Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Caffe Creme Cafetaria Store 13, Torre da Medronheira, Olhos de Agua, Albufeira 8200-374, Portugal

It is always nice when on vacation to go for a walk to explore new surroundings and to give yourself a reward at the end of the venture. My husband and I like the village of Olhos de Agua near Albufeira in Portugal very much. On a recent visit, we walked in a different direction from usual and found the most delightful gift shop A Tulipa where we found many unusual gifts for family and friends.

cristina photos cake

cristina cafe insideOn our way back from the shop, we stopped off at the Caffe Crema Cafetaria for coffee and cake. What a find! The coffee is mellow, the cakes are delicious and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. As I say, we only stopped in for coffee and cake but at no time were we made to feel we had to hurry away. The waiting staff spoke good English and German and the restaurant is spotlessly clean.

The choice of cakes, pastries and pies is excellent. There are far too many to choose from than you could imagine. I chose a cream eclair with fruit on the top and my husband went with a couple of the smaller custard tarts. All were lovely.

cristina photos coffee & cake

The Caffe Crema Cafetaria does offer meals as well, including a full English Breakfast. However, although we did visit the place three times during our vacation, we never got past coffee and cake.cristina outside

If you happen to be in the village of Olhos de Agua, I highly recommend some shopping time at A Tulipa and then a refreshment stop at the Caffe Crema Cafetaria.

Val Penny

 

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Ristorante Tre Scalini, Piazza Navonna, Roma,

I have always loved Piazza Navonna in Rome, Italy. I am entranced by the proportions of the square and fascinated by the artists who display their talents there. My daughter enjoyed watching the ‘silver man’ living staue who performed while she was there with me and, years later, when my husband treated me to a week in this fabulous city, we were keen to re-visit all the sites.

trevi fountainThe day we visited the Trevi Fountain.The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini. Standing 26.3 metres high and 49.15 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Tourists toss coins into the Trevi Fountain to guarantee a return visit to Rome. For many years now, the monies retrieved from the fountain have been collected, sorted, and donated to Caritas, the non-profit that provides food to the poor and homeless of Rome.

trevi teaAfter our visit to the Trevi fountain, my husband and I walked through the streets of Rome to Piazza Navonna where we treated ourselves to afternoon tea in the Ristorante Tre Scalini. 

Dave & cakeThis is a delightful restaurant where the staff are smartly dressed and formally courteous. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his coffee and banana split. He hadn’t had one for ages, so it was a special holiday treat. I chose a nice cup of tea and we had a lovely time, chatting about our day and planning our evening. We probably stayed far longer than an afternoon tea stop would normally justify, but at no time were we pressured or rushed or made to feel like we had overstayed our welcome.Trevi Restaurant

We enjoyed our visit to Ristorante Tre Scalini and would deiniftely stop there again. It is not a cheap restaurant, but it is lovely and it is in a premium situation in Piazza Navonna. I would certainly recommend it.

Val Penny

 

 

 

Azzurro, 255 Eltham High Street, Eltham, England

I do enjoy Italian food! So when my daughter and son-in-law booked dinner for us at Azzurro in Eltham, I was looking forward to the meal as well as the company. The restaurant is quite small and very busy but everything is spotlessly clean and the service is attentive, but not intrusive.azzurro out

Azzurro in Eltham is a family run restaurant and the food is freshly cooked to order, so it is not fast food. But it is delicious food. My husbad and son-in law shared a garlic bread pizza for starters while my daughter and I nibbled on some marinated olives. azzurro-italia

For our main courses my son-in- law and I chose pizza while my daughter had pasta and my husband tucked into an Italian lamb dish. Only my husband had room for a pudding and enjoyed the tiramasu and we all had teas and coffees to round off the meal.

The restaurant is not austentatious, but it is good value. I highly recommend Azzurro, if you are in the area.

Val Penny

 

Star of India 267 Eltham High St, Eltham, London

There are no local Indian Restaurants in our village, so, on a recent visit to London my husband and I treated ourselves to a meal at the Star of India, 267 Eltham High St, Eltham, London. What a lovely meal we had. star of india inside

We went for dinner fairly early after visiting relatives. The restaurant was cool and the service was relaxed and unobtrusive. The crisp, white linen table cloths made the place look clean and fresh. We ordered drinks and then our meals.

My husband started with chicken pakora while I had a poppadum with pickles. Both of us enjoyed these very much.star of india outside

For our main courses my husband chose lamb passander and I ordered saag paneer. We requested basmati rice as well as side orders of daal and aloo gobi. It was all absolutely delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal and our evening at the Star of India. If you enjoy Indian food, this restaurant is well worth a visit.

Val Penny

 

Premier Inn, Five Ways, 738 Sidcup Rd, New Eltham, London

On a recent visit to London my husband and I stayed in a Premier Inn Hotel. It was very conveniently situated for the plans we had and the price of accomodation was most competitive. So we checekd in to the Premier Inn, Five Ways, 738 Sidcup Rd, New Eltham, London.

Our first experience of the hotel was checking in. It all went smoothly. The check-in clerk was professional, courteous and very helpful. She took time out to look up the first place we were visiting on her computer and directed us as to the best way to get there. It took a few minutes, but she could not have been kinder.premier inn room

We got up to our room and found it was spotlessly clean. The room was also a good size. It had not only a queen-sized bed, but also a sofa that could have been used as an extra bed, perhaps for a child if we had needed it. The bed was extremely comfortable. There was a courtesy tray with teas and coffees, extra pillows and the bath sheets were a good size.

Unfortunately, the window did not open and we could not adjust the heating, so the room was uncomfortably hot at night. Also the cleaners did not refill the courtesy tray for the later days of our stay and the towels were not soft.

new eltham bathroom

On our first morning, there were not many people in the hotel so the famous, hot Premier Inn buffet breakfast was not on offer, but the cooked dishes were served to order, although the continental breakfast was buffet. The meal was delicious. Later in our stay, my husband was overjoyed when full buffet breakfast returned!premier inn ne

We had an evening meal at the hotel once. It was freshly cooked and tasty. We had drinks in the hotel on another evening, there is no separate bar, but there are comfortable couches in the restaurant area to enjoy a drink.

All in all, we very much enjoyed our stay and will use the Premier Inn, Five Ways, 738 Sidcup Rd, New Eltham, London again.

Val Penny

 

South of France Tours by The Good Life, France

This article was first published by The Good Life, France on https://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/feel-good-real-good-fabulous-and-authentic-south-of-france-tours/ .

What if you could really “do” southern France in 7 days in a truly meaningful, authentic and fabulous way? It’s just a week, but, if you know the right people and go to the right places, it really is possible to experience the very best of the south of France. The food, the sights, culture, history, wine and customs – so many things go to making this part of France a very special place. And, at TripUSAFrance they really do understand what it takes to make sure you experience all those things. This is a south of France tour that’s not rushed, not a 5-minute-tick-the-box race – but enjoyed the best way, relaxed, personal and authentic.

Julia and Stephane Girard-Gervois, a father and daughter team, of TripUSAFrance are two of the best guides in France. Their know-how, experience and contacts mean that you get to really know southern France in a very short space of time.

The very best of the south of France

TripUSAFrance’s south of France tours take in the main sites. From captivating Carcassonne which looks like a fairy tale come to life, to magnificent Montpellier (where Julia grew up before moving to the USA). But with this tour you’ll also discover less well known but incredibly special places. On the itinerary are Palavas-les-Flots with an enticing beachside hotel and the Maguelone Cathedral by the sea, once lived in by Popes. In just 7 days you’ll visit legendary sites as well as Provence’s jewels. Avignon with its incredible Palace of the Popes and the stunning Pont du Gard Roman bridge.  St Guilhem le Desert, one of the most beautiful villages in France and St Paul de Mausole where a troubled Van Gogh took sanctuary. Plus the famous underground art gallery Carrières Lumières and much more.

Julia will reveal the best of Nimes with its amazing Roman architectures. And picturesque Aigues Mortes, plus wine tasting at the gorgeous Chateau Flaugergues and at Chateau Jonquières.

You’ll have a real connection with the area, joining a French cooking class and visiting a French market. You’ll even be joining Julia’s mother for a delicious picnic by the water, where she’ll teach you to play the traditional French game of pétanque.

If you’ve got an extra two days to spend in France, you can also visit stunning Aix-en-Provence, the Roman city of Arles, and the famous soap factory of Marseille (talk about the perfect souvenir to take home).

See Southern France at a relaxed pace in a small group tour

Julia and Stephane like to keep their tour groups small so that they can really ensure that this is a journey you relish. You won’t be rushed on and off a bus, given 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. That’s not the southern French way at all! You won’t spend all day on the road getting from one place to another to tick a box. The itinerary ensures you won’t spend more than a couple of hours being transported – meaning you have loads more time to really experience France. They’ve picked the best restaurants and know the chefs and the menus. If you’re a vegetarian, vegan or have food allergies then you won’t be suffering from a lack of choice here.  Julia’s made sure that every chef on their itinerary can offer you something delicious.

Learn French as you go

If you don’t want to learn or practice your French – that’s fine, Julia and Stephane will be with you. And, if you do want to go off for some free time, they’ll give you a cell phone so you can contact them whenever you need to. But if you do want to learn French, Julia will be happy to help you. She’s a teacher in Washington DC when she’s not guiding in France.

Get to know real France as a temporary local

For a feel good, real good, stress-free, everything beautifully organized, authentic, fabulous experience of the real south of France, TripUSAFrance will absolutely deliver. As Julia says “on our tours, you’re temporary locals, not average tourists bouncing around in a crowd or waiting in long lines and getting stuck in tourist traps. We will help you make a deeper connection with the country and understand what it is like to live there, while fulfilling the desire to see amazing sites and make lasting memories”.

The Apartment, 7-13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, Scotland

My husband, my mother and I recently went to The Apartment, 7-13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, Scotland for a celebration lunch together. My husband was treating us to celebrate a successful year which saw my debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ published by Crooked Cat Books with a launch date of 02.02.2018. ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is dedicated to my mother. The story is set in Edinburgh and two of the main characters live in Gillespie Crescent, just opposite The Apartment.Hunter's Chase book cover (1)

Although there were only three of us, we are not an easy group to cater for. Mum uses a wheelchair. Unfortunately for her, I am not the best wheelchair driver on the planet, but she is very gracious. Access was easy.  I am vegetarian while my husband and mother are confirmed omnivores.

We had booked a table and the staff were very helpful and kind. We were able to choose between two tables and opted for the one nearest the window. We decided against alcohol in the middle of the day, but we all had different drinks. Mum had a diet coke, I chose a soda water and lime while my husband asked for a ginger beer.The Apartment Outside

Mum did not have a starter, but my husband chose the traditional Scotch Broth soup. I went for the pear, blue cheese and walnut salad. We were both delighted with our choices. The menu is not huge, but it is a carefully chosen mix of meats, fish and vegetarian dishes to suit all tastes. I always feel pleased when I have genuine choices: at The Apartment, I did.

The omnivores both chose the rib-eye steaks for their main courses. Mum requested hers be cooked ‘medium’ while my husband wanted his ‘medium rare’. Apparently both were perfectly cooked. They both seemed to enjoy their main courses. My husband’s only complaint was that there was parmasan cheese on his salad. He believes this to be the cheese of the devil! I chose a halloumi, sweet potato and pepper skewer for my main course. It was served with a beetroot coleslaw, green salad and another side. I chose fires. The beetroot coleslaw sounds strange, but tastes delicious. I highly recommend it.The Apartment Food

Neither Mum nor I could manage a pudding, we shared a plate of truffles. They were tiny but tasty. A delicious end to the meal with a fine coffee. My husband chose the chocolate brownie. This was served warm with a bitter fruit couli cutting the sweetness of the chocolate and a fine vanilla icecream. My husband is very fussy about his coffee, but not even he could find anything to complain about with his Americano.

The service was flawless. This was a first visit to The Apartment for all of us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it, so it will certainly not be our last.

‘Hunter’s Chase’ is available to order from Amazon.

mybook.to/HuntersChase

Val Penny

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