That Time I Ate Europe

Guest Post by Ann Marie Steib

I’d been itching to head across the pond for some time. The combination of a cheap flight, a “senior slide” mentality, and a thirst for Smithwick’s sent me on a St. Patrick’s Day excursion to the British Isles. A few weeks ago, this broad headed abroad.

I did a lot of amazing things, but most importantly, I ate. Irish (and British) food is intriguing. (I use the word “intriguing” here to mean “has a lot of potatoes.”) While the cliché is true, however, the occasional monotony of the cuisine doesn’t prevent it from tasting amazing. Here’s a sampling of the many mouthwatering things I ate:

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At a tiny pub in Doolin on the way to the Cliffs of Moher, I enjoyed a traditional Irish dish called bangers and mash. If you’re unfamiliar, a “banger” is a pork sausage and “mash” is mashed potatoes. You take a plate, throw some potatoes and sausage on it, and pour onion gravy over it. Then, of course, you eat it, and the richness of this miraculous dish makes your hangover go away.

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Sometimes St. Patrick’s Day gets crazy. When nagging hunger creeps up after ten hours of drinking, it’s time to head to a kebab shop. They’re literally all over Europe, but I had never been to one before. A kebab is like a gyro, except it actually tastes good and has a complex flavor profile. The lamb (or chicken), pita, and tzatziki sauce are all there, plus there’s also chili sauce and marinated red onion slaw on top. Here I am eating kebab (thrilled with its deliciousness) alongside my traveling companion Lauren and some guy who bought it for us. That hazy memory is magnificent.

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A friend of mine goes to the University of Strathclyde, a school in Glasgow, Scotland. We spent a weekend at her flat, and ate and drank our way through her city. My favorite experience? Tea time. It’s everything you think it will be—tea and cakes—but you also get sandwiches, scones, and cocktails. The Scots do lunchtime right. If I have tea in America, it’s microwaved in a mug at the office (and it’s definitely booze-free). Time to upgrade: tea isn’t just for royalty.

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Excuse my silly face, but this glorious creation was not to be believed, and I simply couldn’t contain my amazement. I purchased this monstrosity, called simply a bacon bagel, at a (literal) hole-in-the-wall corner shop in East London. It’s a toasted bagel slathered with cream cheese and covered with six pieces of chopped bacon that were fried in front of me. A chili sauce that tasted like chipotle mayo topped it all off. Sound gross? Nope. I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. Everyone should eat this, especially after shooting whiskey shots at a bar called “The Love Shake.” London, you win.

Ann Marie is a storyteller, communicator, copywriter, and snacker. Tell her about your travels on Twitter at @AnnieSteib. Visit her website.

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