The weather promised to be perfect so we got up early and headed to Lac d’Aiguebelette! As usual, we took a few wrong turns and a 1 1/2 hour drive became a three hour drive. No worries… the drive was beautiful! We ended up on some lovely mountain roads with awesome views and luckily, a great restaurant!
We both started with Martini Bianco with lemon. So refreshing! We then had fresh green salads with beets, radishes, onion, and a great creamy balsamic dressing. I had the omelette with “house chips” and Adam had the steak with the “house chips”. WOW! I’m so glad I didn’t opt for the mashed potatoes. The “house chips” were awesome! Crispy, earthy, salty, a little charred in some spots – perfect! My omelette was done well, just a little borring. Adams steak was very good. Charred outside, rare inside, and surprise – sprinkled with cumin on the outside!
All was great, then I asked for mayonnaise and all became PERFECT! The waitress called inside through an open window to the chef. They didn’t have any, but he would make some fresh for me, “petite minute, s’il vous plaît madame”. WHAT?!?!? It was SOOO good. I dipped every chip in it. Adam even put it on his steak:) We finished the meal with espresso.
Very yummy brunch! We slept in and missed breakfast altogether:) I had a grass-fed organic steak sandwich with arugula and curry mayonnaise. Adam had a wonderful shrimp sandwich with bacon and hand cut fries. Excellent!
This was an example of a not so good pasty, but that’s college food for you. The carrots were okay tasting, after I got over my phobia of disc shaped carrots, which I’ve always had bad luck with. The inside of the pasty was dry and paste-like. Note the packets of mint sauce on my tray, those are for the salad. I learned that the mint sauce was the best option for a salad dressing. They always had mint sauce available for us, but we’re never given any lamb to put it on. The peach crumble was okay, not great.
I’m always glad to turn up for dinner at the college and see traditional English dishes; it gives me hope that the food will actually be tasty. Although this steak pie was not quite as good as the pork pie, it was still really tasty. The chunks of steak were tender, the mushrooms were small and nice, and the gravy was thick and savory. The crust on the top seemed like it was just too thick, and not flaky enough for my liking. The potatoes were so-so, as always, and the veg was not too good. The dessert was whipped cream with a very small amount of lemon custard mixed in randomly. The salad was bad, and made worse by my mistake of trying the salad cream, yuck. But the steak and mushroom pie was pretty tasty, so it wasn’t a total loss.
After going to Stonehenge, we drove into Salisbury to get dinner. Dr. Holbrook, my biology professor, suggested that we try The King’s Head. It was a giant bar and restaurant. Easily the biggest restaurant I’ve been to since arriving in England. I ordered the steak and kidney pudding, with chips and peas. The pudding was really nice. It had a great gravy, and big chunks of steak inside. I could have used more kidneys in there, as I only noticed one bite of kidney. The crust was crispy and flaky, buttery and soft on the inside. The chips and peas were run-of-the-mill but still tasty after a drizzle of gravy. I really like English food when its actual English dishes. All the pies, puddings, and pasties I’ve had have been wonderful, I don’t know why anyone would say that English food is bad! It’s when they try to make something unusual or foreign that they get into trouble, so it seems to me.
Because of the World Cup final, the dinning hall at the college decided to attempt to make dishes from the final two teams. They made paella and a Spanish dessert called Pan de Calatrava, that’s Spain right? So they were doing pretty well, but then they made ratatouille…. French, so…… weird, then there was a steak with a piece of Swiss cheese….. so, Swiss?….. weird. And then the same old roasted potatoes and salad we always get, English I guess? So out of all this weird combination of dishes, they had two from Spain, good start, and then a bunch of dishes from countries long ago eliminated from the tournament, and nothing Dutch at all. Sounds like a World Cup theme fail to me. By the way, all the food was terrible.
Special message to any of the Oriel College cooks that might stumble upon my blog: stop trying to make dishes that you have no idea how to make! Make me some English food, you’re good at doing that!
This pasty was pretty awesome. Steak and Ale are a killer combination. There were also chunks of potatoes in there. The pasty dough was crisp and buttery on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside, a perfect vessel for takeaway food. To be fair though, I was so hungry I would’ve gladly eaten that pigeon and been as happy.