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Denmark: Nelle’s & Bager

Lucky me, right after my trip to California I took off to Denmark for 10 days.  By now, most of you know how I like to travel and over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting all the great places I ate around Denmark.  Starting with Nelle’s in the town of Odense.  Loved this cute coffee bar in the old part of Odense.  With Denmark’s stylish sensibility, the bar is simplistic with clean lines with white and wood everywhere.  Only the Danes can make plywood look good but best of all, this was where I first tried hindbaersnitter.  Nelle’s had a variation of the hindbaersnitter, normally made with some sort of shortbread (at least that’s what I saw in most bakeries), this one had more a ginger snap texture with a raspberry jam filling and topped with royal icing and colourful sprinkles – completely sweet tooth worthy.  At Bager, a bakery in the city of Aarhus, there was an abundance of pastries to be had.  My favourite one here was the ringed twisted pastry decorated with a strip of white royal icing.  You couldn’t tell by looking at it but the texture was a cross between pie pastry and butter cookie – it was so good, I went back the next morning for another :)  What a great introduction to Denmark.

Nelle's Coffee & Wine Bar.

Nelle’s Coffee & Wine Bar.

Nelle's beautiful interior.

Nelle’s beautiful interior.

Stylish interior and counter space in Nelle's.

Stylish interior and counter space in Nelle’s.

My breakfast snack.

My breakfast snack.

Some of the delicious pastries available at Nelle's.

Some of the delicious pastries available at Nelle’s.

A danish pastry called hindbaersnitter.

A danish pastry called hindbaersnitter.

Bager - Baker/Bakery in Danish language.

Bager – Baker/Bakery in Danish language.

So many pastries to choose from - my favourite, the ringed pastry with white icing.

So many pastries to choose from – my favourite, the ringed pastry with white icing.

Some more deliciousness!

Some more deliciousness!

Chokorug - a Danish chocolate bread.

Chokorug – a Danish chocolate bread.

California: Brentwood Country Mart

One of the gems of Santa Monica is the Brentwood Country Mart.  Its a collection of shops, most are specialty and local in nature, with an upscale farmer’s market vibe.  We first visited the Farm Shop, a restaurant slash artisan market with a fabulous bakery making a plethora of delicious pastries and baked goods.  I tried a number of yummy items but the bacon cheddar scone was especially memorable, moist with chunks of bacon and chives.  On another day we went to Caffe Luxxe for a pick me up.  Something new for me, I ordered the Shakerato – like a shakened sweetened latte lined with a chocolate sauce, so good.  Finally on my last day in California, we made a final stop before saying our byes to friends at Sweet Rose Creamery.  An organic ice cream shop making unique flavours from scratch and in small batches.  I had two scoops, one scoop each of earl grey and Rasputin stout.  Both were subtle flavours but completely identifiable.  My friend MA got fresh mint with homemade chocolate chips and to be honest, it was the most refreshing mint ice cream I have ever eaten!  It really was bursting with fresh mint – I’d definitely go back again.

The Farm Shop in Santa Monica.

The Farm Shop in Santa Monica.

The Farm Shop.

The Brentwood Country Mart collection of shops including the Farm Shop.

My breakfast before the drive to Joshua Tree National Park - Iced drip coffee and Bacon Cheddar scone.

My breakfast before the drive to Joshua Tree National Park – Iced drip coffee and Bacon Cheddar scone.

Homemade granola bar.

Homemade granola bar.

Strawberry streusel croissant.

Strawberry streusel croissant.

The bakery in the Farm Shop.

The bakery in the Farm Shop.

Delicious cinnamon bun from the Farm Shop bakery.

Delicious cinnamon bun from the Farm Shop bakery.

A slice of coffee cake.

A slice of coffee cake.

Caffe Luxxe at the Brentwood Country Mart.

Caffe Luxxe at the Farm Shop.

The Shakerato from Caffe Luxe.

The Shakerato from Caffe Luxxe.

Inside Caffe Luxe.

Inside Caffe Luxxe.

Sweet Rose Creamery at the Farm Shop.

Sweet Rose Creamery at the Brentwood Country Mart.

Inside Sweet Rose Creamery.

Inside Sweet Rose Creamery.

My double scoop of organic ice cream - one scoop of Old Rasputin Stout and one scoop of Earl Grey tea ice cream.

My double scoop of organic ice cream – one scoop of Old Rasputin Stout and one scoop of Earl Grey tea ice cream.

London: Monmouth Coffee Company

When my friend M and I arrived at London’s Borough Market, I noticed a very long line that snaked around the corner and into the Monmouth Coffee Shop.  I love coffee, especially when its over ice on a hot summer day!  So when I saw this line, well frankly, I needed to find out what all the fuss was about.  Yes, I stood in this line and ordered my first Monmouth coffee.  In Canada, I’m used to the espresso machines, traditional home coffee machines and french presses – but this is the first I’ve seen a drip ceramic filter sitting directly over the cup.  The coffee was strong and delicious!  Perfect for sipping while browsing the market.

Monmouth

Long line into Monmouth Coffee Company cafe.

Monmouth - inside

Inside the cafe.

Monmouth - interior

Seating area to enjoy your coffee.

Monmouth - filters

Ceramic filters all lined up and ready to go.

Monmouth - filters

Coffee dripping through filters.

Monmouth - full filters

Hot water poured into filters full of ground coffee.

Monmouth - simple interior

Monmouth’s simple interior.

 

London: Pho

This is how much good food I had in London, I’m still not finished talking about it!  We’re in some sort of deep freeze here in Toronto and do I wish I was in London right now eating some of this delicious Vietnamese food.  Just located around the corner of Oxford Circus, my friend M took me to a cool little spot called Pho.  One of my all time favourite Vietnamese dishes is Bun – vermicelli noodles.  Its a cold thin rice noodle dish that is traditionally topped with shredded lettuce, herbs, bean sprouts, some sort of protein (I love it with marinated beef) and peanuts.  Its served with a spring roll and a dressing, nuoc cham, that is brought to you on the side and then poured over the dish.  If you’ve never had Bun, like a lot of asian dishes, its a perfect sweet and sour combination with a lot of crunch!  And the best way to finish it off….a glass of ice cold and strong Vietnamese coffee with a good thick layer of sweetened condensed milk!  Soooo good!

Pho - appetizer

Nem Nuong – pork and lemongrass meatballs with peanut sauce.

Pho - mango salad

Goi xoai – spicy green mango salad!

Pho - pho chin

Pho chin – traditional vietnamese noodle soup with tender brisket.

Pho - Bun

Bun – vermicelli noodles with beef, lemongrass, onions and chilli fried toppings, bean sprouts, herbs, peanuts and a veggie springroll.

Pho - vietnamese coffee

Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

Pho - lemongrass tea

Lemongrass tea.

Pho - inside

Inside Pho.

Pho

Pho

 

Sanremo Bakery

A friend of mine mentioned a delicious breakfast pizza they got delivered to their office one morning, so of course, I had to find out where this pizza came from and try it.  Well, I found the place but I have yet to try the famed breakfast pizza as it has been sold out every time I’ve gone.  The bakery is Sanremo and is located west of downtown Toronto in a small residential neighborhood.  As soon as you walk in, you’re hit with shelves of Italian goods and the hustle and bustle of a really busy bakery.  The bakery not only offers typical baked goods like breads, pastries, cakes, donuts and cookies but also ready-made dishes like lasagna, calzones, etc. but also an espresso bar!  Although I haven’t tried any of the the hot/cold dishes, their apple fritters are the best donuts I have tasted in a very long time!  I equate them to my experience in New York City with Doughnut Plant’s doughnuts.  The fritters are moist with a crisp outside and coated with just enough glaze!  Well worth making the trip!

My favourite item - some of the freshest apple fritters I've had!

My favourite item – some of the freshest apple fritters I’ve had!

Lots of cakes!

Lots of cakes!

Shelves of pies and cheesecakes.

Shelves of pies and cheesecakes.

So many different types of baguettes.

So many different types of baguettes.

A variety of Italian cookies.

A variety of Italian cookies.

Scones and cookies.

Scones and cookies.

Jelly and custard filled donuts.

Jelly and custard filled donuts.

Sanremo.

Sanremo.

London: Ruby Dock Cafe

We visited Camden Lock Market on an early Wednesday morning and of course, we planned on finding a place there to have breakfast and our most important morning coffee! Roaming through the alleys we came upon Ruby Dock Cafe.  With a breakfast/brunch menu and some delicious looking baked goods displayed on the counter we couldn’t resist.  I’m obsessed with anything iced (and yes, I still order iced coffees in this frigid Canadian weather!) so it was an iced latte and toasted banana bread topped with cinnamon butter – it was delicious!  A perfect way to start the day!  If you’re in for something lighter, the friand (a small french cake that is apparently popular in Australia) is a good choice.  I didn’t know this prior to popping into Ruby Dock but it looks like the owners also own two other popular restaurants in London: Lantana Cafe and Salvation Jane.  I think I need to add these onto my next visit :)

Ruby Dock Cafe

Ruby Dock Cafe

The beautiful counter of Ruby Dock Cafe.

The beautiful counter of Ruby Dock Cafe.

Inside Ruby Dock Cafe.

Inside Ruby Dock Cafe.

Cold and hot lattes.

Cold and hot lattes.

Latte and friand - love the latte art!

Latte and friand – love the latte art!

Toasted banana bread with cinnamon butter!

Toasted banana bread with cinnamon butter!

Toasted corn and chili bread with chutney!

Toasted corn and chili bread with chutney!

London: Damson Cafe

Hello LONDON, I love you!

Its been just under two years since I’ve been back to London and I’ve missed it.  And in a city as densely populated and cosmopolitan as it is, its small quaint places like Damson Cafe that really make the city unique.  Hidden on a side street just a block a way from the Oxford and Tottenham Court Road tube station, the “country farm” atmosphere is inviting and a perfect place to grab a coffee and catch up with a friend.  The front counter perfectly displays homemade baked goods, one of which catches my eye – the Victoria Sponge!  Just landing in London, how can I resist a cake named after Queen Victoria!  Typically made with raspberry jam, the Damson’s version is made with blueberry preserves and whip cream sandwiched between two layers of sponge cake!  It was deliciously moist and totally hit the spot.  And to go with the cake, a “Flat White” – espresso with steamed milk and no foam, the perfect afternoon snack!

A counter full of yummy baked goods!

A counter full of yummy baked goods!

My first taste of a slice of Victoria Sponge!

My first taste of a slice of Victoria Sponge!

My first "Flat White"!

My first “Flat White”!

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge

Yummy offerings.

Yummy offerings.

Homemade salads.

Homemade salads.

Damson cafe's beautiful interior.

Damson cafe’s beautiful interior.

Love how they've covered the walls - yes, those are drawers, windows, etc.

Love how they’ve covered the walls – yes, those are drawers, windows, etc.

Damson Cafe

Damson Cafe

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