Month — which was a hit amongst the MCs.  The event was fun, but I did not feel like it was worth the 45£ we each dropped.  The event does need a lot of work and could be really popular in LA if they tweaked some things.  I think we were mainly upset that none of us actually got to do the karaoke.

 

Sticks n Sushi

Ever since getting sick before Berlin, I have been steering clear of sushi.  While me getting sick was not totally the sushi’s fault before, rather, a mix of things, I still associate it with getting sick.  I never realized how much I missed sushi before leaving LA.  I’m not sure what it is, but the sushi is just next level (like everything else) in LA.  Anyways, with some friends in town, we decided to hop on over to Covent Garden and try Sticks n Sushi.

I instantly was really excited about Sticks n Sushi, as the waiters all wear hilarious shirts (with sayings like “Sushi is Fish in Haute Couture”).  The menu was endless, yet I decided to stay close to what I know I love.  I started with a hot miso soup and kimchi with cabbage (not sure why they call it this since I was pretty sure kimchi was just pickled cabbage), followed by a spicy tuna roll.  If I go back to Sticks n Sushi, I will definitely get one of the preset orders to share, which the boys ended up ordering and highly enjoyed.  End result: I did not get sick and have even ordered sushi one other time since then!

 

The Riding House Café

We ended up at Riding House after issues getting last minute tables at Dishoom and The Breakfast Club.  Everyone raves about the brunch at Riding House, but of course, we went too late on a Monday and just missed the breakfast time.  Nonetheless, the food was delicious, even if it took them 283958254823 years to bring us our food.

I got the goat cheese crostini and chopped salad with grilled chicken and haloumi cheese (my absolute favorite).  The portions were perfect, and everything was flavorful.  The meal was not too heavy, and I will probably eat here again — I’ll just make sure to come when brunch is still happening.

 

Cream Tea at The British Museum

I was greatly disheartened when I learned that cream tea was literally just tea with milk in it.  Still, it was great to go to The British Museum for cream tea with our professor from Accent (which will teach the USC class that is ruining our spring break.  Again, smh USC).  Besides the fact that the tea was free, it was great to sip the tea (in both ways) while catching up with the group.  Not to mention, the café space in The British Museum where they do the tea is super rad.  

We each got to choose our own tea (I got Earl Grey) and were presented with two scones — one with dried fruit and one plain.  While there may not have been anything extra special to the cream tea, it was a fun activity.

Joanna and I ended up trying Maple + Fitz for lunch one day randomly.  We thought about going to The Breakfast Club and then Dickie Fitz, but when walking down good ol’ Goodge Street, we decided on Maple + Fitz.  Maple + Fitz is a more downscale Detox Kitchen, in a way, with different food and drink selections.

I opted for the poached eggs on toast (which I wish was warmed up), Mexican Standoff salad and grilled haloumi cheese slices.  I also ordered the Jet Setter smoothie, which was really good.  The food was really fresh and filling, but I do wish that it came served hot.

 

LIFESTYLE

The Photographers' Gallery

For my photography class, we had a field trip to The Photographers' Gallery.  I was really excited for this because who doesn’t love field trips, especially those that are a 15 minute walk from your flat (which means you can sleep in later).  The gallery was about four floors, each exhibiting a different collection of work from a specific artist.  The space was really cool but very small.

The trip to The Photographers' Gallery resulted in most of our class dipping out and leaving early.  While the photographs were interesting, the visit just dragged on too long and did not really seem to have a purpose.  I think it would have been a lot more effective and exciting should we have seen photographers we actually knew or learned about in class.

 

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever climb enough steps in churches.  I think this is mainly due to the intense claustrophobia I endured when trying to climb the Duomo in high school.  Anyways, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a staple in London, almost always being featured in any skyline photo or drawing you may see.  My Art + Society class visited St. Paul’s one morning, and after much consideration, I decided to climb to the tippity top of the cathedral. 

St. Paul’s Cathedral was immense and beautiful.  The space is really enormous and lavish, and I only wished that they would let you take photos inside (don’t worry, I snuck a few).  They also feature a couple modern art pieces, which I will admit, I do not understand why, as most of the pieces seemed really out of place.  The view from the top was incredible.  I highly recommend trying to make it to the very top, even if the staircase looks terrifying.  You’ll thank me later.

After touring the BBC over the summer, I was timid to jump at the chance to do it again (especially cause our spring break-ruining USC class is set to visit it also).  I said “What the heck!” and decided to go.  I mean, how many people can say that they have visited the BBC three times in a year?  Anyways, this tour was generic and something anyone could buy tickets to, not like our exclusive tour of the newsrooms from the summer.  Nonetheless, it was still very fun.

We spend most of the time in the BBC radio studios learning about their radio and TV programming.  We also got to demo a newscast and radio drama, which was fun, but nothing too extraordinary.  The BBC Tour is a cool thing to do if you run out of things to do in London, but I would not make it a priority. 

 

Royal Academy of the Arts

I always see these magazines and posters with some piece of art on the front and a big RA in the corner.  Too lazy to investigate, I wondered where it could be from.  Upon visiting the Royal Academy of the Arts, I quickly learned.  The Royal Academy of the Arts is a historical gallery in London, featuring various temporary exhibits.  My class visited during the Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse exhibit, and I was really excited to see some pieces from my favorite artists.

I think we visited during senior citizen happy hour because they place was packed, and our class was significantly outnumbered.  The space was maze like, making it hard to lecture in, so my TA told everyone to go through, and we would meet at the end to recap.  One of my classmates and I blew through the exhibit, as it was wayyyyyyy overcrowded and became repetitive after a while.  I feel terrible for saying this, but it is what it is. I would return to the RA again if they had an exhibit I was really hyped about.

Camden Market, right next to the Camden Lock, is a popular stop for many people in London, visitors and locals alike, especially on the weekends.  Most people head that way for the Cereal Killer Café, but there are yards and yards of stalls with various options to dine from.  I personally do not think the Cereal Killer Café is for me (I hate milk), so I would stick to the stalls.  Daniel and I opted for Honest Burger, but I would love to try some of the Pad Thai or burritos from the other stalls also.

Camden is a grimey spot — it looks like Venice Beach and the Fashion District in DTLA had a baby.  While it may not be the nicest spot in London, the market is definitely worth a visit!

 

The Shard
The Shard is something I would not have even thought to do, so I am really glad that Noelle and Dillon wanted to do it.  The Shard is the tallest building in London, and you can buy a ticket to go up to their viewing decks on the 68 and 72 floors.

We went at sunset which is probably the best time to visit.  The views were incredible — I thought that St. Paul’s was high, but I was greatly mistaken.  We could see all the way throughout London, as we sipped on a glass of champaign (get the student + champagne ticket if you are a student) and watched the sky change every minute.  The Shard is a spot I would highly recommend and stress visiting.  It will take you like 40 minutes to do (if you’re in a rush) and is really worth every pence. 

 

Matcha Had Me...exhausted from the last month of travel but very excited to spend the next few weeks in London...especially with my 21st birthday right around the corner...