General Warning: It’s probably not best to read this on empty stomach, you’ve been forewarned…
As I sat in the library, munching on a bag of jelly beans, I couldn’t help but think to myself that there are two obvious themes within my blog, besides the whole travel thing, I I love food and I love freebies, and I especially love it when they happen to be in combination. In preparation for the Thanksgiving feast I’m about to consume this Thursday, it’s only natural that my mind can’t stop thinking about food. I dealt with this the best way I could think of, went home, ate some cookies and wrote a post about Where to eat in Exeter.
When coming to Exeter, I already had the mindset that I was going to try and live as cheaply as possible, because I had a finite amount of money to spend here and I would rather see more of the world, than eating out every day because I’m too lazy to cook. James and I agreed to create a budget and we have stuck to it, quite strictly while here. We’ve limited ourselves to £15-£20 a week total for our grocery shopping. Basically, that means we got to eat a lot of pasta, eggs, and peanut butter sandwiches. It’s not a glorious life, and I do envy my flatmates when they’re cooking yummy steaks, and delicious apple crumble bakes, but if it allows me to see one more country while I’m here I’ll take it. We have allotted £10 ea. as discretionary income for us to eat out when on a day trip instead of a packed sandwich, or go out during the week, or in James’ case, save to buy a stockpile of cookies.
One of the first places that we went out to while here was Walkabout, an Australasian pub. If you’ve got the hankering for a Kangaroo steak, then this is your place! Or as was our case, if you want to claim the promotion to Uni students where you can get a free burger, head there now. I don’t think I would be able to eat a cute Kangaroo, though. Will(one of our flatmates from K.U.), James and I went on a random Wednesday night to claim our burgers.You have the option of a Falafel Burger, or a regular Beef Burger. I did the former while James did the latter, and both burgers, were absolutely delicious, especially for a freebie, and if I were to return, I wouldn’t be opposed to paying for that burger. It’s obvious that they hope you will buy a drink while there, munching on your delicious burger, but they weren’t getting us. We were in it for the free meal, my throat would be just fine to wait.
Total Cost: FREE
It just so happens following that very meal, we were walking back to our flat and passed by a new artisanal pizza shop, called Firezza. They were handing out a free slice of pizza and a glass of wine. Regardless that we just ate, we quickly hopped on the queue for our free pizza and drink. We were also really lucky in the sense that we were the very last three people allowed to take advantage of the free slice of pizza and glass of wine, we literally got there just in the nick of time. The pizza was cooked in a fire wooden oven, and you could taste the smokiness of the oven, it was delicious.
Total Cost: Free
The Exeter Winter Fair was recently hosted by the Exeter Cathedral, and somehow I managed to find a deal where we could get two cups of hot tea or coffee for free while strolling through the Cathedral fair. Sometimes I don’t even actively look for freebies, I literally just stumble upon them. This was nice because we were able to stroll through the market and see the various things vendors had for sale while enjoying a cup of tea.
Total Cost: FREE
When James’ parents were visiting, his mom wanted to have a pint in a pub as one of the things she did while in England, so we took her to The Imperial, along with our flatmates and Will’s friend Jackson who was also visiting Exeter. Technically this is NOT a freebie since it was paid for, it just wasn’t paid for by us…thanks, G and Papa you guys are the best! The Imperial is really cool inside and has this one massive semi-circle wall that is all mirrors, and it is almost always crowded. James G and I opted for Apple Ciders, made locally in Devon while Papa attempted to make a spiked Arny Palmer. We quickly learned, lemonade here is simply just sprite.
Total Cost: FREE*
Another freebie meal we managed to score, was curly fries and ribs from Starz. Donald’s friend Katrina was in town visiting him, and they went to Starz for dinner and I guess the portions were so massive they managed to bring a whole third of a rack of ribs home alongside an entire box of curly fries. I don’t eat ribs because I’m not so keen on eating the meat off the bone like that, it makes me feel rather cannibalistic. That, however, did not stop James and Jocelyn from diving into the ribs. I believe it was delicious, or at least I assumed it was considering it was gone in a matter of five minutes. On my part, I thoroughly enjoyed the curly fries or chips as they call them here. If I wasn’t feeling so cheap and broke all the time, I would probably venture to Starz for a meal myself, however, James, Jocelyn and I were quite happy with Donald’s massive amount of leftovers.
In Exeter, the mall is more of an outdoor outlet store, and it’s called PrincessHay. Well Princesshay hosted a Student’s Night Out, where students got drastics discounts on many stores, and freebies were given out. Obviously, we decided to go. We quickly realized this student night out, was catered to under 18’s, not above 18’s. It was the Black Friday for teenagers. Standing in a swarm of teenage high school girls, for an hour, I could tell James and Eli were not pleased I dragged them to this. When they finally opened the gates, I had never seen more mayhem. Girls bolting from store to store, yanking others down all to get some freebies. Mind you I did scoot ahead of some of them and managed to score four pairs of free socks. The main reason I dragged them to this event was because I wanted to go to Hotel Chocolat, a fancy chocolatier shop that was giving out freebies. It was so disappointing, it was a mango-orange truffle and I just couldn’t understand the mixing of those flavors in a chocolate truffle. On our way to Hotel Chocolat we had gotten free bags of popcorns, and some of them had a voucher for free movie tickets at the bottom of the bag. James was lucky enough to have picked one of the bags, so we got 2 free movie tickets in addition to the bags of popcorn we had already eaten.
Regular paid meals:
The Red Rose
On a random Friday night, most of our flat decided to get sushi for dinner. We walked into a Sushi restaurant all excited to go eat, only to be told that they were completely booked for the night and wouldn’t serve us. Deflated we left trying to decided what to eat. On our walk to the Sushi Restaurant we had said we wanted to try Indian food once, and low and behold right next to the Sushi Restaurant was an Indian Restaurant called The Red Rose. They were advertising a £10 three-course meal and a glass of wine. Any starter, any main, and a choice of rice or naan. Done deal. We walked in and got a table for 5 immediately. On the menu it stated that the deal was only valid on Sundays, contradicting the sign outside which said Sunday-Friday, and after verifying with a waiter who checked with the owner, they said since we were students they would allow us to do the deal. Instead of bread, you get poppadoms as the food you munch on while you wait. If you’re unaware, they’re basically crispy tortillas accompanied with varied sauces. We all ordered a variety of starters and mains and were 100% satisfied with not only the service, but the quality of the food. It was all absolutely delicious, and we were given an extra order of rice and naan free of charge. Lastly we were given free Apple Schnapps, and Bailey’s Liqueur after our dinner also free of charge. I think you can tell we were very, very pleased with our meal and the excellent service.
Total Cost: about £22 total for James and I
We returned here with most of our flat (Fanny had choir practice and was missed) along with Sydney and Noor and Donald’s friend Katrina, to celebrate James’ 22nd birthday. My stomach can attest that the food was just as great, and yes I did order the same thing, I’m a channa masala girl through and through. The owner was kind enough to give us the special deal again so it was a really great price for a night out. I couldn’t have asked for better friends while here in England and it was a great way to celebrate James’ birthday, a full belly and a full heart. Also, we got free ice-cream at the end so maybe I’m still biased….regardleses whenever someone asks me where to eat in Exeter, I’ll promptly say visit The Red Rose!
Total cost for me (since it was my treat for James): about £23
The Old Firehouse
Eli celebrated his birthday in October, (actually the same day as my mom and James’ sister Nicole) and he decided he wanted to celebrate at The Old Firehouse. As it happens J.K. Rowling went to Uni here and The Old Firehouse is credited to being the inspiration of the Leaky Cauldron. My inner geek was thrilled to be going there for his birthday, and my stomach was thrilled for the pizza and cider. Firehouse is very popular in Exeter, for its tasty and delicious pizza, there creatively flavored ciders, and their live music. Typically one pizza can range from as little as £5-£10. Considering how large the pizzas are, it could be a really cheap, but yummy date night!
Total Cost: £8 total for James and I
Tea On the Green
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, James, Eli and I, the only three that were in our flat for the weekend decided to do a spot of afternoon tea. We went to Tea on the Green, a lovely tearoom with a view of the Exeter Cathedral to do a cream tea. When in England, I really recommend doing a cream tea, solely for the scones, jam, and the clotted cream. They are delicious. Since I already tried a Cream Tea once before, I opted for The Exeter tea, which consisted of cream tea, 1 scone with clotted cream and jam, but also came with smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches. Mainly because I wanted to try the finger sandwiches. It was absolutely delicious. I think Eli and me, enjoyed the afternoon much more than James did, because just as we sat down at a table outside, a bird pooped on James’ jumper(sweater). He wasn’t off to a great start. Eli and I found it quite funny, though.
Total Cost: £15 for James and I
The Monkey Suit
On a Monday night, it is Student’s night at The Monkey Suit, apparently the place to go to for Cocktails in Exeter. James, Jocelyn, Donald, Eli and I all decided to check it out one night, and Eli excitedly decided to wear his Kansas Football(soccer) Jersey. His excitement turned to confusion, and disappointment when we were told by the bouncers at Monkey Suit that they don’t allow jerseys in the pub in order to avoid quarrels. James had to take his sweater off so Eli could put it on over his jersey and be allowed into the pub. Thankfully it wasn’t cold in the pub, so James wasn’t cold in just his white t-shirt. Not the have our spirits dampened, we did a 2 for 1 deal, where we got two Bailey’s Cocktails for the price of 1. Sorry to the cashier for paying with all my spare change. Though I guess not really spare change considering a coin here is actually worth more than a dollar bill. Also apologies for the poor snap chat quality photos.
Total Cost: £4 for James and I
Exeter Street Food
On a random Tuesday evening, Exeter Street Food was hosting an event down at the Quay. Essentially it was a food market where you can stroll through the vendors and have a “street food” dinner. Vendors varied from pancakes to Greek, to German sausages, to Moroccan. At first, James and I weren’t planning to buy anything but we were swayed at ended up getting a vegetarian wrap from the Moroccan vendor. Essentially it was a wrap, filled with veggies, salad, couscous, and garbanzo beans and a tahini sauce. It was absolutely delicious, though a bit overpriced. Nevertheless, it was quite nice to eat the wrap, sitting alongside the quay, hearing the live band and watching the sunset with our friends.
Total Cost: £6 for James and I
One of the downfalls of living on the High Street is that we constantly are inundated by the smells of all the delicious restaurants around us. On a late night walking home from something that I can’t remember, James and I caved and opted to get something from Raj India, a late night takeaway Indian shop. On their menu was curry fries, and James wanted to try them. I was leaning more to Samosas because curry fries seemed like a very odd combination, but since the fries were cheapest we did those. I am so happy that I did because it was delicious and something I would never think to do. The saltiness of the chips along with the spice and flavor of the curry combined perfectly. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of said chips, but it was 100% a good buy.
Total Cost: £3.95 for James and I
Nandos is another location at which I didn’t get a photo of the food, so you’ll have to take my word on it as well. I’ve heard and seen online that “Cheeky Nandos” is a big thing in the U.K. For some reason I had it in my head that it was fried chicken, which I LOVE. I highly considered making my high school senior quote a line from the movie The Help that goes “Fried chicken just tend to make you feel better about life.”
To my utter disappointment, Nandos was more along the lines of grilled chicken, wings, wraps etc. Basically anything with chicken, except fried chicken…We went there to celebrate Sydney’s 21st just recently and since neither James and I were crazy about the overpriced menu options we were planning to just eat at home instead. Until we saw the £3 Unlimited Frozen Yogurt deal. Eli, who is often wary of what he intakes diets was also not eating at Nandos and we all went in splitsies for the Unlimited Frozen Yogurt, making it 1 quid each. Basically, I ate 2 cups of the yogurt, then gave the cup to Eli so he could refill it and have however many cups he wanted, and likewise to James. Best deal ever.
Total Cost: £2 for James and I
Jamie’s Italian Exeter
One of the last meals we had in Exeter was at Jamie’s Italian. I manage to get a voucher for £30 so James and I went out to get a proper meal. We did a lunch special where you got a small starter, a main and a dessert for £12 from a select menu. We ordered two lunch specials at £24 total. For my starter, I chose the pasta with a truffle sauce, and James selected calamari. For my main, I ordered another dish of pasta (surprise – I love carbs) and James got a burger. He was saddened by the portion size – we do love our American-sized burgers. For dessert, I got chocolate ice-cream, and James ordered a slice of cake. All in all the food was DELISH and I highly recommend trying them out! Sadly, I heard Jamie’s Italian was set to close in April of 2017.
Total Cost: £28.00 for James and I
Steaks N Sushi
Our last night in Exeter we went out to dinner with our friends. Surprisingly enough we did NOT end up at the Red Rose. We ended up at Steaks N Sushi, (a neighbor to Red Rose) for our last feast. Steaks N Sushi serves, as you guessed it, steak and sushi. Think of a hibachi type menu, without the hibachi style cooking. James and I ordered some sushi to share, and I ordered some form of a rice bowl with fried chicken in a curry sauce. It was uhmazing!! James ordered a spicy ramen bowl (not pictured). Both meals were amazing, and the staff were friendly.
Total Cost: £20.00 for James and I
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