Archive for the ‘Weekend walks’ Category

A bite of London | Saturday in Stoke Newington

11 January 2014

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My sister told me about the Stoke Newington farmer’s market even before we moved to London, so I’m not sure how to explain that, though we’ve lived here for over four months and despite the fact that Stoke Newington is very close to where we live, I’d not yet been. Well, maybe I can explain. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say we’ve had other things to do.

But as January sauntered in, magnificently nonchalant as it is wont to be, with no other plans last weekend we decided to finally visit the market. Oh but first, breakfast.

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There are many tempting cafés and restaurants in Stoke Newington. The Haberdashery had caught my internet perusing eye, so we strolled up Stoke Newington High Street in its direction, peering into other possible options on the way. None beckoned.

I admit I have an incorrigible penchant for the time worn, run down, and artfully decaying, and immediately loved the place, its battered tile walls and seventies crockery. Service was kind and the coffee was good, unfortunately the food wasn’t great.

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The English and vegetarian breakfasts were uneven. Free range eggs, nicely confit-ed tomatoes, amazing sausages. But the baked halloumi was hard and very salty, the bacon salty too and rubbery (I realize bacon preferences are highly personal. I like it crispy, but not burnt). French Toast was the most disappointing — weirdly drab, the bread too lightly battered and, somehow, dry.

But I would go back for something simpler. Maybe just a fried egg with those amazing sausages, and perhaps, like Balthasar, a side of perfectly sauteed spinach. Or just coffee.

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And so to the market.

The Stoke Newington farmer’s market is my type. It’s not very big but has just the right selection: meat, fish, vegetables, mushrooms; someone sells buffalo milk products — amazing yogurt!; another raw milk — oh, to be back in Europe… There are a couple of very good bread stalls. In the fall there are fruits stands. All of it organic and local.

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After this long overdue reconnaissance trip, the ice has been broken, and it’s sure to become a regular Saturday excursion.

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A walk up High Street and along lively Stoke Newington Church Street away lies Clissold Park, which is lovely as London parks know to be. For children there’s a brilliant playground, skateboard fun park, deer enclosures, and a butterfly house in the warmer months. For a more leisurely time or a ball game there are huge lawns and shady trees. Worth spending a few lazy afternoon hours.

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Stoke Newington farmer’s market
St Paul’s Church on Stoke Newington High Street
Saturdays from 10am to 2.30pm

The Haberdashery
170 Stoke Newington High Street
London N16 7JL
Tel: 020 3643 7123
Open Mon-Wed 9am-6pm; Thu-Sun 9am-9pm

Weekend walk | Ambling in Williamsburg on a Sunday afternoon

24 September 2012

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Sunday was beautiful. One of those September days that make you forget the excitement of snow storms and wonderment at each blossoming spring and wish those crisp blue skies would last forever. Tugging between summer and fall; a bit cool in the shade, a little too hot in the sun.

We had dropped off Leo at a birthday party and were unusually left with just two children and a few hours to kill.

We drove to Williamsburg with no clear plan in mind; stopped at La Esquina, though I think our initial thought was Radegast. It was the perfect spot for brunch outside on that particular morning. The carnitas tacos were very good as were the ‘hamburgesa’ with chipotle mayo. Washed down with coffee and guava juice. And freshly pressed watermelon.

We ambled on.

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We walked toward Bedford in search of ice cream and fell upon Whisk, a well curated treasure trove of kitchen wares. I barely had time to grab a long-coveted, medium-sized Lodge pan before the pull of a two-year-old drew us along.

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Farther on Bedford we found the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck. While the pistachio was too faint, too unpistachio-y, subtle was the key of the Earl Grey ice cream, which was quite a revelation in fact. There were no complaints from Balthasar and his classic strawberry/vanilla cup. Louise had to share and wasn’t thrilled about that.

Turning the corner I eyed Northside Bakery with its irresistible subhead — division of Old Polish Foods. In my constant search for stout Eastern European-style bread I felt compelled to go in. Sure enough there were a few pure ryes on offer. I bought one seeded rye and a quarter of  the plain one that, whole, is a very large square. Both were excellent; the plain rye is out of this world, just the right amount of chewy, and wants nothing more than a minute in the toaster and a generous amount of really good butter.

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We might have walked to the waterfront, to the Brooklyn flea, and been tempted by a myriad other delicious foods. We didn’t even stop by Blue Bottle for coffee! Sometimes things are best left unplanned and unintentional. And it was time to pick up Leo.

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A few stops in Williamsburg

La Esquina | 225 Wythe Avenue | Tues-Wed-Thu-Sun 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-1am, Mon closed

Whisk | 231 Bedford Avenue | Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm

Van Leeuwen ice cream truck | Bedford @ North 8th Street | Daily from 12pm til late

Northside Bakery, division of Old Poland Foods | 149 North 8th Street


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