Here are some left overs from my trip to London.

First, the coffee. There are so many places here that make excellent coffee with people who are devoted to roasting only high-quality beans. It reminds me of the coffee boutique scene in San Francisco. I only tried a handful during my week in London.

Tapped & Packed
26 Rathbone Place
London W1T 1JD
0207 5802163

Flat White
17 Berwick Street
London W1F 0PT
020 7734 0370

2 Park St
London SE1 9AB
020 7940 9960

Nordic Bakery
14 Golden Square
London W1F 9JF
020 3230 1077

It was really hot the week I was there so I had to drink a lot. Pints were everywhere but what I really wanted was a cocktail. Bourne & Hollingsworth in Fitzrovia was in the cellar but it resembled an English granny’s dining room, with floral wallpaper and white tablecloths.

Delicious concoctions served in dainty teacups.

I prefer my drinks strong but I like them to look pretty. I also like drinks with egg foam.

Bourne & Hollingsworth
28 Rathbone Place
London W1T 1JF
020 7636 8231

Then there’s the Pimm’s, which almost any pub will make. A Pimm’s Cup is such a simple drink: 1 part Pimm’s and 3 parts lemon soda (I personally like it with ginger ale). Strawberries and oranges can be soaked in the Pimm’s beforehand and used as garnish after, along with some mint and slices of cucumber.

When I wasn’t eating or drinking, I spent most of my time in museums and wandering around. I am starting to love brutalist architecture more and more. I like the idea of cold, geometric concrete buildings alien among the stately, ornate buildings one sees everywhere in Europe.

This is the Barbican, a living and arts complex. The center was voted London’s ugliest building which is probably part of its charm and appeal for me. We saw a fantastic exhibition at the Barbican gallery called the Surreal House. My favorite piece was Rebecca Horn‘s suspended piano — every few minutes the keys would spill open, then eventually retract with the strings slowly reverberating like a haunted instrument.

I don’t know if Londoners are as crazy for picnics as Parisians, but the London Wall would be a pretty cool place for a picnic. It was constructed by the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and part of the original wall still remains behind the Museum of London.

Whereas Paris is a very dense city, there’s a lot of green space where you will be completely alone if you need to retreat inside your head for a bit. I found just that on a walk around Convent Garden, where I stumbled upon the Phoenix Garden, a community garden that’s completely quiet and secluded in the middle of tourist central.

If I were to live in London I would spend a lot of my time volunteering in garden and urban farms. I wonder if they have something like that in Paris?