Tag Archives: England

God Save the Queen!

Today is Saint Patrick’s day, Baltimore. It’s that most drunk and sloppy of meaningless phony holidays which are completely insignificant and thoroughly unenjoyable. We’re already on record as being against drinking holidays and the rabble they produce as a matter of principle, and all of this green and phony-baloney Irish crap doesn’t sway our opinion in the least. Throughout history the Irish have shown themselves to be little more than illiterate Papist subsistence farmers, no better than, say, Guatemala when you really think about it. Instead of ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish,’ we prefer ‘Kiss my ass, I’m American!’

Rather than swill green beer and play at being some sort of drunken foolish hooligan, we’re intending to mark today in the manner we think most proper… a celebration of all things English.

The Chop celebrates England, in all her glory.

With the closing of Canton’s Tyson’s Tavern last Fall, the area’s base of proper English establishments was reduced by a third. Fortunately, two British outposts remain in Central Maryland as a testament to and a reminder of the greatness of the English nation.

If you’re south of the city, Union Jack’s in Columbia is about as British as it gets this side of the Atlantic. We’ve never been, but the photos on their site remind us instantly of some of the pubs we saw in the high street on our trip to Southampton. With a full menu, some 60 beers, and four distinct spaces, there’s little reason to leave once you’re settled in.

If Howard County is a stretch though, you can still get your full fix of all things Anglo at Brighton’s. Hidden away on the second floor of Light Street’s Intercontinental Hotel, Brighton’s is something of an ironic contrast when compared with Union Jack’s. Although it’s in the heart of the city, the ambiance here is decidedly more upscale with something of a country feel to it. It wouldn’t take much suspension of disbelief to arrive around tea time and swear that you’d walked into a country estate, just after the hunt. It also offer’s close proximity to one of the city’s very best bars, the Explorers Lounge. The martinis here may be damn close to $20, but it’s a guaranteed lock that you’ll be able to drink one in peace without encountering a single one of the tossers and punters about in Federal Hill.

If you’re not as flush as all that though, you can still celebrate the same way we plan to: by donning our Arsenal jersey and spinning a Billy Bragg record while whipping up a vegan shepherd’s pie or a bread pudding, and settling into it with a James Bond flick and a pukka dry martini.

(We’ll keep admiring the English right up until about the Fourth of July, at which time of course we’ll conveniently remember our own Yankee superiority, which bows to no one and takes pride in being a citizen, not a subject.)

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Best Bets: Best Christmas Gifts Over $10

Yesterday we gave you our picks for the best gifts under $10. Today we’re going to spend a little more. Or, to be fair, we’re going to ask for a little more.

It would be a mighty merry Christmas at the Chophouse if Santa brought us a few of these items from our list:


A Bottle of Barbancourt

The Barbancourt distillery might truly be the only entity inside of Haiti that actually has its shit together. If you think of rum solely as a Summer drink, try the estate reserve. $22-$42.

Ca. 1900 British Steamer Trunk.

Louis Vuitton may talk a lot about heritage, but this kind of heritage is unfuckwithable… no matter how many fake African bush landing photo-ops you get Bono to do. $175.

Norse Projects Merino Breton Stripe Sweater

Melville never had it so good. You won’t need a White-Jacket, just accent it with one of these… $180.

Ca. 1950’s Ulysse Nardin Wristwatch

The movement’s been as dependable as the sun for 60 years or so. The case and hands are solid gold and still manage not to look gaudy. This is the kind of flash you don’t need to flash. $1500.

The HMS Bounty

The one from the movies. Captain Bligh may not have been on the quarterdeck, but Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp were. If all of you loyal Choppers pitch in, you can totally get us this for Christmas. We’ll even use it to give you a ride to work (provided you work near the Inner Harbor). $4,600,000.

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Elevenses: A Mini-Brunch For the Weekdays

You already know that The Chop Approves of Brunch. How could anyone not approve of brunch, really? In an age when most breakfasts consist of things like Nutri-grain bars, cereal, frozen waffles and drive-thru fare, it’s nice to sleep late once a week and wake up to eggs benedict, French toast, and fresh fruits and cheeses. Perhaps the menu is not what we like most about brunch. We suspect that these things taste most savory because we have the luxury of time in which to enjoy them.

Of course, this is also the one drawback to brunch… this once a week status. Why should something so delicious and luxurious be relegated to Sundays only? Do we not deserve the chance to stuff our faces mid-morning 7 days a week? Is that not the American way?

Want to be like Joe Strummer? Skip the Wheaties and take elevenses.

The British have one-upped us on this score, America. The English may not be know for their culinary ambition, but they have brought something to the world table which we have by and large failed to sample and savor: Elevenses.

Granted, they may not be very good at this even, with many of them subsisting on Hydrox cookies and Earl Grey, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pick up the ball and run with it. We’ve actually got some pretty good convenience foods here stateside, and if your office happens to be near one of Baltimore’s many bakeries, cake shops or cafes, you’re already set to pick up breakfast at 7:30, and a little something extra for elevenses. Just think of it… all that time you spend forwarding emails and fooling around with Facebook, you could be sneaking off to the break room for a fresh cup of coffee and one of these.

For our part, we’re a lazy blogger. We sleep until 11, so for us it’s just breakfast. When we’re outside the country though, you know, doing real work and waking up at 7 am every morning, we always take elevenses. Of course, we don’t call it that. We call it a coffee break. But it’s a perfect chance to sit back for half an hour, relax a bit, and tide yourself over until lunch. It really makes the work go by much more quickly and pleasantly, and is easily one of our favorite moments in the day.

Maybe you’re reading this at your desk right now. Maybe you’re a little hungry and a little bored. (You must be if you’re reading blogs at work.) Go ahead, take elevenses. Right now. If your boss asks, just explain that the English do it every day, so it must be right and proper. And after all, aren’t we better at eating than the Brits?

It’s not just a small, mid-morning meal… it’s a matter of national pride.

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The Lush Goes To Southampton

The Chop is taking the day off today. The post below comes from the March Issue of British FHM. Although the Chop didn’t write this one, we feel like we could have, because after spending a good part of our trip in Southampton, it mirrors some of our experiences quite closely. If you’re after going for a night on the town, this is pretty much what you can expect.

1. Joe Daflo’s, 5.55 pm

It seems the closer you get to the Continent, the closer you get to continental drinking hours. Its just shy of six and, after a journey involving a lost child, an angry naval officer, and a replacement bus, The Lush scuttles out of Central Station and into Joe Daflo’s. An establishment which sounds like a provincial fancy dress store, but is actually a church-turned-pub, albeit one without any alcohol worshipers. In fact, staff outnumber punters, and the only other imbibers have children. Children! A quick San Miguel and its off to check into the hotel.

2. Soul Cellar, 8pm

“You should be in prison, you filthy child molestor!” The Lush turns to mutter something about it being tough to tell girls’ ages nowadays, only to find the old woman’s vitriol is aimed at her husband- a man who is no longer welcome in her Honda and will now be walking home. Show over, we duck into Soul Cellar- a homely bar with a middle aged drunk spilling Guinness in the doorway, BB King on the stereo, a selection of 28 beers (including Duvel And Sam Adams) and oh, Jesus, legs. Nice Legs. In a short skirt and connected to a streamlined torso and pretty face that are celebrating their 21st birthday-and far more interested in screaming and drinking through a straw than conversing with the Lush. We drink up and head for the town’s binge drinking mecca, Bedford Place.

3. 90 Degrees, 9.20 pm

This should read 180 Degrees. It’s what anyone in their right mind will do.

4. The Cricketers, 9.30 pm

But What’s this? Just 100 yards away is a pub. A real pub, with a wooden bar and low roof, that serves real ale, but refuses to serve seventeen-year-olds. Great. Well, not for Lolita freezing her non-existent buttocks off in the strappy top and hot pants, admittedly, but great for the Lush.

5. Vodka Revolution 10.50 pm

Three pints later we take a stroll to what was once the Lizard Lounge, but its now a Vodka Revolution. Which must be a bad thing, right? yes, in every other town across the country. Here, no. Here, aside from the name, the only visible changes are the menu (it now sells pizzas) and the staff’s uniform (they now wear Inter Milan strips.) Is this supposed to be an Italian? Do Italians like Vodka? We’re discussing this with a chesty fox with one of those tattoos just above and below her jeans line when our afternoon McDonalds comes back to haunt us via a gut-dropper of table-clearing proportions. Time to run.

6. Orange Rooms 11.30 pm

Unfortunately however, we can’t hide, since the Orange Rooms is populated by the leggy 21-year-old, the chesty foxs, the hen do dressed as ladybirds, and the JLS wannabes- in other words, exactly the same people we’ve seen all night. It’s a perrenial deja vu that’s both the rough and the smooth of the small city. (sound familiar, Baltimore?) Well, this and theft. The Lush’s companionshang their coats on a hook for five minutes and POOF, they’re gone. Cue a military style retrieval operation featuring CCTV, sartorial descriptions, and concerned bouncers. Hardly. We’re served a double indifference with a splash of we’re-the-best-bar-in-Southampton-we-can-treat-punters-however-we-want. Disappointing. On the plus side, two girls were snogging at the bar.

The Rhino Club 1.05 am

A 17 second sprint down an ice-covered road is the Rhino. A club without a queue-Worrying, given its 1 am- or any decent whisky, but with bass so deep your body shakes and revelers who are either drunk and jumping or look like they’ve been puked up by a rap video. We leave before punches are thrown.

8. For Your Eyes Only, 1.45 am

Junk should be the next option. Its the club you go to if you’ve not pulled in Orange Rooms, but its got a queue and the Lush’s coatless colleagues are shivering, so we head to the town’s premier strip club. Bad move. We arrive too early, and are met by a room that’s empty, bar a gaggle of yawning strippers populating the right corner. they pretend to be perked up by our presence and approach one-by-one. Some are hot. some are not. Most have fake boobs. One has good banter. one has halitosis. We shell out 22 pounds for a half dozen Corona, have a couple of dances, then bid farewell to a mixed evening.

SCORES: (out of 10)

Quality of Hostelries: 7
Quality of Women: 8
Chance of a Beating: 1
Coat theft likelihood: 10

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