I recently had my 5 year anniversary (where does the time go?!) and to celebrate we decided to head down South to the New Forest to play with the ponies. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect – I’ve been to Cornwall several times so I suppose I thought it might be similar. Oh how I was wrong.
The New Forest is unlike anywhere else I’ve been in the UK – at times secluded and heavily forested with sun dappled, windy roads, and at other times expansive with views of the countryside for miles. It was magical. But of course the best part of all were the ponies. I knew we’d see some, but I didn’t realize just how many. We must have seen over a hundred ponies while driving around – and many of them just grazing contentedly alongside the road. Bays, chestnuts, palominos…. I must have driven Andrew mad making him stop every time we saw a new group. I was in heaven. And we saw a pig!!! He was eating in the middle of the road and did not care to let us pass haha.
But anyway, enough of about the forest and ponies – let’s talk food! We booked a couple nights at the Hotel Terravina in the New Forest for our stay, which is a small, luxury boutique hotel with just 11 beautifully furnished rooms. They also have a restaurant on the ground floor, where we booked our anniversary dinner the first night. The food was incredible – check out my other post about the hotel for a full review.
On our second night in the New Forest we headed into Hythe for Thai food at Thai Corner. Although there were lots of tofu-optional dishes, most of the curries require you to order ahead the day before in order to make them vegan as they are made with fish paste. Because of this, I was already looking forward to our dishes – jungle curry and thai green curry. But first, the starters. We had vegetable tempura and fried tofu. Both were delicious, warm, perfectly cooked and nicely balanced with a sweet red chilli sauce and peanuts.
In addition to the two curries we pre-ordered, we also had a pad thai and jasmine rice to share between us. My jungle curry was definitely not what I expected – the veggies and tofu came out in a clear broth and looked more like soup. However, upon trying it, it was bursting with flavor and just as spicy as it says on the menu (just how I like it!). It was incredibly light yet very satisfying – and apparently is the most authentic Thai dish on the menu. Andrew’s green curry was also nicely flavored and again was more watery and soup-like than we’re used to, but it was still good. For me though the pad thai was my favorite. I love pad thai, it’s one of my ultimate comfort foods, and this was as good as any I’ve had in a restaurant. Again, no dessert for us after all that food, but it was really lovely of the server to come over and explain which desserts could be made vegan for us. That’s one thing I really liked about the restaurant – everyone was so friendly and really accommodating.
After two days in the New Forest we headed to Southampton to watch a Leicester City match, and on the way to the ground we stopped at The Art House Cafe for lunch, which is a vegetarian/vegan cafe that also hosts musicians, poets and local artists. It’s quite funky and alternative inside – which is right up my alley. It looked like it could be straight out of Portland or Tucson.
For my meal I ordered the chilli burrito. I wasn’t expecting much – for a start you would never put chilli in a burrito (I know, but I’m a snob being from Arizona), and secondly, no avocado. But I was hopeful. And boy was it tasty. OK, so it definitely wasn’t a burrito (more like a flatbread filled with chilli), but it was lovely. The chilli had great flavor, and the vegan sour cream and side of cheese complemented it perfectly. I also loved the big side salad that came with it. My only complaint would be that the chilli wasn’t hot when it came out (just room temperature). But that’s really just a minor complaint. Otherwise it was great. Andrew also enjoyed his meal which was a cheese and jalapeno melt.
In all I had a really great time in the New Forest and Southampton and was sad to leave!