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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

The London Logs: Who Says There’s No Free Lunch?

The Author By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | August 17th, 2012 | Comments No Comments

On my way to Covent Garden, I was tempted by Sofra’s £8.95 (about $14 US) all-day specials and decided I had a craving for Middle Eastern lamb (www.sofra.co.uk). I expected a modest plate of lamb patties with a side of hummus. What I got was a generous portion of mouth-watering hummus with homemade bread that filled me before the lunch even arrived. The lamb was served with a roasted tomato (yumm!) and large green salad. After eating the salad, I was so full, I could barely touch the lamb. I asked for it to be wrapped for me to “take away.”
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The restaurant’s new chef came running over to see why I hadn’t eaten. When I started to explain I was just full, he barked to his staff that the food was not good and ordered me a whole new lunch to take with me – at no charge! Quite the out-sized character, he told me his life story: How he was born and raised in a rural village in Turkey, where he grew up herding sheep, and now he runs a fabulous restaurant in cosmopolitan London’s theatre district.

I spent hours there sipping coffee and editing my new chapter before finally heading out to Covent Garden.
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I remember why Covent Garden is my favorite and most frequently visited spot in London: The food market is small but high quality, the crafts are gorgeous and unique, and the street performers are actually funny and talented. I still have a shawl that I bought here in 1994 that reminds me of this magical square. This time, I was tempted to buy an apron with the slogan: “Raw, Burned or Cremated?” but I figured giving me an apron is less useful than giving a fish a bicycle.100_0344.jpg

Adjacent to Covent Garden are the London Transportation Museum (www.ltmuseum.co.uk), where you can buy all things train or tubular, and the Jubilee Market (www.jubileemarket.co.uk), where you can buy I {love} London T-shirts for £5.

When I lite again with coffee to people-watch, an American woman asks to join my table. I watch in amusement as her friend sits at an adjacent table – without asking the 2 women who I think were German who already occupied it. They pass disgusted looks over the American’s head until she charms them and has them laughing. We Americans do like to take over, but we also know how to get the party going!
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Category: London
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