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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Travels In Texas - the Lion and Rose

Howdy again!

Now it may seem an odd choice to visit an 'english style' pub/restaurant whilst away from the U.K, however I am always curious to see how those abroad view and interperet the english dining experience.



With that in mind one of my first visits whilst in San Antonio was to the 'Lion and Rose', self-proclaimed 'British-Irish pub restaurant' - it's aim to 'proud to have re-created the classic British pub experience right here in central Texas, with a few unique touches of our own'.

The building itself has the definite feel of an english country pub, if it was enlarged three times, and air conditioning thrown in for good measure. Large HD television sets show the latest football from the UK (I'm not going to refer to it as soccer - I know some readers of this blog know where I live) so you have all the comfort of a saturday afternoon in england without the hassle of the batsh*t weather.

The bar have a a good range of UK centric beers on tap such as Newcastle Brown, Boddingtons, and our own adopted wife abusing tipple Stella. For me the bottled beer menu is where the fun truly began - here you'll find the BAD ASS  beers such as Maredsous 10 - one of my favourite beers from Belgium, plus great US beers such as Shiner Blonde.


Down to the nitty gritty, the food. What you see above is what G.F.A.C. went for, an open turkey sandwich topped with mashed potato and gravy, with a side of Mac n' cheese.

Look at the above picture for a few seconds, and just think what a turkey sandwich with a side would look like in a British pub. It would no doubt look like the below:


The sandwich itself was delicious, layers of fresh tasting turkey buried in mash with a distinct garlic and herb flavour, drowned in delicious gravy. Like a great thanksgiving meal on bread, and the mac n'cheese made the perfect accompaniment. Just writing about it is making me both nostalgic and hungry.

I was also glad to see my 'hood get a shout out with the 'Hackney Hot Wings'.

The 'unique touches of their own' (ie the incredible sandwiches and great beer selection) really make this a place to check out, if you're from the UK or otherwise.


Travels in Texas - Grimaldis

HOWDY.

I'm currently visiting the birthplace of 'Robocop' actor Peter Weller - otherwise known as San Antonio, Texas.

This is a first time visit  for G.L.A.C. to the Lone Star State, and I have (of course) been sampling much of the local cuisine.


First up, Grimaldi's. A lovely Pizza restaurant I visited during the first week of the Texas tour.  The restaurant itself is decked out with old time photos of the San Antonio area, and it's (incredibly) high ceilings are adorned with wine bottle chandeliers (check out that shizzle above).

The pizzas themselves....YUM. My partner and I opted to 'create our own' and went for a pizza with a pesto base, mushrooms, grilled chicken, italian sausage, and artichokes.

I think my expression above says it all. Needless to say I shall be returning!

P.S. it also doubled as dinner - hell yeah!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Field of Dreams





The London Fields is one of my favourite pubs in Hackney. Located on Mare Street, it's appeal is twofold - if it's a quiet drink with a mate you're after, it's the perfect place. Seating is  almost always available in it's dark green interior. The fake bookshelves on the walls contribute to the 'living room' comfort of the place, and there is a fair selection of beers on tap (Budvar, Guiness etc).

However, once the clock gets to 11 the London Fields transforms completely more or less into a small scale club. With resident DJs and a host of different nights catering to a variety of musical tastes, it becomes quite the place to be when when en route to the Dolphin.

OK enough of the small talk, it's onto the important part. FOOD. In February of this year, the London Fields celebrated it's birthday (what birthday it was never appeared to be specified). To celebrate the pub started serving up freshly cooked pizzas, all at £5. This deal deal proved incredibly popular, on one particular night I think I couldn't see one table in the pub that was not graced with a pizza. The deal proved so popular both the pizzas and the price have become a permanent fixture of the place.


 The pizzas in question are of the authentically thin crust, Italian variety, and are absolutely delicious. Alongside those detailed on the menu there is always a 'pizza of the week'. The most recent of these was the 'Full English' - a circle of cheese andy tomato goodness augmented with bacon and sausage, with a fried egg it's glorious centrepiece.


The perfect way to set you up for the evening before 'raising the roof' in Hackney!

Lucky Chip On My Block




Ever get that feeling of discovering something great on your doorstep - and kicking yourself for not being aware of it sooner? This weekend I experienced that, the discovery being the Lucky Chip Burger Stall.

Netil Market is a kind of bric-a-brac market located a stones throw from Broadway Market, London Fields (usually features a black double decker bus, converted into vintage clothing outlet). Within this market there are a few stalls offering up hot grub to fuel the East London Saturday shoppers.

At the centre is the Lucky Chip stall. Deciding to take a seat on this (let's face it - absolutely gorgeous) Saturday afternoon, I was struck by the tantalising smell of burgers being served up within the market. Having heard some good recommendations, I went for it, and got the 'El Chappo' (pictured).

Sandwiched between two buns I got to experience a meat and spice sensation - flavoursome tasty meat complimented with fresh jalapeños and dripping in blue cheese sauce.

I really had to resist the temptation to quote Samuel L and exclaim 'that IS a tasty burger'! I have mixed
feelings about chips, but from what I can see the ones here are pretty good.

I highly recommend this place - perfect for a summers day if you want to take some burgers to chow down on in the nearby London Fields.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Carribean Quisine - First Class!

The first time I visited Broadway Market was something of an accident. I had been looking for a flat over the course of a few months in the summer of 2009. It had become apparent that researching the area around the potential homes was pretty much as important as the home itself.

Receiving details of a home in the London Fields area, I decided to venture to said area ahead of the flat viewing to explore my potential new neighbourhood. Happening upon the Broadway Food Market, I quietly decided that I would move to this area - come hell or high-water! (it was a good job the home turned out to be ok).

The quality of the food stalls here is really off the scale - and seem to be attracting A-list customers!

A few weeks ago I ventured to 'The Carribean Chef', without one of my favourite 'regular' stalls at the market.  This wonderful stall has been the perfect way to beat the winter blues, serving up dish after dish of spicy goodness, all with that wonderful 'home cooked' quality that I believe characterises the best Jamaican style meals.

Being a comic book obsessive of the highest order, my ears pricked up when I heard the girl at the stall chatting to the customer to my left about her love of the 'X-Men' movies, in particular the most recent entry to the franchise 'X-Men: First Class. Hearing the customer say he had been reading the script for the next movie.

Turning around thinking I'd be faced by a producer or something along those lines I instead found it was Magneto himself Michael Fassbender!


The above image is not how he asks for his food, he's much more polite in person. It would seem Hackney resident Fassbender is as much a fan of 'The Carribean Chef' as yours truly, as I understand it
he has also become something of a regular to this stall.

Serving up great dishes such as Ackee & Saltfish, Curry Chicken, and my personal favourite the Jerk Chicken, the Carribean Chef will draw you back with a pull to rival Magneto himself!

Great food and service with a smile. If you find yourself at Broadway Market check it out!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Fin That Never Flounders

Living near Broadway Market has made Saturday lunchtime's a true journey of food discovery. I try and sample a new food stall each week, but I do have a few regular faves. One of these is the wonderful Fin & Flounder Stall, dishing up some truly mouth watering seafood based sandwiches. The Tuna Steak with Wasabi mayo roll was (up until recently) the sandwich of choice, a real spicy and salty treat. However, a recent addition to the menu is the 'Sexy Scallop Sarnie' (below).
Three large scallops nestled between a fresh roll with a generous helping of tartare sauce plus some mouth-watering chorizo thrown in for good measure. Discovering this sarnie really made my weekend. I really find the discovery of a great new sandwich an almost emotional experience.

Fin & Flounder also have a fresh seafood shop situated at the London Fields end of the market, if you fancy putting together a few of these bad boys at home.

A Tad Tasty!

Tad (261 Mare Street) was one of the first eatery recommendations passed onto me upon my move to Hackney a couple of years ago. This gem of a Turkish restaurant really takes the Kebab experience to a whole new level! Situated across the road from the fabulous Hackney Picturehouse, you will be hard pressed to find anywhere better to fill up before a movie (apart from the Picturehouse itself, which also does great grub. but that's something for another post).

Being something of a regular, I have been steadily working my way through  the menu, and have not encountered a disappointing dish thus far. My latest discovery can be seen above, the Yoghurt Chicken Shish. This garlic infused dish made the perfect winter evening meal given it's highly spicy nature.

Other great meals here include some great Turkish pizzas, the great Chicken or Lamb Beyti, and grilled Halloumi. Many thanks to fellow Hackney resident Graham Holiday for tipping me off about this place.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

FEAST LONG AND PROSPER!


FEAST LONG AND PROSPER!

Over the years I've sampled a lot of different styles of food.
Something that has been on my thoughts a lot recently is 'first times' with regards to meals.

The first time I tried indian food is now safely buried somewhere in my subconscious.
Apparently the 4 year old me nagged and nagged my Father to let me try some of his Chicken Madras.

After the umpteenth 'it'll be too hot for you' Dad relented and I tried a piece. My face turned scarlet and if it could cartoon steam would have blasted from my ears.

The first time I that I do remember having an Indian meal is a far more positive affair.

Around 1988, the parents and their friends shared a take away, and 'the kids' (my brother and the other couples offspring) got the run of the front room.

This was complete with TV and video rented specially for the occasion (the then new video release 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home').

Our Indian meal was relatively simple - Chicken Tikka with rice, poppadums and a bottle of cola (hopefully not Panda Pops).

I remember as the brief recap of 'The Search for Spock' 's denouement played, the looks of wonder across our three faces as we took a bite.

This look was one of sudden realisation - that there was a whole new frontier of food wonderment out there.

I have not looked back since, and I never will.


FEAST LONG AND PROSPER!




Over the years I've sampled a lot of different styles of food.
Something that has been on my thoughts a lot recently is 'first times' with regards to meals.

The first time I tried indian food is now safely buried somewhere in my subconscious.
Apparently the 4 year old me nagged and nagged my Father to let me try some of his Chicken Madras.

After the umpteenth 'it'll be too hot for you' Dad relented and I tried a piece. My face turned scarlet and if it could cartoon steam would have blasted from my ears.

The first time I that I do remember having an Indian meal is a far more positive affair.

Around 1988, the parents and their friends shared a take away, and 'the kids' (my brother and the other couples offspring) got the run of the front room.

This was complete with TV and video rented specially for the occasion (the then new video release 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home').

Our Indian meal was relatively simple - Chicken Tikka with rice, poppadums and a bottle of cola (hopefully not Panda Pops).

I remember as the brief recap of 'The Search for Spock' 's denouement played, the looks of wonder across our three faces as we took a bite.

This look was one of sudden realisation - that there was a whole new frontier of food wonderment out there.

I have not looked back since, and I never will.


SEEING RED



I'm in love…with a sandwich!

'Red Cafe' (as the regulars endearingly call it) - real name: ‘Buffet Bar’, really does shine out like a scarlet jewel in these dark, cold January mornings around the Leather Lane area.

Located at the corner of Kirby and Greville Street, they serve up a great variety of breakfasts, wonderful selection of sandwiches, and dinner-style fare such as various pasta dishes.

However, this writer has only recently discovered the Crimson Cafe's true
'Pièce de résistance - a foccica wonder known as 'The Hot Escalope Special'.

A beautifully breaded escalope of chicken, lovingly wrapped in cheese,
topped off with tomato and herb sauce and sprinkled with BAD ASS bacon bits.

This was my first sampling of the 'specials' menu. It shall not be my last…

Until next time - eat first, ask questions later!