Monday, 11 March 2013

Long weekend in South Lakes & Lancaster

I had planned a weekend in the Lakes a few weeks back as a belated birthday getaway for myself as my birthday had occurred mid week during Feb and it wasn't practical to do anything back then.
I left it really late to actually make a booking in my attempt to source a bargain on LateRooms. It seems no matter how last minute I look at LateRooms I never seem to find a real bargain these days.

I actually ended up booking the Travel Lodge at Kendal for a cheap couple of nights.
It worked quite well as a location because I wanted to visit Lancaster and it was only 20 mins away.

Why Lancaster, well at the risk of being a coffee bore, Lancaster is home to J. Atkinson & Co. Coffee Roasters who supply one of my favourite coffee shops in York, Spring Espresso. J. Atkinson also have 2 cafes in Lancaster in lovely old buildings which they have brought back to life.

The building / cafe below is called The Music Room. I'm sure it will be lovely sat outside in this courtyard on a summers day.

You won't be surprised to see Bob's little face pop up at the sight of a lovely flat white!

Below is J Atkinsons shop, step inside and it's like stepping back in time. There are packets of tea and coffee in little brown paper bags, an old wooden counter, little wooden drawers full of interesting things, coffee sacks, tea chests, all sorts of vintage memorabilia, it's wonderful.

Next door to their shop is the other cafe called The Priory Hall and inside I sampled a coffee brewing process I hadn't tried or seen before. This is the vacuum method of brewing coffee via a siphon pot.
You can see the burners lit as the water is heated and the coffee grinds added.

Below, the coffee is then allowed to bloom and infuse, about 2 - 3 minutes before being poured. Each pot below gives a good mug full of coffee. I had a lovely, floral Ethiopian coffee, the cost was very reasonable to watch this bit of 'coffee magic' take place at £2.60 each.

You can see that no food has been consumed yet on this trip, hold on, I had researched that too before setting off on this journey.
I read up on a vegetarian cafe in Lancaster called the Whale Tail Cafe.

As often is the case when seeking out a veggie cafe, many I've been to are down alleyways and not much to look at outside and it was like this with the Whale Tail.
However, venture up the steps and fight your way for a table and you will be rewarded with a wonderful feast.

This is my platter of Whale Tail salads, homemade hummus, a big tub of olives and pitta's. The picture doesn't quite reveal how big or deep my salad dish was, it seemed I would never reach the bottom of the bowl! I have to say it's been one of my best bowls of unusual salad dishes ever. 
I couldn't finish everything so I really couldn't have a pudding but they looked fab.

The Whale Tail have a cookbook so I've bought that as most of the salads are in.

I hadn't been to Lancaster before but I like it, nice place with good food and coffee.

Drove up to Keswick on Saturday, the weather had turned wet and remained so all day with bitterly cold winds.

Still wet in Windermere in the afternoon but very busy down by the lake and I don't like crowds so we carried on to another place on my to do list, Cartmel, home of sticky toffee pudding.

But more importantly, Cartmel Coffee, who also use Atkinsons beans.
There was a lovely warm glow inside on this wet day and I had an enormous rosewater meringue with my tasty coffee.

You can see that Bob passed out at the sight of my huge meringue!

Cartmel was very lovely but I imagine it will be heaving with tourists in summer so this was probably a good time to catch it.

By Sunday morning there had been a good dusting of snow on the fells and it was time to head back. It had been lovely to get away and I know Travel Lodges are hardly luxurious but they are much warmer than the house here so I really appreciated not having all my layers of vests and jumpers on for a couple of days!


greenrabbitdesigns said...

Thank you for taking us with you on your culinary adventure, poor Bob it was all too much for him!
Goodness it s cold, isn't it!
V xxx

Shaheen said...

Enjoyed takign the trip with you - feel bad a little, so I missed your birthday - Belated Birthday wishes my dear dear blogger friends, feel like i know you though we have never met, do have a good feeling that we will one -day.x

Question about your salad bowl at the cafe - is that four salads in the bowl, can't quite figure it out.

Anne said...

I would have loved the coffee tour! I have to say Cartmel sticky toffee pud is the best I have ever tasted.

patty said...

Hi Shaheen, thanks for the good wishes, you never know if your place is still open and I get chance to visit S. Wales again, me and Bob might turn up for a Hunky Dory feast!
My salad bowl was the Whale Tail Salad Platter on their menu and well spotted it had 4 salads. There was a very savoury, mushroom & sunflower seed pasta salad, a zingy green lentil & coriander one, a curried chickpea & sweetcorn and then a carroty one with sweet bits and maybe rice. It was huge and I didn't want to waste any so kept forcing it down and then chatting to the lady at the end and she said we could've had a doggy bag. Not many places do doggy bags, good idea though.

Anne, I didn't get the sticky toffee pud on this trip as I was all meringued up with the size of the thing!

Shaheen said...

Thank you for your response on my blog, much appreciated and above. I may order the cookbooks in the near future, waiting on a DVD called Waitress that I ordered with some saved pennie - I just loved the colours in the movie and the pies.