Cornwall, for the charm

Admittedly, it is a rougher charm than what we found on the Cotswolds, but our arrival in Penzance today seems to bode well.

We had a very smooth train from Paddington this morning and saw a lot of the coast on our way.

Yes, it’s a bit damp and now rainy here, but we have been transported to an entirely different world, and have four whole days to see more of it, and to try to understand at least some of it.

Don’s Food Corner

After a long train ride from London that included only a couple of sandwiches, we were ready for a meal of some interest.  We spotted a pub that advertised itself as the “oldest pub in Penzance” and figured that would provide a little character if not, as these things usually turn out, not very good food.

The pub has been doing business for 750 years, but it seems that they have changed the kitchen staff more recently.  Unlike the typical “pub grub” that can give food a bad name, this place really delivered. We started with their version of fritto misto of local deep-fried seafood. It was all basically white fish, except one piece that was deep-fried smoked something or other. The batter used was light — more panko-like than beer-battered.

Jo selected the steak special of the day that promised to be West Country beef.  Very good.  It came with a few roasted vegetables, which were nicely done. But they also served something they called Lyonnaise potatoes. I’m sorry, but we’ve been to Lyon and it isn’t done this way. Where was the cream? Where was the butter? It was more like those scalloped potatoes my mother used to serve in Ohio in the 1950s. Not a happy memory.

I ordered a local fish, grilled, along with a razor clam. The fish was perfect; the razor clam was rubbery. However, it came with some tiny potatoes that had a very nice saffron sauce. I read somewhere that saffron is an ingredient in Penzance and surrounding villages that dates back to the days when this was a center of shipping and trade with foreign lands. Hmm, hints of historic globalization?

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