Our last few days in London were primarily dedicated to knocking a few more items off of our to-do list. One of those has been on the list for a rather long time. Waaay back in 2009, I bought some tickets for the (long defunct) Menu For Hope blog fundraiser, and ended up winning a gourmet tour of London from a blog called Londelicious that I was going to do later in the year. Well, several things happened… First, Krista ended up moving from London back to Chicago, and several attempts for her to have someone else do the tour in her place fell through. Then, at one point I thought I might cross paths with her after she moved back to Chicago (and renamed her blog Passport Delicious)… at which point she then moved back to the UK. We basically just gave up on the idea, until last year, both her and I were both actually in London at the same time, so we managed to actually finally meet up. Since I rather like beer, she offered up a tour along the Bermondsey Beer Mile. One of the more interesting things about London’s rail network is that several segments of it were done as elevated viaducts. Due to the stone construction, that means arches. A lot of arches. Originally, they were considered undesirable rental spaces, but they are in surprisingly high demand now, and in some areas, trendy. Like in Bermonsdey, where the Viaduct coming from London Bridge Station makes for several continuous miles of arches. Part of this is now the “Bermondsey Beer Mile”, since there are more than a few breweries located in the arches, including Kernel, Brew by Numbers, Southwark Brewing Company, and Anspach and Hobday. But another part of it is the Malsby Street Market; during the week it’s basically lumber storage, but on the weekends it becomes a hopping food market. Anchoring all of this is one actual permanent restaurant: 40 Maltby, where we stopped for snacks.
Those that have been reading the blog for a while know that every year I participate in the annual Menu For Hope fundraiser (and last year I even sponsored a prize). I’ve traditionally had very good luck winning prizes (including a walking food tour of London in 2008). This year was no exception, with my winnings include a “Chelsea Chocolate Ecstasy Tour” from ChocolateEcstasyTours.com. So Carol and I invited my brother and sister-in-law along for a 3 hour walking tour of high-end chocolate stores in and near the Chelsea neighborhood (I’ll try to carefully avoid defining the borders of London neighborhoods, that’s always a mild issue of confusion and dispute).
Anyone knows me knows that I love pizza. I’ll further admit that I’m a pizza snob. Growing up, I was taught by my Connecticut-raised father that there is One True Pizza, and that’s the pizza (err, Apizza) from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napolitana in New Haven, CT, with begrudging acceptance of a choice few other places on the planet (most of them near New Haven, like Sally’s, and The Modern). Over the years, I’ve learned that there are a lot of other good pizza places hiding out there, turning out pizzas whose crust, sauce, or cheese (mostly the crust) are head-and-shoulders above the rest. Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco. American Flatbread in Waitsfield, VT. Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn. Patsy’s in Harlem. Lombardi’s in New York City. The last two of these show that if there’s a home to pizza in America that’s not New Haven, it’s New York.
It’s time to talk about the other great joy of going to Yuma. No, I’m not talking about the green chile burgers at the Yuma Proving Ground bowling alley (although they do make a pretty good burger). I’m talking about the variety of taco stands that can be found all over Yuma. Around 5-6 pm every day, all sorts of sleepy little stands all over town (but centralized on West 8th, aka Calle Ocho) fire up their grills and start mixing up fresh jamaicas and horchata. Yes, to me, that is the real Yuma culinary experience, eating tacos from all manner of little trucks, stands, and tents located on vacant lots and parking lots.