After consulting the chief judge, we are agreed that the Herbie Award for the Best Gadget 2017 (although we’re not really sue that it qualifies as a gadget, but hey, we can make up our own rules) goes to our
Eberspacher 7 day timer switch
because it makes an expensive gadget that we already have a lot more useful.
Of course, if you don’t have an Eberspacher, which is very likely, I wouldn’t get such a switch and get the sander or the Cobb instead.
And so to our next category.
In the past we’ve bestowed awards on a few hostelries for the quality of their food. With all the dedication of Greg Wallace and Monica Wotsername we’ve scoured the cut for the finest dining and haut cuisine (as opposed to Oat Cuisine which is porridge), supping this and chewing that all for your information. However it hasn’t escaped our notice that it’s all getting a bit pricey at that end of the market, so this year we’ve been on the lookout for a genuine bargain. Due to the fact that we have “eaten out” less often this year and the fact that despite doing plenty of boating, we haven’t been to so many places, we were struggling to get enough candidates for this topic, worthy though it is. I happy to say we’ve found a couple to pass on and in the tradition of the Herbie Awards, we’ll choose ourselves a winner. In both cases, we bought meals which we could hardly have cooked for ourselves at the price. So the nominations for Best Meal Deal 2017 are:
1. “Crazy Steaks”at the Reindeer, Banbury.
You all by now know how much we like the Reindeer, and on Saturday nights it gets even better when you can get a 6oz rump steak with the trimmings for £6. As usual at the Reindeer the cooking is good, the service friendly and efficient, and the meat comes from the brilliant Steve Betts butcher thirty yards away. They have other special deal nights too, but £6 for a nice steak takes some beating we think.
2. Steaks and Wine at The Navigation, Stoke Bruerne
Oh dear, this isn’t turning out to be a good list for veggies is it? Still, two sirloin steak meals and a bottle of surprisingly good wine for £20 can’t be ignored. Again the cooking is good, as are the ingredients, and this time you can get it all through from Monday to Thursday. We’ve had this meal twice, on quiz nights, and both times it’s been very good and the wine they gave us was Hardy’s Main Road which is lovely. They normally charge £12.50 a bottle for that, which means the steak meals work out at £7.50 for the two! I should say right now though that I just checked the web site and the total price has now been put up to £22, but that is still less than you pay for one steak at a couple of our previous posher winners.
I’m very tempted here to sneak in the Marks and Spencer Dine in for Two for a tenner deal, which we sometimes get when we’re in Banbury at the weekend. if you haven’t tried them, maybe you should. You get a main dish, a side dish, a dessert (all for two) plus a bottle of wine – all for £10, and despite being “convenience food” they are really very good. You couldn’t buy the ingredients and cook it yourself for anything like the price.
Other pubs doing bargain deals (although we didn’t use them this year, we do actually cook on board most nights!) include the Boathouse at Braunston and The Nag’s Head at Great Linford and of course there is always dear old Wetherspoons.