Waiting for a plane

Starbucks

So there I was at Dublin Airport and I had a long wait, over five hours! So it was time for a coffee, there were a few choices.

The main reason I went to Starbucks was that there were power sockets. This meant I could drink coffee and charge up my phone and laptop.

I ordered a flat white and took a seat, plugged everything in and then drank the coffee.

I am not a great fan of Starbucks coffee, but needs must and in the end I thought it was alright. I certainly made it last though, so I could maximise the charge on my devices.

Airport Coffee

Well to be honest I had quite low expectations about the coffee I ordered from Soho at Bristol Airport.

However in the end it was okay, even quite good. I didn’t have a huge amount of time following a long queue in security. So with no queue at Soho and an imminent announcement about the gate, I ordered a macchiato.

It was prepared well, good coffee and some foam. I enjoyed it. It did mean that I didn’t need to order a coffee on the plane! Now that would have been a very different story.

It’s back…

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoyed Lidl’s Italiamo Italian Style Coffee Ice Cream. So I was pleased to see that it will be back next week (from the 22nd September 2022) in their stores, along with the lemon and amaretto versions as well.

Italiamo Italian Style Ice Cream Coffee

Still good value at 99p a tub.

Breakfast Time in Wimbledon

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and staying overnight I had breakfast a couple of times.

Unlike a lot of hotel chains, there wasn’t a full buffet breakfast. You helped yourself to toast, croissant, fruit, and so on. However for hot food though you ordered off the menu. It was a similar story with hot drinks.

I did like the fact that I could order a “proper” coffee of my choice with my breakfast, so I went with a double espresso. This was much nicer than the filtered coffee you usually have at hotel breakfasts.

There was a fair few choices on the menu, Eggs Benedict, Avocado on Toast, Grilled Kipper. In the end though I went with the Classic Full Cooked Breakfast. This was Cumberland sausage, sweet cured bacon, black pudding, grilled tomato, mushroom and eggs (cooked to your liking). I went with poached eggs.

Having taken my order the breakfast was cooked to order. The kitchen was in the Orangery at the hotel, so I could (if I was closer) see my breakfast being cooked. My breakfast then arrived on the table.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

I have to say I was a little disappointed. The bacon didn’t look that appetising. However it was nice and fresh, and did taste delicious. I enjoyed the tomato and mushroom, the sausage and black pudding were good, and the eggs were cooked well.

On the second day I was there, I went with the same classic breakfast and this was much better.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

The bacon this time looked a lot nicer, but otherwise it was much the same as the day before (consistency is a good thing).

Overall, despite my initial (minor) disappointment, this was a nice breakfast. The continental selection was good, nice choice of jams  and butter. Excellent coffee as well.

Another nice espresso

Was in Bristol having a walk in the harbourside in the sun. We went to the MShed for a drink.

I had a very nice espresso, accompanied with some chilled tap water. What I did like was that the tap water was chilled. Recently at various places when I have asked for a glass of tap water, it hasn’t been chilled. So it was nice to have a chilled glass this time.

Espresso amongst the plants

We were at Banwell Garden Centre looking at plants, and decided to stop for a tea.

Well I actually had an espresso with a glass of water. This was a decent espresso and I enjoyed it sitting in the sun.

Service was excellent, we ordered our drinks and they bought it to us at our table.

Coffee and a pistachio swirl

I decided to drive to work. Well there was a train strike, so the train was out of the question. I drove down the M5 and headed into Bristol on the A369. As I approached the junction with Bridge Road, I could see that Rownham Hill wasn’t moving due to loads of traffic, so I headed down Bridge Road to cut down Burwalls Road, with no luck. So, I turned around and headed back to Bridge Road and crossed the Suspension Bridge. There were lots of police and fire crews. There were signs saying the bridge was closed, but it was open when I crossed it. I headed down Sion Hill and then hit more traffic. 

Later I found out that there had been an issue, the police were concerned about the welfare of a man, so had closed the Portway and other roads around the Cumberland Basin, which was causing all the issues I was having.

Having given up at this point, I parked and headed into Clifton Village to get some coffee. I went to Spicer & Cole and at the counter ordered a flat white. They had some nice looking pastries so I added a pistachio swirl to my order.

I had my pastry, took a seat and waited for my coffee. I did seem to be waiting for a fair while, so much so, I went back to the counter to check. They had been prioritising takeaway orders over my coffee.

The coffee was actually rather good and I enjoyed it. The pistachio swirl was quite nice, I did feel that it was slightly dry, and there was an excessive amount of icing sugar, but there was a nice taste of pistachio. 

Overall it was nice place for a coffee break, a little more pricey than other places I frequent, reminded me of London prices. If I am back in Clifton Village I would certainly visit again.

Time for Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit

We were up at Cribbs Causeway doing some shopping and we stopped at Patisserie Valerie for a coffee and a snack. There are quite a few places you can have a coffee at Cribbs, but what I like about Patisserie Valerie is that it is table service. So we sat at our table and looked over the menu. The place was busy, but the service was excellent, and we didn’t have to wait long to order.

Whilst my son went with the traditional breakfast, my first choice was an apricot danish, however they had run out. So I went with my second choice, which wasn’t a pastry, but Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit. Our food arrived promptly, which was nice, especially as the place was quite full of diners. Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit was toasted bloomer bread topped with a poached egg, tomato chutney, cheddar, mustard & served with a side salad.

I don’t think I have ever had Rarebit before, so I was interested to see what it was going to be like. This was a nice cheesy toast dish, the mustard was subtle and added warmth. The poached egg was perfectly cooked. I liked the tomato chutney, which was on the side, I did think it was a little too sweet for me. Overall it was a really nice light meal.

I think one of the reasons I hadn’t ordered or had this dish before, was that usually I am looking for cake, or a full meal. Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit for me is more of a snack, or a light meal.

Alongside I had a flat white, not the best flat white in the world, but it was a good coffee.

Made without care or love

flat white

Travelling home on the M4 I stopped at Membury Service for a coffee. I went to the Starbucks and ordered a flat white. I was drinking “in” but it still came in a paper cup and they also charged me 5p for the “privilege”.

I find that quite frustrating, I wanted my coffee in a china cup, but they didn’t do that, so I had to have a paper cup, and then I get charged for it. I guess I should remember this, and bring my own cup in the future. Hmmm, it was a motorway service station, not a regular haunt for coffee.

I watched the coffee being made, it was more of mechanical automated process for making the coffee and then there was a lackadaisical carefree approach to the heating and frothing of the milk, which was then added to the coffee without any care or love.

It’s not as though I had much of a choice of where I could go for coffee, and I thought for £3.40 I was getting ripped off. It did feel that it was not much better than the (instant) coffees you got years ago from cafes across the country, before the rapid growth of coffee chains like Starbucks and Costa filled our high streets.

Maybe I need to find some independent coffee places just off the motorway instead of stopping at the services. Having said that, the coffee at the Gloucester Services on the M5 was quite good, but that is on the M5, so not on the M4 or the M6, or the M25.

Great coffee

I was in London and wanting a coffee so headed out to one of my usual haunts of Coco di Mama on New Square.

I ordered a flat white and took a seat, always like it when they bring the coffee to you rather than hanging around by the counter until they’ve made it.

The coffee arrived in a proper china cup with a little chocolate on the side.

The coffee was smooth and delicious, with a real coffee kick.

It’s one of my favourite places for coffee and they delivered an outstanding coffee again.