I am gasping for a cuppa. A cuppa coffee at Caffe Nero, that is. I can't get enough of it and now that London is once again in my sights, I'm lusting for one. Turns out that Denise Costello, who is coming along on The Duke of Wellington Tour with us in September, is also a devotee. We've struck a bargain to see who will be the first to reach the eleventh free coffee Caffe Nero awards on their loyalty card.
I have a sneaking idea we'll be reaching the target together.
Dreaming of my next cup of coffee in London got me thinking about the other London foods I usually indulge in - old favourites that never disappoint. Like bangers and mash.
As Victoria well knows, bangers and mash are my "go to" food, my comfort food and what I can be counted upon to order, at least once a day. Add grilled onions and a side of green peas and it's heaven. Of course, one can't eat bangers and mash without washing it down with a pint and, oddly enough, my brew of choice in England is Kronenbourg 1664, which sounds German, but is brewed in France. And since I drink it in England, that's most of the Waterloo nations covered.
I always try to visit London's Chinatown when I'm in London, specifically for the roasted Peking duck that hangs tantalizingly in most windows there.
I was introduced to Chinatown many years ago by Dr. David Parker, who was then the curator of the Dickens House Museum. I've been returning ever since and will no doubt be popping in again in September. You can read about the history of the area here.
No trip to London would be complete without indulging in afternoon tea and my place of choice are the Richoux Tea Rooms on Piccadilly. There are fancier places, and trendier places, for tea, but Richoux is the grand old lady of tea shop chains, dependably good, always cozy. Rather like a visit to granny's.
Regency author Diane Gaston, who also blogs at Risky Regencies, has signed up for the Tour and, along with Victoria, we're looking forward to returning to Richoux during our Sunday walking tour of the St. James's area of London.
Finally, because I'm such a cheese lover, I'm going to make a point of stopping in to Paxton and Whitfield in Jermyn Street.
It's one of those places I've always meant to spend time in and that I never seem to get around to visiting. You can read about the history of the shop - since 1797 - here.
Honourable mention goes out to the American Steak House, the Angus Steak House and the Aberdeen Steak House, three chains with outlets throughout London. They're literally everywhere.
Priced right, these places are nothing fancy, but the steaks can be depended upon and they're convenient.
Honourable mention also to Burger and Lobster, which I discovered on my last trip to London - you can read about it here.
Burger and Lobster has a rather limited menu - lobster, burger or lobster roll. Twenty pounds each. The lobsters are cooked perfectly, the drinks ditto, so be prepared to wait for a table. They don't take reservations, but definitely worth the visit.
Do you have a favourite "foodie" destination in London? If so, please leave a comment and let us know about it!