What’s for lunch…?

Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what’s for lunch.
Orson Welles, actor, director (1915-1985)

OK, what’s for lunch?


If you like deli sandwiches, I recommend you try Langers Deli in downtown Los Angeles. Mr F and JB had the #19, and I had the matzoh ball soup when we went there last December.

If you’re a vegetarian, or even if you’re not, you have to try a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich when you’re in South Africa. Its their national sandwich.

We had this gourmet version at an outdoor restaurant in Johannesburg:  served on home-made whole-wheat bread with arugula! Yum yum.



If you prefer salads for lunch, you can get a delicious – and tender – steak salad like this in South Africa.


It was as tasty as it looks.

Why do American restaurants only serve chicken salads? I don’t think I’m the only person allergic to chicken!


a hard-boiled egg I ate on the Camino


I can’t do a post on lunch without including some favorite picnics.

I think food tastes best when eaten outdoors. Even a simple hard-boiled egg with a slice of bread…


picnic lunch during one of our hikes

picnic lunch during one of our Backbone Trail hikes

I think Mr F would agree with me that our picnic lunch when we were hiking in the Cinque Terre in Italy is our all-time favorite.


“salami, local cheese, bread, an apple and a bunch of grapes”

Five items, no plates, paper bag acting as a table-cloth, and water to drink.

FYI the view from the picnic table:


prickly pears


You know that jet-lagged feeling when you’re so hungry and tired you’d eat your hand if you were able to lift it?

Three years ago on our first day in Milan we bought a picnic lunch at the outrageously expensive deli Peck”.

Walking into that shop is a OMG experience. If you’re on a budget do not even think of going there. If you want to see the amazing Italian institution (founded in 1883) go there when you’re not hungry 😛

 It has an enormous selection of salads, cooked meats, and seafood, grilled vegetables, cheese, (over 3,000 varieties of Parmigiano Reggiano), olive oils and balsamic vinegar, plus homemade chocolates, bread, pastries and gelato.

We were so tired and hungry, and the choice was so overwhelming, it was almost impossible to know what to choose.

Octopus salad

We bought black and green olives, a couple of bread rolls, a small piece of local goat cheese, a few slices of salami, a small container of mushroom salad, and this very tasty octopus salad.

Every item was gift wrapped in silver paper, and tied it with a ribbon.


It came to forty-five euros.

I nearly fainted.

I asked the guy who’d served us to take a few things out of each container. He didn’t say a word, but you could see he was irritated. The lower price was thirty-three euros, which is still an outrageously expensive picnic for people-trying-to-travel-cheaply and on-the-first-day-of-their-trip, but oh my god it was delicious.

Peck doesn’t have an outside seating area. When we walked out of Peck with our picnic, we couldn’t find a place to sit down.

I was so tired and hungry I started eating our expensive picnic on the sidewalk. Mr F was quick to whip out his camera.

yours truly eating over the planter outside Peck.

yours truly eating over the planter outside Peck.

picnic on the steps

We ate our gourmet meal sitting on the steps of what was once the center of Medieval Europe – i.e. Milan’s old 12th century City Hall – which was now the favored place for the city’s pigeons to leave their poop.

You do things on vacation …


Photography in Peck is strictly prohibited. This video gives a nice tour.


I served an Italian couple at my cash register this afternoon who were from Milan. I told them how much I love their city and asked them if they shop at Peck.  The guy said, “I went once with my granny. She paid.”

* * * * * *

Two note-worthy sea-food lunches:   pulpo and lagoustine in Melide, in northern Spain;  and a fish soup at the Beach House Cafe at Hengistbury Head in the south of England.


Where’s Hengistbury Head? It’s a scenic headland jutting into the English Channel near Bournemouth, on the south coast of England.

Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head



I’d sit squashed and sleepless in the back of the plane any day if it meant I could eat any of these meals again.

Anyone want to join me for lunch?

* * * * * *

This post is part of two weekly challenges:

* * * * * *

Post Script:  At the Museum today I asked a little boy his name: “London,” he said; five minutes later a little girl walked into the Children’s Shop wearing a tee-shirt with LONDON written in big sparkly letters across the front; in the next two hours three different couples told me they were from London; and at the end of the day I overheard a group of tourists chatting about an art exhibition they’d recently seen in London.

I’ve never heard London mentioned so many times.  I don’t think it has anything to do with this week’s “L” challenges. I hope it means I’ll be going to London soon. Yaay! 😛

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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63 Responses to What’s for lunch…?

  1. Yes, please, I’ll join. I’m opting for that beautiful and simple lunch in the Cinque Terre. Great stories!

    • dearrosie says:

      Tara I would so love to share that Cinque Terre picnic with you.
      The woman in the shop in one of the villages where we bought the cheese highly recommended it, and confirmed that it was a local cheese, but as she couldn’t speak English and we don’t know many Italian words, I can’t tell you anything else.
      The salami was the freshest we’ve ever eaten. We bought it from a man who parked his van in the town square.

  2. kz says:

    yum i seriously want those prawns ^^

  3. Larooby says:

    It’s a tough choice between Alvarado & 7th (Langer’s) and a bench overlooking the Mare di Liguria. Perfection though the #19 pastrami on rye is, I have to say the sea air, the view and the freshest salami possible make that moment supreme in the quest for lunch! O! Mama!

    • dearrosie says:

      Without a doubt I’d also chose the Cinque Terre picnic. I’ve never eaten such fresh salami, and cheese, and remember the grapes and the apple, and that view? O’ Mama Mia 😛

  4. Debra Kolkka says:

    I’d join you for lunch any day.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime | Flickr Comments

  6. What a delectable smorgasbord of choices. They cut the prosciutto so thin! I’d say you nailed “L” twice!

    • dearrosie says:

      I hope I didn’t confuse you by adding too many choices…
      When you mention the thin prosciutto you must’ve watched the video on Peck. Have you ever been there Georgette?

      • No, but my sister and BIL have. It seems they always have prosciutto in their refrigerator and when she visits, it’s one of the things she stocks in my mother’s refrigerator. I’ve never been to Italy, although Daughter #2, my mother and all my siblings have. Great post with so much variety. I remember paying $25 twenty years ago in Paris for a plate of spaghetti and a bowl…er…cup of lime sherbet.

  7. frizztext says:

    “Ask not what you
    can do for your country,
    ask what’s for lunch.”
    Orson Welles

  8. frizztext says:

    not heroic – that’s the reason why I like it so much!

  9. sybil says:

    Would happily go with you. If it’s to Pecks, I assume YOU’RE paying. 😉

  10. I like the picnic lunch.

  11. Doris says:

    you made me hungry what a post Rosie, when I went to Italy my friend new exactly where to eat and all I wanted to eat was gelato and pastries ;), but I remember when I was in Paris in my first trip back 1998 and my friend wanted a coke and I bought it for him and it was 7 dls, I did not mind at all but my other friend made a big fuzz about it..he was our guide he deserve it.

    • dearrosie says:

      A coke for $7? wow where did you go? Oh it must’ve been one of the fancy shmancy places on the Champs Elysee? I haven’t been to Paris for way too long – a friend who goes quite often for work says she can only afford to go to Paris on an expense a/c.

      Ah a kindred spirit and a wise woman to eat mucho gelato when in Italy 😀
      I can never understand women who diet while traveling.

  12. adinparadise says:

    Well I’ve just come from London, Rosie, so there’s another mention. 🙂 You’d think that Peck would at least have a few tables and chairs, but I do love the photo of you eating over that planter. 😀

    • dearrosie says:

      oh gosh Sylvia that’s true. And I read your lovely post on your MIL’s ducks this morning. I don’t usually put photos of myself in the blog but it was such a perfect illustration of jet-lag that I included it!

  13. munchow says:

    I totally agree with you Rosanne. Nothing like a picnic, be it in mother nature or on the steps of church in some city. All I need is some salami, strong tasty cheese, bread and butter. And I am all set. Have a nice trip to London! 🙂

  14. souldipper says:

    My favs were our picnics in Europe when we lived out of a back pack. Our bible was “Europe on $5 a Day” in which we went directly to the back which was titled “The Starvation Budget”. We were to directed to the BEST ideas, pensions and cafes. But the picnics were best. Something about that fresh air and fresh food combo!

    Love this post Rosie. I hooted over you dining over a bush in the street! So nice to have a glimpse of Mr. F. You are a good looking couple.

    Now I’m off to catch up on more of you…

    • dearrosie says:

      I followed the same book Amy. When I was 17 I went with my parents on a six-week trip to Israel and Europe, and I made them eat and stay at places recommended in the book (oh gosh I should write about that trip 😛 ) and a few years later when Mr F and I went to Europe the first time we also followed the book which by then had gone up to “Europe on $10 a day”. We were so bummed to be paying $5 more a day! hah hah.

      Sleep deprivation is a part of travel that has to be endured, so its good to be able to laugh afterwards when you see what you were doing when you were sleep-walking. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing me wolfing down the expensive picnic – I was so focused on stuffing my mouth that I didn’t even see Mr F taking the picture.

  15. Amy says:

    Wonderful lunchtime post! forty-five euros for that lunch, Really? 8)

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Amy (the comment before you was also written by an Amy!)
      Perhaps because I was so jetlagged I didn’t feel embarrassed to ask the guy to take some stuff out. The guide book highly recommended it but didn’t say only go if you’re traveling with a black (titanium) American Express card.

  16. I like the name Peck, though not necessarily their snootiness.

    When I came here, I was ready to write to you that I miss the museum posts. But you write your other posts in an equally wow way, so I am going to let you get away with it this time.

    I wish I could go on a picnic!

    • dearrosie says:

      hello Priya – its always a pleasure to welcome you to my blog.

      “Peck” is named after “Francesco Peck” a pork butcher from Prague who opened the deli in 1883.
      I’d love to take you on a picnic. Please do come! We can have hard-boiled eggs and fruit and cheese and fresh crusty bread.

      oh gosh look at these “p” words waiting to form a tongue-twister…

      (( please priya pick a picnic at peck ))

      Thank you for being such a supportive blogging buddy Priya. Actually there are several museum stories buried in this post. Did you notice them?

  17. Pingback: Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 11, 'Lunchtime'] | 3rdculturechildren

  18. Having lunch with you would be a real treat and quite an adventure, Rosie! That has got to be the prettiest steak salad I have ever seen! And that little spot on the Backbone Trail looks refreshingly cool and enchanting… Peck looks like a once-in-a-lifetime treat. 🙂 I do agree, Rosie, there is no better meal than an outdoor picnic, even if it is simply a humble hard-boiled egg.

    • dearrosie says:

      Barbara I cannot think of anything I’d like more than having a picnic with you. Oh gosh I hope we can do that one day… 😀 That steak salad was “pretty” and the meat was so tender and juicy!
      The picnic next to the water was, exactly as you described “enchanting and refreshingly cool” as there aren’t many spots where one can sit next to water along the Backbone Trail.
      You’re right about Peck being a once in a lifetime treat. Next time in Milan we’ll buy a hard boiled egg at a simpler deli. 😀

  19. shoreacres says:

    The best-looking lunch of them all, among your choices, is the tomato and cheese on that beautiful bread. It’s a great comfort to me to know that, even though I’ll never again travel to any of these spots, I can have the lunch I prefer!

    Funny, the things that don’t appeal. I don’t like salami, proscuitto or such, and I’m not much for a salad for lunch, unless it’s a wonderful pasta salad. But in the summertime, a nice cold soup – gazpacho or cucumber – along with my favorite cheddar/dill bread? Now, that’s good!

    Peck’s sounds like Dean & DeLucca. Oops! I just went to their website and looked at the Easter goodies – bad move. So many sweet treats! I did see they have a cranberry and orange scone baking mix. That sounds really good – but I think I’ll not be ordering an $8 baking mix!

    • dearrosie says:

      Arm chair travel allows you a much larger selection of menu items – I’m delighted to be able to share our lunch with you Linda.
      The whole-wheat bread made one of the most satisfying sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.
      I’d like to suggest that you taste the salami first. It was the freshest salami I’ve ever eaten, and because it was so fresh it “melted” in the mouth.

      I could eat soup every day. There is nothing as warming as a hot wholesome vegetable and bean soup in winter, and also nothing as refreshing as a light soup in the summer. Unfortunately I’m allergic to tomatoes and can’t eat gazpacho … 😦

      Peck is exactly like Dean & DeLucca. We’ve bought picnics from D & DL that were outrageously expensive but oh so good… I’ll never forget their fried fish – even though we ate it in the 1980’s.
      $8 for a baking mix? Plus tax and shipping? ouch!

  20. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Rose, eating is one of the delights of living–a tasty delight at that. I’ve been a vegetarian for 32 years. I became one after reading “Laurel’s Kitchen” in 1981. Now I’ve just read another book, one by Dr. Neal Barnard, and I’ve decided to become a vegan. Soy, almond, or rice milk will take the place of cow’s milk and so that’s no problem. But going without cheese will be. The truth is though that one of the reasons I’ve had a weight problem is that I eat too much cheese. I’ve now lost 16 pounds in WEight Watchers and I’m going to monitor my health and general well being as I become a vegan and eat differently. But oh, the photographs on your posting certainly looked appetizing! Peace.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Dee,
      I admire your determination to go from being a vegetarian to a vegan, and am very impressed that you’ve lost 16 pounds. Congratulations!

      I know how hard it is to avoid cheese – I didn’t eat eat it for many years – and I’ve only recently added it to my diet (though basically still can’t eat cow’s milk cheese), and while I don’t drink much milk I like my tea strong with milk. Tea with rice or almond milk, or soy? Nah it doesn’t have the taste of a proper cup of tea
      I thank you for your comment.

  21. nrhatch says:

    Great collection of shots. I’m interested to hear how you can be allergic to chicken . . . but not eggs. I would think allergies to one would be reflected in allergies to the other.

    Love the look of that toasted cheese sandwich . . . and the bread at Langer’s Deli . . . and the bread and cheese on the picnic.

    Are you seeing a theme here?I could live on bread and cheese. :mrgreen:

    • dearrosie says:

      I can’t explain why I’m allergic to chicken – its weird and I just have to live with it. Its not easy when 99% of the time dinner invitations mean “come eat chicken with us”.

      I could also live on bread. When we toured the jail at Robbin Island in South Africa (where Nelson Mandela spent a quarter century) our tour guide, who was a former inmate, told us that black prisoners were never given bread to eat, and how much he missed it. I can’t imagine that!

      • nrhatch says:

        A day without good bread is . . . wasted. 😉

        As a vegetarian for the past 15 years, I’m often amazed at the menu selections in restaurants ~ chicken dishes abound and vegetarian salads are virtually non-existent.

        How hard is it to make a vegetarian salad? :mrgreen:

      • dearrosie says:

        Though we aren’t vegetarian, Mr F and I eat more vegetables than meat in our daily diet, and I’m always shocked and dismayed at the lack of vegetables on restaurant menus. Whenever I inquire for green vegetables, I feel lucky if I get offered peas or broccoli.

  22. bronxboy55 says:

    My favorite lunches have all been from street markets in Sicily. Cheese, bread, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and fruit. The simpler, the better. And for forty-five euros, you can eat for a week.

    Beautiful post, Rosie. (Except for the octopus salad.)

    • dearrosie says:

      Those simple picnic lunches bought from street markets and eaten outdoors (even on steps covered with bird poo-poo) are the best way to eat in Europe.

      Question 1: What would you have done if your picnic came to 45 euros? There are three options: Walk out without the food, pay up, or ask to take something out of each container.

      Question 2: Have you ever tasted octopus?? I must say I was frustrated with the women in our group in Spain who sat with their arms tightly folded across their chests and refused to even take the teeniest-tiniest bite of pulpo (octopus)

      • bronxboy55 says:

        I guess if the picnic was going to become one of those unforgettable events that I could re-live over and over, I might have spent the forty-five euros. But I certainly wouldn’t have made a habit of it. As for the octopus, I’m a vegetarian. Even so, I’m another one of those people who frustrate you — I won’t eat certain things just because of what they are.

        Have you asked the same question of Amiable Amiable? She loves octopus.

  23. Fish soup at Hengistbury Head. Must write that one down, Rosie..
    I think of them all that salami and cheese picnic looks my favourite. Sunlight and outside does something for food, doesn’t it?

    • dearrosie says:

      Have you been to Hengistbury Head? Its such a charming place though I can’t imagine holidaying in one of those teeny little houses when it rains so much in England.

      The salami was so fresh we could barely slice it. Oh yummy…

  24. I’m such a nut for the cheese, bread, olives and fruit, washed down with a little local wine. Nothing better. Love your photos. Those prawns look huge!

    • dearrosie says:

      We didn’t have wine on that picnic because we were hiking along the path that joins the Cinque Terre villages and didn’t want to carry a bottle of wine, and quite honestly the food was so delicious we didn’t miss the alcohol.

      Those Spanish prawns were huge and delicious.
      Thanks for popping over Renee.

  25. frizztext says:

    amused by ” truly eating over the planter”

  26. Robin says:

    I would love to join you. Everything looks so delicious, and I agree with you about food tasting better when it’s eaten outdoors. I wouldn’t mind going to London, either. It’s one of my favorite cities. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hey Robin that would be so fun to meet you in London. 😀
      I’d imagine that you’ve had some delicious picnics next to the beautiful pond in your yard?

      • Robin says:

        I have, Rosie. We used to have a huge picnic once a year on the summer solstice. We’d invite everyone we know (and often they would invite a few people they know) and have a big pot-luck picnic/party. It was lots of fun. 🙂

      • dearrosie says:

        What a lovely tradition to have a summer solstice pot/luck picnic Robin.
        Do you think you’ll start doing something like that at your new home?

  27. Oh, Rosie, everything looks delicious! And a picnic to boot…beautiful post (and one that made me long for summer..and lunch!)

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