Happy National Pie Week!

Last week (March 6th to March 12th) was a week to celebrate the best of British pies. I went to Brewers Fayre to try their special Beef and Doom Bar Ale pudding, served with cheese and chive mashed potato, a mass of green beans and gravy.

Although it is more of an American treat, I saw this Moon Pie in So Sweet, Barnstaple. Moon Pie is similar to a Wagon Wheel but the biscuit base differs. This is a special Double Decker Moon Pie, a chocolate coated moon pie sandwich with marshmallow filling.

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The Pelican, Barnstaple

The Pelican is a fish and chip restaurant and takeaway in Sticklepath, Barnstaple. It recently underwent a big redecoration in the restaurant in the last year or two, and it was runner up for a National Fish and Chip Shop Award!

This was the first time I went to try it, and I was expecting good things! There is quite a good selection on the menu – traditional things like cod, haddock, chips (their website actually offers all-you-can-eat chips if you run out!), as well as curries and fish pies. They do also have specials, although the waiter didn’t really promote them to us. The specials board says they have smoked haddock fish cakes using fresh, local fish delivered on that day. We shared the crab cakes and I had scampi and chips.

The crab cakes were ok, I wasn’t a big fan of them. The portion for a starter is quite large however.

The scampi was plentiful – normally most portion sizes I get are quite small, and there is lots of scampi meat (they use scampi whole tail). They were cooked just right and the chips were delicious – the right texture and not greasy unlike others I have eaten. I also took a quick bite from my partner’s cod and chips, and the batter is light and the fish looks and tastes fresh. Again, it wasn’t greasy.

We squeezed in room for a sweet. We had the Summer Berry Cheesecake and Mario’s Homemade Apple Pie. The portions were larger than I expected!

The cheesecake wasn’t the best I have had but the apple pie was nice. I wish there was an option to have it served with hot custard – that would have been even better!

Overall, the food was to a good standard and the price is not too expensive. The restaurant is beautiful, service is friendly and there is parking on site. The small criticisms I have is that some of the cutlery was dirty and the menus are sticky. Paying more attention to detail would make this experience even better.

Christmas Decorations in Barnstaple

I am always fascinated with Christmas decorations and how people use their imagination to create amazing displays that capture the Christmas spirit. These pictures are from Barnstaple, Devon.

Every year, Green Lanes shopping centre hosts a Santa’s Grotto for children. They are always elaborately decorated, and last year was no exception! They created a beautiful winter wonderland from the Artic.

I particularly like the penguin who got his head stuck in the snow!

The high street was decorated with twinkling orbs throughout.

In Joules, they had a winter mouse looking for Father Christmas.

Just Trio always have fantastic Christmas displays and I admire the effort they go to. In one window, they had a gingerbread house…

Squirrels playing in the snow…

Flying polar bear over a snowcapped town…

Polar bear and a Christmas wreath…and Christmas flamingos!…

Pizza Express, Barnstaple

I have never been to a Pizza Express before, despite many people saying that the food is delicious. Last month, I tried it for the first time. We visited on a early Monday evening and sat next to the kitchen. You are able to see the chefs cooking the food. The food is a mix of pizza (obviously) and pasta. I was in the mood for a lasagne. My partner had a mozzarella and tomato pizza with added meat toppings.

The desserts are quite big. This is a tiramisu we shared for afterwards.

I love the napkins – they are so funny!

I was fairly impressed with my first visit, much better than Pizza Hut and Prezzo, related competition in the area. The food is generously sized and tasty, and the service was very knowledgeable and helpful. The price is great value too. From time to time, they hold their own offers – they had a free dessert if you order starter and a main. Before leaving, they gave me a 2 for 1 mains voucher to use in January, so it is easy to save money when you eat here. I couldn’t use these offers with my student discount, however, the discount gave us 40% the bill (not valid during the weekend I think)…so I am not complaining!

Afterwards, we went to Let’s Go! for some bowling. It is the only activities venue in the area and it is not exactly amazing. It offers ice skating, laser tag, karaoke, arcade games and bowling but I have heard negative things about their facilities. We paid £24 for two games for two people on a quiet evening (for our second game, we were the only people). The bowling facilities could do with some updating – everything looks old-fashioned and the skittles mechanism kept freezing. The staff are friendly however.

I won’t post any bowling pictures or scores…it is too embarrassing! I like the way they got into the Christmas spirit however…

Seafood Festival, Barnstaple

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On the 22nd May, Barnstaple hosted its annual Seafood Festival. In Pannier Market, there were many stalls selling snacks, fresh seafood and local produce. I tried the crab ball from Fatbelly Fred, a popular seafood eatery in Barnstaple. We also bought organic drinks from Luscombe and tried grilled scallops wrapped in pancetta from SunFish Cuisine. It was a fantastic day to sample the best that North Devon offers.