Another Guilty Pleasure – Cracker Barrel

My lack of enthusiasm for haute cuisine and gastro-temples has been mentioned here before. I have even written about my penchant for diners and greasy spoons. Well I have yet another guilty pleasure when it comes to food.

I have a real affection for an American chain of restaurants called Cracker Barrel. You will find 590 of them next to major highways in almost the whole country, except the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii. They are the American equivalent of Little Chef – indeed originally they sold petrol too, yet I find them strangely exciting, exotic even. If you have not visited one I would highly recommend the experience.

Firstly they do not claim to be restaurants, but ‘Old Country Stores’ and that sorts of sets the tone. The first thing you encounter is a display of white New England-style rocking chairs on the front porch. Customers can try them out or buy them – $129 in August 2010. Continue reading

Enjoying Valencia


P4240001Valencia is a terrific city, with a lovely leisurely feel and things of beauty and interest almost everywhere you look. I highly recommend a visit there, in particular the old centre is a wonderful place to idle away a sunny afternoon when you have nothing better to do than to drift from square to square, sampling the bars and watching the world go by.

The oval shaped Plaza de la Reina is especially delightful with the impressive cathedral of Santa Maria at one end and the rather exotic church tower of Santa Catalina at the other. In between is a beautiful space with grass and trees and bars all around, a perfect place to  refresh oneself with a caña of beer. I felt very much at home here and enjoyed it immensely, but man cannot live on beer alone, come 2.30 lunch beckoned! Continue reading