Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

Available on Amazon


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Retail Therapy. (Tea, Bags and Shoes, Thorpe End Norwich)

Tea, Bags and Shoes,
Thorpe End, Norwich,
Open Mon-Sat 10:00-16:00,
 Highly Recommended
With Ironman triathlon training currently taking up a lot of my time I was glad to be able to squeeze in a cafe cycle ride today. I had recently been contacted by one of Mrs Tea, Mrs Bags or Mrs Shoes suggesting I came out to visit their tearoom. Coincidently their establishment is not just a tearoom but sells ladies shoes and bags as well. I therefore foolishly invited Chris (Mrs Crusader) to be my cycling guest as I thought she would appreciate the bags and shoes more than me, with the inevitable consequence.

After the warm weather we have recently had we were both fooled by the sunny weather and therefore set off without the correct layering. This made for a chilly cycling experience, especially when the sun went in or we hit some roadside shade, and led to today's cycling guests cycling top tip.

Cycling guests cycling top tip No 26. To avoid freezing half to death on your cycle ride match your cycling apparel to the actual temperature and not the amount of sunshine.

The route went across Norwich and looped round by the broads until reaching Thorpe end where Tea, Bags and Shoes can be found. Adding to my guest's discomfort I had planned the cafe stop after about 30 of our 36 mile ride. So not only was she cold but after just a few miles there was much complaining about being hungry as well. As I am an excellent cycling host (and husband) I knew that we would be passing a shop at about the halfway mark, which would give a refuelling opportunity. Therefore when we arrived at Ranworth Broad I generously gave Chris a shiny one pound coin, from my cafe cycling pocket money allowance, so she could buy herself a chocolate bar. Expecting thanks for this kind deed I was somewhat taken aback when informed that this wasn't good enough. She suggested we stay longer and have an additional cafe stop at the Granary cafe which is part of the post office/shop/cafe Ranworth Broad marina complex.
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Ranworth Broad post office
forming part of the Ranworth Broad marina facilities
This was clearly not part of the detailed itinerary (with timings) I had laid out at the start of the ride and a stop here would throw the trip into utter chaos. I insisted that any such ludicrous idea needed to be quickly parked and that once the chocolate bar (Snickers) had been consumed that we set off again up the hill out of Ranworth, which we did. I assume the energy giving powers of the Snickers bar did not kick in for sometime as Chris didn't seem to have the energy to join in with my interesting conversational topics until we eventually arrived at Thorpe End and our cafe destination.
Outside Tea, Bags and Shoes which is both a tearoom and a shoe shop
Tea, Bags and Shoes is part of a set of shops set some way back from the main road at Thorpe End. You get to the tearoom part of the shop through the bag and shoe bit. I made it straight through but Chris managed to get distracted on route. The tearoom consists of a smallish room plus conservatory, as we were still rather cold I chose a cosy corner table.
Next I checked out the cake selection which was on a set of book shelves. There were 5 cakes plus some scones although it was hard to get a good look at the cakes as they were in Tupperware boxes. I awarded a middling effective cake selection (ECS) rating and choose a Victoria cake while Chris went for fruit scone. 
Cakes and scones
I'm always keen to have a cheese scone at every stop as it forms part of my continuing cheese scone serving temperature research. However there had just been a run on cheese scones so they were having to bake some more, which had just gone in the oven meaning I could have a really fresh one in a few minutes.

The drinks and cakes soon arrived and the hot chocolate and mocha drinks both looked promising as they were very dark which is normally a good sign of chocolatiness. They did not disappoint both scoring highly. The Victoria cake and fruit scone were nice as well but before I had time for in depth cake reviewing Chris had disappeared back into the shop like a magpie attracted to shiny things.
Drinks and cakes with nice dark Hot chocolate and mocha
Soon after I had finished my cake the cheese scones were ready. The table behind me got theirs first and admitted they had also had one from the original set. Mrs Tea, Mrs Bags or Mrs Shoe suggested they should compare the batches. "We could score them out of ten" they said. What a ridiculous idea I thought.

My cheese scone soon followed and was obviously warm as it was straight out of the oven, it was also very nice so I could now give an overall cake taste quality rating (CTQ), out of ten.

While all the cheese scone action had been going on Chris (Mrs Crusader) had tried some new shoes on as she had apparently discovered a gap in her current shoe collection that could be successfully filled with some new smart green boots. I obviously said they were very nice which was all the encouragement she needed. The next thing I knew she was demanding I hand over all my spare cafe cycle pocket money allowance, to make up the shortfall in the cash she had on her. I reluctantly handed it over knowing as one shoe gap is filled another one soon opens up. 
Chris (wife) about to rob me of my cafe cycle pocket money for an urgent shoe purchase
Tea, Bags and Shoes had scored well and gets a Highly Recommended. I suspect that it would score even higher for those who understand the Bags and Shoes part of the proposition. For a finishing touch they give me a loyalty card which I have added to the loyalty card photo library.

On the way back I once again tried to follow one of the Norwich Pedal-ways but went wrong somewhere and added an extra mile on to the route. This gave Chris more time to start planning the clothes she would need to go with the new shoes. Thank goodness I have so far not found a combined tearoom and ladies clothes shop.

Scores
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
8.5
8.0
6.0
7.00
6.5
7.20

Route
click here to down load 36 mile norwich south walsham loop gpx file for your gps

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