Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weathering the storm: a photo story

My first indication that perhaps I hadn't taken this situation seriously enough was when we passed The Gap on 23rd and 8th, and saw it was closed. At 1pm on a Saturday afternoon. Irene is seriously messing with this city.

So we holed up in our chosen place of refuge.
 Our suite here is bigger than the Rabbit Hutch. And the bathroom has a much nicer view.
Our favourite New Yorker sought refuge too. Her Upper East Side apartment was not in Zone A, but all the stores and restaurants near her were closed, so she was basically fleeing boredom. Luckily for us, she brought provisions.

We hunkered down in front of the telly to stay abreast of the latest events. But we soon tired of watching excited weathermen with their special forecast graphics, and shots of newscasters standing waist deep in swollen rivers further down the coast.

So we headed out for a quick recon of the surrounding area, including the all-important Andaz hotel with that fabulous bar. They were pretty busy, but we soon learnt that it wasn't just The Gap being lame. Posh hotels aside, the city was on lock down. You'd almost think a hurricane was coming...
Bryant Park - closed for business.
Gifts on Sixth was the only store around Bryant Park that was open. Not helpful.

Unfortunately by the time we were dressed and ready for dinner, the rain was so heavy we feared even my sturdy metallic heels wouldn't make it to Andaz unscathed. We peered out of the window at the gathering clouds and rain, and decided it was safest to stay indoors. The Bryant Park Hotel has a decent bar of its own after all.
Probably not worth braving this just to go to a different hotel's bar.
Irene struck again: the hotel's Cellar Bar was not serving any of their fabulous speciality cocktails. Presumably their mixologist was trapped on the wrong side of one of New York's closed bridges. And the only food they were serving was cheese. They did however have a range of new Hurricane cocktails they had created specially. I'm not kidding.

So we wound up back in our suite, with the wise New Yorker, watching trashy movies and eating room service. (TLOML had wings and steak, on the grounds that it could be his last meal. Any excuse.) So much for my nice frock and high heels. What a waste, Irene!

This morning, we woke to look out on a rain soaked, wind battered New York. It seems, as we expected, the damage was pretty limited. We breathed a sigh of relief and ordered breakfast.
And that is how we weathered the storm.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Come on Irene

Patently, I am no hurricane expert. We don't really get them in dear safe England, with its much lambasted, but actually very temperate, climate.

But - speaking from my position of total ignorance - it looks to me like Irene would have to make a bit of a sharp left to follow the path the NY Times map has her taking.

Still, Mayor Bloomberg is in charge. Since he told us yesterday to be ready to evacuate, I've had this little stack of essentials neatly lined up on my desk.
On reflection, it's looking a little grey outside now. Maybe I won't need the sunglasses. But the lipgloss is still an essential. Also essential, the tabbouleh and chips we bought in case we couldn't cook or get out to eat this weekend. And several bottles of wine so we can dodge the Bryant Park Hotel mark up.

Just one last question remains. Which shoes? We are hoping to make it across the street to Andaz, which has a great bar. Every girl knows wedges are more practical. But how will that raffia effect cope with puddles?

I have decided the metallic effect, and that little 0.5 inch platform, will be just the ticket for negotiating a rain soaked 2 minute walk.

And as I blog and faff around with shoes TLOML has filled the bath with water (Bloomberg's suggestion) and moved the TV away from the window.

I think we're hurricane ready.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good

Or so they say.

Hurricane Irene qualifies as a pretty ill wind, I think. Yesterday we were scoffing at people buying battery-operated radios and stocking up on tinned foods. Alarmist fools, we thought. Today we are the ones to be scoffed at... we are suddenly hurricane refugees.

Rabbit Hutch Towers is in 'low lying' Zone A, where a mandatory evacuation has been declared. We're literally half a block away from Zone B, where people are allowed to stay put. I suppose they have to draw the line somewhere. Too bad for us it's not 100 metres further West.

Then again, the people in Zone B are probably inundated with Zone A-ers fleeing their buildings. A girl in our building told us she is going to stay with a friend on 23rd and 8th, literally 2 blocks away. As an aside, the adrenalin and sense of emergency has engendered a new spirit of friendliness, it seems: that's the first time I've ever exchanged more than 2 words with a neighbour in the Rabbit Hutch Towers elevator. It's almost like London in the Blitz.

Except that unlike London in the Blitz, we are not being submitted to months of sustained heavy bombing. Instead, we are in the path of Irene, who according the NY Times Hurricane Irene tracker is going to have blown herself into a storm (rather than a hurricane) by the time it passes the coast of New York on Sunday morning.  TLOML and I, nature's optimists, reckon we're due for a few hours of crazy wind and rain, and no lasting damage. Still, given the Hurricane Katrina fallout, it's perhaps not surprising that Mayor Bloomberg is erring on the side of caution.

Anyway, as I said, it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good... We are booked into a suite 20 minutes walk away, at the Bryant Park Hotel, courtesy of TLOML's insurance, where we will wait out the storm while enjoying room service and fluffy bath robes. The Bryant Park Hotel has the advantage of being firmly far from the river, on fairly high ground, and having an excellent in house sushi restaurant. Plus a cellar bar should we need to move away from the windows. We think it's a pretty good evacuation outcome.

Fingers crossed we - and the rest of New York - will return to our home on Monday with no harm done.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Did you get a shot of the men's socks?

...must be the concern of every bride and groom on their big day. Right? If not how do you explain the incredible proliferation of photos like these?

These images are pilfered from Style Me Pretty, a website full of galleries of weddings. It's meant to provide inspiration for brides, for everything from dresses and flowers, to cute ways to display table plans and escort cards, and ideas for themed photo booths and table settings.

I look at Style Me Pretty a lot. Which is kinda silly. I already have my dress, and I don't even know what an escort card is - though I'm pretty sure we won't have them. The theme of our wedding will be 'we're getting married', and the look is, um, 'seasonal'. But still, it's good surfing fodder. What can I say, I just like looking at pretty pictures, I guess.

In my daily forays into the land of Style Me Pretty, I have noticed a disturbing trend. Many many photos of men hoiking up their trousers to show off their socks. But why?

Shots like this one (below) have become popular, indeed, an essential part of the photo story of your big day. And I can sort of see why.

After all, you spent a lot of money on your amazing shoes, you love them to death, and yet they are hidden by your big white dress. So you get the photographer to take a photo, so in years to come you can look back and say 'weren't my wedding shoes lovely?'. Personally I don't think it'll be on my list of essential shots, but I do kinda understand it.

But the group ankle shots are just odd.

'Make sure you take a photo of us just from the knees down, won't you? We really need one of just all the beautiful/ quirky/ meaningful shoes all together!'
A foot tat makes for a lovely shot
The finalists from a butterface competition?

Oooh, our footwear is so zany, we're meant to be together!

Oooh, our footwear is so softly sophisticated, we're meant to be together!

It's even worse when the shoes are horrid

Ushers in Converse, so quirky!
These bridesmaids will surely treasure this memento of the day they had to clomp around in cowboy boots when everyone else was wearing strappy sandals - just because the bride and groom once had a nice weekend in Austin, Texas and like Willie Nelson.

'Scuse the pun but I think they have lost perspective.

So, Item #73: Select theme for shoes and socks' is yet another item ticked off the wedmin Things To Do list.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Massive fruit

I'm still not bored of this 'everything is bigger in America riff'. Last night we did a run to Dallas BBQ for emergency wings - while waiting for our order we saw people drinking margaritas that must seriously have been a pint and a half. Sadly, I forgot my camera so can't prove it.

But happily, I did manage to capture a shot of this massive nectarine. Just after I took a bite and thought 'my goodness this is a huge nectarine'. Look... it's almost as tall as a mug:
Bigger than a 'handful', which is what the whole '5 a day' system was built on.

That said, you can get dinky fruit here, as a sort of seasonal novelty. Check out these wee plums:
I've taken to buying the tiny fruit for the pleasure I get when TLOML goes to the fruit bowl and exclaims 'what the ...?!' Then I tell him with pride that they are specially imported English plums. (In fact they are little sugar plums from upstate NY.) TLOML growls and mutters 'They look like cherries to me. You're not in England any more, start buying regular sized fruit godamnit'.

Ah, fun with green groceries. Size does matter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Everything is bigger in New England

More on the 'everything is bigger in America' riff. I'm not sure it's fair to compare the size of the clams, since the closest British equivalent is probably the cockle. So I'll restrict myself to a comment on the size of these clams, compared to any other clam or cockle from anywhere.

Look at these big juicy fellas, practically bursting out of their shells! That's TLOML's hand for scale, and he has fairly big islander hands. So respect the clam that fills the gap between that forefinger and thumb. We were in Rhode Island, home of the happy clam. Apparently it's to do with the muddy, silty sea floor there. To be precise, we were in Scales and Shells, Newport, RI, a restaurant TLOML visited over a decade ago and has been dreaming of ever since.

TLOML is of the view that there is no such thing as 'too big' where clams are concerned. I think these babies support his case. And our consumption of 50+ clams across 3 meals, in 24 hours, proves it too.

While we were in Newport waiting for Scales and Shells to open (we were there at 5pm on the dot two days in a row), we checked out some of the famous Newport mansions. Breakers, the Vanderbilt summer home, had 15 bedrooms and 20 bathrooms. Further evidence that many things are rather bigger in America.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So this is what they mean by a Disney ending

After a hugely successful run in the UK, the National's War Horse came to New York in the spring of 2011. And suffered a bit of, um, Americanisation as a result.


In a nutshell the plot, set in World War I, comprises these main events:
  • Kid gets horse, and is unimaginably happy
  • Kid's dad sells horse to the army. Horse goes to France.
  • Kid lies about age, enlists in the army to find horse.
  • Many bad things happen to kid and horse, separately.
  • Kid is blinded by tear gas 
  • Kid is reunited with horse (which involves a fair bit of sniffing and whinnying so they can be sure they recognise each other)

And that - the moving reunion - is your happy ending. It did it for me. I was in floods of tears and felt thoroughly satisfied by the narrative arc.

Over here in the land of the free it was, apparently, not happy enough. I hear from my theatre guru friend that they've added an extra bit of happiness to the ending:
  • Kid finds out his blindness is only temporary
Really! I guess it is a bit depressing to end a night at the theatre with some unresolved physical ailment still affecting your lead character. Much better to clear it up so your audience can sleep easily.

I'll be in trouble with TLOML for anti-Americanism if I go on. But I think you get my point...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Special occasion dining for purses

To mark my recent promotion, TLOML and I went to BES, one of our neighbourhood faves. But somehow, it didn’t feel quite special enough. Could it be we have already overdone the ginger crusted snapper? Had enough of that incredible peanut miso dressing? Or were we just there on an ‘off’ night? Whatever the reason, we decided to up the ante.

Del Posto, a Mario Batali restaurant just down the road, seemed to fit the bill. Online, it is described itself as offering ‘trans-generational' cuisine. Allow me to borrow their words to elaborate: 'The concept of trans-generationalism manifests itself in a cuisine that combines the creativity of contemporary culinary sensibilities with the powerful draw of classic Italian dishes, or "Cucina Classica".

So Del Posto is a place which takes itself pretty seriously. In fact, New York Magazine rather sniffily complains about 'pageantry and largesse'. We were undeterred. I just got promoted to a Big Corp Band 9: pageantry and largesse is the order of the day!

And Del Posto exceeded expectations from the moment about half a dozen people greeted us, opened doors, gestured towards the entrance, and generally ushered us in. Pageantry! On ordering my perfect manhattan (up, with rye) the bar man responded with a run down of a range of different ryes. Largesse! The sommelier laughed at TLOML’s jokes. The menu looked incredible, inventive and full of favourites all at the same time. We knew we were in safe hands.

My favourite part of the whole evening though, was the waiter bringing me a footstool to rest my handbag on. TLOML took this photo to capture the special moment. I don't care if we looked like tourists, I've never seen such a thing before (and trust me, this isn't the first time I've been to a restaurant).
Nice touch, isn't it?

Del Posto: where even a humble battered old vintage purse gets star treatment. It’s got special occasion dining written all over it. Oh, and the food was five courses of absolutely phenomenal. (Almost seems incidental to be honest).

I am now mostly spending my time trying to think of other important things to celebrate, so we can return.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just a regular cup of Joe

Our nearest coffee shop, on 23rd Street at 8th Ave, is Joe. We go there quite often, because it is so close.

The line is long and the service is slow, and here is why:

In case you don't have time to watch the entire video, allow me to provide two choice quotes which I think sum up the whole Joe enterprise:
'Our baristas wll go through about a month of training just pulling espresso before they even touch or talk about milk.' Milk, the first taboo of barista training! They must think about nothing else that whole month!
'You need to look for the time at which the espresso drops: it should drop at around 6 seconds, and then run till about 22 or... um... 26 or 27 seconds.' Precise enough for ya?

This is a bag of coffee from Joe, for when we want to make coffee back at the hutch.

It costs $20. Which I suppose is marginally less outrageous than the orange juice situation. I mean, seeing as it is 'refreshing from beginning to lingering sweet finish: nectarine aromatics segue to orange gummy candy, honeyed fig, caramel, and crisp botanical notes'. Or so it says on the bag.

It is good coffee. I like it a lot. Sadly, though, neither TLOML nor I can truly taste the difference between this stuff, and Starbucks' finest. So long as it's not that watery, stewed filth they serve at Dunkin' Donuts I'm pretty happy.

Since Joe is our nearest coffee place, we're still going there and standing in line for our coffee or paying $20 to make it at home. Sigh. I have a feeling the culinary artists of New York's artisan coffee shops are wasted on us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coming soon, the Museum of Water

I'm not kidding. And it's opening right on our block. Exciting times for the residents of Rabbit Hutch Towers, especially those who are particularly into water.

Mind you, I'm a pretty big fan of water. I like drinking it, washing with it, and swimming in it. I'd say it's pretty important to me. But I'm not sure I'll be visiting the Museum of Water when it opens, even though it's just outside my front door.

What kind of person is so into water that they would visit a museum about it, I wonder? Presumably the exact opposite - the sworn enemy, no less - of the visitors to the Museum of Fire.

That's right, the Museum of Fire. Presumably it targets all those pyromaniacs with a spare afternoon in SoHo and nothing better to do. Again, I'm struggling to picture the target audience...

I await the opening of the Museums of Earth and Air with great anticipation.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Emperor's New Dessert

I had to get over my dislike of the single ingredient restaurant name this weekend, as the wisest New Yorker I know had made us a reservation at Prune.

There were no prunes on the menu. In fact, it's the chef's childhood nickname, and has nothing at all to do with that dried fruit which keeps you regular. So with that fact established I was able to enjoy a top notch dinner.

I started with a 'Corpse Reviver' cocktail. Although I was fully alive, and didn't even feel jaded, blimey! was I revived after that gin, Cointreau, Lillet and Pernod combo.

We shared some outstanding appetizers, and tucked into quail (me), pulled pork (TLOML) and lamb (wise New Yorker) for the main event. It was really good food, hearty and robust without being heavy or overwhelming. Just about perfect.

There being no cheese plate, the question of dessert had to be raised. An item called 'Peppermint Stick in Lemon - $4' intrigued me. I turned to the couple sitting at the next table.

'Excuse the interruption,' I said, 'That dessert you had, that looked like a hunk of lemon with a peppermint stick in it, was that this 'Peppermint Stick in Lemon'?'
'Whay yes,' she drawled. (We talked to them for a good while longer and it transpired she was from Mississippi. Best accent ever.)
'Was it nice?' I asked, scepticism written all over my face.
'Well, it was jus' a peppermint stick and some lemon. Aah didn't know what to do with the lemon, so Aah ate it. Aah don't know if that was the raaght thing to do though.'

Needless to say, we did not order the Peppermint Stick in Lemon. To be fair, it's only four bucks, so I suppose it's not the scam of the century. But still... a dessert which is half made of an inedible raw fruit? Presented in a way that confuses the eater into eating the lemon? That's just mean.

I have since googled and learned that this is apparently a fairground treat in some parts of the country (presumably those deprived of funnel cake). You are not supposed to eat the lemon, but to suck the lemon juice through it. My mouth is watering with the thought of the sourness, and not in a good way. And wouldn't it be awfully hard work to suck that lemon juice up through the peppermint stick?

Yes, I was a sceptic before I saw it, a sceptic after I saw it and I remain a sceptic now. It sounds like absolute bobbins to me.

Instead of the Emperor's New Dessert we had the mascarpone icecream with little croutons covered in salted caramel. Like everything else we had at prune-free Prune, it was delicious.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Somehow so much more than just corn on the cob

Apparently my blog has turned a little bit Negative Norah of late. TLOML even accused it of being anti America. So I've decided to light up and focus on brilliant things I love about America.

Brilliant things I love about America 1: Grilled Cuban Corn

We first had this when an outpost of Cafe Habana opened in Malibu. The service was pretty poor by local standards, and the fact that it was vaguely celeby (Dustin Hoffman was my best spot in there) doesn't to much to distinguish it in LA. But that corn, damn! It kept us coming back time and time again.

It's grilled corn, slathered in mayo, and covered in cotija cheese and cayenne. Squeeze a little lime juice on it and you're good to go. I could eat it all day long. Seriously, it's phenomenal.

I tried to recreate it at home after the first time we ate it. But it's actually pretty tricky to get all that crumbly cheese and spice to stick to the corn. So you end up eating mayo-covered corn, with a side of cheese and pepper. Maybe they use a secret ingredient at Cafe Habana to make it all stick together. I wouldn't be surprised if it was crack, the stuff is so addictive.

So now we just have it in restaurants. It's a side dish at our current favourite local restaurant, Tipsy Parson, which specialises in Southern food. Theirs is just as good as the Habana version (and considerably better than my home made attempt). I'd guess it's on the menu at every hipster Mexican and Cuban place in NYC, in fact. And I bet it tastes like a little chunk of spicy, cheesy corn heaven wherever you have it.

It's definitely going on the list of things I'll miss when we move back to London. We're a little short on hipster Mexican restaurants. We have Wahaca, at least, and Boho Mexica, but I just checked and they are not doing the amazing crack grilled corn. I might have to work on mastering that recipe after all. Anyone know where I can buy Mexican cotija cheese in London...?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Where the 23rd and Broadway am I?!

TLOML is probably not alone in being an American who finds British street names a little confusing. You know how Charing Cross Road turns into Tottenham Court Road and then Hampstead Road, even though it's all one long road really? And Charlotte Street, Charlotte Mews and Charlotte Place all being jumbled up together with practically the same name? I know, it doesn't confuse me either, but apparently it is not very user-friendly.

Think of American cities as being nice and easy to navigate, with logical street names and shapes? So did I.

After all, America invented the user-friendly street plan. All those nice numbered streets, and the lovely clear system in NYC where avenues run North/ South, and streets run East/ West. It certainly helps to be planning cities long after civilisation evolved, and have the benefit of hindsight. (I'm quite sure if London had been developed later it would be rather more logical, and not so much oriented by the location of ancient hedges and ditches.)

And yet... I'm about to blow the US town planners' cover.

Look at this street. On the map it looks like Duane Street, which, true to form, runs right across a good long stretch of Downtown Manhattan. And yet... up close, this little block of Duane Street has no fewer than four separate names.

Depending on which sign catches your eye, you might think you are on any of:
1. Duane Street
2. Federal Plaza
3. FBI Special Agent Leonard W Hatton Jr Street
4. Paul O'Dwyer Place

'Hey Marcie, I'm here on Federal Plaza like we said! Are you here?'
'Oh shoot! I'm on FBI Special Agent Leonard W Hatton Jr Street, I must have missed the turning'.

Is it me, or is that confusing?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Like a 'bab van only better and on Twitter

Has the food truck trend hit London yet? It started a couple of years ago in LA, and is growing in New York now too, but last time I checked the only mobile food vendors in London were kebab vans, icecream vans and those dodgy dirty gang-aligned hot dog carts.

These groovy food trucks cruise the city's streets, parking somewhere different every day. They tweet their whereabouts, 'corner of Varick and Christopher, 11 till 1', and their eager followers flock to queue around the block for lunch. You never know quite where they'll be the next day. In dense little New York that's probably manageable, but in sprawling LA I imagine some people had quite a long drive to get their lunch.

The original truck that everyone went nuts about in LA was Kogi BBQ, a Korean Barbecue truck. Personally I think if you can't cook the Korean beef at your table, there's no fun in it, but their crowds of customers think differently. The one I took this photo of today in Soho is a typically random fusion of Korean and Mexican:  Kimchi (that's the Korean bit) Taco (you got it!). And I saw a Greek Mexican one on the Upper West Side the other day. Mexican is actually a bit of a common denominator, come to think of it.

Apparently the food these trucks serve is pretty good. I guess that's why it works.

Unfortunately I have too many bad memories of their cousin, the ropey kebab van, to try one of these new incarnations yet... This (along with heavy truffle oil) may have to be another food trend I pass on. You can take the girl out of London, but you can't take the London food truck snob out of the girl, I guess.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reductionist restaurant names

You know, like Fig, or Olive. I really don't like those restaurant names which reduce their entire offering to one ingredient. Or even two, yes, Fig + Olive I'm talking to you.

Worse still is that small chain of restaurants in West London which included Red Pepper, Green Olive and Purple Basil. They are named after not just any variety of pepper, olive or basil, but a very particular one.

An aside, I was once asked by a friend of my new-at-the-time boyfriend whether 'he's red peppered you yet'. For a moment I thought she had indiscreetly revealed some bizarre fetish, but it turns out it was just his choice of Red Pepper as a location for dates. (Yes, he had).

It's so offputting. What if I don't want to eat fig? Can I still eat at Fig? What happens when figs are out of season?  (Yes, though American supermarkets work hard to subvert this reality, fruit and veg really are seasonal).

My golden rule is to never eat in a restaurant named after a single ingredient or dish. I just don't like it. There are some exceptions to this rule:

1a. If the restaurant's name covers a whole area of the menu, not just one dish or ingredient. Especially if it is the house speciality. Like any oyster bar, steak house or burger joint that features only the name of its raison d'etre on its fascia.

There's a place near us called Burgers and Cupcakes, which strikes me as a fatally doomed attempt to capitalize on two very different target markets. Maybe it's perfect for an early date. But then, why is it always so empty in there? Anyway, I digress. I haven't tried it because it looks awful, and I can't get excited about burgers and cupcakes, but the name can stand.

1b. If the restaurant's name refers to the only thing they serve. This is different to the house speciality I mention above. Rather, this is the house mono-ality (a word I just invented). Porchetta is a good example.

2. If I tried it anyway, and I like it. Take Artichoke Basille, a pizza joint near us. It's bad enough that it seems they named themselves after two very specific ingredients, one of which I don't even like on pizza. Basille happens to be the owner's last name, which is just confusing. It looks like they mean Artichoke and Basil but cannot spell.

And yet... they serve this incredible crab pizza, with a creamy crab (possibly Krab actually) topping, for which I will forgive them anything. I think about it literally every day.

Hey, I made the rule, so surely I can break it?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Airport Golf Restaurant - a Photo Essay

Apologies for the longer-than-usual gap between posts. I've been to Palm Beach, to visit TLOML and his glamourous mother.

From January till May, Palm Beach is a mecca for the East Coast's monied Villebrequin and Ralph Lauren-wearing hordes. They gather in Palm Beach in exclusive members-only clubs, to drink mai tais and talk about how much better the mai tais are at their club than at the less exclusive club next door. It's very pretty, chi chi, and all round fabulous. From May to August, it's mainly a mecca for mosquitoes and humidity. Then the hurricanes roll in.

So mid July is pretty firmly off season. But we had a lovely time eating at the hotspots of Palm Beach and talking wedding plans and embarrassing TLOML baby stories.

One of the activities the Trumps and Rockefellers of this world like to do in Palm Beach is to play golf. I guess this is why there is a golf themed restaurant in the airport. It was called Sam Snead, after a man who is apparently a legend of golf. I've never seen a golf themed restaurant before, so I took a bunch of photos.

I was going to opine that the restaurant is weird and such places don't exist in Britain - in one of my familiar Transatlantica riffs. But TLOML says it may not be true, and it's more likely that such restaurants exist and I just haven't been to one yet. So I will refrain from comment, and simply publish these photos as an interesting record of an apparently perfectly normal place to eat and drink.

This is the entrance. You can see a photo of Sam Snead's grip, and some of his memorabilia in the display cabinet. Including his golf bag.

This putting green is part of the restaurant.

On every page of the menu there was a different quote about Sam Snead.

Many menu items were named after Sam.

I could go on....

As I said, no comment. Perfectly normal. There are restaurants like this in every British transport hub. Sure.