Saturday, June 11, 2016

London 2015 Day 16: Borough Market, Hither Green, and Camden Lock

London 2015 Day 16: Borough Market, Hither Green, and Camden Lock

Up and at 'em! It's my first full weekend here in London and so I wanted to make sure to make the most of all the time. I got up early and headed first back to the epic Borough Market where Michal and I went last week, this time armed with some recommendations of what to try. Overwhelmed with happy Sat. market feelings, I went straight to the longest line. Rob had recommended I get the "3-cheese toastie" from a place called Kappacasein, and it was a stellar recommendation.

Worth every second of waiting, the crispy bread with the flavoursome, buttery cheese was a total win. The cheesy, crispy fresh artisan bread was both crusty and soft. "10/10, would buy again"! Continuing on to the fruit market, I got some fresh rosemary for making potatoes back home and some fruit. Of course I had to go by the Biltong stand again and that was great. I asked if someone there was South African -- "We are Italian. Well, plus Biltong." Ok! I asked about bureovors but no luck.

Continuing on in the market, I went by a cider stand which was hilarious and the owner was so funny. Whew, it was strong but excellent! He was excited I was from San Francisco -- he was buddies with the Anchor Steam guys and an early investor. "They were almost out of business in the '70's". Interesting conversation and funny fellow. I tried the medium cider, it was 7%! Very tasty though quite strong for 11am. Lots of fun wandering in the market, I found Manx Kippers!! haha. Our old cat in Oxford was named Kipper... if he had no tail, then he would have technically been a Manx Kipper ;)

The pie shop Pieminister looked good (and had a hilarious name), but too much food already. I tried some Comte from the cheese guy and he was awesome... very passionate about cheese! My other favourite place was a spot called ION Patisserie. "I can only walk by so many times before buying something" I told the French ladies there. I got their Chocolate Cheesecake and it was PERFECT. Mouthwatering. So smooth and flavoursome, and with a graham-cracker crust. Just perfect. I am definitely going back there again.

I ended up near Monouth Coffee on the far side of the market and paused in wonder at the grocer selling fruit, "Get your fresh strawberries! Only 2 pound a box!" It was like going back in time. His accent was really great and he was selling strawberries like mad. I went for it and it was totally worth it.

Next stop was The Whisky Exchange. They had an insane selection of 1500 bottles, pretty darn amazing. I asked the very knowledgeable lady there for help, she had tried many of these already and had comments on lots of them. I asked her for a recommendation for something like Glenmorangie La Santa but with a little smoke or peat, and something I will never find in the US. She suggested a few options, Mortlach, Dailuaine, and an Aardmore released by Gordon & MacPhail. I went for the Dailuaine, she said it was often used for blends and you don't usually find it on its own. This is a 16 yr Single Malt, christmas cake, smooth rich flavours... yep!

On the other hand, I was keen for something like Laphroaig. She suggested the Port Askaig. I tried the 15 and it was very nice, but got the 12 since it was more affordable. It's not a "real distillery" she said, "they borrow equipment from other distilleries on Islay". They may export one day, but not yet. That was pretty cool and another interesting choice that I'd never see back home, so figured that was worth picking up too. They had a lot of unusual ones, including Ardbeg's "Almost There"! Tons of crazy stuff. Super fun.

After a walk back through the market, I headed to the train station to go towards Hither Green to my old buddy Rob's house for a BBQ. Rob and I worked together wayyyy back at Alias|Wavefront and he's been in London for several years. Was fun to hang out there and lots of the other folks there were effects people too, most from MPC. It was a very international group, with folks from Belgium, France, Italy and Australia. A cat walked on the back wall of Rob's place and the Italian guy was so funny, "Oh, she is so nice, I like cats". Fun times. The weather held up and we had a nice outdoor BBQ and enjoyed good company and good times. It was fun and an interesting change of pace to head out to the outskirts quite a distance from the city and see a different landscape and vibe from London.

Talking about random cats, I walked back to the station and met "Ziggy"!!! There was a man shammying his hatchback car (this being the most British thing I had seen all day). With his toothless smile (or at least missing a few teeth), the friendly fellow noticed my interest in the cat at his feet and said, "Oh yes, this is Ziggy!" I told him "He sure looks like a Bowie fan!" It was not actually the man's cat, as such. "He lives around, comes round the back, there the house, and out the front", he explained, "I have 5 cats, so they jockey for position. He goes upstairs and causes trouble!" This was so awesome. The man could tell I was foreign and asked "Here visiting for a while?" Nice fellow and fun and great to wander into the English countryside and have nice friendly people say Hello. Great times!


"He goes upstairs and causes trouble!"
I took the train back up to London Bridge and then to Camden Town. I wanted to see Camden Market but people told me it was not that great anyhow. I went and was worried I had left it too late in the day and wouldn't have much time left to explore, but it was just fine. It was pretty touristy, so good just to see what it was and continue on. Some prints and canvas art were pretty cool, but mostly mass-produced stuff and crappy t-shirts/touristy stuff, and junk food, so I wandered briefly, took some photos of the Doc Martens knock-offs and headed back to SoHo.

This bar had a hot tub in it.
After all this eating I figured it made sense to work out a bit. I went by the office, grabbed my workout clothes, and went to the YMCA to start my free pass. Sweet! It was great and the pool there was really fantastic. They even had a sauna and a steam room too, which was awesome! Couldn't believe this was so easy and accessible and I was excited to use it throughout the trip. I swam for a while (note, next time take a towel and water slippers), and was pleased to have some proper exercise to balance all the chips and biscuits.

Since it was so close to the office, I dropped my stuff back there afterwards and picked up my groceries, and headed home for dinner. As was the style of my "do all the things" day, I was back home for an hour and then out again! This time to Shepherd's Bush for the cinema to go see a movie that night. I went to Avengers 2 and it was totally awesome. Nice rigging ;) ILM FTW :) A long and epically packed day. Time to relax and sleep!

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