Day 9: London

The final full day!

James and I decided to kickstart the day by going to Camden, which is rumored to have amazing markets, street food vendors and an overall funky feel. We arrive and pop into the first market we saw – Camden Market.

Camden Market is filled with sketchy people, a lot of t-shirts we could get anywhere in the U.S. and a hundred signs warning us about pickpocketers. Then we see a sign in the distance for Camden Lock – the artisan market we came here for.

For a Wednesday, this was a happening market. It was like the South End Open Market but bigger and grander. Had we come on a weekend, we would have run into a farmers market and antique market. We walked through vendor stalls, admired the street food and bought a few things here and there. The food was definitely the highlight and for those of us with crazy diets hard to find accommodations for it, this was pure gold. Every other street cart had gluten free options (some paleo too!). I opted for a pumpkin and cheddar empanada and a chicken empanada, served atop a coleslaw with plantain chips and salsa. James ordered a pulled pork sandwich with the works.

I take the most flattering pictures of James don’t I?

Afterwards we went to check out two shops we passed earlier in the day – Cookie Scream (a gluten free vegan bakery) and Nitro (an ice cream shop that makes its goodies using liquid nitrogen on the spot).

Food coma. This was a pecan cinnamon sticky something (that’s literally what it was called). It was amazing.
James ordered a brownie-wich from Nitro, which vanilla ice cream inside.

Afterwards we rolled ourselves back to the Tube – we had some ridiculous ticket package for Buckingham Palace and needed a few hours to tackle it.

We started the day in the Queen’s Gallery, which was featuring art on the early Georgians and how they came to power. Each room was filled with paintings, letters, war maps and furniture. I personally found the section on William Hogarth the most interesting. Hogarth was a print maker during the 1700s and one of the first people to use pictures to depict a story (think comic book but hundreds of years ago) and make money off of it. 2/3 of the way through, my audio tour died. Very sad.

Next we moved into the Royal Mews and learned all about the stage coaches the royal family uses.

This stagecoach was built in the 1800s. It’s used for coronations and last used during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It weighs four tons, takes a HUGE team of horses to pull and one week to move out of this building.

Our final stop on our Royal Day Out tour was the State rooms – or the public rooms in Buckingham Palace. There’s no photography allowed, but if you see a picture of the royal family in an indoor setting, it’s probably in one of these rooms. This portion of the tour was ridiculous and James and I understood why there was a desire to start a new life in the U.S. The ceilings and walls were dripping with gold. Silk was everywhere. Paintings, including those from the Renaissance, cluttered the walls. It was absolutely ridiculous. The one thing I noticed was that the castle, despite its age, did not have an old smell about it (Highclere castle did for example). It was also the only building in London that we saw window screens being put to use.

We left Buckingham palace and headed back to the flat to pack up and get ready for our dinner – a fourteen course meal at Kitchen Table.

Kitchen Table is tucked behind a hot dog joint (which was bustling!). You enter through some secret curtains into this amazing open kitchen with a bar set up around it. There’s an exclusive 19 person maximum seating each night and the chefs create a new menu EVERY DAY based on what ingredients are available through their network of hunters, farmers, fishers and cheese makers. We ended up with 16 courses and my attempt to take notes on each course is below. I will tell you, this was definitely adventurous and finally beat our favorite place in Iceland for the best meal of the trip.

Oyster: Raw oyster served on the half shell, with herbs
Shrimp: Rare, small shrimps served raw on a chick pea cracker; we also received the shrimp heads fried to enjoy afterwards
Chicken: Chicken skin  made into a cracker spread with rosemary marscapone and bacon jam
Bonus course! Pig: Pig head slowly cooked over night and fried. Served on an anchovies dressing
Scallop: Fresh scallop from Scotland with sea salt and raw pickle mayonnaise and roe of scallop smoked and grated on top 
Sea trout: From the Shetland islands, lightly warmed, served on top of a collection of sea vegetables with dried seaweed powder and a sauce made from the fish bones
Cep: wild forests mushrooms sautéed and raw with chestnuts made into a powder and an oil
Duck: Duck leg and neck cooked in its fat and rolled in pastry and fried; served with duck sauce and damson (plum)
Bonus course! Pigeon: Pigeon liver as a mousse, served as a parfait with Cobb nuts and English truffles; served with buttered toast 
Lamb: Cornish lamb belly with sorrel and creme fraise; drizzled with olive oil from the Vatican (i.e. really old)
Cheese: Devon blue cheese with green gauges plum cooked in a puff pastry and served with a plum caramel
Raspberry: raspberry sauce with goat curd ice cream
Caramel: caramel ice cream, caramel whipped cream, caramel drizzle and hazelnut caramel
Pine: Young pine tips pickled and turned into an ice cream covered in dark chocolate
Black Currant: Black currant paste made into a marshmallow and toasted
Vanilla: Madagascar vanilla fudge with sea salt

This was… intense. Some of the dishes forced us to be super adventurous with our taste buds… shrimps heads? RAW shrimp? Pigeon?! I am thankful we didn’t receive the pigeon brains (someone did last week). But it was a lot of fun and super over the top.

Thanks London, you’ve been amazing! We’re so excited to come home and if you’re lucky, we may let you try some of our goodies from Honeydukes.

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