Ask a Brit: Are We the Real Deal?

union jackEat My Pasty is located on the West end of the beach, about 5 minutes away from the Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort.

I recently learned that there’s a surprisingly big community of British Ex-pats living in Panama City Beach, FL. Luckily, I haven’t run into any Scousers yet though 😉 Every so often I’ll be in Publix, or World Market and my ear will pick up on that oh-so-familiar sound of an accent from back home. Immediately you can tell roughly how long somebody has been here based on how much their accent has changed. Still, there’s something comforting and reassuring about that sound when you’ve not stepped foot on home soil for a while.

As any Brit living here will know, Publix’s international food section, and World market have been the go-to places for a literal taste of home. You can p-p-p-pick up a penguin, some Branston pickle, a fresh jar of Marmite, a box of Typhoo tea bags, and (if you’re me) every single box of Jammie Dodgers and Jaffa Cakes you can get away with before the Mrs gives you “the look”. For ages, those two places have been the only way to really get your mitts on the things you’ve not had for donkey’s years. Unless of course some mates came out here on holiday to visit you.

To this day, my mum always gets lumbered with a long list anytime she came over. Usually they include a few Gregg’s Cheese & Onion Pasty’s, Crunchie bars, Yorkies (they’re not for girls) and sometimes a bag of Monster Much (don’t judge me). If she visits close to Christmas, she’d better have a Terry’s Chocolate orange and a tin of Quality Streets… Otherwise it might be a short trip 😉 So you can imagine the cheeky squeal of excitement I let out when I heard there was going to be a chippy on the beach, that also makes in-house pasty’s – for a proper taste of home.

Personally, I like to cook. So I have no problem whipping out a Jamie Oliver / Gordon Ramsay pub-grub cookbook to try to educate my American friends on how good a decent sausage butty can be. Besides, as any Brit knows, there’s been some pretty big porkies spread about English food, and how terrible it all is. Come to think of it, where’s the bloke that started the rumor that we drink warm beer? I’d like to have a word with that guy… But there’s a couple of problems with cooking a taste of home for yourself. Firstly, food somehow just tastes better when somebody else makes it. Secondly, I don’t have a deep fat fryer in my kitchen, so a legit Fish & Chips was always just out of reach for me… Until Now!

Thanks to Eat My Pasty. You can’t miss this place! Between the huge Union Jacks flying outside, and the outdoor seating (with umbrellas) – this place shines and sparkles like a diamond in the rough. What’s nice, too, is that the umbrellas here are needed for shade from the sunshine. Back home, you’d need the umbrellas for protection from the rain instead!

Right, getting down to business… I do feel qualified to give this place a legitimate review. Apart from living in the UK my whole life before moving here (meaning I’ve had my fair share of fish, chips, peas and curry) I also grew up around chippy’s in the family. I’ve peeled more spuds than you can count, and served my fair share of punters too. So I’d be more than able to tell if this just seemed decent because it’s a novelty, and something you can’t get anywhere else in Panama City Beach… But I’m honestly happy to say it’s not. It’s so much more. It’s the real deal. Pasty’s aside, this is decent chippy that could hold it’s own on any high street from Land’s End to John O’Groats. There’d be lines out of the door on a Friday night, and Saturday for dinner… UK dinner, not US dinner 😉

I actually took my mum last time she visited, and not being an easy woman to please (trust me) she was even impressed. You might not know me, but trust me when I say that for something to get my mum’s approval, you know it’s alright. I think I’ve tried just about all of their different Pasty’s at this point. Although it’s hard to not go in and get the Fish & Chips. They do have an impressive selection of burgers that I am dying to try. From Duck burgers to Buffalo burgers and even a “Jack the Ripper Challenge Burger” made with Ghost Peppers (which just looks mean)… It’s just so hard to resist the classic with plenty of salt & malt vinegar.

So it’s not quite the beer garden back in my local on a Saturday watching the game. It’s not nan’s kitchen with a hot cuppa and a bacon butty nursing me back to life the morning after a heavy session with the lads. But you get a pretty special feeling just being here. It’s a big warm hug, and a full belly. If that’s not a winning combination, I don’t know what is. It’s a strange feeling to get excited about going for a bite to eat, but it’s so much more than just another meal. It really is the feeling of being at home even if it’s just for half an hour. It’s a mini holiday back home without the $3,000 flight, and the 4 hour layover in Atlanta. It’s a place you can say quarter-past ten, instead of 10:15. It’s somewhere you can describe something as being “the dog’s bollocks” and people won’t think you’ve lost the plot.

Eat My Pasty IS the dog’s bollocks, and you should do yourself a favor and have a Butcher’s for yourself…

Written by: Thomas Wright