Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Not Quite English

Last weekend, my daughter and I went on another brunch quest looking for a little bit of England in California.  This time, we tried Lucky Baldwins, a ‘British Pub & CafĂ©’ in Pasadena.  They have three locations and apparently have been there some 18 years, so it should be great, right?

First of all, we got there a bit late for breakfast and/or brunch.  It was around noon, which in theory should still be time for brunch, but whatever.  The actual menu was very patriotic, Union Jacks all over it, but that’s pretty much where it ended.  The only two items of a British nature that I could see were a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich (American bacon, Irish bacon for an extra charge) and a full English (an extra charge for crumpets instead of toast).   Oh, I could have had a cup of PG Tips too.

Very patriotic
Of course, we ordered one of each (with Irish bacon and crumpets).  Hannah had the breakfast sandwich which had a lovely runny egg and a couple of bits of bacon.  This would have been a great breakfast if you had made it at home, but in a restaurant you would expect a little bit more on the plate – even a bit of dead cabbage for garnish would have made it look a bit fancier.  But she said it was lovely, even though she thought she could have eaten another one!

That's it?
I had the full English - bacon, sausage, two eggs over easy, (I still can't figure out what I am supposed to ask for here, but over easy seemed to be okay this time), baked beans (Heinz), mushrooms, fried tomato - Mmmm, lovely jubbly.... but then there was also that potato/pepper/onion mixture that seems to be a standard in American breakfasts - FAIL! Gentlemen, this is most definitely NOT an English breakfast requirement!

What is that potato stuff??  Definitely not English!
The sausage was lovely, as were the mushrooms and beans.  The eggs were runny enough and the (tiny bit of) bacon was nice.  But then there were the crumpets.  The waiter (who was new on the job, he said), didn't know what a crumpet was, but I assured him they were on the menu and I could have them instead of toast,  Well, when I got them, they looked (and tasted) like they had been heated up in a microwave.  They were rubbery like they had just come out of the packet, no crispy bits on the bottom and not only that, I didn't get any bloomin' butter, just a little pot of lemon curd.  In all my years, I have never eaten crumpets with lemon curd (and no butter), but there's a first time for everything, as they say, and I tried.  But quite frankly, it was pretty blah.

Hmmm....a bit bland
I'm not saying I'm Egon Ronay or that I work for the Michelin Guide, but I was just a little, well, disappointed with the food.

But, I'm sure if we had got there earlier when the Premier League football was on, the place would have been bursting at the seams with all the Chelsea fans watching Frank Lampard put a goal past his old club, much to his dismay.   It probably would have felt a lot more "British."

Unfortunately, by the time we got there they were showing American Football and we were sitting at a table next to the most annoyingly loud and obnoxious person ever (yes, really loud and really obnoxious). But I'm sure he might have said the same thing had he been there for the 'real' football and sat among a load of boisterous and, some would say also obnoxious, English footie supporters.

I might be being a bit harsh, the waiter was new and we were surrounded by Yanks watching American Football.  Not exactly a definitive British experience.  We were on the patio also - maybe inside it was decorated extremely English.  I am not ruling out ever going there again, so who knows. Watch this space (as they say)..... *smile*

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