Monday, 7 March 2011

Shopping and the Brass Rail and Bodean’s

I hate shopping. I really do, especially when it involves shopping for clothes. I hate having to buy new clothes, especially when the clothes I want are way out of my price range. Damn those Italian shoes. Then again, wasn’t that why credit cards were invented?
I need energy to go shopping. So I always plan where can I get some well needed nourishment for the hellish day ahead.
I’d spent most of Saturday mapping out our new locale of Nappy Valley, or Stoke Newington as some people also know it by.
The thing I love is once you hit Stoke Newington High Street and then onto Kingsland Road, is the amount of small bakeries that sell salt beef. It’s glorious. Praise the lord for my murky Jewish heritage.
There is nothing I love more than a salt beef sandwich. It’s heaven, pure bloody heaven. I’m not a bagel man, even after my 18 months in Israel I never got a taste for them. Just not my thing. Remember I am a new Jew, so can be forgiven for many a hidden sin. But I am going to enjoy living in Stokie, even if it has a far higher percentage of young families than any other place on the planet. I am going to have to learn how to be patient. Big time.
As I hate shopping, a department store gives me everything I need. A one stop shop with everything inside one building. A genius who came up with that that idea.
Now as I still had the delightful taste and memories of my salt beef day the day before, I had been trying to find an excuse to re-visit the Brass Rail on the ground floor of Selfridges for an age now. Now I had one. Excellent, well apart from the thought of the shopping.

I hadn’t eaten here in at least 3 years, as whenever we come to Selfridges the queues were just too long for us to bother queuing up for. But this time there was only some chatty guy in front of me who wouldn’t stop yabbering on to anyone who made eye contact with him. Thankfully before he had time to turn to me and start trying to get me into conversation about whatever, he found himself front of Saj, who apparently according to their conversation had worked there for over 30 years. Damn, that’s a long time to be carving meat into sandwiches. I wonder if he just wants to say fuck it some days and look for another job.

I don’t remember how much they used to be but £8 for a sarnie is a tad too much, but I had been thinking about this for a day now, and the thought of being forced to eat at Square Pie that I decided to go for it.
So I ordered a regular salt beef with American mustard and a pickle. You pay through the nose, all in all it came to £8.70p, but Saj does pile on that salt beef.
I sat well away from the chatty guy who was engaged in a one sided conversation with some old lady who made the bad mistake on sitting on that empty table. She looked like she was ready to bolt, but was far too polite to do so.
The salt beef although quite tasty was somehow a bit of a let down. The meat was kind of dry and not what I was expecting.
I’d spent £3.50p on a salt beef roll the day before and it was miles better than this poor and pretty expensive version. But you are in Selfridges, so I guess it all goes down to location, location, location.
After leaving a rather disappointing sarnie, I ventured upstairs to do some clothes shopping. In record breaking time I found everything I wanted, but as it all came to well over a £1,000 I declined to open my wallet and get out that small piece of plastic. Plus it would have looked embarrassing with all the moths flying out as I went to pay. Damn those Italian handmade leather shoes. So I high tailed it out of there and off to a few more shops down the most hideous street on the planet. In the end I saw lots of stuff I should of brought, but just couldn’t prise that wallet open. The crappy thing about this shopping disaster was that I have to return and do it all over again, but I will do it next time with my own personal shopping and designer assistant.
As I said shopping or even window shopping is hard work. After another hour or so of aimlessly wandering around with my hands tightly clenched over that piece of leather, I ended up outside Bodean’s in Soho.
I love Bar-B-Q. I look upon those grill masters as what they are. Masters of the grill. Grilling or bar-b-q’ing is an art form, plus it is an obsession to some. Look at Barbecue Bible to see what I mean.
I love Bodean’s, although nowadays I won’t go downstairs as the last time me and Lina were there, we had a blazing row over a bowl of chips. They were mine, I ate them. She had none. We argued. Simple. But what started out as a fun night in Lowlander drinking Kwak’s, ended up as a heated row and us not speaking to each other for days, and all over me eating my own chips and not offering her any. Like Joey says “You want chips, order some chips, just don’t eat mine.”  Nuff said.
So for at least 4 years, maybe more we haven’t delved downstairs into the scene of that heated argument, such bad memories. I wonder if that argument has been passed onto to waitresses over the years. So since then we’ve only eaten upstairs in the deli. Lina doesn’t like it, as she thinks it’s cheap and naff. I like it, I actually prefer it, it’s more relaxed, more lively and gives me a chance to people watch. My fave pastime.
So this given Sunday afternoon I strolled into Bodean’s for some bar-b-q nourishment to wipe away the memory of my tightness at not buying anything all day. What a tight arse.
I normally always have ½ a slab of those baby back ribs with the coleslaw and fries. Sometimes I treat myself to a tub of bar-b-q beans. But this time I just wanted a sandwich, as the salt beef had slightly done its job. Now I needed something else to finish it off.
Looking down the list of their sandwiches, I was at a loss. Now do I go for the Boston Butt, the slow smoked cooked pork shoulder. Or the Pulled Pork, or even the Pastrami on Rye or a Turkey BLT. But no, I had to have the Soho Special. The Best Sandwich in London as voted by Capital Radio. It’s pulled pork and Burnt Ends mixed with a Bar-B-Q sauce in a toasted roll. Sounded too good to be true.
To be honest it isn’t the best sandwich in London I’ve ever had. But it was not the worst. The burnt ends and pulled pork were favourable enough, but the sauce was a little too thin. But it was ok for what I wanted.

I’ve noticed something about Bodean’s. The times I’ve eaten there since returning last March, that the quality of the food has slipped from what I remember it from before Colombia. Maybe this is due to their sudden expansion all over London, stretching themselves too thin. Or maybe I am just getting more and more picky in my old age. God I hope it isn’t the later, as soon I won’t be enjoying my fave crappy foods.
But Bodean’s I will always return to like a duck to water, as I love Bar-B-Q.

Brass Rail - Salt Beef Bar - Selfridges & Co on Urbanspoon
Bodean's on Urbanspoon


Michelle Peters - Jones said...

Enjoyed this post :-) Especially the shopping bit. You sound a bit like my other half, its like bloody pulling nails to get him to go buy something, and then he goes for that $200 shirt... aaarghh!!

We have been known to spend over a $1000 on clothes for him though, my reasoning being that it will probably be another few years before I can drag him out, so money well spent :-)

I love BBQ too, though we are rather restricted wrt to meat. But the one thing Edmonton does well is good grass fed local beef, so bring on the summer again!

Mzungu said...

Michelle - Shopping is a personal pet hate. I used to buy two of the same item always, as I figured they would last twice as long, and therefore a long time before I had to go out shopping again.