Before we begin to dissect the secretly tasty dishes of British cuisine, we should probably preface that most of the confusion and mockery arises from the oddly-translated terms – but that’s just our opinion. After we make our way through a few of the Brit’s favorite dishes, feel free to make your own opinion – just try to be fair!
To avoid too much salivation, we might as well start!
The Full English
Let’s get started with that tasty looking breakfast, full of protein, delicious fat, and a day’s worth of carbs, all in one meal. A standard full English breakfast includes bacon from a pig, scrambled, fried, or poached eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, buttered toast, and sausages. If you really want the proper English to English translation, sausages are known as bangers on the other side of the ocean. Additionally, baked beans and black pudding are typical staples of this breakfast. Lastly, black pudding is made from pork blood, pork or beef fat, and a binding cereal to hold everything together.
As an American, Yorkshire Pudding sounds like a tasty after-dinner treat. Sadly, the “pudding” part of the dish isn’t even sweet. In reality, it’s made of eggs, flour, and milk. In a sense, Yorkshire Pudding is just a fluffy bread. That being said, it’s often served with roast beef and gravy. Consider this trick-food a different version roast beef and mashed potatoes.
Here’s one of those dishes that sounds much worse than what it really is. During the earlier years of this desserts invention, Spotted Dick was often made with suet (fat) and dried fruit, taking a similar form and consistency of cake. Traditionally, shredded fat from around the kidneys and loins of a sheep were used as suet. Nowadays, the suet is often replaced by more common fats like butter. Lastly, once the cake-like piece is on a plate, the entire thing is covered in custard.
As crazy as it looks, the Shepherd’s Pie is pretty simple and straightforward. The bottom layer is composed of a meat mixture and the top layer is either a crust or a layer of mashed potatoes, the latter being more common. There is also a wide range of variations for the meat mixture. Meat or lamb is typical, but pork, chicken, fish, vegetarian, and even vegan mixtures are also possible bottom layers.
Unless I’m entirely wrong with this supposed comparison, consider British Christmas Pudding to be like American Fruit Cake. For those of you who can speak with personal experience, please speak up and suggest a better comparative dessert. With that out of the way, Christmas Pudding (sometimes known as plum pudding), is a combination of egg, fat, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and other spices. Interestingly, the alcoholic content in this dish also helps prevent the pudding from spoiling as its often left to age for a month or longer.
Assuming you’re not the pickiest of eater, we hope we explained some of these unfamiliar British foods well enough so that you’re interested in trying one (or all of them)!
Sipping Your Way Through Napa Valley
If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a perfect weekend in Napa Valley, you’re missing out.
STAY AT A B&B OR DON’T STAY AT ALL
A charming Bed & Breakfast will only amplify the quaintness of the whole experience. There are plenty of reasonably priced options available in the area. If you can sneak out on a Friday, it always makes for a better weekend if you can wake up at your B&B on Saturday morning.
It’s hard to believe and potentially unnecessary, but there are plenty of great activities in Napa Valley that don’t involve wine tasting.
Oxbow Public Market: This lively market is perfectly nestled right against the Napa River. It’s full of plenty of vendors selling all sorts of fresh produce and also contains numerous restaurants. So this is a great place to grab a quick lunch.
The Silverado Trail: This beautiful trail just about runs the entire length of Napa Valley. It has amazing views and can be a perfect place to clear your head and get your calm on. And if you’re more of the active type, it’s great for biking!
Greenhaus Day Spa: What’s a weekend getaway without a trip to the spa? Greenhaus Day Spa in downtown Napa is widely considered the best spa in the area. Get the full treatment with a relaxing massage, a cleansing facial, and the all-important mani-pedi combo.
WINERIES ON WINERIES
If we’re talking about Napa Valley, we’re talking about wine. There are plenty of amazing wineries and vineyards in Napa, but here are our personal favorites.
O’Brien Estate: This is one of the most popular wineries in all of Napa and actually requires booking your tasting in advance. Make sure you try the Chardonnay and the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pride Mountain Vineyards: This vineyard requires a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it. The whole property covers about 235 acres and has gorgeous views in every direction. When it comes to wine, their claims to fame are their Cabernet Sauvignon and their Merlot.
V. Sattui Winery: While the wine here is truly excellent, this spot is also great for a picnic lunch. You can grab everything you need in-house: the cheeses, the fresh bread, the antipasto spreads, and a nice bottle of wine and then grab one of the many picnic tables outside and take it all in.
Is A 24-Hour Vacation… Possible?
Five locations where a 24-hour vacation is completely possible.
Have a long layover? Maybe a day to kill during a longer trip? Or just like to get out of town? If any of those apply, these five cities are the best places in the world to spend a 24-hour vacation!
Istanbul is the ideal one-day vacation destination for the historian, as it lies right on the Bosphorus river, the geographical division point of Asia and Europe. The architecture in Istanbul is truly breathtaking as some of it has been there since the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Can’t-miss attractions include the Topkapi Palace, the former home of the Ottoman sultan, the Hagia Sophia, a sixth-century mosque, and the Grand Bazaar, which is the oldest covered market in the world. And if you have any extra time and feel like relaxing a bit, enjoy one of the city’s numerous Turkish baths, or historichammams.
Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it owes a lot of its beauty to its architecture. You could spend an entire day there just walking in and taking in the buildings and you wouldn’t feel like you’ve wasted your day. If you don’t feel like walking, there are also daily boat tours that travel along the many canals that run through the city. Not to mention the countless museums in Amsterdam all with amazing works of art. And of course, no Amsterdam vacation would be complete without a trip to the Anne Frank house.
The jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle may seem like a big city, but what makes it attractive for a short trip is the fact that many of its best attractions are all very close to each other. Even with only 24 hours, you’ll have enough time to take in the Museum of Pop Culture, the Space Needle, and the world-famous Pike Place Market. Try to throw one of those fish if they’ll let you. It’s harder than you think!
Hong Kong is one of the biggest and fastest-moving metropolitan cities in the world. The sights and views and endless and bountiful in this lively city. Be sure to check out the giant Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island, and of course the Hong Kong Museum of History. If you’re a tea nut, rumor has it that the MingCha Tea House has some of the best tea in the city. And the best part about Hong Kong? Unlike the rest of China, anyone visiting from North America or Europe don’t have to get a visa in advance.
Reykjavik is the capital of one of the most scenically beautiful countries in the world, Iceland. It is the home of the famous Blue Lagoon, the geothermal spa that you’ve probably seen on your Instagram feed more than once. There you can also find the architectural feat, Hallgrimskirkya. Which is just an enormous, beautiful church. And, if you’re feeling saucy, take a tour of the Phallological Musem, which is a museum entirely dedicated to, well, phalluses.
Making The Stop At Roadside Attractions
Taking the time to stop and enjoy the roadside attractions.
Road trips aren’t just about point A & point B; it’s about the journey. The highways of America are filled with unique roadside attractions that divert your attention when traveling to your roadside attraction. Instead of driving past these attractions, let’s examine the best.
You may recognize these roadside dinosaurs from the movie “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.” These two giant concrete dinosaurs named Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex are located in Cabazon, CA. You can find these behemoths just West of Palm Springs, California on the 10 freeway. Dinny and Apatosaurus measure 150 feet and Mr. Rex a Tyrannosaurus Rex is 65 feet. You can even make your way inside the T-Rex’s head!
Sadly, the original owners sold the roadside attraction in the mid-90s and the new owners put a Creationist museum on the property.
Head to Alliance, Nebraska next time you are driving through the heartland of America and stop by Carhenge. It’s the full-scale replica of Stonehenge in England… but made with junker cars. Artist Jim Reinders studied the original sculpture while living in England and came home to make the statue as a memorial to his recently deceased father. Made with 39 cars, which were upended and dug into the ground.
PENNDOT ROAD SIGN SCULPTURE GARDEN
A small art school in Pennsylvania came up with the brilliant idea to repurpose old street signs and turn them into a wonderful piece of roadside art. Allegheny College sponsored the attraction and students created all the art. The art spans a quarter-mile stretch of Smock Highway just southwest of Meadville, PA. If you are traveling through Pennsylvania this summer, stop by.
If you are driving through Texas, chances are you are cruising Interstate 40, which drives through Amarillo. This is where you’ll find Cadillac Ranch, a huge art installation made by three hippies from San Francisco, CA. They took a bunch of old Cadillacs and buried them hood first into the ground, then covered them with graffiti.
PORTER SCULPTURE PARK
When driving through the barren wasteland of South Dakota on Interstate 90, around 25-miles West of Sioux Falls, you’ll stumble upon the Porter Sculpture Park. Imagine huge metal sculptures in a wide-open field and the only backdrop is Mt. Rushmore off in the distance. You’ll find over 50 huge sculptures on the 10-acre park. The biggest piece of art is easily the giant bull’s head, which measures 60-feet-tall, which just happens to be the same size as the face on Mount Rushmore.
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