October 2008


Spicy Sanchez

Back in Cheltenham, Sunday evening I had no plans, so I went to an area filled with some casual upscale restaurants called The Brewery.

The Brewery is essentially an attempt to have an upscale dining, fitness, and movie complex, with a couple of stores thrown in for good measure. Judging by the store fronts still empty more than 18 months after my first visit, it is still a work in progress—I suspect the investors are frustrated. Last time I went to Real China, which is an upscale Chinese Foot Buffet—kind of like the cheap ones in American strip malls, but expensive.

I’d just come from hearing Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of Britain’s best known quality food advocates, so I was a bit ashamed to be found in this area, but what else could I do—it’s not like I had a kitchen to work with, and since it was a Sunday evening, there was no way I could pop into a Farmer’s Market to buy fresh food. After examining my options (Real China was quickly ruled out), I decided I wanted a burger.

Honestly, I rarely have burgers. In Germany I have McDonald’s burgers probably once every three or four months, and almost always in a train station. In Weimar, one can go to Texas, a Texas-themed Mexican restaurant located near the Weimar Office. Outside of American Fast-Food restaurants, trust me when I say that burgers are quite likely to include ground-pork, and it just doesn’t taste right to me. There’s a small shop up in Berlin that serves good inexpensive burgers (and awesome fries)—but since I am rarely in Berlin, this isn’t a regular feature of my diet.

My option for the evening was an upscale burger joint named Burger Burger. It fit my mood almost perfectly, with a few caveats. First, after an extensive listing of different burgers one could order, there was a section of the menu labeled “Sliders”—unfortunately for my waiter, I had an allergic reaction to the word. There must be some romantic notion to the term Sliders for people in Britain. Unfortunately I could only think of those disgusting Sliders from White Castle—yeah, the tiny burgers that have caused me endless hours of agony after ill-considered decisions to eat some late at night. The poor waiter couldn’t even begin to describe their version of sliders before I said I wasn’t interested—in my mind I could see a mountain of little cardboard boxes all whilst getting that icky feeling in my stomach.

Fortunately for the waiter, he didn’t continue describing them and instead took my drink order, whilst I thought about what I wanted a bit longer. I finally settled on the Spicy Sanchez, without tomato, and a side of Hand Cut Chunky Chips (e.g. thick cut French Fries).

The service was fast and efficient and it wasn’t long before I was eating my burger—which was centered on my plate, with my mini-bucket of fries off to the side.

I like to think that Clarissa wouldn’t have objected too strongly to my meal: locally sourced beef, locally milled flour and baked bread, as well as hand cut potatoes.

Overall I feel like I made an excellent dinner choice.

And funny enough, when I started writing this post, I named it “Naked”, because I wanted to write about something else tangentally related. Instead you get this restaurant review. Naked will have to wait for tomorrow.

2 comments to Spicy Sanchez