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Buchanan Arms

1 rating: 2.0
1 review about Buchanan Arms

Mushy peas! Mushy peas!

  • Feb 18, 2000
  • by
Pros: One of the more "authentic" in the LA area, excellent beer selection easily sopped up by great greasy foodstuffs

Cons: No white vinegar available, plus no Rose's Lime Cordial for a lime & lager

Okay, I'm cruel; I like dragging the overly Americanized to places that have mushy peas on the menu. Frankly, I'm not sure even the most die-hard Anglophile has ever touched them, though given the admittedly disgusting-to-most foodstuffs I pick up in the import shop adjacent to the "Buchanan Arms" (which is usually what leads me there) I can't really make fun of much...

I like this place quite a bit, since it's very -- well, yes, I know it's a British pub, but since it's in the US, it can't be entirely British, and ergo caters well to what has been a cultural schizophrenia since the days of the BNA Act: it simply comes off as Canadian from this point of view. A few concessions are made to the Yank, and the rest is straight-out Brit pub: US + Britain = Canada, for better or for worse. Culturally deprived Americans may -- I say this with very little disdain, since not having had mushy peas is not a great cultural failing -- actually have a moment of trouble with the menu.

From a review of this place that I ran into elsewhere:

...if you're into pub culture and alcoholic consumption, though, this looks like it might be the place for you...

And oh, but I am, I am!

The beer selection is excellent (though with the usual unfortunate nods to watered-down Coors and friends), and the only thing that begs homesickness is the lack of a proper 'sleeve' glass.

Since the place is somewhat hidden -- tucked away in the most dull of districts with quiet signage -- patrons and personnel are usually people who went out of there way to be there. This means polite (if sometimes a bit too relaxed) service, and it's free of look-see tourists and drunken kids. It's actually quite hard to get drunk here, since you're going to end up simply too full...

...of grease, which the "Buchanan Arms" does spectacularly. Here, the potatoes are not merely fried -- they are battered and fried. Oh, yes!

Also heartwarming to the ex-pat: condiments already out on the tables include HP sauce and vinegar[*].

This is not a dieter's restaurant, nor a vegetarian one. They will accommodate, though -- I have yet to see even the slightest tinge of irritation over menu substitutions, no matter how trying. Not everybody's cuppa, but a nice change from the usual fried fare further down the street (which see my other Burbank restaurant ramblings...) and probably an excellent place to tie one on: for some thoroughly disturbing reason, I have yet to drink properly in this place.

[*] "HP" = "Houses of Parliament" steak sauce. The vinegar is malt, which is entirely wrong for the Canadian, but Americans seem to prefer it -- ??


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