Allison Day
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Archive for August, 2016

Tombo Japanese Restaurant, London {May 2014}

When I was younger, I always wanted to go to Europe. Specifically, I wished for Paris, but I’m sure anywhere in that region would have made my teenaged self happy. But, when forced to choose between a France trip with a french teacher from my high school, or a chance at attending a summer ballet intensive, I chose dance over France.

It seems a bit funny, then, that once I hit adulthood and had the ability to go on trips without parental funding or permission, my first few trips out of the country all went in the direction of Asia. Don’t get me wrong, I’d go back in a heartbeat, and Japan just about always would be my first choice if you told me I could fly anywhere tomorrow. But definitely not what I would have imagined for myself a decade ago.

Which means, of course, I leapt at the opportunity to travel for work, when a client asked Son and myself to be in Germany for a week. (Best. Job. Ever.) Since we’d never been to Europe, and really much hadn’t taken any breaks from work since our last trip, we decided to treat ourselves to a little bit of a vacation, and take some extra time to see more of Europe while we were there.

This time around I’m planning on writing a separate post for each food location (because, duh, of course we did nothing but eat while we were there), partially for ease of future reference if any of you (or I) want to look up a restaurant again while traveling… but also because holy guacamole Son took so many photos, and if I did a post for each day they’d be ridiculously photo-heavy.

(Also, as we all know by now, timeliness is not exactly my strong suite, and this trip actually happened more than two years ago. Yep, I know, I’m the worst. So it’s possible some of the places we went could have closed, or have different menus by now.)

So.

First, we start with London…

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We chose to fly Air New Zealand out of LAX, which was an airline choice we were quite happy with. The food was decent, and the media options were plentiful (I watched both The Lego Movie and Frozen on the way there, because obviously those are both very important cultural experiences that were missing from my life.)

Flying out of Los Angeles
garlic chicken with potatoes, veggies, corn and bean salad, bread/butter, cheese/crackers, orange chocolate mousse cheese omlette with tater tots, fruit, fig and orange muffin, raspberry yogurt fruit, fig and orange muffin, raspberry yogurt

Our flight left around 5pm Los Angeles time, and we landed around noon the next day in London time.

Landing in London

After landing, we went to pick up our Tep wireless hotspot. We love being able to have internet access while traveling, since it means we can always fairly easily figure out where we’re going, wander without worrying about getting hopelessly lost, look up reviews and information online, and instagram from anywhere. (Priorities.) The Tep worked wonderfully. We had a slight issue with them forgetting to include the extra batteries we had ordered (a must if you’re going to be away from a power source all day!), but after emailing them about it, they rushed a delivery and the batteries were at our hotel room just a few hours later.

Also, don’t do what we did. We waited at the airport for a couple of hours for a car service that never showed up… only to realize that I had never actually completed the request on their website. -_- (In my defense, their website was very poorly designed… but we tried the service again as we were leaving London and it actually worked wonderfully.)

So… instead, we signed up for a hotel bus (which cost £45) to take us to our hotel.

Driving through London
Papa John's

The Ampersand Hotel is a fairly new hotel, right across the street from South Kensington Station.

The rooms are modern and well-designed, and the location is super-convenient. And, my favorite part… the bathrooms have heated floors! Seriously – it sounds silly, but those heated floors are the absolute best thing ever when your feet are frozen and sore after a full day of walking around London in the rain. It’s the little things, but that was by far my favorite hotel of the entire trip.

Our room even had a little balcony, where we could look out over the rooftops.

London from our balcony
The view from our room in the Ampersand Hotel

And then, because an 11-hour overnight flight is brutal, we both collapsed sideways on the bed, without even bothering with pillows or the covers, and completely passed out for a couple of hours.

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As much as I love traveling, when I’m starving and exhausted after a long day of flying and figuring out how to get where we’re supposed to be, I want nothing more than comfort food. Easy comfort food.

In Japan, that means onigiri from a combini. In Austin, that meant whatever Son could scrounge up from the grocery store across the street.

In London, we looked online for anything that sounded like home… but wasn’t too far away.

We settled on Tombo Japanese Restaurant, which is right around the corner from South Kensington Station (just a block away from our hotel).

Tombo is an adorable little restaurant, specializing in bento-style Japanese food and green tea.

Upon entering, we found a deli-style counter filled with all sorts of Japanese-inspired side dishes, and a menu that reminded us of home.

The inside of Tombo Japanese restaurant

Son got the miso salmon donburi, with seaweed salad.

The salmon was subtly flavored, but very delicious, and something we have made a point to replicate (several times) since returning home.

Miso Salmon Donburi

I went full-out comfort food, with their katsu curry, and we also got a matcha latte to share.

The curry was okay – not quite as spicy as I’d have preferred, and the katsu was a little bland. Even so, there’s just something about curry and rice that screams “comfort food” to me, and this totally hit the spot.

Katsu Curry

The matcha latte was my favorite part of all. (It seems there’s a good reason they call themselves a matcha bar!)

Especially because just a month or so before the trip, Son had spontaneously decided that he wanted to start making matcha lattes for me every morning… so they hold a special place in my heart.

This one was delicious, and strong enough that I’d have stayed awake all night, if not for the power of jetlag.

Allison at Tombo Japanese restaurant, with her katsu curry and matcha latte

(The above is what’s known as “sleepy, puffy, why-are-you-taking-a-picture-of-me, I’m-about-to-faceplant-in-my-food-I’m-so-tired, travel face”.)

Tombo may not always be my first choice for a London restaurant stop, however when in need of Japanese comfort food, it’s a perfect option.

Tombo Japanese Cafe & Matcha Bar
29 Thurloe Place
South Kensington, SW7 2HQ

Weekly Wanderings {2016 week 32}

This week in my world…

I’ve started adding salad to my breakfast sandwiches.

Breakfast sandwich

… or sandwich to my breakfast salads?

Breakfast sandwich with tons of greens

I… took a heck of a tumble. Super graceful, yes I am.

Bandaged up

At this point I’ve just given up on the sandwich part of this.

Breakfast salad

Blueberry muffin bread. So good.

Blueberry muffin bread

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Links I’ve loved lately:

This is a really interesting TED talk.

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Weekly Wanderings {2016 week 31}

This week in my world…

… we discovered a new restaurant with a very interesting name

Sushi Day restaurant

But we were really there for Thai food. Our favorite.

Kabocha and eggplant stir-fry

The kabocha and eggplant stir-fry is an old stand-by. The prik king is new – and a new favorite!

Prik king

My sweetie… with a (Honeymee) “Sweetie” 😁

Son and ice cream

Who ever knew that cilantro has such pretty little flowers?

Cilantro flowers

Super excited to have a copy of Marisa Baggett’s new vegetarian sushi cookbook. Recipes coming soon!

Vegetarian Sushi Secrets

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Links I’ve loved lately:

I adore this article. A must-read for all women.

Dancer photos. I love them.

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Weekly Wanderings {2016 week 30}

Pork belly with shrimp paste. Sounds weird, but it’s SO good… and we’ve almost got the recipe perfected!

Pork belly with shrimp paste

Geeking the heck out at the AT&T IoT workshop.

IoT workshop

Farmer’s markets + bacon wrapped hot dogs = things that must happen when my sister is in town.

Kristen and a bacon-wrapped hot dog

Pulled pork.

Pulled pork

Sandwich. Brother. Brother’s girlfriend.

Pulled pork sandwich

Must-try things at this weekend’s Taste of Japan festival at @mitsuwa_marketplace: the negiyaki, the black sesame ice cream, and (most of all) the *roasted* green tea ice cream. SO. GOOD.

Negiyaki and yakisoba

That negiyaki was pretty tasty too.

Negiyaki

I always love takoyaki.

Takoyaki

LA mountains.

Driving

There are many “bosses” I’ve had to defeat in my years of eating Vietnamese food: the fish sauce boss, durian boss, cilantro, rau răm… this week I beat the biggest boss of all – I finally ate an entire blood cube… and it wasn’t bad at all!

Bun bo hue

Ice, ice baby.

Icing everything

… I’m pretty sure Son is making fun of me.

Turn-out

Flyby.

Helicopter at the beach

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Links I’ve loved lately:

Girl power.

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Weekly Wanderings {2016 week 29}

Business trip lunch. Surprisingly delicious for a random strip mall! Especially those fries…

Fries and a wrap

Lamb kebab. Everything here was quite tasty.

Lamb kebab

Stopped for a snack on the way home.

Meat bun

Combo banh mi.

Banh mi

Bacon, fried frico egg, herb yogurt sauce. A+ breakfast sandwich.

Breakfast sandwich

It is apparently my lot in life to be eaten alive by every plant Son decides our house must have…

Allison getting eaten by a plant again

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Links I’ve loved lately:

This is fascinating…

I’m a sucker for cool photos of dancers.

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