random london encounters over beet marinated salmon and coconut shrimp

london is an absolutely massive city. the current population of approximately 7.5 million is almost exactly 10 times the size of my former city of san francisco, practically a quaint seaside town in comparison.  these 7.5 million people richochet across 650 square miles, hurtling from the west end to the east end, from north of the river to south of the river, encountering hundreds or potentially thousands of new faces each day. you’d think it would be nearly impossible to randomly run into the same person over and over again, that the likelihood of your path crossing over another person’s london trajectory must be fairly small. and yet, how often might we see the same people over and over again without really noticing?

take, for example, my most coincidental of london acquaintances, patrice. patrice, on the right in the photo below, runs  sauce á part, a culinary company creating french-creole cuisine with pacific and mediterranean influences that caters, produces food events, and runs a stall at broadway market.

patrice from sauce apart

a few weekends ago, on a perfect sunny saturday of people-watching, canal-walking, vintage-browsing, and of course obsessive eating, i dragged a fresh-off-the-plane annie to broadway market just up the road as soon as she got to the house.  we stopped at patrice’s stall to chat and she asked how we knew each other. and all i could say was, it was just one of those random london encounters.  i first met patrice at his broadway market stall about 2 months ago with my friend dan. and by ‘met,’ i mean that he offered me a sample of sumptuous slow roasted pork and i accepted (obviously) but was too full from a face-stuffing borough market trip to purchase anything.  i told him i’d be back sometime with an empty stomach. and then we moved on.

later that night, after an extended journey all the way across london to the opening of the pavilion at the serpentine gallery in hyde park and back east, dan and i quite unexpectedly found ourselves at the final evening of the double club, a congolese street market themed pop-up restaurant/bar/dance club/art installation in a huge warehouse behind the angel tube station in islington.  waiting in line for drinks, i ran into patrice again, who somehow remembered me from our 3-minute encounter earlier in the day. we talked food, we talked markets, we talked global cuisine, we talked more food, and i promised to return to his stall again soon. it was a lovely discussion and such an odd encounter considering the series of steps it took for us to arrive at the double club and how many times we almost got derailed along the way. how often might this path-crossing occur unnoticed or unacknowledged?  it’s fascinating to think about all the different ways in which people’s lives intersect and how we might be completely unaware…

i always find it interesting to consider these trajectories. of course, being a bit of an obsessive eater, they often lead back to food. i didn’t see patrice again for about two months but a few weekends ago, fate crossed our paths to bestow upon me this gorgeously hued beet-marinated salmon, vibrant with color like the petals of a tropical flower.

beet marinated salmon

patrice the slab of marinated salmonpulled out a hefty slab of the deep wine-colored salmon and artfully carved a few fresh slices for us, chatting all the while about the marinating process and the interplay between the acids of the citrus and the fattiness of the fish.  we sampled the cool and silky salmon with a mouthful of a light lentil salad. interspersed with zesty punches of spring onion and fresh greens, the lentils made a textured and earthy base for the beet-tinged fish and we promptly bought a bowl.

to keep things exciting, we decided a hot dish must also be purchased for full appreciation and maximum enjoyment of the range of sauce apart. it was a tough call between the marinated, roasted and glazed leg of lancashire pork…

lancashire roasted pork leg

and the fall-off-the-bone-tender looking chicken colombo creole…

chicken colombo creople

but we went with patrice’s recommendation of the tiger prawns with spinach in coconut broth over jasmine rice. mmm, comfort food with flair.

tiger prawns with spinach in coconut broth

i only wish we’d had room for these dangerously spiky and decadent looking meringues, but sometimes you just have to start your morning off with violet cupcakes. as much as i hate to say it, sometimes i can only eat so much dessert.

gorgeous little meringues

annie and i took our hard-earned treasures and sauntered off to london fields to eat. just another perfect foodie morning at my favorite market in london.  i’ll run into patrice and his french-creole food at any time. and unsurprisingly,  i did just 2 days later.  i guess that you just can’t escape the orbit of other obsessive eaters…

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One thought on “random london encounters over beet marinated salmon and coconut shrimp

  1. irene says:

    YURM. So is the salmon cooked?

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