Settling Up

Image result for waiter

image: POS Sector

“What’s the damage?” some may say

When it’s time to up and pay

“Going Dutch,” and pay your share

Or treating others, which ever’s fair

To tip or not? It’s up to you

For British folks, that’s something new

For Yanks, however, it’s a must

To avoid the murmurs and waiter’s disgust

“What’s the damage?” is what you’ll pay

How much that is – is hard to say




FOWC with Fandango — Damage



“Let Them Eat Cake”


No, I am not referring to France in the close of the Old Order, but rather Britain in 2018.  Let me first comment that I am a pescetarian (vegetarian diet with seafood). I often, however, go for the vegetarian options when eating out.  I was at a function held at (and catered by) a major international hotel chain.  While the organisers had requested vegetarian, and vegan options, these offerings were at first centred around salad and dessert.  All other dishes were meat related.

Such is the nature of eating out on a limited diet. It really was a case of “let them eat cake.” To be fair, after commenting, the ubiquitous cheese and tomato sandwiches arrived, and more salad (vegan option).

This type of experience has several other cultural applications for travellers.   I have found that pancakes are the “go to” choice in parts of eastern Europe (mushroom or cheese filled usually), and pasta in the Med areas.  But veggie options are often hit and miss.

The UK’s biggest grocery chain is a case in point. Veggie ready made sandwiches at Tesco are usually cheese and pickle, ploughman’s, or egg and cress.  They have only recently teamed up with Wicked Kitchens for more exciting veggie fare.  I hope to review these options shortly.

Eating at another persons home is something to consider as well.  I am always flattered to be invited to eat with another family.  It is an intimate social occasion, and should always be appreciated as such. But it can create a broad spectrum of issues such as religious standards (halal, kosher); health-related (gluten intolerance); and lifestyle/ethical questions (vegetarian).

Here is a real life scenario. The vegetarian dutifully explains to the host/hostess that they are a vegetarian, and is assured that that will be no problem. When dinner is served, chicken is in pride of place as the main course. “I hope that’s alright,” the host says, “we made sure that there was no meat.”

What is one to do?

Maybe, just eat cake (or salad).




South Yorkshire Getaway

Kenwood Hall Hotel

Kenwood Hall

We decided to give South Yorkshire a bit of an exploration, and made Sheffield our base of operations.  Despite any southern biased view about anything “up North,” we found Sheffield a vibrant and cultured location with great restaurants, museums, and nightlife.

We started out by settling into our hotel, Best Western Kenwood Hall for a three night stay. We found the building and grounds beautiful, and the general feel relaxing.  The hotel is a converted stately home, and has the associated luxury, without breaking the bank.

We had a mobility friendly room, with no stairs, and  very near reception and the restaurant area. The room was clean, though it was in need of some fresh paint, and there was some staining on the upholstery of the chairs. These were minor issues, however, and more cosmetic than substantive. On arrival we found the staff very busy, but polite, and the check in process was fairly smooth, if not a little long with one receptionist dealing with the arrivals.

On the plus side, as noted before, the grounds are beautiful and well kept. The bed quality was very good, and the sleep quality generally good. The shower had good pressure and plenty of hot water (though the bath had very limited cold water pressure).
The WiFi was free, and average in speed. The staff provided us with access codes for multiple devices which was nice as well.

The restaurant is well set up, and the breakfast is buffet style, but additional items (kippers, etc.) can be ordered from the staff.  We had breakfast at the hotel each day, but  ventured out for our evening meals.

We had dinner at Rowsha on our first night in Sheffield. We found the welcome warm, the atmosphere pleasing, and the food excellent.

The dinning area is done out in a deep red colour with arabesque lamps and mirrors sending wonderful patterns on the walls and ceiling. The music also gave a feel of the exotic as well. The server was friendly, very diligent and attentive.

For starters we had the batata harra and kallj halloum. The potato dish was wonderfully spiced, and in an excellent portion size and the bread was well made with a really tasty cheese. For mains we had sayadieh and kafta khashkash. The fish dish was flavourful, with a rich tasting sauce and peppers, while the lamb was tender and beautifully spiced. We have eaten Turkish, Moroccan and Egyptian cuisine in the past, but if Rowsha is typical of Lebanese fare they have made converts to it. It was almost worth making the journey to Sheffield just for this meal.

On our second night we went for the Latin feel, and had dinner at Cubana.  It was fairly easy to get to at Leopold Square, and the main dining is upstairs. The décor is very much in the Havana bar style, and has very well painted murals and a bold bar feel.

Cubana Mural 2

Cubana Mural

The service was polite, interested, and professional. We ate from the tapas menu and had six dishes between us. We found four to be excellent, and two good. The chicken and chorizo dish was very good indeed as was the paella mariscos. The risotto while nice, didn’t quite have the “umph” of the other dishes. The calamares andaluza was beautifully cooked, and was golden and well seasoned. The merluza al horno was also well cooked, but paled in flavour to the patatas dulces y pimientos which was probably the best sweet potato dish I have ever had.  With this we had cocktails (her) and mocktails (me).  This was a great meal, great atmosphere, and well worth visiting again.

We spent the day times either chilling at the hotel or exploring the city and the surrounding areas.  But this is a topic for a different post.  Our final dinner was at the hotel, and it was a well worth staying in for on our final evening. More on South Yorkshire later.