Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hollister in the UK: It Offends Me

Just when I thought I had escaped the bane of all evil that is Abercrombie & Fitch in the States, I smelled a familiar whiff of strong cologne while walking down Regent Street earlier. 'The man in front of me must have spritzed one too many times this morning', I thought. But as he crossed the street, the stench only got stronger. So I did one of those slow turn-in-place things you see in movies and realized that the cologne was emanating from none other than the dark, music-thumping retail hell of Hollister ACROSS THE STREET. Yes, ladies and gentlemen - you know how wide Regent Street is. The trail of I'm-a-MANLY-man-smell slithered across two lanes of traffic AND a divider to strike my delicate nose. And to top it off, a quick Google images search brought me to the gag-inducing scenes of the store opening above (along with Gilly Hicks, its equally obnoxious sister company). Please. Put the washboard stomachs and pecs away and keep this shiz to yourself, USA. Just let Britain do its own preppy thang (ahem, Jack Wills).

Photo source

Friday, May 4, 2012

"Can we get extra pickles with that?"

My fellow American-in-London friends agree (I refuse to be known as that dreaded word, "ex-pat") that Byron does the best burgers in town - that is, the closest to American burgers in town. The buns aren't on artisan bread nor do they crumble and disintegrate in your hands within the first few bites: they're just good. Plus, they serve skinny fries and gigantic onion rings - just the way we like them.

But the real zinger? The pickles. Nearly like Claussen's (but not). Any new American to London will bemoan the lack of crunchy, salty, tart, pickles here in the UK - instead, little sweet "gherkins" the size of my pinky finger are pitifully served aside a Ploughman's lunch. Not satisfactory. But Byron knows the secret to a pickle-lover's heart: in fact, I emailed the MD of Byron, Tom Byng, about his pickles. 'Where DO you get them pickles?', I inquired. He wrote me a jolly email back responding that, unfortunately, the pickles are only available on a wholesale basis. Well, not a problem, really. I'd be happy to eat them by the truckload.

Anyway, on Friday, accompanied by two of my favorite ladies, we waltzed into Byron and demanded (or rather, one of us did the work) extra pickles. I was expecting an extra one per plate. The result? That beauty up there. We split the last one into three parts. We're just fair like that.
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