Dave's Free Press: Reviews

being why I think things suck and/or rock


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Tue, 6 Aug 2013


Back in October last year in another Interwebby place I mentioned Quorn, and I was very rude about it - I described this picture of Quorn "sausages" as looking like "a plate with two turds and some vomit on it".

I had eaten it many years before, but not recently, and so, on the premise that it had improved since, was persuaded to try it again.

I had to be persuaded though, because I am firmly of the opinion that meat replacements are just plain lazy, they fail because they are never as good as meat, and they give vegetarian food a bad name. It's no surprise that non-veggies who have been exposed to dishes with meat "replacements" in them think that veggie food is bland rubbish consisting solely of plastic, mud and lettuce.

Here follows the two mini-reviews that I wrote. First, Quorn "Chef's Selection" sausages:

They were fucking awful. They had no real texture, just a smooth homogeneity. They tasted of powdered onion and garlic with some unidentifiable herbs and spices. I'm not sure if they're better or worse than cheap stupormarket sausages, because it's so many years since I bought crap sausages, but they're certainly in the same ballpark although they cost twice as much.

For the love of god: vegetarians, avoid these sausages.

Any chef involved in selecting them should be shot in the head with a bolt gun and turned into better sausages. A few days later I tried Quorn "Lamb style grills in a mint and rosemary glaze":

What the packaging should have said is "tasteless dry thing that looks like an insole from a small boot with no flavour and a bland texture, in a mint and rosemary glaze". Quorn: consistently shit.
Posted at 17:03 by David Cantrell
keywords: food
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Thu, 11 Jun 2009

Pub review: The Woolpack Inn, Eskdale

I'm on my way to Oop North, and decided to take a rather round-about route via the Lake District. This was partly because driving over Wrynose and Hardknott passes is Fun, and partly Just Because.

After coming over those passes, I arrived at the Woolpack Inn, and the western end of Hardknott pass, in the late afternoon, gagging for a pint, and after ascertaining that there was a room available for the night I went to the bar. Now, one of the reasons that I stopped at the Woolpack instead of carrying on into the village of Boot was that the Woolpack has its own brewery - the Hardknott Brewery - advertised in big black letters on the pub and easily visible from the road. Surprisingly, they only had two of their own beers on tap, although there's one more in bottles. Of the two I tried, the Mild was somewhat disappointing, but the "Wooly Fusion" I tried next was really very special indeed. It's a light hoppy bitter with a bit of ginger in it - very nice indeed to drink outside in the sun. Unfortunately it's not available in bottles. If it had been, I'd have got a crate of the stuff to take home with me.

The bar has ten hand pumps, all of which were selling beers I'd not seen elsewhere, from local breweries, and those others that I tried were all very good. In particular the "Stout Ollie" from the Ulverston Brewery is excellent. While there are three lager taps, they're all tolerably decent lagers - none of the usual Fosters/Carling swill here. The soft drinks are also somewhat unusual - Fentimans lemonade, for example, instead of the usual carbonated sugar-water, and there's Dandelion and Burdock.

There's also a fairly extensive whisky menu. None of the bottlings are particularly unusual - although it's good to see a non-Scottish malt on the list (Connemara, from Ireland) and the only recently available Ben Riach - but there are a lot of them. 29 of them.

And finally the food. The menu was short and sweet, concentrating on local produce served in imaginative ways. For example, as a starter I had smoked trout with a herby sorbet. Yes, sorbet. It was very nice, and I shall try to replicate it when I get home. For dessert I had a Thing which had a biscuit base, with a generous helping of a local mild blue cheese on top, all coated in dark chocolate. That's another that I shall try to replicate, and will also see if I can figure out a way of serving it with the cheese hot. I knew I'd find a way of using a soldering iron in the kitchen! You may notice that I don't have much to say about the main course - it was competently done and well-presented, but not as special as the others. That's not to say that it was bad, merely that it was only good compared with the very good starter and dessert.

Can you tell that I liked it? I commend this pub to you!

Posted at 22:48 by David Cantrell
keywords: alcohol | beer | food | pubs
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