Saturday 19th July
This Saturday, 19th July from 10am – 4pm, Cramlington is hosting its 1st food festival at Manor Walks. There’s loads of things going on including food stalls and full on Summer Classic cooking demonstrations from the surrounding restaurants! There will also be lots of lovely stalls with local crafters, so it should be a great day out if you can get along.
For those of you who don’t know the area, Cramlington is the next town along from where I live in Blyth. I’ve mentioned before (quite a few times!) that Blyth has a bit of a bad reputation, but Cramlington, on the other hand, is like our classy cousin. The fact they are hosting what sounds like a really lovely Foodie Festival, doesn’t surprise me at all!
Manor Walks in Cramlington
As you can imagine Cramlington has some lovely shops, but as a new town Cramlington’s shopping area, Manor Walks, was built at a time when architectural design was somewhat questionable. However, last year it had a pretty sexy facelift which included building a massive cinema and a whole bunch of restaurants. Including, Frankie and Benny’s.
I love a bit of Frankie and Benny’s. I didn’t think it was possible to crave a baked potato, and Mike thinks it’s positively crazy I would even chose a baked potato over chips, but sometimes all I want is a Frankie and Benny’s baked potato with loads of butter (plus a rack of spare ribs and some corn on cob, obviously).
I’d always thought of Frankie and Benny’s as a date night destination, I guess purely because we’d sometimes go before the cinema so therefore never had the kids. When Manor Walks invited us to go as a family to do some pizza making we jumped at the chance. (The irony is because I’m doing the slow carb diet, I didn’t get my baked potato. Shows how ‘good’ I’m being!!)
Cramlington’s Frankie and Benny’s
Last weekend we were in Brighton and we didn’t want to take Gabby out of school on the Friday, so this Friday we hadn’t seen her for almost 2 whole weeks. When we were finally reunited as a family again, it was with high spirits that we set off into the sunshine just before 5 to go to Manor Walks for our dinner.
Our lovely waitress went to great lengths to make us feel welcome and obvious is well trained in the art of serving families as she put through our order for starters and drinks (of which mine was the biggest glass I’d ever seen. Well, almost!) almost before we’d even sat down – it was like she’d read my mind!
Hugmongous glass – it’s as big as Gabby’s arm (who incidentally didn’t get the memo to pose – too busy enjoying her kiddy cocktail!)
Our waitress also kindly put up a highchair, however because we were in booth and he’s Mr Independent now, Reuben didn’t want to be in it. He was perfectly safe with Mike wedging him in so, in hindsight, I should have just taken it off!
When the garlic pizza bread arrived a little miracle happened… Reuben ate it despite it having green stuff on the top!!
Then came the main event…the pizza making! The kids got to decide on their toppings and then ‘decorate’ their pizzas. Gabby loved doing this and for about 3 seconds so did Rueben. I was thinking it would be like a sensory exercise for him and got really excited at one point because he put a bit of mushroom in his mouth… But because it was mushroom and not chocolate or whatever else he thought it might be, he then rejected the whole exercise and went back to drinking his cocktail and eating ice (for any new visitors, Reuben is a really fussy eater *sobs*). So Mike and I decorated his pizza.
A little wait longer and our food arrived and there was a LOT of it! Reuben ate Mike’s chips, Mike ate his chicken and sweetcorn and some of Reuben’s pizza and Gabby ate her pizza but we still had well over a pizza to take home with us at the end!
Just lemme eat!!
I ordered wine and got stuck into my salmon and salad (because I was being good, remember, although that dressing wasn’t good – I’d forgotten to ask if it came with anything!), which was delicious and I certainly didn’t leave any!
The whole meal took about an hour and a half and I think it was probably one of the first meals I felt really relaxed with Reuben there (except for the times we’ve resorted to Peppa Pig, which I think people judge you for!). Sitting still at a table isn’t fun at all unless you like food, which Reuben doesn’t. So I think he did really well at what is traditionally the witching hour.
He enjoyed standing on the seat running his back along the bumps of the Chesterfield style booths (more frowns!), he was generally entertained being in the restaurant with the hustle and bustle (and no one minded if we had a little walk about), he liked the garlic bread and chips, and he LOVED the ‘cocktails’. Gabriella on the other hand is much easier to please but then she’s a big grown up girl! So, yes, it was a lovely way to spend the Friday night together as a family and I’d definitely go back with them.
Then it was home to bed for this little man, but not before he popped his balloon the second he walked in the house and got cross with me for not fixing it! Can’t win ’em all!
Thank you to manor Walks and Frankie and Benny’s for hosting us for this lovely meal – I hope you have a wonderful day on Saturday and Cramlington’s 1st Foodie Festival is a massive success!!