Burgers in Oxford

Friday, August 28, 2015

Powering through our jet lag -- and fighting the urge to take a 4-hour nap in the middle of the day -- Joe and I took a good, long walk down High Street for lunch.  The first order of business on our list, though: buying me a sweater!  

I generally have this problem when I pack, and I warn you that it's a really, really stupid problem to have: if I'm hot while I'm packing, I (subconsciously) only pack summery, springtime clothes.  If I'm cold, I tend to mostly throw in sweaters and scarves and other items conducive to layering.  I'm well aware that this method is devoid of things like logic and reasoning.  And yet, I still ended up in Oxford with one hoodie, and one million tank tops.  That is to say, no jackets, raincoats, sweaters, or other reasonably warm articles of clothing made it into my suitcase, despite the fact that Oxford (like the rest of the UK) is known for being chilly and drizzly and gray.

Thus, soon after we arrived in Oxford, we realized a shopping spree of sorts was in order.  The only problem?  THE FREAKING EXCHANGE RATE.  Now is not the time to be traveling Great Britain with a USD bank account, let me tell you.  So, in our quest for something long-sleeved, we surveyed several stores to compare prices before finally settling on a men's XXL cashmere sweater we found on clearance for 13 GBP.  It was super soft, cuddly and cozy, fairly warm, totally oversized, and most importantly: the cheapest thing we found all day. 

We made a mental note of some other souvenirs to eventually buy before we officially leave Oxford (a hoodie here, a tea towel there), but that will require us to actually have any sum of money leftover, so I think it's safe to say this mental note was made in vain.

Other mental notes made in vain: the yoga pants I picked out at Sweaty Betty (the UK's version of Lulu Lemon) and a jacket/vest combo I fell in love with at Fat Face.  The old Euro-me would have just charged those items to a credit card and said, "YOLO!" but the new Euro-me understands that the 'YOLO!' way of of life is less fun when you can't afford breakfast, lunch or dinner (a concept I had to reiterate to Joe as he carried a 300 GBP coat around the Barbour store a bit too long for my peace of mind).

And then we stumbled upon All Bar One: a UK burger chain and altogether generic dining choice.  But we were so tired and disoriented and tired and cold (and did I mention we were tired?) that we marched on in, got ourselves a table, and threw all budgetary caution to the win as we dropped 30 pounds on a casual lunch date (30 GBP is just shy of 50 USD, and no, I don't want to talk about that).

Here is why it's okay (post-splurge rationalization coming your way):  the food was so good.  We both ordered burgers; a boring, regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill burger for Joe (look for it on the menu!) and the ever-original butternut squash burger for me.  Mine came with hummus, carrots, beetroot, chili sauce, avocado, and a gratuitous reminder not to order avocado in the UK (unless you're into perpetually out-of-season fruit).  I also ordered a side of parmesan-and-rosemary fries, which were delicious enough to make up for the tasteless avocado. 

One of our professors later asked us where we'd eaten lunch and when we admitted that we'd eaten at the chainiest restaurant in town, I halfway expected him to judge us.  To our surprise, though, he commented, "Oh yeah, their burgers are great!" and he wasn't even being sarcastic!  We thought they were great, too.

Also worth noting: I drank coffee during this outing.  This is the 4th time in my life this has happened -- a "you win, jet lag" moment if there ever was one.

So in conclusion, we would love to eat at All Bar One again, but we probably won't.

Because 30 GBP is pretty much our budget for the week, not our budget for lunch -- today was just an exception.

OR we'll be back next week, because the 'YOLO!' habit is a hard one to break.

Either way, I'll be sure to keep you advised.

Jan said...

Those burgers looked fantastic!!!

Emily S (Em Busy Living) said...

I've definitely done the "pack too many things for warm weather and end up freezing and having to buy sweaters in June" thing before. Not fun!

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