I was a tourist, I was hungry and I wanted local fare. On a recent visit, I realized that England is quite diverse in the culinary world. So many places and not enough time! With 1 million square feet and over 300 departments, the world famous Harrod’s in Knightsbridge is the largest department store in Europe. Once I pulled myself away from the handbags, the ever so popular Food Halls were on my radar. If food and accessories were not a passion, I still had clothing, jewelry, gifts, Christmas, housewares, furniture, perfumery, wine and many other departments to occupy my time. In the Food Halls, amongst massive selections of tea and coffee, sweets, chocolate, pasta, condiments, there was this magnificent display of dates – not to be missed! Without skipping a beat, I ended my visit with Harrod’s Ladurée, a chic tearoom known internationally for its iconic macaroons. As Ladurée is based in Paris, it’s a wonderful treat to have these luscious morsels available for Londoners and visitors alike on this side of the Channel. Mini-macaroons saved the day! I purchased 5 different flavors without over-indulging, and one a day lasted the remainder of my stay in London. After a theatre show, I indulged in the LaSphere, a must dessert at the Bar Terrace at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. A giant Manjari chocolate dome drizzled with hazelnut praline and ice cream. Worthy of their 2 Michelin stars in London! With other restaurants in cities such as Paris, Tokyo, New York, Monaco and Hong Kong, Joel Robuchon has garnered a total of 28 Michelin stars – more than any other chef in the world. Located on Borough High Street on the south side of the River Thames in Southwark, the George Inn is a historical masterpiece established in the medieval period. As I arrived, the cobbled courtyard was filled with lively Londoners enjoying a pint after a hard day’s work. A little bit of history – the original George Inn was destroyed by fire in 1676, later rebuilt and is now London’s only remaining galleried coaching inn. Dickens visited the site on many occasion and mentioned it in Little Dorrit. Shakespeare was another visitor as the Globe Theatre is just a short distance away. Like most London pubs, this coaching inn is a maze of narrow passages, connected bars, steep stairways and the main restaurant. Well, you’ve heard the saying, it’s all about the food? So let’s get to the good stuff. Fish and chips and mushy peas. It was Day 1 and I wanted fish and chips, the English way! A freshly battered, thick filet of fish with a pile of crisp chips (what Americans call French fries) and a side condiment of malt vinegar mayo. Gives new meaning to the phrase Batter Up! To my surprise, the mushy peas at The George Inn did not disappoint. No green puree here, just fresh green peas, reminiscent of chopped edamame, sprinkled with kosher salt. So if you want to eat and drink in a proper British pub with lots of serious history, add The George Inn to your must-see list. After dinner, remember to take a stroll to see the London Bridge, Southwark Cathedral, and the modern day building, The Shard. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street is another local pub rebuilt after the Great Fire. One of the oldest pubs in one of the oldest buildings, the Cheshire is located in a narrow alleyway with many floors and bars – all little gloomy rooms! Word on the street is that Charles Dickens was known to visit the Cheshire Cheese often. Don’t let the gloomy charm fool you though – we dined in one of the deep cellars and had one of my favorite pub meals yet. Steak and Ale Pie, a combination of quality steak and gravy wrapped in a proper crispy, buttery pastry was a serving that I luckily did not have to share. An individual serving accompanied with veggies and chips so as not to miss any of the rich brown gravy. All topped off with the perfect pint of ale! PORTOBELLO ROAD MARKET IN NOTTING HILL is the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible you can imagine. Located in an exciting area with cobblestone streets, cafes and numerous antique shops, I had my eye on a late lunch from one of the market stalls. It was standing room only just to watch the cooking process and take photos of JamonJamon’s bubbling Paella Valencia and Seafood Paella. After giving in to temptation, I quickly spotted a cozy spot under the eaves of a nearby shop and enjoyed my seafood paella as the downpour began. Many a passerby inquired as to where they may purchase the same – a carton with enough paella for two for a mere 6£. A rice dish originating in Valencia, Spain, JamonJamon’s paella held its own. Mussels, clams, calamari and prawns combined with tomatoes, rice, garlic, paprika, seafood broth, saffron, olive oil and other spice and seasonings. Delicioso! The highlight of my Saturday morning walking tour was indeed Borough Market in Southwark, a source of British and international food products. It wasn’t just the quality of the food; it was also about the place and the people. Walking amid 100 traditional stalls of British and international food products ranging from mushrooms, sausages, marinated olives, cheese to bread, I found the hidden gem – Pate Moi! This hand-made organic mushroom pâté is made from a secret family recipe. Using just-picked field, button, chestnut and in-season wild mushrooms, this treat was perfect when paired with focaccia from neighboring Bread Ahead. I had to remember to pace myself! Brindisa – grilled chorizo, rocket (arugula), roasted red bell pepper on ciabatta, and drizzled with olive oil. Heavenly! Roast to Go – slow roasted pork belly crispy crackling sandwich with Bramley apple sauce. The long queue was well worth the wait. While enjoying these delectable treats, it was entertaining to watch the jealousy on other faces. Nothing else needs to be said. If you must tear yourself away from the market, consider purchasing a few products to sample throughout the day as you stroll through Southwark scouting out historical sites, museums and the many bridges to cross. Last but not least, Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs! Located in Fitzrovia, Kitchen Table is owned by acclaimed Chef James Knappett and wife Sommelier Sandia Chang. A multi-course dinner featured a tasting menu of creative and contemporary food. With 19 seats around an open kitchen, a board was displayed with one key ingredient for each course – so the offerings were a complete mystery during this dining experience of 13 courses! Nothing better than to share favorites! So, if you have experienced spectacular foodie places in London that should be added to the list, please send the names my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.