Longshaw Estate Cafe, April 2018

After finding that the Fox House was not serving any food due to a water shortage, we back tracked slightly, and made our way to the NT cafe at Longshaw for the second time this week.

It doesn’t have the most elaborate menu in the world, but they knock things out pretty quickly. As we had arrived after peak lunch hours there was no problem getting a table. However, it was a different matter when it came to pork products. No bacon sandwiches. No sausage sandwiches. We were not as well prepared as when we visited Tegg’s Nose cafe for breakfast, and they cooked our bacon. So today I had to resort to a ham roll and some crisps. Not the most exciting lunch ever, but enough to fuel the rest of our walk back up to Burbage Bridge.

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The Fox House, Longshaw, April 2018

This is another of those “nothing to see here” posts. After a lovely morning walking across Hathersage Moor, we had options for lunch. We chose The Fox House, as we’ve been here a few times before (in pre-MOFAD days). After extending our route a little bit, we arrived at the front door.

Oh dear. No food is being served due to a problem with the water supply. Given the amount that has fallen from the sky (or melted) in the last week, this seems a curious thing, but sometimes these things happen. We walked away, and down the hill to the Longshaw NT cafe…

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The Ale Cellar Tea Room, Lyme Park, April 2018

More National Trust action. NT membership means that you don’t have to pay their extortionate parking charges, and each visit to an NT car park “pays off” the membership fee each year. Nowadays it doesn’t take all that many visits for membership to be worthwhile.

Today we were back at Lyme Park for another walk, finishing off one we started over 2 days in 2014. The weather forecast was essentially overcast, an improvement on yesterday’s rain and mudfest, but still not the spring that we are waiting for.

The last time that we came to the Ale Cellar, they had run out of ale. No such problems today, but there was not a great deal of variety on the menu, and the portions were vaguely adequate at best. You’d expect some big doorstop sandwich rather than just some posh sliced white with a few crisps and token salad tossed in.

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It’s fair to say we were underwhelmed today, not really adequate sustenance for a dank and dreary April stroll. In summary, meh.

800th post!

Just 2 months since 750, and we’ve now reached 800 posts. There are still another 70 in draft format, so despite knocking out a good number in recent weeks, the to-do list has increased by about 10%, in part due to a couple of trips to London.

Since the last post, there has been some ‘Spoons action, and the start of a new hashtag, #swadisodd, spawned by this pub fish’n’chips with peas and salad. Yes, salad. Odd. The tag is #swadisodd as the pub was in Swadlincote, affectionately known by locals as Swad. The home of the “Swadside Massive” which is a grafitti tag that we saw in the area many years ago.

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Some tasty pink beer and a pizza in Brewdog Nottingham was followed by another trip to Centro Lounge and then another outing for “My Pointless Friend Richard” in Syston. We were not able to wrestle our crown back this year.

February saw two boxes from the Needle & Pin craft beer club, the seventh dark beer selection which contained a few to drink now, and a few to stick away for a rainy day in a year or so. The second sour beer selection box also had some very interesting beers within, including a fruit grisette, a lemon zest and grapefruit conditioned summer Belgian beer. That should do nicely when the days start to warm up.

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A London trip saw something a bit different, including a coffee stop at the Royal Albert Hall. Impressive place. There was a lot more snow around than shown in the photo, and it was bitterly cold, but a nice wander around Kensington Gardens and the royal parks needed something to warm things up a bit.

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A tasty pub dinner at The Crown & Two Chairmen was to come later that evening, followed by what might be the comedy highlight of the year (which considering it came two days after Bill Bailey’s latest tour show is quite a feat). The warm up show for Flight of the Conchords at the Soho Theatre, which was superb, despite being rough round the edges (the whole point of warm up shows). Given that the tour has now been rescheduled after Bret broke his arm, I’m considering it a double win that I got a ticket!

More comedy the next night, with my first visit to a room that I’ve heard over 200 times, the main auditorium of the Leicester Square Theatre, with the ridiculously good value Machynlleth comedy festival preview show. Where else would you see Sara Pascoe, Rachel Parris, Josh Widdicombe, Ed Gamble, Jen Brister, Tim Key and James Acaster, all compered by Kiri Pritchard-McLean, the 2018 Chortle award winning best compere, and all for 12 quid? The answer is nowhere.

A couple of tasty beers followed at the Craft Beer Co “Covent Garden”, although I still maintain that it’s not in Covent Garden.

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There was just time for another selection box from the N&P craft beer club, a night of To0l beers at the very same pub, and then another London trip which has generated a lot more posts.

So it’s time to stop procrastinating and get back to writing posts. I have a feeling it won’t be long before we get to 900!

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.

Vapia-no pizza, Soho, March 2018

This is going to be one of those moany posts. I ordered pizza. I left without eating pizza. I went to the Soho Theatre. I bought a wrap. I ate that after the show. I was still thinking about pizza.

Let’s get on to the good bit first. I like the Vapiano concept (when it works). If you’ve not been to one before, a quick explanation. When you go in, you get a contactless card (much like a hotel room card). You find yourself a table or a spot at a shared bench (more likely on a busy Friday night in the west end). You visit the counter that you want to order food from, you order food, drinks etc. You tap your card on the reader and the charge for whatever you’ve ordered is applied to the card. When you’ve finished, you take your card to the till, and pay. Easy. Simple. Quick.

When it works, it works. However, if it is a really busy Friday night, and you choose pizza, you might run the risk of not getting pizza. I’m willing to take that risk for pizza, but it backfired. I did manage to get a pint of “British Pale Ale” from Caledonian (yes I know, evil Heineken subsidiary). Six quid a pint though – super ouch!

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Coupled with eating some of Mrs MOFAD’s chicken alfredo (chicken, mushrooms, onion, cream, egg and Grana Padano), this was all that I had to sustain me. The pasta orders are cooked in front of you while you wait. Despite ordering pizza in what seemed reasonable time, there appeared to be a backlog of pizzas, and orders that went in after mine were definitely coming out before. When they messed up another order (missing three quarters of it!) then they had to get the rest of that through the oven.

In honour of the recently departed Jim Bowen, let’s have a look at what we could have won, with a previous visit to Vapiano in April 2011…

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My plan to come here because it would be quick rather blew up in my face. You can’t win them all. At least they were good enough not to charge me for the pizza I didn’t eat. I would come back, but I’ll make sure there’s another half hour available next time. Can’t win them all.

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.