British Eats: A Foodie’s Adventure

Recently I was out for dinner with an acquaintance and when our plates were served, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket to snap a photo of my meal.

“Are you a millennial?” My friend asked. We burst into laughter together, but then she asked the question again. That’s when I realized it’s not clear. Despite being born in the generation X demographic (the late 70s), I have a lot of millennial habits. Like photographing my food. (I also value experiences over possessions, and I tend to overshare, among other lovely millennial habits.)

Regardless of my demographic, I am decidedly a foodie. Just this month I spent 7 days in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, and I ate and drank every day. Thus, photos.

Egg tart, beans, and chips

Purchased from the cafeteria at the office (I was there for work). It was edible, but it wasn’t great. To be expected from a cafeteria, probably. Other things I ate from the cafeteria that week include (shoddy) mini pizza and (dirty) salad, a cheese savory sandwich, a chicken sandwich, and something else so forgettable that I have completely forgotten it.

Stilton and steak sandwich and chips

So many potatoes! At first, I was intrigued and I wanted to try the chips. But potatoes every day is just not my thing. And I make a point to servers about their favorite meals because I was once a server; believe me when I tell you that servers know what’s not fresh and not good.

Unfortunately, every server I asked for advice recommended meat and potatoes. While it was tasty for the first few bites, daily meat and potatoes got old very quickly.

Lamb chops and little meat pie

I had no idea I was getting potatoes again. Who knew that the “mini pie side” would be a potato casserole? A British thing, perhaps. This meal was nothing to write home about, even though everything was fresh. The lamb was chewy, and generally the meal was bland.

Lobster and crab cocktail

I had notions that seafood cocktail would come in a tomato sauce (such as those from South America). Nope. It was a heavily-mayonnaised “salad” with a peculiarly sour (pickled?) avocado. The salad could have been made with “krab” (pollock + food coloring) and I wouldn’t have known the difference. The bread and butter, however, were divine! Crusty and soft, creamy and salty and fresh. Yum! 5 stars for the bread and butter side, and -1 star for the salad/cocktail.

But the bread and butter were divine! Crusty and soft, creamy and salty and fresh. Yum! 5 stars for the bread and butter side, and “whatevs” for the see-food salad.

We drank a lot of wine

And it was good! It was mostly from France, Spain, and Italy. We also enjoyed delicious English ciders and beers (not pictured here).

Bream and “a side of fresh vegetables”

I kick myself for not asking what kind of fresh vegetables were arriving on the side. You can see why below. I’d never had bream before, but it was tasty and covered with a delicious caper and lime sauce. It was also boney and tedious to eat. That bread and butter, though! YUM!

Mandarin tart and raspberry sorbet

YES, SO YES! This was delicious! The tart was a little like a cheesecake but without the cheese; it was dense, creamy, and so beautifully tangy.

A beautiful bar

This was at Loch Fyne, a Scottish restaurant chain. This particular restaurant was inside a renovated church and it was stunning!

Extraordinary cocktails

From a chain called The Botanist, these drinks were perfect. Mine is on the right and filled with elderberry liqueur and mint and hibiscus petals. The cucumber drink is a quirky mojito.

Chili pepper caipirinha

Smokey, spicy, tangy, and sweet. I couldn’t dream up a more creative cocktail that really worked. Also from The Botanist.

Salmon kabob and you guessed it: potatoes

The menu said it came with a salad. Seriously! Someone messed up because obviously, I looked like I hadn’t had my daily potato! This meal was weird. The salmon was overcooked and drowned in sour, charred, spices, and that’s a pot of melted butter on top. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps to dip my fried potatoes? Dear god!

Finally, our view whilst dining at The Botanist was spectacular!

So I’ve learned my lesson about dining in Newcastle:

  1. Always ask what’s on the side.
  2. If I don’t want potatoes, consider telling the server that I’m allergic.
  3. Don’t ask for advice on menu choices unless I feel like meat and potatoes.
  4. Consider learning how to enjoy daily potatoes.

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