Sticky Beak Flies In For A Tour Of Northumberland #StickyBeakOnTour
Blimey O’Reilly that has been what you can call a hectic few days! Great fun though, I have to say. Northumberland is an absolute gem of a county from the breath-taking coastlines to the busy pace of the city. The Boy and I have eaten some incredible food at a variety of places from fine dining at Jesmond Dene House to the Magpies (mother in law) local Chinese takeaway, Jade Garden.
It all started with an early morning start on the Bank Holiday Saturday when we piled into the car and headed off up the big roads (M1 and A1). After a couple of hours we arrived at the Magpies nest in Ashington and the Chick was whisked away for the day to have fun with her Grandma and Great Aunt. The unpacking began in earnest and beautification started for the first dining experience at Jesmond Dene House, which you can read the review on my blog.
The Sunday began with His Nibs having a full English Breakfast cooked for him by his Mummy Bird; the chick and I just had a slice of toast as we knew we were going out for Sunday Lunch to Riverside Lodge in Morpeth. The weather was beautiful so after a superb lunchtime feast, which again you can read the review of on my blog, we all had a stroll by the river and took in the town of Morpeth itself which is a little delight.
Now we honestly were just going to go out for a sneaky drink or two in the local ‘spoons, but we passed Masala Tandoori and just looked at each other as if to say “in for a penny....”. Needless to say our little tummies were full that day! Masala Tandoori’s review is also ready for you to read if you so wish on my blog.
In previous years we haven’t always been that lucky with the weather so we were feeling pretty cock-a-hoop when we woke up to another dry day on the Bank Holiday Monday. We hopped over to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea first for a swift walk along the beach and Promenade, and having worked up a thirst we headed into Caffe Bertorellis. This place is amazing; its decor hasn’t changed in a long time with black and white chequer board flooring and the old style chairs and sofas you can just sink into. There are old fashioned posters on the wall and an absolutely fantastic slideshow of old local photographs depicting various social events of decades ago.
The Man Bird recognised a couple of the photos from a relatives own collection, so he was well chuffed. He sat eating his creamy ice cream (still made to the original Bertorelli recipe) as he was telling me about childhood memories of this town. In fact we were there so long we had a couple of Lattes too and just spent some time people watching. For lunch we decided to head over to Whitley Bay as it isn’t a family visit if I haven’t lost at least a couple of quid on the 2p push machines in the amusement arcade. So having duly lost the obligatory amount of money, but acquiring some quality plastic tat along the way, our tummies reminded us that it was lunchtime.
Di Meos is another family run establishment that we’ve visited before and this time we were pleasantly surprised to see that they have expanded somewhat. They now have a brand-spanking-new wood fired pizza oven where the old facilities used to be and they were turning out pizzas by the bucket load for the lunch time rush. I had the Panini Luca, which was very yummy and The Man had his favourite Meatball and Cheese Panini; the Di Meo meatballs are really tasty, if ever you get chance to sample them take the opportunity to do so.
That evening it was in the car again for a little tootle over to the team at St Marys Inn at Stannington to sample their foodie offerings. It was a cracking end to a great day and the full review is on my blog. If only all days could be Bank Holidays *sigh*
Tuesday was our final full day in Northumberland and we made the most of it. One of my favourite places is Bamburgh, it has a stunning Castle and an absolutely amazing beach and over the years we have made some great memories there.
Normally we take a little picnic with us and snuggle in among the sand dunes to eat but this year we thought we’d do something different, so we went for a brisk walk along the beach before winding our way to The Copper Kettle Tea Rooms. As its name suggests there is a plethora of copper kettles hanging from the ceiling beams inside and it has a really quaint feel to it. The staff were all lovely young lasses who couldn’t do enough for you, and placed our pots of tea, hot chocolate, toasted tea cakes and chicken baguette very carefully before us. My chick’s baguette was packed to the rafters with chicken bound with mayonnaise and the bread was lovely and fresh. Our tea cakes were a good size too and full of spiced fruit and were just enough to tide us over until we had lunch at 1pm.
A few doors up the street there is a little venue called The Pantry Deli who, amongst everything else, sells a fantastic selection of local cheeses. Now you know that I am an absolute cheese freak so I just had to buy a few different dairy delights. I bought a selection of different strengths, a goats cheese and a blue cheese to sample a range. They were all delicious, but I have to fly the Derbyshire flag proudly and say that the Hartington Blue is still the front runner for me.
Final stop of the day was the seaside town of Seahouses, and we stopped here to sample Fish and Chips at Pinnacles which is a regular haunt of Robson Green. Sadly Robson wasn’t there when we were but he did put in an appearance the next day, someone posted his photo on twitter. The guy has good taste in Fish and Chips I’ll give him that, ours were very tasty with a great light, crispy batter on the fish and lovely tasty chips. We also had a walk down to the harbour front and had a look at the Lifeboat in its shed; we also put some money in the box for the RNLI, they provide a fantastic service for those in need out at sea.
The final evening is normally take away night and so it was on this occasion too, but we went to a different venue as our usual one shuts on Tuesdays. However I have to say that the Jade Garden cuisine was very nice. I had a Dragon roll for my starter, having no clue as to what it was, other than a roll of some description. When it came it was a huge spring roll filled with shredded chicken and pork, and it was pretty good if I do say so. The others had the usual spring rolls and they were equally yummy.
The Chick and Man Bird both had Crispy Chilli dishes; he had Beef, she had Chicken and they were both lovely and crispy with a great sticky, spicy sauce on them. The Geordie contingent had Beef with Leeks and Black Bean sauce which they both enjoyed with their chips. I had a rather tasty King Prawn dish that had a great tangy sauce to it, although I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me!
So I can say that our little sojourn “oooop north” was a great success having met some fantastic people and tasted some delightful foods. Thank you Northumberland you’ve been fabulous, see you next year :)
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