I’m pretty sure the world of gold would be a lot duller (if that was possible) without the mildly ridiculous/amusing signs they have kicking about the place.
“A trip to Pittenweem? I would love to, but couldn’t possibly justify taking the time off.” That has pretty much summed up my responses to that particular question for most of the last two years. Whenever the weather gets ‘nice enough’ that such trips aren’t going to result in arguments and frostbite I always seem to have loads to do.
This is where fourth year syndrome kicked in again. ‘It’s your last chance to do it!’ style attitude gives it a sense of urgency, and since discovering The Cocoa Tree at the farmers’ market, a trip became somewhat of a must. Now that spare time is a little less of a scarcity hopping on the bus and ‘making a day of it’ doesn’t really seem like a problem! Luckily Pittenweem is a short half hour away from the Bubble on the X60, so really there was no excuse.
To say that there isn’t a whole lot there would pretty much sum the place up. The place was pretty much a ghost town (although, in fairness it was a Monday lunchtime in mid May), but a very picturesque ghost town, so all is forgiven.
We took a wander around the town (didn’t take hugely long) before wandering down to the harbour. It is still a working harbour (thus lots of boats, nets and lobster pots – the latter two of which pile up quite nicely on the wall) although very much scaled back from what it, presumably, once was. I am not going to go into an rant about EU fisheries policy – I think most of the world has an opinion on it – but it’s safe to say that I’m on the scientific side of the argument (being a biologist, having a brain, etc.). Whatever your opinion, it’s a lovely sight.
The weather was fairly against us on our little trip, the howling wind was fairly whipping the salty air into our faces, and the breakers were giving the rocks and harbour a bit of a battering. However, this does make for fun photos. I am a big fan of the dramatic nature of black and white shots, as I alluded to the other day with the teaser shots, so I had far too much fun.
I am not sure exactly how many photos I ended up taking, but I think it was probably a lot more than was strictly necessary.
As well as black and white, I am also quite a fan of my panoramic shots as well as ‘views’ along the pier. Call it what you will, but I had a great little trip to the harbour, even if it was a little windswept.
For some reason – presumably that I got distract by all the chocolate – I didn’t get any photos of the Cocoa Tree. The shop its self was pretty small, in a non-descript building at the end of the high street, however, the smell was fantastic. I came away with lemon flavoured chocolate, white chocolate to make muffins with and some ‘healthy[ish]’ dark chocolate for my flatemate to pretend was ‘better’ to eat than normal chocolate. The cafe is at the back of the shop and is decorated with a huge variety of old chocolate adverts from across the world. It took the poor waitress three attempts to get our order, because every time we went to look at the menu we got distracted by another poster on the wall. Woops. All in all, very good sandwiches, lovely scone, and the hot chili-chocolate was gorgeous.
After a little more wandering around town we headed back to the bus stop and headed back to the Bubble. It was certainly something different to do with part of a day, but it was thoroughly enjoyable, and I would recommend a trip to the Cocoa Tree (or their Farmers’ Market stall, to those strapped for time) for anyone who even vaguely likes chocolate.
As previously mentioned we did quite a lot of things down the golf end of town. Well, we ended up wandering back up towards the cathedral as none of us had much to be doing…
To limit the number of words here I’ll just launch into the photos, here’s the next part of the challenge:
Fun fact: the cathedral was the largest building in Scotland for over 600 years, only losing the crown when Waverley Station was built in Edinburgh. (Courtesy of Visit St Andrews blog)
Yesterday we had fun. A lot of fun. And I took many, many photos.
We started with a trip to the driving range – somewhere I was yet to go – which has to have one of the best views of any driving range
Then (after a quick stroll down the side of the Old Course) it was on to the Jigger Inn for a (rather large) lunch:
And then a wander round to the 18th, Swilcan Bridge, and The Royal and Ancient
I can’t really remember the last time I was down this part of town (because it’s such a big town, don’t you know…), but it’s stunning. Although I will, for some unknown reason, always associate it with the summer.
It is fair to say that it has taken a while for me to get to Mitchell’s. Opening when it did meant that a certain D word got in the way, and on the first couple of attempts it was full and I’ve been too hungry to wait. That situation has now been remedied.
I’ve been excited about the prospect of something opening up on Market St for a while; I’ve been here long enough to remember the ‘old’ Mitchell’s – the butcher, complete with carcasses hanging in the window and sawdust on the floor – and it has been a large and ominous hole of nothing-ness for far too long. That excitement intensified when rumours of what it was going to be started to filter into the St A grapevine: ‘a deli’, ‘a new restaurant serving quality, local, seasonal produce’, ‘both!’ . Finally, they had a stall at the farmers’ market, and it was here we got a first glimpse of what it would be like. To say I was ‘keen‘ would be selling it a little short. If you so desire you can read all about this (and other farmers’ market goodness) here.
Slight caveat time: I am not a professional taster/reviewer/food person and so my opinion counts for little; I only know what I like and – arguably as important – what I don’t. If you want to read something more professional here’s their website, I’m sure it has lots of nice things about it!
We had a quick look at the deli before being seated, and what I saw looked good. I think I will have to pay it another visit in the not too distant future.
The first thing that hits you is the relaxed atmosphere. The slightly mis-matched furniture (normally one of my pet hates) works marvellously and the tweed-clad bench seats in the window give the place a sense of fun – somewhere you come for a casual lunch with friends, but could also dine more seriously (if you so desired). The big tables at the back with their lights hidden away in a collection of old green bottles and the cutlery piled into old golden syrup tins, could have spectacularly backfired and made the place very kitch-y and cobbled together, but I’m happy to say that they add to, not detract from, ‘the dining experience’. They also have something I believe should be in all shops/restaurants claiming to be ‘local’ – the notice board for advertising local events. All in all this place has a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere, one which puts a smile on your face – and that’s before you’ve even considered the food.
This is where I have my one criticism of Mitchell’s. My impression of the menu was that it was a little basic – perfect for lunch, but lacking for dinner. That is probably a little unfair, as surely this place is surely all about those daily/seasonal specials, but these were not pointed out to us, and if we hadn’t noticed them attached to the wall we wouldn’t have known they existed.
My moans, I am pleased to say, did very little to reduce the pleasure of lunch. Kat had a roast beef sandwich (left), with soup of the day (can’t remember for the life of me what it was), which smelt, simply incredible. I feel a lot of the superlatives used to describe lunch are possibly down to the rather scrumptious, and particularly drinkable ‘Really Good Red’ (Right). House reds (in my experience) can sometimes be a little harsh and a little jarring; but this one – for want of a better expression – went down really easily, with a distinctly fruity note, and is definitely something to be repeated.
Mel and I opted to be very boring and have exactly the same thing (below). Pork and apple pie, served with chutneys, a chunk of apple, bread and a chunk of the Island Cheese Company‘s herb cheddar (again, I am fan from the Farmers’ Market). I was slightly concerned when ordering that I was going to get a plate with a tiny little bit of everything on it, one which wouldn’t feed a mouse, however, I left well and truly full. More accurately, stuffed. It was SO good. My mouth is watering at the very thought of it. Who ever their chef is, they are VERY good at what they do!
So, I may have had a couple of reservations, but overall the atmosphere, the decor, and – above all – the food and drink were simply amazing. Fantastic. Devine. I don’t think I’ve had a lunch out this good in a very long time. Perhaps my question of it perhaps being more for lunch than dinner is totally unfounded? I guess the only way to find out is to go back and try it out! And obviously, being the wonderful scientist that I am (I wish), I will have to do it multiple times, just to make sure. I am very much looking forward to my next visit!