Eat Where It’s Neat: London and Paris

You guys, I am so full. Still. Like, perpetually full. Full of amazing food though, so I’m not mad about it. Eating in abroad has been not only delicious, but so enlightening. I hate to burst some bubbles here, but man, we are missing OUT on some vital necessities here in America. 

First, let’s chat about the classics. When one goes to Europe, in this particular case, London and Paris, there are some things one just needs to try. Let’s be honest. If they didn’t, it would be like coming to America, and not eating a hamburger. While there were SO many goodies that I intended to try, I found that there were just only so many opportunities to eat pastry white trying to remain active enough to be able to walk and on a budget.

First, let’s talk the classics.

This here was my first meat pie. When asking a local how they should be eaten, she laughed and enlightened me about their original purpose: for everyday working folk to take to work and eat easily. Therefore, they are meant to be eaten cold. That, and there is a jam (not a sweet one) that is injected into cooling pies that would melt out if reheated again. To be honest, guys… not that impressed. Maybe it was the variety I chose or the fact that I ate it cold like she suggested, but I just wasn’t that impressed. I later found out from an ex-Pat I met the next day, that the pies DEFINITELY taste better when warm. Maybe next time.

Up next, a classic British fry up: eggs, real bacon, beans, roasted tomato, toast, and jam. I totally get why this is the go to breakfast. It’s super tasty and fills you up for a good bit.

Chelsea Buns were probably my favorite pastry from the trip. It’s kind of like an American cinnamon bun, but with raisins as well. As you eat, you just get addicted to the peeling of layers. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.

British Afternoon Tea is the ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE. Being by myself, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t end up sitting down for the classic three tiered set up I had seen in so many pictures. But, after making a new friend on the street, and randomly deciding to dine together, my dreams came true.

I know what you’re thinking: “Erin, you’re missing something.” You’re right, I am…fish and chips. I’ll be honest here, and then move on: I didn’t have them. Why? Because I’m not a huge fan of fried foods or fish, so it might have to be an experience I save for the next trip. Maybe I’ll take a liking to them by then.

Now, on to the differences. Here are some things that America most certainly does, but Britain does a tad better.

  1. Doughnuts. Such. Good. Doughnuts. In America, we have Krispy Kreme; an amazing donut chain, famous for their freshly glazed and warm donuts. Here’s what I found out by accident…not only does the UK version of Krispy Kreme have an entirely different set of flavors…but those flavors kind of blow ours out of the water. Some of their most intriguing included:    Reese’s Peanut Butter and Jelly, Nutty Chocolata, and Apple Pie. Here was my favorite: Caramelized Lotus Biscoff.

They also have a chain there called “Crosstown Donuts”, which can be found in many places across the city. Some of their gourmet selections include: Yuzu & Passionfruit, Mandarin & Coconut, and Beetroot Lemon Thyme. Personally, I chose Kiwi & Apple. It was DAMN good.

  1. Candy. I hate to say it, but Hershey just doesn’t always do it for me. You know what does? Cadbury. Now before you start sending me pictures of Cadbury products we have in the U.S, it’s just not the same! (Cadbury is produced by Hershey in the U.S.) While we have Cadbury Creme Eggs that show up around Easter time, the Brits can walk into just about any grocery store and lay their hands on a few Twirl bars, Wispa bars, or any others of the million varieties. While there, I was sure to do just that. I’d show you a picture, but I ate them too fast. Sorry.

Last, but not least, Paris. Ah, Paris. While there, I had two goals. Well, many goals, really. But, two foodie goals in particular: find the best macarons around, and sit in front of the Eiffel Tower to eat a croissant. 

Up first, macarons. According to my extensive research prior to traveling, there’s quite the debate going on amongst Parisian macaron aficionados: Laduree macarons vs. Pierre Herme’s. While both shops are quite famous in the city, some preferred Laduree for their classic, rainbow colored assortment, while others preferred Pierre Herme’s for their creative flavor pairings. Well, I, being the daring scientist I am, decided to experiment on my own. Here were my picks:

From Pierre Herme, I chose the Mogador (milk chocolate and passionfruit) :

From Laduree, I chose the Cassis Violette (blackcurrant and violet), amongst a few others…

And the winner is…

Who am I kidding? Tie game. Although, I will say, Pierre Herme’s was about twice the price of Laduree, but also gave me more to think about when making my choice. Flavor wise, they were both freaking amazing. 

As for my croissant? Here it is, no explanation needed. 

Now, you may just think that this entire post was one big complaint about what America is missing. Let me assure you before you get your knickers in a bunch, that Europeans are giving America credit where it’s due. For example, let’s go back to burgers. When I arrived in London, it was midday. I had scheduled my heavy hitting touristy experiences for the following days since I didn’t know how tired I’d be upon arriving. Being surprisingly energized, I went on a walk to get oriented with the city. On my way, I saw two things that made me crack up. First, a Five Guys. That’s right, Five Guys, Burgers and Fries. “The Ultimate American Experience”, the advertisement on the window stated. And, how much did Londoners need to pay to enjoy being an American for a moment? Just over 6 pounds. That’s an 8 dollar burger people. 

Later on my walk, I came across another store called “The Sweetest Shop”. Inside, the walls were lined with popular American treats and candies. Everything from Oreos, Hershey products, Poptarts, all kinds of Kelloggs cereal, etc., could be found here. Since most of these products are not sold in Europe due to their higher food quality standards, many residents will pay an arm and a leg to get their hands on them. Below, for example, you’ll see some of my favorites: 8 dollar PopTarts, 7 dollar Oreos, Twinkies for about $2.50, and my favorite, a box of good ole Lucky Charms for $12.00. TWELVE DOLLARS. I could easily buy three boxes for that price. Or, quite a few other delectable breakfast treats, for that matter.

All in all, friends, these far away foodie finds were all I’d hoped they’d be and more. Unfortunately, there’s so much more to try. I guess I’ll just have to go back one day…darn.

Next week, we’re talking about one of my favorite spreadable substances…other than peanut butter. (Shocking, I know.)

Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!

Erin

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