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.