Food, Travel

Weekend in London

So this weekend we took the bus up to London for a couple of days catching up with friends.

I started off Saturday morning feeling pretty smug that we’d got to Bristol Bus Station in good time, no stress. Then as we got to the front of the queue to board the National Express bus to London, we were politely informed that our booking was for the Megabus, which was departing from behind Debenhams in about 4 minutes.

The mad dash through the Bear Pit and to the bus, brought to my attention just how out of shape I am – I’m talking chest pains, shaking, and waves of ‘I’m going to throw up’. Definitely need to get back the gym, ASAP.

But, we made it on to the bus. And we coped with three hours of confinement surrounded by awkward conversations and people eating strange, funky smelling salads. Once we arrived at Victoria Coach Station we hot footed it over to the underground (with a quick stop at McDonald’s, don’t judge!) and off to South Kensington for the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Comptoir Libanais

Before we dived head first into our culture trip at the V&A, we went for ‘a feed’ at Comptoir Libanais.

I’ve seen a few of these around, with a vast menu of Lebanese dishes, but never tried them out before. It was very busy, but we were quickly seated outside under the heaters with the promise of inside spot when it opened up (we ended up deciding to stay out).

Despite the obvious mad rush of Saturday lunch time, the staff were lovely. However, I was pretty underwhelmed by the food.

My friend and I shared the Mezze platter for two. To be honest, it was probably a fair portion for one person – but a very light meal for two people to share. At the very least two of each thing on the plate- we had to split one falafel?!

But I would definitely recommend their homemade lemonade vodka drink – I had the Toufaha with apple, mint and ginger; it was so refreshing. Plus it helped take the edge off my already aching feet (breaking in new DMs is such a pain).

Victoria and Albert museum

After lunch, we went to the V&A, and we wondered round. We spent a good couple of hours looking at some impressively old statues, paintings, jewellery etc.

There’s currently a Dior exhibition on, which looks really good but it had sold out and the queues were long – so if you’re planning on seeing it then book ahead and get there early!

When we’d seen enough at the V&A we went for a few drinks before heading off to our Airbnb.

The Bite, Dalston

After checking into our Airbnb, a lovely little flat just minutes away from Dalston station, we had a quick power nap (we’re old now) and then went out to find some food.

We wanted comfort food, ie pizza, and somewhere chilled out and cosy to have dinner – The Bite checked all boxes. Read all about The Bite here.

Fix 126

A little morning stroll round Shoreditch brought us to Fix 126, for a coffee and a freshly made fruit smoothie. And a delightful doughnut!

Chick’n’Sours, Sevendials

We met up with more friends and went to one of the Chick’n’Sours, by Sevendials, bang on midday.

I was actually quite surprised at how many people were there, ready for some delicious fried chicken that early on a Sunday.

I had the chicken tenders, with their incredible hot sauce and a little pot of blue cheese as well – heaven.

After checking out the pelicans in St James Park, we headed back to Victoria and another bus journey home.

– Verity May

Jumpsuit – Marks & Spencer, Trainers – Converse, Leather Jacket – Marks & Spencer (10+ years ago!)

Food

The Bite, Dalston

Nestled on Kingsland Road, Dalston is a delightful little Italian restaurant, The Bite. We stumbled on it, late Saturday evening, tired and hungry for pizza; it didn’t disappoint.

The Bite has a casual, cosy feel, with friendly staff and a typical Italian menu: pizza, pasta, calzone.

Their pizzas are Neopoliatan style, with a thin base and lots of sauce.I went for the Capricciosa and to be honest, it was absolutely just as good as the ones I’ve had in Rome and Venice.

A lovely thin but doughy base, with a very generous helping of mozzarella, plus cooked ham, mushrooms, artichokes and green olives. For all those crazy pizza combinations out there, is there anything better than this classic?!

The Bite is a no frills kind of place, but cute and welcoming, with lots of delicious Italian comfort food.

The Bite, 533 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London E8 4AR

Food, Travel

Las Vegas

On our whirlwind tour of California, we also managed to skip over the border into Nevada, and spend a couple of nights in Sin City – Las Vegas.

MGM Grand Las Vegas

We drove through the desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, which took about 5 hours and was filled with some incredible, expansive views of desert and mountains. When we got to Las Vegas, we dropped the hire car at the airport and got an Uber to our hotel, the MGM Grand.

If we were going to Vegas I wanted to get the full, vibrant, brash experience – and staying on the main strip at one of those massive hotels and casinos was essential. Nothing can quite prepare you for just the size of everything in Vegas; the MGM Grand has over 6,000 rooms, plus a sprawling casino with over 2,000 arcade games and slot machines. There’s also restaurants, shows and events, and an impressive pool complex – you could pretty much spend your whole trip inside the hotel.

However, for our first night we had a quick turn around and out to catch LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors at the T Mobile arena. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a basketball game before, but despite watching from up in the heavens, the atmosphere was insane, and the game itself is so quick and skilled that it literally kept me on the edge of my seat.

La Salsa Cantina

Located in the depths of the Showcase Mall on The Strip, in a weird twilight, La Salsa Cantina offers probably one of the cheapest breakfasts in Las Vegas. If you’re there before midday, they have a $5 breakfast deal with eggs, bacon, tortilla and potatoes.

We however, decided to splash out on the breakfast quesadilla and the breakfast burrito.  It’s pretty much the definition of ‘cheap and cheerful’; a generous breakfast, lots of flavour, plus 99 cent Bloody Marys, what’s not to love?!

Las Salsa Cantina – 3785 S. Las Vegas Boulevard #1500, Las Vegas NV 89109

Las Vegas Strip

We started off after breakfast with a beer at the Sin City Brewing Company and a little shopping in the Miracle Mile shopping centre. Then we made our way back out to The Strip, and just wondered around all afternoon, taking in the pure excess of everything.

We checked out the flamingos at Flamingo Las Vegas, we had a drink in Caesars Palace, and we explored The Bellagio, before heading back to the MGM Grand.

Downtown Las Vegas

For our second night in Vegas, we decided to explore Downtown Las Vegas – here you can find some slightly smaller, and older, casinos such as El Cortez and the Fremont Street Experience, as well as amazing sushi.

Fremont Street is the highlight of Downtown Vegas, with the world’s largest video screen dazzling you from above, there were small stages with performers, as well as, of course, more casinos. It’s definitely worth venturing away from the main strip to explore downtown. 

Bocho Sushi, Las Vegas

One of the best meals for our entire trip, was the sushi at Bocho Sushi. We sat at the downstairs sushi bar, and ordered excessive amounts of food, it’s Vegas after all.

Starting off with 6 delightful beef gyozas ($7) and miso soup ($3), we followed up with a Spicy tuna roll ($6.50) and a California roll ($6).

We also tried one of their speciality rolls, Disco Inferno ($13) – spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, seared escolar, jalapeno, spicy mayo, spicy house sauce, eel sauce, with green onion and tobiko on top. Seriously, seriously, fiery and delicious.

Bocho Sushi – 124 S 6th St #150Las Vegas, NV89101

Find out more about our drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Amsterdam city travel blog
Food, Travel

Amsterdam in December

Amsterdam is a city I’ve wanted to go to for so long, and one thing or another’s always got in the way. So we ended up going in December on a very last min, spur of the moment trip.

We stayed in the ClinkNOORD hostel,  a quick (free) ferry ride across the water from Centraal station. It’s clean, funky and super convenient for a quick trip – our double private room was basic, but everything we needed as a base for exploring the city.

They also offer really great breakfasts, and have a pretty cool bar. We’ll definitely be staying at ClinkNOORD again for our next Amsterdam trip.

Amsterdam city travel blog

As for the rest of our trip, it was very very cold, icy and snowy – but there’s so much to do, see, explore around Amsterdam that it didn’t stop us at all.

Amsterdam travel blog

My favourite Amsterdam highlights include (and yes, they’re mostly food related):

Foodhallen

The Foodhallen is an indoor food market inside a renovated tram depot. With lofty ceilings, over 20 food stalls serving cuisines from all over and a really chilled out vibe, it was definitely worth trekking to the other side of the city for. We tried out some  bitterballen, beers, and gyozas.

Bitterballen at Foodhallen, Amsterdam

Foodhallen – Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam

BeerTemple

Not exactly an authentic Amsterdam experience, however BeerTemple is an American beer bar with 35  draft beers and around another 200 in bottles and cans – they also do a great cheese board if you’re feeling peckish while sampling the beers.

Cheese board, BeerTemple, Amsterdam

BeerTemple – Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 250, 1012 RR Amsterdam

Kantjil & de Tijger

We had dinner at Kantjil & de Tiger based on a recommendation from one of Tom’s friends. It’s a wonderful Indonesian restaurant, and as soon as you walk in you’re hit by the most incredible smell.

Luckily we were able to get a table for two without booking ahead – but for larger groups it’s probably worth making a reservation.

I went for the Nasi Goreng Rames – spicy stir fried rice with rendang (curry), satay skewers, fried vegetable and an assortment of other delicious bits. Probably one of the best meals we had in Amsterdam, and for €17 was pretty good value.

eating out in Amsterdam

Kantjil & de Tijger – Spuistraat 291/293, 1012 VS Amsterdam

The Butcher

We can’t go anywhere without trying to find the best burgers, and The Butcher, Amsterdam did not disappoint. It’s a very casual, diner, eat in or takeaway place: ideal for a quick, amazing dinner.

The Butcher, Amsterdam

I kept it simple and had The Butcher with Cheese: Prime Aberdeen Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, gherkin, Dutch Edam cheese and The Butcher sauce. It was absolutely perfect, and they also do some incredibly indulgent milkshakes, if you feel like being a bit extra gluttonous.

The Butchers – Paleisstraat 14 1012 RB Amsterdam

Cafe Sonneveld

We did one of the free (pay what you want at the end) walking tours around Amsterdam. It’s a great way to find out some of the history of the city, see the sights, and discover some local hidden gems like Cafe Sonneveld. 

Cafe Sonneveld, Amsterdam

Our tour finished outside the Cafe Sonneveld, and the guide recommended it as a good place to try out traditional dutch food.

I had Stamppot with meatball, and Tom had it with sausage. It was a delicious, warm and filling meal – just right for the end of a pretty chilly December walking tour. If you want to sample local food in Amsterdam, then Cafe Sonneveld is definitely worth a visit!

Cafe Sonneveld – Egelantiersgracht 72-74 , 1015 RM Amsterdam

Amsterdam travel blog