New England Dining: Horton’s Seafood (UPDATED)

July 30, 2009

Horton’s Seafood
809 Broadway, East Providence, RI 02914
(401) 434-3116

Okay, let’s face it — no matter how hard you try to eat healthy when on vacation, you are going to fall off the wagon. For me, this would be fried seafood. But if you are going to fall off the wagon, then it better be worth the fall.

Horton’s Seafood, in East Providence, Rhode Island. Considered by many locals to be the best fried seafood restaurant in the entire city, and by far the best place I have found to sample the main varieties of New England-style clam chowders.

Click Here to listen to the Horton’s Seafood Mini Podcast

Click Here for Hi-Res Photos

You want Fried Seafood? You want Chowdah? You makin’ your way thru Providence? Then head to Horton’s. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Bletchley Park, The Forge of Computer Creation

July 6, 2008

With today’s news of Bletchley Park facing possible financial rescue from a dim future of decay and oblivion, I decided to bump this back up to the top. I think all technologists can agree that this is an important historical site that needs to be preserved.

Bletchley Park Ltd
The Mansion

Bletchley Park
Milton Keynes

Today, the city of Milton Keynes is a large town with over 200,000 people living there, working at all sorts of office parks and such. But nearly 70 years ago, it was rural English countryside, with only scattered farms being the only indication that people were living there. Nothing really interesting at all.

Which is exactly what the British government wanted everyone to think.

The small town of Bletchley Park, which is now part of the greater Milton Keynes area, was the center for project Ultra, which employed thousands of people. The research and technology which came out of it is of huge significance, because without it, there would probably be no Information Age, no Internet, no Personal Computers, no Integrated Circuits … well really nothing that involves modern computer technology at all.

Bletchley Park can be rather Enigmatic. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link for more.

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Tea and Bickies

March 12, 2007

The UK isn’t exactly the best place for shopping, particularly if you are an American citizen. Our currency isn’t worth much there, so effectively everything costs twice the price. However there are some things worth splurging for to bring home, particularly fine teas and English biscuits.

A sampling of some of the items I purchased in England. Here we have some fine teas purchased from Harrods, along with some marmalade and “regular” teas from Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain. Even the “regular” supermarket stuff is superior to what we get at most supermarkets in the states, and its totally worth stocking up.

A view of our new British tea collection placed on the shelf. I managed to pick up some really good Fortnum & Mason and some special edition Twinings teas at the big duty-free shop at Heathrow, along with a selection of nice biscuits as well.

Jaffa Cakes, not to be confused with the slave warrior race from Stargate SG-1. They are a British original and a favorite munchie of the Beatles.

Whoa! 195 calories PER Jaffa Cake!

Jaffa Cakes have a layer of chocolate on the top.

With a layer of jellied orange marmalade in the middle and a yellow cake layer on the bottom. They are addictive as hell, and I’m really pissed I only bought one package of them.

Harrods Food Halls

March 12, 2007

It seemed appropriate that I end my British adventure with a bang. I had a number of gifts I needed to purchase, and Rachel had a “wish list” of teas and things she wanted. Not having had much opportunity to shop that week, as virtually all London stores close at 6:30 on most nights, Thursday night was the time to get things done, because most of the major department stores are open late — until around 8 or 9PM. So at the recommendation of a number of folks, I headed over to the legendary Harrods department store — owned by the notable Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed (who’s son, Dodi, died in a Paris car crash with Princess Diana in 1997).

I knew that Harrods would be over the top, but I really wasn’t prepared for what was in store. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link for more. You won’t be disappointed.

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Snack of the Week: British Crisps

March 10, 2007

Snack At A Glance (SNAAG)

Product Name: Various

Manufacturer: Various, including United Biscuits (McCoy’s) and Walker’s (Big Ears)

Genre: Traditional pub and British flavored potato chips

Year of Introduction: Various

Nutritional Data: Various

Primary Seasonings: Various

What can I say other than the fact that these are some of the best tasting, best seasoned potato chips I have ever come across — and I hope these end up on our side of the pond sometime really soon. Both the Walkers “Big Ears” and United Biscuit’s “Mccoy’s” brand of chips are excellent and all the flavors I have tried are uniquely British,  are a great accompaniment to sandwiches and other lunch foods, and are fine on their own with a nice English beer.  I’m not sure all of the flavors I have found would be huge hits here, like the Pickled Onion or Prawn Cocktail (which I liked, a lot — it tasted like horseradish cocktail sauce) or Marmite but the US chip manufacturers could definitely take a page from the British, particularly with the basic cheese and onion, bacon and “Steak” flavors (essentially a strong beef bouillion, which managed to still taste steaky without too much MSG).

English Breakfast Redux

March 10, 2007

While I did have an English breakfast my first day in London, shortly after checking into my hotel, I was completely exhausted and didn’t have my camera with me. So I was glad that I had the opportunity to show it to you a second time around on Thursday morning after I had returned from Milton Keynes.

Above is the breakfast service at the hotel restaurant at the Thistle Euston, and for hotel buffet breakfast I think its pretty good, although nothing in England in my estimation is a particularly good value for the money (since our American currency isn’t worth squat there, but that’s a rant for another time).

My slanted American take — I like English Breakfast, but not all parts of it. Eggs, Sausage and Bacon and Hash Browns are totally up my alley, and with the exception of the Hash Browns, they’re better than most American versions, particularly the Eggs and Bacon, which appear to be less industrial in their farming and production techniques, yielding a superior product overall. Mushrooms are a totally logical choice, as are the grilled tomatoes, although the tomatoes are totally a seasonally and geographically dependent thing, at least here in the states. I have to assume the tomatoes are coming from warmer parts of Europe and are not being grown locally this time of year. Sweet baked Beans? I could take or leave them with breakfast, really. I much prefer the spicy black beans you see on Mexican or Colombian breakfast plates than the insipid sugar/molasses cooked versions in English Breakfast or Boston Baked beans.

I also won’t understate the value of good marmalade and jams, which add to the general enjoyment and British-ness of the whole thing.

Anyone Fancy a Kebab?

March 9, 2007

In large US cities, when you’re tired, and it’s late at night,  your dining options can be quite limited, For many, Chinese take out can be a welcome sight. But in England, Chinese isn’t the cuisine of choice for late night hunger relief — its all about the Indian Take-away.

I got back to the Thistle Euston in London somewhat late on Wednesday night, and I really didn’t feel like going with room service. So I headed down to nearby Drummond Street, which is home to quite a number of Indian groceries and Take-Aways.

The above late-night meal of Tandoori Chicken, Seekh Kebab, Pullao (Saffron flavor) Rice and Garlic Naan was ordered from Drummond Villa, which is probably pretty ordinary Indian food by British standards. Still, the Tandoori was perfectly spiced and very moist,  and the Seekh Kebab (ground lamb) was excellent and made a great impromptu sandwich on the puffly garlic naan, all eaten from the convenience and solitude of my hotel room. While we have no lack of Indian restaurants in Northern NJ, I’d kill to have a place like this near my house that stayed open until 11PM!

The Black Horse at Great Linford

March 8, 2007

The Black Horse at Great Linford
Wolverton Rd, Black Horse Bridge
Great Linford, Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire, MK14 5AJ

Tel: 01908 398461

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting to find great food in Milton Keynes — at best, maybe we’d find a decent Fish and Chips place, or perhaps a workable pub. I wasn’t expecting to find world-class British cuisine, made with locally sourced organic ingredients. But that’s exactly what I found, on the reccomendation of one of my British colleagues.

Ride the Black Horse. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link for more.

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Euston Station, Cornish Pasties and British… Bagels.

March 7, 2007

On Tuesday afternoon we cut loose and headed to Milton Keynes (that’s pronounced KEENS) a large suburban town about an hour’s train ride from London.

In order to get to Milton Keynes, you need to go to Euston Station, to take the Virgin Trains northbound line which terminates at Birmingham. Unlike major US cities like New York, where you have maybe 2 major rail terminals (Grand Central and Penn Station, which are connected by a shuttle subway line) London has a lot of different rail terminals that do not for the most part connect with each other. This is is a throwback to the Victorian Age where there were many terminals run by different companies that competed with each other. They did eventually consolidate somewhat, and Network Rail runs a lot of them (10 of which are in London!) but the British rail system can still be confusing.

Euston was the first inter-city railway station to be built in London,  although little of the original station remains. The public outcry surrounding the demolition of the original Victorian terminal and its replacement with the modern structure that stands today is often compared with the public reaction surrounding the demolition of the Gilded Age-style Penn Station in NYC which similarly was demolished in the 1950-1960’s to make way for the Penn Station that sits below Madison Square Garden. It is ironic that NYC Grand Central Station’s preservation can be owed to legislation enacted as a result of the lessons learned by what happened to the two historic terminals.

South Park ad on a double decker. Kickass!

A particularly cool paint job on a London black cab.

Euston Station and pasties await. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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English Breakfast, Sarnies, Roman Ruins and a Rolls

March 6, 2007

Lunch options near our office on Gresham Street are sparse — so we headed down the block to Piccollo, a small cafe in a old pre-war building. It’s a favorite with taxicab drivers looking for a cheap lunch or the traditional English Breakfast, which is served pretty much all day.

A line of London taxicabs parked for a breakfast break. A brand new London Black Cab goes for a whopping £34,000 ($68,000)

A late model Rolls-Royce sedan — presumably the driver wants his breakfast too.

What it says.

English Breakfast, a cabbie’s favorite.

We’re not done with this post yet, chaps. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link for more.

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