Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Little Local Deli

August 19, 2014
Little Local Deli

Little Local Deli



I spotted this little deli in the morning, I looked in, and they told me they had only opened on Saturday.

They seem to know their stuff, as they had beer from The Little Beer Corporation, the only place I have ever seen apart from The Joint in Guildford, and they had coffee from Winchester Coffee Roasters.

I decided to pop back in the afternoon and have a cappuccino, as I have been wishing to try coffee from Winchester Coffee Roasters.

Whilst waiting, I chat to two little girls. They tell me they like the place, better than Costa.

They have a long way to go making coffee. My coffee was sloshed in the saucer. I think they were surprised when I said make another one. They did, and yet I was still left with the original.

Taste and appearance, better than Costa (they would have to be serving ditch water to be worse), but not comparable with Harris + Hoole in Guildford.

If you are going to open an indie coffee shop, then you have be at least as good as Harris + Hoole Guildford, serve lunch and afternoon tea and cakes at least as good as Café Mila in Godalming, otherwise you are just another café serving tea, cakes, coffee and snacks.

If Little Local Deli are going to survive, they have to prepare lunch (something more than a sandwich or a hotted up quiche), and they need quality cakes and cookies.

Camberley a ghastly town, this deli probably the only place worth visiting.

Lunch at Pinetrees restaurant

August 19, 2014
Frimley Park baked fish

Frimley Park baked fish

A hospital is not somewhere you would go out of your way to eat, not unless you were already there, but Pinetrees restaurant, buried deep in the bowels of Frimley Park Hospital, is worth a visit, or was.

As I was at the Frimley Park Hospital in the morning, I thought I would eat there, via a round trip to Camberley.

I had to ask directions, as I could not remember how to find it.

The emphasis is on healthy eating (which is more than can be said of their public café by the main entrance), a wide choice of salads.

The choice was baked fish or meat balls, starter leak and potato soup.

I skipped the soup.

The baked fish came with mashed potatoes, sweetcorn or green beans.

Price is incredibly cheap £2-75 (25% more for visitors), which probably explains why packed.

I noticed at least half had a takeaway, exactly the same meal, but in a polystyrene burger box.

Water, from a machine, in plastic cups.

Very poor environmental awareness.

I thought at first, maybe disease control, but cannot be, as I had a plate, cutlery.

In the entrance to the hospital, a little café, junk food, sugary cakes. In the corridor, a widescreen TV, information on healthy eating, avoid sugar, excess alcohol, only too fast to read. Opposite the information display, a vending machine dispensing Coke.

Sugar kills

August 19, 2014

After an X-ray, dental surgeon, that will be six teeth I will be taking out.

Was it six, to be honest, I lost count?

He reassured me he had taken out thousands of teeth (or was it tens of thousands) all around the world (and he was was a Lt Col), but I am not sure that was reassurance or not.

Why, I look after my teeth?


But I avoid sugar,

The damage was done years ago, in your teens.

Sadly all too true, my grandmother used to stuff us full of sweets.

As the dental surgeon said, people did not know what we know now, for my grandmother, it was an act of kindness.

But what is the excuse today? There is no excuse today for parents giving their children sweets, taking them to McDonald’s, giving them Coke and other sweetened fizzy drinks. Any parent that does, is engaging in child abuse.

A can of Coke, I cannot remember the figures, but at least ten spoons of sugar, maybe more. Would anyone put ten spoons of sugar in a drink? Can you imagine heaping ten spoons of sugar in a cup of tea.

Diet Coke does not let you off the hook either. it is fizzed with CO2, a carbonated drink (in essence Coke is nothing more than syrupy fizzy water). The CO2 makes it acidic, and that eats into your teeth.

So nothing for it, grin and bear it, half a dozen teeth to be extracted, except I will longer be able to grin.

How will I be able to eat?

Don’t worry, you will manage.

Sugar kills teeth.

It is not only teeth, we are in an obesity epidemic, type 2 diabetes hitting kids in their late teens, early twenties. It used to be known as late onset middle age diabetes.

Why no sugar tax, why no government action?

Because we have an extremely powerful food lobby, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Cadbury’s, and he who pays the piper calls the tune

In the entrance to the hospital, a little café, junk food, sugary cakes. In the corridor, a widescreen TV, information on healthy eating, avoid sugar, excess alcohol, only too fast to read. Opposite the information display, a vending machine dispensing Coke.

Late lunch at Caffe Macchiato

August 18, 2014
spaghetti con polpette

spaghetti con polpette



Having ate last week at Caffe Macchiato, I thought I would try again today.

As last week spaghetti con polpette, spaghetti with meatballs, onion and tomato sauce, was delicious. Nicely presented. Generous portion size, indeed over generous. Fresh ground pepper was added, as was Parmesan cheese.

I followed with a cappuccino. Usually Caffe Macchiato is excellent for coffee, sadly not today, it was horrible, as Costa. Why, I do not know, as their coffee is usually very good.

Caffe Macchiato used to stay open until 7pm, which was good for sitting outside, though not today, summer seems to have ended and autumn begun. Now, closes at 6pm.

Caffe Macchiato is a rare example of somewhere worth eating in Aldershot.

Kiara’s closed

August 16, 2014
Kiara's closed

Kiara’s closed

Last weekend I was saddened to see Kiara’s, a lovely tea shop in Downing Street, had closed. Bailiffs sent in by landlords based in Cornwall who could not give a toss about Farnham. Problem is, there are now a number of empty shops in Downing Street. Every time one closes, one less reason to walk down Downing Street and a domino effect kicks in, and yet more shops close, and that is what is now happening.

About a year go, Morello’s, a lovely Italian coffee shop opposite Kiara’s closed. In June, The Barn closed in The Borough.

Not good news for Farnham.

Late lunch at Caffe Macchiato

August 14, 2014
spaghetti con polpette

spaghetti con polpette

Thanks to heavy showers and thunderstorm, I was in Aldershot far later than I had intended. Barely sufficient to visit WHSmith before they closed. A wasted journey, no they did not have Adultery, no idea when available (it was published today). WHSmith once again ably demonstrating why they are a failing High Street chain.

I was hungry. I decided late lunch at Caffe Macchiato was the order of the day.

Too cool to sit outside.

Spaghetti con polpette, spaghetti with meatballs, onion and tomato sauce, was delicious. Nicely presented. Generous portion size, indeed over generous. Fresh ground pepper was added, as was Parmesan cheese. The Parmesan cheese was a little over done, but that was my fault, I said yes, not realising I needed to say enough.

Like the little Italian coffee shop in Alton, Bottega dei Sapori, everything at Caffe Macchiato is freshly prepared using fresh ingredients.

As with everyone else in Aldershot, Caffe Macchiato has been hit by Wastegate. They will be hit again if the unwanted plans to squander £4.5 million in Aldershot goes ahead. Plans for which there is strong opposition and has been no consultation.

Infamous for its junk food outlets, Caffe Macchiato is a rare example of somewhere worth eating in Aldershot.

Caffe Macchiato is also good for coffee. I occasionally drop by and enjoy a cappuccino. Why does anyone drink disgusting coffee at Costa when they can walk up the street and get a decent coffee?

I would have had a tea or coffee or maybe a Peroni, but it was not raining, and as there had been heavy showers and thunderstorms all day, I decided not to risk it, leave and catch the bus. I may as well not have bothered, the bus failed to tun up, neither did the next bus, finally a clapped-out double-decker bus turned up.

Sharp’s Doom Bar

August 6, 2014
Sharp's Doom Bar

Sharp’s Doom Bar

The choice of guest ales at The Queen Hotel have over the last few weeks been going down week by week, that it got to the point there was no choice, often would be served London Pride.

Today, porter and stout. In itself unusual as porter and stout long vanished from most pubs.

Sharp’s Doom Bar is from Cornwall, named after a treacherous sand bank. I was put off for life beers from Cornwall, having found them to have a very nasty metallic bitter taste. It was as though arsenic had leached into the water from the tin mines (probably had). Thus it was with some reluctance, and little choice, I ordered Sharp’s Doom Bar. I was pleasantly surprised, and it was a lovely colour.

To eat, gammon and chips, at least that is what it would have been had I not varied my order. Chips are McCain and disgusting. It is possible to order mashed potatoes. I did not want the egg. Was it possible to have peas, maybe a mushroom? Apparently it was. A much more balanced meal, meat, potatoes and vegetables. I even got half a tomato.

Guildford farmers market

August 5, 2014

Sweetcorn, strawberries off one stall, then returned later, peas and a squash. I mentioned the last time the strawberries got squashed, and I was given a lid.

Strawberries when I go them home, were overripe. Sweetcorn was excellent.

Bread and flapjacks off Celtic Baker.

A stall dedicated to watercress, watercress scones, watercress burgers, watercress soup, and of course watercress. The soup was a ludicrous price, £3 a pot.

Scones can be savoury (eg cheese scones), plain (as I had at the Octagon with cream and jam at Staycation Live on Sunday) or with currants. With watercress! I had for tea. They were not good. When cut in half, green, as bread or scones go when mouldy. They did not taste good. As though salty, but not salty. Maybe it was the taste of the water cress.

Paella stall did very well. Sold out by lunchtime, and I had the last lemonade. The lemonade had a kick, very refreshing on a hot summers day.

The last time I saw Secretts Farm, the sweetcorn was not in good condition. This afternoon even worse, dried up and papery white. This is very unusual for Secretts Farm, as their produce is usually top quality. I regret I did not raise it with them.

Pasty stall had no pasties left. I thought, ham from The Joint. No ham.

Plums off apple juice stall. He did tell me what variety they were, but I have forgotten. The plums that appear before Victoria plums. He confirmed what I have noticed, plums and everything else is early, the seasons are shifting.

Man on the Celtic Bakers stall, was not the usual stallholder. He dropped his serving tongs in the street, picked them up, and continued using them.

Lunch at The Keystone. As last Friday, no fish cakes. I ordered courgette soup (at least a summer soup not a winter soup). I than added king size prawns. Perversely, the prawns were served first, before the soup, but at least they were delicious.

Pubs are going out of businesses, 26 a week. I need a venue, maybe for an alternative fringe book festival, maybe for a launch party for an album release. I visited a pub Friday, twice today. Friday, landlord too busy with paperwork, Today, not there, then on my return, in a meeting. On each visit, the pub empty.

Sorry no pictures. I decided to give battery a top up charge. I then forgot the battery, camera but no battery.

Guildford farmers market takes place in Guildford High Street on the first Tuesday of the month. Last month there was an additional Saturday market at the end of July during the Guildford Summer Festival, though it would be better if this extra market for the summer festival was a food festival. Godalming has an excellent food festival, Woking has a food festival, why not Guildford? Experience Guildford are seeking projects to support, kickstart, to provide a lasting legacy for Guildford. A Guildford Food Festival should be one such project. Make it one of the events of Guildford Fringe.

Staycation Live Music 2014

August 2, 2014
Staycation Live 2014

Staycation Live 2014

The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers

The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers

Andy accompanying Jewelia

Andy accompanying Jewelia

Jewelia acoustic set

Jewelia acoustic set

Jewelia acoustic set

Jewelia acoustic set

New Rising

New Rising

Tree House Fire

Tree House Fire

Three factors determine a good music festival: the weather, the food and the music.

Staycation Live manages all three: lovely sunny day, good food, excellent music.

River Wey

River Wey

But let’s add a couple more: lovely location in the park by the river and it is free.

It was forecast rain, early afternoon, dark clouds, a heavy downpour, then the sun came out.

I arrived around one o’clock, it started at midday, so I missed Spotlight Cannibal on the bandstand and Telephone Road in the cloisters. There were not a lot of people, but then it was threatening rain.

As I arrived, Morris Men, reason enough to wander into the town. The reason Morris Men, to keep the noise level down, so as to not disturb a wedding in the Parish Church. These were Morris Men with attitude, Dark Morris, The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers. The music was good, as were they.

When people dress in traditional costume, play traditional music, I always find it dire. On the other hand, add a contemporary mix, and it is usually quite good, and that was true of The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers.

I bumped into a friendly face from The Tumbledown Dick campaign. We both agreed, councillors in Aldershot and Farnborough retards. Godalming hosts a free music festival, wonderful atmosphere, good food. In Farnborough, councillors destroy c 1720s Tumbledown Dick for a drive-thru McDonald’s.

I wandered over to the cloisters which was an acoustic stage. Telephone Pole had just finished, and Jewelia was setting up. Jewelia was good, very good, backed by Andy on acoustic guitar. Mainly her own stuff, excellent rendition of You Know How I Feel, Nina Simone classic.

It was a pity the second half of her set was being drowned out by bells from the church. Then if that was not enough, the wedding party decided to muscle their way into the cloisters.

One has heard of people gate crashing a wedding, but a wedding gate crashing a music festival. They made themselves very unpopular. A pity they did not show the same consideration as had been shown to them.

Back to the bandstand where New Rising were playing. They did an excellent blues number.

Followed by an Argentinian group Silvestre y la Naranja. They were pretty dire. Time to to wander into the town.

afternoon tea at Café Mila

afternoon tea at Café Mila

Afternoon tea at Café Mila.

Sadly I missed whoever was splaying in the acoustic stage, and they had finished by five o’clock.

The timings between the two stages needed to have been better synched, ideally one is playing whist the other has change over.

Tree House Fire a rock-reggae fusion. At times brilliant, most of the time good, occasionally dire. They have a new album out, but not released until Monday. They played Staycation Live 2012.

The final act, Smoky Bastards, were unbelievably bad, it was almost as though a parody of a bad act.

Last year, everyone was selling CDs at a fiver. A fiver and people will part with their money and not think twice, make it a tenner and people will think twice. Last year bands were shifting their CDs, today those selling at a tenner were not.

Knowledge of bandcamp finally seems to be sinking into the conciousness of musicians, and yet perversely they are still not using. Announcing a new album on iTunes is crazy, anounce it on bandcamp. And to direct people to spotify it total insanity.

Two years ago, excellent food, then last year stainless steel burger vans, commercial tea and beer tents. Notice seem to have been taken, as no one was happy, this year back to local food and drink, Sail Bar with real ales, a hog roast, local Thai and vegetarian curries, and Dylan’s ice cream. A pity though the local butcher with his hog roast was not there.

Suggestions for next year:

  • local butcher with hog roast
  • Curries from Home
  • HoBo Co
  • Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage in Guildford

Last act finished at 7-30, allowing daylight to clear up.

This is Godalming, no litter anywhere.

Staycation Live continues through the night in various pubs in the town, then back in the park on Sunday, midday until around eight o’clock.

Late lunch at Caffe Macchiato

July 30, 2014


I thought I would try something different. I occasionally have a cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato, and this time of year it is pleasant to sit outside, though of late, too hot.

It is questionable why anyone goes to Costa, when it is possible to get a decent cappuccino in a pleasant environment at Caffe Macchiato.

Today I thought I would have lunch.

But first, a beer.

I was aware of the name, but have never had a Peroni before. A delight I had missed out on. Very pleasant on a hot afternoon.

Then, I am not sure, and not quite what I had expected.

I thought, strips of beef mixed with a mushroom sauce. What I got, a large, but thin piece of beef, covered with a mushroom sauce.

Plus a big bowl of salad.

The chips were an anomaly, and did not go with the dish. Better would have been nice new potatoes, or as I had in a restaurant in Cascais, sliced fried potatoes.

Portion size generous. In fact for me, too much.

Late afternoon outside Caffe Macchiato is pleasant as you catch the sun down the street until it disappears behind the trees.

Caffe Macchiato used to stay open until 7pm, now, more is the pity, they close at 6pm. Six is ok for winter, but for summer, when it is pleasant, it needs to be open until at least seven. Though they do appear to have reached a compromise, if there are customers and they do not have to be elsewhere, they remain open.

Sitting outside, it shows what potential the street has, if the local council had councillors with more than two brain cells to share between them. If everyone looked after their building like Caffe Macchiato, if we got rid of the disgusting fast food outlets, if cars were barred from what is allegedly a pedestrian street.

The local council is proposing to spend £4.5 million on the centre of Aldershot. It is money down the drain, there has been no consultation with either the local community or local businesses. It will do nothing to enhance the centre of Aldershot.


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