Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lunch Blog in the UK, Part 1: The Jack Horner

Here we go, guv’nor.

So I got to go to London the other week for my job. I believe the official reason I was selected for the trip was because my agency wanted to send our foremost expert on both Doctor Who and British Alternative Rock of the ‘80s & Early ‘90s. (Who’s got two thumbs and is totally psyched for The Stone Roses reunion next year? This guy!)

And since I was going, of course I’d have to make a point of checking out some of the native cuisine -- even though it’s frequently described as “lousy.” Before I left for my trip, I figured British food had probably just caught a bad rap. But then I saw “mushy peas” on a menu and I realized they’re not even trying to make their food sound good.

Due to jet lag, our first night in town my co-worker Chris and I decided to stay close to the hotel and grab dinner at a nearby pub, The Jack Horner. While I recognize the place is named for the nursery rhyme, I choose to believe it’s an homage to Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights.

The Jack Horner is one of Fuller’s Ale & Pie Houses. Beer nerds, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that us going here is kind of like if a Londoner was to visit America and eat at a restaurant owned by Sam Adams.

There were actually a lot of locals there that night, so at least it didn’t seem too touristy. Unsurprisingly, The Jack Horner has a staggering number of Fuller’s beers available on tap and in bottles. Apparently it’s a big deal that the pub has Blue Moon, which struck me as odd. As a server girl was pouring my beer, an older gentlemen said something lewd to me about her, and I was amazed at how polite it sounded with the accent.

While there are plenty of other things on the menu, I was drawn to the pies. The Jack Horner has around a dozen different varieties, and feeling a little loopy from the jet lag plus two beers, I had some trouble making up my mind. Ultimately I went with the steak and ale pie. It had a light, flaky crust with steak and velvety gravy inside, and was pretty tasty.

Which brings us to the following message from me to the brewpubs of America: I’m getting a little burgered and pizzaed out. You have already appropriated fish and chips. A new option is needed. What next?

Why not pies? Come on, there’s big time potential for deliciousness. You can dominate this.

QuikTrip, we also think you could make pies into an awesome rolling food. For that matter, you could do the same with fish and chips. I’m envisioning a tater tot crust with flaky fish interior, flavored with malt vinegar and tartar sauce.
This is the first in a series of “Lunch Blog in the UK” posts that’ll be coming at you in the next weeks, in addition to our regularly scheduled nonsense from this side of the pond.

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