The Pack Horse Inn, Keswick, June 2016 – quiz night

It’s quiz night! My Pointless Friend Richard ride again, after our last victory back in May. Tonight it’s just me and Mrs MOFAD representing.

First, let’s look back on today’s walk very briefly, a quick photo of Derwent Water as viewed from on our way up to Maiden Moor and then High Spy and back down to Little Town (where we had lunch on Monday).

A very nice walk on a lovely sunny day. So, to the pub (after a cup of tea and a shower of course).

At the Pack Horse Inn, dining areas are located on three terraces leading up the stairs and you can also eat in the bar area, which is where we grabbed a table on a busy evening.  It’s a Robinsons pub, as with so many in the area, so you’ll know what you’re getting – a range of their good ales, and good food (based on our experiences so far).

Tonight we begin with a pint of Hartley’s Cumbrian XB. Hartley’s were bought out by Robinsons in 1982, and continued to brew in Ulverston until 1991, when brewing was transferred to Stockport. The Cumbrian XB is a classic English bitter and a refreshing start to the evening.

Dinner arrived next, after we watched it go back to the kitchen and then come back out because we had moved tables not long after ordering, as a nicer one by the window became available.

Mrs MOFAD and I had the same thing tonight, this chicken in wild mushroom and cream sauce, served with chips and salad. It was really nice, juicy chicken, a nice sauce and really good chips, along with a decent salad (you can see a tiny bit of it in the top left).

A little more refreshment to accompany it, this time a Unicorn, a classic dark golden ale which I’ve had before. It used to be called Robinsons Best Bitter.

Dinner was done, time to limber up for the quiz. Important not to get dehyrdated during quiz activities, so it was time for something else, another familiar Robinsons ale in the form of Dizzy Blonde, full of happy hoppy hints.

This was very necessary as the quiz got underway. The “picture round” was about rabbits (identify cartoon rabbits such as Jessica Rabbit, Hazel from Watership Down, etc.) General knowledge next which got off to a deliberately easy start but then went more obscure. The music round was less fun, with some more obscure 1960s and 1970s tracks. I can recognise The Hollies, but not many of their songs. I think we were one of the few teams to recognise Aswad though 🙂

We were going really well, and then the specialist round arrived. Computers. Hello day job! Hello degree! Hello 30 plus years of computing experience! All of these things combined to give us maximum points in this round. A break next, and time to refresh the brain cells once again, this time with Robinsons Smooth, a cold and smooth pint, uncomplicated. This is what Boddingtons or John Smith’s should be, instead of the perfunctory liquids that they are.

This did the trick for the final general knowledge round, and helped us through. Then it was time for the marking and the scores. When you mark another team’s answer sheet, you begin to get an idea of how well (or otherwise you’ve done).

The top three arrives. We are in it. In fact, we are on top of it, another victory for My Pointless Friend Richard, and enough money to pay for dinner 🙂 Winner!

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TPN 2016 #15

It’s 15 for 2016. When we are away on a walking holiday, the chances of triple pork nirvana are always increased. We usually have bacon and egg baps for breakfast, which is a good protein-rich start to the day.

Many of our Lake District walks don’t involve pubs, because not many ever got built on the tops of fells. So lunch is often some kind of sandwich on top of a fell somewhere (hopefully with some shelter out of the wind). Often, that will be a ham and cheese sandwich as we both like these so it’s easy to prepare in the morning. I used to favour roast beef which is probably a childhood thing, as the Sunday roast would always provide a few sandwiches for the school lunch box in the week (although I’m not going to have roast beef with tomato sauce nowadays!)

Today’s TPN was not going to be a TPN as I had some chicken to cook for dinner, but as we got back later than planned, we decided to grab a pizza from LB’s instead, which was a very nice pulled pork pizza, to complete the triple. It was a good pulled pork, not the sickly sweet stuff that you often find.

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I’m sure the next triple will be along soon…

LB’s Pizza, Keswick, June 2016 (takeaway)

Another day out in the Lakeland fells, as we explored obscure Wainwrights to the west of Thirlmere, taking in High Tove and Armboth, descending via Blea Tarn and Harrop Tarn, followed by a mile or two alongside Thirlmere on the way back to the car. Just a few steps:-

So, we were back in Keswick a bit later than planned, and didn’t really want to cook, so we decided to go for the reliable takeway pizza option. We ate at LB’s last year, so we knew the pizzas were good. I wandered across town to order, sat at the bar for a short while, and then wandered back with pizzas in hand (well, in boxes in hand).

Mrs MOFAD had opted for that classic Hawaiian, whilst my choice was a predictable pulled pork pizza, the Texas BBQ:-

This was something I spotted last year, but I was tempted by the hoisin duck pizza instead (a decision I didn’t regret). And I didn’t regret choosing this one this year, as it was a really nice pulled pork pizza – good deep flavours, and no sickly sweet BBQ sauce to spoil it.

As we weren’t eating out, that meant having full access to a fridge full of lots of great beers, most of which were purchased from Booths earlier in the week.

Refreshment began with this very interesting Japanese Saison (there are 2 words you don’t often see together):-

There’s a lot going on here, from the koji (the national fungus of Japan), sake yeast, Belgian yeast and Yuzu (a citrus fruit something akin to a wild mandarin). There are also 4 hops and malts fighting for your attention. Lovely stuff.

A quick trip to Tebay services for the next one, a Tasty Blonde, brewed by Eden Brewery for Westmorland Farm Shops. This was a tasty and hoppy pale ale.

Things ended on a rather non-descript note with this American Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. It was essentially meh.

But the headline act was certainly the pizza, a very tasty effort.

The Wainwright, Keswick, June 2016

Our second visit to The Wainwright, after an excellent introduction last year. Whilst looking back, I’ve realised that I am behind on my “pub of the month” posts, as it was definintely in the running for pub of the month back in May 2015.

We’d popped in earlier this week, but it was very busy on Saturday night, and we were very hungry, so retreated to the Royal Oak instead. We had a bit more time tonight, and as luck would have it, a table became free within a minute of walking in, so we were soon settled in and ordering something to eat and drink.

Once again, it was something from Fell Brewery that tempted me first, a pint of Simcoe Wheat, full of hoppy bitter goodness alongside some wheaty earthiness. Any beer that decides to add more hops is good for me – this was very interesting and a tasty pint (and yes, it’s supposed to be cloudy). Mrs MOFAD had some Symonds cider, always reliable.

Food next. Some familiar things on the menu from last year (I recommended the game pie to another customer who was ordering at the bar). Tonight I had the crispy supreme of chicken, with mashed potatoes, leeks and white wine cream sauce.

It was absolutely delicious, juicy chicken, good mash and a nice sauce. Having dined out on chicken dishes quite a few times recently I’m going to keep doing this, as it seems that kitchens are getting better at cooking it without turning it into shoe leather.

Mrs MOFAD had this very tasty burger with absolutely enormous onion rings – look at the size of them! A very good portion of food.

Something to accompany dinner, another pint for me, this is Corby Ale from Cumberland Breweries, surely the best thing to ever have the word Corby attached to it, a tasty, light bitter.

Another lovely visit to The Wainwright, great food and drink again. It really is the best pub in Keswick right now. You may have to wait for a table, or wait for your food, but the best things come to those who wait. There are no shortcuts or microwaved curries in here, it’s good quality stuff in a great pub.

Go here!

Little Town Farm Cafe

It’s summer. You might not always be able to work it out from the weather, but it is. It’s midsummer’s day today (early because of the leap year) but it doesn’t really feel like it.

This morning, we caught the Keswick Launch over to Hawse End. Every time we catch the launch, it seems to rain, and today was no exception. As soon as we boarded, a shower appeared and accompanied us across the lake. We got off at Hawse End, and then took a stroll up Cat Bells, experiencing a couple more showers on the way up, and managing to keep ahead of a gaggle of school children (and their teachers). We last came up here in June 2005, so it was nice to be back.

Cat Bells is often talked about as the “beginner Wainwright”, and it’s easy to see why. A pleasant ascent from the road at Hawse End, with just a couple of scrambly bits near the top. If you’ve never been up before, you may get caught out by the two “false summits” that you have to overcome before you reach the actual top.

There are several other Wainwrights that you can carry on to should you choose, such as Maiden Moor and High Spy, or you can quickly descend down in to the village of Little Town for a spot of lunch. There’s only one option, which is the cafe at Little Town Farm Guest House, serving a selection of lunch options as well as cream teas and English Lakes Ice Cream (which we’ve been here before to enjoy).

Today we opted for toasties, both going for the ham and raclette cheese toastie, with an interesting side salad and some crisps.

I really liked the strong flavour of the raclette, but it was a bit too much for Mrs MOFAD, who swapped her remaining toastie for some of my salad. Raclette comes from the French word “racler” which means “to scrape” – as it is such a good melting cheese, it often needs to be scraped. I’m surprised it’s not used more in toasties.

And what should you drink after climbing a Wainwright?  A pint of Wainwright of course. Although this beer now has less in common with the north west, as it’s now owned by Marston’s, and is brewed in Wolverhampton, so the Lancashire connection with Wainwright is now gone.

Still as reliable as ever, and the same can be said of the cafe – a lovely little place for lunch after a morning on the fells. Recommended if you’re in the area on foot – you’re unlikely to be passing on the road all that often!

Royal Hotel, Dockray, June 2016

A classic Lake District day of two halves. The forecast for today was for cloud and spots of brightness in the morning, with light rain arriving after lunch, and then settling in for the rest of the day.

We arrived at the Royal Hotel just before 2pm, after walking over from Aira Force via Gowbarrow Fell, reversing a route we did back in August 2002, which seems like a very long time ago! Luckily they don’t stop serving food until 2:30 so there was just enough time to order some lunch and a local pint.

That pint was Langdale Light from Tirril Brewery, an uncomplicated golden ale which was well earnt after a nice morning on the fells.

For lunch, that classic, a BLT, nice bread, good tasty bacon, with decent lettuce and tomato, and a better than average salad on the side (olives, feta, cucumber as well as lettuce and cherry tomatoes). A few crisps on the side too. We also ordered some curly fries to share, which were well cooked, crispy and not greasy.

Mrs MOFAD had the tuna savoury which was also very good, and generously filled, unlike so many tuna sandwiches which are just a smear of fishy paste in the centre of some tedious sliced white bread.

There are lots of tables out in the beer garden, but we sat indoors today due to the threat of rain (which arrived whilst we were eating). A friendly and welcoming place, and walkers are welcome. There aren’t many options in the area (it’s one of the few buildings in the entire village) so it’s welcome to find that the only real option is a good one.

Recommended if you find yourself around these parts.

Royal Oak, Keswick, June 2016

Hooray, hooray, it’s a holi-holiday. Summertime (according to the calendar if not the climate) sees us back in Keswick for a week of walking. We had planned to go to The Wainwright tonight, as we started our holiday here last year, but there were no tables so we were not able to dine (it was 8pm and we were starving).

So instead, we wandered back to the Royal Oak, where we ate a couple of times last year, and also in its previous incarnations. On a warm Saturday evening, it was very busy but they still managed to squeeze us in. It didn’t take long to choose something to eat and drink (did I mention that we were starving?)

To drink, Mrs MOFAD started with a Westons Mortimers Orchard – a standard cider, but refreshing on a warm summer evening.

For me it was a Thwaites Summer Solstice, a cracking summer pale ale, with a refreshing bitterness.

Not too much later, dinner arrived. I’d opted for the half roast chicken, much like at the Potting Shed a couple of weeks ago.

This one was lacking the peri peri sauce, but was still very tasty, perfectly cooked and juicy. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, when it is done well, a simple roast chicken is a wondrous thing. This was that thing. Served with thin cut chips, a simple salad of “leaves” and tomatoes and some coleslaw, this was pretty much perfect.

I say pretty much, because it was served in some kind of seed tray that you’d expect to find down the allotment. What is this obsession with serving food on things that are not plates? We invented plates to eat from. Use them!

To accompany, a Red Pike from Hesket Newmarket brewery – allegedly a red ale, but the least hoppy red ale I think I’ve ever had.

Mrs MOFAD had the seafood linguine, very tasty with lots of garlic.

We stayed for another drink, for me a pint of Tirril Ullswater Blonde which was something I also had last year, a pleasant golden ale.

A cracking Keswick pub, and a MOFAD card was left.