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strong adolfos

My next discovery in January was the truly fresh-thinking Strong Adolfo’s, recently opened right on the Atlantic Highway. That’s the A39 to those having a more functional day.

The idea of an American-style roadside joint is very clever for Cornwall. This is somewhere where the road-trip rules – even if it’s just from one end of Cornwall to the other, as in my case. We spend our lives fiddling about with miniature parking spaces and one-way streets, so the excess of easy parking at Strong Adolfo’s is – interestingly or boringly – a big draw.

John and Mathilda Friström Eldridge have clearly put heart and soul into opening this place, where the spanking new building and aspirational detail throughout reveal energy and commitment.

The Finisterre-jacket-and-vintage-furniture crew were occupying all available tables on the Saturday I went, so I think we can safely say that this cool cat is out of the bag.

www.strongadolfos.com

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Despite being a fisherman’s daughter – there again, maybe because of that – my fish filleting skills are often a pitiful sight involving gut-spattered youtube videos and too much fresh Newlyn fish flesh in the bin. Still, the situation has improved recently – mainly thanks to a commission to write an article for coast magazine about a course at the Rick Stein Cookery School in Padstow, combined with use of Mitch Tonks’ ingenious iPhone fish app.

I attended the classic one-day Seafood Cookery course and it was the business – a highly intensive course introducing beginners/improvers to all elements of seafood preparation and cooking.

The snag is that it is pricey (£175 for the day), which might explain why there was only one other Cornish resident on my course. But should you chose to splash out, that does include about five lunches and wine throughout the afternoon, and access to the minds and tips of some of Britain’s finest dedicated seafood chefs for a whole day. And obviously – this being Stein – Read the rest of this entry »

Thought I’d post the link to an article I’ve written for the Guardian about cheap eats along the north coast of Cornwall – it’s part of a bigger interactive online Guardian guide to Cornwall, with lots of top 10 lists, from family days out (written by p&c friend Hayley Spurway) to campsites and B&Bs.

List journalism has its critics but when it comes to easy reading, no one can resist a nicely focused top 10 – if only to gripe about all the better places/things YOU would have put in instead. My brief was lunch for £10, which turned out to be a tall order along the north coast of Cornwall – somewhere that relies on the tourist pound, the sea view and the cornered market.

Still, I think I found some gooduns – from the St Kew Harvest, a sourcing-savvy farmshop cafe, to Blas, everyone’s favourite gourmet burger, via Relish, probably Cornwall’s best coffee. I had to kiss a few frogs along the way – supermarket-style bread in expensive places, limp pasties, dusty falafel – but am resisting the temptation to name and shame ;)

Read my complete top 10 here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012/mar/14/top-10-budget-restaurants-north-cornwall

I can but apologise in advance to male readers for the amount of pink in this post. I discovered Atlantic Blanket‘s Padstow shop recently and must have spent about half an hour in there stroking the cashmere throws and merino hand-knitted hot water bottles. The owners of this newish Cornish company (with an online shop) hand-pick their stock from knitters and weavers far and wide – and collection is clearly amassed with great care.

Having become strangely obsessed with llama wool in Argentina (only to get home and have the whole lot decimated in the washing machine EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ON A COLD WOOL CYCLE), I was a bit disappointed not to see any of it on the wool menu at Atlantic Blanket. But no matter – there is mohair, alpaca, cashmere, lambswool, merino, as well as more practical fleecy throws for picnics. Check this Celtic Fringe blanket from Scotland… £250…sigh.

And here comes the pink…

Last night I watched The Wrecking Season on BBC4, a wonderful self-portrait of the late Cornish playwright Nick Darke, shot not long before his untimely death. I just found out that you can’t watch this back on the iPlayer, but I was so taken by it, I’m going to post about it anyway.

Bound together by Darke’s gently passionate character, and his inquisitiveness about the great theatre of the ocean, the docu-film explores the tradition of beachcombing (or wrecking) and his fascination with long-haul drift. Incredibly, Read the rest of this entry »

“Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is acome unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May.”

These are the words from the strangely magnetic song sung en masse by the people of Padstow every year at Obby Oss – the town’s (probably Celtic) may day festivities.

My mum says the communal singing, the spring flowers and the beat of the drum always involuntarily bring a lump to her throat. Thinking about it, the lyrics are rather emotive and hopeful. (Modern translation: thank god for that – couldn’t have taken any more Cornish drizzle, please can we have a summer this year or I might have to emigrate.)

Obby Oss was a nice warm-up for Flora Day in Helston this Saturday (8 May) – as far as I’m concerned Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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