Happy New Year Everyone!
Clearly it has taken me a while for this delicious update but I know we can all relate to the madness that is the holiday season: Christmas, Hanukkah, Slava, New Years and all the other lovely celebrations in between.
Before we celebrate the New Year and delve into my nomderings I want to look back at just a few of 2016’s noms:
Here’s to hopefully nomming all of this and more in 2017!
All holiday craziness aside, the event I had been most anxiously awaiting for this past year was the first week of December when I had plans to meet up with my mom in London, England.
We had chosen London because of it’s technical half way point between Serbia and the U.S. and also because my aunt (my mother’s sister) and her husband were also going to be visiting and conducting business during that same time. And so mid summer I booked my ticket with Air Serbia and the next thing I knew Thanksgiving had passed and I was stepping on the plane fully ready for bannoffee, meat pies and of course the company of my favorite lady in the world: my mom!
Because my mom and aunt were flying into Heathrow together from New Jersey a few hours before my planned arrival, they shot over to our accommodations at The Sloane Club where we would be staying for the first two nights of our trip. Thus left me to my own devices, something I was more than prepared to handle once looking at a transport map and taking some advice from my experienced auntie.
Upon my arrival at customs the passport officer asked if my reason for staying was to do ‘touristy things’ and I nodded but added “I just want to eat…everything” to which he laughed and suggested a place in the Chelsea area with American sized portions. This was a great sigh of relief, I was warming up to the Brits already!
From Heathrow I took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and then grabbed a black cab from there to the club. Things in London are extremely well marked, trains seem to run on schedule and my cabbie gave me front door service. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the members-only Sloane Club but so far so good.
When I walked through the doors of The Sloane Club, I have to admit that I felt a bit out of my league. Being a twenty-something year old with little cash value and the tendency to slum it, this place was seriously posh. Walking through the hallways I wasn’t sure if I was going to blend in but all those worries faded away when I knocked on my hotel room door and opened it to see my mom, arms wide open. Eight months is a long time people!
After our reunion, my aunt came down and we decided to savor the sunlight (sunlight in London….what??) and walk around Sloane Square and King’s Road. Christmas was in full swing in London. Lights, decorations, store front windows and pop up street markets that could put even the Grinch in the holiday spirit. We walked through the stalls of food stuffs and I legitimately could have nommed every single thing but above all the enticing aromas the sweet cinnamon smell of mulled wine drew me in like a moth to a flame.
Having lived in Germany during the holidays, the idea of ‘Glühwein’ has always made me weak at the knees. This adult beverage will thaw your bones in the chill of the season and you’ll probably be lining up for a second cup as soon as your done with the first. Also, there is nothing better than day drinking, and there is nothing better than appropriate day drinking in public. Holiday spirit? Yes please!
We moved down King’s road, window shopping and peeking in at places to have a sit down bite to eat. Of course being the Americans we are, we ended up at Brgr Co. Their no fuss menu after a day of traveling was all the comfort we needed. Nestled in the corner we caught up over beers and cider. If you know me at all through these blog posts I never go for the most popular thing on a menu. Who in their right mind would go for a vegetarian option on a meat filled menu? This lady! So naturally the Falafel burger with sweet potato fries spoke my language. Both my aunt and mom chose classic burgers and shared a basket of thin cut chips.
Brgr Co.’s green pesto like tahini sauce caught me off guard but in the best way because it went oh so very well with the crispy fava bean patty, red tomatoes and buttery toasted bun. I could have drank the sauce alone it was that tasty. I was also in sweet potato fry heaven since you don’t find them on many menus in Serbia. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a catch-up and I could imagine meeting friends here for a burger and beer after work. Brgr Co. you have the Nomandnommer seal of approval.
Upon returning to the club that evening, my mother immediately fell asleep after a long journey while me on the other hand with only an hour time difference stayed up and enjoyed the Christmasy commercials on television and researched noms in the area. Best to be proactive even when you’re on holiday.
The next morning we woke up feeling refreshed (myself having roused at 6) and looking forward to our Sloane Club breakfast. We met my aunt in the stairwell and made our way down to the dining room. Now I’m keen to say I was most likely the youngest person there by 30+ years or so but that somehow made me feel special, like a white unicorn.
The Sloane Club has a lush yet modest sized breakfast spread from sweet pastries, yogurt and fruit spread, fresh apples and bananas to toast with all the jam and honey one could dream of. They also have a breakfast menu a la cart which was beckoning me with the promise of Belgian waffles and maple syrup, yet another thing virtually never seen in Serbia. My aunt went with the holiday special, gingerbread pudding and a side of thick cut bacon, while my mom headed for a light breakfast at the brunching table.
As we waited for our plates, my aunt insisted we start off with french pressed coffee which she meticulously allowed to simmer on the table for a few minutes (silently driving me mad since I had been awake for so long without any source of caffeine) but the wait was worthwhile when we finally sipped the fine brewed liquid goodness. After drinking endless cups of Nes instant coffee for the past year, I was properly electrified.
Ahh, my small yet perfectly crispy on the outside – soft on the inside twin Belgian waffles finally arrived, dusted with powdered sugar and paired with forest fruit and a saucer of decadent maple syrup to which I used every last drop of. With three cups of coffee in my belly and these golden delights, I was good to go for my first walk about the city and yet another miraculously sunny day in London.
The Sloane Club which is appropriately located near the Sloane Square tube station was just as I imagined the underground subway system to operate, similar to other cities including Boston but much more organized and the card payment being relatively easy to figure out.
You can purchase an ‘Oyster Card’ at the kiosk of the station and top it up with credit at automated machines with either cash or card. The one thing I disliked immensely about the London underground however were the virtually 180 degree vertical escalators. Up or down I felt like an accident waiting to happen.
Once safely above ground the first thing I saw was the epitome of English poster landmarks: Big Ben. Shining majestically in the skyline beside the River Thames, this old world clock tower really made the reality of being in London set in. The Westminster Palace building is a bit less sparkly than in the pictures but beautifully structured none the less. On the other side of the water the London Eye is hard to miss, rotating at a snails pace in the the midst of the bustling city.
We made our way over the bridge to stroll along the opposite side where Christmas market like stalls sprawled the length of the Thames. I was in my element yet again and already had my mind (or my stomach) set on a tasty treat despite still being full from breakfast. I picked up some cookies from the *Galeta stand, just in case I got hungry any where in between. I kept reminding myself and my mother: If not now, then when??
I know what you’re thinking: now! Red Velvet and White Chocolate and Cranberry were my cookies of choice and upon consuming them later on in our hotel room proved to be the most delicious decision.
There was another properly established market in front of the Tate Museum of Contemporary Art which luckily enough was our intended destination. After a walk through the Tate the heavenly aroma of grilling sausages summoned my stomach to partake in another one of my favorite German past times. My aunt was kind enough to split the giant wurst with me and the gentleman at the stand was kind enough to agree and give us both brotchen (little rolls). I smothered mine if curry ketchup, a condiment I had been apart from for far too long. To wash down the ‘dog’ we decided to warm up with Cadbury hot chocolates, complete with a Cadbury ‘flake’.
After my “snack” we continued over Millennium Bridge to sight-see the area around St. Paul’s and the Museum of London. We had decided to pick up a London Pass (which is incredible and advised for anyone visiting the city for a day or two because the amount of money you save is superb), this pass allows you to get into all museums with a fee for half the rate and at a ‘fast track’ speed. It definitely came in handy.
And you will see exactly why in the continuation of this nomventure next time!
Oh! I almost forgot, December was also special because it includes my day of birth! It’s hard to believe I am twenty-five years old now…nevermind let’s not remind me! Quarter life crisis here I come…
I did however celebrate willingly with a birthday cake which I had dropped more than just hints about to Milan for months. A fabulous restaurant and cake extraordinaires by the name of Poco Loco in Pančevo made my dreams come true with a out of this world Snickers Cake. An insanely rich thinly layered cake with peanuts and ninety percent chocolate. We ate it for a whole week. One of my now top ten cakes of all time period! Thank you Poco Loco! (and Milan too of course!)
Stay tuned for the next part of my trip to Nomdon!