Saturday, May 4, 2013

(Wo)Man versus Food: The Bite by Bite Breakdown

London may be a rainy city, but nobody rains on my healthy-eating parade, not even Kate Middleton and her baby bump. I have to admit, though, while London may be known for its fish and chips, cider, and Guinness, all not exactly the healthiest of options, it is clear that they are, overall, a much healthier country than we are, which made it easier to make healthy choices while there. If you're curious as to the bite-by-bite breakdown of my Tiny Tummy's eating extravaganza in the UK, I'll do my best to provide.

Breakfast every morning was provided to us complimentary by the hotel. As with most hotels in America, it was served as an all you can eat breakfast buffet. The buffet consisted of scrambled eggs, beans, English sausages (no idea what was in those bad boys, but it definitely was not the sausages we are used to in America, so Tiny Tummy steered clear), bacon, toast, yogurt, cottage cheese with fruit in a syrup base, croissants, rolls, cereal, hard boiled eggs, and a bowl of apples and oranges. Often, we had to be at early morning meetings, so while I'm generally not that hungry at that time in the morning, I ate at that hour anyway. I knew that with our busy schedules, lunch wouldn't come until hours later, so I ate a filling breakfast in preparation. Each morning I had 3 or 4 hard boiled egg whites with an orange or an apple. I often grabbed an extra apple for a snack later in the day, and had it when I got hungry either mid-morning, or mid-afternoon.

Lunch was a tossup and completely depended on what we had planned each day. The first few days we had lunch/”linner” at Garfunkel's, a London chain similar to Charlie Browns in the US. They have burgers, pasta, pizza, etc. and a salad bar that you can either get as an appetizer to one of the aforementioned meals, or as an entree. If you couldn't guess, I got the salad bar as an entree. They bring you a small bowl, and for 4 pounds you can fill in once, and for 8.50, you can fill it an unlimited number of times. Because we only had limited time the first day we went, I only got one bowl, and to be honest, it was sort of a blessing. I definitely would have thought to do the unlimited, but to be honest, the single bowl was easily enough. I filled it with lettuce, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs (ate the whites, tossed the yolks), ham (if they had turkey I would have opted for it, but they didn't), corn, beans, cucumbers, etc. While this salad bar was not anywhere near as extensive as Charlie Brown's, it was a cheap, healthy lunch that I knew I could count on, and was about 3 minutes from our hotel. Perhaps my reliance on routine reared its ugly head here, but this became Tiny Tummy's go-to lunch, and I probably ate there at least four times throughout the week (I mean, how can you argue with a cheap, reliable, delicious salad bar?)

My favorite lunch in London definitely came from Borough Market. The market place itself was UNREAL- loaded with yummy sweets, savory goodies, and tons of miscellaneous indulgences- from fudge to gelato to candied nuts to dosas to cheesecake...I may have gained a few pounds simply sampling everything... only kidding. Anyway, I decided to at least try to heir on the healthier side with my lunch, so I went with a veggie burger in a cabbage leaf topped with balsamic marinated onions, hummus, and cabbage slaw in a vinaigrette. It tasted a little too good to be healthy, but it was definitely healthier than the fried falafel, sausages, and potpies that were the alternative. And after sampling just about everything there (who could say no to free turkish marshmallows or homemade gelato), I needed something on the healthier side. Needless to say, delish.

Dinner was where things generally got ugly. The first night, we had a group dinner, so I was able to get a nice meal that night, but the rest of the nights, up until the final night we were there, we went to see shows each night, so people either got dinner before (hence “linner”), or skipped it altogether. I can't eat at 5:00 and be satiated the rest of the night, especially since we often hit the pubs/clubs after the shows each night, so dinner was often a Quest Bar at the intermission of each show (2 some nights if “linner” was earlier). Not the most nutritious, wholesome dinner, per say, but better than fish and chips or bar food that I would have had to turn to otherwise, so I was glad I brought a ton of Quest Bars with me.

After that group dinner the first night, my second favorite dinner that we had was the night we went for sashimi. For an impromptu lady's night out, a few of the girls and I decided to check out London's local conveyer belt sushi chain- Yo Sushi. I can't say that the quality of fish is any fresher that the fish in The Big Apple (I'm going based solely on the one place I tried in London, so don't hold me to that), but the experience of the conveyer belt was quite exciting. We each got our own plates off the conveyer belt (and ordered what wasn't there) and then split a yummy chocolate mousse for dessert. For my dinner, I ordered the salmon and tuna mixed sashimi, and after watching this delicious-looking squid salad pass me on the conveyer belt time and time again, I decided it was calling my name, and got one of those also. I have to say, I am glad I answered that call because the squid salad which was DELISH! (As of course was our yummy chocolate mousse with the exception of some strange sugary filling that I did not care for).

On the more indulgent end of things, for our last night in London, we had a group outing to a local Indian restaurant. For a nation that is known for its Indian food, the dinner was beyond underwhelming, but I haven't had real Indian food in ages, so I indulged a little, nonetheless. The appetizer plate we were given consisted of onion pakora, masala dosa, meat samosas, a small salad, and chicken curry of sorts. I ate the chicken, and the filling of the dosa along with the salad, and left the rest. The main course was a fish curry, chicken and spinach, a vegetable stir fry of sorts, lamb curry, rice, and naan/onion paratha. I admit, I had some paratha which was only OK (but good for someone who hasn't had it in ages), and I tried some of each of the curry dishes. The fish curry was probably my fav, and I skipped the rice altogether. For dessert they offered us almond or pistachio ice cream. I got the almond, but tasted a bite of each one... I preferred the almond one which had little slivers of almonds in it, and was actually ridiculously creamy. Needless to say, we all left there absolutely stuffed. Tiny Tummy was not rockin' a tiny tummy that night, that's for sure!

No comments:

Post a Comment