Friday, 30 May 2008

Siempre Sol, Sosua (Dominican Republic)

One of the towns I visited on my honeymoon was Sosua. It was about halfway between Cabarete and Puerta Plata. It's a small town which is dominated by its market on the beach. This is the place to go if you want to get your souvenirs. Beware though, the shopkeepers are very insistent, and there are a lot of stalls. You have been warned.
Anyway, if you survive the onslaught of shopkeepers  trying to get you into their shop, you will find yourself in need of a drink (I certainly did!). This is handy, because at the end of the market area is a lot of pubs. These mainly cater to the Canadian and German tourists as they are the mainstay of Sosua. 

This little bar is the Siempre Sol, where we sat and wiled away a good bit of time. Not so much retail therapy, more therapy after retail! This is typical of all the bars along the beach, an open fronted shack with some chair outside. This isn't bad, per se, but don't expect a trendy wine bar. You won't find any.





The one great thing about working up a thirst is that the first sip of beer tastes all the better. While in Dominican Republic, I mainly drank Presidente Beer. This was a pilsner style beer. Light and refreshing, and best served ice cold. There are other beers made in the Domincan Republic, but this is the main one.
On my visit to the Siempre Sol, I opted for the grande version which came in the bamboo cooler to the right. This did a lot to keep the beer cold in the sweltering tropical heat. One tip for drinking beer in tropical countries: drink fast. Your beer is delivered cold, it won't stay that way for long.

Sosua is a good place to visit. If you are in the Domincan Republic, give it a go. I personally couldn't run the gauntlet of shops again (I would walk down on the waters edge), but would visit the pub/cafe area to enjoy some more Presidente beer.

Viva El Presidente!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Chesham Beer Festival 2008

What are you doing this weekend? Why not go to the Chesham Beer Festival. Details are as follows:

When: 24th at 12 noon until the beer runs out
Where: Chesham Town Hall
Entrance Fee: There is no entrance fee as such but the beer is priced at about £3 per pint but is cheaper the more tokens you buy.
What: 18 ales and 5 ciders ranging from a dark mild through to old peculiar and a range of ciders including "old rosie" at 7.3%

See you there!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Bell, Chartridge

The Bell
Chartridge Lane



High up on the top of the hill that is Chartridge, near the golf club, is The Bell. It is a small gastro- pub which looks like it has benefited from a lot of love from the landlord. We arrived there after an hour and a half of walking through the countryside, but it can be reached easily from Chesham by walking/driving up the Chartridge Lane.  As  you can imagine, I was rather thirsty after 90 minutes of walking, and really wanted my pint of cider. Unfortunately, the tap cider is Scrumpy Jack, which I find too sweet. Instead I went with one of those bottled ciders which they serve with ice (yes I know they are sweet too!) for the refreshment factor.

With such a relatively small bar area (the white part seen in the picture on the right), it is no surprise that there aren't many taps. There were, however, three hand pumps dispensing Brakspear, London Pride (I think), and Bombadier. There were the usual euro-pop lagers Carlsberg and Stella, Scrumpy Jack, and Guinness.

The food was very well cooked. The menus were single sheets of printed paper which suggested that the menu gets changed often, something I like in a gastro-pub. I opted for the Chef's Fish and Chips, while Mrs. Mouse opted for Pork Sunday Roast.
The Fish and Chips were perfectly done; obviously being battered upon ordering and then fried.  The result of this was a beautifully golden and crunchy batter. The tartar sauce which came with the fish was also obviously freshly made; I love fresh tartar sauce.
Mrs. Mouse's roast pork was also of the same high quality. The pork was freshly carved and came with freshly steamed/boiled vegetables roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. Topping all of this off was a freshly made apple sauce.
Finally, Mrs. Mouse finished off the meal with a coffee and a pudding. I cannot remember which pudding, but it tasted very nice, and the coffee was of a very high quality.

Our overall impression of the pub was that it was lovingly cared for. The food was of high quality, but the portions were perhaps a bit small for the price; there are pubs within a 90 minute walk which serve slightly higher quality food, in larger portions, and at the same price. It was a shame that the cider on tap was Scrumpy Jack, but did not detract from the pleasure of the visit. Both Mrs. Mouse and I agree that we will visit there again, but perhaps only for a drink this time.