For those of us who crave some comfort while still seeking to partake in the English culinary gastropub tradition, there's the recently opened Oxford Organic Burger Company. In colonial literature, Britain is often portrayed as the woman, with her masculine colonies bravely providing for her. England and America again find this symbiotic marriage at this Cowley Road burger joint. America provides the inspiration for the flat, California-style patties, and the sides of fries (included with the burger) and green salad. Other American mainstays rarely found in England make their appearances: coleslaw, tuna melt, and banana split. There is also a concerted investment in ambiance, which evokes a sort of picnic-with-the-animals-by-tree-stumps chic—hard to come by outside of London.
But I don't think the Oxford Organic Burger Company would be particularly pleased if I called them an American establishment, primarily because they painfully stress that all their quarter-pound beef patties come from cows raised organically in surrounding Oxfordshire. Their buns are baked down the road. Even their brie is English. I concede the point and order the Oxford Blue Burger, topped with melting blue cheese and the very English burger condiment of tomato relish. Most of us don't realize that the term "varsity blues" originates from the fact that the varsity teams of Oxford and Cambridge, which is the team that plays the other university, both wear blue (dark and light respectively). Thus, the etymology of the Oxford blue burger.
The beef tastes familiarly soft and charred. The cheese is a spicy blue sharp. The chips are crisp to the bite, and fluffy and steaming within. To complete my experience, I order an all-American shake. It comes glassy with ice and fresh raspberries—actually an improvement on the American tradition. Turns out, we do speak the same language after all—we just have a slight difference in accent.
Oxford Organic Burger Company
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