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 🙂

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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.

Fish’n’chips (from a van), Clumber Park, September 2018

Probably the last camping trip of the year, and very possibly the last time we will be having fish’n’chips “from a van”.

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As I’ve mentioned many times over the summer, many camp sites are getting regular visits from food vans, and the site at Clumber Park is no exception. Tonight it’s fish’n’chips and tomorrow night it will be pizza.

It was probably the least good fish’n’chips we’ve had this summer. That’s not to say it was bad, just not brilliant. Think they probably needed to turn the temperature up on the fryer, but the portion size was good. They are on site most Friday nights.

300 Spartans, Loughborough, September 2018 (fish’n’chips NOT from a van!)

Yes, you read the headline correctly. Fish’n’chips NOT from a van! A rare occurrence indeed, but a necessary one tonight. I’ve just got back from Manchester, so we stopped at the 300 (Zoo) Spartans on the way back to pick up some dinner.

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Not the most artfully arranged plate of food in the world (I’m no food stylist!) but I was starving and wanted to shove all of that fishy goodness into my face.

There are some who argue that this is the best fish’n’chips in Leicestershire. I say that award goes to Rothley Fisheries, but this is one of Loughborough’s best.

The Swan Inn, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire, August 2018

A pub not far away from a camp site is something to always be explored. The Marton Arms in Thornton (Yorkshire) is probably our favourite “close to camp site” pub, given that it was just a few minutes walk away from the site.

The Swan Inn is about a mile away from where we were staying, but it had been recommended by regular MOFAD companions Karon & John, and looked really good on the web site. We had booked online, a quick and easy process, and they even e-mail you on the morning of your booking for you to confirm it. Very efficient and modern – I heartily approve!

We arrived a little early and ordered drinks from the bar. A very friendly barman handed us drinks and menus and we waited a few moments to be shown to our table. We had a nice little “mini booth” in the corner. We sipped our drinks and perused the menu, lots of nice things to choose from.

A waitress came over, looked at us drinking our drinks and reading menus, and asked us if we wanted to order drinks. Errrr, no. We’d like to order food. Oh, ok, I’ll get someone to take your order. She goes back to the bar, puts down her notepad, picks up a different notepad, and then comes back to take our order. Odd.

I continued to sip an excellent pint of HPA from Wye Valley Brewery. Really nice to see that a “foodie” pub is also capable of looking after their beer and presenting it in tip top condition.

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A little “amuse-bouche” arrived, a small basket of freshly cooked crisps and a little pot of salsa. This was a nice surprise, a freshly cooked crisp is a rare sight, and it was a pleasant little mouth pleaser. The salsa could do with a bit of a reduction though, rather watery tomato.

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On to the main courses, and most excellent they were. Mrs MOFAD opted for the asparagus risotto which was very flavoursome.

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After 10 miles of cycling and 5 of walking (both of which involved plenty of uphill), I needed some big tasty protein, in the form of a lovely bit of sirloin steak.

There was a time when I would almost always have steak when out and about. Now, it’s something that I only have only rarely (and always rare). Rareness (or lack of it) is one of the reasons why, it seems that it is a struggle to find places that cook steak to your liking (and it’s a personal preference which should be easy to honour).

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This one was cooked to perfection (for me) and was really tasty. Classic accompaniments of triple-cooked chips (we do love a bit of a triple cooking nowadays), a mushroom, roasted/grilled tomatoes and a few leaves on the side (with interesting parmesan shavings bringing another flavour into play). With the addition of some nicely warm English mustard, this was a perfect plate of steak and chips. More like this please!

After the exertions of the day, it’s fair to say that we had earned ourselves a pudding, and given there were plenty of lovely options on offer, we decided to indulge.

Mrs MOFAD had apple and cinnamon crumble with a scoop of ice cream. It was quite tart and might have benefitted from a spoonful of sugar. There was also a lot of cinnamon, which is exactly why I avoided it. Keep cinnamon out of my puddings 🙂

I had the roasted peach pavlova, which was a sweet delight. A very firm meringue, half a peach, nicely whipped cream and some cheffy squiggles along with some micro leaves, a couple of flowers and some fruity dots. It was lovely, although some more peach wouldn’t have gone amiss.

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A really nice dinner in a lovely pub. Whilst we waited for our plates to be cleared, I booked online for Monday night too. A fantastic village pub!

Fish’n’chips, Blackmore Camping and Caravan Club, Worcestershire, August 2018

A soggy start to our Bank Holiday camping adventure. A little bit of rain when we were setting up camp, and then quite a lot more rain when we cycled up to Great Malvern to have a bit of an explore. In the end, we just explored Caffè Nero to warm up and wait for the rain to stop.

We got back to the camp site, dried off a bit and then made our way over to get fish’n’chips *from a van*. This is a long running joke when camping. In fact, the van was a converted horsebox, not the first one that we’ve come across either. On a soggy Friday night, they were doing a roaring trade, with plenty of captive campers taking the easy option for Friday night dinner.

We chose fish’n’chips and mini fish’n’chips. They were both good but the mini fish’n’chips was a bit of a rip off, as they just chopped up a bigger bit of fish and gave you a much smaller portion of chips. If it was half the price for half the food, you might understand. At 75% of the price for about 33% of the food, it feels like a massive con. A child’s portion at an adult price.

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This weekend I have also come up with a new Camping and Caravanning Club motto. “You can’t spell leisure without rules.”

Inglenook Fish and Chips, Ingleton, August 2018

Yorkshire three peaks. Done! After a long descent from Ingleborough, and then a detour to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, we weren’t in the mood for a pub trip tonight, so stopped off in Ingleton to pick up fish’n’chips from Inglenook before heading back to the camp site.

We had popped in on Sunday afternoon so that Mrs MOFAD could confirm that this was yet another Yorkshire establishment that doesn’t serve Yorkshire fish cakes. For those not in the know, a Yorkshire fishcake isn’t mashed fish and potato, instead a slice of fish is placed between two slices of potato, battered and then deep fried. That’s purely academic though, because Inglenook don’t do them.

What they do instead is a classic portion of fish’n’chips, as well as some rather nice fish goujons which Mrs MOFAD had to make do with, due to the lack of the aforementioned Yorkshire fish cake.

A rather untidy photo, because if you’ve just finished the Yorkshire three peaks (spread over three days), eating takes precedence over food styling…

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Wainwright always liked to have fish’n’chips after his fell walking exploits, they are very good for refuelling. A Yorkshire classic on Yorkshire day.