Lunch at Fern’s in Canterbury

Chef P was on holiday from Good Friday until this past Monday and went back to work on Tuesday.  As you may know from reading some previous posts, we had been very busy.  On his last day off, we decided to head over to Canterbury, which we tend to visit about 3-4 times a year, even though we’re only a short distance away.  The last time we were there was around Christmas.

We took the train in, which is always so much easier than driving.  We strolled around and found that there was a Whittard’s and was finally able to find a tea infuser for my mother-in-law. 🙂  Don’t really know how long this store was there, but was glad to find it.  The last time I was at one of their stores was back in July when we were in London.  It just occurred to me; I’m in England where they drink tea like there’s no tomorrow and yet we had a hell of a time trying to find a tea infuser!  We looked in four other stores before I finally found one!

Around midday, we decided to get some lunch.  We don’t do fast food so had to find some place proper to eat.  We found a place that was actually hidden away as there’s really no storefront for it, just the entrance door with a sign pointing you upstairs.  We went to Fern’s Restaurant and Tearoom.  It’s a quaint little restaurant and as it was a weekday, it was rather quiet.  There was a woman dining alone at the table behind us and a couple who were sitting in one of the window seats having lunch.

The seats were leather with high backs and rather comfortable I might add.  The tables were a heavy wood (oak?) with cast iron pedestal bottoms.  Many of these places in Canterbury were once homes and it’s usually quite obvious.  There were two fireplaces (one in each corner) in the section of the room we were sat in with tiled edging.  Many homes back in the early times had more than one fireplace in a room just to get it warm enough.

Chef P ordered a vegetable quiche which came with fries(chips in the UK) and a cappuchino and I ordered a ham, cheese and tomato paninni which came with a small dressed salad and some potato chips(crisps in the UK) and a diet coke.

Now those of you who follow South Beach know that I shouldn’t have eaten some of what was placed in front of me.  The paninni bread alone is a no-no as it’s made with white flour and I really shouldn’t have eaten some all of the crisps.  Another thing that I never have anymore is soda, even diet soda, but I just felt like having it.  We never buy soda or potato chips and I very rarely eat them except in situations like this, so I really don’t feel guilty for having them.

It was a lovely relaxing lunch; something we don’t do often enough.  We’re heading up to Scotland at the end of June for a week, so we’ll get to do that quite a bit.  I’ll fill you in more on our upcoming trip as it gets closer.  Here’s one bit of info:  We’re taking a sleeper train up there!

Have a nice weekend!

♥ Terri  ♥♥


Eating In vs Easting Out

Which is more economical?  Eating in or dining out?  Everyone will have their opinion, but common sense tells us that eating in is cheaper and almost always healthier than dining out.  And by eating in, I don’t mean getting a take-out meal or buying a frozen dinner and taking it home to eat.  We’re talking HOME COOKING here.  You obviously save money because eating out costs more for the same things, for example, buying and cooking beef mince is generally cheaper than buying a hamburger in a restaurant.

With eating in, you know exactly what goes into your food and you decide on the portion size.  With all the cookbooks out there, you can whip up a fancy meal in just about the same way as a fancy restaurant at a fraction of the cost.  However, this all depends on where you live, what you eat and how well you can cook and does require some planning and personal effort.  And if you shop like we do, you can save even more.  (Check the ‘reduced to clear’ sections and buy in bulk the items you use frequently.  I buy whole wheat flour in 10kg bags because I bake my own bread and it’s much cheaper to buy the large bag as opposed to the small 1.5kg bags, especially when you find it in the reduced to clear section!)

Home-cooked food is almost always healthier. Most restaurant meals are loaded with fat, sugar, and calories. Butter is the restaurant’s chef’s best friend. And for many people, dining out actually takes more time than eating in.  Unfortunately, time can also be an issue.  Many choose to eat out because they don’t have time to cook for themselves or their families.  About 60% of mothers work outside the home.

Now I’m not saying that you should never eat out, but eating out should be used for special occasions or perhaps once or twice a month as a treat.  Whether you go to the local chain restaurant or to that fancy place you’ve been dying to try, if you don’t go very often, you’ll appreciate it more.

In September 2011, The New York Times did a price comparison on fast food vs. home cooking.

(It’s been so long since I’ve eaten fast foods; that McDonald’s meal doesn’t even look very appetizing!  I assume there’s a burger in between that bun on the right?)

So what do you think?  Is eating in better/cheaper/healthier than eating out?