London Street Food: L’Amuse Bouche

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Foodie beware: one must prepare mentally and physically for a visit to the world’s capital city. I never tire of being a repeat visitor of London and with family there I make sure to frequent its cobbled streets whenever watch [and wallet] permit. Don’t believe the gossip- London offers whatever sweet, savory or salty food your palette could dream up and if you’re hoping for guidance, you’ve come to the right place.

Don’t sweat the calories- I averaged a walk of about 10 miles daily and imagine you will do the same quite easily. It’s a city that begs exploration by foot but also hosts a quite navigable transportation system. I recommend strolling and letting the wanderlust guide you to your own food destinations. This is how I’ve found my favorite spots.

If you wander the area surrounding Southward Bridge you might eventually turn your gaze upward and be drawn towards the ancient dome of St. Paul’s. You might smell the sweet-laced yeast of French crêpes rising from a 5×5 striped tent and lose control of your salivary glands like I did.

The quaint pop-up coupled with the charming hand-written a-frame menu highlights the authenticity and the French natives pouring the batter as you watch completes the mood. Choices range from sweet to salty, but the La Goaty’s onion chutney offered a slightly unusual add-on that reeled me in.

After cooking the meal, the vendor folds the crêpe into a paper plate and thirds it neatly into a portable cone that makes it the perfect food for grab & go fare. As usual, I couldn’t wait to sit down to try a bite. The flesh of the pancake was pleasantly crisp with the sweetness of real butter used to lubricate the simplistic griddle. The meal married the tangy twinge of goat’s cheese with a faintly bitter but undeniably sweet onion chutney and the spinach soaked in both flavors perfectly.

I took my meal to the stone seating area steps from St. Paul’s and watched as the pigeons stayed near hoping for a fallen morsel.

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Cornbread Cafe – Eugene, OR

Cornbread Cafe, BBQ seitan plate
Cornbread Cafe, BBQ seitan plate

Vegan Comfort Food in Eugene, Oregon

It’s a pretty established fact that if you’re of the Vegan persuasion, Oregon is the place to go; this truth is what spawned a spur-of-the-moment holiday to visit a friend one February that would eventually lead to starting a new home in Portland, Oregon.

Not two hours south is a quaint hippie town called Eugene, home to some exceptionally stellar natural products established long before it was in fashion. Arguably the best vegan food you can find in Eugene is at Cornbread Cafe. The Food Network’s Guy Fieri’s autograph is found etched above the cash register as you first make your way through the brick hovel. It resonates an uncanny fifties vibe that establishes the home-cooked handiwork to come and sets your salivary glands into motion.

I frequently head down to Eugene for business and I’m not ashamed to say that every time I go, I know that I’ll be vistiing cornbread cafe for a plate of undeniably authentic vegan comfort food that hold its weight with the traditional form. If you don’t believe me take a look at the photo and imagine sinking your teeth into BBQ seitan that bounces back with the chewy consistency of a pork chop. Upon first bite, the savory gravy forming a welcomed pool above a snowball of mashed potatoes gently shocks your taste buds with a kiss of salt that will send you into ecstasy.

If that’s not enough, if you sit at the diner-style bar in front of the short order cook window, there’s a refrigerated box of sweet goodness ranging from coconut cream pie to cheesecake in a jar. I’ve yet to sample the desserts, but that’s what return visits are for!

Be sure to stop by Cornbread Cafe if you’re in Eugene- I’m sure they’ll make a repeat offender out of you to.