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Mid-week Markets and the Burger that Won (a journey to Caves House)

It has been many years since I travelled down to the iconic #CavesHouse and as I sit with a Pint of Pale Ale in my hand watching the sun go down I ask myself why it took so long to return. I remember spending #holidays here as a kid, exploring the endless perfectly manicured gardens and playing 20 cent games of Galaga on a supremely awesome arcade machine clearly designed to keep the kids occupied while Mum and Dad spend the day adulting. Ok, to be honest I spent the whole time playing arcade games because back then it was a novelty, unlike recent generations who take such technology for granted, Galaga was a game changer. My hard earned $5 of pocket money ( which I slaved for on the end of a rake a mower and a bucket of snails) would garner me hours of game time and allow the folks freedom to do... well whatever it is parents do when they don’t have children around. I suspect sleep, ‘cause I know that’s exactly what I would do. Great memories!

Wednesday night off and I’m desperately flicking through an extremely unhelpful WHATS ON app for the #southwest, that doesn’t exactly tell you what is on but provides a list of what’s around. Caves House pops up in my feed and I use my now cramped thumb to select the #venue, fingers crossed for something intriguing. Success!!! Every Wednesday night Twilight #Markets with live #music. Instantly my imagination takes me to very strange places. Stalls selling out of date Twilight movie memorabilia and some kind of poorly performed re-imagining of sad love struck vampires revived as a musical by the local theater company. Never fear, such things are buried deep within my subconscious and that is where they shall stay.

With anticipation and a little knot of excitement balling up in my stomach I hit the road with my lady love, classic rock and blues taking us on a musical journey to our destination. Before I know it we are walking down a stone carved staircase toward literally the happiest, most relaxed crowd of people I have seen in a long time.

Whatever it is they are serving here, I clearly need some of it and NOW! The sun is still hanging on the horizon not willing to give over to the night as yet. The main #bar pays homage to the buildings heritage roots all brick and timber. The staff are under the pump but like all well run, long established venues, keep a calm and chipper demeanor. In no time, with drink in hand and my lady securing us a table near the band, I move to place an order for an early #dinner. There is a delectable selection of fare on offer, from pasta, pizza, steaks and seafood and the one thing I always look for at any respectable tavern... The irrepressible Burger! Caves House offers a variety of #burger styles and my mouth is watering at the thought of biting into a well crafted Angus Beef patty with all the trimmings.

Precariously balancing cutlery, pints and side plates I take my seat as the band kick into a particularly good rendition of To Her Door. An acoustic duo, sporting shades and beards and some damn impressive guitars with the skills and voices to match keep the patrons entertained. While waiting for our food, the mood set with the onset of twilight I make the move to explore the markets and their wares on offer.

Generally speaking, when attending just a Sunday morning market somewhere it would take someone with greater fortitude than I not to open the wallet and splurge on the home-made knick-knacks and preserves on offer but when you mash those things with Beer, music and the setting sun, well let’s just say the stall operators were taking in a pretty penny this night. The markets were unobtrusive, setup toward the edge of the venue with views over beautifully manicured lawns, perfectly pruned hedges and majestic native trees. Everything from Jams and soaps to hand sculpted ornaments and jewelry is on offer. A relaxation tent offering specialized massage seemed to be in popular demand and while I desperately need a good massage (and I can tell it’s good from the look on people’s faces as they stumble out of the tent like they were made entirely from jelly) I also find myself pining for that burger and a good serving of lovingly fried cut potatoes.

Upon return to our table, the atmosphere is all laughter and good times while the #band plays (wait for it) Brittany Spears. And I can attest that any acoustic/rock duo with the fortitude to adapt a Brittany song into their repertoire and play it with such absolute conviction deserve as much adulation as an audience can muster. The burgers are here!!! Excuse me while I measure the circumference of my mouth to decide the appropriate amount of dislocation of my jaw required to bite into this behemoth. A true monster and while I see punters attacking this beauty with knife and fork I just can’t bring myself to dishonor a burger in such a way. Knowing full well that once I have it in hand there will be no putting the beast down, I roll up my sleeves and prepare for the onslaught of sauce that will inevitably drip and stain my favorite shirt.

This is how burgers should be!

The onion is perfectly caramelized, bacon slightly crispy and a touch smokey while the lettuce and tomato, provide a satisfactory crunch and freshness that cuts through the juicy deliciousness of the home-made beef patty. A simple combination of mayonnaise and American mustard keeps everything glued between the soft brioche buns and adds a little kick of garlic and spice. I would have preferred a BBQ or tomato salsa but that is by and by. The chips were well seasoned, nothing spectacular but by the time I finish this delightfully stacked meal in a bun I feel almost a little defeated, a scene from Monty Python running through my head of a comical waiter offering me just “one more sliver of meat” as he intently waits for me to explode.

A last look through the markets and then on my way back home, feeling relaxed, well fed and generally satisfied with life I remind myself not to wait so long before returning to this #iconic location. I look in my rear view mirror as Caves House disappears from sight and smile as I hang a small handcrafted dream catcher from the dashboard, a memento of a better Wednesday Evening and no matter how determined you might be, you will never leave a market empty handed.

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