I went to Portobello Road, and all I got was this lousy blog post.
Sure, the Queen Anne chairs were quaint and the Victorian jewels were majestic, but I had bigger things on my mind than antiques. Like, where were the Portobello mushrooms?
Located in the Notting Hill district in west London, this narrow, two-mile road is a world-renowned antique mecca. Saturday’s Portobello Road Market is the big day when the hordes are out en masse, but the shops, galleries, cafes and produce market are open all week.
This popular road used to be a winding country path known as Green's Lane until 1740 when Portobello Farm was built in the area. Wouldn't you think a farm named Portobello would be fungi-friendly? Nope. It was actually named for the 1739 British victory in the battle of Porto Bello in Panama.
The market began selling food in the 19th century, and today the north end of the road has stalls selling fresh produce throughout the week. Here was my chance to conquer some Portobellos. But as a Panamanian might say, I got nada.
From the Duke of Wellington to the Edwardian butcher, this seemed like the real London. The main dance number from the 1971 Disney movie, Bedknobs and Broomsticks starring Angela Lansbury even took place here (filmed at a Burbank studio, of course). If that's not authentic, what is?
Yes, Notting Hill was filmed on this street, but don’t ask the locals about Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Do people visit your 'hood and grill you about Aunt Bea and Opie? I wouldn't have minded some grilled Portobellos though.
Victorian terrace houses and independent shops reign, and the Friends of Portobello campaign is trying to preserve the street's history as the big chain stores threaten to move in.
Too late. This chain store called Poundland is like our 99¢ Only Store and where I suggested the Queen buy her canapé ingredients in My Frugal Royal Wedding Canapés.
The ultimate to-go window, this storefront had a unique pizza display. Were those 'shrooms Portobellos, or was that wishful thinking?
Conclusion: It's a great place to forage for anything but mushrooms.
Portobello road, Portobello road
Street where the riches of ages are stowed
Anything and everything a chap can unload
Is sold off the barrow in Portobello road
You’ll find what you want in the Portobello road (except Portobellos)
— Portobello Road by Robert & Richard Sherman
See a charming video of the song from Bedknobs and Broomsticks: