Treading Water

Beware Pub Grub in the UK

Another in our popular series of HOW TO:

How to make a meal out of a meal.”

Bear in mind that anything remotely exotic here in the UK is cooked in a microwave, with a mixed side salad from Tesco. Which reminds me, what moron invented that squirt brown stuff that plasters a lettuce leaf or two, or even everything?

You must have seen it because it looks pretty, (like squirt chocolate) and tastes bloody awful. Has no chef here ever heard of Olive oil and a mix of herbs? Or is that reserved only for posh people who live in London – along with everything else on the snobby list. [No Heth, let’s not get political…]

So on a basic cultural culinary note: Other mouth watering offerings for the average Joe here include the likes of rubber fish wrapped in orange cardboard, accompanied by finely tapered wooden sticks all just oozing with fat.

Everything else, such as items from the “entrecote” family, including reconstituted beef-burgers, also come with fatty wooden stick things. I mean slap half a warm tomato on the plate along with a piece of cauliflower and the average eye will satisfy the average mouth. Even if a three way argument occurs between them and the taste buds. “Hey, well it looked good!” Yes the eyes have the vote, or do they?

It was Dave’s birthday yesterday, so I took him out for a romantic meal. What I mean by that is, we walked into the village under the cover of darkness and freezing cold. He paid for drinks and I paid for the “food.”

We went to “The Dragon” at Willington, Derby. (Google it, reputation is supposed to be good). Dave ordered steak and chips (no other option for the latter). I ordered salmon salad. Dave’s “steak” was about the height of a slice of ham. As for me, well I had to play a game of “find the salmon bits if you can” and failed.

My own “choice of the day” arrived in front of me slapped on a wooden board thing. It was adorned with a pile of “original” coleslaw, plus a pile of potato coleslaw. Lot’s of lettuce (sprayed with the brown stuff) a piece of bread and a cold slice of quiche when I’d asked for WARM quiche. I’m not being picky here, but that request is an option on the menu. Oh and there’s more, the chocolate disgusting stuff was perfectly placed in a row of four globules, bottom left of the wooden board. So spectacularly formed were they, I thought it was a feature, you know a bit like a designer accessory thing.

“Look, our wooden slabs come with an exclusive four blob logo too.”

Sad thing is, being as it was the plop stuff, and I thought it was an exclusive adornment to an upmarket establishment, an unintended conflict of interest occurred. My hand fell slap bang into the mush pretty quick, and we both sat there slightly astonished as I was wiping it off. What the hell was it and where had it come from?

Two minutes later: “Ah well, look at that, one of the four designer buttons is smudged.” puzzle solved. Except I was covered in goo that two serviettes had no chance with.  

Today I’ve found myself stuck on the loo several times. Anyone who knows anything about serving food knows that a wooden slab filled with other people’s knife wounds is absolute heaven for bacteria to flourish. I’d rather have had a plastic plate…

COST OF A MISERABLE MEAL? £31.50… WHAT???

To be fair “The Dragon” is supposed to have a good reputation, it’s full every night of the week. I mean full of people who just don’t know any different.

Even the Denny’s chain of restaurants in the USA is 100 times better than that, and over there it’s just average. Hope Denny won’t mind me mentioning that there’s always too much on the plate, but bless him, it’s dam fine quality stuff.

So while I’ve been sat on the toilet most of the day, there’s been plenty of time to think. [Oh no, I hear you say] But this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth:

The average Brit doesn’t know what good food is. The Spanish do, so you could say I’m biased. Well from experience in various countries, and when it comes down to what people shove in their cake holes, I know the score…

They’ve got Burger King in Spain, much superior to “The Dragon.” What the Burger King chain has to offer there also has a Mediterranean menu straight from the sea, um, overlooking the sea… Surprised? We were, but people ain’t exactly queuing up when there’s top quality restaurants nearby…

There’s also two American steak bars about a mile away from our house, both are excellent, just like in the USA. And LOTS CHEAPER… Service is second to none and cleanliness is paramount everywhere. Still can’t eat everything we get served because we just don’t have stomachs big enough. But hey, prices for top notch food are truly amazing. I mean you look at the euro bill and chuckle. GOBSMACKED. “No this can’t be real!”

I haven’t done the comparison costs “food wise” because it would have to be the exact same meal. Besides I couldn’t be assed, except it works out roughly a third of the price in the UK for MUCH better quality food.

Drinks? Well it’s 3 euros 50 for a triple Vodka and lemonade. The lemonade costs more than the Vodka and the glass is almost full. The waiter stands there with the Smirnoff and pours one (lifts bottle in the air), two, (lifts bottle in the air) and three, (lifts bottle in the air). Which leaves you sat there thinking “woahh” and even saying it. Good thing is you can water it down with separate glass of lemonade once the ice has melted…!

~~~

So we booked flights back to our home yesterday, 3rd November and off we go into the sun. It was my main birthday present to Dave, except he’s paying…

Meantime TT remains with our excellent broker, turns out we can even manage any (potential) sale from Spain.

Aside from that, we’ve both kept up the Med diet for almost a year now. Dave’s nice and slim anyway. So he eats chips once in a while, whereas I couldn’t even touch them now.

Wouldn’t care, I’ve never been overweight anyway, but I’ve still lost a stone in weight. Bonus is you have more energy too, enough to develop the abs nicely…

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