Benugo, St Pancras International, London, March 2018

It’s another in the “quick post” series. After a late breakfast this morning (more like brunch) we weren’t starving at lunchtime, so delayed our lunch plans until we got back to the station. After the freezing cold weather, we wanted something warm, so headed to Benugo for some toasted sandwiches.

The “New Yorker” is apparently the most popular sandwich, consisting of shaved turkey breast, crispy bacon, Gruyère, sliced tomato, iceberg lettuce and Dijon mayo on dark caraway ciabatta.

It certainly makes for a tasty sandwich, although the iceberg lettuce didn’t really need to be in there, as it didn’t add anything worthwhile to the sandwich.

There are various dining options at St Pancras, Benugo is not a bad choice.

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Tesco Travesty, March 2018

When you’re on the go and have things to do then a supermarket sandwich can fill a hole in your day. When you get home and find that your “chicken, bacon and sausage” sandwich looks like this:-

Then something is not right in the world of supermarket sandwich makers. Even worse when this is a “premium” sandwich from the Finest range, which should definitely contain more than just half a teaspoon of bacon.

After eating this travesty I did tweet Tesco about it, and they later offered a refund which I accepted. I think that’s fair, given that the sandwich didn’t contain all of the things that it should have done.

Grounds Cafe, Hicks Lodge, February 2018

Another day out walking. Conditions underfoot today have been squelchy and squashy, much like they have for most of the winter. Luckily we knew that a warm welcome awaited in this cafe, as it’s somewhere that occasional MOFAD companion and triple pork nirvana chaser Dan has been a lot.

We arrived after 2pm for a late lunch, which was probably not a bad idea as a few tables had become free (it’s very popular as there are loads of cycle trails around this former coal mining site).

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A nice simple lunch today, chicken, bacon and cheese panino (although it was a baguette pretending to be a panino), with a little bit of salad on the side. Once again I left the sad iceberg lettuce to its own devices and ate the rest, including some very nice cherry tomatoes.

This little cafe is great if you are walking or cycling in the area. They are open until 4pm on winter weekdays, 5pm at weekends and also 5pm all week between February and October half terms. They open until 9pm every Thursday all year round.

Poppy and Pint, West Bridgford, December 2017

We are back again. If only this pub wasn’t so far away (time as opposed to distance) then I’m sure we would come here a bit more. It’s just such a pain getting to West Bridgford in the early evening. The dark and winding A60 or the hell on earth that is the current situation around junction 24 of the M1. No thanks.

Enough logisitical lamentation, on to our visit. Here with walking friends as usual, for the standard mix of food, drink and chat. A drink first, in the form of this Sorachi Mango IPA from Totally Brewed, who hail from just a mile or two down the Trent. The mango is rather strangled by the Sorachi Ace hop, which is why Mrs MOFAD didn’t like this one, and I did. I love the Sorachi Ace, a definite Marmite amongst hops.

To dinner then. And with Christmas just around the corner, a festive twist on a standard menu item, in the form of this brie, bacon and cranberry topped burger.

It was lovely. I do like a tart cranberry (too many gloopy sugary sauces on the market for my liking), and this was a cracking burger, with decent thin fries, lovely crisp onion rings and a little pot of coleslaw. The bonus sweet chilli sauce was from Mrs MOFAD’s chicken burger, and I wasn’t going to turn down a sweet chilli hit for my chips.

Another nice meal at this lovely community hub that just happens to be a pub. Great local beer, good food and well worth a visit, particularly if you live a bit closer than we do!

Buddy’s Restaurant, Albufeira, Algarve, October 2017

Albufeira, the Skegness of the Algarve. As you approach the area, you come through lovely countryside, and some nice old buildings. This soon deteriorates as you get to a tribute version of any tacky English seaside town, somewhere where they sport “kiss me quick” hats etc.

Before tourism and package holidays exploded into life in the 1950s and 1960s, farmers who owned areas of land away from the coast where the people with the money in this area. Land by the coast wasn’t viable for farming, so wasn’t worth a lot. When holiday resorts and hotel complexes came knocking, the landowners by the coast were suddenly sitting on a goldmine, and they were the people with the money.

Goodbye characterful area, hello to identikit hotels with pools surrounded by sunbeds, and pubs serving a full English breakfast all day every day. That’s not really what I want when I’m going on holiday, I want something that is different to what I can find at home.

This is the dichotomy of Albufeira. Keep things like they were, and nowhere near as much tourist trade comes your way. Ruin your town, and your local economy produces enough money to support your population. A tough call.

A very philosophical start to a quick blog post about a club sandwich and some chips, in one of those aforementioned bars which doesn’t appear to have anything reflective of local culture. Maybe the token olive on a cocktail stick feels slightly local, but I don’t think the Portugese nation was built on chips, sliced white and club sandwiches.

This was essentially fodder for the rest of the day, nothing special, just enough to fill a hole.

If you’re coming to the Algarve, don’t come to Albufeira.

Skipton Park Guest O’tel, September 2017

On our previous visit to Skipton, we stayed at Fawlty Towers. This was due to the late nature of our booking, so we didn’t have a lot of choice.

This time, we had choice. We booked Skipton Park Guest O’tel (their abuse of English, not mine), back in October 2016 whilst we were in Southwold. It looked quirky, but in a good way.

We arrived not long after lunch on Friday afternoon, and were met by Jenny, one of the owners, who gave us an effusive welcome and explained everything about the hotel in forensic detail.

We were out for most of the day, and then up for breakfast on Saturday morning. Hazel & Mrs MOFAD needed fuel for their Yarndale exploits, Matt & I needed fuel for our walking tour of Skipton. This was a decent hotel fry up (a bit more colour on that sausage wouldn’t have gone amiss, but nothing to complain about).

Fast forward a day, and you get something very similar, just with some lightly toastesd toast on the side. All cooked by Ken, who is heard but seldom seen throughout your stay. Lots of very flavoursome ingredients make a cracking hotel breakfast.

After the craziness of Fawlty Towers in 2015, this was an enormous improvement. Lovely breakfasts, perfectly located for Skipton town centre (just  a short walk away, but far enough to be quiet at night) and friendly owners make for a lovely stay. I think we’ll be back next time we come to Skipton for a walking tour.

The Tudor Arms #4, Slimbridge, September 2017

Oh dear. It had all been going so well. After 2 good dinners and a decent breakfast, the wheels came off today. The normal chef had a family matter to deal with, and the relief chef hadn’t turned up to take over. This left a pub full of diners waiting for breakfasts. However, we didn’t find out about this until later on in proceedings. We ordered, we got teas and coffees. No mention of any problems.

An hour later, no sign of breakfast. We were informed that they were prioritising their residential guests first. Shame you didn’t tell us that earlier on. We managed to twist their arms into giving us some more tea and coffee. It shouldn’t have taken arm twisting, and the feeling of “other customers are more important than you” did rather put a dampener on our lovely weekend.

A much sadder offering today, the sign of a kitchen out of their depth and desperate to get plates out. Eventually. A shame things had to end like this, and a shame that they weren’t really interested in trying to treat all of their customers equally.