FOOD – pho house, highbury & islington london

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london

Not to be mistaken for popular chain Pho Café, Pho House is a quaint little Vietnamese restaurant just a few doors down from Highbury & Islington station. Boasting quirky décor, attentive staff and delicious, healthy food, it’s no wonder why it’s the perfect Londoner lunch spot.

A site previously hosted by much loved Korean restaurant Busan, Pho House has taken into its new location with pride, stripping away Busan’s minimalism and instead choosing to showcase more of an industrial feel with bare brick and tastefully graffiti-ridden walls.

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - interiorWithin minutes of arriving, me and my friend were quickly greeted with a friendly waiter and a huge menu. Like the restaurant’s name suggests, traditional Pho was on offer, as well as other popular dishes including summer rolls, Vietnamese chicken curry and even salads. With so much on offer, it was a real struggle to pick what we wanted. In the end we both decided to share some prawn summer rolls (around £4.50) for our starter, with Vietnamese special fried rice for me, and Pho chin for my friend.

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - prawn summer rollsMade from Vermicelli noodles wrapped with Vietnamese vegetables, herbs and prawns, the summer rolls were a refreshing starter. Despite there being only four rolls for us to share, each one was full to the brim! The accompanying nước chấm sauce added some much needed flavour (the rolls were a tad bland), but we were both very happy to have picked it!

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - chicken bun noodlesI’m not going to lie, when my friend’s Pho arrived (featuring tender beef, rice noodles, vegetables, chillis and tofu) in a giant bowl of goodness, I had a serious case of food envy! That’s not to say that my special fried rice didn’t hit the spot. But it was clear why Pho was the restaurant’s name and its signature dish. A lover of spice, my friend loved the large amount of chillis, the tender beef melting in his mouth and having not tried tofu before, he was won over by how flavoursome it was.

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - vietnamese special fried riceThe special fried rice filled me up quite quickly. Although a tad dry, it did have one thing which was surprisingly tasty – sausages, and was overall a whole-hearted, meaty dish. The accompanying salad was overshadowed, and pretty much not needed, but all in all, for around £9.85, it did the job!

food - pho cafe highbury and islington london - holloway roadDespite the major food envy (the next time I visit I’ll definitely be ordering a Pho), we both loved Pho House’s vibe, tasty food and fabulous service. My friend kindly paid for both of us (as a birthday treat for me), and for just over £20 including two drinks, you can’t go wrong!

Pho House is located on 39 Holloway Road, London, N7 8JP.

Love from Sarah

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LIFESTYLE – exploring greenwich, london

london - greenwichOne of my goals for 2015 was to explore more of London, so me and Bobbi ventured to Greenwich for some classic pie and mash, and a quick nosey around!

Serving London’s most traditional pie, mash and liquor for over 125 years, Goddards at Greenwich is a family run business just located off King William Walk. Serving freshly made food over the counter ‘dinner lady style’, you can take your pick from their delicious selection of pies such as chicken and ham, steak and kidney and even a veggie soya pie.

food - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich interiorfood - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich no spitting signfood - london - greenwich - goddards at greenwich pie, mash and liquor I decided to go for the traditional minced beef pie with mash and liquor, whereas Bobbi went for double pie, double mash and liquor, both were around £5-£6 each. Sat in one of their wooden booths surrounded by paintings, photographs and old signs, you really feel Goddards’ ambience. To say it was my first time trying liquor – and that I was a little apprehensive – it turned out to be amazing and was just the perfect winter warmer that I needed!

london - greenwich mean time gmt observatorylondon greenwich mean timeAfter our pie encounter, we headed to the Royal Observatory – home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). I love exploring places like this, and learning something new about Britain’s history. Aside from time, another great thing about the Royal Observatory is that you also get to see some beautiful panoramic views of London – for free!

london - view of london from greenwich royal observatorylondon - greenwich carAnother one to tick off the ‘London bucket list’ was seeing the famous Cutty Sark and the old historical buildings. It’s hard to believe that this village is a part of London – it seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of Central!

london - greenwich - cutty sarklondon - greenwich buildinglondon greenwich flagThe next stop was Greenwich market and the local shops. There were carol singers and even a finely dressed-up goat! I love visiting markets and seeing all the different food, book and clothes stalls. In the market there were also some pretty cool art galleries which I would definitely recommend!

london - greenwich marketlondon - greenwich market - bookslondon - greenwich market - goat

Greenwich is such a pretty place, and I am so happy that Bobbi showed it to me! Have you been to Greenwich before?

sigyhl

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TRAVEL – trek america’s grand trek: badlands, south dakota

travel - trekamericas grand trek - badlandsAfter a long driving day and a chilled night in camp yesterday, we were woken up at 5am by a thunderstorm.

Steve told us to go into the bathrooms and wait it out, but with 60mph winds heading our way (signs of a tornado), he told us to pack up everything and go. So there we were in our PJs, packing our tents away in torrential downpours. (Is it me, or is this a case of déjà vu?)

We stopped off at a café where we had a drink and a bite to eat – we all joked about how the rain was following us (little did we know it actually would throughout our whole trek), and waited the storm out. One of the highlights of that day was when Steve was getting the breakfast box out of the trailer for those who didn’t want to buy anything in the café, and we all looked up and saw the lid blowing down the street with Steve chasing after it – it was such a comedy gold moment!

travel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands corn palacethe world famous corn palace
linebreakOnce the storm had calmed down, it was back in the van and straight to our next stop and our first national park, Badlands in South Dakota. On our way there, we stopped off at the world’s only corn palace (yup, you read that right). Let’s just say that it was a very interesting experience – but hey, one to tick off the bucket list!
travel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands visitors centretravel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands entrance
entrance to badlands
linebreakWe then stopped at a gun store, which I wasn’t really too keen on, before we finally arrived at camp to get our hiking gear on and go on our very first hike (out of many) on the trek! After taking a look in the Ben Reifel Visitors Center we started our hike.
travel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands - castle trailtravel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands rockstravel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands me and bobbi
top: view of badlands, bottom: me & bobbi
linebreakSteve took us on our trail, which would only be a short hike (looking back he was easing us all in). It was such a chilled walk – and a different pace from Chicago and being in the van all day.
travel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands beware rattlesnakestravel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands - cacti
top; beware of snakes! sign, bottom: cacti
linebreakBadlands itself was such a beautiful place – who knew rocks could be so interesting? We took so many pictures and even saw the sun set!
travel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands rock formation
travel - trekamericas grand trek - badlands sunsettop: rock formation, bottom: sunset
linebreakAfter our hike, we headed back to camp where most of us went straight into the showers (at this point none of us had washed since the day before, so we were all smelling pretty fresh). At least it gave us an insight of what two days at Yellowstone would be like – with no showers!

Group D were cooking tonight and made an awesome chilli, as it was such a long day we all had a quick chat before calling it a night. Well…we had to be prepared for Mount Rushmore!

sigyhl

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(Corn Palace image from Google)