A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Tubby Isaacs

Posted by Alan on August 20, 2013

Tubby Isaacs Seafood Stall, Aldgate

Tubby Isaac’s Seafood Stall, Aldgate

Tubby Isaac’s seafood stall at Aldgate is now closed.

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Norfolk Holiday – Day 4 – Is Wells-next-to-the-sea?

Posted by Alan on October 9, 2010


Looking towards Wells

I beg to differ


We awoke to rain so very quickly abandoned any plans for cycling. Yes, it’s true we are still fair-weather cyclists! So, instead we opted for the coast-hopper bus for the 20 mile journey to Wells-next-to-the-sea.  A lovely ride through some very picturesque villages, including some so narrow it felt as if our bus had to breathe in to squeeze though.  We arrived into Wells at low tide, so it was very much Wells-about-a-mile-and-a-half-from-the-sea – see above! Down by the harbour (in shot above, but so far away you won’t make it out!) we managed to find a café for a cream tea, a favourite holiday treat.


Cream Tea, Norfolk style

Cream tea, Norfolk style


Anyone from Cornwall reading? I’d fully recommend you apply for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Unlike a real cream tea, the clotted cream was swapped for whipped. It’ s wrong, no two ways about it.  It probably didn’t help the girl serving behind the counter felt the need to put on a false voice/giggle every time someone ordered something yet talk normally to the other staff. Bit strange to say the least! From here we went for a walk to find the sea after about 1.5 mi (2.5 km) we eventually found this:


Beach huts, Wells

Beach huts


The actual sea was at least another mile away on the other side of a deep shipping canal carved into the sand!  It did at least look like at high tide this area became sea. Back into Wells again we trawled the charity shops looking for Tugs. No luck! We then took the bus back to Sheringham for fear of being stranded in Wells – being in the countryside proper here, all public transport stops at 6pm (the public don’t want to go anywhere after 6pm apparently). This gave us chance to wander around ‘The Mo’, Sheringham’s new lifeboat and fishing boat museum.


The Mo, Sheringham

The Mo


A stunning building with some interesting facts and figures (especially if you like boats). Friday night’s tea was provided by The Crown, a fairly large bog standard pub close to the sea front.  A full range of Greene King beers and for the price fairly average food.  (Note, before you accuse me of beer snobbery: I’d much rather live in a world dominated by a large brewery like GK than live in one devoid of ale, OK?).

We popped back to the Windham Arms for the 3rd and final time, this time managing to sample Woodforde’s Nog – something I tried to brew as a student. Needless to say, Woodforde’s version was much better. A proper ‘old ale’, dark but with a real sourness that is more like the Belgian lambics than a modern English bitter. Fantastic stuff.

And with the pint finished, it was time to wander home and pack for our final adventure.  Norwich and home.

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Suits, Cakes and Shakes

Posted by Alan on April 25, 2010

With my role at work changing slightly over the next few weeks, I decided it was probably time to pick up a new suit. For me this means a trip to Slaters who never fail to disappoint… unfortunately there isn’t one in London. Cue day trip to Canterbury!

From our part of East London… that means we get to try the new high speed train from Stratford “International” (no  international trains go from there of course!). It’s right in the heart of what will be the athletes village – a serious building site at the moment so they won’t let you walk from the tube. One convoluted bus ride later, we were in the middle of it:

Stratford Athlete Village

Stratford Athlete Village

Stratford Athletes Village

Stratford Athletes Village

Stratford International Station

The vast expanse of Stratford International Station

I don’t think they get many people through at the moment – and security didn’t even flinch as I wandered through with my SLR out!

Fast trains break Ruth's eye's!

The train was so fast it broke Ruth somewhat...

In just under 1 hour we were in the glorious sunshine in Canterbury at which point we felt it was definitely time for an afternoon snack – we took in a recommendation and went to Boho, on the high st.

Cheesecake and 'shake

Cheesecake and 'shake

And so onto the nub of the trip, buying the suit. Slaters as usual…excellent. Free tailoring and since we’d come down to Canterbury specially they waived the courier fee which is pretty awesome. I really do recommend finding one if you need a suit!

After a potter around the shops and a pint of Shep Neame in a pub garden it was time to head home. Definitely somewhere I’d go back to again… The full set of photos are on flickr.

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Long time no update

Posted by Alan on December 22, 2009

A friend of mine always says that ‘happy people don’t keep diaries’ and given the utter deafening silence here that could be true. More likely is that busy people have Outlook to manage their diaries for them and thus never notice the gaps…!

As ever, December descended into the mental abyss of Christmas do’s, beer festivals, rounding off with a couple of quiet weeks at work as people start to disappear on their jollies.

Pigs Ear 2009 (ELAC CAMRA/Hackney Beer Festival) was a great success. More people through the door than ever before and some excellent beer on hand. Even got a few of the grads from work out for an excellent night at the foreign bar. As a pigs ear worker, I got stuck in helping run the games including the awesome roll the barrel:

Action Shot - Barrel

Mind the rolling barrel...

Needless to say, I was bloody awful, despite all the practice I had to drum up a crowd!

Action Shot - Punters

Action shot of the happy punters...

I finally bought a proper camera but haven’t had time to use it in anger yet. I guess one more thing to plan in for the new year.

Not much to do now but pack for xmas. I have half a kilo of excellent bacon, some rather special cheese and a bottle of Orkney Dark Island Special Reserve to bring North. Mmmmm…

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Summer in the City

Posted by Alan on August 16, 2009

We’re mid packing at the moment. So when an opportunity for a BBQ out in Z1 comes up of course we gave up and went for al fresco dining. Good food, some good banter and a great view from Mike’s new flat.

Facing West

Facing South

However… we weren’t especially wowed by the design of the balcony. It seemed to built mostly of wood – and held on with just a 6 bolts. (Large bolts obviously). Still it shook quite a bit when if you jumped!

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London Slow Food and Beer Matching

Posted by Alan on July 24, 2009

Last night we headed out to a Slow Food and Beer Matching event hosted jointly by the London Branch of ‘Slow Food’ and East London & City CAMRA.

And what a brilliant idea it was too – my thanks go out to Bill Green of ELAC for choosing the beer and arranging the venue. £20 bought you 8 combinations to sample – each with their own subtleties.

Seven of Eight

Seven of Eight

(The 8th was a lager therefore needed to be chilled).

Pretty simple concept really – we were guided though the beer by our host, Bill, and after pouring a sample (around 1/3rd pint) some food would arrive. Taste, match and enjoy. So without much futher ado… here’s what I thought.

1. Umbel Magna (3.8%) + Serrano Ham Crostini

Beer has a lovely sweet start. Cuts though the grease of the cheese/ham. Very nice contrast between the flavours.

2. Heather Ale (5%) + Quail Egg wrapped in Haggis (a la scotch egg) with Hollandaise

Mmmm. Nice. The spicy of the haggis works really well with the floral flavoured beer.

3. Taiphoon (4.2%) + Thai Chicken and Coconut Satay (with Sweet Chilli Sauce)

Not very keen on this. The beer didn’t really have a strong enough flavour to match the Chicken, especially with the sweet chilli sauce.

Chicken and Tempura

Chicken and Tempura Pimento

4. Dandelion (4.5%) + Tempura Roast Pimento

Love the pimento and the very subtle dandelion flavours. Works well for me.

5. Grozet (5.0%) + Wild Boar and Apple Chipolata

The only lager amongst the set tonight, I was really impressed with this. It complimented the sausage really well and was very drinkable on it’s own. Apparently it’s main flavour was Gooseberry. Having never eaten a gooseberry I can’t confirm that! Nice anyway.

Grozet, Lager - Sounds Eastern European but is actually Scottish!

Grozet, Lager - Sounds Eastern European but is actually Scottish!

6. Greenwich Meantime Chocolate Strong Ale (6.5%) + Beef Teriyaki

Flavoured with Chocolate rather than Chocolate Malt. Not really my thing as a beer. Goes OK with the Beer, but perhaps a little too similar as both are quite “heavy” flavours. Apparently they had to switch supplier of Chocolate as the quakers who own Cadbury’s were non too impressed their chocolate was being used to brew beer!

7. Greenwich Meantime Raspberry Wheat (6.5%) + Mini Summer Pudding

Based on a weissbeer style this was ok, though I think I would have preferred a non-flavoured weissbeer. It didn’t match the pudding very well either – the sweetness of the pudding made the beer taste uber-tarte.

8. Chalky’s Bite (6.8%) + Breaded Chilli Camembert

Beer and cheese combo works very well. This beer is flavoured with fennel and is the first of the strong beers to taste strong in alcohol. Provides an intermission to the cheese flavours. Lovely.


If you get offered the chance to do something similar, take it up! A very enjoyable and inexpensive night!

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Posted by Alan on July 16, 2009

Last weekend we headed out to Scotland. Aberdeen to be precise to visit friends and sample some whisky. Travel was cared for by the Caledonian Sleeper – which isn’t anywhere near as expensive as you might expect! It’s quite neat being able to get on the train, chill in the lounge before retiring to bed and waking up some 600 or so miles away from home.

Ruth takes tea

Ruth takes tea

However… the sleep was really only good on our outward journey which was less than helpful  as on our return I was going straight into a 4 hour long meeting…. zzzzzzzz.

After mooching in Aberdeen a bit on Friday (and finding a Scottish breakfast – it is different honest!) we checked into our hotel and found ourselves with hotel win – bar listed in the CAMRA good beer guide for 25 consecutive years. 10 ales and some really good food. Marvellous!

Saturday brought a trek to Speyside, in particular Dufftown home of Glenfiddich.

Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich Distillery

Now we know all about the production of Scotch. Pretty easy really!

After a wander about in Dufftown centre and some food in a cafe with more trinkets than tables, we headed off for a second distiliary – Glenlivet.

Glenlivet Distillery

Glenlivet Distillery

Again the tour but this time we all bought stuff from the distilery shop – 1989, 18 year old Glenallachie cask strength for me (which was a bargain). We even got to try some before choosing our bottles.

Well worth an expedition, though perhaps with a bit more planning we could have save ourselves a few quid on the taxi fares…there isn’t much in the way of public transport that far north.

Ah well. All back to normal just about here. Except for the flat hunt…but thats another story… <sigh>

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Glastonbury 2009 – Sunday

Posted by Alan on July 9, 2009

Sunday was chilled out even more. There weren’t really any bands I was that bothered about, with the exception of Blur. And that wasn’t really a must go see but a nice to be able to say I’ve done in a few years time kind of want.

So… a very lazy start saw Status Quo on the pyramid stage. More morning cheese 🙂

From there I went up to the Acoustic Tent where amongst other bands, I saw a singer/songwriter called Kate Walsh who was excellent and Penguin Cafe Orchestra who made me angry. PCO have soundtracked a few adverts it would seem and that was pretty much all they played. They took around 30 minutes to soundcheck as well due to the sheer number of instruments. Rubbish!

Kate Walsh (Acoustic Tent)

Kate Walsh (Acoustic Tent)

To wake myself up again from the calm of the acoustic tent I headed off to the queens head. It was pretty empty – which was a shame – next up was The Capitol Years from Philidelphia, US. Quite good…

The Capitol Years (Queens Head)

The Capitol Years (Queens Head)

Next up – Madness. Who put on a really good show. But the best bit I thought was at the end the put loads of randoms on stage. Let some lad have the mic at the end – who gladly said “thank you and good night Glastonbury”. At which point the engineer cut the sound, leaving Suggs holding a dead mic. He didn’t look best pleased…

I heard Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds from the solidarity bar where I had bumped into a colleague.

Then finally Blur. Nice gig to come down from all the excitement of the past few days.

Damian Albarn (Pyramid Stage)

Damian Albarn (Pyramid Stage)

I didn’t watch the whole set due to nature calling mid-way through the set (4 pints in the solidarity bar… didn’t bode well for a 2 hour set). But this presented a great opportunity for chips!

So I finished off Blur with chips and curry from a burger  van. Marvellous!

A slightly blurry Blur on the Pyramid Stage

A slightly blurry Blur on the Pyramid Stage

And so that’s it Glasto 2009.

Bring on 2010!

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Holy Fuck, Scala London

Posted by Alan on May 17, 2009

Just a quick entry as it’s already late on Sunday night and I should be getting ready for work… Thursday night I went to see a band called ‘Holy Fuck‘. I guess the name kinda prohibits mass radio play or chart success, but it was a really good do. Electronic music made with a few keyboards and lots of dials (see above dial porn…).

Support band was called “it hugs back”. They weren’t awful but neither were they really interesting.

Friday night we went to go see QI. Except our ticket got us as far as the queue where it was then first come first served. We were about 50 people too late. Bit pants, so instead went for a curry near Bond St which was nice enough 🙂

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London Drinker

Posted by Alan on March 19, 2009

Possibly the last London Drinker beer festival at the Camden Centre, Kings Cross. Pretty good – some nice beers. Food was OK and it was far to busy. Took ages to get the the bars and in the main hall there wasn’t really much space to do anything.

We did however find some space in the balconies, hence the random questions about “dying a death”, then celebrity deaths…

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