Category Archives: Restaurants

One week in New York!

Ah New York.  So many things to do!

I really love New York and have spent a lot of time there, including one year as an intern.  I enjoy going back and discovering new things and re-visiting old favourites.  This time, I went for a week with a good friend of mine.  We managed to cover a lot of new and old ground, including Manhattan, Astoria (Queens) and Brooklyn.  Here’s the lowdown of some of the things we got up to!

Times-square-new-york

Times Square

Things to do in Manhattan:

Drag-brunch-lips-nyc

Drag brunch at Lips
I’d had dinner with a show here before.  This time I went to the Sunday drag brunch show that includes a meal and unlimited mimosas for an additional $6.  Great funny show and great entertaining drag queens.  Definitely something different to do!  Definitely book in advance.
Check it out here: http://www.nycdragshow.com/drag-brunch

Comedy Improv UCB theatre
My friend booked tickets for a Sunday evening comedy improv session.  I’d been to prepared comedy shows, this was the first time I’d seen live improvisation in action, like on the show ‘Who’s line is it anyway?’.  It was pretty random, with subjects from peanuts through to Disney!  Very enjoyable.
Check it out here: https://hellskitchen.ucbtheatre.com/

Drinks at Off the wagon
I used to love finding ladies’ nights and happy hour drink offers as an intern in NY.  It seemed a little harder to find happy hours that ended after 7pm this time around, but there were a few.  One of them was at Off the Wagon, an old favourite, with half price drinks until 8pm.  A low key dive bar, just the way I like them!
Check it out here: http://www.nycbestbar.com/off/

Groove-bar-nyc

Live music at Groove Bar

Live music at Groove bar
For a $5 entry charge on a Wednesday evening, we went to the Groove bar, which was one of my favourite live music places.  We listened to a live group in a packed out bar and were lucky to get seats.  Great atmosphere and always great music.
Check it out here: https://clubgroovenyc.com/index.cfm

Staten Island ferry
Did you know the Staten Island ferry is free??  I didn’t!  Luckily my friend did!  We’d both visited the Statue of Liberty before and weren’t too bothered about seeing her up close and personal again, so the free ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island was a great compromise.  We got to take the ferry from the Whitehall ferry terminal for a great view of the Statue of Liberty.  Ferries run 24/7 and regularly.  Just so you know, there wasn’t much to do at the Staten Island end, we got a coffee and waited for the return ferry.  A friend tells me that there are some shops being built near the terminal so there should be some shopping fun available soon.
Check the schedule here: https://www.siferry.com/schedules.html 

Statue-of-liberty-new-york

Statue of Liberty

Roosevelt Island cable car
So while wandering around, we came across a cable car that goes to Roosevelt Island.  A little investigation showed that it’s run by the MTA so you can use your standard subway pass to take it for the same cost as any other journey.  We went along for the views and to try something new, and I’m glad we did.  Have a look at this cool time lapse video of the view across the city…

Shopping
Of course, you have to go shopping in New York!  There are countless places to shop, but I have two favourites.  One is shopping around Union Square (14th Street) where there is a big DSW (shoes!) and a Burlington’s Coat Factory.  There’s also Barnes & Noble (books), TJ Maxx (discount everything), Old Navy and other places nearby.

Union-square-new-york

Union Square

My other favourite is Century 21.  There are a few of these around, but the one I always go to is the Downtown Manhattan store (Cortlandt Street).  The store is pretty mahoosive and good for a wander around.
You can check locations here: https://www.c21stores.com/stores

Things to eat in Manhattan:

Ippudo
Ippudo is a nice Japanese restaurant with great ramen.  There is a very friendly, lively and buzzy atmosphere here and the food was very tasty.  There a few different locations, you can check them here: https://ippudony.com/

Gyukaku
I LOVED this place.  It’s a Japanese grill place where you order various meat dishes and grill them straight on the table in front of you.  We went to the Times Square restaurant at lunch time on a weekday.  The lunch offers were awesome, including $6 cocktails.  We both ate well and the food was so tasty!  I would have happily eaten here again.  Multiple times…
Here is the website: https://www.gyu-kaku.com/

Have a look at this delicious video…

Xian famous foods
This chain is a low key restaurant serving tasty, and often spicy, Chinese food.  It’s reasonably priced and very unassuming.  More cafe style dining.  I enjoyed my spicy lamb noodles and the iced tea was lovely.
You can see their menu here: https://www.xianfoods.com/menu

Sagaponack
I met an ex-colleague for lunch and she recommended this seafood restaurant close to Union Square.  It’s a very cute and cosy place with great service and a nice atmosphere.  I ordered the seafood paella, which was very tasty.
Here is their website: https://www.sagaponacknyc.com/ 

Sagaponack-ny-seafood-restaurant

Seafood paella at Sagaponack

Things to eat in Astoria:

Astoria in Queens has become cooler and trendier over the years.  There are a lot of new shops and restaurants opening up regularly.

Chip
Don’t come here if you’re looking for a light snack.  Do come here if you’re looking for a hefty fresh gooey cookie.  Chocolate peanut butter cookies were goooood.

Chip-nyc-cookies

Cookies at Chip NYC

Pink Nori
I know this place has been here (survived) for at least a few years as I came here before.  The photos of the sushi don’t do it justice!  It was very tasty, and we celebrated with happy hour lychee mimosas.

New York City Bagel & Coffee House
New York and Bagels are a winning combination.  I enjoyed my ‘everything bagel’ with cream cheese, and a good chai latte.  We even had breakfast here twice.  My friend enjoyed waffles on one of those mornings.
Here’s the website for the chain: http://nycbch.com/

New-York-bagel-coffee-house-astoria

Waffles for breakfast

Brooklyn:

We spent one evening in Brooklyn, which started with us walking across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan – a nice 25 minute stroll.  We then took the train to Jefferson Street and walked through part of the Bushwick Collective and saw some of the street art.

Brooklyn-bridge-new-york

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn-bunny-street-art

Brooklyn bunny

We met up with some friends at Archie’s for pizza and drinks.  It’s a really nice little unassuming restaurant with great food.  We were lucky to get seats!  Also pretty chilled out and it was nice not to be rushed at all.  We enjoyed a good chat over our food and drinks.
Here is their website: https://www.archiesbrooklyn.com/

 

 

Trip summary

So that’s not even everything that we did or ate, but it is a good selection!  The trip was really jam-packed with a lot of walking and a lot of eating.  New York is a great place for walking around and transport is really convenient.  It was easy to find anything we needed.  As ever, I’m always happy to go back to discover even more about this great place.

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Awesome trip to Austin, Texas

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Austin so I was really pleased when a friend organised a trip there for three of us. We rented out an apartment on www.vrbo.com close to 10th street for three nights.

I was able to book return bus tickets from Dallas to Austin on www.megabus.com for a mere $4.50.

Before we got there, we had recommendations coming out of our ears for all the great places to eat and drink at. It was pretty easy to find places near the apartment and also by going to the popular areas like 6th Street and Rainey Street.

So here are some highlights…

Friday night drinks at 6th street

This street is lined with bars and some restaurants. We started the evening at Coyote Ugly, a classic dive bar with the addition of ladies dancing on the bar who were mildly abusing men, who volunteered to be abused. It was amusing to watch. Good bar with a good feel.

After a few drinks here, we headed down the street and found Pete’s Dueling Piano bar. This was loads of fun with a playoff between various musicians. Music included Backstreet Boys and some good old rap on piano. The atmosphere in here was great.

We drank a lot here… and the rest of the night is lacking a bit of details! However, when we headed out the street was alive, there were lots of food stands and plenty of bars to visit.

food-truck-bbq-austin-texas

 

Saturday visit to Rainey Street

We took Uber to Rainey Street and ended up in a fun bar called Unbarlievable. There was a big slide in the back as well people practicing with hula hoops. Food was also pretty tasty and they had cool live music.

unbarlievable-austin-texas

There are more bars and restaurants along this street, we did pop into some. I love that day drinking was completely normal and expected. It has a more mature vibe than 6th street. Both were awesome and they’re both worth a visit.

Tipster free walking tour

I always love a good free walking tour and my friend found this Tipster tour that started at the Capitol. No need to sign up in advance and you can leave a tip of your choice. Our tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. She covered a lot of the Austin history. I was surprised that the tour didn’t include any fun stuff like the nightlife, but fortunately my friends and I already had that covered. The tour was a good little walk in the centre of Austin and it was nice to see something other than bars!

matthew-mcconaughey-austin-street-art

We did see some cool street art, including this lovely picture of Matthew McConaughey!

Food recommendations

We ate very well throughout the trip. Plenty of bbq meat from food trucks and restaurants.

Here are some highlights:

  • Stubb’s BBQ

I was happy to check out the restaurant connected to one of my favourite meat marinade brands. Stubb’s BBQ was nice and busy. The food was good and meaty. The service was a little slow, but the food was tasty so they are forgiven.

 

  • Gloria’s Latin Cuisine

We found this using Google maps as it was close to where the walking tour ended. Gloria’s Latin Cuisine turned out to be a lovely little find. A classy restaurant with really great drink prices, including $2 mimosas! My friend even asked the waitress if it was a typo. It wasn’t… so we had a few. The margaritas were also tasty, as well as the food.

Glorias-latin-cuisine-austin

 

  • Walton’s Fancy and Staple

We were inspired to have breakfast here after hearing that it’s owned by actress Sandra Bullock. Walton’s Fancy and Staple is a really lovely quaint cafe-style restaurant, that also sells plants and flowers. I had the breakfast dish with eggs, toast and bacon that was tasty and filling. The mocha latter was pretty good too. We were all satisfied.

 

  • Voodoo Doughnuts

This was recommended to us and seems to be an iconic place. The line was huge when we got there on Sunday afternoon. We got a few different doughnuts between us, and I have to be honest, we were pretty underwhelmed. The doughnuts were very dry, bready and stodgy, there wasn’t really anything special about them. Fortunately they weren’t stupidly expensive, so we survived the disappointment. I’d say Voodoo doughnuts is pretty overhyped, but if you just want a doughnut with no expectations, then go ahead and join the line!

voodoo-doughnuts-austinvoodoo-doughnuts-austinvoodoo-doughnuts-austin

 

Conclusion

We all had a great time in Austin and I’d be happy to go back in a heartbeat. Getting around was really quick and easy (and cheap) by Uber, or if you felt like it there were plenty of electric scooters everywhere you looked. People were friendly and there was a really good vibe there.  Food and drink was easy to find and there are plenty of places to explore.  A great place to visit and hang out with friends!

 

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Visiting Amsterdam

I went to Amsterdam a number of years ago and I always intended to go back.  I was glad when the opportunity came up to go again with a few friends.

Airport to city

It was quite simple to get into the city from Amsterdam airport.  We took a €6 train into Centraal, then took a taxi to our accommodation, which cost about €35 in total.  The other option would be to take the tram from Centraal that costs about €3 per person.

Stayed in Airbnb

For this trip, we decided to stay in an Airbnb property.  There were four of us travelling for four nights, so we stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment close to the centre.  It was great to have a kitchen, dining table and shared living room for us to hang out in.

Things to do

So much to do in Amsterdam!

Canal ride

High on the to-do list was a canal tour.  Amsterdam has loads of pretty and picturesque canals, so we joined the Blue Boat Canal Cruise for €18.  We were able to buy tickets on the day.  It lasts about 75 minutes and everyone got headphones to listen to the pre-recorded tour information in their chosen language.  It was also fully covered and heated, so no need to worry about the weather.

Rijks Museum

As we purchased our tickets for the Rijks Museum from the canal cruise company, we got to pay €15 rather than the usual €17.50 per ticket.  I was really impressed with this museum, there was such a huge range of things to see – from Rembrandt paintings to pocket snuff boxes!

 

Walking tour

I’m a big fan of the Sandemans free walking tours.  I booked us spots for a morning tour that started near the Royal Palace.  It was a good way to check out the city on foot and learn about Amsterdam’s history.  We covered the National Monument, the red light district, Anne Frank’s house and more.  As with all of these free tours, you leave a tip at the end for your guide – however much you feel is reasonable.

Anne Frank’s House

I’d already visited Anne Frank’s house on my last trip.  My friends hadn’t been before, but unfortunately they weren’t able to get tickets!  Tickets were temporarily available online only at that time, and it was already fully booked.  If you’re interested in going, definitely look into booking tickets online as soon as you can.

Places to eat

Food in Amsterdam was really amazing.  There’s a lot of Asian influences and international food is available everywhere.  Here are some of my favourite places that we went to.

Food Hall – Vietnamese

Luckily this Food Hall was just around the corner from where we were staying.  There was a lot of variety in the food available.  I went for the Vietnamese noodles, which was really tasty.  Here is the Trip advisor page.

Asian Kitchen

This is a very low key cafe style restaurant with great food and even greater food portions!  It was on the cheap and cheerful side, and we were all satisfied with our meal. There was a flower market just across the road too, which we investigated after lunch.  Here is the Trip advisor page.

Blauwe Hollander

This restaurant was recommended to us by our Airbnb contact for actual Dutch food, since we were enjoying so much Asian food!  It’s a nice restaurant near the central area.  Turns out Dutch food is quite hearty!  My pea and bacon soup was really nice and we all had some version of ‘stamppot’ that includes mashed potato and meat.  It was really good.  Here is the Trip advisor page.

De Vier bakery

I’m really sad I didn’t make it to this restaurant because it looks amazing.  Fortunately, my friend did bring me some Dutch pancakes (poffertjes) with Nutella and strawberries for me to eat.  They were so yummy.  Dutch pancakes are like little mini pancakes, that are delicious with Nutella!  Here is the Trip advisor page.

Pancake Bakery

This was a recommendation from the tour guide, and I have to say it was a disappointment after the De Vier pancakes.  The restaurant itself is small and cosy, the disappointment was that the ‘chocolate sauce’ was not Nutella.  It was some generic dark chocolate sauce, which just didn’t taste as good!  I’d recommend the De Vier bakery if you get a choice, unless you don’t care for Nutella.  Here is the Trip advisor page.

Holiday conclusion

I had a really great time in Amsterdam.  There’s something very chilled out about it, people are very friendly, it’s easy to get around by tram and the food is great.  In fact, I think I’ll go back again one day.

 

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Dublin! A memorable trip to Ireland.

I remember going to Dublin many years ago, but I can’t remember a single thing about what I did there.  I do remember that I enjoyed it very much, so I was happy to join a couple of friends for a 5-night trip.

Sunday

Flights were a mere £40 return from London Gatwick by Ryanair.  We took a taxi from the airport which came to around €40 to Jury’s Inn hotel on Parnell street.  This was a really wonderful hotel with excellent and friendly staff.  Our room wasn’t huge, but still very comfortable and the occasional biscuits near reception were often appreciated.  Breakfast was very adequate, with wonderful cooked options as well as cereals, bread and pain au chocolat.

We took it easy in the afternoon.  We had a little wander around and were thrilled to discover we were right next to China Town!  Our hotel receptionist had recommended a Korean restaurant called Kimchi and we were very impressed.  I had the beef bulgogi, which I’d happily eat again any day.

Monday

After breakfast, we walked to the Celtic whiskey shop on Dawson street which was recommended by our friendly taxi driver who’d dropped us off at the hotel the day before.  By this point, it was clear that Irish people are significantly friendlier than Londoners, and the shop staff were no exception.  We were given some free whiskey samples, including Teeling and Tullamore Dew.  One of my friends even got a hug from Dave, he was happy to oblige!

We had lunch at a French restaurant called Chez Max near Dublin Castle.  This is a nice restaurant with French staff.  I did enjoy my moules frites, despite the slight feeling of paranoia that maybe they weren’t fresh or cooked properly.  This is no fault of the restaurant – it just happens to be a slight phobia of mine that I decided to face that day.

After lunch, we joined a free walking tour with Sandemans.  I’ve been on a few of the Sandeman tours in Europe and would highly recommend them.  There were about 15 tourists or so and Lisa was a great tour guide.  We walked at a very leisurely pace around Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library, Christ Church Cathedral and through the Temple Bar area.  She gave a lot of handy tips, like don’t drink (too much) in the Temple Bar area as it may cost you an arm and a leg.

Tuesday 

Having walked past it the day before, we returned to the Chester Beatty Library as it sounded so amazing.  It’s free to enter, and a real treasure trove of history, especially the religions section.  It was also very factual and unbiased.

We had lunch at the Queen of Tarts. I wasn’t too impressed with my over priced (but tasty) sausage roll.  The blueberry scone was ok.  I think this place is better as an afternoon cake stop than lunch.

We made a quick stop at Christ Church Cathedral where we paid €6 to see the crypts and the famous mummified cat and rat.

Sadly, the Old Jameson Distillery was closed at the time of my visit, so we visited the Whiskey Museum for the VIP tour that cost €17 with a discount from the Sandeman tour. It was a short experience and felt over priced.  I felt a little conned, especially after the free and friendly service at the Celtic Whiskey Shop.  The VIP option included a 4th shot and a cute shot glass to take home.  I wouldn’t recommend this tour, unless you like over-priced touristy attractions.


Dinner was at Wok Inn, a small unpretentious ‘restaurant’ with minimal seating and food served in cartons.  It’s almost a take away.  I thought it would be cheap and crap, but it was a surprisingly tasty green chicken curry that I thoroughly enjoyed.  A classic case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.  This is definitely good for a quick dinner.


We joined the €12 Sandemans Pub crawl in the evening, which started at 7.30pm at the Workman’s club. It included a free half pint of cider, Heineken or Guinness at the first bar, as well as offers at each of the bars on the crawl.  There was a nice and friendly crowd throughout the evening.  We enjoyed many drinks at a few of the bars and left early to enjoy a drink back at our hotel bar.

Wednesday

A little rough around the edges after drinks.  Change of plan – the visit to the Guinness Storehouse took place in the afternoon instead of the morning!

After a lie-in, we had lunch at Madigans O’Connell Street.  I really enjoyed the bacon, cabbage and mash dish, very filling.  The staff were so friendly and we enjoyed some ‘craic’ (banter) with our meal.

We walked to the Guinness Storehouse, which took about 30 minutes (later realised that the tram might have been easier).  It’s quite a substantial ‘museum’ – there’s no tour as such, but a lot to see and walk around. The tasting session was really cool, and included a mini serving of Guinness.  This was really appreciated as I did want to have some Guinness but wasn’t sure I could stomach even a half pint of it.  The tasting was enough for me.  Entry actually includes a free drink, such as a pint of Guinness, at the Gravity bar with amazing 360 views.  There weren’t many seats available so we ended up sitting downstairs at the  regular bar instead, with our glasses of Fanta.


One of my friends carried out some extensive research to ascertain the best restaurant in China Town.  Dinner at Lee’s Charming Noodles was fantastic.  Great pork and cabbage dumplings – a tasty and generous portion. Very tasty braised beef noodles, but I struggled with the chilli!  I was very sad to leave most of the dish behind, it was simply too much food after a big hefty lunch.  I’d love to go back to this place.

Thursday

The jail had been highly recommended to us by many people.  We booked our tickets online in advance – this is advisable given there was no availability for a couple of days.  This was a really good tour, very informative and interesting.  Seeing the jail cells and hearing the stories made everything feel very ‘real’.

There are quite a few museums to visit in Dublin, including the Museum of Modern Art which is just around the corner from the jail.  I ended up going to the Archaeology Museum which has an interesting array of relics that includes arrow heads and mummies!  I didn’t expect to see any mummies.  The cafe at the museum was convenient for lunch.  I had the beef and Guinness pie with noodle and potato salad, which was tasty but expensive for what it was.

Instead of enjoying more culture in the other nearby museums, I decided to go shopping on Henry street.  There were loads of High Street shops and I was surprised to see that most of the prices were higher than in England, even taking into account the recent drop in value of the pound.  I still loved looking around and bought myself a handbag.  What a great holiday souvenir.

In the evening, we had dinner at O’Neills on Suffolk street.  This was also recommended to us by many people and it was very busy.  The food was delicious and the prices were great.  Despite the good value, the place was packed and uncomfortably hot.  It was really hard to find a table, and getting food involved wading past tables to the carvery, which is separate to the bar (so two trips required).  I had a delicious lamb shank but missed the whole restaurant ambience aspect because it was too busy and hot.  We made a quick getaway after eating.  I wonder if dinner here on a Monday or Tuesday would have been a more enjoyable experience…


The quick getaway ended at the hotel bar with pear cider.  Almost the end of the trip already…

Friday

Friday morning was pretty relaxed.  We wanted to go back to Lee’s Charming Noodles for lunch, but as it hadn’t opened yet, we took a chance with lunch at Kanoodle.  In principle, the food here wasn’t bad.  But after being spoilt with so much great food in Dublin, I found that the Tom Yum noodle soup wasn’t my favourite meal of the week.

With a heavy heart, I took the number 16 bus to the airport for only €3.30!  Very reasonable and only 40 minutes away – it made me even sadder to leave Dublin.  I was charmed by the friendliness and variety of things to do and places to eat.  A very interesting and friendly city.

I had a truly awesome time in Dublin and I look forward to going back.  Soon.

 

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A wonderful weekend in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

So I can confirm that the joy of being in Costa Rica isn’t necessarily living in the capital San Jose, but more visiting the beautiful beaches and forest areas that Costa Rica is renowned for!

I went to Manuel Antonio last weekend to visit a couple of friends, and had a really wonderful time.  It takes about 3.5 hours by bus to get there.  I stayed at the hostel where my friend works and met lots of wonderful people.  I visited some of my favourite restaurants and bars there (Barba Roja, Salsipuedes, Tiquicia and Z bar) as well as the beach and the Feria market.

Dinner with a view2016-03-13 00.29.27

At the Feria market in Quepos2016-03-12 02.59.04

2016-03-12 03.09.32

Manuel Antonio beach2016-03-13 17.28.34

I’m really glad I went and it was a good reminder to get my travelling shoes back on!  I’m making plans to visit more of Costa Rica soon…

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A long weekend in Manchester

August 2015

I went to Manchester for the August bank holiday weekend, to visit a friend who moved there recently.  I have been to Manchester a couple of times before and always enjoyed it.

SATURDAY

I booked my tickets on https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/ for a total of £40 return.  The train went from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly where my friend picked me up.  We had a little wander through town, I especially liked the Spinningfields area with its cool restaurants and bars.  We took an Uber taxi back to her place and chilled out.

In the evening, we went to a great restaurant called Red Chilli:

http://redchillirestaurant.co.uk/manchester-oxford-road/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187069-d2038326-Reviews-Red_Chilli-Manchester_Greater_Manchester_England.html

I really liked the food here.  The salt and pepper squid was nice and tasty (not chewy like at a lot of places) the dumplings were tasty, and my main dish of poached mutton in spicy sauce really tested my chilli spectrum!  I would have been happy to go back there.

mutton mushroom

SUNDAY

We headed out to the Whitworth Art Gallery:

http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/

I hadn’t heard of this place before, but it is somewhere my friend had been meaning to check out and I was happy to give it a go.  It is free to enter, and I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of art they had on show, including clothes, photos, watercolour paintings and quite random displays.

art art 2

We also had lunch at the gallery’s cafe.  My friend and I both had the soup with market salads and bread, which was very tasty.  It’s a very nice little cafe, very bright and located amongst the trees of the outside park.  Worth a visit.

In the afternoon, I caught up with another friend for drinks at the Joshua Brooks bar:
http://joshuabrooks.co.uk/

This place has a nice vibe.  It was a Sunday afternoon so pretty quiet, but there were some other groups there and the background music added some atmosphere.  A good place to catch up for drinks.

For dinner, I went to Bem Brasil on King Street:
http://www.bembrasilrestaurants.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187069-d1434555-Reviews-Bem_Brasil_Deansgate-Manchester_Greater_Manchester_England.html

This is a buffet style Brazilian restaurant where you can help yourself to a buffet of salads, and people come around with freshly grilled/barbecued meats for you to have as much as you want.  Good for carnivores.  Everything was tasty – especially their sangria!

MONDAY

The rest of the trip involved chilling out.  On Monday we watched the ‘Adjustment Bureau’ on DVD and ordered some pizza.  I took the 3.35pm Virgin train back to London, which was sadly delayed by 45 minutes – I’m going to figure out how to claim a reimbursement!

All in all, a good little trip to Manchester.

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Three dinners and a bar: Tayyabs, Paolina, Whistling Shop and Meat Liquor

A delightful week of eating well and drinking!

On Monday, I booked a table for seven of us to have dinner at Tayyabs.  This is a delicious BYOB restaurant near Brick Lane but with much better food – and admittedly worse service!

http://www.tayyabs.co.uk/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186338-d779012-Reviews-Tayyabs-London_England.html

I remember first going to Tayyabs probably about ten years ago, when my sister took me there with some of her friends.  It was much, much smaller then.  Since then, it has at least quadrupled in size and to be honest, it’s probably a little overrated.  The food is always good (especially the lamb chop starters) but I’m pretty sure the service is some of the worst in town.

This time we had been waiting for over 30 minutes before the waiter even came to take our order.  He forgot to take the order from one person before he left and it was near impossible to get anyone’s attention.  It took a further 40 minutes before our food arrived.  On the plus side, the food was good!  Despite knowing the service here is generally awful, I’m still happy to go back – not too often.  The food is reliably good.

On Thursday I went to a little Thai restaurant near Kings Cross called Paolina.  It is a family run small cafe with what I imagine is authentic food (I haven’t been to Thailand yet).  It’s very reasonably priced and BYOB.  The fish cake starters were really good and my thai green curry was tasty.  I’d be happy to go back some time, but it wasn’t especially outstanding.  It’s definitely good if you like cosy cafe style restaurants.

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186338-d1316416-Reviews-Paolina_s_Thai_Cafe-London_England.html

paolina

And to finish the work week – drinks near the office.  A friend suggested the Whistling Shop.  I hadn’t heard of it before and as a fan of cocktails I was looking forward to checking it out.  It’s a speak easy style bar with lots of original drinks.  It has a relaxed atmosphere and I was surprised I didn’t about this place given it is next door to the Blueberry bar where I have been for drinks a number of times.  A big thumbs up.

http://www.whistlingshop.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186338-d2169720-Reviews-Worship_Street_Whistling_Shop-London_England.html

This was followed by dinner at Meat Liquor near Bond Street.  I really like this chain – great trendy atmosphere, service and food.

http://meatliquor.com/london/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186338-d3648617-Reviews-Meatliquor-London_England.html

We started with a delightful drink called ‘pickleback’ that consists of a shot of bourbon and a shot of pickle juice.  What’s not to like!?  For my meal, I had the bingo wings, chilli fries and the red chilli burger.  All delish.  Followed by a hard ‘white russian shake’  with Kahlua and vodka.  SOOOOOOO good.

ml1

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