Friday, April 22, 2011
England Day 8: Organics, Fish & Chips and Lobsters
Daylesford Organic was the site of day 8 breakfast. We were graciously hosted by one of my oldest friends in the Oxford area and this was their local fancy, farm, local, organic market/cafe. It was the first time we saw baked eggs with no mention of options for fried. The jam was great, the bacon was "streaky" which meant American-style and the side of house-made baked beans had a great sauce, but were not as welcome on my plate as the usual Heinz. It was the first breakfast I'd eaten where I did not feel the slightest bit greased at the end. There was also a very high end, mini Eataly-esque market adjacent to the cafe which was very cool.
My friend came with us down into Devon and Cornwall. We stopped at Rick Stein's Fish & Chips restaurant. It was recommended to me by a great friend although now that I'm writing this, I think she actually suggested The Fish Restaurant, which is just up the road in Padstow, a beautiful fishing town. But we'd been in England for a week and had not had fish & chips yet so this was called for. Mom had not had them during the year we lived here as a family. As I was never a fan myself of low-end chippy Fish & Chips, I thought it would be fun to get a dressed up version.
We tried the Plaice, Sea Bream, and Lemon Sole. Bream was the favorite because it was a firmer fleshed fish and stood up to the batter better. We had the option to have battered fish, fried in beef fat, vegetable oil, or grilled. Yay for beef fat! The chips were also yummy but I will say that even a well done fish & chips left me feeling as though I might be dripping fat from my fingernails. Ah well, it tasted great.
Padstow is a beautiful little town. I am constantly amazed at how the estuaries in England are affected by the tides. Here, you can see the lobster pots piled on the dock as well as a dessert that is the floor of the estuary. The boats on docks and moorings are all sitting in the sand. When the tide comes in, the entire thing fills back up.
At Roskilly's ice cream, we tried a Devon Cream Vanilla scoop...unctuous and sinful. And the Hokey Pokey flavor which blew us all away- caramel ice cream with crunchy bits of honey comb in it.
We contemplated the thousand ice cream shops and the English people in shorts and bathing suits as we walked around the moor above the town and checked out the beach. People do get pretty excited about beautiful days here.
On our way out, we visited the lobster hatchery. There was a 30 year old monster lobster, a small blue one, some crawfish (which seem to be different than our own), an albino lobster, and the hatchery itself where we got to see tiny lobsters and how they went through the stages of growth before being released. These tiny ones are almost ready to go into the water, where they will be caught and eaten.
Next stop was our final B&B, Rezare Farmhouse which takes local, organic, and sustainable to the max while still being lovely and comfortable. Dinner was stewed chicken, cabbage, potatoes, broccoli, leek soup, and a perfect lemon tart with cream.