Mrs P and I never wanted to go to Trinity. A couple of weeks ago we didn’t know it existed and that’s because a couple of weeks ago it didn’t. As we sat on the beach in Whitstable enjoying a drink and a native wild oyster or two (well I enjoyed the oysters, Mrs P threw up a little bit in her mouth at the thought of eating them) we decided to make the most of our anniversary with a spot of dinner, as is standard in the P household. We considered our choices; my man SuburbanGent loved The Beach at Bude but we wouldn’t get there in any sort of reasonable time frame and his other tips for a hotel get away such as The Grovesnor or CitizenM are all interesting but didn’t really pop my fizzle. I wanted something new, something fresh. I wanted Cambridge.
After swinging past Scotland in our last post, for the next stop in the TwoMenAboutTown EU tour Mrs P and I roared into Dublin for the weekend and although it wasn’t as long as we had originally planned for, we still managed a good 36 hours in the beating heart of Irish city culture. Just because there was so much that we didn’t manage to get to in Ireland, once the credit card has recovered from the beating that is currently underway, Mrs P and I both agree that our collective sights are now set on returning and seeing the rest of the country at a more leisurely pace.
You know how sometimes things just pass you by? I mean, those times that you know something is going on but you just don’t understand it. I find that recently this is happening to me with increased regularity, for example; planking, ripped jeans and clean eating are all things that I see are happening, but honestly? Why? I have nothing against the advocates of any of these things, I hope they ride the trend wave as far as possible, but when all is said and done? Chances are, I’ll probably not be eating a plate of spiralised corgettii in a pair of trousers that I paid someone else 200 quid to cut up for me while lying down across two chairs.
And sometimes, such as it is with pubs. We all know I like a pub, yes, yes I do. As the sun makes its way out from behind the clouds for the Official British One Week of SummerTM like a snail making it’s way towards the forbidden cabbage of it’s dreams, I find myself slowly but inexorably drawn down to the pub garden and believe me, I’ve tried a few; The Maytime, the Black Horse, the Swan or even the Hand and Flowers all have their individual characters ready to provide you with liquid refreshment on a mildly warm summers day.
And here we go! We’re kicking off on our two year European adventure with the easiest way Mrs P and I could think of to start this exciting/terrifying two year exploration into the mountainous highs and cavernous lows of Europe. We just jumped into the car and drove North to see what happened.
Good Lord, what a year it’s been! A year later, a year older and we have learned a huge amount about blogging, eating and having amazing friends. We’ve written about so many different things that looking back on the 90 odd posts we’ve shared with you it’s too hard to mention them all so we thought we would give you another chance to check out a couple of our favourites that you might have missed the first time.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris House a couple of times and for those of you who have also managed to find the time, and lets be honest the cash, to eat here you will know that it’s quite a special experience. The house is sat in the picture perfect grounds of Woburn Abbey with deer frolicking this way and that and who doesn’t love a good frolic every now and then? So when Phil Fanning (Chef Patron of PH) invited TwoMenAboutTown down to take a look at the newly refurbished décor and the re-imagined Spring menu, I bought a suit and asked only two questions: when and can I get covered in mandarin custard? Lucky for me, the answer was yes to both.
I’ll admit that talking about coffee is not the most normal way to start a post about tea. However, I’ve never been called normal in my life and I’ve got no intention of starting now, so grab a seat and let’s have a chat over a cuppa. You know when you go into a coffee shop and order ‘a latte please, with half-whole milk, split quad shots, a shot of decaf, no foam and a squeeze of caramel’? Then they look at you and say: ‘Sure, no problem.’
I think you know that secretly, deep down, underneath that Middle Class, almond juice infused, lentil pasta covered exterior you know that’s a bit weird. Yeah, I thought so. There isn’t a single other drink that people contaminate on such a regular basis in such odd and complicated ways. I mean you wouldn’t do that to a cup of tea would you? I would never pollute a lovely cup of tea with something so abnormal or strange as soya milk, for example. Why is it even called milk for goodness sake? It’s never seen a cow in it’s unnaturally long shelf life. No, that’s not for me, not a chance. No way.
…Or so I thought.
Not too long ago I saw a whole family sitting in a restaurant checking their phones over dinner. That’s both parents, plus all 3 kids, staring at their own little glowing glass screens for over 30 minutes solid. Now, I’m not here to judge them – I have no idea of their personal circumstance, perhaps these moments of quiet reflection spent enjoying the never-ending torrent of self-esteem destroying news feeds and twitters streams are a welcome relief from all the chat chat chat they do at home. But I suspect not. Imagine my amazement then when I came across their perfect restaurant, the one place that contained everything they needed. That’s right, a restaurant with computerised interactive tables complete with ‘fun’ activities and games so nobody has to speak to anyone else ever again! I couldn’t wait to see what I had been missing. Would this fulfil my every edible and social need rolled into one not-quite-affordable package?
SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t. At all.
I’ve been very excited recently about Buckingham’s recent welcome onto my local eating consciousness with Nelson Street leaping to the heady heights of my ‘Places Rob tells people to go for a posh dinner out without spending enough money to make a Russian oil oligarch cry’, and that’s a very popular list let me tell you. But, that’s not where the fun ends, oh no. Because Nelson Street is only one half of Louis and Tom’s most excellent plan to haul Buckingham up by it’s blue rinsed, Daily Mail veined trouser braces. They have also decided that we need a new smoke house. And do you know what? They’re right.
2Whether we like it or not, Brexit is coming. Soon no-one will be able to tell us how curly our bananas need to be or what protection we need to give to the most vulnerable in our society, we can make those mistakes all on our own: Lucky us. Here at TwoMenAboutTown we’ve always liked Country Clubs so the thought of leaving one makes us a little bit sad, even if the membership was getting a touch too expensive. Therefore, before the possible glory or potential horror that awaits us arrives once the principle of freedom of movement is removed, we thought we would say goodbye to our European Cousins in our own special way; as it is already well known, the boys have criss-crossed the globe from Canada to Dubai and are not afraid of a bit of long haul travel, so RobsRibs has only gone and decided to visit all 28 EU member states* to give them a damn good cheerio before the fateful day itself as only he knows how.
A while ago GO Outdoors in Milton Keynes had a small flammable problem and had to shut up shop for a while. They maintained a temporary residence over the road but it was only to buy them enough time to give the original site a top-to-toe DIY Big Build style make over. The manager Oliver and the team invited a few of us unelected guardians of the public zeitgeist (or bloggers if you want to get specific about it) over on opening week to have a nosy around, see what we thought and put a few tweets their way. But while I was getting round to answering the PR request to say yes, the kicker came in – would I also like 100 quid to buy anything I wanted from the store while I was there?! Umm, yes. Yes I would.
Some people have been known to say that there is a distinct lack of posh dining in and around North Buckinghamshire. Some people have been known to rant a bit too much after a few too many (small) glasses of social beverage about the lack of choice in fine dining restaurants available within easy driving distance of their house. Some people are likely to get into arguments with people they don’t know on Twitter about their insistence on confusing ‘expensive’ with ‘worth the money’. Well, those people should just go ahead and shut their smart mouth because Nelson Street has decided to invite itself to the Buckingham Fine Dining party.
The truth is that generally speaking, Buckingham hasn’t been exactly world famous for it’s culinary credentials up to now. For those of you who haven’t ventured that far out, Buckingham is about 20 minutes west of MK and while as we all know, Milton Keynes has it’s own chain-related problems, it has been undergoing a quiet and steady improvement process with Camerons, the Antep Kitchen among others hitting up some very respectable plates, and that’s not even mentioning the burgeoning street food and food festival scenes. But, Buckingham? Well, with an average population age of 154* I think it’s safe to say that they don’t exactly embrace change.