DF Mexico \ London

So one of my favorite Mexican restaurants is in London, and is called DF Mexico.

I had the best fish tacos of my life as well as one of the best nachos. This is coming from a Mexican by the way…

I love the concept, love the food… everything about this restaurant great. I recommend everything in the menu!

Really, there is nothing else to say, just GO GO GO !!!!

 

{City Guides} A different London

I’ve been lucky enough to visit London 3 times in the past few years. The first one was in 2010, during my first trip to Europe. We did everything we could: had a typical English breakfast, walked from Westminster to Tower Bridge and back, went to Hyde Park, Picadilly, ate fish and chips, went to a pub, and took like 10+ photos at the Platform 9 3/4. The second time was to visit some friends, and since we already knew the city, we were much relaxed, we weren’t in a hurry to see everything. Finally, the third time was for work. I stayed over 2 weeks, but took advantage of the weekend to see a different London.

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the Big Ben (from my Instagram)

Saturday

Woke up early to go to a restaurant that I found online, Caravan Café in Exmouth. I already wrote a review of Caravan, you can read it here. After having brunch, we walked to the British Museum since we wanted to have a little bit more time to explore it. After a 15- minute walk, we arrived !

The iconic British Museum

The iconic British Museum

Apparently, we lost the memo where it says that you go to the British Museum just to see the mummies! We did not see them! However, we really enjoyed the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek rooms.

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After the museum, we took a double decker bus to Leicester Square. Oh, I almost forgot. Everytime we go we have a pay as you go Oyster Card. The Oyster Card costs 5£ but you can get your money back at the end of your trip (check in the metro stations, you can get the refund directly at the ticket machines).

We walked around the neighborhood and did some window shopping. We finally arrived at Covent Garden, and it was as busy as you can imagine in a sunny day !

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Inside Covent Garden

We continued our window shopping and bought a really good tea at East India Company. We were feeling a little bit hungry, specially after all the walking. Since we saw a Five Guys near Leicester Square’s metro station, we did not hesitate in getting a burger for lunch ! After, we were really tired so decided to go back to the hotel on foot. As I always say, the best way to know a city is to walk and walk and walk. You get to see the neighborhoods, how the city changes from one street to the other, and you can find pretty places where you did not imagine you would find them.

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Sunday

Woke up earlier to have breakfast at Monocle Café in Marylebone. I wrote a review of the place here if you’d like to know a little bit more about it. We took the metro to Bond Street and walked from there. After breakfast, we went to Hyde Park. It was a beautiful day and the perfect one for renting a bicycle and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

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Autumn in Hyde Park

The Park is beautiful, specially with all the autumn colors taking over the trees. If you’d like to rent a bike, it costs 2£ for 24 hours. Each time you get a new bike, there is a little machine in the corner of the bike stations that gives you a code. You type in the code next to the bike you want, and off you go !

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After no more than an hour of going around the park, we stopped for an afternoon tea at The Orangerie in Kensington Palace. I found out about it on Instagram, and since my birthday was coming up, we decided to give it a go with a Royal Afternoon Tea. I will talk about The Orangerie in another post 😉 It was a lovely afternoon, it was sunny but not hot, just enough  of an autumn breeze to enjoy the tea and park.

Outside The Orangerie

Outside The Orangerie

Afterwards, we took new bikes to go back to where we started near Hyde Park Corner’s station since we wanted to go from Buckingham Palace to the Big Ben on foot.

Pro tip: Getting around Hyde Park is really easy since there are a lot of maps that let you identify the bike routes, not all pathways are available for cyclists, so pay attention.

Buckingham Palace is not far away from Hyde Park, just follow the tourists 😉 It is a nice walk since there are two parks (Green Park and St. James Park) in between the Palace and the Big Ben.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

After taking a little stroll around the Palace and Victoria’s statue, we started walking towards the Big Ben by going through the Mall and then cutting though St. James park. Again, follow the tourists if you feel lost !

Finally, we topped off our London weekend by going to the Big Ben. It is one of THE landmarks of London, so be patient since there’s a lot of people around, in front, and across the Big Ben.

No need for introductions!!

No need for introductions!!

This 2-week stay changed my feelings about London. I wasn’t in a rush to see EVERYTHING, and this is great. The city feels different and I learned to see it as if I lived there, which is a luxury. This is one of the many perks of business travel (nowadays called bleasure = business + pleasure), and I am very grateful to be able to discover new places and even re-discover others through a different point of view. I leave you now with a couple of photos from my weekend.

I would love to hear your thoughts about London and if you might be tempted to check out the places I mentioned above!

x-Andy

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{LONDON RESTAURANTS} MONOCLE CAFE

Instagram is a great source of inspiration for MANY things : fashion, travel, art, restaurants… so when I see that someone posts a great picture of a restaurant in a city that I will be visiting soon or in Paris, I take note. This is how I found Monocle Café in Marylebone.

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I went for breakfast on a Sunday. I didn’t exactly know the neighborhood, so it was a good way to see another part of London. Since it was early in the morning, Marylebone was quite calm even if it is not too far from the most touristy part of the city. Monocle Café offers mostly japanese inspired food AND an scandinavian breakfast. This sounds odd because japanese and scandinavian and british do not usually mix. However, it works perfectly at Monocle ! If the weather is nice, you can sit outside. If not, there are some small tables next to the counter or you can go downstairs, which is a little bit cozier in my opinion.

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We ordered the scandinavian breakfast, a flat white, and a cup of orange juice. The presentation is lovely !

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The coffee was good, although I prefer the one from Caravan. I talk about this café in another article. The quality of the breakfast is good, and it has a great price for both London and Marylebone (I found later that it is a very nice neighborhood!). Another thing that I loved about Monocle is the music! They have their own radio station, and the music is really really good (I shazamed four songs!).

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If you are looking for a quiet and different café in London, not in the middle of the most “active” part of the city, this is the place to go! Hyde Park as well as Oxford street are not far  – 10-minute walk away.

Address: 18 Chiltern St, London W1U 7QA

Website: http://cafe.monocle.com/

Let me know if you like this restaurant in the comments below ! 😉

Andy

{London Restaurants} Caravan

There are many “techniques” for finding great restaurants wherever you go. You can use Instagram, Yelp, TripAdvisor, but you can also use Google maps. This is how I found Caravan at Exmouth. I searched on the map all restaurants around our hotel. Once I found it, I looked at their website and the customer reviews.

As it turns out, there are two Caravan coffees in London: one in Exmouth and another one near Kings Cross Station.

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They serve brunch during the weekend, but if you are not in the mood for a brunch, they have a solid all day menu. We arrived at 10 am, and people were already waiting for it to open.

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The coffee is excellent ! They roast it by themselves FYI ! The avocado toast is delicious too. Honestly, I was not a big fan of the pancakes, the lemon curd was a little bit too much for my taste. However, the rest of the food was really good. Plus, it has great prices for London !

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I highly recommend it if you are looking for an excellent coffee and breakfast. I did not try the rest of the menu, so I can only endorse the breakfast/brunch. It is located in a relatively quiet but nice area of London (Farringdon). There are many attractions at a walking distance, such as the British Museum.

If you ever go to London and decide to try Caravan, let me know!

-Andy