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Rodeo, New Mexico
June 24, 2006
Their name, Elephant and Castle, is derived from a pub of the same name (dating back to 1765) in a south London district of the same name. Its popularly asserted that the name is a corruption of Infanta de Castile, Spanish royalty betrothed to either Edward I, or Charles I. More likely, though, its origins lie with a London craft guild of the 13th century. The guild, known as Cutlers Company, made scissors, surgical instruments, and knives with ivory handles. An elephant with a howdah (elaborate seat used by hunters) on its back, was the medieval emblem of this trade guild. Today’s North American E&C elephant looks more like it’s carrying a small castle turret on its back.
Mild evening weather and good people-watching on Government Street led us to choose outside seating. Informed by our server that Thursdays were Margarita nights, we proceeded to order a couple on the rocks. No sooner had we begun sipping our drinks (a little on the weak side) when a frizzy rainbow-wigged clown in plaid red knickers and puppy-dog slippers began entertaining from the sidewalk next to E&C. (No, the drinks weren’t spiked with hallucinogens!) The white-faced, red-nosed clown’s routine included a red wagon, happy-face balloon, raggedy clown doll, child’s umbrella as props, and gentle interaction with passersby. One of the more colorful and amusing buskers eking out a living on Victoria’s streets.
Soon the clown moved on and we began to study the menu, a good selection of classic pub food, starters, salads, soup, burgers, and several sandwiches and wraps. Of course with all hype about Bang on, Bob had to try Bangers, Beans, ‘n Mash. I selected the less exciting chicken pot pie, which came with house salad. Other tempting selections included Guinness Irish stew and pub-style onion soup.
My chicken pot pie arrived in a tureen with the crust partially submerged by baking liquid, but it was tasty enough, containing an assortment of veggies. The salad was fresh but unremarkable. Bob liked his bangers (English sausages), covered with beef gravy and accompanied by red-skinned garlic mashed potatoes, baked beans, and apple chutney. The portions were quite conservative. We polished them off with no trouble at all, satisfied but not overly stuffed, not usually the case when we go out to eat and both order entrees. Total cost (with tax, without tip): C$35.
From journal Victoria Victuals
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
September 17, 2000
From journal Weekend in Victoria