Pret A Manger – Ready to Eat

    Guest post by Paul Simeon

    This name may sound foreign to you, unless you happened to see it in the UK, New York, DC, or Hong Kong. It’s a British chain, with a French name, that’s slowly coming to America (and elsewhere). The private company has decided not to franchise, so it’s not spreading as fast as other fast food places, but they’ll slowly populate the States; Chicago is next this Fall.

    Pret, as it is called by many, is like the ready-to-eat sections, as the name suggests, of cafes and food shops. They have a myriad of salads and sandwiches on the shelf that you can grab and take to the cashier. It’s about as fast as fast food can be. They have soups, fruit, baguettes, sushi, wraps, smoothies, yogurt, etc. They make everything in the kitchen each day and give the unsold items to charity at the end of the day.

    The other thing one should say when describing this place in such a quick manner is that they stress that everything they sell is natural — no artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, sweeteners. They even buy meat from sellers who “never give their animals antibiotics or hormones, feed them only a vegetarian diet free of animal by-products and care about them and the environment in which they live.”

    Crawfish and avocado salad from Pret A Manger

    I went to my first Pret in London, where you can’t find a street without one, after a morning at the Science Museum with some friends I met at the summer school. I didn’t have a camera, but I got the Italian Pizza hot wrap and the crawfish and avocado salad. Both were good, but I particularly liked the salad. They had tons of crawfish, almost too many, but it had been a while since I had crawfish. The second time I went, the next day after the British Museum, I had a camera. I got the salad again and the vegetable sushi. I decided to take the picture of the sushi after I had eaten three pieces. The two of these set me back 6.50 pounds.

    Overall, I liked how it operates. It’s fast, efficient, and pretty healthy. My only problem is that almost everything had mayonnaise on it, and I don’t like mayo. It was so common, they actually had “No Mayo!” stickers next to the names of the items that lacked that nasty white goop, but there weren’t many of those stickers to be found. So, most of the sandwiches were off-limits for me. That wasn’t a problem because they had plenty of other options.

    Other bites in England:
    Oxford dinners – part I and II
    – Cheap Moroccan grabs from Cous Cous Cafe, Oxford
    – Indian food in Oxford: Mirch Masala and Fire & Stone’s Bombay pizza
    – Pie and mash at the Ship Inn Upavon and Pieminister

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