“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Little Indulgence

Yesterday was not only a Thursday, but also St. Patrick's Day. St. Paddy's is one of those days where I had gotten used to seeing green shamrocks everywhere, bars serving green beer, grocery stores overstocking on corned beef and cabbage and even 7-foot-8 black NBA players saying "Erin Go Bragh" and claiming to be Irish. The Americans do tend to go a bit overboard on the fake holiday tip. Except of course, St. Pat's is not a fake holiday - if you happen to be Irish. Try telling that to all the greeting card manufacturers in the USA though.

So suffice to say I did only one thing even vaguely Irish last night, which was to go the pub, armed as I was with a voucher for a free pint of Guinness. You can get these by signing up to Marston's Inns online and adding your email address to their register - you'll then get sent occasional vouchers for freebies. Good deal. I got one and so did Laura. She doesn't drink Guinness though, but the voucher was for a free Baileys as an alternative. with that and the Diet Coke I bought for my Sis, the entire round came to just under £2, probably the cheapest round I've ever purchased.

Little whisky and ginger ale...

Later in the evening I had a pint of Wychwood Brewery's Paddy'sTout, which was, again, vaguely Irish. Nice beer. At that point three young chaps came in wearing identical Guinness-issued St. Paddy's Day hats shaped like pints of Guinness. None of them were wearing green or T-shirts bearing the legend Kiss Me I'm Irish though. Relieved, I thought to myself "if this was a bar in America, the place would be festooned with green and full of idiots like that right about now."

Earlier in the day Laura and I went to get a little shopping and stopped off for lunch in a place in Coombe Lane called Indulgence. Tenterdonians will know that up until a few months back this was the location of The Whistlestop Cafe, a place I had tried before without success. I had entered and had seen that all the tables that didn't have people sitting at them were covered with dirty dishes and the staff seemed to show no interest in either clearing the tables or greeting me, so I turned tail and left. However I am happy to report that the atmosphere in Indulgence is a lot friendlier and the tables are a lot cleaner.

I loved this huge vase in the window. Had to be three feet tall.

The shelves behind us held lots of jars of spices and local preserves, among other items.

Right now, she's making our lattes.

Ah! Here they are.

I love these little cookies.

We both ordered the spiced parsnip soup, which came in a humongous bowl with two whacking great hunks of fresh crusty brown bread and a little dish of real butter. Incredible flavour, that soup.

That was a very filling meal indeed.

Wish I'd had room for some of this.

Pecan tart, anyone?
I have to say after my experience with this place when it was The Whistlestop I wasn't holding out much hope. But I tell ya what, folks - these folks know what they are doing. They care about what they are doing, and it shows. I was dead impressed. Indulgence gets a hearty 4 and a half yums out of 5! (Oh, and they have free wifi too - always a plus.) Sarah Bristow, the owner, is clearly passionate about what she does. Good on you Sarah.

Kooshti sante!

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