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.

The Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale, December 2016

A busy Friday in the Lakes. The cloud was low when we parked up at Tilberthwaite, which has been a favourite spot for nearly 30 years now. When I first came here in the 1980s, it seemed like nobody really knew about it. It’s now a very popular place with walkers, heading off to tackle Wetherlam, Black Sails or even The Old Man of Coniston.

Today we were using it to tackle Holme Fell, which we were hoping to conquer, as long as the cloud wasn’t against us. After we had reached Holme Ground (after a spot of bird nerding at Low Tilberthwaite where we spotted a tree creeper), things were looking ok up on high so we ascended to the summit, whereupon the cloud came down for a few minutes and then went away again.

We descended to Hodge Close quarry and then on to Stang End and into Little Langdale for lunch at The Three Shires Inn. It seems like everyone else had that idea, as we managed to grab the last free table inside (most of the outside tables were also full).

The Three Shires Inn is a lovely little village pub, friendly and welcoming, and walker-friendly. You just have to be when most of your passing traffic is passing by on foot.

The choice of beer was all too easy. It wouldn’t be a Lakes trip without a pint of Loweswater Gold from Cumbrian Legendary Ales, a superb golden ale which you just have to have if you see it on in a pub.

Mrs MOFAD had a lovely tuna savoury sandwich, which she proclaimed as probably the best tuna savoury she has had in recent times. I opted for the local sausage ciabatta with chutney, which was also really tasty, with a bit of salad on the side, and a bowl of chips to share (only available with other meals).

A lovely visit to The Three Shires Inn, and it’s not hard to see why it was rammed. Lovely food and drink in a lovely pub. It’s a jewel in Little Langdale, well worth getting over to.

Low Sizergh Barn, December 2016

Low Sizergh Barn has become a fixture in our Lakes trips. It’s usually where we now stop for lunch before the last (short) leg of the journey. You do have to brave a short single track road if approaching from the south, but it’s worth it. As well as serving up some tasty lunch, the farm shop downstairs is full of great local produce as well as some things from a bit further afield. It is perfect for stocking up if you are coming here for a week in a self-catering cottage (just as a random example).

Lunch first though, and a Cumberland sausage ciabatta and some salad to keep me going for the rest of the day. Always a lovely lunch at the LSB, which is why there is always a queue for a table, but waiting is well worth it.

A note about raw milk.

Just a few days before we arrived, a recall was issued on all raw milk sold from the LSB due to a link to six confirmed cases of campylobacter infection. Raw milk is not treated or heated before being sold. It’s like Louis Pasteur never existed. Any talk of milk problems can only lead to a classic 1990s sketch…

 

Since they started selling raw milk in March 2016, LSB have been very active on social media talking about how great it is, but it seems that has rather backfired at the moment…

Pub of the month – October 2016 – The Jolly Sailor, Orford

A pub heavy month this month due to spending a lovely week in Southwold and having a trip to a pub nearly every day of the holiday. I love holidays.

A special (but not in a good way) mention first to The Marquis Wellington, which became the first place to gain MOFAD approval and then have it revoked. Six visits in the last 2 years before this month, although it’s fair to say that during the previous one, the cracks were showing. On our last ever visit, we were there for some pre-show dining as usual, but after 45 minutes of waiting, half of the food hadn’t turned up, and 2 of our party had to go hungry.

On to better tales. A special mention for previous winner The Needle & Pin, who held an IPA tasting night at the start of the month. Patrons went on a tour of beers from the pale ale category, whilst Sean entertained us with some of the history of IPA. This is just the kind of thing that happens in “that London” so it was nice to be a part of it in a local setting. A great night at a great pub. Great beers too, including some oddness like the IPA full of peach flesh. It wasn’t an IPA.

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On to one of last month’s runners up next, the Church House Inn in Sutton. Three visits in 3 weeks, which must count for something (as I mentioned up above, we don’t go back to places if they let us down). October’s visit came after another lovely long walk in the Peak District, and saw us “upgraded” into a different room for good behaviour (the behaviour of Suzy the Ninja Hound who was with us). Another tasty triple pork nirvana was achieved here with these lovely ribs:-

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A lovely little village pub that deserves to keep thriving (it has been packed out on all of our visits).

For the rest of this month’s contenders, we find ourselves in Suffolk. On our first real active day of the holiday, half of us (Matt & I) were cycling, and the other half (Hazel & Mrs MOFAD) were touring by car (Mrs MOFAD was a bit under the weather). After visiting three different car parks to attempt to rendezvous with them, we had a little stroll and then headed into Walberswick for lunch.

The Bell is a lovely coastal pub, and is an Adnams pub, like so many in Suffolk. A lovely lunchtime menu offers some good choices, with three fishy sandwich options, two ploughmans and other pork and cheese choices alongside the usual full menu (which includes a very tempting Vietnamese style slow-cooked lamb shank with lemon grass and lime basmati rice).

Hazel & Matt had one of those ploughmans which was very good indeed and meant a free apple for the Minister 🙂. Mrs MOFAD opted for the crayfish tails and prawns in lime and dill mayonnaise sandwich, which was very tasty, with a very nice side salad. A posh fish finger sandwich for me, smoked cod fish fingers with mayonnaise, lettuce and parmesan pea pesto in toasted ciabatta – this was crunchy and delicious, a proper posh fish finger sandwich. With parmesan pea pesto, it can’t be anything but posh! Mushy peas for the Kensington set.

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The Bell Inn is a lovely seaside pub, well worth cycling to (or driving to). It’s a very easy ride from Southwold, with very little road involved if that’s your thing. There’s a nice (and big) beer garden out the back for the warmer months, and plenty of tables inside.

To our final day of holiday now, when we encountered two more great pubs. The Sole Bay Inn was the venue for our final dinner out. Much like the previous evening, we tried to get in to The Nelson again, but it was full. We split into two groups, to wait for tables in The Sole Bay Inn and The Nelson, harnessing the power of the internet to communicate when we had found one. The Sole Bay Inn got a free table first, so we grabbed it and sat down for dinner. It’s an Adnams pub, #obvs.

Triple pork nirvana was at stake again today (spoilers for the upcoming mention of the lunchtime pub), I had passed a few times during our week away due to lots of lovely fish to choose from, but on this visit the lure of the pulled pork burger was too strong to resist. It turned out to be a good call, a decent portion of pulled pork, not too sweet, served in a good roll with chips and a decent home made coleslaw. Good work team! Mrs MOFAD had the same, Hazel had some lovely ribs and Matt went for gammon. All good for our final meal out of the week.

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A good pint to go with it too, Jack Brand Mosaic Pale Ale which I also had earlier in the week. Hints of lemon, peach, mango and pine and a nice little blast of mosaic hops.

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There was also a tasty pudding to finish things off. You can’t reserve tables, but it is well worth the wait if you have time for one to become free. A lovely cosy pub with a friendly atmosphere.

Earlier in the day we had been on another lovely Suffolk cycle ride, which with some simple planning meant that we found ourselves in the Jolly Sailor in Orford for lunch. We parked our bikes in the beer garden, popped in to reserve a table for lunch (it gets busier than you’d imagine for an October lunchtime), had a quick stroll around the village, and then came back to eat.

As with the other Suffolk pubs in this month’s round up, it’s an Adnams pub. The usual beers and lots of enticing food. Five options on the sandwich menu:-

Hoisin duck and spring onion wrap
Buffalo mozzarella, tomato and avocado open sandwich
Prawn and crayfish Marie rose
Smoked ham and Gruyere cheese toasties with Suffolk chutney
Cumberland Sausage Baguette with onion jam

I opted for that last one, and it comes with a really nice dressed salad and vegetable crisps (Tyrell’s I suspect):-

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A lovely sausage baguette, great sausages, nice crusty baguette and sweet onion marmalade (they call it jam). Hearty and delicious. Mrs MOFAD opted for the ham & cheese toastie, which was well filled with ham and cheese, and nice and warming on a day of sea breezes. Our cycling and dining companions Hazel & Matt had the cheeseboard and some accompaniments, all very tasty stuff. I also got free grapes from the cheeseboard 🙂

The Jolly Sailor is a lovely seaside pub, and there’s a nice big beer garden out the back for warmer months too. Really nice food and good beer. And they allow dogs. Well worth it if you’re in the area, and definitely worth stopping off at if you’re riding the Suffolk coastal cycle route, which passes within about 50 yards of the pub… A worthy winner of pub of the month.

The Jolly Sailor, Orford, Suffolk, October 2016

Hello sailor!

This week has very much been about lovely coastal pubs, and The Jolly Sailor is another of those. Nestling just a short distance inland from the River Alde, and only a mile from the actual sea, The Jolly Sailor fits nicely in that category.

We parked our bikes in the beer garden, popped in to reserve a table for lunch (it gets busier than you’d imagine for an October lunchtime), had a quick stroll around the village, and then came back to eat.

I probably don’t have to tell you by now that it’s an Adnams pub. Suprisingly this was my first pint of Spindrift this week. Adnams call this a blonde ale, but it’s more of a gose/lager hybrid. Refreshing and delicious, and still as good as the first time I had it in Norfolk many years ago. Certainly very good when you’re out cycling by the seaside.

On to the next most important thing – replacing lost calories. Five options on the sandwich menu:-

Hoisin duck and spring onion wrap
Buffalo mozzarella, tomato and avocado open sandwich
Prawn and crayfish Marie rose
Smoked ham and Gruyere cheese toasties with Suffolk chutney
Cumberland Sausage Baguette with onion jam

I opted for that last one (triple pork nirvana is on again, after several near misses earlier in the week) and it comes with a really nice dressed salad and vegetable crisps (Tyrell’s I suspect):-

A lovely sausage baguette, great sausages, nice crusty baguette and sweet onion marmalade (they call it jam). Hearty and delicious.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the ham & cheese toastie, which was well filled with ham and cheese, and nice and warming on a day of sea breezes.

Our cycling and dining companions Hazel & Matt had the cheeseboard and some accompaniments, all very tasty stuff. I also got free grapes from the cheeseboard 🙂

The Jolly Sailor is a lovely seaside pub, and there’s a nice big beer garden out the back for warmer months too. Really nice food and good beer. And they allow dogs. MOFAD approved of course, and a MOFAD card was left. Well worth it if you’re in the area, and definitely worth stopping off at if you’re riding the Suffolk coastal cycle route, which passes within about 50 yards of the pub…

Wimbledon Triple Pork Nirvana (TPN 2016 #16)

Yes, this a special edition of triple pork nirvana, but if the opportunity presents itself, you must seize it.

Today’s journey to nirvana began on the train journey to London with a free train breakfast, a decent enough sausage bap accompanied by an awful cup of tea (more like cea once again).

Lunch at Wimbledon was a better sausage baguette, with poor mustard on it:-

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For tea, it was back on the train and a chicken and bacon sandwich.

A pretty special TPN in terms of the day and the location if not in terms of the meals, but one which will be very hard to live up to! This may not appear the most balanced of diets, but there were also 2 bowls of strawberries during the afternoon, a protein rich cereal bar and lots of water (it was a rather hot day).