Okay, I do not get why English food gets a bad reputation. I loved it. I mean granted, the French food was better, but the food we had in England was very tasty and sat better with us. And the portions everywhere we went were huge! Again, I had a hard time finishing my meals. Overall, Europe has us beat on fries. Paris and England make way better chips than Americans make fries.
We prepared a lot for the cultural difference of eating out in France than eating out in America, but I never thought to look into cultural differences of eating out in England. We ate at a lot of pubs though, and our second night we had a hard time navigating pub etiquette. Apparently, you seat yourself and order at the bar. It took wandering into the second pub and asking some questions to figure that out. But it worked out because as we were finishing our dinner, the large party at the table next to us included an ex-pat American and all his friends, and they invited us to join them. It was a relief and great time to be able to chat with new people, make some friends. We talked all those weird differences between cultures: accents, cultural perceptions, traveling and living abroad. They answered all of our dumb questions and gave us a lot of recommendations. They truly made our trip memorable.
When we visited Shakespeare’s Globe, we were tired and hungry and little cranky when we arrived, and we had plenty of time before our show, so we headed upstairs to the Globe’s restaurant. I was expecting an overpriced tourist trap, but what we found was a delightful restaurant space that was well-decorated and one of the best meals we had our whole trip. Our waitress was very friendly and sassy. She recommended the tiramisu for dessert saying “I’m from Italy and I’m recommending the tiramisu, so you should get it.” We had beers; John had the best fish and chips he had the whole trip, and I had a delicious shepherd’s pie. Of course we had the tiramisu, and our waitress wasn’t lying. It was incredible!
One day for lunch we wanted to stop by Speedy’s Cafe, the real restaurant outside Sherlock’s Baker Street residence in BBC’s TV show Sherlock, which we love if you haven’t guessed by now. The location is actually on North Gower Street not Baker Street. The restaurant still feels like a local place. There are some pictures on the wall of the owners and staff posing with the cast and some Baker Street signage, but if you weren’t paying attention or weren’t familiar with the show, you might not even notice. John ordered bangers and mash, and I ordered the Sherlock wrap, which was the best wrap of my life: chicken, bacon, cucumber, sharp English cheese, red onion, red pepper and mayo wrapped and grilled. The description of this wrap (just on a printout on the wall) explains all the nutritional reasons why Sherlock would include these ingredients. Of course, there’s a Watson wrap too.
In Oxford at the Eagle and Child, I had a sausage sandwich with some kind of a marmalade on country bread, and it was amazing!!!!! John had some fried shrimp and was very pleased. My beer was kind of warm though, and that was sad. Still, it was a good lunch.
As I said before, we ate in a lot of pubs and a lot of fish and chips. Maybe too many fish and chips, but one of the pubs we ate at was The Victoria, which apparently used to be frequented by Charles Dickens. The food was good, but the decor and atmosphere was better. It was recommended to us by our new friends, which means it was very crowded, so I didn’t get any pictures.
By this point in our trip, we had eaten pretty much nothing but meat, bread and white potatoes since arriving in Paris, and John and I were tired. So I found a noodle restaurant not far from our hotel, and we got some ramen for dinner. I had heard from friends who live in bigger cities like New York and Philadelphia that these chain noodle shops were starting to take off, and as a person who loooooooooves Japanese noodles I really wanted to try one. So when I found the Wagamama chain in London, I was excited for something different. I ordered the grilled duck ramen while John got their specialty. I really liked mine, but John was seriously disappointed by the miso broth in his. Sama Zama is way better he declared. Even though I liked mine, I have to agree with him.
We got our last English lunch in the airport. We both ordered salted beef sandwiches, and even though they were over-priced, they were actually really tasty. John even found a beer that he hadn’t had in years because he can’t find it in the US. He was really excited to drink Lowenbrau, and it was just as good as he remembered.