Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'll Eel Eventually

Okay, I admit it, I chickened out. I went on my own to find M. Manze, one of the classic Pie & Mash shops that serves meat pies, mashed potatoes, and jellied eels. If you aren't familiar with the jellied eel, here is a description from Wikipedia. I was primed and ready for my first jellied eel experience.

And then I saw them.

The order of eels of the guy in front of me in line jiggled ominously. This was no unagi. This was bony fishy bits in Jello. I just couldn't do it. So I ordered two pies and one mash and a large sarsaparilla, and sheepishly took my tray back to a table to eat my sadly eel-free lunch.

Let's start with the sarsaparilla - I have no idea what it was supposed to taste like, but it resembled flat, brown, very weakly flavored cream soda. Super artificial and a delightful lukewarm, and overall not so great. The mash was quite good, and "1 mash" was about two huge helpings, but then I tend to like all mashed potatoes, even those reconstituted ones. The pies looked great, kind of like a Hostess fruit pie in shape, but once tasted were true to the English food stereotype, i.e., bland and filled with who-knows-what part of a cow. The "liquor," a mild light-green, nominally parsley flavored gravy-like substance, did very little to help matters. Two pies was waaaaaay too much, especially since they didn't taste that great. I'm sure locals love this place, and the ambiance was truly wonderful. It felt like eating in a train station cafeteria 100 years ago. So, in retrospect, if the eel was as good as everything else, maybe I'm lucky I passed. Too bad, I had high hopes for this place.

Just in case you think I was wrong to not try them, here is a nice photo for you.

3 comments:

Doug said...

Yikes! people actually ingest that eel thing? It looks like...well, on second thought i better not even say. I dont blame you for passing on that. Also, how do you screw up a meat pie? To me it sounds like a wonderful treat. Maybe they should take a hint from the vendors in the mission and just wrap it in bacon. Theres no way for the end result to be worse than where you started. Bacon is one of those universal enhancers to any meal and or situation.

Any luck finding burritos there? I want a full report when you do!

Lyla Messinese said...

Andy,

I WAS eating my breakfast when I read this and saw the photo. Happy morning to me. I hope the food gets better.

Lyla

Andy Murdock said...

I don't know how you screw up a meat pie - or at least I didn't think it was possible until I tried these. Very simple, put buttery crust around tasty meat, and you have success. To fail: put tough shortening-flavored dough around soggy unseasoned ground beef bits, then cover in light green cornstarchy goo. Bacon would have helped immensely.