Pseudo-isolation, week 13: excuse me, I am an apple

This has been a “surviving would be good enough” week, but I HAVE HAD RAMEN AND I HAVE HAD A FLAT WHITE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTHS and maybe it will keep me going for another week.

I made horchata

I went all in and used all of my tiger nuts to make one big single batch of horchata because some of them were starting to get little friends (i.e. worms 🐛) and it was a clear signal to Just Do It.

Frankly, it was a VERY GOOD HORCHATA. It tasted like the real thing and it definitely transported me to happier times and places. It also made me happy on the spot. Well done me!

Now I’ll have to try doing the same but using tiger nuts bought in London, since none of the 5+ Spanish vendors I’ve contacted have replied to me 🙈

Two horchata glasses
Two horchata glasses

Tiger nut bread AKA Playing In God mode

Instead of discarding the tiger nuts when I finished making the horchata, I kept them and used them as the “whole meal” in a bread loaf the following day.

My friend Laura says this is Playing In God Mode and that amuses me a lot 😂—I’m just trying things out!

Ground and strained tiger nuts
Ground and strained tiger nuts

And so this is how the loaf looked like

Sliced tiger nut (chufa) bread loaf
Sliced tiger nut (chufa) bread loaf

It tastes more ‘tigernutty’ than normal 50/50 wholemeal bread, and while it was nice, I think I can improve it. But first I need to get more tiger nuts 🙂

We had RAMEN from Ippudo

Ippudo finally re-opened for take-away, as I mentioned last week. And I had been thinking about that all week, so we finally went for it:

We had ramen!

Having ramen at home lacks a bit of the atmosphere of the restaurant, with the cooks screaming orders and confirmations and the waiters welcoming customers and saying goodbye to them, but the good thing is that we don’t feel the pressure to finish our food in a rush so they can turn over the table.

A bowl of ramen from Ippudo
A bowl of ramen from Ippudo

We enjoyed this lots. I slept like a baby that evening.

Porridge with EVERYTHING

In which I keep adding dukkah to EVERYTHING: a porridge with EVERYTHING: pear, strawberries, peanut butter, chia seeds, coconut and, of course, dukkah.

This was to celebrate a successful and hard morning run.

Porridge with EVERYTHING: pear, strawberries, peanut butter, chia seeds, coconut and dukkah
Porridge with EVERYTHING: pear, strawberries, peanut butter, chia seeds, coconut and dukkah

Excuse me, I am an apple

I was practising my Japanese in Duolingo this morning when I was asked to translate this whimsical sentence:

"Excuse me, I am an apple" screenshot of Japanese Duolingo lesson
“Excuse me, I am an apple” screenshot of Japanese Duolingo lesson

Shortly after, I was browsing in Instagram and I found the post of our friend George who had cycled to Ealing and found a lovely Japanese patisserie called Wa Cafe. Clearly a sign from destiny: I should indulge in more Japanese products today!

Ealing is quite a long distance from where we live, an estimated hour or more by bike. As much as I love my Brompton, I would prefer to not cycle for an hour on it (knowing that I still have to cycle for another hour to come back!).

But it turns out that they also have a branch closer to us, in Covent Garden. Yet the website didn’t mention any variation to their opening hours. Would they be open? Many businesses have not updated their sites (since they probably have had to furlough their staff or basically updating their site is the last of their worries right now).

There was only one way to find out…

To Covent Garden!

And so we walked towards Covent Garden. The streets were almost empty, with only a bunch of locals nosing around and mystified that they were so empty—just like us!

Turning left into New Row, I saw the WA sign in the wall, but I couldn’t see if it was open from there. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we were quickly satisfied that even if the cafe was closed, we could still have something else in exchange for our efforts, as La Gelatiera was open, and… oh! so was The Espresso Room.

Suddenly, the idea of a flat white formed in our minds.

But first, cake!

The patisserie was indeed open. It looked like a proper Japanese cake shop: delicate, neat, perfect.

WA Japanese patisserie in New Row, Covent Garden
WA Japanese patisserie in New Row, Covent Garden

We got two cakes and a melon pan (for breakfast 😉)—all to take-away.

And with the treasures in our hands (figuratively), it was time to sort out our pending business… i.e. it was time FOR THE FIRST FLAT WHITE IN MANY MONTHS!

No more yearning for one; the wait was over.

I mean it wasn’t actually and literally over, as we had to wait for the existing customers to be served and to leave the shop (which they didn’t do quickly as they were sort of lingering around the lid area), the whole signage of only 2 customers at a time is basically ignored by people, this whole thing is a farce and we’re all going to get the virus at this rate, but, but, but…


My first flat white in more than three months
My first flat white in more than three months

It felt so strange to be back in the shop, and witness the green leaves wallpaper again, and the teal tiles, and remembering all the happy times and flat whites I had had there in the past; it felt a bit like being in a dream.

Yes, this is how much I wanted this coffee.

The Espresso Room in New Row, Covent Garden, London
The Espresso Room in New Row, Covent Garden, London

That first sip—the creaminess…! Ahhh!

The coffee lasted me for the whole time that we took to walk up towards the piazza, and towards Neal Street, and all at a very slow pace and while enjoying the S P A C E that materialises when cars can’t use the streets and the tourists aren’t doing their thing.

I even declared that I’d go back every Sunday to compensate for all the years I haven’t been to the place, and enjoy the _ _ _ e m p t y n e s s _ _ _ until it wasn’t empty anymore.

And here’s a photo proof of what I mean by empty!

An empty Covent Garden
An empty Covent Garden

That said, I don’t count on things being this empty for much longer. Regardless of when “shops are allowed to open”, people are starting to be supremely pissed off and tired of being told to “stay alert”, and are disregarding all the requests to keep a “social distance”. When we walked through Soho yesterday afternoon, there were plenty of groups of people sitting everywhere having drinks from pubs; I see people walking in big groups, drinks and picnic basket in hands towards the parks; and so on and so on. And that’s without mentioning all the people on bikes who cannot stay put anymore because there’s only so much you can stay put until you get itchy feet…

2 Replies to “Pseudo-isolation, week 13: excuse me, I am an apple”

    1. It is! I seem to remember having seen it years ago when my office was in Covent Garden, but I don’t know why I didn’t pay more attention to it! Everything has its right time and place, I suppose 😀
      Thanks for the tip, George 😀 😀 😀

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