Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Good Food Emporium...as I used to know it!

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As we travel through this life some people and indeed some places are bound to leave an indelible mark on our memories. Some of these people and places have since gone and some are still with us but have merely been transformed... And so I come to the subject of this little post, a place of many memories, which started out as a sandwich bar, an escape from school at lunchtime and has grown into so much more. A place which has seen friendships through many years, new relationships form and grow, and even a romance blossom! The Good Food Emporium and more recently Babettes has been a part of my life for over 17 years and I am sad to see it go, but where did my mini love affair begin?

Being able to leave school at lunchtime once we hit 6th form was a revelation, a dander up the town, a bite to eat and banter with friends away from the classroom or school canteen added to our growing sense of independence. Finding a worthy place to eat was essential and the little sandwich bar on the corner of the Square was quickly established as our place of choice. Not only did you get a delicious choice of filled rolls/sandwiches with quirky names but always a friendly face to serve you. Yule Roll Over, Chicken Tango, Sweet Dreams, Honey Monster and even the Munch Brunch, which no one I know remembers but me, were a few of my favourites.

As time passed, school days ended and university up the North Coast beckoned, but my third year saw a return home and a placement year in Newtownards. Many a lunchtime was spent with a Yule Roll Over catching up with old school friends, which incidentally led to me meeting my husband. On that fateful day I had arranged to meet a friend for lunch, she had double booked, I was late. This resulted in me arriving for lunch just as they finished, so my friend left to go back to work leaving me in the company of her other friend, (little did I know the significance the homemade chocolate cake I had with me that day would have!) the rest, as they say, is history! So for reasons other than a tasty lunch and friendly service, this place holds many good memories! Even in more recent years we would take the kids, just so we coud get a Royal Avenue Champ fix, and they would happily have a hot dog, with copious amounts of ketchup of course, and some crisps on the side!

I'm sure we all have memories of places such as I have described. I know I remember various eateries from my childhood which fill me with nostalgia: Roulstons Bakery in Ards Shopping Centre where you could watch the gravy rings pop out of their little machine, fry, then get coated in sugar, eaten there and then was absolute heaven: Dorothy's in Millisle for their ice cream sundaes: The Stables in Groomsport for their Crispy Nutty Chicken, to name a few. So the memories of these places stay with us, even memories from our childhood, but it is only when we get older that we perhaps get to know those who create the food and the atmosphere which makes the experience memorable, and so it has been with Jackie and her staff. I look back with fondness on the food Jackie created under The Good Food Emporium/Babettes and equally look forward to her new endeavour, wishing her every success! We will certainly be availing of whatever delights she will be creating this time around and enjoy making new memories.

Kathryn xxx




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