Archive for August, 2019

Cappuccino at Kiosk

August 30, 2019

Stop off at Kiosk in Fossgate. Excellent coffee as always.

Guest coffee from Dark Woods, single origin for pour over. Not known what they were using for my espresso, but not Dark Woods.

The girl working there has much improved from last year.

A guy sits and has a chat with me outside about coffee.

Spring Espresso destroyed

August 30, 2019

Look in Spring Espresso Lendal. I was looking forward to a coffee and a chat with the owner.

Something very very wrong, scruffy guys working there and on the shelves Small Batch. The owner would never stock Small Batch. I ask where he is. Person I am talking to barely understands, maybe Turkish.

I head to their other coffee shop, Spring Espress Fossgate. I suspect Spring Espresso had been sold. They confirm my worse fears, has been sold, sold to Coffee Smith, Vulture Capitalists buying up and destroying quality coffee shops.

Very depressing, two excellent coffee shops destroyed, all that more depressing that featured in Coffee Shop North.

But why, why buy and destroy two excellent coffee shops when there are mediocre coffee shops in York?

Afternoon in York

August 30, 2019

A plesant warn sunny afternoon in York.

Single coach train to Doncaster running late.

Azuma Doncaster to York.

Singularly unimpressed with the much hyped Azuma. From outside, looks impressive, inside no. Poor design, cheap. Hard seats, small window, to access the 13A sockets beneath the seats need to be a contortionist, no usb charging.

Running slow, arrives York ten minutes late.

In the station foyer, always a stall with cakes. Today almost sold out.

Walk along City Walls, avoids the traffic and takes direct to The Perky Peacock.

The Perky Peacock an excellent coffee shop located within a Medieval tower guarding the River Ouse.

Cappuccino and avocado on toast ordered.

Cappuccino not as good as previous visits, barista not there, but still good.

Neither was the avocado on sourdough bread as good, nut still good.

Coffee sourced from Origin.

Good spot to sit outside.

Over Lendal Bridge, head towards Your Minister to visit the Tourist Information Office.

I had hope to find Independent Life. I found one copy in The Perky Peacock. No idea what I am talking about. Not helped by the change of name, City Life & Times.

They used to have a cupboard full. Gone from one extreme to the other from a few boxes to half a dozen copies.

I back track and head into Lendal.

I look in Burr Coffee. Not somewhere I would have a coffee, but ok to eat.

They have Independent Life.

North Star have changed their packaging.

Look in Spring Espresso. I was looking forward to a coffee and a chat with the owner.

Something very very wrong, scruff guys working there and on the shelves Small Batch. The owner would never stock Small Batch. I ask where he is. Person I am talking to barely understands, maybe Turkish.

I head to their other coffee shop in Fossgate I suspect had been sold. They confirm my worse fears, has been sold, sold to Coffee Smith, Vulture capitalists buying up and destroying quality coffee shops.

Stop off at Kiosk. Excellent coffee as always.

Guest coffee from Dark Woods, single origin for pour over. Not known what they were using for my espresso, but not Dark Woods.

The girl working there has much improved from last year.

A guy sits and has a chat with me outside about coffee.

Look in The Hairy Fig next door. Cheese made from pasteurised milk. Not impressed.

It is then as always lost to find the station. I do not think I will make it but luckily I do.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Sheffield

August 28, 2019

Sunny and warm in the morning. As train sets off, dark clouds.

Sheffield, cool, wet and raining.

I stop of at Motore Cafe coffee kiosk for a chat. I shelter under the large brolly and have a cappuccino and a chat.

I notice I am standing in a stream flowing down the street. I drop my light jacket not on the wet street, that would be bad enough, oh no, I drop in the flowing stream.

Now have a soaking wet jacket.

I head off through the Winter Gardens via Millennial Galleries to Sheffield BID, as from there walking back through the Winter Gardens to Union Street.

Sheffield BID often has useful publications. I pick up a copy of The Heart of Independent Sheffield.

It is a pity they do not stock Now Then. Something they must address.

Very disappointed no Taiwanese pop up kitchen at Union Street as that was my only reason for visiting Sheffield on a cool wet Wednesday.

No Taiwanese for September. I will have to try one of the other days, different food, maybe Vietnamese Italian or American Soul Food.

Neither do hey have Now Then.

I decide even though out of my way to visit Upshot Espresso and have a coffee.

I look into Tamper Westfield Terrace on the way, but no time to stop.

Long walk to find a bus stop. Why?

I hop on the bus. I do no understand the bus driver. Not helped by a barrier between driver and passenger.

I ask a couple of passenger. What I want is a parade of shops past Sheffield University Student Union.

Roots a zero waste shop appears to have closed down.

No Now Then in Upshot Espresso they do not recall having received August edition. I find tenth anniversary edition April 2018.

Chat with barista, recommend a few excellent roasteries from where to source their guest coffees.

I catch a bus, get off too soon. Look in an Oxfom Bookshop. I learn why stock Faith in Nature shampoo. Sourced from Oxfam projects.

I walk past Tamper Westfield Terrace to Steam Yard. Excellent coffee shop, No time for a coffee, no Now Then.

I pick up The Essential Journal. I had also seen at Union Street. I am surprised either stock as pretentious crap.

Make station with seconds to spare. Train not sown on main departure board. I head to where I expect to find the train. In Luck.

BeerHeadZ

August 26, 2019

I had been told by two ladies of a new bar, BeerHeadZ in East Gate. As I was in the vicinity for the Lincoln Steampunk Festival I decided to check it out.

Very much like Growlers & Cans in Guildford, main difference more than twice the size, lacked the selection of cans and bottles, a much larger selection on tap.

The guy behind the bar knowledgeable and helpful.

I settled on 1/3 pint of …. I enjoyed it, ordered another 1/3 pint.

One long table, cf Growlers and Cans, then smaller tables by the wall. Handy 13A sockets on the wall with usb charging sockets.

In design, it could have been a coffee shop.

What I did not like and hoe they get rid off, a widescreen TV and quiz nights.

Occasional live music.

For people who appreciate god beer and do not like pubs.

Located off Baigate, a little way down East Gate.

— to be continued —

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 26, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day four of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

The heatwave continues, another record breaking day with temperatures over 33C.

Walked up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill through Castle Hill to Bailgate.

Not as many steampunks around as previous two days.

I had been told yesterday by two ladies of a new bar, BeerHeadZ in East Gate. I decided to check it out

Very much like Growlers & Cans, in Guildford, main difference more than twice the size, lacked the selection of cans and bottles, a much larger selection on tap.

The guy behind the bar knowledgeable and helpful. I settled on 1/3 pint of …. I enjoyed it, ordered another 1/3 pint.

I then thought check out the food stalls.

In the car park everything had gone bar the ice cream van with its engine running.

To the schoolyard, little better stalls packing up, no steampunks.

Contrast with two years ago (last year was a washout), excellent street food in the schoolyard.

What has happened, what has gone wrong> This year organised by Lincoln BIG which says it all.

Steampunk must take back control. Locate in the school yard and only invite quality food stalls. And no plastic, compostable containers with segregated waste.

Today a burger off the burger stall, Barbell Burger Co. It was excellent burger, as a burger should be.

The one and only bin today was not overflowing. Maybe already emptied, also far fewer steampunk, last day everything winding down.

Overall, an excellent four day steam punk festival, much enjoyed. Already looking forward to next year.

A few suggestions for next year to make Lincoln Steam Punk Festival even better.

No charge for entry the Castle grounds. It is not acceptable to charge to enter the grounds when usually free.

Improve the live music. Alice’s Night Circus but the exception. invite Jewelia.

Better food, better organised. Need a craft beer stall in the Castle grounds. And please more rubbish bins.

Local businesses on Bailgate and Steep Hill need to get their act together. Open later. Many visitors with money rattling in their pockets being turned away.

— to be continued —

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 25, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day three of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day. 33.3C a record for August Bank Holiday weekend.

A very hot day, nevertheless I thought walk up Steep Hill, but then noticed a bus going past Lincoln Cathedral, or so I thought. Bus did not not. I asked driver. Sunday, three different routes combined. I hopped off the bus, walked through the grounds of Usher Gallery, which brought me part way up Steep Hill.

Two years ago, in the yard of a school, excellent street food. Last year, something of a washout. This year at the school and a car park. I looked yesteard, looked again today. Mainly rubbishm quality ir was nt, A rare exception a stall serving craft veer.

Organised by Lincoln BIG, so no surpise a disater. And no surprise when learn organised by Lincoln BIG not the steampunks. Soonest Lincoln BIG is dissolved the better. Steampunks must take back control.

I would for a starters, craft beers tall, REdhill Fran,==m, Currey Jacks, smoothie stall I found oustdie Central Market.

Low environamanstal standards. Ban palsticc. Stacation Live ban plastic, as do other fesrtivals. And why an ice cream van with engine running. Warnings were isued on poor airquality. Not helped by tghe ice craem van with engine running.

It was therefore eat off REdhill Fram shop. low raodspork was alittke dry to yesterday.

Alice’s … Circus excellent. A pity a short set of only around half an hous. i psoke with Alice later. She said she was doing a longerf set at The Engine Shed.

Alice was the modle Gary Nicholl’s used for the girl in the blue dress fling into the pond. Gary Nicholls designed the album cover for the vinyl edition of her album.

THe beavaiour of photiagapers, working in packs, stick large lessons in the faces of steampunks not acceplale. One aldy got quite upset.

— to be continued —

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 24, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day two of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter.

Although a hot day, it was still a pleasant walk up Steep Hill.

Before heading up the High Street, I enjoyed a smoothie off a stall I had never seen before outside Lincoln Central Market.

Looked in Crafty Bottle, a craft beer shop on The Strait. What time did thy close? Five. Madness, thousands of thirsty visitors to the steampunk festival and they close at five.

Stalls in Castle Hill, cheek by jowl, net result, cannot get near the stalls.

Not happy to pay to enter the Castle Grounds for what is normally free. I decided on a season ticket.

Highly recommended the slow roast pork off the Redhill Farm stall. Quality street food.

Why no craft beer stall? I asked of a Lincoln Castle stall. They had, but at ambient temperature. The guy running the stall offered to go down to the cellar and bring up a bottle. When he opened, most of the contents foamed up out of the bottle. Not his fault, I suspect yeast left in the bottle.

He opened a second bottle, same problem but opened a fraction to enable the gas to escape.

Sat outside the Castle Cafe very hot, no umbrellas.

What was appalling was an overflowing bin, the only bin with people coming from all directions in the Castle grounds.

Lack of bins, lack of frequency of emptying bins. And why no segregation of the rubbish? Compostable, recyclable and general waste.

Anyone fancying tea, coffee and cakes. Do not waste half an hour in the queue for disgusting tea and coffee. Take a walk out of the West Gate, cross diagonally to the left to The Lawn, coffee shop and roastery, where will be served far superior tea and coffee by baristas.

The Lawn also had a couple of stalls. I would suggest encourage stall for a nominal fee, and encourage more stalls.

Gary Nichols author of The Imaginarium gave an excellent talk on creativity, An artist who works with camera, not a photographer.

He travelled afar for one coast scene, then photos of different rock formation, different sky, all built into one image.

Another, a girl in a flowing dress, the dress becomes the pool of water.

Colin Edmonds author of Steam Smoke and Mirrors, has a third book out soon.

Two years ago, in the yard of a schools, excellent street food. Last year, something of a washout. This year at the school and a car park, mainly rubbish, And no surprise when learn organised by Lincoln BIG not the steampunks. Soonest Lincoln BIG is dissolved the better.

Many of the steampunks the same question, why is everything in the locality closed?

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 23, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day one of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter over the next few days.

Today possible to walk through the grounds of Lincoln Castle, as can do every day, but next few days, will be charged the same entrance fee as though walking the Castle walls, simply to visit a few stalls. This is not acceptable and something the steampunk organisers need to resolve. Those who have a stall in the Castle grounds pay a lot of money for their stalls and a barrier is then created to deter those wishing to visit their stalls. It also hits local businesses either side of the Castle entrances

Not many steampunks around, but next for days will be very many.

Bailgate, Steep Hill, The Strait, five o’clock nearly every single business, shop, tea room, cafe, closed, many would have closed at four if not earlier. Sheer madness, biggest steampunk festival in the world, brings in thousands of people, people with money in their pockets, and nowhere open to spend that money.

For visitors a few recommendations.

For coffee avoid the chains and their undrinkable coffee. Walking up the High Street

  • turn left before The Stonebow, Coffee Aroma on the right
  • through The Stonebow, a little further up the High Street, Madame Waffle on the right

For quality beer forget the pubs, pick up a bottle or two of craft beer.

  • on the left in The Strait, Crafty Bottle, craft beer and a bottle opener

For gear no better than

  • The Strait, J Birkett
  • bottom of Steep Hill, antique shop

Cappuccino at 200 Degrees Lincoln

August 22, 2019

Size in coffee matters.

When offered a choice of size it shows no understanding of coffee.

When offered a size that is big, it is not offering value for money, it is offering bad coffee.

To have a sign outside a coffee shop offering big, is simply embarrassing.

And no, never serve a cappuccino with chocolate.

There is only one size for a cup of coffee. The correct size.

At 200 Degrees, a flat white is served in a cup for a cappuccino. The cappuccino is served in a size that is too large.

Not the fault of the baristas, it is the company that is clueless on coffee. Instructing the baristas how not to serve coffee.

Nor does one add Robusta to coffee. A cheap nasty species of coffee that tastes disgusting and has none of the subtlety of Arabica. The best coffee is always Arabica, not cheap commodity Arabica, high quality Arabica.

Since opened in the spring, tables have been added in the street. Kudos to 200 Degrees for making these tables No Smoking. Other coffee shops please take note.