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.

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Triple Pork Nirvana 2017 #2

A very hard earned TPN today, and only the second one of the year. A full English at The Brotherswater Inn:-

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Followed by ham and cheese rolls on the way up to The Knott, one of four Wainwrights that we conquered today (the others being High Street, Thornthwaite Crag and Gray Crag). After we finished our descent, back to The Brotherswater Inn for a nice plate of gammon:-

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Tasty and rewarding!

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.

Hop and Cleaver, Newcastle, June 2017

Oh the weather outside is frightful. Hopefully, smoked meat and beer will be delightful.

Despite being early June, and the start of summer, it is absolutely hammering it down with rain. It should have taken 3 hours and 5 minutes to get here by train. Due to crashes, things burning down, and a general build up of delays, it took more like 5 hours and 3 minutes to get to Newcastle. After a moist stroll from the station to the hotel, a quick dry off and then out into the rain again, back down towards the famous river and some dinner.

I’d already identified Hop and Cleaver as my dinner destination. Not even the horrendous rain could keep me from the gentle downhill stroll from Newgate Street to Sandhill. I did get rather wet. As I’m not a native of these parts, a coat was required. It protected me from the worst of the rain, but it was not enough.

Even when I got inside the Hop & Cleaver, a coat was still required. The ferocity of the rain was such that they had sprung a leak – the main bar area was rather soggy, and the large party of people arriving for an event were all milling about in a specific configuration that kept them away from the water leaking from the ceiling.

No time to worry about that, what with plenty beers to choose from. This menu needs studying…

I was swiftly shown to a table and ordered some food and drink. The first beer was Hop & Cleaver Rye IPA, a decent rye ale but not an IPA. The letters I, P and A get attached to far too many beers nowadays.

Food arrived. It had to be the “pit sarnie”, three kinds of smoked goodness in a very sturdy bun. Pulled pork, brisket and smoked sausage stuffed in a brioche bun with BBQ sauce. Man vs Food has come true on the banks of the Tyne. As you might expect in such an establishment, a distinct lack of plates, with dinner being served on some graph paper inside a bit of a seed tray, with chips in a kind of chicken wire basket…

It was utterly delicious. I love smoked and slow cooked meat. I love Man vs. Food. This was lovely stuff. And it paired well with the Hop & Cleaver Sorachi ale, although I couldn’t detect any Sorachi hop flavours, which is unusual for such a distinctive hop.

This is a great place if you like smoked meat, a quirky venue and beer made on the premises. It was definitely the right choice for dinner. I loved it, despite the lack of plates. If there weren’t other places to explore, I could have stayed here all night. Once more unto the breach my friends, once more…

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 ÂŁ8.99 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 ÂŁ8.99, 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.

Triple Pork Nirvana 2017 #1

Suprisingly, the first triple pork nirvana of the year. 2016 was really the year of TPN, this year has been about different things, including triple salmon nirvana. We have been eating a lot more fish so far in 2017.

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Lunch at the Brew York brewery tap was some tasty pulled pork baps from Smokin’ Blues Street Food, some lovely rare breed pork shoulder, and not overpowered by a sickly sweet sauce. A nice crunchy slaw, much better than that supermarket stuff.

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Dinner at the Lamb and Lion was the Lamb and Lion burger, with bacon and cheddar, beer battered onion rings and a silly basket of skinny fries. This was really tasty, a cracking pub burger with lovely crispy onion rings.

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A very tasty triple, and a fine way to round out anyone’s 42nd year.