Tag Archives: beer

Food, glorious food.

John and I take turns cooking dinner, just like before lockdown, we were already pretty good at using up our veg box to get a nice variety of dishes. Obviously now we also eat weekday breakfast and lunch at home, usually breakfast is just toast or cereal, lunch we have together but it’s mostly random who makes it, plus lately the weather has been nice enough we can have it outside. We were a bit surprised that our grocery bill has gone up, but of course we’re buying the larger sizes and planning ahead for things that we might need a week down the line since you can’t just pop out for an onion or whatever.

And then there’s delivery! Thankfully a lot of local businesses have set up delivery services, restaurants of course; we’ve been getting delivery food at least once a week I’d guess. Nominally it’s to support the local places we would miss if they didn’t survive, but really it’s to cheer ourselves up. Nigerian food from Afritopia, pizza from Pizza Roma, fried chicken from Star Chicken, kebabs from Best Kebab, fish and chips from Ted’s. Yeah, we’re doing okay on that front.

We’ve also continued our tradition of date night/day – once a month we take turns figuring out something special – a nice meal or little surprise, nothing major but a little special treat. It was my turn this month and I was stumped until I found The Vintage Tea Room, which delivers a full afternoon tea on china plates! It was very reasonable too, just lovely.

Add in SoRoast coffee and the Butcher’s Hook beer delivery services, and we’re sorted. Given what a huge part of our entertainment food has become, that’s super lucky!

2020

Well here we are in the far-flung future of 2020!

We had intended on a relatively low key NYE at Unity Brewing’s taproom, but both of us had sore throats so we scaled it back to a couple of pints at the Butcher’s Hook, where I had a lovely marshmallow porter and we had a nice chat with some strangers at our table. Back home we played a board game, ordered Indian food, watched the first half of Point Break, and were in bed just in time to wish each other a happy new year snuggled up with the cats as the fireworks went off outside. Perhaps not the most exciting new year’s ever but enjoyable all the same.

Treats, mostly

Hot damn, it’s almost Halloween! (Guess who forgot to post her draft!?)

Inktober got rudely shoved aside so I could get art ready for World Fantasy. John helpfully worked around me as I buckled down and spent most of the month working on that, and I’m reasonably happy with the results. Next up is Novacon, which I’ll do regular 2D pieces for, as much for the variety as for the feeling that November isn’t really folding fan season.

We managed to get some fun in before and after I disappeared into all-fans-all-the-time; firstly we went up to Bristol to visit John’s friend Tony for the weekend. It was a nice weekend, a bit rainy but not too bad, and we played some boardgames in between exploring the city. We started off strong with a  burger at Three Brothers Burgers and a wander through the market, then went up to the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, which has my second favourite version of La Belle Dame Sans Merci, by Frank Dicksee. There is a bunch of other cool stuff there, ranging from local history (lots of lovely glass) to an Ai Wei Wei piece. On the Sunday we had breakfast at a place called Boston Tea Party, which for some reason really reminded me of the places I used to get breakfast back in the nineties in Lower Haight. We did some more wandering and saw the statue to Cary Grant, a Banksy, and the waterfront.

The next two weeks are a fugue of course, but then I packed up the box to ship off and I was free! And just in time too, because it was Tobes visit weekend. His plane was delayed, but finally arrived late morning. We fed him some espresso and then started an epic beer crawl through Southampton. We aimed for Unity to start but it was raining and there are two pubs on the way, so we stopped at the South Western and the Junction Inn before braving the walk along the river to get to Unity. The last bit was a bit muddy but we managed it and rewarded ourselves with pork bao buns from the Demaine Artisan food truck outside, plus of course beer. Out next stop was across the Itchen for a half pint at Paddle and Peel, followed by one last drink at the Butcher’s Hook before going home to dry our socks, have a coffee, and catch the train to Woolston where we crammed into Olaf’s Tun and ordered pizzas from Spitfire up the street.  

All of which was a prelude to the Woolston Craft Beer Festival! We didn’t know what to expect, Woolston is not large and it was in the local hall. But it was well supplied and busy, and we had a lovely few hours happily trying out beers, plus Bark and Brisket were there serving food so we had a late dinner of pork baps.

Kent!

On Friday the 14th (not quite as ominous, is it) I had a nice lunch with an old co-worker who now lives in Sweden and then after work John and I headed up to the Unity Brewing Taproom, which we had intended to go to for ages. Turns out it is moving near St. Mary’s stadium soon, so I’m glad we got to see the old digs before that. Back home we packed and got in a good night sleep in preparation for the weekend adventure exploring Kent. John’s parents got in around 9:30am and after a hearty full English at Miss Ellie’s Café in Bitterne Triangle, we hit the road.

It was early afternoon when we got into Margate, and after checking into our AirBnb we immediately walked down to the beach. It was a bit windy and overcast, but generally nice. We bought jellied eels in the spirit of experimentation, and agreed that while not as gross as the name suggests they are probably something we don’t need to have again. A soft serve ice cream palate cleanser followed shortly, then we explored the little cluster of boutiques, which had some really fantastic vintage clothes as well as other cool stuff. John and I had a cheeky snack of soul food chicken wings from the Smoke Shack at the Old Kent Market, a delightful gallery of food and shops which we meant to re-visit but didn’t quite manage. Then we met up with his parents and had a pint at The Lifeboat (not a Brewdog) before a proper dinner at a nice Caribbean place called Olbys

Sunday morning we drove to Whitstable for a walk on the beach. But first we checked out a quirky micropub called The Black Dog, a dark wood venue covered with cool art and serving very nice beers. We walked along the beach trail all the way to Herne Bay, the wind made the walk a bit more tiring that it would have been otherwise, but it was fun to see the traditional rows of colourful beach huts along the way. By the time we arrived back at the car it was time for our next beer, but sadly the place we had planned to go was closed on Mondays so instead we headed back to Margate and a tasty meal at a Sri Lankan place called Riz. We had dosas and a curry with an entire crab in it, which was messy but good, best was the mutton. After dinner we went to Fez, an even quirkier place than the Black Dog, and then one street over to The Two Halves, which was much plainer inside but made up for it with an seafront view. I was pretty tired by the time we got back but we did manage to squeeze in one game of Railroad Ink.

The flat we were staying in was cute and well located, but a bit warm – so I the next morning I started off a little bleary-eyed, though to be fair still far chipper than if I had been going to work. The plan for the day was heading first to Ramsgate, where John made his traditional pilgrimage to the local board game shop followed by a nice walk on the beach, which had more dead crabs than expected but was otherwise very nice. Then we drove over to Deal to check out Deal Castle, which is more of a coastal fort but pleasingly rounded and full of proto-stalactites. We had a walk along the waterfront and then drove over to Broadstairs four our last microbrew of the weekend, The Four Candles. Then it was back home for a dinner of fish and chips while watching the sunset.

And then it was our last day, we packed and put everything in the car with the plan to get some pastries at a bakery we’d spotted in the Old Kent Market. When we got there they only had some sausage rolls in the display case, so we walked down to The Coffee Shed, which had lovely pain au chocolat and au raisin, plus some delicious nata tarts. As we dug into out pastries, Ruth spotted the baker from the Old Kent Market bakery delivering a batch of fresh pastries, so it turned out we got exactly what we wanted anyway! 

Our last bit of sightseeing in Margate was the Shell Grotto – which is a truly wonderful mystery. A strange underground cavern/temple/folly/grotto encrusted in intricate shell patterns, built at some point before 1835, by persons unknown for reasons that seem likely to be religious but really who knows? It was great. The gift shop is pretty on point with its theming too, so I enjoyed the whole experience immensely.

We said goodbye to Margate and headed to our last adventure of the holiday; Canterbury! Or more specifically Canterbury Cathedral. Ruth and Charles had already seen it so they wandered the city while John and I spent the next couple of hours in the cathedral. It is currently undergoing renovations, because that’s what cathedrals do basically, and therefore there was quite a bit of scaffolding and whatnot, but it is a massive building with surrounding grounds and structures so we had plenty to see; the sculpture memorializing Thomas Becket’s martyrdom, beautiful stained glass, ancient murals in the crypts, plus Victorian graffiti. We even ran into someone who recognized John from Eastercon, because fandom is everywhere.

Eventually our eyes and brains were full and all that was left was the drive home with a stop for unexpectedly delicious Italian food at La Campania in Arundel.