Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Food, and the occasional lack of it

What I had not expected about Cornwall was the really great food we had every time we ate out. This is put down to the 'Rick Stein effect' as he has single handedly taken over Padstow and other Cornish places have to compete food wise or lose out.

We ate here in Newquay, where there was a huge surfing competition going on, and here which according to someone writing in the Observer is one of the top five beach cafes in the world, and must have the loveliest view of any restaurant anywhere, and also at this great pub. But where we did NOT eat was in the Cornish food capital of Padstow. This was not what you would call a deliberate omission.

On this particular day we had been down to St Ives (where we had had an 'Award Winning Cornish pastie'. Interestingly, everywhere in St Ives that sold pasties only sells 'Award Winning' ones, but anyway, it was very nice.) But that had been quite early and by 7ish we were very much looking forward to a trip to Padstow and
fish and chips from Mr Stein's establishment. Now, on the way back from St Ives I had mentioned that we probably should get some petrol but I was checking the petrol warning sign (yes - more bloody aggro from my car's warning signs - or lack of them, see below), and the 'petrol low' warning sign had not come on. We go to the car in the hotel car park. I switch on the engine and the warning sign which wasn't on before has switched to Nuclear Warning Mode, and just to emphasis there was a 'problem' it refused to move. We are out of petrol, and we are also just to make the situation all the more amusing, miles from anywhere.

I rang a cab firm and told my story of woe which resulted in a Cockney Cab Driver (lived in Newquay for 30 years but still very definitely a Londoner) coming to collect us to take us to a petrol station and to bring us back again. STUPIDLY, I had left a petrol carrying thingy behind at home so had to buy one first. So - on arrival at the BP garage some six miles away - no prizes for guessing they had sold out of?? I nearly cried. We continue with Cockney Cabbie for several more miles before the next petrol garage where the petrol can and the petrol is purchased and back he takes us with the total of 21 bloody quid on the clock. In fact he took some slight pity on us and charged us less than that, but still - a unexpected and total pain in the arse expense.

EVENTUALLY we get to Padstow, but what we both need is a drink first. And then we go in search of Rick Steins chippy, spurning as we do (subsequent results served us right) other, undoubtedly perfectly good chip shops, as when in Padstow surely one must do a Rick Stein. And it is a surprisingly big place. And it was dark. And when we finally found the place at 10.20 we found (oh how we laughed) that it had shut at 9.00. We go back to the other chippies not owned by TV Personality Chefs - and they had all shut too. As had all of Padstow by this time. We had a curry in Newquay at midnight that night with all the piss heads - but hey! THAT was very nice too. :-)


Moo said...

All the pasties you find in Cornwall are award winning JJ because noone else can make em like the Cornish do!! (Apart from my nan, but after all we are Westcountry folk!)

JoeinVegas said...

Wow, that was a pretty expensive no fish and chips meal. Sorry about that, but . .

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Why are you writing about Cornwall and food when you could be gloating and wallowing in the joy of your victory over The Lions of South London. Poor old Reidski!

J.J said...

Ah yes Moo, that would explain that!

Joe - very pricey indeed!

YP - thT subject will get a mention or two I promise!

Arthur Clewley said...

hmmm, actually there is a lovely cornish pasty stand at waverley station, a highlight of a day in embra on the big blue train. I'm sure they are award winning too, not so certain how cornish they are though...

Sparkle said...

Hi JJ You really didn't miss much. Padstow used to be my favourite place to go when I was young. I remember many a lovely balmy evening spent eating superb shellfish in the Blue Lobster restaurant. One evening when I was heavily pregnant with Natalie the restaurant was full of celebrities i.e. Michael Cain and Shakira, Jenny Agutter and Donald Sutherland, they were there because they were making the film The Eagle has landed at Rock. The town wasfull of characters like the old Lady who used to shout at you from a little window overlooking the harbour. The place is not the same since Rick Stein has taken over and the locals have evennicknamed the town 'Steinville'
I don't like Padstow anymore and yet I used to spend practically every weekend there when I was younger. Natalie and my son loved it there but now the yuppies have wrecked it, it has no character at all. Even Rock across the river has been Yuppyfied. I wish they would leave our coastal towns alone but they feel the need to take over. Oh well moan for the day over I am so glad you had such a good time in Cornwall it is beautiful.

timesnewroman said...

Pretty much everything we ate in Cornwall was really, really good. They definitely know how to do tourism.

J.J said...

Arthur - one has to question its parentage.

Hi is a shame when places get gentrified like that - and thanks for the reassurance we didn't miss anything. In fact I now feel morally superior that we did NOT line Rick Steins pockets further..even if it was somewhat accidental that we did not!

Jim, they certainly do. When where you there?