if you didn’t realize this already, i have a deep-seated and somewhat obsessive love for markets. luckily, i appear to have moved to the world capital of excellent markets here in london. i’ve already mentioned the broadway market and the columbia road flower market, both located within a convenient five minute-long hungover shuffle from my flat. the next few posts will discuss other recent weekend marketing visits: the incredible foodie nirvana of borough market and the international eating paradise of the sunday upmarket at the old truman brewery off brick lane. i’ve already raved about a few highlights from each (toasted cheese ridiculousness and pud baps) and i have a number of upcoming posts about specific stalls/stores but i’d like to give a broader overview so you know how much amazingness is going to come at you when you come visit me. right fam? WHEN YOU COME VISIT ME. that means book tickets now.
we’ll start with borough market. there is such a ridiculous amount of amazingness at this place that it’s almost overwhelming. luckily, just one toasted cheese sandwich to the face and i can take on anything. i’ll start with my first weekend there with fellow go gamers chris and sasha. we got there a bit too late to take on the toasted cheesiness, so we cheered ourselves up by eating pizza sandwiches. yes, it’s pizza AND a sandwich.
pizza sandwiches and i have a very close and loving relationship of mutual joy and appreciation. i provide the appetite. they provide the yumminess. everyone is happy.
pizza sandwiches are an ingeniously strategic combination of two phenomenal food items forming like voltron to make something bigger and better, like ice cream cake or cream cheese brownies or bacon cookies. my friend dan (the biggest pizza fan i know and a doing-awesome-things kind of superstar) just promised to come visit me today and he will most definitely be eating some pizza sandwich. dan, because i love you i will also try to find you a chocolate sandwich.
not only does this delightful place serve pizza sandwiches but they had samples of this mouth-tinglingly flavor-burst-of-meat-in-your-mouth spicy spreadable salami called nduja (pronounced, as the guy behind the counter says, ngggh-dooo-yaaah). YUM. i would like to spread this all over everything. like my toothbrush. okay, gross. maybe not.
here is the nduja for your viewing pleasure. ignore the fact that it looks like the severed and dissected head of an evil mountain dwelling ogre and think SPREADABLE PEPPERONI. delicious.
let’s move on from the meat. they have lovely fruits and vegetables and non-animal product items of all kinds. first we’ll take a quick walk through the market.
i adore the soaring ceilings and the cavernous feel of a place filled with happy people who all care about food and taste and enjoyment and thoughtful production. i also greatly enjoy looking at bountiful spreads of beautifully colored vegetables.
the atmosphere at borough market is simply wonderful. everyone is so friendly and gives out samples and really wants you to try the delicious things they have made. i try to help them out obviously, because i am a good and altruistic person who thinks of others.
for example, we came to the assistance of these apple growers by taking some tart and refreshing apple juice off their hands.
however, we really took one for the team when it came to the pastries. sasha and chris and i felt that it would be extremely kind of us to help this one bakery get rid of their pastries. i mean, look at them.
sasha made the brilliant move of purchasing one of the decadently rich bread pudding thingies all the way on the right.
like me and the pizza sandwich, sasha has an excellent relationship with pastry. see the love shining in her eyes (and glinting off her hair)? she’s also a bit of a pastry-making wizard herself, so there is certainly a deep and caring relationship with the wide and wonderful world of baked goods.
demonstrating an admirable amount of forward-thinking resourcefulness, sasha helped out the pastry people even more by buying an i’ve-died-and-gone-to-chocolate-heaven tin of molten chocolate cake fudginess below.
looks pretty good, huh? get on a plane and one of those eclairs can be in your mouth within minutes of landing at heathrow. i never said i wouldn’t resort to food bribes to get you people over here.
the rest of the day included fresh raw oysters from mersea island, mini quiches, a pork and applesauce sandwich that was pretty good but not as good as this one, and a few other items i can’t even remember. by that time, the market was closing (hey, we were drinking on brick lane the night before and got a late start) so we were thinking of heading home when i got distracted by the siren sound of the french cheese stall.
i will now do my best visual representation of the patter of the parisian cheese vendors. read aloud to yourself in your best french accent: ‘it izz time to paaack up! vee arrr going baack to pahhriss and veee cannot take all ziss cheeez viss us! two cheeeezez for five poundz!‘ i took pity on them and promptly purchased a semi-hard raw milk farm cheese (denoted by the green layer on the rind) and some creamy stinky variety.
now everybody knows you can’t buy cheese without buying bread. taking advantage of this wisdom, the enticing rhodes bakery display is set up just a few stalls over from the cheese guys. the chatty bakery dude presiding over the mouthwatering display of freshly baked loaves turned out to be from northern california. east bay REPRESENT! spying chris’s A’s hat, he promptly hooked us up with a large classic white loaf to properly showcase the flavors of the cheese and then tossed in an amazing rosemary and sea salt foccacia. 2pac and dre certainly had it right.
last photo: chris and sasha and our take home bounty from the trip. see how that focaccia in the center shines with the light of the angels? that’s how good it was.
borough market, i was so sad to leave you. but don’t worry, i was back the next week and i’ve got pictures to prove it. and with that, we were off for a pimm’s cup on the thames. is london life great or what?!