I started our trip with a visit to a travel agent, hoping to have all the work done for me. Isn't that the point? And to get advice? And that disaster ended up with only our hotels booked. And I was the one that found them. And I wasn't the travel agent. At this point, what option was there but to put my love of all things DIY to planning my first trip overseas. The one thing the travel agent did do? Include a daily "Full English Breakfast" in our room fee. Somehow in my mind this was likely somewhere between Holiday Inn Express food-service eggs & a Golden Corral smorgasbord. But not so much. We ate at our hotel 3 of 4 mornings, so we gave most everything a try. So pull up a chair to the buffet & sample our favorite breakfast moments.
Disclaimer: We stayed at the H10 London, which apparently is a Spanish hotel chain. So expect a non-British influence on the list...just for the fun of it. Thankfully, no blood sausages were on our menu. Hallelujah! Because I wouldn't be able to eat anything for picturing the "How It's Made" episode where I watched them get made. I'll let you use your imagination......or YouTube.
- Baked Beans. I don't understand it either. But after you've watched a woman butter toast, then coat it with beans as if it were strawberry jelly. Well - you know the British love their beans. I'm sure there's history out there to the popularity of this one...but let's just say the first day of 'open-minded-I'll-try-to-experience-the-real-thing' breakfast was the last that included beans. I save my beans for a side of queso.
- Bacon. Except its ham. Cooked supper hard. Like you can't cut it at all hard. It's tasty don't get me wrong, but when I see sliced ham at breakfast I expect it to be salty. As any good Southern girl should.
- Tater Tots. Yes. Call them what you whatever you like, but these were potato crack. I want to buy Sam's Club sized bags of tater tots, but they just aren't the same. Trust me, I can't explain it. I don't think I will ever be able to eat one of those greasy McDonald's hashbrowns after this eye-opener. I may have had more than one helping every morning. Withhold your judgement - I walked off every last calorie (or so is my story!).
- Cheese. Lox. Salami. But mostly just the cheese. On our second morning I realized the tater tot/hashbrown goodness was warm enough to melt the cheese. Heaven it was wonderful. So let's just leave it as cheesy potatoes were near the top of my seconds list. And thirds list. Did I tell you how much walking I did? Calories, smalories.
- Pastries. My favorite being the crumpets. When in England eat English right? To be honest, these were no different than the ones I buy at Kroger down the street, other than they don't get stuck in the toaster and burn to a crisp at my house. But there's something about saying you ate crumpets in the land of crumpet-eaters. Though to be honest, the best one I've ever had was in Seattle, fresh made with melted butter and honey.
- Nutella. This deserves it's own number hands down. I don't like chocolate. So sue me. But Nutella? That I can down. Our hotel had the self-serve packets and I partook of many a croissant slathered in the good stuff. I'll leave the other condiments like Marmite & HP to the real Brits! <HP is similar to A1 sauce...but yet sweet to me....and Marmite is nasty, brown, yeasty paste. Bleh>
- Jams & Jellies & Marmalade. With so many homemade options it was a tough decision for a morning coffee-less brain. I saved my marmalade intake for crepes in Paris - but Paddington Bear would have been proud of its inclusion.
- Juice & Coffee Options GALORE. For someone who hates buffets, I can get behind a morning beverage buffet. The more the merrier. I was a kid in a candy store with an island filled with fresh juices, a Nespresso machine, & my very own pot of Spanish coffee (bitter!). And don't let me forget all the milk options.
- And last but not least.........CHURROS!
With a side of cheese & potatoes of course! Seriously though, all the Spanish speakers (aka most everyone except us) were huge fans of sugary churros for breakfast. Who knew? Maybe with coffee....an alternative to dunking a donut. But with eggs and baked beans? I'll pass.
By now you should be pondering how on Earth Londoner's don't require a mid-morning nap with all this am carb intake. Well from all reports and our observations while visiting, only travelers eat the full breakfast. Most days the locals stick to the speedy options just like the rest of us on the other side of the pond. Bring on Starbucks.
I'm sure that wherever you stay there will be differences, but hopefully you have a better idea of what to expect! This is far from a complete list of all our breakfast options, but they were definitely our favorites!
If you've visited the UK before, what breakfast gems or traditions did you find that we missed out on? FYI: Scones are going to get their own post. I've got a lot to say about that disappointment!
Don't forget to post your questions! I'm counting on them for the last of the #31days posts! Help a sister out!