London Baby

So, you may have noticed the blog has been a little quiet.

I have to admit I’ve been a little distracted…. 26.2 miles worth of distraction – travel, prep, running and recovery. I’m just about normal.

If you’d like to read about the whole experience, Coffee & Creatine has that – a full run down of the experience, from female urinals to chafing, to sunburn.

Here, however, we’re just going to talk food and a little vintage, as Keeley and I found couple of fabulous spots on the journey.

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We left Manchester at the ungodly hour of 8:15am on Saturday – as Saturday is normally my one lazy day a week, to say I was grumpy was putting it lightly. Luckily we had other things to concern ourselves with – the plan was simple. Hotel to dump our cases, Expo to collect my number then, most importantly, lunch.

We’d heard of Lower Marsh Market, thanks to the power of Twitter and a chocolatey connection. Though it’s small, it’s perfectly formed and was the perfect stopping point after our trek to collect my number and timing chip, and collect samples and information at the Expo.

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We discovered Bath Soft Cheese which is absolutely gorgeous stuff, can someone please cart it up to Manchester (or ensure that the young chap selling it gets his grades so he can come to UoM?).

And Snact fruit jerky – perfect clean eating, it’s a smoothie dried to leather. The strawberry banana combination was my favourite and a packet was swiftly purchased.

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I then got very distracted. Music played in a tinny manner, reminding me of Fallout – a futuristic RPG game where 1930s/1940s music is played as an almost constant background noise. A window full of antiques called to me and I wondered if I went through the door, if I would find a post nuclear detonation world of Nuka Cola, mutants and Pip-Boys.

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Instead we had discovered Radio Days, a vintage shop selling items dating from 1920s to 1980s. I was in love. It’s a treasure trove of items – from baby clothes, to hats, cocktail glasses to babydoll nighties. I wished that this trip hadn’t pushed this month’s budget so hard, as I ogled original 1950s sunglasses and a 1940s winter coat that called my name.

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I hated to leave, but my tummy growled loudly and rather than earn myself any more strange looks, we headed over to Cubana Restaurant where they were serving all sorts of street food goodies. Rice, beans, shredded slow cooked pork and plaintain called to me. Perfect pre-marathon fuel, it was absolutely divine. I can’t recall ever eating pork that tasted so, well, porky.

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The only sad part was that the bar wasn’t open – a mojito would have been fantastic (though off the menu for me) and though there were smoothies on offer, something lighter and more citrussy would have cut through the pork perfectly.

Full, happy and ready for a nap after our early start, we headed back to the hotel, so I could close my eyes for an hour and dream of the finish line.

Two hours later, our planning for the next day completed over a cup of tea, we headed out for dinner. We were intending to head to a nearby pub that had a very good reputation, but when crossing the road, Keeley caught her breath at the sight of the familiar pink signage of Wahaca.

It was a no brainer. I could lose my Wahaca virginity and get that last hit of good carbs and protein to be set for the run. And Keeley could indulge in her love for Wahaca.

Wahaca is Mexican street food, tapas style. Order dishes, share and enjoy. My kind of eating.

20140412_194116Guacamole was a must and, at Keeley’s suggestion, we swapped our tortilla chips for fennel pork scratchings. The guacamole was almost perfect (I’d have chucked in a touch more chilli and salt, but everyone thinks their own guac is perfect) and the pork scratchings were crisp little clouds of pig.

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Our second selection was the chorizo and potato quesadilla – creamy potato and spicy pork melded together with cheese to form one delicious carb hit.

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From the specials menu, we ordered the crab fideus – golden fried noodles in chipotle and tomato sauce, topped with capers, Lancashire cheese and Scottish crab. I have to admit, though the acidity from the cheese was welcome, the flavour was missing, but the sauce was tempered enough that the crab wasn’t lost at all, and its sweet flavour worked beautifully with the sauce and the capers.

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Then, being the cheese fiends we are, we couldn’t resist the Mexican fondue – queso fundido. Cactus and onions topped with melted cheese, served with corn tortillas. This was probably my favourite dish. I love cactus’ earthy flavour and adore gooey cheese, it was a delicious indulgence.

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Here I have to admit, I treated myself to a single classic margarita. I had  to. When in Mexico and all. And it was perfectly sour and smoky, though I tempered it with a full bottle of water.

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As I was fuelling myself with carbohydrates, I had to have pudding and so a salted caramel ice cream, with nuggets of dark chocolate was my selection. It was delicious – it’s not Chorlton Crack, but it was absolutely what I needed. Keeley indulged in the sundae, with its combination of hot chocolate and cold ice cream, she was in chocolate heaven.

Stuffed, we rolled back to the hotel.

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Because the next day, I had a whole lot of running to do.

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