The Crown, Coniston, June 2017

We got here eventually. It wasn’t our planned dinner destination, but as we toured around a few pubs, there was a lack of space in one (we did have a table but as we hadn’t made a reservation we couldn’t be served), and a lack of things that Mrs MOFAD wanted to eat in another.

There were a few tables available here, so we grabbed one, grabbed some menus and sat down to peruse. Moments later I was off to the bar to order, 2 pizzas and a salad. I do like a pub pizza when they do it well. As The Crown also acts as the pizza takeaway outlet for the whole village, I had high hopes.

Pub pizza is not a derogatory term, more a reference to the type of pizza you find in pubs. It’s not going to be an authentic crispy base sourdough pizza, but more like the kind of pizza that we grew up on in the 1980s. That’s not a bad thing though. I have fond memories of some 80s pizzas.

These hopes took a slight dashing just a few minutes later when someone arrived from the kitchen to explain that my choice of pizza (crispy duck #obvs) wasn’t available, so I had to choose a new pizza. This was duly done and we sat back to enjoy our drinks and wait. A pint of Socks and Sandals for me, a new one from Robinsons (whose pub this is). A smooth and bitter pale ale, not an IPA as described, but a decent rye ale. Mrs MOFAD had Timmermans Strawberry, which turned out to be too sweet for accompanying a savoury dish.

Soon afterwards, the pizzas arrived, along with our salad. And good pub pizzas they were. Mine was a twist on a Hawaiian with added pulled pork. Because everyone likes to add pulled pork nowadays. Lots of cheesey goodness and a doughy base.

The side salad was somewhat of a let down. Not so many leaves and drowned in lots of dressing.

No pudding tonight, we will earn those over the coming days. A decent pub with a decent pizza, definitely worth a visit if you’re in Coniston.

Low Sizergh Barn, Cumbria, June 2017

We are in the Lakes again. This will come as a suprise to no-one as we’ve been coming here every June since 2007 (and other summer trips before that too). We are off to Coniston this year, for the first time since 2011, staying in the same cottage (ground floor apartment). There are 2 potential routes, and both of them would take in Low Sizergh Barn, which is our usual winter trip lunch stop, so we stopped here for lunch today.

A bit quieter than when we pitch up for lunch in December, but still very busy, because it is such a popular place. We popped upstairs for lunch, and ordered some lunch. An “open” ham and chutney sandwich for me, which was perfectly pleasant but didn’t really feel like a sandwich, rather just some bits of bread with meat on top. Accompanied by the usual interesting salad.

A nice little lunch stop, and we nipped downstairs for a bit of shopping before continuing our journey. It would appear that the raw milk that had been suspended from sale due to health and safety issues earlier in the year is back on sale again. Thanks, but no thanks. That Louis Pasteur knew what he was doing.

(Edit : August 2017 – having passed this today, it would appear that they are going to put in a right hand turn from the west bound A591, so you might no longer have to detour along the A590 and down the back roads to get here if travelling from the M6!)

National Trust Cafe, Longshaw Estate, April 2017

A soggy Easter Sunday. We had plans for a certain walk today, but conditions were not conducive to this, so we adapted our plans, and decided to head over to the Longshaw Estate for lunch, and then head out to Carl Wark fort and Higger Tor. Free parking (as we are National Trust members) is always an attraction!

As it was Easter Sunday, it was absolutely packed inside the cafe, but we managed to spot a family leaving their table at the back and quickly swooped in to grab it. The cafe itself is a little confused, as it also doubles as a shop. This means that valuable table space (particularly on a busy bank holiday weekend) is wasted by island display units selling standard NT toys and tat.  It needs a bit of a rethink.

On to lunch. After queuing up for a bit, we were expecting a bit of a wait for food, but it turned up pretty speedily. Mrs MOFAD ordered a jacket potato with tuna mayo, and I went for the safe option of a ploughmans.

Reasonably priced, it was a nice little lunch and a reasonably decent interpretation of a ploughmans. The ham was tasty, some decent leaves (no limp iceberg in sight) and home made coleslaw (not too much onion). The rest of the usual salad items were missing though, no tomatoes, no pickled onion (Mrs MOFAD was thankful for this), no apple.

Although I do have a question. Why grated cheese? This is the first time I think I’ve seen this on a ploughmans. It should be a nice chunk of cheese – grated cheese makes it much harder to eat! You have to mash it on to your fork so that you can get it into your mouth.

Apart from that oddity, a decent and speedy lunch. We were also treated to a surprise visit from MOFAD companions, Hazel, Matt, Kerrie & Andy, who we spent the day with yesterday. Kerrie’s window licking upon departure was a sight to behold.

If you’re having a day out at Longshaw or nearby, this is a good little place for lunch or tea and cake.

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.

The Marquis Wellington, Leicester – never again!

Oh dear. This is the first time that somewhere that gained MOFAD approval is having it revoked. Six visits in the last 2 years before today, although it’s fair to say that during the last one, the cracks were showing with this tragic mushy pea affair.

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It wasn’t the first time we’d had issues, after lots of mix ups with our order in June 2015. Here comes the story of the evening…

We met up with regular dining, camping and walking companions Karon and John for some pre-show eats. We placed our order eventually (initial choices of pie were unavailable, and the limited menu has not changed for months, so it took a bit of time to get the order sorted).

A decent pint of Pekko Pale ale started things off well, but that was about it for tonight.

Even though we ordered second (separate orders for our table), our food arrived first, with the barman promising to check on the other order.

My “Rodeo burger” was a decent effort, a good (if a little small) home made burger, with a nice BBQ sauce, good brioche bun and very crispy onion rings.

Mrs MOFAD’s chicken Caesar salad was less impressive, and not very filling either.

We’d finished our dinner, but Karon & John were still waiting. After they’d reached the 45 minute mark, our time was up, as we had to be round the corner for our evening entertainment. Luckily, the staff were understanding and issued a refund, with the food turning up just as we were walking out of the door. A very poor show indeed, and we won’t be back.

Luckily the entertainment was not a poor show, Brian Cox and Robin Ince with a mixture of space, science, comedy and Brian Blessed anecdotes. There was also a live edition of #briancoxbillionwatch and #briancoxstaaaaaaarswatch with an unassailable record of 46 uses of billions and 25 uses of staaaaaaarrrrssss.