Why You Should Eat At: Rub Smokehouse, Nottingham

I recently ventured over to Nottingham, and found myself eating at Rub Smokehouse. Having been once before, I was more than eager to sample their impressive menu again. I follow them on Facebook, and barely a day goes by that I am not made hungry by their photos of giant plates of delicious food.

In particular, their latest creation of “The Mexican Wall Pizza” had caught my eye. A giant pizza loaded with slider burgers, chicken wings, and shaved rib-eye steak, divided by a wall of nachos topped with cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. I shared this with two others, and we added on some sides of fries, rice and deep fried macaroni cheese.

These dishes are a fraction of the wonderful delights on offer at this restaurant, a truly marvellous place for making all your food related dreams come true!

We found this more than enough between the three of us, and had to rest before having dessert! Unfortunately, when we did order our desserts they took quite a while to arrive, and as we had plans after the meal we were forced to rush eating them. Even more unfortunate was that not one of us got what we ordered. I intended to have an Oreo Black Forest Croizzone (a cross between a croissant and calzone). One of my friends ordered the Reese’s Peanut Butter Croizzone, and the other ordered a Brownie Heaven Sausage Roll.

The first problem was that after waiting a while we were informed that they had ran out of the brownie sausage rolls. As we were pushed for time, we cancelled that dessert and shared the two between us. The second problem was that the other two desserts got mixed up and we ended up with the wrong fillings in our Croizzones. I’m sure if we had said something, the lovely people at Rub would have sorted it out, but by that time we were eager to pay the bill and head off. Despite the mix-up, the food was delicious from beginning to end.

The decor of the place is colourful and inviting, setting the scene of an American Diner. There’s plenty to look at, and seating-wise there was a choice of a booth or a table with plastic chairs, much like the ones I remember from my primary school dinner hall.

Having recently seen the Nugzilla Challenge (an attempt to eat a massive chicken nugget in under 10 minutes) added to their menu, I am more than tempted to pay them another visit soon…

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Why You Should Read: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

This review is on the brief side, as some of the things I wanted to say I enjoyed about these books are best left for you to find out for yourself. I’d hate to ruin the journey for you!

I first read this fantasy series as a teenager, and loved it. Having now reread it, I love it even more and have picked up on a lot of little things that went over my head the first time. The series spans over three books, focusing on Lyra, a young girl destined to play a big part in the fate of humanity. From the second book onwards, we also follow Will, of a similar age to Lyra and of likewise importance.

The overall story that develops is one that explores the idea of parallel universes and what might happen if doors between these worlds are opened and left open…

The main themes of His Dark Materials are the classic Good vs Evil, the innocence of childhood, and the difficulties of puberty and reaching adulthood. Heaven and Hell feature quite heavily in the second and third books, which make it apparent that Pullman was a John Milton fan. In a way, I’d say this trilogy is Pullman’s representation of a plausible modern sequel for Paradise Lost.

From beginning to end, these books gripped me with their unique ideas, such as a world where our souls live outside of our bodies and take the form of animals. They also contained a mix of familiar ideas, executed in a satisfyingly accurate way, such as the heartbreaking emotions induced by lost loved ones. Each character is unique, no matter how small a role they had, and each was real enough to find relatable in some way.

There’s a BBC TV show adaptation of the series in production, and another trilogy involving some of the same characters such Lyra, is due out soon (the first one should be out in October). If you’ve not already given them a read, then now is the time, and if you have already, then perhaps now is the time, like it was for myself, to revisit this magical series. The perfect way to relax and escape to another reality this summer!