One of the first sights for people landing at the airport is the plethora of security officers holding assault rifles. This scene is a lot different than that of an American airport which usually has security officers with handguns holstered on their sides. After leaving the airport you’ll notice that cars drive on the opposite side of the street and that drivers sit in the opposite side of their cars. While walking around the city I noticed that London is a city filled with security cameras. There are numerous cameras on both the insides and outsides of city buses. While there are security cameras in a lot of stores in America there are not a lot of them in public, and most certainly not many on street corners. This was easily one of the biggest culture shocks I’ve experienced so far because if it were to happen in America then it would be violating our Constitutional rights. Another culture shock took not long after in a pub. When you go to pub in England and get a table you still have to go up to the bar and order your food/drinks. Waiters and waitresses are pretty rare, and the act of tipping is even more rare. This is because food industry workers make higher wages than their American counterparts, so they don’t have to rely on tips for their pay.
When people think of food in the United Kingdom they think of bangers and mash, fish and chips, and crumpets with tea. What they don’t realize is that London is home to some of the best restaurants and bakeries the world has ever seen. One of my favorite activities, no matter where I am in the world, is to go to these renowned restaurants and find even better ones that fall far under the radar. I had a pretty long list of places I wanted to venture to in London, and I not only got to make it to all of them but I got to bring my classmates along for the ride. The only thing better than having a good meal is sharing that experience with as many people as possible. We went to L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele, one of the best pizzerias in the world and also a big part of the book/movie Eat Pray Love. I ordered the same thing Julia Roberts had which was a Margherita pizza with double mozzarella, and it‘s safe to say it was easily one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. On Friday Caitlin and I ventured to Dominque Ansel’s bakery for his world famous Cronut™️, a croissant donut hybrid that was filled with a coconut ganache and covered in coconut sugar. The Cronut was so good that we came back the next day for another! My list also included a bar that I have been dying to go for quite a while, Mr. Fogg’s Society of Exploration. This bar can best be described as the Willy Wonka factory of bars. The doorman takes your name for a reservation and proceeds to place a wooden ball on a metal track. You then follow the ball and track down the stairs where it lands at a hostess stand. The hostess then takes you either to a table or seats at the bar, your choice. The drink menu features a list of fun cocktails, but the Society of Exploration is best known for The Mechanical Mixologist. The drink is your standard Negroni, equal parts gin, vermouth, and Campari, but instead of being prepared by a bartender it is made by a machine. The machine looks like the steering wheel of a pirate ship with compartments for all three liquids. Once ordered your glass goes on a conveyor belt and makes its first stop under the wheel. The liquids are poured into the glass and it moves down the line to receive one large square ice cube. The glass moves further down the line where a mechanical arm stirs the drink before it reaches the end of the belt. The bartender garnishes the drink with an orange peel and places it on a Mr. Fogg’s coaster in front of you. The drink isn’t different from any other Negroni but the machine and atmosphere is definitely worth experiencing. I hope to come back soon to find more hidden places. Thank you London, and as always Drink Responsibly.