From Pancakes to Po’ Boys: The Brits do it one way…The Americans do it another.

My fellow Americans, this may be a bit of an education for you.  You see, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island and all its dominions beyond the seas — er, actually, the British Commonwealth — on what you call “Fat Tuesday”, the Brits and the Commonwealthers refer to it as “Pancake Day” a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday.  I know what you’re thinking…: “IHOP”.  No, this is definitely not IHOP.  British-style pancakes are not thick like IHOP pancakes and not as thin as French crepes.  But on the day before Lent begins, you consume a lot of pancakes.  This is the way it is and will be forevermore.  (The West Indian Mother probably made about a million of them over the years.)

Sooooo, when GEORGE, the youthful arm of the St. George’s Society of New York announced they’d be hosting a Pancake Day on Fat Tuesday, what else could I do but hit up my foodie partner-in-crime, a.k.a. @SingleGalNYC, to entice her to join me for flour, eggs and whatever else?

Our bonding with the Brits was brief:

  • We arrive at a traditional British watering hole, The Churchill (where you hear — piped through speakers in the bathrooms no less — recordings of our favorite portly Prime Minister, Churchill, reciting his speeches)
  • We go in, order cocktails.  (We’d decided no cocktails during Lent, so this was our last hurrah.)  She orders an “Absolut-ly Fabulous”.  I order a “How’s Yer Father?”

TheChurchill-Cocktail-Absolut-lyFabulousTheChurchill-Cocktail-HowsYourFatherFirst thought on my drink — “How’s Yer Father?”:  This was the type of drink that would put hair on your chest.  Second thought:  Even if I’d been able drink this thing (believe me, I could only take two tiny sips), I probably would have glowed in the dark for the remainder of the week. I promptly returned it to the bar.  (I can’t remember the last time this happened.)

  • Finally, the pancakes arrived.  We were only able to grab one each.  In a blink of an eye, they were gone.  The nice, shiny, silver tray was empty and the friendly looking waitress disappeared, I assume, for more. But, she didn’t return fast enough.  We decided to move on.  It was, after all, Fat Tuesday.  We were hungry and had worked up an appetite for southern cuisine.  We needed New Orleans in New York City.

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Two subway stops later, we were in Union Square heading to Brother Jimmy’s BBQ.  Definitely not our first choice.  We’d have to fork over $35.00 for a “Mardi Gras” pre-fixe meal — appetizer, entrée and dessert.  We’d also have to wait.  After what seemed like an eternity, we were finally seated and beyond “hungry”.  In hindsight, we could have spent our money elsewhere, but this is what happens when you do things on the fly.  You take what you can get:  fried shrimp with Cajun mayo, fried okra, po’ boys, ice cream sandwiches.


Notice the mention of “Unlimited Hurricanes” in the promotion above?  As you can imagine, after my two sips experience at The Churchill, there was no way a Hurricane wasn’t going to be in my life.  “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”


As usual, @SingleGalNYC and I chatted happily about work, our can-you-believe-what-happened-to-us opportunity (?!?!) on the night of the closing performance of Evita on Broadway (we rubbed elbows with the cast and crew at the private cast party — OMG!), traveling, and our next foodie adventure (which will be French cuisine — stay tuned).

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This would not be a night for us to hang out until all hours.  The next day was a work day.  Unfortunately, our pancake feast was not to be.  As for Brother Jimmy’s, it definitely wasn’t the “Mardi Gras” experience we hoped for.  But look on the bright side:  We got beads and didn’t have to flash anyone to get them (not that we would…).


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