Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Cielo Coffee House - Leeds City Centre

I wrote previously about the Cielo coffee house that is based in Garforth, they're a social enterprise which seeks to not only pump cash in to the local community but also the community in which they buy their coffee from.

They have a soft spot on my heart as they started life in my home town, helped keep the local library open and then moved to a bigger place and set up their own in-house micro roastery. They also keep the local teens in jobs too.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Blue Pig - Northern Quarter Manchester

Manchester, it’s a funny one. As a city it feels like we’re (Leeds) always comparing ourselves against that bigger northern city across the Pennines. When someone or something chooses us over ‘them’ we cheer our victories. Do they compare themselves against us?

I rarely go over to Manchester these days and when I do I'm usually going to see a gig. I always get excited when visiting other cities as it means I can do some research and (hopefully) find some really great places to eat. I struggle with Manchester every time. I think this is combined with the fact that I'm going to gigs, therefore I'm looking for casual dining and I just want something a little bit different than what I can find in Leeds. Manchester (I'm told) has an abundance of fine dining restaurants, but they don’t really suit when you’re dressed in jeans and a band t-shirt. It also has a lot of chains, they’re all over the main shopping districts and more often than not they’re the same chains that we have here in Leeds… I'm not going to venture over to Manchester to eat something I could eat at home.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Iberica - Leeds

It feels like everyone is talking about Iberica. There are pictures of their toilets flying all over the internet, granted they're pretty spectacular toilets but never before have I seen a place famed so much for its toilets (forgetting the sexist incident in Almost Famous...).

Iberica is situated on East Parade in Leeds city centre, in the financial and legal district of town. The owners have taken over Hepper House a grade II listed purpose built auction house that was in serious need of rejuvenation to make the most out of this beautiful building (see the before pictures here). 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Skyr Yoghurt - A taste of Iceland made in Yorkshire

Have I mentioned that I went on holiday to Iceland and absolutely loved it? Well the word seems to be getting out that I am fanatical about all things Iceland as I was contacted by Hesper Farm in Skipton to review their Iceland yogurt - Skyr.

So what is Skyr and why is different from regular yogurt? Well it is much thicker than regular yogurt, it is high in protein, contains less sugar, high in calcium and is naturally 0% fat. Win win if you're on a bikini diet (I'm not but I'm playing with the idea).

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Malton - Yorkshire's Food Destination

If you have a passionate for food you need to visit Malton.

North East of York it's not as far as you'd think, just a 50 minute train ride or an hour in the car from Leeds and you're transported in to the glorious Yorkshire countryside and in to the fantastic world of independent and artisan food producers.

This small town is a buzzing hive of foodie activity. No matter what time of year, month or day you go there is bound to be something happening in this tiny little Yorkshire town.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Takk Coffee House - Northern Quarter Manchester

It's been three months and I'm still hopelessly in love with Iceland, I just can't get over the heartbreak of leaving such a beautiful country when our holiday ended. When I heard some guys in Manchester where trying to bring Icelandic coffee culture to Manchester it became a sure fire hit on my to go list. 

Takk is a Nordic style coffee house. Nordic is in right now (if you didn't get them memo) so it might just look like another hipster coffeehouse to the naked eye or uneducated but look a little deeper and you'll find Nordic style espresso and an open working space typical of those in Reykjavik.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Leeds Indie Food Festival Returns in 2016 - My Top Picks

Following the success of last years' Leeds Indie Food Festival they return again in 2016 with more contributors, more events and more discounts for passport holders it would be a crime for any food lover not to get involved.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Simple and Cheap Midweek Meals - Chorizo and Kale Hash

Everyone wants something quick and easy to cook midweek, especially if you have a busy life after the working day ends too.

This is the first in a series of recipes I'll be posting that are quick, cheap and delicious (or at least I think they are!) once more have been posted you'll be able to find them by clicking on the label 'midweek meals' or if you've subscribed by email you will receive an email each time a new recipe is posted alongside my regular posts.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Buca Di Pizza (unlimited pizza and prosecco deal) - Wellington Street, Leeds

I'd heard and seen a few things about Buca Di Pizza on social media, it hasn't been massively over-hyped or yelled about too much and it hadn't made it on my 'places to go' list... until I was told about their £20 all you can eat Pizza and Prosecco deal, which catapulted it to the top of my eating agenda; a table was booked for three at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Veeno Wine Tasting - Leeds

Veeno is located on Duncan Street (the street running below Briggate) in Leeds. It has a rather unassuming frontage but inside there is delight to be found. Veeno serves Sicillian wines alongside authentic Italian spuntini (sharing platters). The wine served is specially selected from the founder's (or one of) family vineyard bringing the grape straight to your glass, in their words not mine. Intrigued by the family vineyard I've had a curious glance over some pictures and to me it looks like the Italian dream, fields of vines and white buildings casting shadows in the sunset. I can imagine sitting outside drinking away many a summer evening... perhaps why I shouldn't own my own vineyard.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

La Bottega Milanese - Bond Court, Leeds City Centre

I have visited Bottega countless times, their place in Bond Court more so than their place in The Light, mainly because it's the closest place to my work that sells decent coffee. You're surrounded by chain coffee shops in Leeds no matter where you go, in a 200 yard radius around where I work you will find two Caffe Neros, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Pret a Manager and various other places you can get substandard coffee from. I think you'll find this is the same in most cities and probably most towns too.

Since quick starting my coffee education at Laynes Espresso I now know why chain coffee tastes so crap, a combination of things namely poor beans, over roasting and a lack of attention to detail... and dare I say it, passion?

So what does Bottega do right that the chains are doing wrong?

Monday, 7 March 2016

Sunday Lunch at The Tetley - Leeds

I'm not sure why I keep doing this to myself, and by 'this' I mean going out for Sunday lunch when there is a perfectly good roast waiting at my dad's house for me every Sunday. I'm left feeling dissatisfied and a little robbed if I'm honest.

I'd heard mixed reviews about The Tetley but I was hoping that it was down to some sort of teething problems and they had the experience under their belt now to serve a decent meal. They have a great space to work with and hopefully provide some fantastic food, but unfortunately their concepts seem to be a bit too out there for general folk (me included - read on). We found ourselves in the general area and also rather hungry so we thought we'd give them a go and seen as it was Sunday put their roast to the test.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Piccolino - Ilkley, West Yorkshire

The last time I visited Piccolino was on a disastrous date in 2009, the guy turned up in a long leather jacket and pasty white vitamin B deficiency skin, I was almost certain he was a vampire. The meal was long and boring, I couldn't tell you what I ordered and when the bill came to £50 I gladly took up his offer of him paying (I was just fresh out of uni and debt laden after all).

Hop and skip a few years and I never revisited Piccolino, traveling and discovering a food scene in Leeds I never knew existed had shied me away from chains and a left me forgetting about long standing establishments. Piccolino was back on my radar after a sweet tweet from Carlotta the Sales and Events Manager at Piccolino Ilkley, they have a new roof terrace that they wanted me to see. Ilkley is a one of my favourite places to visit on a weekend, if I could afford a house there (that isn't a pokey flat) I'd happily settle there too. I love the moors and I love the quirky town centre, therefore I wasn't going to pass up the chance to for a relaxing Saturday lunch and stroll on the moors afterwards.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Prezzo - The Light, Leeds City Centre

Prezzo has over 200 restaurants but I’d honestly never heard of them (or perhaps noticed them) until they arrived in the Light. Prezzo lies at the bottom of the escalator that I use when exiting the gym, I’m usually ravishing and stare longingly at the pizza and pasta being eaten or advertised. I’m surprised I’ve held off visiting for so long.

As a food blogger you’re not exactly ‘praised’ for going to chain restaurants, they’re often seen as the enemy taking away the custom from the local independents, but I guess we forget that at one time they were probably a local independent too. Despite the ‘foodie’ (a term I use loosely) world frowning upon chains they are still very popular with regular folk, they offer a sense of security for most and not only this, people actually like their food (shock horror).