Sunday, February 17, 2013

Back To Blighty

A holiday that had only been planned 3 weeks ago. A vist to see my Mum in North England.
Wednesday 6 February
Set off mid-morning...and it was grey...with snow and sleet hitting the motorway.
At midday...crossing the Dutch border it cleared and was a cold sunny afternoon.

I had popped a bottle of white in the cold boot...and on boarding the ship...the Pride of Rotterdam'....I was quickly down to the 'Brasserie' to book a table and to have the wine put in the fridge. The crew were from the Philippines and have no problem with any extra wishes. The first wish was a wine bucket not just with ice at the bottom. This is a common occurence and begs to ask what people think happens to the top part of any wine. Water was added and I ordered the smoked salmon...and the Fish and Chips...hence the reason for the white wine. The photo shows one portion of fish but in fact the other one had already been eaten when I remembered to take a photo.
Jurtschitsche Grüner Veltliner Lamm
Erste Lage Reserve 2011
Kamptal, Austria

Too young I know...quite fat...layers of what you hope for in a year or two..hidden spices...
Points 17.25


An early night and hopefully no drunken English girls running up and down the corridors.
No danger of that. The wind from the north was hitting the ship head on...and I slept 2 hours all night!

Thursday 7 Febuary
Arrived in Hull at 8am....first off the ship...I headed for Charlesworth where I was going to stay overnight at the home of my old school friend Kevin and his wife Erica. After lunch I managed to cat-nap for an hour.
Kevin had planned a retro-70's meal...which comprised of a Prawn Cocktail...some tender Beef...and a Tiramisu. I had bought along a bottle of Huber's white Malterer 2009...and the Hollerith Maximus 2009...both tried and tested before...and instant crowd-pleasers.

Kevin's cousin Noel was also there...another from the old school days.The evening was full of trips down memory lane.
A fairly good night's sleep and ready for the trip on to my mum's.

Friday 8 February
Arrived late morning...and mum looking good for her 88 years. We had a light lunch then a walk on the sea-front. The wind whistling through every hole...but it really prepared you well for a good evening meal.
Across the way from mum's apartment is a restaurant called 'Twelve'. On my visit to England in 2012 I had been there 6 times. Earlier that day I had taken over a bottle of white.

A 'Taster' from the Kitchen...then the Seafood Cocktail...with only a spoon to eat it. I suggested a small fork as well...and good to notice that on our next visit it had been taken on board.

Mrs. Fowden chose the Roast Rump of Lamb and I married the Turbot with the wine.

Johann Topf Chardonnay Hasel 2009
Kamptal, Austria
I have mentioned before...I do like the Chardonnays from Austria.
The growers there seem to balance the creamy fruit with rippling minerals..
This has a touch of exotic fruit...soft toast...glossy...banana....just a delight to drink. Must get some more....
Points 17.5

Saturday 9 February
A day to forget. Not the early part...where we drove to Lytham which is a nice upmarket area and we walked around the shops. It was later that the day 'worsened'. My soccer team, Manchester City, were playing I went to the local pub to watch. 'We' were terrible...and lost 3-1...and it was just as well we stayed in that I was not exactly sociable.

Sunday 10 February
Another day of overcast weather---a light lunch at the ocal coffee shop in the square...and back in the evening to our 'local' eatery. I had decided this time there would be no 'risky restaurants'...the Twelve would be getting a few visits.

Mum likes here Pate and I chose the Mille-Feuille of Goat's Cheese.

Some Poached Salmon in a white wine sauce...
and for the red some Gressingham Duck Breast.

The red tonight was a a beauty. When last tried I told myself to try to keep it...but I rarely listen to bad advice.

Nelles Spätburgunder  B 52
Heimersheimer Burggarten 2009

Ahr, Germany
What a juice...all you can ask vintage...the fruit length will keep...but this is just so dammed attractive!
Points 18
Monday 11 February
Weather improving...cold but clear.
I went saerching for a 'dongle' so that I had internet on my laptop...hat having to update the blog all at once when I return home.
The usual problem on a Monday...finding a restaurant that is open.
I had made a short list from TripAdvisor...and 'Mimmos' was nicely rated.
Called...and...hey Bingo....they were open that evening. No problem to bring a bottle...5 pounds corkage very reasonable. From the outside the restaurant looks small...but inside there is seating for around 40 at least.

A friendly welcome...and the whole evening was enjoyable with owner Mimmo very attentive.
'Sita anywhere...we hava da Homemade - a Pasta'...
We chose from the specials for starters...Warm Goats's Cheese and some Antipasti. Mum chose the Grilled Plaice for her main course...and as the menu offered ' Homemade' Lasagne...that was my choice.

The restaurant has the feel of the old days...when Mama was in the kitchen and here family all worked there. Mimmo has been there 13 years...Brindisi a long way from home. Mum left the choice for desserts to me...and as both my choices were again 'Homemade'...she was knocked out by the Creme Brulee and the Panna Cotta.

The wine had been.....
Tement Zieregg Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Sourth Styria, Austria

Chosen to compliment any Pasta coped quite well...but seemed slender compared to others of this property. A bit more fat would have been welcome....
Points 17

Tuesday 12 February
A trip to Blackpool...shops...mum wanted me to buy some brown shoes. I love black...but some clothes need the colour brown. The ones I liked were a size too large.

In the evening we were off to Twelve again...this time with my niece/Godchild Natalie.

Pan Seared Scallops and Pork Belly was a starter....and followed by Forest of Bowland Aged Beef Fillet with Foie Gras. Mum had her Salmon this time without the Mussels...and Nathalie opted for the Char-Grilled Three Cuts of Beef.
The red was again from the Ahr Valley

Adeneuer Ahrweiler Rosentahl
Spätburgunder 2007
Ahr, Germany

Still  a touch tight with grainy tannins with the top vintage ripe fruit bursting to get out. If you patient for a year or two
Points 17.5

We even managed some Cheese and Dessert.

Wednesday 13 February

Snow!  now that was a surprise....but the previous day, after a phone call, I had found the shoes in my a shop in Lytham. We set off...the main roads were clear. We left the car...and were hit by a gale wind with icy snow. Into the shoe shop...the shoes fitted...

and I was happy with my 'brown compromise'

Tonight we are going to a premises which now had its third owner in 3 years
Third change of name...Espanol gives you an idea of what was on offer.

Here the choices...

Sitting the in restaurant...I was thinking the best options would be to just eat Tapas...but Mum suddenly said 'Go on...order the Paella' Well...I almost fell off my chair. I do still preach to her to try new things...even at 88. I ordered the Valencia version with only meat...and to keep us occupied as it takes about 50 minutes to prepare...we ate 3 Tapas.

Tortiila Espanola, Patatas Bravos and Calamares a la Romana. She loved the aioli...and was only informed what Calamares were after she took a bite.

The Paella duly arrived...and was really good...Mum eating the rice. She had had this impression that it would be dried. In much did she like it...that we ordered a table for Saturday and requested the Sea Food version (guess who'll be eating the Mussels).
The wine was lovely...I had kept it cold in the taxi...and they popped it into a container.They had decent wine glasses as well.
Schloss Gobelsberg Lamm Grüner Veltliner 2009
Kamptal, Austria

Lovely mineral feel to this...fist GV I ever tried was from this property...
Points 17.25

Thursday 14 February
What a night....for some reason I did not after a light lunch I disappeared and manage a 30 minute nap.
We are back to Mimmos tonight...with Natalie and her boyfried Adam.

We starters...some 'Garlic Bread' with tomato and cheese...and I expected some Garlic Bread. What appeared was a seems that is what Garlic Bread is to this restaurant!. It was fine...just a starter for people who eat large portions. 

The Pepper Steak was delicious...but I was full. 

The red
Roda Reserva 2004
Rioja, Spain

this was, again, a disappointment. The last couple of bottles have shown little charm...seemed to be short on fruit...and very little Tempranillo character.
Points 15.5

Friday 15 February
A delightful we drove around the countryside...the CD player getting a good workout. 

We landed in Lytham and sat out in the sunshine.
Back at Mum's home...the square bathed in the sunshine...the old Mill soon to be demolished.

The owner of Twelve, Caroline, was back...a bereavement in the family had kept her away. 

The sticks were given a Truffle butter...followed by the Rilette of Pork Belly...and a main course of Panka Crumbed Chicken Breast which was very good.

The red....the last from my cellar...
Maximus Pinot Noir 2008
Pfalz, Germany

I have had a few bottles of the 2009 recently...but I prefer this at the moment.
Nose of grainy fruit...the wine shows more terroir in this vintage...vibrant raspberry...lingering length.
Points 17.75

We even shared a Sweet Toffee Pudding!

Saturday 16 February

A repeat visit to Espanol....but they have 2 sittings on a we were in the Restaurant at 6 pm. My mum would shake her head at some food I don't always tell her...and she likes it.

We finally got our Garlic bread(pan con tomate) and the Tapa was Revelto Espanol (chorizo, scrambled egg and potato). She liked the chorizo.

We had the mixed Paella this time...which meant I had the prawns and mussels...and mum had the chicken and rabbit.
I took along a bottle of Spanish red...yes...I know this is a Spanish restaurant...and they have a selection...but no vintages on a wine-list does annoy me. Anyway...corkage was reasonable.
Marques de Risqual Gran Reserva 2001
Rioja, Spain
Classic old style nose...tasty tannins...vibrant ideal match for any Spanish food. Leather and spice...nice.
Points 17

We could not resist the dessert board...Crema Catalana and Franbuesa de Besos.

It can't be a coincidence...but I had another less than good I allergic to Saffron?...or just too full?

Sunday 17 February
The weather is had a brisk walk...a read of the morning paper...and then over to the local pub...not for beer...but to watch Manchester City in the FA cup. We beat Leeds 4-0 so I was happy after the previoss weekend's display.

Over the sqaure to our 'local' The starter was a Black Pudding with hash Brown...which was delightful.
Main the afternoon...t
hinking...Halibut tonight...I took the Tiglat along to Twelve.
No Halibut...sold chose the Monkfish with Parma Ham...the whole was a touch dry...needed more sauce.

Velich ChardonnayTiglat 2008
Burgenland, Austria
This seems to be taking on age...and I had purchased this bottle after being impressed by the 2009. I think I like the raw youth of the wine...but it's down to tastes I guess...
Points 16.75
Mum still looks radiant after all these meals...

Monday 18 February
Drove to Lytham...bought 2 more pairs of shoes...I am going mad...I will be the next Paris Hilton at this rate. My wife won't understand me when I get back home. The weather is still sunny so a drive back to the apartment was again beautiful with the countryside playing sideshow to the CD player...Roy Orbison, Bobby Bland and Dusty Springfield.
We never made it to the Thai Restaurant 'Mews' this had ordered the night before and stayed in this evening.

Tuesday 19 February
According to the forecast this is the last day before the weather changes.
Fleetwood in the sunshine...

It is the last evening before I return you can guess where we ended up for a meal.
Mum went for her Soup and Salmon.

New on the list was Fried Black Pudding...which i love...and I repeated the Gressingham Duck which looked particularly good tonight (just for me?). Owner Caroline thanked us for our visits. I had spoken to her earlier and arranged a lunch for two (Mum and Natalie) for the 10th March (Mother's Day in the UK) Mum will hopefully like her surprise. A nice touch from Caroline...after 6 meal was on the house.

Nelles Spätburgunder  B 48 2009
Ahr, Germany
Had the B52 earlier in the holiday and this is about as good. Super nose of
really ripe strawberry fruit...very soft for it's age...but there is a firm tannin fist that will take this along it's merry way over the years. This kicks in as the bottle open and drink and this stage.
Points 18

Home...and a very good night's sleep

Wednesday 20 February
The weather is a little dull...but no high winds...which is what is of interest to me with the ship journey ahead.

Set off early and popped in to see school friend Kevin for lunch...then set off over the 'Snake Road'...which is over the Pennines between Glossop and Sheffield. It had been my plan to ride the high road when I came over...but snow meant it had been closed.

Arrived at the Port of Hull just before 5pm...and as usual...was asked by the customs to open the boot and the bonnet. It's the car I always say...but wouldn't a smuggler use a rusty old wreck of a car?

York Cabin again...and as we lose an hour this eevening...I was down early to the restaurant. The Pride of Hull staff are Portugiese...and down in the 'Brasserie' restaurant I gave Pedro the half bottle and reserved the usual table. 
A glass of Champagne to get the evening going...

A started of Salade Nicoise was inoffensive but compared to the main course...positively superb. The main course...ah...what a memory. Tagiatella Bolognaise!. I left almost all of it. The waitress asked how it was..and I said not good...and she...thinking it was just this individual plate...asked if I wanted another. 

I told her that the person who had opened the tin...should be shot! I satified myself with a bread roll and butter...and the half bottle
Dr Heger Mimus 2009
Baden, Germany

This has traces of what it will become...but even in the half-bottle....there is still a tightness...and surprisingly firm tannins.
Points 16.5

Thursday 21 February
Slept about 4 hours...and was awoken by the LOUD tannoy at 6.30 am.
I decided a good hearty breakfast was needed for the 500 Kilometer journey ahead. A bowl of Porridge and the full English Breakfast.
With a couple of short stops I was home at 2pm.

A lovely 2 weeks....but I must think of a solution to the start and finish....