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August 30, 2013 / mintcustard

Coffee and briskets.

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There is something rather deliciously decadent about being a tourist in your own town. Today the younger teen and I I’d just that. My town happens to be London so perhaps I am fortunate to have more town than most to explore. So off we went on an adventure. I am unashamedly a city girl, traffic noise lulls me to sleep, buildings make me happy.

On the way in, via the London Overground, a new route into the city for us, we talked about how much of London we had yet to really explore. Often we rush through an area en route to somewhere else yet we don’t really stop to look up, look down, listen and feel an unfamiliar place.

Shoreditch was our target for today.  Yes we have popped over in the past to visit Rough Trade records, slid into a vintage shop or made the journey to have a curry as a student of an evening but today we went to linger and look.

We started at Boxpark, just outside Shoreditch High Street station, a whole mall of pop up shops and food stalls. The teen wandered and bought a couple of bits and pieces. People came and went. The juxtaposition of the achingly trendy, the very old school Londoner and the crowd pouring out from Friday prayers in the Mosque is what I love about this city and what I truly miss when I am away.

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Taking a shortcut along a dusty side street, where modern new developments sit cheek by jowl with multi occupancy homes,  towards the Trumans brewery I had to stop and pay homage to one  of this part of London’s culinary institutions. The Beigel bake. I have eaten these  dense chewy rolls in New York, Boston and as a small child, from this establishment. My dad took me early one Sunday morning and it was a great adventure I remember. I bought half a dozen back home today. Some of the best beigels I’ve ever had. Why beigels and not bagels? A throwback to the Eastern European origin of the original bakers Beigel is simply bagel in a Polish dialect. Clutching a brown bag full of bagels we continue our East London odyssey. Interestingly looking closely at them, they seem to be made from long piece of dough that is then made into a ring rather than having a hole poked through with a wooden spoon as I have always done. What would Paul Hollywood do? sd1

Slipping into Rough Trade always makes me feel old, and more than a little out of touch, but the food trucks parked around the back of the shops brightened my day. A beautifully oak smoked beef brisket with a celery seed infused coleslaw roll was a delight and the teen make short shrift of her cherry wood smoked pork belly roll.sd5

Casting my eye over the vintage clothes in Rokit and Blitz takes me back to the time I spent working out how best to spend my clothes allowance in Flip on Covent Gardens Long Acre. In those days it was filled with vintage 501s and plaid shirts, and it seems nothing changes, still the same stuff in those shops today!

As well as the many curry restaurants, vintage shops and galleries, Shoreditch has more than the average number of independent coffee houses. We settled down for what has to be the most hip cool and trendy coffee I’ve ever had. Served in a glass it was certainly at the cutting edge, pity it was so hot it also removed my fingerprints too. Perhaps the lesson here is to slow down, let the coffee cool and use the time you gain to contemplate and relax.sd4

On the way back to the train we passed many side streets and alley ways that seem untouched by time. You don’t have to look too hard to glimpse the Shoreditch of old.

sd2Just outside the station padlocks are appearing on a chain link fence, persons unknown to me are swearing their undying love for each other. I didn’t have a padlock, but as corny as it sounds I might just swear an oath to this city of mine. And my OH of course!

Where would you take time to be a tourist in your city?

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