Recently, my OH introduced me to Saddleback Farm Shop. It’s a lovely farm shop that also has a deli and a tea shop. We went for lunch and they have lots of options, from sandwiches and jacket potatoes to soup and salads. They even had a burger on the special board! I chose a jacket potato with beans and cheese and it came with a delicious side salad.
It’s not often the side salad gets a mention in my reviews, but this one deserves it. More often than not, side salads are a little dull, sometimes without a dressing, and just limp salad with maybe a tomato & onion. This was awesome! Homegrown salad leaves, pepper, tomato, salad dressing, spring onion & a sprinkling of seeds, which really made it stand out. The jacket potato was cooked to perfection with a crispy skin and soft fluffy potato inside. The cheese:beans ratio was good and all in all it was a perfect lunch. So much so I can’t wait to go back for it again! I know that Saddleback is going to become a staple throughout the winter months when I feel too lazy to cook hot food at lunch – I’m just going to go there!
Recently, when my OH & I have wanted to go out for coffee or lunch, I’ve wanted to try somewhere new but failed to think of anywhere to go. Last weekend, my OH came up trumps with somewhere lovely – Saddleback Farm Shop. Isn’t it great when you find somewhere new, especially when it’s local? Lucky for me, Saddleback is near where I live in Abingdon, bang in the middle of the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.
We sat outside for lunch & you can see why – What a view! After lunch, we went to the farm shop and bought lots of lovely food. What a perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday! Sometimes I think I’m so lucky to live where I do. Oxford’s a great city, we’re close enough to London, and yet, the countryside is right there. It’s good to remind yourself of the lovely things in life, especially when things look a little bleak.
So this weekend saw myself & my OH heading up north to Manchester. I had to go for a work thing on Saturday morning, so we jumped on a train Friday morning to make the most of it. We’ve been to Manchester before, so we couldn’t resist staying at Malmaison again. (I booked early & got a deal!) I love the Malmaison chain. They’re so luxurious! Once we’d checked in, we headed out for a bit of lunch – straight to the Northern Quarter. If we lived in Manchester, this is where we’d live. It’s quirky, full of indie shops & cafes. Just my style. My OH is legendary for finding great, funky cafes so we went straight to Oklahoma’s. It didn’t disappoint. Not only do they sell great food & chai here, they also sell great gifts and cards.
I had a chai (obviously!) with a goats cheese sandwich. Both lush. It’s the kind of place you could sit in for ages & no one would bother you.
After lunch, we went for a wander. We popped into a few independent book shops & record stores. Before long, our tummies were crying out for something to eat & our feet were wanting to be rested. There were a few options to go to but we decided on trying somewhere new. So we went to the Nexus Art Cafe. We weren’t disappointed! It’s got a real shabby chic feel to it, & again felt like a fab place to curl up with a good book. I’ve been a real healthy eating kick recently so when I saw the huge slices of brownie, I knew I’d earned it. It was delicious & rich. I couldn’t finish it. My OH went for an almond slice & massive hot chocolate. We were happy travellers!
Friday night saw us eating at the vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847. (See my separate review here). The biggest problem came with breakfast the next morning. We didn’t want to eat at the hotel, as they cost £13 each! But not many places were open early & my course started at 9.30am! Starbucks got our business. I’m not against Starbucks – it’s where my love of chai started; but their coffee isn’t the best & the chai can be different at every store. However, I’ve never had breakfast there before so we gave it a try. I had the porridge with a fruit compote & it was pretty good. I wouldn’t make a beeline for it again, but if there was no other option I woulnd’t mind it.
After my course, we had time for lunch before our train in the afternoon. Again, my OH came up tops with this little find: Cornerhouse. It had such a great vibe & the service and food were outstanding. The food I would usually go for weren’t on the menu, which is good as it meant I had to try something new. I went for the selection of dips, with crusty bread & shared the sweet potato wedges. Wow! If you’re ever in Manchester, visit this place. It is awesome! You could spend the whole day here.
All in all it was very lovely trip, with great food, wine & company! While we didn’t shop or sight-see much, we did plenty of walking. Enough to burn off all the wine that we consumed…and there was plenty of that! x