Last week was spent in Devon and this week has been spent returning to work. Bar a Tuscan bean stew (which I've already shared with this blog), there is little cooking from scratch going on. I do have a recommendation on a bread mix to share over the weekend. In the interim, a little bit of information about our holiday and some recommendations on places to go and places to eat.
Last week was a lovely haze of fish and chip shop chips, cream teas, icecream and fudge, as well as some rather lovely Brie from Churston Farm Shop. I'm not sure that there are many places that are more indulgent than Devon.
We stayed in Brixham at a holiday park. Brixham is beautiful. It has a pretty harbour and a group determined to ensure that it remains a 'local' town - attempting to oust Tesco. There are lots of little icecream shops and fudge shops. It's a typical seaside tourist town, with shingle beaches. Little D liked trying to skim stones.
We enjoyed some lovely fish and chips on the harbour, from a fish and chip shop. As a non-fish eating vegetarian, I simply had the chips. Sometimes I opt for mushy peas on the side but unfortunately, the mushy peas didn't look that attractive. Luckily, the chips were that magical mix of squishy and vinegary and salty that it really didn't matter. I'm a fan of lots and lots of salt and vinegar and a little bit of mayonnaise... if it's good for the Belgians after all.... What about you?
Another stop on our tour of Devon was Paignton. Small son was very fond of the beach - he ended up utterly covered in the sand. It's a red sand which remained a little wet throughout the day. We also visited Paignton Zoo. I highly recommend it as a place to visit. They have a fantastic monkey area and a good range of different animals to see. The gorillas are also worth a look.
In terms of food, a highlight was Shoreline. I ordered a pasta in a creamy pesto and mushroom sauce, the smallest one had a lasagne which came with chips. I don't understand that. That was a bit of a theme. I was given macaroni cheese with roast potatoes on another occasion. Anyhow, husband had a tuna steak on noodles - he thinks a sesame based sauce. He declared it very nice. The pesto and pasta was very tasty too. It's good to see different vegetarian options on the menu. The only problem with it is that the smallest one thought my meal was far tastier than his and he ended up wanting quite a lot of it. Good thing that the portions are big! The other great thing about Shoreline is the views, as the restaurant is overhanging the beach you get an excellent view of the sea.
In Torquay we discovered two restaurants that I feel are worth sharing. The first was undeniably my favourite of the week - although Shoreline comes a very close second. Amici is fairly new on the scene in Torquay. Interestingly, there are a LOT of highly rated restaurants in Torquay and this comes a little way down the list on Tripadvisor. The service was very friendly. When we arrived and asked if they would do a small portion for Little D and were told that the main portions were so large, we'd be better off sharing some of our food with him. She wasn't wrong. I had a silky smooth risotto verde and husband had a spaghetti bolognaise - on this occasion his meal was far more attractive than mine for the smallest one. We also ordered some dough sticks which came with a really tasty dipping sauce.
The other place of note is just opposite - Jingles. Jingles is a Mexican restaurant. We visited at lunch time and we were a little distracted by other events but the food was reasonable. The kids menu offered the opportunity to mix and match, meaning that Little D ended up with some stir fry vegetables, seasoned fries and a beef burger. He wasn't too impressed but I thought the fries were quite nice. Husband had beef enchiladas and I had the veggie version. They were quite tasty. Not worth rushing back for but a reasonable choice if you're passing. We visited at lunch time and we were the only people there. Good when you are a little nervous about how the little one will behave, not so good if you are looking for atmosphere. I'd imagine it would be better in the evenings and I was quite interested in their cocktail menu. Their dessert menu also included an array of quite interesting sorbets and icecreams.
Away from food, Torquay offers lots for tourists. The shops are a good mix of high-street and more local options, including a rather well-stocked candle and soap shop. We visited Living Coasts, as we had purchased a combination ticket at Paignton Zoo earlier in the week. Whilst it's not very big, watching the seals and penguins underground, as well as watching the penguins 'crossing the road' makes it worth it - at the combination ticket price. Torquay's Dinosaur World is similarly quite small but with enough to engage younger children for a little while. There are some dinosaurs that the kids can climb on to and exhibits where fossils and bones can be 'excavated' as well as a little quiz to ensure that visitors are paying attention to some of the facts and figures around.
Just outside of Torquay, we visited Bygones and Babbacombe model village. The former has a range of different exhibits that just about hang together. The Victorian street was a highlight for me, the smallest one was quite keen on Fantasy Land and husband quite liked the amusement arcade - including games you can play for an old penny. Another draw of the place is their old-style cafe, where we had a cream teas. The model village is quite clever, with lots of little puns and an impressive fire-breathing dragon but wasn't as enjoyable a trip as other places we went to.
Before I move on from Torquay, I should mention Roly's Fudge, where we bought some butterscotch fudge - a great way to keep the sugar levels up on the long drive home!
In a final word, a place I'd like to share with you is Dartmouth Castle. The views from here over the harbour are amazing.