Plank & Leggit, Sawley, January 2019

A #tryanuary adventure with a twist. Of lime. And soda. Another visit to this standard chain pub for some food and some chat. My #tryanuary advenure had to come to a temoporary halt with the sad sight of Greene King IPA. Another night on the lime and soda, but not a problem as there’s plenty of great beer left to sample this month. It just happens to mostly be in my fridge at home.

So on to dinner then, lots of good value food to chose from. Mrs MOFAD had the sweet potato and chick pea curry, I opted for the “chicken New Yorker” a cheese topped hunter’s chicken with a couple of onion rings, half a grilled tomato and a spoonful of peas. Decent chain pub fodder to fill your belly.

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A good evening of chat, if only they’d make an effort to get some beer into the pub.

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Asaya Thai, Keswick, December 2018

Our updated tradition is to have a Thai takeaway on NYE. For many years, we had a Chinese takeaway on New Year’s Eve. With the closure of Ambleside favourite Jade Garden, this tradition was threatened. We did try an alternative a few years ago, but it wasn’t so good. In 2014 and 2015 we switched to Thai, with visits to Jintana in Ambleside. We switched back to Chinese in 2016 at Lucky Dragon, but last year we were back with Thai at Star of Siam in Keswick, somewhere we’ve been pretty much every time we’ve been to Keswick.

This year we were switching again, trying Asaya Thai, which is not much more than a stone’s throw from our usual Keswick accommodation. The main issue was the lack of menu anywhere – none in a flat filled with a million irrelevant leaflets, and absolutely nothing online. It feels so weird in 2018 to not have an online presence with a menu, but they aren’t the only place lacking such a presence. I’ve had loads of hits from people searching for “Dinner Box (Chinese takeaway), Boroughbridge” (because I wrote a review about it which mentions that it also has no online presence).

The good news is that they do takeaways, and have a limited menu that they offer to take away. This is a good approach I think, as they can knock out more dishes to takeaway customers without over complicating things by offering over 100 dishes. They have many of the classics like chicken & cashew nuts, Pad Thai, chicken satay (pictured) and Massaman curry (chicken version pictured).

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A lovely dinner to close out the year, celebrating climbing 30 Wainwrights (plus 1 outlier) and so much more. Definitely a great Thai in Keswick.

We’re off to bed early since tomorrow is forecast to be a lovely day, and there are more Wainwrights to conquer.

The Royal Redgate, December 2018

The pub is in Warwickshire, the pub car park is in Leicestershire (according to the boundary signts outside at least). It describes itself as the most central pub in England, and was awarded the “Country pub of the year” award by the “Living in the Shires” magazine.

It was our destination for Sunday lunch today, as we had taken some plants over to Mrs MOFAD’s sister’s new house, after her recent stay with us. It was also a chance to say hello to our former feline house guest Holly, who is adjusting to her third house in as many months.

As the pub is only a mile and a half away, it was the ideal choice for lunch. They serve the full menu on a Sunday lunchime alongside a choice of roasts (beef or chicken today). Between us we chose pies and a chicken burger, from the rather mucky menus (they really need a clean folks).

Five beer engines available, although only two populated, with Hobgoblin, and a Ringwood beer. This tells you that this is a Marston’s pub, which tells you that the beer will be meh. Lime and soda it was then, although this turned out to be £3 a pint – ouch!

The food arrived, and it was very nice. All of the pies came on plates, with chips and veg. My chicken burger came on a silly bread board. Maybe they only had 3 plates, so didn’t have one for me. It was very tasty, as were the pies that everyone else had (although they all left their greens!) Proper good pub chips too.

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We decided to have pudding, and as ever, the chocolate torte was the right choice, which Mrs MOFAD and I shared. Rich and dense, with a nice blob of pistachio ice cream, a hazelnut tuille sort of thing, and some crushed nuts too. And some saucy cheffy squiggles.

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A pleasant Sunday lunch, but clean up those menus please, and check your lime and soda pricing 🙂

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, California Street, Denver, October 2018

Another day, another chain restaurant. A seafood chain this time, and a few more people have gathered in Denver now, so we opted just to cross the road and go here. I can see it from my hotel room, so it was pretty inevitable.

As you might expect, there’s a lot of shrimp on the menu, but that’s not really my thing. Most of it is breaded and deep fried too. There’s also tilapia, salmon and mahi mahi. Alongside that there’s steak and ribs and a burger. I had the Texas chicken sandwich, deep fried chicken breast (super crispy batter), bacon, cheese, guacamole, chilli ancho mayo and fries. Oh and some limp shredded iceberg. And a nice tangy pickled gherkin. It was pretty good stuff.

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Another decent selection of beer, fast becoming a thing here in downtown Denver. My choice was Trail Beer by 10 Barrel Brewing Co, from Bend, Oregon. It was a tasty pale ale with notes of citrus and pine, and went nicely with the chicken. Later on, I discovered that this was another AB InBev beer, one of the portfolio of things that they’ve spent the last few years gobbling up.

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A decent dinner once more, in slightly odd neon tinged surroundings.

Henrys Tavern, 16th Street, Denver, October 2018

Another night, another bar full of wall to wall TVs showing a feast of sports. You certainly don’t need to miss any sporting action if you want to go out to eat in Denver. It’s everywhere.

Henry’s is a small chain which originated in Portland, but it was hard to tell it apart from Yard House, where we went last night. Not quite so many beers on tap, but still a decent selection, and a similar menu with the usual selection of burgers, tacos, pizzas, fish’n’chips and stir fries.

If I see a BBQ chicken pizza then I’m likely to have it, and that was the case here, BBQ marinated chicken, applewood smoked bacon and “sharp” cheddar (which didn’t lacerate my mouth).

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Another local beer to go with it, Upslope lager, malty with a crisp finish, brewed up the road in Boulder.

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Nothing remarkable about this place, but a perfectly pleasant place for a pizza and a pint (actual volume of pint may vary, because Americans have a smaller gallon, so if you have 1/8th of a gallon here it’s 473ml instead of 568ml). Oh, and there’s sport. World series again tonight.

Yard House, 16th Street, Denver, October 2018

The day job has brought me to Denver for a week. My first international solo trip which is hopefully going to be very rewarding. My research has told me that Denver is a city of beer, so I will be putting that to the test over the next few days, before getting down to some long American conference days (first session 7:30am, last session a networking event lasting until 10pm). There will be city exploration before then. And not so much humble bragging…

It’s a very convenient city from my first impressions. A train from the airport costs $9, and takes you to the heart of “downtown”. Although tonight, there was a replacement bus service for the last leg of the journey, on an absolutely roasting hot bus. It felt like a very British welcome, what could be more British than those three words “replacement bus service”?

After that, there’s a free bus that runs up and down 16th Street “The Mall” all day. When your hotel is on 15th Street, that’s very convenient. So, arrive at hotel, check in, find that the bill that was supposed to be pre-paid hasn’t been, sort that out (or so you think), and then go out for something to eat.

After strolling down 16th Street for a little while, my dining companion and I chose Yard House. This may have had something to do with its tagline “World’s largest selection of draft beer”. A bold claim indeed. I counted 108. That’s pretty good going.

It’s almost the same as the number of TV screens in here. It’s a Saturday night, and it’s wall to wall sports. NFL, NBA, College Football and the World Series of Rounders (lazy English derision of Baseball). Turn your head a few degrees and you can watch a different game every time, although only one audio stream is available (World Series tonight).

On to that beer then. How do you choose from 108? For me it was a choice of familiar favourite styles, and a dry hopped pale ale from Boulder Beer Company called Hazed & Infused won the day. Delightfully hoppy, easy drinking and fresh flavour. Enough to liven up the taste buds after 19 hours awake.

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Next up, some dinner. I’ve already eaten four meals and some snacks in this elongated day, but you have to adjust your body to a new timezone, so having another dinner is a nice way of doing that. Fried chicken is a popular dish on this continent, and I do love it when it’s done right, so I was drawn to it on the menu.

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A tasty, juicy piece of chicken, nice and crisp on the outside and served with creamed corn (not something I think I’ve had before), bbq beans (meh), spinach mashed potatoes and bourbon gravy.

The photos are a bit rubbish because this was one of those occasions where explaining the whole concept of The MOFAD was not on the agenda, so a quick snap was all that there was time for. Sadly there wasn’t time for more beer, because it was time for bed. There’s always tomorrow.

There’s definitely tomorrow.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

PS – the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Boston Red Sox 3 – 2, in what turned out to be their only victory in the series.

Dinner Box (Chinese takeaway), Boroughbridge, August 2018

AKA the place that seems not to exist on the internet. Apart from food hygiene ratings (good) and a couple of random pictures on restaurantguru.com (which I’d never heard of until now), this place seems not to exist. However, we can confirm that it does because we rung them up, placed an order, and then went out and collected it (they don’t deliver). The name doesn’t really give you a clue as to what they do, a Chinese takeaway that also has a few Thai dishes on the menu.

A varied selection from our party as usual, although a few of us went for the Kung po chicken, which is my “go to” dish, and it was a very warm one. Lots of red chilli in this to give it a proper spicy kick, and I think a little too hot for some of our dining companions who ordered it. I suffered no ill effects though 🙂 A lack of pineapple, and not enough cashew nuts, so not a perfect KPC, but very tasty.

No photos as this was another occasion where hunger overtook the photo instinct!