Saturday 26 July 2014

Special Feature

"The Fry Up Inspector" Breakfast

Jeff at Pandora's Kitchen came up with the idea of the 'Fry Up Inspector Recommended' window stickers back in 2013, since then they have appeared on windows where the best breakfasts can be found. His latest idea was to create "The Fry Up Inspector" breakfast, we met up to discuss what it should consist of and how it should be presented. It is now available on the summer menu, I went along to try it out for myself.

The new menu is beautifully housed inside a vintage book, the drinks menu can be found inside the bottle, how very Alice in Wonderland!

 Another new addition to the breakfast menu is dippy eggs and bacon butter.

 I went along and sampled this before the menu was launched. The combination of the egg dipped ciabatta coated in bacon butter was a real treat for your taste buds!

 This was what I was here to try today though!

I love the write up found in chapter seven.

 The breakfast starts with tea or coffee, I started as I always do with a cappuccino.

Next to arrive is toasted ciabatta served with real butter and marmalade.

The Fry Up Inspector breakfast is really big and beautifully presented.

The sausages are from local butchers Hazels, they have a good firm texture and delicious flavour. The beans are served in a pot ready for you to place them exactly where you want them on the plate.

A slice of black pudding, 2 hash browns, 2 thick rashers of bacon and a pair of fried eggs. You won't be needing lunch after eating this!

Plenty of delicious sauteed button mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and a slice of lightly fried bread finish of this amazing breakfast. Pandora's Kitchen have put together this breakfast beautifully, go try it out for yourself!

Sunday 20 July 2014

2014 Spanish Food Adventure

Day 1 - click here

Day 2 - click here

 Day 3 - click here

Day 4 - click here

Day 5 - click here

 Day 6 - click here

 Day 7 - click here

Day 8 - click here

2014 Spanish Food Adventure - Day 8

An awful breakfast, an amazing sandwich and the journey home..

 I woke up on the final morning with a slight hangover from the mojitos and sangria consumed last night.. Maybe a good breakfast would help I thought so we headed downstairs to see what was on offer. At first glance the food looked ok and certainly helpful in curing a hangover, sadly this was not the case. Both the bacon and ham tasted of vinegar, the hot dog sausages were really chewy and the eggs were like eating foam. I ate the beans on toast and went in search of something better.

 This chocolate muffin was fairly nice at least. 

I may have not got around to trying crema catalana on this trip to Spain but I refused to leave for the airport without the squidgy sandwich I had seen on day two. It may look like a not particularly special sandwich but I just had to have it, I decided to eat it at the airport whilst waiting to board the plane.

A week ago I was heading in the other direction about to start my holiday, it was now time to leave Spain though..

It had been about four hours since buying the sandwich, it was looking fairly soggy so I decided to open it.

 It was the guilty pleasure snack of the my week in Spain and probably quite unappealing to anyone looking at it now (I know you will appreciate it though Jane! ;-)

 The flight was actually on time, my faith in easyjet was almost restored.

 I ended my holiday the same way I had started with a Pepsi Max and a Twix.

During my time in Spain I had discovered where to find a decent menu del dia, good tapas, proper pizza and experienced the delights of dipping a farton into a coffee. With no flight delays, great accommodation, some amazing bands and the company of my lovely wife it had been an amazing week!

 Having taken a photo of everything I had eaten on my holiday I felt I couldn't miss anything out. I ate this teriyaki chicken, sweet chilli chicken and noodles from Wasabi - Liverpool Street Station costing £5.50. The sweet chilli sauce was way too spicy so not particularly enjoyable.

Coming soon..
The Japanese Food Adventure - Join me on a two week trip to Japan, we will be visiting Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in search of the best traditional Japanese food, I will also be searching for the best street food and exploring the vending machine culture. We will be riding the bullet train and rollercoasters, visiting a cat cafe and hopefully avoiding the metro at rush hour!


Saturday 19 July 2014

2014 Spanish Food Adventure - Day 7

Back in Barcelona! A luxury freebie, El Raval Cat, coffee and fartons!

We were up nice and early this morning, first some breakfast and then time to hit Barcelona again.

A couple of tasty pastries for the road and then we left El Pekinaire, a great little B&B!

We spotted some loafer/espadrilles in a shoe shop, 2 fashion faux pas rolled into one! We laughed out loud as we walked away from the shop up the road, 5 minutes later my wife returned to buy them.

There was no spare seats on this 90 minute train journey to Barcelona, we held on tight and let Candy Crush Saga entertain us.

We were spending our final night at Hotel Grupotel Gravina. We had stayed here last year but with no working air con in the room I complained and was offered a free night here this year. We were slightly too early to check in but a glass of cava kept us company whilst we waited.

We were expecting a standard double room so imagine our surprise when we were told we would be staying on the executive floor!

The bed was really comfy, robes and slippers awaited us too.

The bathroom wasn't too shabby.

It was far too hot to be wearing a robe but a shame to not at least put it on briefly just because I could, so I did.

The best part was our own private sun terrace, we would spend some time here later though as it was time to eat again.

We had the choice of 1000's of places to eat lunch but we couldn't resist returning to Rita Rouge where we had eaten on day two. We knew the food here was amazing so it seemed insane to take a risk elsewhere.

The menu looked good so we sat outside.

It was a tough decision but we got there in the end.

With the sun beating down on us a much needed cold beer arrived.

The sun was too much so we switched tables to a shadier spot.

I started with a really delicious pasta in pesto with pine nuts.

My wife choose a cheese and fruit salad with mustard vinaigrette.

My main choice was lambs legs with Cajun potatoes and alioli. The meat was stunning and the Cajun potatoes were a bit special too, the alioli was much better and far less garlicky than the one I tried on day one.

My wife had the grilled hake with vegetables, so fresh and delicious!

We were offered a dessert but only had space for a coffee, I knew I should have resisted that basket of bread..

Walking the food off seemed like our best option, we discovered a really good photographic exhibition in this quaint little courtyard.

We had heard about a large cat that can be found lurking on Rambla Del Raval.

There were a number of birds including this green parakeet, no sign of a cat though..

Then we spotted the El Raval cat lurking between some palm trees.

He was a content looking cat with short whiskers.

The detail was quite incredible!

As we walked away from the cat we noticed that a building was watching us from behind a tree.

We headed into the slightly seedier area of El Raval, the narrow alleyways started to have a slightly riskier feel to them.

Some interesting things were painted on a wall.

As I took this photo an elderly lady started shouting at me, we headed towards the end of the street passing a few local gangs on the way. An interesting area but not somewhere I would want to visit after dark.

The Barcelona museum of contemporary art is really popular with skateboarders. It provides a number of walls to jump and grind.

We stopped for a drink at a nearby bar.

Coke in a glass bottle, nice!

This place looked cool but I wasn't really in the mood for a hot dog.

The right angles on these loaves of bread were pretty impressive.

My wife loved the small paving slabs, we spotted some workers laying some and wondered if they would notice if we took one. Nah, too risky trying to get it back through customs!

This was a sight that stopped us in our tracks, what the hell were fartons!?

A bargain, we went inside to try some.

I turned away shuddering as I was trying to hold my laughter in whilst my wife attempted to ask for 2 coffees with fartons. It took her 3 attempts but she got there in the end feeling highly embarrassed that she had laughed out loud whilst asking for them. 

The fartons were a soft and sweet bread like finger covered in icing sugar.

A decent Americano complete with a heart.

The fartons were perfect to dip into the coffee, €1.60 well spent, we loved fartons!

I was tempted but saving myself for tapas later.

I wondered if anyone is ever tempted inside this place by the faded picture menu?

On a hot day like today there was only one thing to do.

We didn't jump into the fountain, instead we headed to La Ramblas. It used to be lined by many street entertainers but these days there are sadly none to be seen..

I briefly considered trying gin and tonic ice cream.

I ended up going for the bright blue smurf ice cream.

Smurf ice cream tasted of bubble gum, my wife played it safe with pistachio.

We returned to the hotel for a cold beer on the sun terrace, then there was a knock at the door.

The management had sent up a complimentary bottle of cava, nice one!

We finished the bottle and was ready to head out in search of tapas.

A lone Toblerone in the mini bar tried tempting me to eat it but I resisted.

We had spotted Bar Castells earlier in the day, there was a good selection of tapas displayed on the bar so this is where we would be eating tonight.

There were no seats outside so we headed inside, nothing fancy but they served good honest tapas so we were happy.

We took a look at some of the tapas on offer, my main focus here was Russian salad, I had been wanting some since arriving in Spain and it looked amazing here.

We shared a jug of sangria whilst waiting for the food to arrive, not much fruit in this one but plenty of alcohol.

Now this was a much better looking tapas than we had eaten on day one.

Whitebait in oil, I preferred these to anchovies.

Spinach Tortilla, served hot and really delicious.

The star of the show was this Russian salad though, a tasty blend of potatoes, vegetables and mayonnaise.

Some Catalan bread topped with garlic and tomato went down a treat.

Yep, great tapas!

As the sky started turning pink and the sun was about to go down we finished off the sangria in the courtyard outside.

In search of a decent mojito we returned to Rambla Del Raval, this bar looked promising.

Plenty of booze here so we ordered 2 mojitos.

The interior was great but we took our drinks outside.

The mojito was made with dark rum and it was possibly the strongest I have ever tasted.

I wasn't sure if it was the drink or not but I felt I was being watched by somebody.

We walked to a square off La Ramblas in search of another cocktail, a bit touristy though so we headed into the smaller side streets.

London Bar was where we ended up.

The chap behind the bar was happily making cocktails so we ordered  a couple more mojitos.

These were really strong too and included a dash of tabasco.

It was around this point feeling quite drunk that we realised we were a bit lost.

We thought about another drink..

These chips were looking a bit lost too..

Eventually we arrived back at the hotel, a great day in Barcelona!

An awful breakfast,  an amazing sandwich and the journey home. Click here.