Thursday, 17 December 2015

Cooking on a shoestring - healthy, cheap and easy recipes




Victoria Gate, the new shopping complex due to open Spring 2016 in Leeds, is not exactly the sort of project I would tend to associate food banks and healthy living schemes. Their developers Hammerson however have backed a local Leeds project called Zest Health for Life, a project that offers support and opportunities for people in disadvantaged areas. One of the main aims of ZHfL is to reduce health inequalities, something that comes hand in hand with healthy eating and sadly these days' food banks.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Malmaison Champagne Afternoon Tea - Leeds City Centre



I am a big fan of afternoon tea, I always have been, what's not to love about cake, scones and tea? When the tearoom boom happened a couple of years ago I was writing about afternoon tea almost every other week, especially when I moved to Saltaire and tearooms appeared to be the main option on the dining scene. In recent times tearooms seem to be in decline and we've seen the closure of a few rooms of tea,  one of my favourites being The Marvellous Tearoom owned by The Marvellous Tea Dance Company (who by the way are still in the top 10 of most viewed posts on my blog, it seems a lot of us miss them.)

Monday, 7 December 2015

Ox Club - Headrow House, Leeds City Centre



The long awaited Ox Club in Headrow House has finally opened and it's everything you wanted it to be. From the guys that brought you the best burgers in town, the finest pizza slices and award winning steamed buns, the team from Belgrave present to Leeds their first restaurant.

Ox Club is a grill restaurant with small plates and big plans. The menu is separated in to your usually starters/nibbles, mains (larger plates from the grill), sides (smaller plates) and desserts. We were advised to order a few things from the grill to share and a couple of small plates too. This combination plus some nibbles and a dessert left us satisfied and not crying out in pain from stomach over-expansion, although this may be something that befalls us in the future now having had our first taste of what is on offer.

Hollywood Bowl - Cardigan Fields, Kirkstall, Leeds




It's probably unusual for a food blogger to review a bowling alley, they are not particularly famed for offering the highest of good to gobble produce. The offerings are more often than not lacklustre, greasy, cooked up by spotty teenagers who (let's be honest) don't give a flying f**k about the food or the job that their doing they just want their cash at the end of the day to whirl back in to the company as they try and get the highest score on their favourite arcade game. I think I have even frequented a bowling alley where the food offering was a Wimpy. A Wimpy, do they still even exist? The connotations of eating in a alley aren't great either with the drifting smell of sweaty feet from the overused bowling shoes and powdered substances floating in the air as they try and dispel the smells from the shoes, an asthmatics nightmare.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Cat's Pyjamas - Headingley, Leeds




The owner of White's Deli, a former research company owner, has taken on their second venture in to the food scene in Headingley with The Cat's Pyjamas. Alison, the owner, prior to White's Deli had never owned or ran a cafe but her  bounding success and her new found passionate for the food and catering scene has led her to take on something a little more challenging, an Indian street food and craft ale joint.

The words 'Indian street food and craft ale' conjure up one place in most Leodians minds, Bundobust, their popularity and just generally being adored by all in Leeds means that The Cat's Pjs are rather unfortunately going to have to live with everyone comparing them against each other.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Pieminister Revisted

I've been raving about Pieminister since they opened, directing people who are looking for a hearty meal their way. Heck I've even bought their pies from Waitrose. I revisit a lot of places and it's usually because something bad has happened or because so much as has changed since I last wrote about them last, or both. I guess you could say this falls in to the latter category.

Friday, 4 December 2015

MeatLiquor the Christmas Special



Most of the burger joints in Leeds have had their Santa thinking hat on for the last month in preparation for their own versions of the Christmas Burger. This year Meatliquor have also jumped on the bandwagon and gone all out with a full Christmas menu which they're calling the XXXmas menu, because as we know all know by now, Meatliquor don't do things in halves.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Sunday Lunch at The Deer Park - Roundhay, Leeds



One of my favourite things in life is Sunday dinner.  I'm pretty sure I can be quoted on saying, on more than one occasion, that my last supper of choice would be a Sunday dinner. I was pretty much brought up on a roast dinners as a child, and as a child, roast dinners weren't just for Sundays. I remember friends coming round for tea after school and being in awe that they were being fed a roast dinner mid week. I wasn't aware at that point that people save this special meal just for Sundays.

At the tender age of 18 when I was forced to live on my own (went to uni) the only meal I could cook (well) was a roast dinner, albeit my Yorkshire Puddings needed some work and I all but gave up during my uni years resorting to (warning some may find the next few words may be offensive) Aunt Bessie's frozen Yorkshire pudding batter in tiny tins. Although I'm still working on my Yorkshire Puddings the frozen batter is but a long and distant memory.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Square and Compass - North Rigton, Harrogate (Parish of) LS17


The Square and Compass has been around longer than I would have thought had I of thought about it, with its clean decor and modern branding it's far from the old traditional Yorkshire pub. The Square and Compass was a regular haunt of D's parents when they were younger and their fondness for the place was stretched so far in that they held their wedding reception there 30 odd years ago. I'm almost certain it has changed hands a few times over the years. Currently however The Square and Compass is owned by Malvern Inns and in addition to this they also own The George at Blackwell in Bristol.

The Square and Compass has a Leeds postcode but lies on the edge of Harrogate in a small village called North Rigton which is included in the Parish of Harrogate.  

We'd had a recommendation from a friend that The Square and Compass did a great Sunday Roast, after a walk around Swinsty reservoir we'd decided it was a more than apt time to check them out for ourselves. 

We arrived around 3pm this particular Sunday afternoon, more restaurant than pub the place was packed to the rafters and when we were asked if we had made a booking I was starting to get a little nervous that we would be turned away. Luckily there was room to squeeze two on a small table beside the bar. 

The choice of roasts include chicken, pork, lamb, beef and a trio of meats. For something a bit different they also offer a fish dish or vegetarian options such as bean Wellington and aubergine gratin. 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Caffeine & Co, Leeds Dock


This establishment has now closed. 

Leeds Dock, previously known as Clarence dock and informally known as the Royal Armouries place. For those who don't know, Leeds Dock is slightly out of the city centre it's a nice peaceful place with canal boats moored and the Royal Armouries dominating the horizon. Due to its location it has seen a number of failed attempts to rejuvenate and attract people to the area. Fashion retailers haven't fared too well and have fled the scene; casinos haven't had much luck either. What are left amongst the empty units are Pizza Express, Tesco, Mumtaz and a little(ish) coffee shop call Caffeine & Co.

Caffeine & Co started life in Manchester with the aim of delivering specialist coffee and flawless food from their bakery and kitchens. They're incredibly humble but massively passionate about what they do.

"We think we serve classic third wave coffee, always trying to extract the maximum sweetness from the shot and mixing with perfectly micro-foamed milk to capture distinct notes of caramel and chocolate. " Caffeine & Co, website 2015.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Bundobust leaves you fit to burst with their new menu


Blue Monday's are a thing of the past when Bundobust are around, better still they are completely banished on Monday's when they launch a new menu!

With 5 new items to try I was delighted to be invited by Bundobust to give them a try. So what's new?


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Railway Inn - Rodley, Leeds


The Railway Inn is a pub that pays homage to the old railway which used to be situated at this cross roads between Rodley and Calverley, if what I read is correct the railway opened in 1846 but then sadly closed in 1965. Throughout its years it was known interchangeably as Rodley Station and Calverley and Rodley Station.

The railway line spanned from Leeds Wellington Street Station and ran through Kirkstall, to Rodley, to Apperley Bridge and Rawdon, and terminating in Bradford. With the congestion along Leeds road from Shipley and on Kirkstall Road on the way into Leeds I think there are a fair few people in Leeds that long for this railway to be reopened again. Tales of 2 hour commutes in 9 miles of road traffic is beyond absurd. 

Monday, 26 October 2015

Boss Burgers - Chapel Allerton, Leeds



Boss Burgers has been on my food-radar for a little while. Their original joint in Hyde Park had caused quite a stir, not only with students, as I've seen it appear on lists of the best burgers in Leeds and tweets appearing in my timeline with some absolutely stunning pictures of the burgers they have to offer. When I found out that they were expanding and opening up in Chapel Allerton I was excited to give them a try.

Feeling lazy after a week at work we decided to head down one Friday evening arriving around 6.30pm. Parking isn't great in Chapel Allerton and we ended up in Lidl's car park, although this was at risk of clamping so I wouldn't recommend it, there is another car park behind co-op further up the road it's a bit of walk but it will avoid clamps and fines.

Boss Burgers' place in Chapel A is relatively small, seating at most 15-20 people. When we arrived I was worried we might not get a table and was starting to wonder if they took bookings, fear not however as there was a table just vacated in the corner.

BB sells pulled real ale, tick. D and I ordered a pint and a half of Saltaire Pale Ale, one of my favourites having lived next door to the brewery for 18 months and I believe the true introducer to my love of beer.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Brasserie Blanc - Leeds City Centre



Did you know there was a Raymond Blanc restaurant in Leeds?

No neither did I.

Hidden away, almost from sight, on the banks of the river Aire in an old mill on Sovereign Street sits Brasserie Blanc. It's sat there for 8 years.

Once again I begin to think of the city's preoccupation with all that is new and trendy, with places of old being forgotten. Granted BB is not as old as Bibi's, Salvo's and the Olive Tree but it's definitely being overlooked.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Homage 2 Fromage - Leeds' First Cheese Cafe


You've gotta brie kidding me there is a cheese cafe in Leeds? I'm gonna lose my rind!
 
The people who thought of a monthly cheese club and put it in to action are geniuses. The people who thought up and implemented the idea of a cheese cafe deserves a noble prize, or the cheese equivalent at least.

Homage 2 Fromage, for those who are not aware already (where have you been!), is a cheese club that was founded four years ago in Leeds. I have watched with eager eyes their club blossom and grow on Twitter with it now expanding to Sheffield, Manchester and Bradford too.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Bill's - Leeds City Centre



I am not the chain restaurant's biggest fan. There is a time and place for them in my life but Friday night is not usually one of those times. However, when Bill's asked me to pay them a visit I accepted. Why? For the simple reason that I had never heard of them before and I was intrigued. A quick scout of their website tells me they have quite a few joints dotted around the country, I've clearly been walking around with my eyes closed, that or I don't visit that there London quite as much as I should. 

Bill's started life as a green grocers, which met its fate with mother nature when it was flooded. They opened a new shop but bolted on a cafe, it then became just a little bit popular and now they have 70 plus restaurants. Their USP is simple, honest great food and making sure everyone is treated like an individual. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Nourish - Leeds City Centre




I really really like the concept of Nourish. I really really like the guy behind it. There is a but, but (not that one) you'll have to wait for it. 

Nourish started life in Sheffield in 2013 and has since moved to the better side of Yorkshire (wink wink) with it's first place opening in Leeds a couple of months ago. Dave Stache runs the joint, he's a nutritionist by profession but is passionate about the food market and getting good food in to the mouths of the people of Yorkshire. 

There's so much thought and effort going in to the meals, with local suppliers on hand where possible and ethically sourced ingredients. The meals themselves are packed with the most nutrients possible and (as quoted by Nourish) "no calorie is wasted". 

There are a lot of places opening in Leeds that are focusing on lad food, overindulgence and general American overloaded junk food. To see a healthy based option open in Leeds was quite novel. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Did you know Mojo's do food as well as rum?


No neither did I until their lovely PR team welcomed me and a few others to try out their wares.

This isn't gourmet dining. This isn't the next Michelin star restaurant.

It's dirty guilt food, the food that you eat after a few rums, the food that you eat when you're feeling rough and ready for hair of the dog, the food you eat when the diet has gone out the window and you just want some food loving.

I bloody love a dirty burger.

Here's a few things they have on the menu:

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Great Victoria Hotel - Bradford



The Great Victoria Hotel is often overlooked by those who stream in and out Bradford each day. If only commuters and visitors looked up from their busy worlds for a second they would see this great historic building before them. In 1867 The Great Victoria Hotel came to life during Bradford's growth spurt which saw the tiny town grow in to a city, with the industrial revolution in tow. It was also around the same time that Sir Titus Salt was building his model village not so far away in Saltaire.

The Great Victoria Hotel is situated next to Bradford Interchange which makes it a top spot for people to stay who are spending the night, either for business or for pleasure and want something more than your run of the mill Premier Inn.

Pizzeria Nono - Porec, Croatia


On our last night in Croatia we decided to end things how we started it, with pizza. 

Pizzeria Nono is also voted the number one place to go by the blog we were avidly living by whilst in Croatia, if you've read any of the other posts in this Croatian series you'll know that blog is Frank About Croatia. 

Popular with the locals, it also doesn't fair to bad on trip adviser either. When we arrived just after the sunset, say 7.30pm the place was bustling and there was no way we were getting a seat outside. As we stepped inside I worried that we wouldn't get a seat inside either, however deceptively spacious we were shown through to a room towards the back of the restaurant. 

Menus were handed to us and before we could even glance at them we were asked what we would like to drink, I ordered a wine and D a Sprite. 

The choice of pizzas was good but not overpowering, and I found the pizza I was going to have almost straight away. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Sv. Nikola Restaurant - Porec, Croatia

Our second to last night in Porec and we were ready to splash the cash, we had managed to have quite a bit left over not expecting food and petrol prices to be so very low in Croatia. We decided to dine at San Nikola as it was described on Frank About Croatia's blog as the closest to fine dining you would get in Porec. We had also had a glance at the menu the previous night before settled down to eat next door at Divino.

We were greeted by a very friendly waitress who served us for most of the evening, she was always gracious and said please frequently, especially when giving us something such as more wine or our orders. 

We ordered a bottle of wine, a Pinot Grigio, which was kept on ice away from our table and served to us frequently throughout the meal. A nice touch which kept our wine chilled too, the only downfall was that we had no idea how much of it we were drinking! 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Safari Bar - Rt Kamenjak, Croatia


We had seen a lot of pictures on Pinterest of idyllic beaches and paradise coves, of underwater caves and big blue seas.We'd seen a lot of pretty amazing things in Croatia, but we wanted to see this. Pinterest was pointing us toward Kamenjak National Park just south of Pula.

Kamenjak is Istria's most southern point, it is protected and you have to pay to spend the day there with opening and closing times, not your ordinary part of the country. The fee to enter (which can be reduced if you buy a season ticket) is cheaper than some of the car parking fees I've come across in the UK's national parks, I'm looking at you Lake District. I didn't feel disgruntled by the fee as I knew that the fee was being used to maintain the national park, plus it was only 30 kuna, about 3 quid.

Divino - Porec, Croatia



The second restaurant that was recommended to me via my Facebook page was Barilla, I searched Google only to find that it had sadly closed. Whilst looking through the list Frank About Croatia had compiled of the top places to eat in Croatia I noticed that Divino was the new joint for the owners of Barilla, bingo. Diving is Described as more upmarket than the owners previous place and it is situated on the harbour front, therefore it was always going to be of a higher standard (and price) of the restaurants down the side streets of downtown Porec.

Divino is situated to San Nikola another restaurant which has already made its name on the harbour. The night we visited San Nikola was busier than Divino not that this mattered much as we planned to take a trip next door the following night. It did make us wonder why it was busier and we pondered whether tourists are drawn to restaurants that are more busy in the hope that they are better, or perhaps it was simply filled with those who had been and loved it before.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Sarajevo Restaurant - Porec, Croatia



I received a couple of recommendations  part way through the holiday, via Facebook, from a past work colleague who's homeland is Croatia. Not one to pass up a recommendation and insider knowledge we acted on the recommendation that night, which brought us to Sarajevo Restaurant.

We stumbled upon it by accident once we had pretty much given up looking for it by turning down a street and, "oh there it is". The entrance from the main parade had a large picture board outside, so it would have been somewhere normally overlooked by us and dubbed as a tourist trap. I'm not sure how well these boards work in getting people in to restaurants, it makes me avoid them, it's so tacky and typical of most tourist destinations. Synonymous with bad food. Lose the boards guys.(Unless you're selling crap food, then keep the boards so I avoid you).

Reviews on the internet had suggested it was a good place to go, family run and friendly.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Hotel Piran - Piran, Slovenia


One rather blustery Monday in Croatia we struggled for ideas of what to do and where to visit. A beach day would have left us running along the coast trying to retrieve our belongings and it felt too hot to go exploring in caves (we were saving that trip for a rainy day). The solution we found was to jump in our rental car and take a trip across the boarder to Slovenia.

We drove to Piran, also part of Istria, which is famed to be one of the most photographed parts of Slovenia. Perfect for a day trip. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Konoba Daniela - Veleniki (Porec), Croatia


Let's be honest we weren't having much luck with restaurants in Croatia, it was starting to get frustrating, so we decided to take some advice and head out of town.

There are two restaurants named on Frank About Croatia's blog that are a short drive out of Porec, they are apparently much better than a lot of the places you'll find around the coast or in the old town. The major disadvantage of this being that D would need to drive and we were also warned that Croatia has a zero tolerance for drinking and driving so he couldn't even have a shandy. 

We chose Konoba Daniela for no other reason than it looked the best on Frank's blog. 

The drive out of Porec is a short one taking approximately 10-15 minutes which takes you in to the small town/village of Veleniki, where it quickly becomes clear everyone is there for this one restaurant. We struggled to find parking and this worried us, would be able to get a table without a booking? With the car safely(ish) parked down the road we wandered in. We approached a waiter apprehensively waiting for the abrupt 'no' that we were becoming accustomed to whenever we asked anyone anything in Croatia, and enquired about a table. He replied "of course" and we were promptly shown to a table on the decking outside.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Face Food - Pula, Croatia



This place was horrendous.

I don't even know what we were thinking.

Why would we choose to eat somewhere with Facebook branding calling itself Facefood.

Idiots.

I guess we were just tired of wandering around all the time trying to find the best place to eat, the best place in town.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Hrast - Porec, Croatia



Day 7 in Croatia and we went out in Porec in the evening on a mission. I had seen a restaurant that looked good and had briefly seen it referenced on a website. We circled the streets of old town a few times before we found it...

When we found it? The entirety of the menu was fish. With our experiences in fish eating still at the beginners stages (think white fish and tuna) we drifted away.

We didn't get far until we stumbled across the number 1 restaurant on Trip Adviser. Konobo Aba. We wandered in, no one approached us, everyone seemed to be staring at us. I felt self conscious and nudged D forward to enquire about a table. The response from the waiter 'No'. Brilliant. There was a bit of a language barrier and a lot of 'No' from the waiter until we sulked away. Never to return I might add.

As we returned to the cobbled streets I remembered the name of restaurant I had seen on Frank About Croatia's blog - Hrast. We just needed to find it.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Artha (Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant) - Porec, Croatia



Following our unsuccessful first night where we failed to find a non-tourist trap place to eat I carried out a little research before next heading out in to Porec for dinner. Personal blogs were not getting me very far and so I turned to Trip Adviser.

*Warning trip adviser rant follows*

Trip Adviser isn't a medium I normally use to find referrals on places to dine, as I tend to think most people that leave a review  on this site are doing so out of spite having had a bad experience. Thus making its reviews slightly biased, I also tend to find that the number 1 restaurants aren't always the best in town, but instead a place that is new and only has a few reviews and most of them positive, which isn't a bad thing when you're looking for somewhere new to eat in your home city but not so great when you're just visiting and looking for those hidden gems and long-standing local favourites. There are a lot of positive reviews on Trip Adviser, I don't deny this, but one bad review can (and has) put me off places. It's the Trip Adviser curse.

Enough of the Trip Adviser rant, I didn't opt for the number 1 restaurant as rated by users but instead number 4 or 5. A vegetarian and vegan restaurant in a country that apparently loves it's meat and seafood seemed like an interesting option and there were some inviting visitor pictures uploaded to boot.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Montona Gallery - Motovun, Croatia


Day Three in Croatia.

We decided to head out of base camp, Porec, away from coast inland to the hills on the third day of our holiday. Motovun (Montona in Italian, Istria is officially bilingual) was pinned to my 'Croatia board' on Pinterest.  A tool I love to use for generating and finding places to visit, as well as food inspiration, outfit ideas, home decor and more. D and I had been pinning points of interests for months, we saw the pin of Motovun the day before and decided that was the place we wanted to make our first road trip, it was relatively close by about a 40 minute drive away from Porec. 

To give you some background on Motovun, it is a village that lies on top of a hill 270 metres above sea level. Motovun is a medieval town, however it was established upon the another city, the ancient city of Kastelijer. In the 13th century it was controlled by Venice and a third of the village still speak Italian as their first language today. A high solid wall surrounds Motovun that was built by the Venetians, and it was used a defence against invaders. The towers and walls in combination with the high altitude it gave the people of Motovun an advantage on their enemies who they could see coming long before they would arrive at the town walls. The walls are still intact today providing a pleasant walk in which you can soak in the beauty around you. We were surprised to see that cars made it up the hill and drove along parts of the wall too, although you had to watch your toes when they came past. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Marconi - Porec, Croatia



Day one of our Croatian adventure and we arrived in Porec around 12pm, having been awake since 3am we promptly napped as soon as we got in to our apartment. We awoke a few hours later hungry and ready to explore our local area.

After stopping by the supermarket (Konzum) to grab some essentials and breakfast for the morning we headed out in to Porec old town. 

We timed it perfectly by accident, as we walked towards the Roman streets and harbour the sun was beginning to set, giving us our first glimpse of how beautiful Croatia is. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Zed Bar has a new look - Kith and Kin


Zed Bar (by Arc Inspirations) in Chapel Allerton has been a firm favourite for bar drinkers for some years, rarely do you ever hear anyone raving about the food there. Rarely do you hear of people remembering the whole night there.

It was well overdue a make over.

Kith and Kin as it is now known, has gone with an on-trend potting shed theme, with cutesy crockery and local produce and suppliers to boot.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Rarely do you get a bar menu as good as this - Rare, Leeds



Admittedly before writing this post I had never been to Rare before. It has been at the top of my hit-list for some time. The reason I haven't been? It's one of those meals that needs to be saved for a special occasion. Why? For me, if I'm honest it's the price. The average meal at Rare will set you back £65-100 for two people, if you're steady on the booze.

Rare invited me to try their new bar menu, a more affordable option (that means you can visit them more than once a month), without scrimping on the quality and in a more informal casual setting (not that they're a fine dining restaurant but a bar menu is much more relaxed than sat eating a three course meal).

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Jamaica Rum Tings - Belgrave Music Hall



This event has already been and gone but because I had such a good time I wanted to share my experience with you all.

However, they are also on tour and will be popping up in London over the bank holiday if any of you are gracing our capital with your presence that weekend, or failing that if you're planning on heading to the Merrion Street festival they'll be a Mojo's with offerings of BBQ jerk chicken.

Plans for next year are certain but if they come up to Leeds again you'll be a fool to miss them.

The event was Jamaica Rum Tings sponsored by Wray & Nephew Rum, it ran at Belgrave Music Hall on 22nd August and involved rum (yay!), Caribbean food (yay!) and Reggae music (yay!). Perfect combination for a night out in Leeds.

Grassington House and Hotel (Bar and Terrace Menu) - Grassington, The Yorkshire Dales



When the sun comes out in England everybody dons on their summer wear and heads out in to bask in its rays. Last Sunday was no different, despite it being predicted to rain from 6pm (and boy did it rain) hence the quick race out to somewhere pleasant to enjoy it. We're running out of 'new ' places to explore but having passed Grassington on the way to other Dales delights we decided to take a drive up and explore a little. 

Grassington is a small village in the southern part of the dales just slightly North East of Malham. It's often used as base for walkers and you'll find numerous B&Bs and eating establishments in the main square. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

That's Amore - Meanwood, Leeds


In Napoli where love is king, when boy meets girl here's what they say...

When the moon hits your eye it's a like a big pizza pie, that's amore.

That's Amore is a new (ish) pizza and espresso bar on the divide of Chapel Allerton and Meanwood, I struggled to pinpoint it's exact geographic definition in terms of Leeds suburb so I am relying on local knowledge that it is in fact in Meanwood. It is most definitely not in Napoli.

That's Amore, or in complete English, that's love. Was it love? Well the boy didn't meet this girl in there, we travelled together in his car and he deliberated where to park it. Parked it. Then left whilst we waited for our pizza's to drive around the block and park it in the same place again. Not quite how the lyrics of Dean Martin's song goes but I guess he lived in a world which was much more romantic than modern Leeds and didn't have a car crazed lover.

Did the moon hit my eye like a big a pizza pie?

Saturday, 8 August 2015

LS6 Cafe a.ka. The Clock Cafe - Hyde Park, Leeds





One rainy day in July D and I found ourselves in Hyde park after a day of junk shop routing and vintage hunting. We were headed for Retro Boutique however our bellies were rumbling so we decided a spot of lunch was needed first. I poked my head in to an old favourite, Cafetiere, it looks exactly the same as when I was a student and when I first blogged about it and I felt that it was starting to look a bit tired and it really wasn't inspiring me to eat in there. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Le Creuset Cheese and Wine Collection and a guest appearance from Friends of Ham



Le Creuset invited me and some fellow bloggers (and D) to view first hand their cheese and wine collection in their Leeds store located in the Victoria Quarter. Le Creuset are lesser known for their wine products but are fast gaining popularity in the culinary world. Following the demonstrations I could definitely see why and it's fair to say I've added a few more items to my wish list.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Coffee Chronicles #3 - Barista Training at Laynes Espresso and Tassimo by Bosch Coffee Maker


This post is in association with Argos

Last weekend I attended a Barista training course at Laynes Espresso to learn a little more about coffee. Learnt the basics such as where coffee comes from, the different varieties, how to make good cup of coffee and how to look after your coffee machine. This was not an exclusive course that only ran last weekend and only available to a select few, in fact Laynes offer a range of training to all who are interested, such course include: barista training (that I attended), latte art training, coffee at home training (next on my list) and commercial training.

The sessions are run in small numbers, with only 3 in my class (including me) and lasts around 2 to 3 hours. There's discount to be had if two of you are booking on the class so grab a coffee enthusiastic friend and sign yourselves up.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Coffee Chronicles #2 : Casa Espresso


The second in a series of posts about my journey in to the world of coffee...

I was contact by Casa Espresso around the same time I bought my Bialetti stove top coffee maker. They have recently expanded their business and they ever so kindly sent me a sample of their beans to try. 

It's almost like these guys are mind readers!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Coffee Chronicles #1 : Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker



Having now found my deep hidden love for coffee I've started to crave it's dark delicious tones more and more. This poses many problems for me, namely:

a) drinking coffee past 3pm means I won't sleep until the early hours

b) spending £2.40 a day on coffee, or more if the day requires it, is not financially justifiable right now in my life.

c) the nearest coffee place to my home (at present) is Starbucks (no longer a fan)

d) I can't afford to spend hundreds of pounds on an amazing coffee machine and grinder to provide myself with artisan coffee at home

Dotty's Vintage Tea Room - Staithes, North Yorkshire



Staithes is a small fishing village approximately a 22 minute drive from Whitby, according to Google maps, and if you don't get stuck behind a tractor on the way.

An early check out from our B&B meant that we arrived at Staithes fairly early (for us) at around 10.30am. We wandered down through the village and awed at the cute streets, Captain Cooks house and walked along the shore and harbour taking it all in. After a rather steep incline climb to take the picture above it was time to see what the cafes and eateries of Staithes had to offer.

We'd eaten fish and chips the previous night at The Magpie, and we were going back home to Leeds to celebrate a birthday in Meat Liquor, therefore we needed something small to tie us over until the evening.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Magpie Cafe - Whitby


Most people in Yorkshire, especially those who have visited Whitby will tell you that the best place to get fish and chips in Whitby, or even on the whole East Yorkshire coast is The Magpie. Long queues are associated with both its restaurant and takeaway and it has become somewhat of a Yorkshire coast landmark, it has afterall been serving fish and chips since 1937. With celebrity chef accolades  (Rick Stein has sung its praises, remarking that I opened his eyes to how good a chip can really be) it's one of the most, if no the most, popular places to go in Whitby.

As mentioned in my previous post we opted to have fish and chips (because you can't go to the seaside and not have fish and chips) for our evening meal. Too many times have we indulged during the day, perching on walls or sand, to only feel lethargic and tired afterwards, not great when you're wanting to explore the area a bit more... and perhaps have an ice cream too.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Rusty Shears - Whitby


I first heard about Rusty Shears a few months ago from another blog (I can't remember which!). I can find no website of theirs and their Twitter account is barely used, leaving them to be a bit of a mystery really. 

After a long drive to Whitby we needed food, the obvious choice would have been fish and chips but not wanting to feel lethargic for the rest of the day we decided to save them for later in the evening. A thought suddenly struck me as we got to our B&B room that there was a place somewhere in Whitby that I was keen to try, only I couldn't remember the name. I frantically searched through my Twitter followings I found them. A quick look of their location on Google maps and we were on our way. 

Rusty Shears is away from the main strip, and even away from the street that lies just off the main strip, on a street called 'Silver Street', a street that the sat nav had tried to take us down only minutes before whilst it directed us to a back ally rather than our hotel. A street with not a lot going on. I was intrigued. I was further intrigued when I could hear a blues music drifting down the street. As we followed the signs for Rusty Shears and walked in to a courtyard I was delighted to find the band. 


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Ira B's - Roundhay, Leeds



Ira B's has been ranked the best restaurant on TripAdvisor for some time now, therefore it is almost shameful that I haven't paid them a visit seen as it's only a ten minute walk from my home. To achieve number one ranking out of the 1,392 restaurants that are listed on TripAdvisor for Leeds and remain there for quite some time is some mean feat. In addition to this they've only received one 'terrible' ranking and zero 'poor' rankings. They must be doing something right, or they have one massive fan club who are blasting TripAdvisor with reviews.  

Most people know that TripAdvisor stats need to be taken with a pinch of salt, a disgruntled person is more likely to write a review to vent their frustrations than a happy customer, so enough about them... Ira B's describe them selves as a 'snack bar', not a cafe and not a restaurant. They serve classic Jewish food with a 'slightly bonkers mood'. They are situated deep in suburbia on the edge of Roundhay and Moortown within a parade of shops. Not exactly the place you'd expect to find the best eatery in town. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Craft and Dough - Sheffield


I can see you looking at the picture above and thinking "What the hell is on that pizza? Wait. Are those crisps? No wait. Are those... FRAZZLES? "

If this is what you are thinking you are 100% correct. Gold star to you.

This pizza is called the 'Piggy Smalls' and is currently available in Craft and Dough in Sheffield's student quarter.

Craft and Dough are an artisan pizzeria and craft beer house, hence the name. So popular their reputation has even drifted as far as West Yorkshire to my little ears (or eyes as I've noticed their popularity from instagram and twitter).

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Cielo - Garforth, Leeds

Whenever I return back to the town that I grew up in I always gasp at the things that have changed. It's silly really, it's as if I expect everything to remain the same and as I last left it. You can therefore imagine my surprise when the former HSBC bank that had been in garforth since before I can remember suddenly changed in to a coffee house and cafe.

Garforth is the type of place where charity shops take up the main shopping monopoly, alongside them are travel agents, bakeries, a butchers, a grocers, a Greggs, a greasy spoon and a few mini markets fighting for the footfalls. It's not the kind of place I'd expect to find great coffee. Or it never was before Cielo opened. 

Cielo started life as 'Baraka' in a much smaller shop, I think it may have been an old clothes shop (think granny wear) or building society. They were very popular, and a breath of fresh air from the greasy-spoon cafe filter coffee. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Murgatroyds - Yeadon, Leeds



Yesterday I found a time portal to the 1990s.

Or perhaps the seaside. 

Upon the tables were cups and saucers pre-laid out, the tables were cast iron with plastic tops. The chairs looked like the sort you found in Burger King or the local 'caff'. Above our heads were ceiling fan lights and stained glass lamp shades. There was a pensioner menu, soft drinks were served by the pint or half, there were coke floats and slush puppies. I felt like I had returned to a childhood holiday in Skegness (we weren't rich enough to go abroad when I was a kid, it was all penny arcades and piers rather than henna tattoos and hair braids for me). 

Ah fish and chips, you don't seem to get many fish and chips restaurants beyond the coast these days, or none that have caught my attention at least. 

I'd say about 90% of the customers on this Tuesday evening were over the age of 70. Which would explain the pensioners menu. Clearly fish and chips is the dining-out choice of the elderly, either that or there is a disproportionate amount of retired people in Yeadon. 

I was fascinated by this place. I've become so accustomed to 'reclaimed' spaces, filament bulbs and schooners I'd forgotten what existed long before. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

La Petite - Roundhay, Leeds


One rather pleasant afternoon I decided to head out of my front door in search of coffee and pew outside. The most obvious choice for coffee in Roundhay is Starbucks, however this wasn't suitable on two accounts. 

a) there is no where to sit outside

b) I don't like their coffee 

Strolling down Street Lane I noticed that La Petite had a few seats and tables outside, I'd heard second hand from another that they do good coffee so I sauntered over. I stepped inside and pondered over the menu on the wall, I was soon approached and asked if I would like to take a seat, replying yes they advised they would bring a menu over to me. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

My Week in Food - The Highlights #1


To mix the blog up a bit I thought I'd try a bit of a round up sort post, sometimes individual places or dishes don't really warrant a full blog post but I like to share/document them nevertheless. Rather than doing a series of short posts, like 'Look I made hummus (successfully) for the first time!' I've decided to wrap it all up in one finger scrolling post.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Brazilian Feast


Whenever I go to friends' houses for dinner they always joke and laugh "Are you going to review me, is it going to appear on your blog". I'm sure fellow food bloggers can sympathise. I always say "no of course not" and just sit back and enjoy the meal. It's kind of refreshing not to have to think about the best angle to take a photo or think of what you might write about it later.

HOWEVER, I have made an exception to the rule to showcase to you the Brazilian feast I experienced at a dear friends house last weekend.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

El Bareto - Chapel Allerton, Leeds



El Bareto has been on my wish list for years and long before I moved to North Leeds. It came in to my consciousness due to a blog that is no longer available to view.

I briefly mentioned in one of my Brussels posts that local food blogs tend to focus too much on what is new and popular and old favourites are often forgotten. With that in mind I found myself sitting in El Bareto on a rather humid Friday night wondering if they could be one of those old favourites now sadly out of the limelight on the local food blogs.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Rum Shack - Pop Up Bar - Leeds


A short post to let my good readers know, if you haven't heard already, about the latest popup in Leeds city centre - Rum Shack.

For those of you who were at Leeds Indie Food Festival you may recognise them, or you may not if you drank too many of their rum cocktails!