Travel and Eat

10 Top Day Rail Trips from London

Staying in any of the convenient Hostels in London is a top choice for the visitor on a budget. Here are some excellent day trips out from London.

If you’re travelling on a budget, staying in one of the excellent hostels in London doesn’t mean you can only explore the inner city. These top destinations will only take you anywhere between 20 minutes and a couple of hours by London’s famously reliable rail system.

1. St. Albans (20 minutes by rail) – Over 2,000 years of history have moulded this city, and everyone from the Celts to the Romans to the Benedictine Order has left their marks. Lovers of history will definitely want to pay a visit to St. Albans, and it’s certainly within easy access of any of the central hostels in London.

There was an Iron Age settlement known as Verulamium, Verlamion, or Verlamio, near the site of the present city, the centre of Tasciovanus’ power and a major center of the Catuvellauni from about 20 BC until shortly after the Roman invasion of AD 43. The name “Verulamium” is Celtic, meaning “settlement over or by the marsh”.


2. Windsor (30 minutes by rail) – Fancy learning a thing or two about the royal family? Windsor is the place you’ll want to go, especially since it is home to the famous royal residence, Windsor Castle. There’s also the Windsor Legoland theme park, which can be quite fun to explore for the young or young at heart.

Catch the traditional military parade and Changing of the Guards up the high street and into the castle to the Lower Ward. The ceremony lasts 30 minutes and starts at 11:00 (but you can catch the march up the hill at 10:50) and weather permitting they’re accompanied by a band. The Guard March takes place all year round on alternate days from August to March and daily during April, May, June and July (apart from Sundays).

The early history of the site is unknown, although it was almost certainly settled some years before 1070 when William the Conqueror had a timber motte and bailey castle constructed. The focus of royal interest at that time was not the castle, however, but a small riverside settlement about 3 miles (5 km) downstream, possibly established from the 7th century.

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3. Epping Forest (40 minutes by rail) – Nothing quite beats strolling through a tranquil forest, especially if you need to decompress from the typically crowded areas around the hostels in London. Just make sure to check before you travel though, as Epping Forest is closed to the public on certain days.

The area which became known as Waltham, and then Epping Forest has been continuously forested since Neolithic times. Embankments of two Iron Age earthworks – Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Banks – can be found in the woodland, but pollen profiles show that Iron Age occupation had no significant effect on the forest ecology. The formerlime/linden Tilia-dominated woodland was permanently altered during Saxon times by selective cutting of trees. Today's beech-birch and oak-hornbeam-dominated forest was the result of partial forest clearance in Saxon times


4. Brighton (1 hour by rail) – It only takes an hour by rail to reach Brighton and you'll have a wonderful time exploring the nooks and crannies of this gloriously eclectic and creative city. The Royal Pavilion and the beach with its fun fair on the pier are world famous, and there's pretty much something to entertain any kind of visitor, old or young.

Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. The ancient settlement of "Brighthelmstone" was documented in the Domesday Book (1086). The town's importance grew during the Middle Ages as the Old Town developed, but it languished in the early modern period, affected by foreign attacks, storms, a suffering economy and a declining population. During the modern period, Brighton began to attract more visitors following improved road transport to London and becoming a boarding point for boats travelling to France. The town also developed in popularity as a health resort for sea bathing as a purported cure for illnesses.

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5. Oxford (1.5 hours by rail) – Another acclaimed university has its home here in Oxford, while plenty of museums will keep you occupied. Oxford’s Blenheim Palace is also worth a visit, with movies like the Harry Potter series and A Little Chaos filming scenes there.

The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold.

Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Oxen" (according to theEnglish Place-Name Society, who base their result on a passing reference in Florence of Worcester's work "Chronicon ex chronicis"); fords were more common than bridges at that time. It began with the establishment of a river crossing for oxen around AD 900. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia andWessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes.

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6. Cambridge (1 hour by rail) – Here you can visit one of the world’s most acclaimed universities and go punting on the river – or get someone else to row for you! This picturesque city is every bit as lovely as you've heard.

There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area in the Bronze Age and in Roman Britain; under Viking rule, Cambridge became an important trading centre. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although city status was not conferred until 1951.

Cambridge is the home of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209 and one of the top five universities in the world. The university includes the Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the spire of the Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital and St John's College Chapel tower.

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7. Bath (1.5 hours by rail) – The aptly named city is home to the only natural hot springs in Britain. The Roman baths and spas may be a welcome treat for those hankering for a nice, long soak to relax those travelling muscles and tired feet.

The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") c. AD 60 when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although hot springs were known even before then. Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre; the building was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era.

During the English Civil War, the city was garrisoned for Charles I. Seven thousand pounds was spent on fortifications, but on the appearance of parliamentary forces the gates were thrown open and the city surrendered.

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8. Canterbury (1.5 hours by rail) – Lovers of religious history and architecture simply must take the time to visit Canterbury’s famous cathedral. St Martin’s Church and St Augustine’s Abbey are two notable landmarks worth visiting as well.

Canterbury is a popular tourist destination: consistently one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, the city's economy is heavily reliant upon tourism. The city has been occupied since Paleolithic times and served as the capital of the Celtic Cantiaciand Jute Kingdom of Kent. Many historical structures fill the area, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and the oldest extant school in the world, the King's School. Modern additions include the Marlowe Theatre and the St Lawrence Ground, home of the Kent County Cricket Club. There is also a substantial student population, brought about by the presence of the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative Arts, and the Girne American University Canterbury campus. Canterbury remains, however, a relatively small city in terms of geographical size, when compared with other British cities.

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9. Stonehenge (2 hours by rail) – Stonehenge is a marvel of Neolithic construction and is well worth spending the time to visit. It’s only eight miles north of Salisbury.
Keep all these destinations in mind when you’re based in one of the many excellent hostels in London and you’ll realize just how much you can see by rail.

Walk in the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors at Stonehenge – one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe. ... Visit the world-class exhibition and visitor centre with 250 ancient objects and come face to face with a 5,500 year-old man.


10. Salisbury (2 hours by rail) – Salisbury boasts beautiful religious architecture as well as a lush countryside ideal for walks, cycles and sightseeing tours. It’s also home to the best preserved copy of the Magna CartaFree Web Content, of which only four intact copies remain.

The hilltop at Old Sarum lies near the Neolithic sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and shows some signs of early settlement. It commanded a salient between the River Bourne and the Hampshire Avon near a crossroads of several early trade routes

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July 31, 2016 / 1 Comment / by / in ,
The Best Afternoon Tea Experiences in London







July 18, 2016 / by / in ,
10 TRADITIONAL DISHES A PORTUGUESE GRANDMA WOULD FEED YOU

If you were to visit Portugal and have a traditional Portuguese Grandma as your gastronomic guide, she would feed you a variety of dishes rich in meats and seafood.

Traditional Portuguese food tends to be hearty, which is my polite way of saying “quite caloric”. Back in the day and, still in the rural areas, families raise their own cattle and kill animals to make the most out of every single gram of meat! No wonder Portuguese cuisine has developed a lot of regional “enchidos”, that is, sausage look-a-likes that come in all shapes and flavors and make sure that, at the end of the day, no meat goes to waste.

Depending on the region of the country, you will find distinct typical dishes. Cod fish (“bacalhau”) will be a staple no matter where you go. Some say there are more bacalhau recipes than days in a year!

Grandmas in Portugal will tend to cook what’s more typical in their region, but a super hero grandma with a love for Portuguese food, would cook you at least these 10 delicious dishes, for a true taste of Portuguese tradition.

Posted by Zara on 28th June 2012
Article source: http://bkpk.me/10-traditional-dishes-a-portuguese-grandma-would-feed-you/

 

1. COZIDO A PORTUGUESA

Please meet the king of all stews!  Portuguese stew is the perfect example of the importance of using all the meat an animal can provide. This meaty bomb includes beef, pork, chicken and a variety of pork derivatives such as blood sausages and smoked pork parts. There are also some vegetables thrown in the mix, but one must admit this is a dish for meat lovers.

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2. CALDO VERDE

The most traditional of Portuguese soups is as simple as it gets: onions, potatoes and kale, cooked with garlic and olive oil. Nothing says winter comfort food like a good serving of caldo verde in a traditional clay pot. This soup would normally be served with a slice of “linguica” (typical smoked pork sausage) and cornbread. Dip it and enjoy!

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3. FEIJOADA TRASMONTANA

Do not eat this on the same day as a Cozido a Portuguesa, unless you have a true desire of exploding!
 Feijoada stands for bean stew, but you know it wouldn’t be a Portuguese stew if you didn’t throw a variety of heavy meats into the mix! All the funny parts of the pig end up here, as the dish was created when people couldn’t afford to waste anything the human body could eventually digest. Meats included may vary, but if you are too picky, ask before you put something in your mouth. It’s not at all uncommon for Feijoada to include delicacies such as pig hocks, knuckles or ears!

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4. BACALHAU A BRAS

Out of the numerous ways to prepare salted cod fish in Portugal, “Bras style” is one of the most popular and I honestly salivate just to think about it. The shredded cod is sauteed in a pan along with plenty of onions and straw fried potatoes. This dish is finished up with beaten eggs that cook as they join the pan, and topped with parsley and black olives. This is the essence of a country inside a plate!

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5. AMEIJOAS A BULHAO PATO

More than a meal, clams Bulhao Pato style are a snack, best enjoyed with ice-cold beer. It’s very popular as appetizer as well, and a tasty way to get your juices flowing. Clams are cooked until tender in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and plenty of cilantro. Other similar clam dishes might feature this seafood cooked in white whine, butter and herbs, which is as good! Very important: you will need bread to dip into the sauces, as I can guarantee you wouldn’t want a drop to be left on the plate.

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6. ROJOES A MODA DO MINHO

Because Portugal has a never ending affair with pork, rojoes are abundant to keep the spark alive! Chunks of pork loin cooked in the very same pig’s lard, and seasoned with garlic and white wine. Served with stewed potatoes, variations of this dish may include roasted chestnuts. It can sometimes be served with a side of  ”arroz de sarrabulho”, which is a loose rice dish that includes little bits of meat and pork’s blood. I wouldn’t judge you if you find it too hardcore.

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7. BOLINHOS DE BACALHAU

A super Portuguese Grandma wouldn’t let you leave Portugal after trying only one cod fish dish alone! Also known as “pasteis de bacalhau” these cod fish fritters can be savored as a starter or snack, or along with rice and salad as main dish.
 The batter behind this fried goodness is made of shredded cod fish, potatoes, eggs and parsley and is cooked until golden crispy on the outside but smooth and melty on the inside.

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8. AÇORDA ALENTEJANA

This typical dish of the southern region of Alentejo is as good as it gets when it comes to comfort food with a rustic touch. The basic recipe for açorda would be made of mashed bread with olive oil, coriander, salt, eggs and water but more complete versions might include cod fish or shrimps. It’s not a soup and it’s not a stew, it’s something in between: the unique açorda!

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9. ALHEIRA DE MIRANDELA

Translate “alheira” into sausage doesn’t almost make justice to this unique combination that, yes looks like a sausage, but is so much more than that! Meats stuffed into an alheira may include veal, chicken, duck and rabbit, compacted together with bread. If you have “alheira de caça” it means that it will only have game meat. This unusual sausage was created by the Jews in Portugal when they were forced to convert to Christianity. Their true religion wouldn’t allow them to eat pork but by preparing this sausage looking dish, they could easily fool others that will think alheira would be made out of pork, like all the other Portuguese cuts looking alike. No matter what religion you follow, eating a fried alheira, with a fried egg and fries can make you feel an outer-body experience!

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10. ARROZ DE PATO

In case you don’t appreciate pork meat and are frustrated by most of the suggestions above, let’s end on a ducky note. In Portugal, duck rice is cooked until the meat is ridiculously tender, simmered in red whine, and oven toasted along with the rice until the top is crispy. The rice absorbs the juices of the duck and is traditionally topped up with sliced smoked sausages. It’s a true feast of flavour.

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LOOSEN UP YOUR BELTS AND BOM APETITE!

Book a Table

    • Tropical
    • 188 Old Kent Rd, London SE1 5TY, UK
    Tropical – Latin American Steak and Fish House on Old Kent Road in Bermondsey. Tropical is a organic fusion of Ecuadorian flavours with Brazillian sizzle – Must Come and try !!!!
  • Portuguese Deli and a Coffee Shop in Crystal Palace serving home made dishes and seriously good coffee. Only few minutes walk from the rail station.  

July 31, 2016 / 1 Comment / by / in ,
The Harmony Between Food and Wine

Wine is a social drink which should be enjoyed in the company of friends and .. food.

The right combination between food and wine is a source of ultimate bliss for every connoisseur. Both wine and food can benefit from the right pairing. The right wine can accentuate unexpected gastronomical aspects of food and vice versa, wine can shine in a new light when accompanied by the right dish. In order to savor the splendor of such combinations, one does not need to frequent expensive restaurants and buy overpriced wines. Rather, when combining food and wine it is one’s intuition and curiosity that are of paramount importance.

Most rules for agreeable food – wine combinations date back to the 19th century and are made by French cooks who travel around Europe showing other nations the French savoir-vivre. It is since then that we know that champagne goes well with oysters, white wine – with seafood, and red wine – with game and red meats. Those rules, however, have been broken many times throughout the years because the nature of certain dishes and the rich wine variety available allow for a much freer interpretation. For example, some red meats could be made more enjoyable by stronger white wines.

A more practical approach for combining wine with food is to avoid any possible dissonance between them. For example, an exceptional wine stands out much better when accompanied by a not so sophisticated dish that will bring out the wine’s superb qualities instead of fighting with it. Certain wines and foods have “found” each other over the years and represent especially suitable combinations. Generally those are the regional wines and foods. Almost all local dishes go best with the wines from their regions.

Some tips for making good food – wine choices:

Try to balance the weight of both, i.e. heavy dishes and those with a strong taste, such as game and red meat should be enjoyed with an equally heavy wine. In most cases those are red wines but some full-bodied whites could be an equally suitable alternative.

Dry wines could develop a very unpleasant sour or even bitter taste if served with desserts. Generally deserts are served with wines that are at least comparably sweet, if not sweeter.

Wines with high acidity go best with heavy, rich in fat dishes. This is because the high fat content negates the impact of the acid.

High-tannin wines should be combined with foods rich in proteins. The proteins combine with the tannins, thus diminishing the tannin taste. Wines made from grape varieties that contain a lot of tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are an excellent match for red meats and other protein-rich foods. On the other hand, high-tannin wines acquire an unpleasant metallic taste if combined with fish and other seafood. Or they could have an extremely bitter taste when combined with salty dishes.

So finally… which wine? You could have in mind the rules above when making your selection but don’t be blinded by them and never take things for granted. Even when you are convinced that you have found the perfect wine for a certain dish, a small change, such as a bad yield, a change in the production technology, or other, could disappoint you. So have an open mind and be ready to experiment. Needless to say, a lot of times the results would be a bit strange but that’s what will make the whole experience interesting!!

By Dan Phillipe
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5573

Venues with Great Wine Selection





July 31, 2016 / 1 Comment / by / in ,
Top 20 Latin American Dishes You MUST Try

In Europe mane people still think of Latin American cuisine as a wide selection of tacos, burritos and enchiladas topped with super spicy sauce and avocado paste ( guacamole) .

The reality is that dose dishes are actually from Mexico, and although they are delicious and original to this country, the rest of  Latin America has a wide variety of foods that differ from coast to coast.

Below I have decided to highlight Top 20 most noticeable dishes from selected countries of South American continent.


1. Churrasco – Brazil

Churrasco is a Portuguese and Spanish term referring to beef or grilled meat and is a prominent feature in Latin American cuisine, popular in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Uruguay. A restaurant serving grilled meat is known as a churrascaria (steakhouse). Often restaurants serve all-you-can-eat churrasco buffets, with waiters slicing meat onto patrons’ plates – this is called espeto corrido or rodizio and is particularly popular in Brazil.


2. Empanada – Venezuela

Empanadas are like Venezuelan hot pockets or calzones.   We usually serve them as appetizers (small ones), or as a main dish with delicious fillings and dipping sauces. The most common and easy to prepare are cheese empanadas, and they are the most popular amongst kids.   They also have exquisite ones like lobster, or Cazón (small shark), and common ones like ground beef, shredded chicken, shredded meat.   Then there are big ones like filled with Pabellón (Shredded beef, black beans and plantains), or combination ones like cheese and beef, or even ham and cheese.   One thing is for sure; you will like them no matter what is in them.


3. Feijoada – Brazil

The traditional and national Brazilian dish feijoada is a stew of black beans cooked with meat (usually pork and/or beef) and served with rice, vegetables, assorted sausages such as chouriço, morcela (blood sausage) and farinheira, and a variety of side dishes including farofai (toasted manioc flour).


4. Bandeja Paisa – Colombia

Popular in the Antioquia department of Colombia and the Paisa region, bandeja paisa is a platter-style meal served in a large, oval-shaped tray and consisting of a generous variety of different foods. Traditional items include red beans cooked with pork, white rice, carne molida (ground meat), chicharrón, fried egg, plantain, chorizo, arepa (flatbread), hogao sauce, morcilla (black pudding), avocado and lemon.


5. Asado – Argentina

Asado is a term used for particular barbecue techniques, and also for the social event surrounding the barbecue. Considered Argentina’s national dish but also traditional to Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, the main ingredient in asado is flank-cut beef ribs flavored with chimichurri and cooked on a grill called a parilla, or on an open fire. Asado also includes embutidos (cured sausages), different meats including poultry and sweetbreads, bread, mixed salad and verdurajo (grilled vegetables).


6. Curanto – Chile

The traditional food of Chiloé Archipelago off the coast of Chile, curanto is traditionally prepared in a hole dug in the ground and covered with stones which are heated until red.  Typical ingredients include shellfish, meat, milcao and chapaleles (potato pancake/dumpling respectively), and other vegetables. Curanto preparation is specific: ingredients are covered with nalca (Chilean rhubarb) leaves, then covered with wet sacks, dirt and grass chunks, creating a pressure cooker effect.


7. Ceviche – Peru

Ceviche, or cebiche, is a dish of fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices (key lime or naranja agria ­– bitter orange) and spiced with ají (chili peppers). Onion, salt and pepper are also added to the marinade, which is often served in a small glass as an appetizer (leche de tigre or leche de panteraI) along with chunks of corn-on-the-cob and cooked sweet potato.


8. Encebollado – Ecuador

Encebollado means “cooked with onions” and is an Ecuadorian fish stew, commonly regarded as a national dish. Served with boiled cassava or yucca and picked red onion rings, encebollado also includes fresh tomato and spices such as pepper and coriander leaves. It is usually served with ripe avocado, plantain, popcorn, toasted corn nuts and/or bread.


9. Pabellón Criollo – Venezuela

Traditionally consumed for lunch and considered by many to be the Venezuelan national dish, pabellón criollo consists of rice with stewed black beans and shredded beef. Often served with tajadas (fried plantain slices) and/or a fried egg, some also add granulated sugar or queso palmita over the beans, or hot sauce over the meat. The beef can be replaced by chigüire (capybara), shredded caiman meat or freshwater fish depending on the region and season.


10. Ropa Vieja – Cuba

Literally translated as “old clothes”, ropa vieja’s shredded beef is indeed reminiscent of shredded rags of clothing. Ropa vieja is often accompanied by fried plantain, black beans and rice. An important flavoring is Cuban staple sofrito, made with sautéed onions, green peppers and garlic cooked with tomatoes. Extra additions to the sauce can include sausages or smoked meat, or wine, dry sherry or beer.


11. Mole Poblano – Mexico

Mole is a generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine. Mole poblano is probably the best known of all mole varieties, and is often considered Mexico’s national dish. Containing around 20 ingredients, of which the most notable are chili and chocolate, this dark sauce is usually served over turkey and often at special occasions.


12. Huminta – Peru

Humitas are savory steamed fresh corn cakes made from a mixture of freshly ground corn, onion, garlic, cheese, eggs, and cream, which is placed inside corn husks and steamed. Humitas are hard to translate, if you’ve ever had an humita you know what it is, but to describe them to someone who’s never had them before is a little bit complicated. I guess you could compare them to a fresh corn and cheese tamale (and explaining the difference between a tamale from Ecuador and tamale from Mexico is a completely different story). Humitas are made using fresh corn, which is ground with other ingredients and then stuffed in a fresh corn husk and steamed


13. Cachapa – Venezuela

A traditional Latin pancake ripe for mainstream menu innovation is the Venezuelan cachapa. It’s a pancake with a fresh, intense and unmistakable corn flavour. Cachapas are traditionally eaten with Queso de Mano, a soft, mozzarella-like cheese, and occasionally with fried pork chicharrón on the side. Cachapas can be very elaborate, some including different kinds of cheese or milky cream. They can be prepared as an appetizer, generally with margarine, or as a full breakfast with hand cheese and fried pork.


14. Arepa – Colombia & Venezuela

A delectable, fluffy, white dough shaped in the format of a saucer and made mainly of corn flour, prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela.  It is eaten daily by both Colombians and Venezuelan and can be filled with various accompaniments such as cheese, avocado, beans or meat. A crowd pleaser!


15. Alfajores – Argentina

There is many reasons to love Argentina, but Alfajores is on the top o four list, hands down. The traditional sweet, made with two soft and crumbly cookies sandwiched around a tick layer of dulce de leche (caramel), is considered a national treasure.  Although officialy treat it as a pastry,  Argentinians eat them in the morning with coffee or tea, as an afternoon snack or after dinner. There is no “right” time to eat alfajores, actually. Any time is the right time to indulge in one. The most popular varieties are the ones filled with dulce de leche, of course, and either rolled in coconut or covered in dark or white chocolate.


16. Anticuchos – Peru

Anticuchos are a popular and inexpensive dish that originated in Peru in the pre-Colombian era but are also available at their neighbours Chile and Bolivia.  A very special addition to any barbecue party, the anticuchos are made of beef heart marinated, cut into small cubes, skewered, and seared over the grill. You can also use regular beef, chicken, fish, prawns, or lamb to make anticuchos, but the original and traditional recipe calls for cow heart.


17. Pão de Queijo – Brazil

An exclusive export delight from Brazil that pleases all palates and it is gluten free.   Putting it simple: pão de queijo is a small, baked, cheese ball made from sour cassava flour and of course,  lots of tasty cheese.  A popular snack and breakfast food in Brazil, pão de queijo originated from African slaves like many other Brazilian foods. Slaves would soak and peel the cassava root and make bread rolls from it.


18. Silpancho – Bolivia

Silpancho is a typical, popular Bolivian food from the city of Cochabamba. When prepared properly, this tends to be a large and filling meal laden with carbohydrates and fat. It consists of a base layer of rice, usually white, followed by a layer of boiled and sliced potatoes. Next, a thin layer of schnitzel-style meat is laid on top, followed by a layer of chopped tomato. In addition, onion, beet and parsley are mixed together and topped with either one or two fried eggs.


19. Hervido de Pescado – Venezuela

A traditional Venezuelan sea fish soup served along the country’s coastline. Also known as Sancocho and can be also found in several Latin American cuisines. It usually consists of large pieces of fish meat, tubers and vegetables served in a broth.


20. Mangú – Dominican Republic

Cooked, pureed plantains are topped with sauteed onions. This is a traditional Caribbean and Latin American morning favourite, but also makes a great side dish… The word came after a US marine exclaimed “Man, good!” after eating mashed plantains during the first United States invasion of the Dominican Republic.

Find Best Latin American Restaurants near you

July 31, 2016 / 1 Comment / by / in ,
Does “Expensive” means “Good” ? Booking the right table

Have  ever tried to reserve a nice restaurant for a diner with your friends but didnt wanted to book an expensive place and still be able to impress them?  Then read on!

Authentic or Common ?
You can find many restaurants that serve “chinese” or “italian” dishes. But are they authentic or just adnjusted to the local taste? Do they use the same ingredients and preparation process as at the country of origin? How does that affect the price?
I always look for specific restaurant types. Instead of looking for “Latin American” restaurants , i will look for “Colombian” or “Venezuelan”, it will also add bit if authenticity to the meals served.

Location cost money
You need to understand that cost of running a restaurant in CENTRAL LONDON will be much higher than in other parts of the city. The cost of rent and bills does reflect on the food prices.

Reviews Matter
Check out reviews of the particular restaurant before booking a table. Sometimes reviews are not genuine however if 20 or 30 percent of diners were unhappy it should ring the alarm bell.

Awards and Stars
Some restaurants are rewarded with AA Rosette or Michellin Stars. It usually suggest that they are good. However not every restaurant chef cares about those and many brillian venues simply don’t bother getting those awards.

Cheap doesn’t mean bad quality as well as expensive will never mean that the restaurant is good. Many factors generates the end price.
Most importantly do your research before booking a table if you really want to impress your foodie friends.

For some tips and reviews look for restaurants and gastro bars on ActiveBookings platform. Look for restaurants using interactive map search and cuisine type search.
See the galleries, read the restaurant description and reviews. Then book your table.

 

July 31, 2016 / 1 Comment / by / in ,
Top 5 Rooftop Restaurants in London

There is no better way to experience London than looking at it from the top!!!! Here are the best rooftop restaurants in the city.

Book your table today at one of the culinary landmarks of the Britain.

1. Aqua Kyoto

Set in the landmark former Dickins & Jones building, aqua kyoto offers sublime Japanese cuisine. As well as offering breathtaking views over London from the expansive roof terrace, a lowered kitchen indoors gives guests a view of the expert sushi chefs.

Crafted with absolute precision and sumptuously fresh ingredients, the aqua kyoto menu offers innovative flavour combinations bursting with colour and freshness. Contemporary creations at aqua kyoto restaurant include tempura prawn roll topped with grilled eel, or soft-shell crab with avocado. Served sizzling from the charcoal grill, guests can enjoy tender meat cuts of slow-cooked pork belly with red miso and crackling, or chicken thighs with teriyaki.

For Japanese-style indulgence, aqua kyoto in London offers classic European desserts with a twist. Try a smooth sake prune crème brulee, or white sesame parfait with poached cherries, as well as cleansing Japanese teas and native wines.

Blending traditional oriental features and ultra-slick design, aqua kyoto near Oxford Circus sits just 2 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus Tube Station.


2. Madison Restaurant

Boasting some of the most coveted panoramic views in London from its roof terrace, Madison Restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto St Paul’s Cathedral. Housed on the top floor of One New Change, the Manhattan-style restaurant serves an amalgamation of British and Mediterranean flavours.

Aside from magnificently indulgent burgers including lobster with avocado mayonnaise and duck with foie gras, the Madison Restaurant menu features a hearty selection of salads, pots and dishes from the Josper grill.

Starters such as mackerel and tuna tartar with quails eggs and wasabi crème fraiche are not to be missed, nor are desserts like bitter chocolate and praline fondant. Unusual light bites such as goat’s cheese or gin popcorn can be enjoyed in the restaurant, bar or on the trendy rooftop terrace.

Renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, Madison Restaurant in London regularly hosts DJs and live music. The all-encompassing drinks menu is a highlight, especially the hot cocktails, as are the hand-blown glass chandeliers. St Pauls Tube Station is a 3-minute walk away.


3. Vista at The Trafalgar

Boasting 360-degree views of the city from its serene rooftop setting, Vista at The Trafalgar offers ultra-fashionable drinks and internationally-themed grazing dishes. Look down onto neighbouring Trafalgar Square from the plush outdoor lounge.

Arguably the city’s chicest al fresco destination, Vista bar in Trafalgar Square serves an eclectic and luxurious bar stock. Enjoy the smooth bubbles of vintage champagne, fine wines and sought-after malt whisky blends, as well as fun cocktails like Movista, or a refreshing Vista Boulevard.

Vista bar pairs up with BLOOM for summer 2015: a luxury gin company focusing on floral-infused gins. Guests can also enjoy al fresco cocktail masterclasses when the sun shines.

Offering rare tranquillity in one of London’s most popular areas, Vista bar in London is found within the exclusive Trafalgar hotel. Charing Cross stations are a 3-minute walk away.


4. Coq d’Argent

With a magnificent rooftop setting, Coq d’Argent has striking panoramic views across The Square Mile from the stunning roof gardens. Showcasing fine regional French cuisine and bistro-style classics, Coq d’Argent is a fine dining hotspot, just a 2-minute walk from Bank Tube Station.

Classically French, yet with a contemporary edge, the Coq d’Argent menu features sublime creations like roasted duck breast with foie gras and kumquat compote or handpicked Devon crab with avocado and wasabi purée. Innovative desserts at Coq d’Argent restaurant include pear and salted caramel mousse with chocolate sorbet or pink peppercorn poached apricots with lavender yoghurt and London honey ice cream.

The head sommelier at Coq d’Argent London will guide you through an accomplished list of fine wines, and there is a sumptuous caviar list with premium options.

Perched atop the roof of No.1 Poultry, Coq d’Argent Bank also hosts a popular jazz lunch at the weekends.


5. Afternoon Tea at Radio Rooftop

Overlooking the Capital’s iconic sights, afternoon tea at Radio Rooftop Bar offers guests the chance to while away an afternoon viewing London’s historic and modern attractions from The Shard to The London Eye, Big Ben, and St Pauls Cathedral, whilst savouring traditional delights with a contemporary international twist.

The Skyline Afternoon Tea, a modern day interpretation of afternoon tea offers sandwiches such as croque-monsieur, compressed watermelon with feta and black olive tapenade and cucumber buffalo ricotta with black sesame seeds. To cleanse the palate between savoury and sweet, guests experience a liquid nitrogen frozen fruit sorbet with earl grey mousse and popping candy.

The final course of cakes and pastries includes a blend of traditional dishes such as lemon meringue pie, hazelnut opera, and passion fruit tart, with modern flavours such as lemongrass with apricot and pistachio cake, and a raspberry and lychee sandwich.


July 31, 2016 / 1 Comment / by / in ,
Sights to see in London


With so many famous landmarks in the city, your London sightseeing itinerary is bound to be jam-packed. From historic buildings to modern day structures, this wonderful capital city has it all. Here are just some of our top sights to see in London. Remember you can hop-on and off our Big Bus tour as many times as you like to explore London’s iconic sights in your own time.

London Eye

London Eye Sights to See

A trip on the London Eye is the perfect way to orientate yourself, as well as getting the best view of the city. One full turn of the wheel takes around 30 minutes which is ample time for taking in the London skyline. Save money by booking online in advance – you can even splash out on special tickets, including the Champagne Experience (with a glass of champagne and a London Eye host) and the Hotel Chocolat Tasting Experience, for serious chocolate lovers.



Location: Big Bus stop: Coco-Cola London Eye. Tube stops: Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross, Westminster.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral sights to see

Another top London attraction is St Paul’s Cathedral, stop 17 on your Big Bus tour. Its magnificent dome is world-famous and the interior is just as jaw-dropping. You do have to pay to visit St Paul’s, but all money goes towards maintaining the cathedral which sees more than two million tourists through its doors annually, as well as providing for staff. Whilst you’re there, be sure to climb up the dome for a beautiful view of London, and check out the Whispering Gallery – the perfect place to whisper sweet nothings to your loved one.

Location: Big Bus stop: St Paul’s. Tube stop: St Paul’s

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace Sights to See

You’ll see Buckingham Palace from the comfort of your London tour bus, but it’s well worth further exploration. The State Rooms offer a glorious glimpse into the life of royalty, with sparkling chandeliers, sculptures and fine furniture. It’s also worth arriving early to witness the Changing the Guard ceremony (usually every other day). Although things don’t start happening until 11.15am, it’s always very busy, and you’ll want to get a good spot.

Location: Big Bus stop: Buckingham Palace. Tube stops: Victoria, Green Park, St James’s Park

Houses of Parliament

Parliament

Not far from Buckingham Palace is the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom. The building is beautiful both inside and out, and if you visit at night, you’ll see it lit up spectacularly. It’s worth venturing inside Parliament too, for a guided tour or to watch a debate (you must book these in advance), and UK residents can even enjoy a tour of Elizabeth Tower, more famously known as Big Ben.

Location: Big Bus stop: Parliament Square. Tube stop: Westminster

Tower of London

Tower of London sights to see

The Tower of London is a major London attraction, and not to be missed. There is a huge range of things to see and do within the grounds, including marvelling at the Crown Jewels and guided tours from Yeoman Warders, or Beefeaters, as you’re more likely to know them.

Location: Big Bus stop: Tower of London. Tube stop: Tower Hill

The Shard

Shard
The Shard is London’s highest viewing platform, at the top of Western Europe’s tallest building! So at almost twice the height of any other vantage point in the city, it is the premium place where you can see unrivalled 360º views of London.

Location: Big Bus stop: London Bridge. Tube stop: London Bridge

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

With over 1000 years of extraordinary history, Westminster Abbey is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country. The Abbey is a treasure trove of paintings, stained glass, textiles and artefacts, and is the resting place for some of the most significant people in the nation’s history. Since 1100, there have been at least 16 royal weddings at Westminster Abbey, and this is where Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, grandson of Elizabeth II, married Miss Catherine Middleton on 29th April 2011.

Location: Big Bus stop: Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square. Tube stop: Westminster

Churchill War Rooms

Churchill War Rooms Sights to seePicture Copyright: Imperial War Museum

When you’re in Westminster, take time to visit the Churchill War Rooms, to see the wartime bunker where Churchill and his government took shelter during the Blitz. The audio guide, which comes in a variety of languages, provides a fascinating insight into Churchill’s life during this turbulent time, and provides context to the pivotal decisions which were made here.

Location: Big Bus stop: Westminster Pier. Tube stop: Westminster

April 18, 2016 / by / in
Places worth exploring in London city

inter5If you have been planning to come to London city then perhaps you have already decided what exactly you wish to do over here or the places you would like to see and explore. If you are not sure what there is to see and do then you may consider about knowing some of the things that you can look ahead to indulge into while holidaying in the English capital.

  • No visit to London city can ever be completed without a tourist trail. You would definitely love to take in the majestic sights such as the Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge and many other spectacular sights that are worth exploring.
  • Stay over at the nearby hotel that will put you close to several fascinating attractions. The city centre is considered to be well enriched with a wide array of fascinating attractions that are worth exploring. If you are finding it difficult to choose an appropriate hotel for the purpose of staying at then you can always consider spending some of your time at the Park Avenue Baker Street.london-eye2
  • The city museums house some of the most significant exhibits in the world that are worth looking forward to. Whether you pay a visit to the Natural History Museum or the Imperial War Museum, you would love the idea of spending most of your time in checking out the wondrous displays. Visit the British Museum that allows free admission to the public.
  • Apart from the museums, the art galleries are also worth paying a visit to. No matter whether you prefer traditional styles of art or modern art forms, you would love to see some priceless works of art in the English capital. Try to pay a visit to the National Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Portrait Gallery and the others that are definitely worth exploring.
  • London is famous for being one of the most amazing shopping capitals in the world. With its incredible range of shops, high street stores and boutiques, you would definitely love the idea of enjoying every bit of your vacation in a desirable manner. Stay at hotels in Baker Street for enjoying an easy aces to the shopping centers in London.
  • Apart from the galleries and museums in London city, there is a wide variety of venues and tourist attractions which continue to host several events on regular basis. The nightclubs in London offer some of the best experience that you would lobe to enjoy while coming over here.
  • Go for a football match at one of the London Premiership Clubs or watch a game of cricket at the Lords Cricket Ground. Live in this city which is culturally so much enriched. It is always a pleasure to visit some of the most exquisite holiday spots in the city that will eventually help you in having a blissful time ahead.
  • The Madam Tussauds Wax Museum should not be missed. It houses several wax statues of celebrities from all around the world and is also quite a popular venue for exploring the blissful London attractions.

There is everything in this city which is worth exploring and you would definitely love the idea of experiencing the best of every vacation moment and that too in a blissful manner.

March 14, 2016 / by / in
Top Restaurants and Attractions near the London Eye

The area around the London Eye is a great place for a day trip if you’re staying in London, especially if you’re at one of the hotels near Waterloo. As well as the calming pleasure of taking a trip into the skies of London on a huge wheel, there are plenty of other nearby attractions on the South Bank.

The National Theatre is a great place to visit even if you’re not seeing a play, as it’s worth admiring for the architecture, art installations and frequent free events that happen in the court outside. As well as the National, visitors interested in theatre are within easy reach of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, a reconstruction of the original 17th century building which is now used both as a museum and for productions by the RSC.
Skip The Lines With The London Pass

A little way up the road, we also have the Tate Modern, a huge converted power station that is now Britain’s home of modern art, and is credited with bringing art to the masses like never before. It’s featured turbine hall exhibits have been among the grandest and most innovative shown anywhere in the world.

For a more family-friendly activity, the London Sea Life Aquarium is right next to the Eye, and holds one of Europe’s largest collections of marine life.

When you’re finished with a hard day’s sightseeing, why not cap off your South Bank excursion with a visit to one of the many fine restaurants around Waterloo and the London Eye.

 

Here are a few of our favourites:

Canteen

–  Canteen is a small London chain with one of its branches at Royal Festival Hall. A friendly place with an emphasis on quality British food and a vaguely nostalgic feel reminiscent of school dinners. The food is the real treat, though, and may make tourists realise why Britons remain so fond of our culinary history, disparaged as it is throughout the world.

 

 

 

–  Ev on Isabella Street is a loveEvly Lebanese restaurant under the railway arches. A classic interpretation of one of the world’s best cuisines, set in an atmospheric and charming Aladdin’s Cave of a building. Ev is right next to Southwark Station.

 

 

 

 

Oxo Tower Restaurant–  The Oxo Tower Restaurant commands one of the best views over the city short of the eye itself. The restaurant serves amazing modern European cuisine in a tower that is a London landmark. In the summer, guests can even dine outside on the terrace, for an unforgettable evening dining experience. Prices are steep, but it’s obviously not just the excellent food that you’re paying for.

 

 

February 6, 2016 / by / in

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