It’s been almost 11 months since I moved to London, and I don’t, for a single second, regret my decision to leave New York City. After so many years in the big apple, I needed a change.
London, being a world city, draws a lot of parallels to New York from a food perspective- great cocktails, good brunch spots, and a range of cuisines for every budget.
However, there are some things I miss about New York- friends (obviously), but also, unsurprisingly, some of the great eats I took for granted while living in the city.
Peruse Pinterest, and you’ll see plenty of outrageous ‘treat your self’ eats hailed as ‘must haves’ while visiting New York (think: freakshakes, rainbow bagels, cupcakes, ramen burgers, and so on).
The foods I miss though are less ultimate, and more regular eats. Whether you live in New York or are visiting, they’re foods I’d recommend seeking out. And, if you do, let me know what you think- I likely won’t make it back to New York until spring 2018 so I’ll be dreaming of these eats until then.
Sure, you can find “bagels” in London, and elsewhere in Europe. But, nothing compares to a real NYC bagel- big, thick, chewy and jam packed with cream cheese, or loaded with egg, cheese and bacon. Most Saturday mornings, but especially after a night out, I’m missing three of my usual spots- Brooklyn Bagel, Thompkins Square and Black Seed pretty hard.
London pizza is very different from New York style pizza. And while I’m trying to appreciate it for what it is, nothing beats a late night NYC slice. Bonus points if it’s $1. Joe’s used to be my go-to for evening slices before heading home, and Artichoke was one of my favorite indulgences in the city. If I wanted sit-down ‘za, Roberta’s, Milkflower (omg, their burrata) and Marta were my favs.
Why is it so hard to find tacos in London, and by extension the rest of Europe? So far, I’ve found two pretty good places- one in London and one in Edinburgh, but I’m close to giving up hope for more. After living in Texas, I’ve become pretty picky about my tacos. And, forget about finding a ‘breakfast taco’ in Europe. Even in New York, locating quality tacos wasn’t easy, but after finding Guero’s in Brooklyn years ago, I was at ease, knowing I had a solid place for breakfast tacos, fish tacos, vegetable tacos, queso and seriously good margaritas. And, gotta give an honorable mention to Tacombi for their stellar tacos. Now, there’s a hole in my taco-loving heart.
Yes, there are donuts in Europe, but the ones I’ve had in London are no where near as good as the variety in New York. Specifically, I miss the cake donuts from Underwest– such great, pronounced flavors. Every now and then, I crave a pillowy doughnut from Dough or Doughnut Plant as well. Big into donuts? Drop me a line, I’ve got oodles of places in New York for you to check out 🙂
Iced coffee and iced tea do not translate in jolly old England. Brighton is the only city I’ve been to so far that had a few cafes where cold brew made a menu appearance. Thankfully, Starbucks in London has cold brew for the summer, but I’m already dreading the transition back to a caffeine-less fall/winter (I only drink iced caffeine- it’s that or nothing). In New York, finding cold brew was never a problem- always at the top of my list: La Columbe, Birch, Toby’s and Blue Bottle, although, there was something to be said for the quick and easy CB from Dunkin’ as well.
Soft serve and gelato abound in London (and Europe, by extension), but ‘artisanal’ scoop ice cream is much harder to find. Never though I’d miss OddFellows, Ample Hills and Morgenstern’s so much. If it was possible to ship a pint of salted crack caramel, there’s no question I’d pay for it.
Oyster Happy Hour & Absinthe Cocktails
If you’ve ever lived in New York, you know Oyster happy hours are the place to be. There are so many great ones all over the city, Mermaid’s is one of the best, but I’m seriously missing the oyster happy hour at Maison Premiere. And with absinthe on tap, I used to love ordering an absinthe colada to go with my oyster dozen.
The World’s Best Cookies
Oprah doesn’t praise cookies as the ‘best in the world’ without due cause. Levain’s cookies are crazy good. Although I didn’t eat them often, I miss knowing I can grab one whenever the mood strikes. Huge, crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, the double chocolate ones were one of my fav ultimate indulgences. Honorable mention to Insomnia for nailing the late night warm cookie delivery game.
Salads weren’t something I was prepared to miss so much. Yes, I can make my own- but, there’s something to be said for popping in sweetgreen and knowing you can leave with a fresh veggie-packed salad. Here, salad means something very different (pre-mixed, think beans plus mint and feat, or couscous, parsley and carrots, and typically- the Brits mix several of these ‘salads’ together to form a meal). I didn’t truly realise how much I missed proper US salads until going to Amsterdam for a few days and finding myself frequenting sla daily.
People know Magnolia for their cupcakes, but the banana pudding is the real rockstar. It’s creamy, yet feels light at the same time, with chunks of banana and cake. Recently, they started serving a chocolate version of the banana pudding with Oreos in it- to die for.
Living in New York for so long, I accumulated quite a few favorite places for food and drinks, the majority of which I’ve organized into Foursquare lists.