5 Lunch Items Midtown Needs from England
If Midtown seemed a little less short and fat last week, it’s because I was stuffing my face in England all week long with my wife and kid. We skipped London, and spent most of the week with family in the West Midlands (aka Birmingham) and the weekend in Devon and Cornwall. While there I enjoyed a couple of lunches I’d really like to see here in Midtown…
We hit up this hipster chip chop in Leamington called The Flaming Pig, where everything is fried up in 100% beef drippings. If you like your french fries to have a beef after taste, this is the way to go. Their namesake was pretty good too…
The Flaming Pig = Sausage and chips covered in onions, peppers, and sweet chili sauce. Nice. The two guys running the place looked like they could have been plucked out of Williamsburg, and not surprisingly they said they’ll be opening a location of the Flaming Pig in L.A., backed by Michael Caine (!?!) That’s what we need… a NY based British celeb to bring one of these places to NYC. Any volunteers?
Pork, black pudding, and the British Mister Softee… after the jump.
Around the corner from The Flaming Pig, I was introduced to the joys of Mr. Whippy- the English version of Mister Softee. The only difference? Their soft serve is this delicious hybrid of ice cream and whipped cream- and they’ll shove a flake bar into your cone! (Known as the Flake 99, because it’s only 99p- or US$1.65). Mister Softee has much to learn from their English counterparts.
Any worthwhile town in the UK has a proper butcher shop, and any proper butcher shop sells (or is connected to a place that sells) hot pork roast sandwiches with cracklin’ and apple sauce. The problem (which we couldn’t seem to quite master) is you’ve got to get there early because they always run out (like, sometimes by Noon). Our first attempt was in a small town south of B’ham called Droitwich, that my wife lived in for a year when she was younger. The sandwich shop next to the butcher was closed by the time we got there… but the butcher himself sent us to some crappy looking place in the town square called Quality Crust where we scored their last three hot pork sandwiches with apple sauce.
Chunks of meat, with delicious fat and crunchy bits, topped with apple sauce. My lord was this good. We didn’t get the actual sandwich we had gone to Droitwich in search of, but if this crappy place in a strip mall can churn out a sandwich as good as this one was, I’m guessing it’s tough to get a bad hot pork sandwich in the UK. Now if we can only get one of these in Midtown.
Moving on to Cornwall, we stopped off in the town of Launceston- and was immediately drawn to the amazing butcher shop Phillip Warren & Son. Naturally they had a takeway annex with hot pork and roast beef sandwiches- but again they were all out of pork by the time we got there! We had really bad luck with pork sandwiches on this trip, and to add insult to injury they still had some delicious looking cracklin’ in the window.
The Black Bear Cafe around the corner made up for it with their black pudding and bacon salad. Or as I like to call it, “my kind of salad”. Chunks of blood sausage from Phillip Warren joined British bacon (which is more like ham than American bacon- which the Brits refer to as “streaky bacon”) on top of a salad of lettuce, tomato, beets, and yellow bell peppers. Not usually a fan of salad, but this was the best… salad… ever. Is a blood sausage lunch in Midtown too much to ask for?