Hilton, Glasgow, November 2018

A sad hotel breakfast. Hilton was one of those names that you always used to associate with high quality hotels. The Glasgow one has lovely views of the M8 (you could drop a packet of UHT milk onto it from my bedroom window) and pretty tired rooms. If you’re arriving on foot (from the very convenient airport bus), it’s a pretty unpleasant experience.

The main reception area is quite impressive, but as soon as you step out of the lifts on the higher floors, the age begins to show. The breakfast area also feels more modern, but the sad mass catering stuff that is left out in heated dishes soon dispels that feeling. And the coffee is utterly terrible, burnt beyond recognition.

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Overdone beans, hash browns that have been hanging around for too long, sad eggs, anaemic bacon. The sausages were reasonable at best. Fodder for a day of work, no more. If you have the choice, stay elsewhere. There was equally unimpressive catering at lunchtime for the meeting that I was at.

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, Slimbridge #2, September 2017

Yes, as promised yesterday, we’re back again. It’s breakfast time, and as it’s only a short walk from camping pitch to pub (and as we’d already booked ourselves in the previous night) it seems right that we should have some breakfast here.

A decent full English, with bonus egg. The good thing about camping with our usual crew and having breakfast together in a pub or cafe is that there’s a healthy market for trading breakfast items. I’m always ready to trade black pudding (filth) and there are always willing egg traders. It makes for a good value breakfast all round.

We’ll be back for dinner.

University of Liverpool catering, September 2017

A selection from my trip this week to the University of Liverpool. Staying in hall style accommodation leads to the usual buffet breakfast, which was actually better than a few hotel ones that I’ve encountered.

Usual buffet sandwich selection for lunch…

And a rather unexciting sausage and mash at dinner time.

At least the pudding was slightly interesting.

More of the same the next day, same breakfast again…

Chicken on a stick and sandwiches with lots of horrid iceberg lettuce.

And then on to conference dinner. A rather lacklustre tomato and mozzarella to start.

That old standby chicken supreme…

And a simple creme brulee.

Nothing very inspiring, but it is quite hard to cater for a few hundred people.

Dodd’s, Ambleside, August 2017

It usually takes about 3 minutes to walk here when we stay in Ambleside. Regular readers may recognise Dodd’s as it has appeared here twice, at either end of 2016.

Today it took us 7 hours to get here from Brothers Water. Via Middle Dodd and Red Screes. So we didn’t take the easy route. Because there isn’t an easy route. There are mountains in the way, so you have to go up and over them. Particularly if you are bagging Wainwrights.

This was the view from Red Screes earlier on this afternoon.

Once we had arrived in Ambleside, it was a simple choice.

“Pizza?”

“Pizza”

That means Dodd’s. We always come here for pizza. I always have the same beer:-

The good thing about nerdy beer app Untappd is that it can tell you things like this. It tells me that I’ve had Brathay Gold three times. All at Dodd’s. It’s obviously a head turner, as the man at the next table wanted to check it out, and was soon ordering one for himself.

Same same!

In keeping with the “same, same” theme, I had the same pizza. I always have the Cumbrian, because it is delicious. Breakfast on a pizza. Slices of Cumberland sausage, pancetta and a local cheese, all topped off with a fried egg. The egg on a pizza always creates divisions amongst MOFAD fans – there are many who turn their noses up at the idea but it really works. I always save it until last as it’s the best bit!

Same same!

It’s fair to say that we’ve earnt a pudding today, this fruity take on a tiramisu had Mrs MOFAD’s eyes lighting up!

We had soon demolished it. Out of the corner of Mrs MOFAD’s eye, she had spotted a taxi arriving at the Market Cross where the taxi rank is, so we paid up and headed for that. We were soon speeding up “The Struggle”, down the Kirkstone pass, and back to the camp site in no time at all. It was certainly an easier journey than the one that got us here 🙂

Another lovely visit to Dodd’s, next time it might be an easier journey though.

Breakfast at The Brotherswater Inn, Sykeside, Cumbria, August 2017

The best way to start the day, particularly a day on which you are about to attempt 4 Wainwrights, is with a cooked breakfast. We had breakfast here when we last stayed, and it was good, so we had no qualms about coming in this morning. They had just had a load of people in before we arrived, so were a little flustered, but we sat down and ordered at the bar after a few minutes. A steaming pot of tea arrived, along with some toast, and then soon afterwards 2 plates of full English breakfast.

A well proportioned breakfast. Two pieces of bacon, two sausages, mushrooms, beans, a fried egg, a grilled tomato and two pieces of fried bread. It’s not often you see fried bread nowadays, but it’s a nice occasional treat. The bacon was really nice, the sausages were good, the mushrooms were nicely cooked as was the egg.

A champion breakfast to start the day.

The Batch Cafe, Greenhill Leisure Park, Oxfordshire, May 2017

This premises has featured here before, under previous ownership. Last year, we came to this camp site over Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend, and used the on site cafe every day, twice on Saturday and Sunday. It wasn’t a perfect experience by any means, the food was good but they just couldn’t cope with the camp site’s size.

This weekend, we were back at the site. The cafe has changed hands, but it hasn’t changed size. So how would they cope?

By shrinking the menu, and shrinking their opening hours. They don’t open in the evenings and they don’t open on Sundays. This morning was our only chance to visit, so we popped in for breakfast. No full English any more, so I had sausage and egg with oatcakes.

Note quirky charity shop china – the tea pots were of the same ilk! A very tasty breakfast, and it certainly arrived quicker than the last time we were in here. The changes have certainly improved things, but the reduced opening hours are less convenient. You can’t have it all though, so I think I’ll settle for improved service and reduced hours.

Longboat – Table Table, York, April 2017

It’s chain pub time again. We’ve been staying at the attached Premier Inn this weekend (Blossom Street South, not to be confused with Blossom Street North which is 2 doors up the road!) It’s a very handy hotel for visitors to York on a budget, just a few minutes walk from the train station, and not too far from the city centre for day and night activities. Having walked back through the city centre carnage last night (hen nights all over the shop, and plenty of suitably refreshed ladies and gentlemen), I think it’s fair to say the hotel is just outside the carnage zone, which is a good thing in my opinion!

As with many Premier Inns (like last year’s one), it has a Table Table pub attached to it. That means a full breakfast for £8.99 each, the same price as this time last year. As usual, lots of stuff to choose from, various cereals, croissants, bagels, pancakes, fruits, etc.

If you have full days of exploring the city ahead of you (which we did both yesterday and today) then you need some tasty proteins from a full English. However, unlike last year, where the Table Table at Springwood Park cooked your breakfast to order, this was a standard hotel buffet job, with dishes sitting out under lamps, beans congealing away in dishes and fried eggs sitting in oil.

It was not bad:-

Good value given how much you get for £8.99, but it was by no means the best breakfast in the world. The sausages were rather anaemic, and the beans were rather tired. However, it was quick and convenient, which is what was needed this weekend.

Manor Organic Farm tea room, Long Whatton

Spring is springing! Around our way, this means an annual event – lambing days at a local farm. On these days they open up to the public so you can get up and close with nature, and cuddle a few of their pet lambs.

I think this is a great idea as it gets children closer to the world of food, and where things come from. It also shows the love and care that most farmers put into raising their livestock. There is much negative propaganda out there, and yes, there are poor farming practices still in this world, but if you think all farm animals are raised in sheds and kept in appalling conditions, come and see how it is done by people who care about their animals.

Anyway, enough gentle tub thumping, on to a quick lunch stop. The farm has a great farm shop, and a tea room that is open all year round, Wednesday to Saturday, 9:30-16:30. We popped in for a late lunch before going off to see lots of springy lambs bouncing around.

We were quite late so a few things had sold out (jacket potatoes in particular) but we all opted for variations on the sausage/bacon/egg bap (cob in local dialect).

Freshly cooked and delicious, a very tasty lunch. As we had spent some time staring longingly at the cakes, we had some of those too, with my choice of tiffin being the correct one – chocolatey, gooey and delightful.

If you are in the area, this is a lovely little tea room, and you can do some shopping at the farm shop afterwards.

Dodd’s Restaurant, Ambleside, December 2016

Mmm, pizza. We love pizza. In a break from tradition, we opened our holiday with something a bit different, a trip to Dodd’s. As usual, there was a wait for a table, but tonight we came prepared to wait (by arriving much earlier than we wanted to eat). We grabbed the last 2 seats at the bar, ordered some drinks and then sat back and waited whilst the queues started to build up behind us. Learning from experience is a great life lesson.

Here is a bottle of Brathay Gold, enjoyed at the bar whilst we were waiting. Sadly the Montano Italian cider from our last visit (a Magners subsidiary) is gone, so Mrs MOFAD’s options were very limited.

I am very predictable when we go to Dodd’s. I almost always have the Cumbrian pizza. Occasionally I will choose something from the specials board, but I love this pizza so much I just have to have it. Cumberland sausage, pancetta, local cheese and crowned with a free range egg. Some MOFAD companions have turned their noses up at the egg, but it works perfectly, the velvety rich yolk (lovely colour) going well with some crisp pizza crust.

We always like to have a dressed mixed salad on the side, and this one is crisp and crunchy although Mrs MOFAD is not a fan of the frisée (aka curly endive) as she says that it looks like the slugs have been at it. I like it, especially with the richness of pizza. A good salad, and much better than the limp iceberg that some places serve up.

Some more beer to accompany. Hawkshead Red is a gentle red ale with good maltiness that works well with the pizza.

Another nice evening of pizza and beer at Dodd’s, although I didn’t spot the previously left MOFAD card anywhere. Still recommended.