Thursday, 7 August 2014
London with L, Part 1 - Whitechapel & Shoreditch
I met L when I started sophomore year at Cleveland Heights High School after moving from Colorado Springs. Fast forward 19 years, various house moves and life events and here we are again! I'm ashamed to say that the last time we saw each other was in January, 2004 but when I met her at Heathrow it was is no time had passed at all - I always say that the sign of a good friendship is when you just pick up where you left off!
The plan for day 1 was to go into London. As I live just down the train tracks from Euston, most visitors want to do the tourist-y things - Big Ben, Hyde Park, Oxford Street...I've seen them so many times! I was pretty impressed when L sent me a small list of things she wanted to do, none of which were remotely tourist-y!
We started the day off with a healthy yogurt, fruit and nut breakfast to munch on the train.
From Euston we travelled to Monument, got on the District Line then arrived at Whitechapel.
One of the first things L spotted was the library building designed by David Adjaye (although now apparently libraries are called "idea stores"...). I would have walked straight past however L is an architect and has a keen eye for stunning structures!
Just down the road and tucked away in an alley is the East End Thrift Store. Thrifting used to be one our favourite pastimes in school - it was a great way to find cheap, unique clothes and even though it took dedication to sort through aisles and aisles of things that weren't that great, when you did find that one-of-a-kind gem, it was worth it!
The East End Thrift Store has two sides - the "pre-sorted" side where you don't have to rummage too much and the "not-sorted" side where you can fill a bag with whatever you can for only £10! After about 5 minutes though, we gave up on the "not-sorted" side as we didn't have enough time to sort through the mountains of clothes so headed to the "pre-sorted" side.
The other side had clothes for every occasion - dresses, play suits, leather jackets, sequins galore...
I found a gorgeous dress which didn't fit me however I insisted L get it because it suited her so well! We felt like we'd stepped back in time to the 90s - it even had the same thrift shop smell as Unique Thrift store (which is still going, by the way!) on Lorain Avenue!
One stop up the Hammersmith & City line and we found ourselves in Shoreditch.
Take a left out of the station and you come across Boxpark, a pop-up mall made from shipping containers with all kinds of interesting brands and goodies!
Just around the corner we stumbled upon Andina. L had suggested either Andina or Ping Pong for dinner and because I am obsessed with dim sum I favoured Ping Pong but a trip to Andina must have been meant to be so we stopped in for lunch.
This small Peruvian restaurant is spread across two floors with the ground floor light and airy and downstairs dark and cozy. We were seated at the bar downstairs which turned out to be a real treat as you could see the ceviche being prepared right in front of you and watching the barman making cocktails was like watching a wizard carefully concocting a spell!
We only wanted a light lunch so chose two dishes recommended by the barman to share - the chicken & avocado causa and the chicken aji de gallina. The causa was simply out of this world - a cold potato mash with coriander and lime topped with a layer of avocado and a beautiful chicken salad that was smooth and creamy but had little crunchy veg bits as a contrast.
The chicken aji de gallina is described rather blandly on the menu as a mini casserole with pecans, potato and olives but the taste was far from bland! Topped with slices of potato, fat olives and bits of walnut, the dish was so creamy and filling. It took me a while to figure out what the sauce was as I thought it might have had a hint of chilli or curry but was in fact cheese! Absolutely delicious!
Pleasantly full we kept on wandering down the High Street...
The East End Thrift Store
London E1 4UT
020 7423 9700
1 Redchurch Street
London E2 7DJ
020 7920 6499
Chicken & avocado causa - £5.00
Chicken aji de gallina - £8.00
Filed Under: london