Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dining and driving

Saltburn is a brilliant town, and small enough to be perfectly walkable. There are half a dozen lovely places for a coffee, two or three good lunch options, and a handful of great pubs all within a short stroll of our house.

There are also some good places to grab a casual bite: a great curry house, and a nice, vibey place that does a good pizza. And all of the pubs of course offer grub. In fact the homemade steak pie at The Marine is quite possibly the best meal I've ever had for a fiver.

But for an actual dinner, Saltburn has nothing to offer us. By 'actual dinner' I mean, a sit down, table service, multi-course, might even start with a cocktail, date night dinner.*

At the risk of sounding like a massive restaurant snob, I want to go on a date where the butter doesn't come in little portion-sized plastic packets

So we have to get in the car. Within a twenty minute drive we have some great options. The Fox and Hounds is a destination restaurant (it'd have to be, as it's in the arse-end of nowhere), and the seaside towns of Whitby and Sandsend draw enough tourists to have a range of interesting places to eat. So we have some options. It's just a shame we have to drive to them.

I guess it's just another way in which Saltburn is like Malibu. We had to drive everywhere then. There were a couple of places to eat and drink within a five minute walk of our old beachfront apartment, including the legendary Moonshadows. But the walk was along the side of a somewhat terrifying dual carriageway, with no pavement. As a result we always hopped in the car.

Driving isn't be such a big deal to us, therefore. But we are parents now. And new, neurotic parents at that. What if the house sets on fire and we're out and the lovely teenage babysitter doesn't know how to call the fire brigade? Or Lady P starts to choke and the only one who can do the baby Heimlich manoeuvre is TLOML and we get home seconds too late? We don't like to be more than spitting distance away when we leave Lady P. The first night we left her with the babysitter we only dared venture to Guisborough, a seven minute drive away, where we had a lacklustre Italian and talked about all the places we could have gone if we'd dare drive just ten minutes further.

So we've had to book a posh Yorkshire hotel - rather than just the excellent restaurant therein - for our wedding anniversary. We can leave Lady P in baby-monitored safety, metres away, while we dine in style. And perhaps enjoy more than one cocktail before dinner, since we won't be driving home. Plus if the hotel sets on fire we'll be there, so we'll know about it. And if we hear her choking, TLOML can run in and administer the Heimlich manoeuvre immediately. Assuming that extra cocktail doesn't render him incapabable, that is.

Ah. Enforced minibreaks. I think I may have just found the silver lining in the cloud that is Saltburn's limited restaurant scene.

*Disclaimer There is one Saltburn restaurant which could provide such an experience. But given that we have breakfast, elevenses and lunch in the attached cafe, about three times a week, we want to avoid it.

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