May 28, 2013

Rachel Visits Oxford and Lunch at the Gardner's Arms Oxford

A few weeks ago I visited Oxford to see my little sister, who is much more fashionable and photogenic than me:
When I arrived in Oxford I was 100% starving.  We tried to go to a fancy county pub called The Perch, which looked good but through a bizaare interaction with the staff we found out it was booked full.

Instead, little sister took me to The Gardener's Arms, a fully vegetarian pub in the Jericho area of Oxford. Because I am sometimes fancy I love the Jericho neighborhood: tiny cute shops, tasty restaurants  and adorable houses!

The menu was a typical pub menu - burgers, flat breads, calzones, a few salads...

I ordered the (veggie) burger with mango chutney.  The good point was that this veggie burger tasted almost as good as a very average meat burger.  Nice chutney and good toppings, the burger did taste "meaty".  But this is where my philosophy on vegetarianism shows through: vegetables are delicious and shouldn't be made to taste like meat.  There are a million delicious vegetarian foods, and the idea of creating a meat-substitute instead of embracing what is good about non-meat is counterintuitive to  me.  

Once you get over the novelty of being in a pub eating what kind of tastes like a burger but actually isn't a burger there's not much to say for the meal - I was full, it was good, and instead of thinking "wow that was delicious" I thought "wow, that didn't really taste vegetarian"
 Little sister ordered a burger with garlic mayo:
I'll let little sister do her own review here!

Hi there! I'm little sister (and Rachel's editor). I like food.

Growing up, I ate meat fairly regularly. It was rarely the main component of a meal, but we often had spaghetti with ground beef (or turkey), hamburgers, hot dogs, and dishes with chicken. Two years ago (one year into my liberal arts education) I sat in bed on an evening in May and thought to myself "I should probably be a vegetarian." Since then, I've been a pretty strict vegetarian, and I've found that I haven't had to make too many adjustments to my lifestyle. [Side note - the morning after that fateful night in May, I remembered the existence of bacon, or as I like to call it, nature's candy. That was a difficult time for me.]

A good example of how my life hasn't really changed that much since I went veg is this lovely picture of me gorging myself:
Yes, that's me chowing down on one of the best veggie burgers I've ever had. The Gardener's Arms serves lots of fake meat that tastes like real meat, which is not everyone's cup of tea, but I assume that's why they have salads too. Fake meat is, however, my cup of tea. I love fake meat. I used to like real meat, but I think I've gotten to the point where I could eat nothing but MorningStar fake bacon for the rest of my life and be content:
Unfortunately I don't think they sell this stuff in the UK... Y'all are missing out!
Wait, this is a review of The Gardener's Arms, isn't it... So yes, I love The Gardner's Arms. I love their meaty veggie burgers, and their mango chutney, and garlic mayo, and they have a chili cheese dog on the menu too which I'm sure I'd love. Vegetarian things that are made to taste like non-vegetarian things are not for everyone, but luckily The Gardener's Arms does have something for everyone on their menu. And lastly, their sticky toffee pudding is amazing. It's sticky and gooey and sweet and I love dates and toffee and pudding... Can you tell Rachel and I are related?

That's little sister!  And that was the Gardener's arms.  And that was Oxford! Little sister has since moved back to America, but it was nice to have her over on this British island with me and I will hopefully soon go visit her in Chicago instead!

Gardners Arms
8 North Parade Ave
Oxford OX2 6LX
01865 554007

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