A drive through Cheddar, Bath, a visit to Stonehenge + a Sunday roast at River Cottage Bristol.

A drive through Cheddar, Bath, a visit to Stonehenge + a Sunday roast at River Cottage Bristol.

I got back from Lincolnshire late yesterday evening, and went straight to the hostel for an early night as Husni was picking me up early this morning to go for a drive out west. We had tossed up over a few locations, Oxford, The Cotswolds – but finally settled on a drive to Cheddar, one of the ‘Great British Drives’, stopping off at Stonehenge on the way.
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Guinness Brewery, a Pub from the 11th Century, Irish Stew + Boxty Pancakes.

Guinness Brewery, a Pub from the 11th Century, Irish Stew + Boxty Pancakes.

Today we were off the the Guinness Brewery, so a hearty breakfast was in order. We started the day walking the grey sidewalk in the rain until we hit Brother Hubbard, a little cafe inviting those cold, wet souls in from the sidewalk with baked goods, heat lamps, and a funky decor. We couldn’t decide on what to order from their Moroccan-influenced menu, so just ordered a pile of things.

We started with their Ginger scones, slathered in orange blossom butter and topped with a selection of jams: apple with a hint of clove, berry with rose and almond, and spiced marmalade.
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London Fields, Afternoon Tea + a meat restaurant in an old, bombed church.

London Fields, Afternoon Tea + a meat restaurant in an old, bombed church.

Soooo I found my new neighbourhood. London is cool, but I hadn’t found anywhere I really wanted to live. Today, I did. A guy in a coffee shop in Bloomsbury had lived in Adelaide for a while, so told us as Melbournians we would probably like London Fields. So we planned to head out Hackney way to check out LF and Victoria Park Village (which I had heard was like a little country village in the middle of London). We headed over on a sunday to check out the market, and got so caught up with the neighbourhood, completely forgot to go to the market. We stopped in at a great cafe, Coffee is my Cup of Tea, in a row of cafes in the converted Railway Arches. I had some soft-boiled eggs, mackerel and mixed salad on sourdough, and a delicious banana and cinnamon smoothie.
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Toad in the Hole, a damn fine Brunch + Tea at the Tate.

Toad in the Hole, a damn fine Brunch + Tea at the Tate.

There is a distinct chance that I will not survive to the end of this post. I am sitting here in great misery, after consuming a quantity of British food that shocked three fully grown men. My sense of pride did not allow me to stop, even when I knew that it was time. When a waiter states, ‘I’ll be really surprised if you can finish that,’ I take that as a direct challenge. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind to this morning.
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Scotch eggs, Korean BBQ burritos + Buckingham Palace.

Scotch eggs, Korean BBQ burritos + Buckingham Palace.

Today we were off to the weekly Real Food Market at Southbank.

Self-described as a market/food festival that has an ‘amazing range of great produce and [features] the rising stars of London’s street food scene, each trader has been carefully selected based on their commitment to producing the very best, sustainably and ethically produced food and drink.’

First thing this morning we took the tube down to Southbank and head straight to the market while the vendors were still setting up. The bar on street food here in London is really, really high – so a compilation of the best of the street food the city has to offer was sure to be a feast.

We wandered the stalls twice and picked out very carefully what we were going to eat. The traders use only the best ingredients, with a focus on free-range and organic meats and farm fresh vegetables.
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Melbourne coffee in London, grilled duck + buttermilk fried chicken.

Melbourne coffee in London, grilled duck + buttermilk fried chicken.

Straight out to the Clerkenwell Workshop Coffee Co. location this morning, we head in, sat down, ordered our lattes and looked around at the much-bigger-than-their-other-location space. The back of the cafe is the roasters, out in the open and viewable by customers. With the beans churning around against a wall of ferns, and the rest of the cafe decked out in rich wood, iron and white tiles, I can see this as a frequent hang-out place in my future. Nooschi. explains how Melbourne coffee is an art form here, and talks about Workshop’s dedication to the art.
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Curries, scones + peach cocktails in Soho.

Curries, scones + peach cocktails in Soho.

Husni was signing his lease for his new flat today, so we head over to his new ‘hood, known for its coffee, and sat around in a coffee house / barber shop while we waited for him. The Barista was from Australia, so we discussed Melbourne coffee for a while and he told us London is the global hub of coffee at the moment. I think our Melbourne-snob hackles got up a bit – he explained that while the London coffee scene is at the forefront with technology, the scene is saturated in Melbourne so anywhere you go will have good coffee. That pacified us a little… (even though we know he is probably right.)
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A day in the French quarter with Muffuletta sandwiches + a Jazz Brunch.

A day in the French quarter with Muffuletta sandwiches + a Jazz Brunch.

Last day in New Orleans, and it is what most of the town considers a recovery day after Mardi Gras.

We were up bright and early however, for a Jazz Brunch at The Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter. After a big meal of pecan pie, grits and grillades, turtle soup, shrimp creole, bananas foster on pancakes, jambalaya and cajun corn salad, we spent the rest of the day wandering the French Quarter, checking out the French Market and picking up some food for the dinner I am cooking for Lee and Anthony tonight, as a thank you for letting us stay.
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Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.

THE BIG DAY HAS ARRIVED!!

One of my top bucket list items, it’s time for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We woke up super early to have breakfast with Anthony’s housemate Lee and his friends – sausage and eggs to fuel us for a long day of drinking, dancing, and jumping for beads.

The house is right on the parade route on St Charles, so we sat inside in the warm until the parade tracker told us it was time to head out. As the parade drew closer, more and more of Lee’s friends turned up until we had about 12 people waiting. Finally, we heard the bands marching down the street so there was a mad scramble to head outside to catch the beginning of the first (and best) parade of the day, Zulu.

It was my favourite parade of the week – awesome things were being tossed out of the floats, footballs, parasols, coconuts – there was such an excited vibe in the crowd. They had the best marching bands too – you couldn’t help but just all dance in the street.
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Lundi Gras, flying burritos + the best donuts in the world.

Lundi Gras, flying burritos + the best donuts in the world.

Late start today on Lundi Gras, as we had a big day ahead of us and a big Mardi Gras tomorrow. We had tried to go to Juan’s Flying Burrito last night but had just missed it – so the first thing we did today was head back to the creole taqueria for some crazy fusion mexican food. Last night I had thought it would be a hilarious joke to call my friend Juan (in Australia) and yell at him for his flying burrito shop being closed. He was at work at the time, and found my ridiculous tirade hysterical – so I may have had to buy him a Juan’s Flying Burrito shirt as a souvenir (yes, Juan, it is coming your way!).

I ordered the El Pastor Burrito, with slow cooked shredded pork, pineapple, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, pinto beans and yellow rice. They also have quesadillas with blue cheese and bacon, or goat cheese and adobo chicken.
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