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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weekend in London: Part II

One of the great things about being in London are the pubs.  They sport fantastic names like The Carpenters Arms, Monkeys Forehead, The Hunter's Lodge and The Fox and Hounds.  They are cozy, beautiful, charming places pouring good drink and serving tasty food.  So for my first lunch in London we ventured out to The Carpenters Arms, just a short walk from The American Church.  I ordered half a roasted chicken and fries.  Fries, as opposed to chips, are skinny french fries like we are used to other side of the Atlantic.  Chips are the thicker variety.  It was seriously the best chicken I've ever eaten in my entire life.  I'm really not sure what they did to it, but it fell off the bone, was deliciously moist throughout and served with a sauce that was heavenly.  I was fully satisfied with my meal but have to admit that I happened to see a dessert item on the menu that I could not pass up.  A salted caramel, chocolate and clotted cream tart.  I love all three of those items and really, you shouldn't leave Britain without having clotted cream at least once!  So I ordered it and ate it.  Luckily my colleagues helped me (very little but that is why there are 3 forks on the plate).  It was so out of this world crazy delicious that I can barely give description to how wonderfully tasty this dessert was.  I kind of went into a little food coma after I finished the whole thing, practically licking the platter clean since I wanted to get every last drip of caramel on the plate.  It was decadent and delicious.  A fine start to my weekend.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, two more pub visits were in my future before I ventured back to Stockholm (where we have some nice pubs but the cost of beer is ridiculous and they often don't pour the dry English apple cider like they do in England and the food is not as good).  Sunday night I landed at the Hunter's Lodge with my buddy Judy.  I ordered a chicken, leek and mushroom pie and was not disappointed. I forgot my camera so you'll just to trust that this chicken pot pie was every bit as good as you could only imagine.  A little malt vinegar on the chips, a plateful of peas and a Strongbow Cider made it just right.
Finally, before heading back to Heathrow for my flight home, we pulled into the Fox and Hounds, a beautiful place near Egham.  I was decidedly indecisive about what to order and one item definitely caught my attention: Bubble and Squeak.  Now many of us are familiar with the crazy names that British folks love to name their food: Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole and the ever famous Spotted Dick, but Bubble and Squeak was new to me.  Intrigued, I asked the waiter what it was and he told me that it came from Ireland (but I've since learned it is the entire UK as well) where they took all of the left over root vegetables from the Sunday dinner, fried them all together with potatoes and cabbage, threw an egg on top and called it lunch on Monday.  It gets its name from the sound it makes in the frying pan when everything is coming together.  It was all together too tempting to pass up, so I ordered it and I'm telling ya it was GREAT!  He assured me that they made their Bubble and Squeak from fresh vegetables, nothing leftover and it was super.  The poached egg on top was cooked to perfection.  I was impressed.  Yes, that's another brand of Cider lurking in the background and my friend Judy with her big 'ol hamburger and chips on the other plate.
I suppose we Americans have our own take on eggs and potatoes but I'm pretty sure we'd never be imaginative or brave enough to put an item such as Bubble and Squeak on the menu in a public house!
The other things that one must eat when in England are an egg salad sandwich (the best in the world) and I recommend finding a sticky toffee muffin somewhere.  Yes, I indulged in both.
But for sure, enjoy eating in a Pub a time or two...it's the way to go when in England.