Tag Archives: GlutenFreeLondon

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring”- David Bowie

collage-2017-06-08If you go to London, Brixton is a must see place. It’s the last station of the Victoria Line and it’s a pleasure for the eyes as soon as you go out of the Tube, for, just opposite the street, in Tunstall Road, there’s a mural painting of David Bowie made by the Australian artist James Cochran. It’s a personal version of Aladdin Sane’s album cover and I first saw it last year in January, when the place was full of flowers and grieving messages. On January this year it was the same, save for a glass put to protect the artwork.

Bowie was born in Stansfield road in Brixton and there are several places to see if you’re a fan of him or just a music lover, like the Arts Lab, the hair salon where the Ziggy Stardust hair style was created or the park where he performed in 1969. When I was in London there were two different walking tours that offer people an all-encompassing journey from birth to death of one of London’s biggest icons, with passionate guides able to enrich the visit with stories and anecdotes. There’s a 2 hour tour and a 4 hour one that includes a trip to Beckenham, browse the web and look for the most suitable for you.

Brixton of course, it’s not only Bowie, its market is the Europe’s biggest Afro-Caribbean food market. You can get there with just a two minute walk from Brixton tube station: Brixton Village and Market Row (just across the road) are basically a collection of narrow streets called ‘Avenues’ where you can find everything, tasting a large variety of street food and have a good meal for £10. As I’m gluten intolerant, I looked for something for me and it was a pleasure to see there was a wide choice. Beside of the always trustable Honest Burger, I personally tried Sansla creperie and I wasn’t disappointed. Remember to order a galette and not a crepe if you need to avoid gluten. The Banoffee tasted heavenly and the vanilla shake was delicious. Since I want to go back there to visit the windmill, I will surely hit Sansla for a different option. Here’s the link: http://www.senzalacreperie.co.uk/

In addition to all the open market stalls, the area is full of shops (included my beloved Poundland) and many interesting things to see (as I stated before, I need to go back to visit all the art galleries and the music shops) like the O2 Academy (or Brixton Academy), that was once a cinema and now it’s an important  centre for live music. The Academy was built in 1929 and still have its wonderful art decò style.

So, if you’re in London, don’t miss this incredible borough.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Guns of Brixton – The Clash

 

 

 

 

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“I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill” William Blake

One of the London spots I love the most because it’s the set of some romantic memories of mine, is Primrose Hill, the highest point of the eponymous district. You can get there after a 10 minutes walk from Chalk Farm tube station, there’s a well kept green area whose summit is almost 63 metres above sea level and where the trees are kept low so as not to obscure the view. It formerly belonged to Eton College, but became Crown property about the middle of last century and it’s a stunning sightseeing spot above all on clear sky days.

The summit features an inscription on York featuring the quote from William Blake I used for this post. The poet believed that Zoroastrian rites were performed on Primrose Hill and affirmed that this place was sacred to the sun without without giving any explanation as to why that particular site was appropriate.

Another literary reference is an oak known as “Shakespeare’s Tree” that stands on the slope of the hill, it was first planted in 1864 to mark the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.

primrose

If you feel hungry after climbing the hill, there’s a lots of nice places to eat around there. We settled for Manna in Erskine Road because it offered a large selection of gluten free options. Here’s how to get there.

We didn’t eat in the end, but we had a lovely glass of wine (mine was a lovely, rich, Argentinian, red wine). They serve organic wines, free of synthetic chemicals and often hand harvested that are also vegan. They also have a large variety of delicious food, so I planned to go back there for a pleasant lunch or dinner as soon as I go back to London.

Primrose Hill is worth a visit if you want to have a stunning view, a romantic stroll or if you’re a simple bench warmer who needs quiet. Oh, if you go there, give my regards to “my” bench: if you listen carefully you can still hear my sighs.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Running up that Hill – Placebo (cover)

 

 

 

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” Virginia Woolf

MC Donalds ha finalmente introdotto nel menu un panino senza glutine, notizia che, al di là dei pareri personali di chi boicotta le multinazionali o reputa insalubre il cibo del fast food, è grandiosa. Positiva per tutti quei ragazzi che adesso possono unirsi ai loro coetanei senza dover mangiare prima a casa e per tutti coloro che hanno difficoltà a reperire un pasto senza glutine.

Non l’ho provato perché a me gli hamburger non piacciono e non mangiavo al Mac nemmeno quando il glutine non mi creava problemi, quindi andate sulla fiducia. Fiducia anche negli operatori perché dovete incrociare le dita che il vostro panino non venga contaminato, le raccomandazioni non sono mai troppe anche a costo di passare per rompiballe.

A Londra non ho mai avuto questa preoccupazione: ho mangiato spesso da Honest Burger (che ha ogni tipo di hamburger e anche l’opzione pollo alla piastra), sono stata giù in cucina dove ho visto che gli ordini senza glutine venivano sbrigati dall’addetto alle insalate, quindi nessun rischio contaminazione. Il personale è gentile e attento, c’è la possibilità di take away e mangiare il panino gluten free su una panchina con veduta romantica (ma questa come sempre è un’altra storia) e le patatine al rosmarino sono tante, gustose e artigianali. Anche il panino è buono, l’opzione gluten free costa 1£ più di quelle normali e in generale i prezzi sono più alti di quelli di un fast food, ma la qualità fa la differenza. Ci sono vari locali sparsi in tutta Londra (Brixton, Soho, Camden, Portobello, King’s Cross, Oxford circus, Tooting, Liverpool Street, Clapham, Old Street, Peckham e uno appena aperto a Covent Garden) quindi non avete scuse per non andarci.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Real girl eat cake- Janoskians

MCDonald’s has finally introduced a gluten free bun to the menu, news that, beyond the personal opinions of those who boycott multinational corporations or consider unhealthy eating in a fast food, is great. Positive for young people who can now join their peers without having to eat first at home and for those who have difficulty in finding a gluten-free meal.
I haven’t tried it because I don’t like burgers and didn’t eat the Mac even when gluten wasn’t a problem for me, so go on trust. Trust also in food operators: you have to cross your fingers that your order is not contaminated, recommendations are never enough even at the cost of going through pain in the ass.


In London I’ve never had this concern: I often ate at Honest Burger (which has all kinds of burgers and also the grilled chicken option), I went down to the kitchen where I saw that orders were handled by the person assigned to salads, so no contamination risk. The staff is friendly and attentive, there is the possibility to take away and eat your gluten free meal on a bench with romantic views (but as always, this is another story) and fries with rosemary are many, tasty and hand crafted. The sandwich is good, the gluten free option costs £1 more than normal one and generally the prices are higher than those of a fast food restaurant, but the quality makes the difference. There are several Honest Burger locations scattered across London (Brixton, Soho, Camden, Portobello, King’s Cross, Oxford Circus, Tooting, Liverpool Street, Clapham, Old Street, Peckham and one just opened in Covent Garden) then you have no excuse not to go.

“Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high” William Goldman,

This blog doesn’t have a theme because it has to reflect who I am, but the other day I was in the library and, glancing to the guides of London, I noticed that they shows all the same things so I thought it might be a good idea talk about my LDN.

Instead of the usual Hyde, St. James or Regent’s parks, I like very much going to Holland Park which is located in the district of Kensington and Chelsea and then frequented by baby and dog sitters, sportive people, elderly people quietly walking, intellectuals who enjoy a good book and not many rude tourists despite the presence of a youth hostel.

No coincidence that Holland Park was a favorite retreat from writers and intellectuals of the nineteenth century as Lord Byron, Charles Dickens and Walter Scott and I assure you that especially on sunny days, it’s a place not to be missed (even very romantic, but this is another story, let’s stick to the tourist information).

It can be easily reached with the Central line, until August 2016 the station Holland Park will be closed, so I suggest you get off at Notting Hill Gate and not at Shepherd’s Bush (unless you are on the circle line or you use the Overground ) because the road is downhill. Follow Holland Park Avenue and then turn to Holland Park to find one of the entrances (I generally go in from Abbotsbury Rd. where the Greek embassy is because I stop to rest at the Solar Terrace and to share my gluten free food with squirrels that are very cheeky here.

And then I love walking aimlessly: there’s a beautiful orangery, a giant chessboard, sports fields, one of the best children’s play areas in London and my favorite spot: the Kyoto gardens which in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, it should be a zen area where to stop and meditate. I said should, because not all visitors read and adhere to the sign at the entrance of the Japanese garden and it is hard to remain unperturbed by the giant peacocks that are around (and hungry squirrels who even chewed the shoes of a friend of mine).

The place is beautiful, with the right company, more. Inside there are a café and a restaurant but I haven’t tried them: as an intolerant suspicious person I had stocked up on gluten free food at the M & S which is located down the street and still very close to the park there is a Nando’s which is not certified for allergies, but where are very careful and where I ate often without ever being sick.

 

TRACK OF THE DAY: Kyoto song- The Cure