Friday, August 29, 2008

Chipping Campden take two:The NOEL ARMS not bad, not much

After our expulsion from the luxurious Cotswolds House we were shuttled across the street to a much lesser hotel owned by the same folks called the Noel Arms. It is an historic spot dating back to the 15th century as an inn, and Samuel really wanted to eat in the pub section which did look quite old and cozy.

It was getting late so he settled in with a plate of FISH & CHIPS, Mushy Peas (which he did not like, and Will stated were a bit to sweet) and what I think was the best Tartar sauce just about anywhere. We ordered a bottle of VINA del ALBA 2005 ALBARINO as we were hot and sweaty from settling in upstairs in our room with one teeeeny window and no a/c and welcomed the crisp cold wine. We deserved it!

Will chose the WHITE & BROWN (Devonshire) CRAB MEAT with spring onion, cappers (they spell it with one or two "p's" here), tomato salsa and fresh summer leafs (aka field greens). It was quite a watery display of crab with little taste, which we knew we shouldn't have dared to try, but felt we needed to as a service to you, my readers. Stick to Maryland crab! My HOME SMOKED WOODPIGEON BREASTS were the opposite, as dry as could be. The meat was smoked nicely and served with an APPLE & GOOSEBERRY Compote (basically applesauce) that did moisten the meat, but not much.

The main courses fared much much better with Will's PULLED HAM HOCK & Crushed New Potatoes in a Red Wine Sauce being a huge portion most tasty and my POUSSIN BREAST FILLET with Lemon and Coriander Seeds being moist in a slightly creamy sauce that was lemony, zesty and just plain yum yum. It came with two MARINATED LEGS and Basmati Rice. All dishes come with a large array of Seasonal veggies and we had the requisite, carrots, mange-touts (snow peas), and more. A bottle of CHATEAUNEUF du PAPE 2006 Cuvee Tradition from Caves Saint-Pierre went great and the wine was only about 20-something pounds (the Albarino was 19)!

Will had the Summer Fruit Pudding, very similar to trifle while I returned to the cheese platter. Here they also took care to note (like the night before) that each cheese came from within 15 miles; many were indeed the same tasty ones, but without all the chutney and such pairings:
SINGLE GLOUCESTER (which I did not even know existed) is nowhere near as good as
DOUBLE CLOUCESTER which we see much of in the US
CERVEY Goat returned along with HEREFORD HOP
Again the star was the ST. AEDBURGHA, which is apparently made just down the road from where we are today! I must try to get some to bring to Will's brother's home where we head tonight. This Camembert style cheese is slightly runny and loaded with flavor.
WINDRUTH VALLEY GOAT was a new one and the last cheese was called STINKING BISHOP--yup, and it did. Samuel laughed a lot at the name and
we went back to our hothouse room to try and sleep.