So, unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard that England is kind of a big deal right now. The queen is currently celebrating her Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne!) and in July, thousands of the world's best athletes will descend upon London to fight for glory (a.k.a. the Olympics). It's enough to have even the most casual Anglophiles among us in a frenzy. Those of us not lucky enough to be visiting England this summer may wonder: How best to celebrate the awesomeness of our parent across the pond? To help, we've come up with five oh-so-English traditions that can be enjoyed anywhere -- no U.K. citizenship required.
1. Eat English delicacies, such as pigs' feet
Oyster's pick for where to do it: The Breslin at the Ace Hotel, New York City
The English may not be renowned for their cuisine, but when it's done well, it's extremely delicious. British chef April Bloomfield has proved as much, and The Breslin is one of the best places in the States to sample English gastropub fare. On the menu? Pig's feet with spring vegetables and creme fraiche, seafood sausage with beurre blanc and chives, and a chargrilled lamb burger with cumin mayo and thrice cooked chips (chips means French fries, for those not well-versed in English eating.)
2. Enjoy a bonfire
Oyster's pick for where to do it: Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort
Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, is an annual English holiday where citizens light bonfires and fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes' failure to blow up Parliament (and King James I) in 1605. The holiday isn't until November, but that's no reason you can't some partake in some English pride when you roast marshmallows on a bonfire this summer. Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort has an excellent bonfire pit that's lit daily.
3. Have beer at a pub
Oyster's pick for where to do it: Todd English's Public Urban Bar (P.U.B.) at the Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas
There's nothing like a cold pint (or five) to get in the true English spirit. Las Vegas's P.U.B. has an extensive beer menu: There are dozens of draught beers (organized into categories such as "wheaty and yeasty" and "hale and hearty pales and ales"), as well as beer flights, bottles of beer, beer cocktails, and cask beer -- unpasteurized ale that is matured in and then served from a cask. If you need some filling food to soak up all that beer-y goodness, the food menu includes traditional English favorites such as shepherd's pie, fish and chips, banger's and mash.
4. Rub elbows at an exclusive garden party
Oyster's pick for where to do it: The English rooftop garden at The Surrey, New York City
True Anglophiles know that for the upper crust, summertime means garden party season. Royal garden parties, to be exact: Invites to the queen's garden parties at Buckingham Palace are highly coveted. But even though we common folk may not get to sip tea with the Queen, that's no reason we can't host our own exclusive soirees. Those looking for a real invite-only experience should consider booking a room at The Surrey Hotel; its English rooftop garden, where butlers serve food and drink, is open only to guests and members of the hotel's patron's club.
5. Have traditional afternoon tea
Oyster's pick for where to do it: Mandarin Oriental, Boston
If you're going to have traditional afternoon tea stateside, we think there's something very fitting about having it in Boston, where the Boston Tea Party took place all those years ago. (Perhaps a better word is ironic, since the tea party involved disgruntled patriots dumping tea into the harbor.) The Mandarin Oriental has a lovely afternoon tea service in its lobby lounge, with cakes, tarts, scones, and a number of tea blends.