Coach House Cafe, Rufford Abbey Country Park, Nottinghamshire, April 2018

We want plates. Today was the perfect example of why. On to the that in a moment.

We were in the area doing a few bits and pieces and decided to stop here for lunch and then maybe a bit of a wander around the grounds. It’s certainly worth staying a while to get value for money from the car park fee 🙂

So, on to plates. As you can see, the food below is served on a silly slate, not a plate. If you look closely, you might spot three halves of panino. Two of those halves are from the second attempt at making one. The other half is from the first attempt, and its counterpart never made it onto the slate, slipping down on to the floor with great speed. A plate would likely have stopped this, saving the cafe time and money, and the person who dropped it embarassment. The hungry customer (me) did rather well, as I got 50% extra free.

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The moral of this story is very definitely to use plates to serve up your tasty ham and cheese panino (it was very tasty indeed), because then you don’t waste money. The large thimble of coleslaw wasn’t much to write home about, but the rest was very nice.

A good place for a spot of lunch, just a shame that the weather didn’t hold out so that we could explore more of the grounds…

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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.

The King’s Head Hotel, Thirlmere, January 2018

It’s the first day of #tryanuary. So a trip to the pub is certainly in order. As ever, we do it the hard way, by sticking a hill somewhere along the route and getting up and down it before lunch. Today, that was Great How. Puzzlingly, it’s not a Wainwright, so our total for 2018 is zero for now. We got to the top and enjoyed lovely sunshine and great views. As soon as we were back at the bottom, the skies decided that it was time to open, and we walked the rest of the way to the pub in the rain. A classic Lakes walk.

We came to this pub almost exactly a year ago (on the day that started our hatred of the stupidly over-priced 555 bus). So we knew that they serve food all day, perfect when you’re out walking and you’re not exactly sure when you will arrive at the pub for lunch.

A similar sandwich to last year, but they got my order right today and delivered the requested ham and cheese instead of bacon and brie (technically ham and cheese).

The salad has shrunk a bit, but the pickle/chutney now comes in a little dish. Warm and tasty and just the thing to help dry out on a soggy day.

You’ll note the lack of beer, despite being the first day of #tryanuary. When all they’ve got is some Jennings beers which haven’t been locally owned since 2005, then I’ll save myself for some independent local beers later on. Tryanuary is about supporting local pubs and independent breweries, so whilst I’m happy that we supported a local pub, I don’t want any beer money going back to Wolverhampton. This rejection of anything owned by the Marston’s empire may seem a bit snobbish, but I just prefer to support smaller local breweries rather than the enormous beer conglomerate.

Lake District Wildlife Park cafe, Bassenthwaite, Cumbria, December 2017

Keep it simple and you won’t go far wrong. A reasonable mantra for life and certainly for a business. After our aborted visit to the Wheatsheaf Inn, we came back this way, having driven past on our way to the “no food today” pub.

The Lake District Wildlife Park has been around for a while, but we’ve never been, as we are usually out in the hills with the actual local wildlife rather than the imported mandrils and red pandas in cages.

The most handy feature is that they have a cafe that serves food all day, and you can visit the cafe without paying to get in to the park itself, which is nice. Both Mrs MOFAD and I had a ham and cheese panino which comes with chilli tortilla chips and a nice coleslaw (not onion heavy).

Exactly what we wanted for today, well priced, tasty and quick. A friendly little cafe which is handily placed if you find yourself at the top end of Bassenthwaite Lake (the only lake in the Lake District).

We didn’t linger as there was one more Wainwright to ascend for 2017, and we had to get up and down before it got too dark…

Laura in the Lakes, Keswick, December 2017

Another quick lunchtime post. A day of dull today, so we were trundling around the shops in Keswick today. We decided to try something different for lunch, one of the many quirky little cafes in Keswick, in the form of Laura in the Lakes.

We’ve walked by countless times, it’s hard to miss with its eye catching cutesy sheep/butterfly branding. Today was the day to pop in for a later lunch. Loads to choose from, including panini, wraps, baguettes, rolls, pizza breads, quiches, soups, broths, stews, curries, lasagne, pies, pastries and jacket spuds.

I had ham & cheese panino (always predictable), it was simple and tasty, perfect to warm up on a miserable day in winter.

If you’re out and about in Keswick, then this compact little cafe will do nicely.

Tebay Services, December 2017

A trip to Keswick always means a trip to Tebay services, the best on the entire motorway network. We try to time our arrival for lunchtime to combine a spot of shopping with a spot of lunch. In the summertime, the BBQ is usually on the go outside which means a delicious local juicy burger.

It’s just a little chilly for that today, so we opted for a seat in the cafe in the sunshine, where we could watch the ducks skating around on the frozen pond.

Whilst they skidded around in the cold, we enjoyed some nice warm food. Where else on the motorway would you get a ham and cheese toastie that looks and tastes this good? Nowhere. One of the only service stations where it’s a pleasure to have to stop. No sad and dusty cans of cola products required either, the delicious Square Root Ginger Beer from Square Root Soda Works in Hackney. They  won the 2015 BBC Food & Farming Awards for best drinks producer, the first soft drinks company to make it in to the final, let alone win the award.

A lovely lunch was then followed by some shopping, picking up some local beer and foods as well as some delicatessen delights. We’ll be back in the summer.

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!