Meal #23: Lunch

Chicken and bacon sandwich with soup, Pret, Oxford, UK

Pret is my new favorite lunch spot, it’s like Eat. but better.  They sell sandwiches and salads and soups and weird drinks with a flair for interesting combinations that are inexpensive as well as delicious.  My sandwich was awesome!  Marinated grilled chicken that was slightly shredded and added to the mayonnaise, layered with thick pieces of salty English bacon, and a fresh punch of mixed greens.  The soup was a bacon and tomato with crème fraiche.  I normally don’t go for tomato soups, but it sounded so good, I just had to get it.  And it was well worth it, so creamy and smooth with chunks of that amazing salty English bacon.  The drink was pretty great as well, it was another “no nasties” sparkling beverage flavored this time with grape and elderflower!  It was more tart than sweet, but also very pleasantly aromatic.  Overall, it was a great lunch!  I will be back to Pret again!

Meal #22: Dinner

Curly fries and garlic bread, City Arms, Oxford, UK

More of a snack than a dinner, but I forgot to take a picture of my dinner at the college, so I figured this would do.  This is the only time the English call them fries, when they are curly.  I asked them why, and Robbie said it’s because “curly chips” sounds stupid.  I put something called “brown sauce” on them and malt vinegar and mayonnaise.  The brown sauce was a vinegar based sauce very similar to our steak sauce.  These curly fries tasted exactly like they came from The Junction, and the garlic bread was just some garlic bread, nothing special.

I love The City Arms though, not for their food but for the discounted drinks.  I have a little card on my keys called the Yellow Card, which gets me a discount on drinks at The City Arms.  You have to be a current student to get the Yellow Card, and most of my Oxford friends can’t get one, so when they go up to the bar to get a drink, they all have to borrow mine.  It’s funny because they go to The Arms all the time, and they have to borrow the American’s discount card every time they buy a drink.  Also, the drinking culture is so much different here.  They mostly buy their own, and drink their own, almost no sharing.  So, at The Arms, a jug (pitcher) of Carling or Carlsburg is only £5 with the Yellow Card.  A jug holds four pints, we had four people.  In America we would have taken turns buying one pitcher at a time, or maybe even two.  Not here, we each got our own jug and no sharing!  It’s such a funny difference.

Meal #21: Lunch

Orzo salad, Pret, Oxford, UK

I felt like something a little lighter for lunch, so I picked up this orzo salad from Pret.  It was pretty good, lots of orzo and rocket and lettuce with loads of kalamata olives and carrots and fire-roasted red peppers.  The dressing was a simple vinaigrette.  I washed it all down with a carbonated orange juice that claimed on the can to have “added no nasties, just juice and CO2.”  It was a well good lunch for takeaway.

Meal #20: Dinner

World Cup themed dinner, Oriel College dinning hall, Oxford, UK

Because of the World Cup final, the dinning hall at the college decided to attempt to make dishes from the final two teams.  They made paella and a Spanish dessert called Pan de Calatrava, that’s Spain right?  So they were doing pretty well, but then they made ratatouille…. French, so…… weird, then there was a steak with a piece of Swiss cheese….. so, Swiss?….. weird.  And then the same old roasted potatoes and salad we always get, English I guess?  So out of all this weird combination of dishes, they had two from Spain, good start, and then a bunch of dishes from countries long ago eliminated from the tournament, and nothing Dutch at all.  Sounds like a World Cup theme fail to me.  By the way, all the food was terrible.

Special message to any of the Oriel College cooks that might stumble upon my blog: stop trying to make dishes that you have no idea how to make!  Make me some English food, you’re good at doing that!

Meal #19: Second Dinner

Chips and cheese, Kebab Kid, Oxford, UK

After a long night of dancing at the O2 Academy, nothing tastes better than chips and cheese with mayonnaise and barbecue sauce.  This is for sure not my first chips and cheese with mayonnaise and barbecue, but its the first one that I remembered to take an extremely blurry picture of.  What else what I eat at 4am?  So amazingly delicious.

Meal #18: Dinner

The new chicken temptation, Subway, Oxford, UK

My pence-pinching friends and I were hungry while hanging out at Stu’s, and they wouldn’t go anywhere else but Subway for food.  They love it.  I got the new chicken temptation.  It was a breaded and baked chicken breast.  For Subway, it really wasn’t too terrible, but it was still Subway.  When I told him black olives, he put three slices of olives on my sub, three.  A little bit stingy on the toppings over here.

Meal #17: Lunch

Sausages and mash, The Red Lion, Oxford, UK

My first real bangers and mash dish in the UK!  I had lunch at The Red Lion, and a friend suggested the sausage and mash.  It was pretty delicious.  The sausage was much like our breakfast sausage in the states, but better.  The mashed potatoes were smooth and delicious, with a salty but balanced meat gravy.  An excellent example of traditional English cooking.

Meal #16: Dinner

King Prawn in Garlic sauce, The First Floor, Oxford, UK

This was the first Chinese food I’ve had in England!  It was not too bad.  I had to convince two of my new best friends (Stu and Cara) to go to this nicer place rather than some dumpy place called Rice Box.  We had an extremely awkward moment while the old man shredded Cara’s duck, but the food was okay.  Different than any Chinese food I’ve ever had in the states.  I had the king prawn with garlic sauce, and a side of egg-fried rice.  It was pretty good, but nothing amazing.  We probably should have just gone to the Rice Box.

Meal #15: Lunch

Steak and Ale Cornish Pasty, Cornish Pasty window, Oxford, UK

This pasty was pretty awesome.  Steak and Ale are a killer combination.  There were also chunks of potatoes in there.  The pasty dough was crisp and buttery on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside, a perfect vessel for takeaway food.  To be fair though, I was so hungry I would’ve gladly eaten that pigeon and been as happy.

Meal #14: Lunch

Salami and cheese panini, a small French deli, Oxford, UK

This was the first time I stopped in at this deli, but I walk past it almost every day.  They have all kinds of amazing looking sandwiches ready to be pressed.  The salami and cheese looked great, and it tasted so as well.  Salty salami and creamy cheese on a crusty grilled baguette.  It was great, I will stop there again I think.