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Dining With Elvis

The Bay Area Brit reviews local restaurants with Elvis Presley

As some of you may know, Elvis Presley is alive and well and lives in a room in my house. Every week we choose a restaurant in The Bay Area and eat, drink, and talk about the old days. We each review the restaurant from our unique perspectives.

The Search For The Perfect Fish ‘n’ Chips

Barclays Pub 5940 College Avenue Oakland CA (near Rockridge BART)

     Our first review is of Barclays Pub in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. I was craving something British to eat, and Elvis wanted some comfort food. Elvis still loves cheeseburgers and fries, but was reluctant to be seen eating fried food as he felt it re-enforced a negative stereotype regarding his eating habits. Of course he didn’t really say it like that; I’m translating. Elvis is 74 now and still drawls a little and cusses far too often for a man that grew up singing gospel music, but far from being an older caricature of his former-self, he looks quite distinguished with short gray hair and is in fairly decent shape. I assured him that no one would make fun of him, as everyone in the world believes he died in 1977.
When seen together in dining situations Elvis and I come and go with anonymity. Restaurant employees and patrons alike do not know they are in the same room as “The Bay Area Brit” and they’re oblivious to being in the presence of a man once known as “The King.”
We pass for a sort of “Odd Couple” version of a father and son.

       I ordered the Fish and Chips. The fish was a beer-battered Pacific Snapper. The portion was huge. I joked to Elvis, “We’re gonna need a bigger plate.” A reference to the movie “Jaws.” Elvis just looked at me with a confused look on his face.

         “Why don’t you just ask for one, then?” he said without a trace of a recognition.
“No, it’s from Jaws, Elv…I mean, Alan.” I call him Alan to reduce the chance of anyone recognizing him. It was also his codename at Graceland.
“Oh, yeah, the film about the shark, right. I saw that. Man, I almost pissed in my jumpsuit when that thing leapt out at those guys on the damned boat.”

“We’re gonna need a bigger plate.”

          Elvis’s burger finally arrived (he’d sent it back twice claiming it still wasn’t cooked enough. Personally I think that this sort of behavior is unacceptable, but who am I to argue with Elvis Presley?) He’d ordered it extra well done. “That mad cow disease is all well and good for you limeys, but I ain’t dying over it.” Elvis is a bit paranoid, and the burger came back from the kitchen looking like a hockey puck but he was satisfied and ate voraciously.
My fish was tasty and moist. The chips, which claimed to be cut English-style, were very good, but not quite fat enough to pass. The chips in a “fish ‘n’ chips” dish should be the size of a thumb and a little soggy. They should be piping burn-the-roof-of-your-mouth hot and doused in salt and vinegar.

          Elvis was very happy with the fries though and contemplated ordering another side of them. “Now, now, that’s just what the old Elvis would do,” I whispered. Elvis suddenly noticed a guitar hanging on the wall near the door and suggested he could pay for our lunch by singing a song or two. “You know like in my movies.”
“I don’t know. I think that’s a bad idea, pal.” He pulled a sour face after I shot down his suggestion.

         Overall it was a good effort for an American British-style pub. I paid the bill and Elvis said he wanted to leave the tip. In the old days he’d do things like leave the keys to a Cadillac if he thought the waitress was cute. Fortunately for us, he doesn’t have that kind of money at his disposal anymore.

© Copyright Matty Stone 2010

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5 Responses

  1. Barclay’s is good, but I personally like Pacific Coast Brewery a bit more. Ben N’ Nick’s has gotten better too. You should give them another shot. They got rid of those awful Salmon and Chips from their old menu and went with the classic. Of course their “chips” are not even close to fitting your requirement.

    If you and Elvis, er… ahh.. Alan, ever need a third let me know.

    ; ^ )

  2. Tell Elvis he’s a god-damn fraud, and as far as fish and chips, c’mon let’s move into the 21st Cenury, it’s all about chicken strips or Wendy’s 99 cents nuggets. Fried fish is so 70’s and should die with Petar’s. Just grill that bitch!!!

  3. Elvis has to be handled with kid gloves…seriously the guy’s old and been through a lot…so I will make sure he doesn’t see your “Fraud” comment, Rolando…sheeeesh!

    Oh, and BTW, what would you know about the 70’s. my young friend?
    Although, you would have got laid a lot in tthat era; I can see your pretty brown face now with a pair of big Austin Powers glasses to hide behind…to give the girls the impression that you’re the shy, intellectual-type.
    Ha–ha shame on them.

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