Study Abroad Favorite Finds in London…So Far
FINDING FAVORITES ONE DAY AT A TIME
By Emma White, Syracuse University
As the amount of time I’ve spent in London goes on I am beginning to settle into life here and all that it entails. I have survived my first week of classes and am beginning to venture out more and try new places. Yes, most of these are food places I must admit but hey I’m a foodie what can I say. One of my favorite areas so far I probably would not have gotten to see without going on the a school sponsored trip so take advantage of them whenever you can! You run yourself the risk of slight embarrassment when it comes to goofy tour guides and in my case, always being with someone in a brightly colored orange t-shirt (Go Syracuse?) but it’s worth it.
On the school sponsored trip to Greenwich I encountered one of best things I have ever eaten to date. Not to get all “Arrested Development” on you but it’s really all in the banana stand. The chocolate covered banana that is. Greenwich is a covered market with all sorts of food stands and artists selling all sorts of goods. The stand that caught my eye was a chocolate covered fruit stand. You could choose between a variety of fruit on a skewer as well as four different kinds of chocolate and toppings. And trust me, the picture doesn’t even do it justice.
Another spot I have encountered is Camden Market, one of London’s most popular open markets. It has funky punk rock shop-lined streets as well as food stands and your average big name stores like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. We spent most of our time in the market type areas in an effort to avoid places we could easily find at home. One of the highlights of Camden Market was this ice cream store called Chin Chin Nitro Ice Cream (sorry food again). What is Nitro Ice Cream you ask? Don’t worry we had no idea either but I would absolutely recommend it. It uses fresh ingredients and is then infused with liquid nitrogen on the spot. The result: the creamiest ice cream you will ever taste made right in front of you! The guy working must have thought I had never seen ice cream before by the way I was drooling over watching him make this.
Now obviously I won’t be making it to Greenwich or Camden Market on a daily basis, although I may be back for those chocolate covered bananas, so I’ve made a point to find a few favorite finds that are much more local as well.
The Hummingbird Bakery has many locations all throughout London and has the usual American style cupcakes, but better. When I went the line was out the door but it was well worth the wait. The red velvet cupcake was delicious and it seemed as if no one minded the wait once they tasted their cupcakes. As you may start to tell, I’m kind of a chocoholic so many of these places are for dessert but I swear they have places here in London that serve real food too.
I’ve also been exploring the area around school for good places to get food or kill time in between classes. One of my favorite places to go for lunch is a little French restaurant called Savoir Faire. It is right on Oxford St which is conveniently located and a great spot. It’s very small but has such a cute vibe. The walls are painted with scenes of the French countryside and the ceiling is covered with handwritten quotes. The menu has great traditional entree type plates but the section that truly caught my eye was the stuffed baguettes. It was so good I can safely say I will be making myself a regular at Savoir Faire. And any place that encourages wine at 1 pm is a-okay in my book.
For those of you who thought that football (or as we know soccer) was the national sport of England, you were wrong, it’s ping pong. Not actually of course but the amount of ping pong bars I have seen here is still a shock to me. They call them “pong” bars which we mistakenly took for beer pong (typical American right?) but there were no red solo cups in sight. We soon realized they actually have bars dedicated to playing ping pong! A few of my friends and I went to one called Bounce for drinks one night somewhat curious to see if there was something with this whole ping pong craze we were missing. It was surprisingly so fun! They had mostly appetizer foods and a wide array of drinks but everyone was there for the ping pong tables. I definitely missed the memo when ping pong made this big comeback but it’s back and it seems to be back for good.
I may not be a true local yet since I still look the wrong way when crossing the street (it’s harder than you think) but at least I’ve mastered the art eating over here.