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Day out: Rollright Stones and Pi=yum

6 Jan

Stonehenge is the famous circle, of course.  Or Avebury.  But north and to the east, along the border of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, another late neolithic stone circle sits just a few feet from a winding B-road:  the Rollright Stones.

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These are the King’s Men.  Legend has it that a king and his army were walking around (or marching, whatever) when they came upon a witchy woman with the power of prophesy.  The king asked the witch if he would be king of England and she replied: “Seven long strides thou shalt take, and if Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be!”  As his faithful knights waited in a circle — and a small band of faithless traitorous knights whispered off to the side — the king strode boldly forward, declaring: “Stick, stock, stone As King of England I shall be known.”   Seven strides later, a hill obscured his view, and the witch laughed: “As Long Comptom thou canst not see, King of England thou shalt not be!  Rise up stick and stand still stone, for King of England thou shalt be none; thou and thy men hoar stones shall be, and I myself an elder tree!”

IMG_3388The witch is still there.  HOW HOLY CRAP COOL IS THAT?  Above we see the King stone and a modern art form of the witch, gesturing.

IMG_3393This is Harry Potter level of awesome.  Tolkein style stupendous.  I still haven’t seen the new Hobbit movie and I don’t even care, now that I’ve seen this.  The sculpture is made from steel wire and  local Wellingtonia limbs which were ‘dead’wooded’ and donated to the project.  The artist is David Gosling, who is known for his environmental art.  (Check out his page: he’s pretty cool.)

You can read a series of poems about the stones online, in the 1900 publication The Rollright Stone: history & legends in prose & poetry by F.C. Rickett.

IMG_3334Although this is an outdoor site with no guides or tour office, it is well marked and very well maintained.  There is a limited amount of free parking in a lay-by to the road.  Informative signs like this one greet visitors near each area of the site.

IMG_3340Here are more of the King’s Men.  Legend says you won’t count the same number of stones in this circle twice — or legend says it is bad luck to touch them — or legend says if you do count the same number of stones twice your wish will be granted — or legend says you’ll be cursed.  Legend is basically completely psycho.

IMG_3349These are still-living stones.  Apparently this circle is now more known for healing and positive energies of some kind or another — here see one of the King’s Men crowned with a holly wreathe.  I’d love to come back here on solstice and see what I could see.

IMG_3381The stones are smoother on the inside face of the circle than the outside, but all appear to be eaten by cosmic worms and covered in ancient lichen.  (Actually, I’m not kidding about the lichen — it is speculated that not only are the stones over 2,000 years old, the very lichen on the stones may be up to 400 years old!)  Many of the stones are hollowed with peep-holes.

IMG_3353A short (but today, chilly) walk down a well-kempt path takes you to the Whispering Knights — remember them?  The disloyal knights who were plotting against their king.  The enemy of my enemy is not my friend, according the the witch — she turned them in to stone, too.

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Another version of the legend suggests these gentlemen may have been off to the side praying.  For what, who knows.  The more scholarly information signs describe this as a portal dolmen.  If you check out that link above to the book of legends and poems, you can see a photo of this grouping from over a hundred years ago — the stones were slightly more upright, then.

IMG_3359This would have been the lintel at the top of the dolmen (I think), since fallen.  A hollow in the top face now collects offerings from visitors.  (Reminding me of Odda’s Chapel and Trumpan church in Skye.  Always have your pence handy if you’d like to honor the local gods in the UK.)

IMG_3358Here are three knights, frozen forever.

IMG_3364I think this one is a Nazgûl.

IMG_3396Way back over by the King Stone, the remains of a smaller dolmen sit peacefully.  Someone has been scattering seeds in the center.

I could have easily spent more time here, but it was a bit chilly this early-January day.  The kids had a great time running in circles around the King’s Men, trying to count the stones.  For some reason I have a different version of the legend of the stones in my head, but I have no idea the source (I told it to my kids, anyway).  In the version in my head, an arrogant king and his court refuse to give proper courtesy to a Fairy queen.  When the king turns his back on the queen, she turns them all to stone.  Whatever the legend, I remember the poem:

Go visit the Rollright on such a night
When the Stones are lit by the pale moonlight.
Softly tread so that none may hear,
Speak not a word there is naught to fear.
Thou shalt see
Fairies wee,
Elves that ride on the Bumble Bee.
Pixies free
Full of glee,
And a Witch that looks like an Alder Tree.

Now, what could be better, before or after a visit to the Rollright stones, than a visit at one of my all-time favorite English pubs?  puddingface at the Crown & Tuns in Deddington is just 20 minues away from the stones by car, and serves the most amazing pies you will ever eat in your life, anywhere.  Seriously.

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This is a venison pie with a shortcrust crust.

20130105_125536Here a pork pie with sage stuffing and apple sauce and puff pastry.  No, really, it’s all in there.  Hook Norton is brewed just up the road a bit.  Nom nom nom.

20120513_150821If you can possibly stuff anything else in your body, try an apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on top.  One apple pie can easily serve four.  They make a nice cappuccino, too.

So what I’m saying is: it’s all in the circles.  Circles of stones, circles of puff pastry, circles of pie, circles of ale.  Here at the circling of the year, it all seems to make sense.

Day out IOW: the garlic experience

16 Jun

There’s no competition for best experience on the Isle of Wight, but if there were, our experience at The Garlic Farm just might win.  Although garlic probably has an unfair advantage in any competition.

The Garlic Farm was a completely unanticipated find on the island.  As we drove from our ferry crossing (top of the island) to our hotel (bottom of the island) —  (Again, you see why I get lost everywhere, with my oh-so-technical understanding of maps and the earth and stuff.) — we passed a sign for The Garlic Farm and cafe.  We looked at each other with uncertainty — really?  A whole farm devoted to garlic?  A whole restaurant devoted to garlic?  We put a visit on our radar for the next day.

I like the invitation.  You can (perhaps) tell that on this first trip to the farm — yes, that’s right, we were on the Isle of Wight for four days and we went to the farm twice — it was raining.

It was actually pouring rain.  But through the power of garlic, we did not care.

The garlic sculpture, which was created in situ here in the farm courtyard.  Am I the only one who thinks it looks kind of, um, well, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more, say no more?  It’s impressively large, let’s just leave it there.

You’re free to walk around the farm.  Check out the scapes!  As tall as me!  (And I’m a whopping not-tall-at-all, but still, it was cool.)

On sunnier days, there’s a tractor ride through the fields.  Those are the farm’s highland cattle in the background.  My little Skye imps shouted “wee coos!  wee coos!”

Whimsical garlic cartoons are everywhere.

Don’t laugh!  In further proof that if you scratch the soil anywhere in Britain, you’ll find rubbish dating back thousands of years, the farm showcases some of the discoveries found while building and farming — including roman artifacts.

Oh, yeah.  The taste experience that tastes you back — garlic.  Inside you’ll find the many varieties of salsa, chutney, dips, dressing, butters, oils, etc, that the farm produces (and sells on site and online).  As well as a cooking demonstration.

This young lady showed us how to saute scapes in a little rapeseed oil (that’s the local Isle of Wight  Oil of Wight she’s using) with some fresh crushed garlic and salt and pepper.  So simple and so delicious.

Inside the shop is everything from books — including the farm’s Garlic Cookbook — to garlic:

This is (I believe) the Solent Wight garlic.  I had no idea there were so many varieties of garlic, all with different characteristics.

This video (from the Garlic Farm website) made me laugh (the Anglo Saxon love of garlic?) but gives a good sense of the place, and check out the beautiful allium flowers in the fields!

You won’t be at all surprised that I took photos of our meals at the restaurant, will you?  You knew this was coming.

A fairly typical kids’ menu, with some fun garlic additions.  But check the specials board — the most amazing things seem to show up there.

A whole roasted bulb (in that local rapeseed oil) with local granary bread and a rocket salad.

A chili dish with avocado, garlic mayo, sweet potato chips (fries), whole wheat wrap — and a bit of garlic ciabatta seems to have snuck on to the plate.  Wonder how that happened.

Tried the local cider.  Which didn’t disturb me as much as some of my earlier cider tastings, but seemed like slightly off apple juice.  I think I should give up on cider.

For some reason this was called a ‘changa’, which I found a little confusing until I looked up ‘changa’ — and then I found it completely confusing.   Two poached eggs over asparagus and a soft herbed goat cheese, covered in chili oil, served with local bread.  Oh.  My.  God.

For a final sweet treat — Jubilee cupcakes.  We sampled quite a few more dishes than this, but seemed to start eating them before I could take a photo.  Also, the best hummus I’ve ever had in my life was here — made with broad beans instead of chickpeas and, of course, plenty of garlic.

If we are lucky enough to get back to the Isle of Wight, the Garlic Farm will be a must-visit stop.  Oh, and if you thought it didn’t get any better?  They host yoga weekends.  I really wanted to go to Paris for my birthday, but garlic and yoga?  Now I’m not so sure.

Day out in Skye: Shipwrecked

22 Apr

Not really shipwrecked.  Sorry, because that would have been a really cool story.  I’m thinking of those ‘shipwrecked’ casserole recipes, you know the ones?  Where you look in dismay at all the random cans in your cupboards and vegetables in your baskets and leftover meats in your fridge and think: “Right, this can be a meal.”  Like you’ve been castaway in your kitchen and just have to eat whatever is at hand.  Please don’t tell me I’m the only one.  I used to make a shipwreck dish a couple of times each winter back home, when we were snowed in and running low on groceries and the power went out and I could plug the crock pot in to the generator.  No?  Just me?  Fine, be that way.

Anyway, as I try to finish up my week of posting about Skye, I’m getting that shipwrecked feeling.  I have too many elements that don’t necessarily make sense together … but I’ve got to wrap this up somehow … so you’re getting a casserole post made up of all the bits left sitting around.  Just pretend it is snowing outside and we’re cozy next to the fire eating out of bowls we washed in the snow.  I’ll make some hot chocolate for later.

A quick tour through the Clan Donald centre on the Isle of Skye.  If you take the ferry over from Mallaig, you’ll land in walking distance of the centre, which is well worth a visit — and worth stopping right then, rather than driving all the way back down again later. (what we did.  blurg.).  The gardens are extensive — above is a sweet otter in the water garden — Armadale Castle is preserved as a picturesque ruin, with commanding views over the water

And the Museum of the Isles is a great introduction to local and clan history, with a slightly annoying but understandable dosing of Clan Donald pride and sense of superiority.

I took a photo inside before realizing photography is not allowed.  You’re welcome.  There’s also a pretty good restaurant at the centre, with the usual fish and chip selection but also local dishes like a venison casserole and a huge selection of whisky.

Speaking of whisky, I couldn’t come to Skye without visiting the Talisker Distillery in Carbost. Despite how early in the season we visited, the distillery was packed and in a shocking lack of foresight I had *not* pre-booked tours — so we didn’t get to go behind the scenes.  Children over 8 are allowed on the tour, youngers can view the exhibits on display or walk around outside.  I was slightly surprised to see so many bus loads of clearly drunken tourists.  Not my favorite scene, to be honest.  If we have the chance to go back, I’d book an early morning tour a few days ahead.

About half way up the coast of the Waternish peninsula is Stein, home to several boutique artisans and the oldest operating inn on Skye — the eponymic Stein Inn, where we had good food in a great atmosphere.  I recommend checking the specials on the board by the bar.  If the weather is nice, there are picnic tables outside with a view that cannot be beat of the harbor and loch.

You can walk down to the water — which is so clear, it seems like blue liquid air.

On the other side of Dunvegan loch, if you’re driving to the Glendal Toy Museum, you might miss this marker commemorating the land leaguers and the ‘three martyrs’ from Glendale who helped bring about land reforms and the end to the inhumane “clearances” on the island.  “Clearances” makes it sound like cleaning out old deadwood or brush, right?  No, these were people being ‘cleared’ from the land by clan chiefs turned into rapacious large landholders who were more interested in raising sheep than respecting traditional social bonds or basic tenets of morality or human kindness.  Read a book about it.  It’s a horrifying history.

We were sad to find the Borrerraig Piping Centre closed during our visit.  Sadly, the owner/operators recently experienced a death in the family, and it wasn’t known when the Centre would re-open.  We got a sense of the precarious preservation of some of these cultural sites — visit them quick, before the more elderly preservationists pass away with no-one to take up their work.

Finally, one of my absolute favorite things about our stay on Skye was simply taking our time.  Staying in one place gave us a chance to experience sunrise

and sunset

and sunrise

and sunset

And even — more than once — a rainbow

I’m convinced now that putting time in the itinerary to simply rest and staying in holiday cottages is the way to travel with kids.

Well, hope you enjoyed your shipwrecked last post about Skye.  Time to say goodbye to our cozy cottage and look forward to whatever comes next.

Day out in Skye: Trotternish Peninsula

16 Apr

Today, come along with us as we follow Rick Steves’ (henceforth: RS) self-guided driving tour of Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula from his “Snapshot Scotland” (Kindle edition).  RS gives this tour a minimum of about two hours, but with three kids and no particular hurry, we made this our day out.  And while RS starts the trip in Portree, we ended it there, with a late lunch.

Starting out from Dunvegan, we made our first target the small port of Uig (OO-eeg, or, as the kids pronounce it OOOOOOOOooooOOoooeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeg).

RS describes Uig as “unremarkable” and that seems a bit uncharitable.  What it lacks in tourist attractions it makes up for by being in a gorgeous location in a gorgeous, isolated place.  And it is amazing that this is a big village, for the Isle of Skye — there’s even a cash machine! — and Uig is the island’s major ferry port for the Outer Hebrides.  More facts RS couldn’t be bothered to tell you: nearby is an ancient stone with Pictish markings, as well as a Viking fort and viking cemetery.  Which we did not visit, but still.   Oh, and its terrifying roads are well-paved:

Those are one-lane roads, which carry cars in two directions.  I passed a bus here.  It was exciting. Because I lived.

After Uig, we wound through a less well-paved one-track road toward Kilmuir and the Skye Museum of Island Life.  Imagine living your whole life in a traditional croft like this:

Also?  The body of water you’re looking over in the distance is Loch Snizort.  So imagine living in a one or two roomed thatched croft and having to talk about Loch Snizort without laughing your whole life.  The kids are still talking about the house with two bedrooms — one for mom and dad, the other for the 12 siblings.  No photography inside the buildings, or I’d show you the disturbing mannequins of an old man and woman sitting by the peat fire.  At least, I hope they were mannequins, not actors, or mummies.

This was a very worthwhile museum, with lots of detail from local historians.  Random items like Flora MacDonald’s egg cup (not kidding) reside next to hundreds of old postcards, next to lovingly detailed descriptions of traditional island basket weaving, smithing, agriculture, fishing, and even partying — the famous Highland Ceilidh (kay-lee).  But forget your credit cards — cash only for the entry fee or anything in the museum store.  RS failed to mention this important point, but disaster was averted with a rummage through the glove compartment for change.

An easy walk up from the museum is Kilmuir Cemetery and the monument to Flora MacDonald:

After driving through a nearly abandoned island, it was a shock to jostle up against a heaving group of tourists to the cemetery who disgorged themselves from a large yellow “Haggis Adventures” bus, snapped photos, trampled grass, then ran off to the toilets.  We had fun playing treasure-hunter in the graveyard, finding the grave slab of “king” Aonghas na Geoithe – Angus of the Winds:

… and the resting place of Charles MacArthur, last hereditary piper to Clan MacDonald (from up the road at Duntlum Castle, now a ruin):

The marker was commissioned by the son, who died without paying the stonemason — who then quit work mid-writing.  And this cross, which I just liked:

There are other interesting stones in the graveyard, both famous or simply cool, as well as amazing views over (hur hur hur) Loch Snizort and the countryside.

From there, we hit the road again, past ruminating sheep:

And a stop to look at the Outer Hebrides:

There’s a rainbow shooting down from the clouds, can you see it?

We didn’t stop at Duntlum Castle, noted in the RS tour as an early MacDonald foothold on Skye.  I might have been able to fight my way to a clear spot to park along the side of the road (maybe) but when I realized the only access to the site was walking over cliffs, the picture of my children all jumping to their deaths — just for kicks — was too strong in my mind.  (You think I’m being silly, but the castle was supposedly abandoned when the clan chief’s baby fell out a castle window to his death.  My irrational phobias are based in history.)  We drove on.  But we goggled from the car — it is hugely dramatic.

We drove round the tip of the peninsula, past the Quiraing ridge, oooo-ing and aaaa-ing all the way, and stopped at Kilt rock to see the dramatic waterfall —

This shot shows a bit more of the waterfall than the one I shared yesterday — check out how clear the water is, below!  I know the rock shaped like a kilt is supposed to be the attraction, but I like the waterfall best.

The road turned into (even more of) a roller coaster after this, and with the kids getting hungry we just waved at the Old Man of Storr quickly and drove on — my son caught the best photos of the old man, who he was disappointed to find was not an Optimus Prime-sized man created of living rock.  The rest of the drive in to Portree was, frankly, a bit boring, although peeks of the Isle of Raasay made it more interesting.

Portree is the largest village on the island, with a pretty harbor:

lined with colorful buildings:

Lunch was at the uninspiring Royal Hotel’s Well Plaid restaurant, where — apparently — Bonnie Prince Charles and Flora MacDonald had their last meeting.  No wonder things turned out so badly for them both.  The tourist information centre was equally uninspired — possibly why they recommended the Royal as a good place for a family to eat.  Later we walked past some great-looking seafood places by the pier, and Cafe Arriba near the tourist shops —  RS doesn’t even list the Royal in his guide, which I should have taken as a hint.

After eating and a bit of a walk about, we headed back home to enjoy the gardens near our cottage. All told, we spent about five hours on our tour of the Trotternish peninsula, and could have spent several hours more.  The RS driving tour is pretty good for the highlights, but a little extra digging before you go will give you dozens of other sites to stop and enjoy along to way.

Review: The Croft

8 Nov

(First a note to anyone stopping in from NaBloPoMo.  I am completely unqualified to write the ‘restaurant reviews‘ series on my blog.  I am an amateur, and my hypothetical target audience for these reviews is ‘mothers of families who have just arrived in the Gloucestershire area from overseas and have no kitchen equipment and are eating out frequently.’  So, a bit specific.  I welcome any critiques, and tomorrow you’ll be back to my usual wanderings and musings.)

At 4pm on a weekday, we were suddenly possessed by the urge to return to Bourton-on-the-Water and see the town at sunset and twilight.  After playing pooh-sticks and following the ducks down the River Windrush, we took a chance and walked in to The Croft for dinner.

The Croft
Victoria Street at Chester House Hotel
Bourton-on-the-Water GL54 2BU
0 1451 821132
www.chesterhousehotel.com/dining/4545142623

Ambiance
Modern and clean but clearly still in tune with the old stone Cotswold building in which it resides.  Fabulous views of High Street and the River Windrush.  When we walked in early on a Thursday evening, the dining room was empty, and it slowly filled with an older local crowd.  Don Henley was playing all evening, which struck me as a bit hilarious, but made it clear The Croft is unpretentious.  The staff welcomed us in and were quick and efficient with our meals without giving us any sense of rush.

Kid-friendly
No one seemed to mind our kid-noise, possibly because we were off to a corner by ourselves.  There is a chidren’s menu that includes more than the usual fish, chicken, and cheese pizza — what a relief.  No coloring books or activities, but the view of the ducks and passers-by out the window was endlessly amusing.  As were the giant bowls filled with silverware in the center of the tables.

Food
Garlic bread was fresh and the garlic strong.  Salads were lightly dressed (we’ve gotten used to seeing undressed salads) and were made with a larger variety of lettuce and cut vegetables than we’ve seen typically.  A lamb shank was prepared with a subtle but beautifully pervasive mint flavor and served with a variety of steamed fresh vegetables.  Husband was so-so about the fish and chips, finding them slightly bland.  Plaice Goujon (fish strips) and chicken fillets (chicken nuggets) were prepared to kid-satisfaction.  All items are locally sourced and seasonally fresh — the ice cream was especially delicious, and our apple crumbles were bowl-lickingly good.

Value
Kids meals were a bit over 4 pounds each and were substantial portions.  This is less expensive than we’ve been seeing in Cheltenham, but the meals did not include pudding (dessert).  Adults entrees ranged from seven to thirteen pounds, desserts about 5 pounds each but worth every bite.  All in all not an everyday place to eat for a family but a better family dining out value than comparable restaurants in Cheltenham — if you don’t mind the drive.

Recommendation
Locally sourced foods, view of the village, friendly staff and delicious desserts — we were ready to float away down the river when we left and I’m eager to return.

Review: Tiffins

20 Oct

Step inside the cozy cafe and be greeted by the beautiful fragrance of bacon, strong fresh coffee and the smiles of owners Julie and Gary … we’ve been in Cheltenham less than three weeks and have eaten here five or six times.

Tiffins
4 Montpellier Walk,
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1SD
01242 222492

Ambiance
The downstairs is definitely snug, with a few very small tables crowded near the register and deli/pastry cases.  Comfortable seating outside with a view of the Montpellier Gardens.  For seating with a family, try going up the picturesque wooden stairs to the top floor, where you’ll find tables with seating for five and bright sunny windows overlooking the street.  One of the many young women on staff will come by with menus and to take your order.

Kid-friendly
Upstairs or outside is great with kids.  We tend to chase away the patrons who have come to have a quiet read and a nosh upstairs (sorry!).  There is not a kids menu but the kitchen has been great about modifying orders to suit the kids’ tastes.  (Exception is scrambled eggs, which I don’t think anyone in England knows how to make.)

Food
Let me say to you: Bacon.  Bacon.  And more Bacon.  Bacon with brie, bacon with avocado, bacon for breakfast, bacon for lunch, can you ever have enough bacon?  To Americans the bacon will be extraordinary — more like ham steak or large slabs of Canadian bacon than what we think of as bacon.  This is a good thing.  Kids have enjoyed bacon baps (a bacon sandwich) as well as cheese toasties (grilled cheese) and smaller portions of a full English breakfast.  (This is a large breakfast, which can be portioned out among more than one child.)  Pastries like pain chocolate and croissants have also been delicious and fresh.    Coffee and tea are both good, and generous in size.  I’ve enjoyed trying out regional choices like cheese and pickle sandwiches, or brie and cranberry with (of course) bacon.

Value
To be honest I’m not sure how the orders are rung up — sometimes we seem to pay more than I expect, sometimes less.  We typically spend about 20 pounds for four meals, which seems reasonable for the area.  The full English breakfast includes egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, two large slices of bacon, local sausage, four slices of toast, and orange juice, for 8 pounds.  Many of the sandwiches are right about 4 pounds each, and large.  It’s certainly worth it to me for great, homey food in a friendly environment with a great view.  Please note THEY DO NOT TAKE CREDIT — this is a cash-only establishment.  They are not open Sundays but are open Saturdays — opening time is about 8am and they close at a time which seems to change but is usually mid-afternoon.

Recommendation
Go for breakfast and you’ll be full all day.  Go for lunch and you can skip dinner.  If coffee and bacon smell like home to you, go for a whiff of comfort.

Review: Prezzo

8 Oct

On an early Monday evening, Prezzo was deserted and we had the main floor to ourselves, much to our enjoyment.

Prezzo
http://www.prezzorestaurants.co.uk/restaurant/cheltenham
99–101 The Promenade
Cheltenham
GL50 1NW
01242524437

Ambiance
Comfortable, unfussy seating in a monochrome color scheme enlivened by wine bottles, a few tall plants, and red candles.  Surprisingly, this pleased the kids.  Outdoor tables are behind a low wall near a very busy corner, and have a good view of the Promenade.  Staff was professional, quick, and kind to the children.

Kid-friendly
As always, the child menu arrives with some activities and crayons.  The menu itself offers garlic bread or salad to start; the typical pizza, spaghetti (with meatballs!), and a baked chicken entree; and three flavors of ice cream to choose from for dessert.  So early in the evening, we had the floor to ourselves and felt very comfortable.

Food
We started with garlic bread —  freshly made — and marinated olives.  I had the ‘light option’ — a half portion of a regular entree with a small portion of salad.  Mine was the fusilli with italian sausage, with rocket and chili.  The portion was just right, and had a nicely mild spiciness with the peppers, accentuated by the very spicy vinaigrette for the salad.  Husband had the lasagna, which was a large portion with a good balance of cheese, sauce and meat.  Children enjoyed their three-course children’s meals, although the pepperonis on the pizza were very small.  It was nice to see meatballs with the children’s portion of spaghetti, as we had seen pasta only in other restaurants, and the meatballs were cut in half before serving for easy child accessibility.  I had a very decent Merlot which went well with the whole meal, including the not overly sweet tiramisu. The espresso served with dessert was excellent, strong and not at all bitter, with a beautiful crema.

Value
Three solid courses and a drink for 6 pounds makes this child menu competitive for the area.  (But still fairly terrifying to convert in to dollars and compare to kids meal pricing in the US.)  At just under 10 pounds per main plate, and under 5 pounds each for our glasses of wine, the adult plates again seem competitive for the area.  But Prezzo stands out for the flavor of its menu and what (for us) seemed like more familiar, robust and tasty italian meals.

Recommendation
If you are looking for italian and are choosing between Prezzo and Strada (which is just up the street) — GO HERE.  The prices are comparable (perhaps slightly better at Prezzo) and the meal is so much to be preferred.