Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Burr Coffee

April 20, 2018

Alighting at York Station the final stop, wandering through  the streets, over a bridge over the River Ouse and into the city centre.

Passed a couple of coffee shops, one of which was Brew and Brownie, but too hot to sit inside.  Ended at York Minster, back tracked to Lendal and found Burr Coffee.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the same cannot be said of the coffee. The cakes looked tempting, but I did not try.

Looking at the menu outside, brunch field mushrooms and halloumi cheese with pine nuts on toasted sourdough bread. Generous portion size and excellent.

North Star Coffee on sale, espresso blend and single origin, though no single origin served, no pour over.

I have had North Star before at Canopy Coffee, not good, therefore was curious.

Cappuccino ordered. It was terrible, chocolate dumped on top, scalding hot, undrinkable.

I kept taking a tentative sip whilst eating my lunch, but my opinion did not change, it was terrible coffee.

I had been tempted to buy a bag of North Star coffee was not sure which, though my decision had been made for me, as apart from The Docks an espresso blend, the single origin which I would have preferred, was all too old.  Having experienced an awful coffee, I decided not.

Further down the street, Spring Espresso Lendal serving Square Mile Coffee.  What a difference a few steps can make.

Sometimes I wonder, is my sense of taste awry. I then have a decent cup of coffee, and realise no, I have been served bad coffee.

Burr Coffee has on sale The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide in which they are listed.  The listing opens up a whole can of worms. If not serving quality coffee, why are they listed? How independent is this guide, what credibility, when coffee shops are paying £500 to be listed?

Burr Coffee, excellent for lunch, not somewhere for coffee.  A cafe serving coffee, not a coffee shop serving food.

 

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Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station

April 17, 2018

As my last visit to Nottingham, excellent lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station.

As my last visit, I skipped coffee. Their house blend is not great. I wished to try their guest blend, but wished to try at their other coffee shop, which I have yet to find.

I headed off in what I thought was the correct direction, did not find, but did find The Speciality Coffee Shop where I spent the a large part of the afternoon.

The Great Food Club Handbook 2017

April 14, 2018

Every business we recommend is listed on merit. We don’t charge them to appear. — Good Food Club

I prefer to wander around where my feet take me, personal discovery, but even I will admit that if short on time, in an unfamiliar place, then a guide may be useful or at the very least be a useful starting point.

TripAdvisor lacks any credibility. It is full of fake reviews which TripAdvisor fail to deal with.

Google Maps is far superior to TripAdvisor.

Where to Drink Coffee rates as one of the most useless guides ever published.

Good Taste Lincolnshire, a periodical published by Lincolnshire Life rates little better. Potentially it could be a useful publication, quality writing on the best in food and drink in Lincolnshire only it is not, it is anything but. It loses all credibility when an award for best tea or coffee shop goes to a coffee shop serving poor quality coffee, when chains are listed.

Where then does The Great Food Club Handbook 2017 fit in?

It is a bit haphazard only part of the country covered, maybe better to have produced a regional guide. Also how useful a guide when only a couple of places in a town? Though from my experience, often pushed to find more than a couple of places in a town.

The Great Food Club Handbook 2017 covers more than eating places, coffee shops are featured, or at least one is, 200 Degrees in Nottingham.

Merit is the only criteria for inclusion. Of those included that I am familiar with, I  would concur.

Redhill Farm shop, now also in Bailgate in Lincoln and a stall on the rather pathetic farmers market.

It was from the Redhill Farm shop in Bailgate that I picked up this copy. Actually several copies and handed them around.

The Jews House, I have never tried, but have talked a few years ago to the young couple when they had not long opened, and was impressed.

200 Degrees Nottingham Station, not the one listed, the food is excellent. The coffee not great, at least not the house espresso, though the baristas knowledgeable.

I am though surprised at what is missing.

The White Hart Hotel in Bailgate serves excellent food and should be added.

Tickleberry, a new bakery and tea shop, though would not have been around for inclusion.

Lincoln coffee scene, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle and Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill. If food has to be a criteria, then Madame Waffle for their waffles.

For cheese, Lincoln Cheese Society merits an entry.

For craft beer, add The Crafty Bottle, stockist of craft beer and also have their own brewery. To their credit they refuse to supply the Coop or stock craft beer from breweries that supply supermarkets.

Anderson Butchers, hidden in the Spar shop in Heighington should be included.

Looking further afield Bamboo Shoots, Jeffries Passage in Guildford, if Surrey is added.

Infamous for disgusting junk food Aldershot is not somewhere one thinks of for food, but the Indonesian street food restaurant in Upper Union Street is  worth a visit.

On the Winchester street food market, Bedda the Sicilian guys with their excellent pasta merit a mention.

What is not clear, is it a condition, paid membership of the Great Food Club, to merit inclusion?

All are indie businesses.

A big plus, no advertising.

For those who appreciate good food and drink, membership of the Good Food Club is free.

For a guide to coffee shops The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide and its counterpart for the South West.

Coffee Shop North, stunning imagery of twenty-three coffee shops in six northern towns and one city. The book was crowdfunded. Only available in indie coffee shops and bookshops in the towns and city featured.

Drift and Standart feature coffee culture.  Ambrosia, the culinary counterpart to Drift.

Lincoln Vegan Festival

April 7, 2018

I have to admit, I am no great fan of vegan food, a main dish yes but cakes are always disgusting.

Lincoln Vegan Festival held in the Lincoln Drill Hall.

If nothing else, an opportunity to see inside.

Wonderful ironwork. Shame the building has been partitioned and ruined.

Few food stalls. Most of the stalls were anything but food, animal rights, hunt saboteurs, tea, coffee, candles.

One stall selling vegan sausages. Yuk. Another had some very disgusting looking chips.

The only stall with food worth eating was Indian food. I though had already eaten.

Low environmental standards. Food served on plastic, plastic utensils.

The only stall I found of interest was a tea company from Hull, Leaves of the World,  where I stopped and had an interesting conversation on tea.

As I was leaving, I noticed a coffee stall. At first I assumed it was a roasterie, as prominently displayed a bag of coffee. That would have made sense. But no, it was a pop up coffee shop, Happy Cat Coffee House. I had a cappuccino. It looked disgusting and was not good.  It is not possible to make a decent cappuccino with fake milk. Apart from tasting disgusting, it looks disgusting. And what of the environmental damage caused by soy plantations, one of the main causes of destruction of rain forests? The takeaway cups were compostable or at least some were.  The coffee I poured down the drain.

It was then to Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill where I was guaranteed a decent cup of coffee served in ceramic not a takeaway cup.

It did not happen whilst I was there, apparently the power kept tripping out. Either earth leakage problems or excessive power load.  The organisers claimed this regularly happens at festivals, ask caterers. Not something I have ever experienced.  Ask the caterers may give a clue. Excessive power load if all the caterers hit peak demand simultaneously. It is the norm to have a separate power circuit for cooking equipment due to the excessive load. If the catering equipment is plugged into 13A power circuit this explains a lot, and the system was reacting as designed by cutting out. This is something Lincoln Drill Hall should check. If they are permitting excessive load, they may be invalidating their insurance.

Lincoln Street Food Festival

March 25, 2018

A street food festival was held last year. The travelling circus has returned.

Lessons should have been learnt, and not invited back.

Even worse, if true, Lincoln Big are paying this travelling circus to come to Lincoln.

Last year, it was freezing cold, wrong time of the year for street food.

It was due to be held a couple of weeks ago but heavy snow forced cancellation. It took place this weekend, Friday Saturday and Sunday.

Friday very quiet, Saturday surprisingly busy, queues at some of the food stalls. Maybe for Lincoln folk, whose idea of fine dining is McDonald’s or KFC, it is seen as quality food.

The one stall empty, though no surprise, the coffee stall.

Litter everywhere, overflowing bins.

The useless Lincoln City Council knew of the market, could they not have arranged extra street cleaners to clean up the mess and empty the overflowing  bins, or at the very least make the organisers responsible?

Contrast with the Lower Marsh Street Food Party, where no litter problem.

Abysmally low environmental standards. Plastic boxes for the food, polystyrene burger-style boxes for the food.

Useless Lincoln City Council hectors the rest of us to reduce our waste, to  recycle. Can they not get their own house in order, set high standards for street markets?

Large generators beside the stalls, very noisy.

Why not an arrangement where plug into power sources from lampposts, as they do in other towns?

Awful music blasting out from many of the stalls, which was very unpleasant. Even worse from a large tent in Cornhill, which also attracted drunks.

What the street food market did though highlight, we do not have  to have large lorries driving through the pedestrianised streets after ten o’clock or before four o’clock, as during the market they could not gain access.

Nothing wrong with a street food market, but it has to be done properly. Instead of paying a travelling circus, invite individual quality food producers, hold in Sincil Street not the High Street, charge a nominal pitch fee.

Look to the successful street food markets held elsewhere.

Godalming has an annual street food festival, that puts this to shame.

Lunch at White Hart Hotel

March 23, 2018

Today decided to dine in style.

Lunch at the White Hart Hotel in Bailgate.

For starters, wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil.

The starter was a meal in itself.

Followed by rib-eye pork steak. A very impressive steak knife, an implement of quality.

Ingredients sourced locally, with a list where sourced from. A pity more do not follow this excellent example.

The rib-eye pork steak  was sourced from the butcher in Bailgate. Redhill Farm Shop, from where I obtain their excellent ham and Lincolnshire sausages.

Compliments to the chef, the food was excellent. The vegetables, at least the cauliflower, could have been cooked a tad longer.

I was warned the  rib-eye pork steak would be slightly pink. Fine for steak, but not pork, I asked that it be cooked a little longer.

I noticed an adjacent table had Lincolnshire sausages, sourced from Fosters, not the butcher in Bailgate.  These were under cooked.

I would recommend if The White Hart Hotel wish to serve the best quality Lincolnshire sausages, either source from the butcher in Heighington or from Redhill Farm Shop in Bailgate.

I later popped into the butcher and asked of rib-eye pork steak as not something I had come across before.

The offer of a coffee was declined. There are far better places for a coffee in Lincoln, Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill, Madame Waffle in the High Street and Coffee Aroma just off the High Street near The Stonebow.

I had a window seat. I would not have liked to be in the main body of the restaurant as too much like a chain restaurant.

I was very impressed by the steak knife. An implement of quality.

Cappuccino at International Bomber Command Centre

February 11, 2018

Last visits to the International Bomber Command Centre were a couple of weeks ago when not yet open to the public, press day and a preview for veterans, I was curious what it was like now open to the public, what better way to find out than to drop in for a cappuccino.

Sunday roast dinner at the Butcher and Beast at Heighington, then on to the International Bomber Command Centre for a cappuccino.

I was pleasantly surprised on arrival to find how many cars parked in the car park, almost full.

Shocked to find have to pay £3 to park. This was a planning condition imposed by the local council. The money will go to the centre, but only I assume after covering the cost of the parking machines.

How to access by public transport I do not know.

There needs to be access from South Common, otherwise quite a trek if on foot.

Speaking with the Director, previous weekend, the first weekend open to the public,  was even busier, I think she said 1100 visitors.

Excellent news, as they need visitor numbers to make the centre viable and provide cash flow.

On entering the open plan reception area, I noticed cabinets arranged corralling a central area, books on sale, souvenirs, including bags of coffee and tea.

The range of books quite limited. I assume not long open, hopefully a wider selection in the near future.

My cappuccino, too hot, weak and insipid. Classic mistake to serve piping hot.

The coffee served, Bomber Command blend, is a blend from Brazil, supplied by Stokes, exclusive to IBCC.

The Bomber Command beans are on sale, but already ground. For freshness, beans have to be whole, ground on demand. Also essential when supply beans, the roast date, best by or use by is meaningless.

Information on the bag about a Bomber Command pilot from Brazil, but nothing about the beans, where sourced from in Brazil, Q grade, not even if Arabica or heaven forbid Robusta.

Also on sale Bomber Command tea, again exclusive to IBCC supplied by Stokes. Disappointingly, in tea bags, not loose leaf tea.

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer

January 16, 2018

Reusable coffee cups are not the answer to the growing waste problem of plastic pollution.

It seems to be that [reusable cups] are the best solution if we can get to that. — Caroline Lucas

In the UK, we throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups every year.

These coffee cups are not as first appears paper, they are paper lined with plastic and therein lies the problem, these plastic-lined coffee cups cannot be recycled and contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution.

 

Contrary to what Caroline Lucas has claimed, reusable coffee cups are not the answer.

I have yet to be in a coffee shop and seen a reusable cup sold, let alone used. When I have inquired, I have been told take up is minimal, even when a substantial discount is on offer.

There is also as James Hoffman has drawn attention to, a hygiene problem if people bring in their own cups to be washed.

Compostable coffee cups of little use, unless a compost heap on which to deposit.

Resusable cups are expensive, bulky, inconvenient to carry around. With the exception of office workers popping out for a coffee to take back to the office and even then only if coupled with a discount, unlikely to have any impact.

Pret a Manger started the New Year with filter coffee at 49p a cup, a 50p discount if brought own cup. In the absence of any in-store information, lack of reusable cups on sale, will make little difference. Little more than a PR stunt.

Why are we not seeing any statistics published? I would expect to see a weekly report, to see what impact, if any, in reducing the use of plastic-lined takeaway cups.

Without seeing any results from Pret a Manger SumofUs have launched a petition asking that Costa follow suit.

This is tinkering at the edges, addressing the symptoms not the underlying problem.

The underlying problem is the grab it and go consumerist culture, encouraged by chains like Costa and Pret a Manger, it is what their businesses model is built on.

What we should be doing is encouraging relax with a cup of speciality coffee served from glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. Only then are we gong to reduce the plastic pollution.

We should also be pushing for the introduction of a 25p latte levy at the next Budget.

Please sign the petition calling on Michael Gove to introduce the 25p levy.

Christmas dinner at Butcher and Beast

December 25, 2017

Two days before Christmas, what was to be Christmas dinner at the Butcher and Beast.

Er, looks like sirloin steak.

Er, yes, sirloin steak.

A communication problem. What was to be a booking for Christmas lunch, was only logged as a table booking.  One would have thought, would have at least asked when booking, is this for Christmas lunch, but apparently not. Was not even aware there was a problem until brought a menu, and queried why. Only then learnt, had not been booked for Christmas lunch.

Hence sirloin steak.

Butcher and Beast is a country pub in the Lincolnshire village of Heighington, not far from Lincoln.

Food at the Butcher and Beast used to be not up to much, overpriced and very variable. Of late, much improved. Roast Sunday dinner a few months ago was excellent

Wagamama no calling in sick during Christmas

December 24, 2017

If you are one of the poorly paid serfs in a McShit job at Wagamama and call in sick on Christmas Day, indeed any day over the Festive Period, you will face disciplinary action.

A note with bold and underlined, as would expect a child to make, was pinned to the staff notice board beneath staffing rotas, warning staff they face disciplinary action should they call in sick.

No calling in sick! may I remind you that if you are unable to come in for your shift it is your responsibility  to find someone to cover your shift (as per contract and handbook). Calling in sick during the next 2 weeks will result in disciplinary action being taken.

Is this legal? Possibly not.

Is this the action of one rogue manager? I doubt so. And others doubt so too.

If this was a rogue manager, what disciplinary action?

If a rogue manager, does each store have its own unique contracts and handbook? Or, was targets set, ends justify the means, until the dodgy workplace practises exposed on social media, then blame a rogue manager?

Would someone please post the handbook and  a sample contract on-line. Go through Wikileaks and follow their instructions how to post securely. Or copy and drop in the post to both Unite and The Guardian.

It is not the role of employees to find replacements when off sick. That is the role of management, that is what they are paid for.

Are Wagamama open Christmas Day? Shame if they are.

Are staff forced to work Christmas Day? Are they paid extra?

If Wagamama has the shame to open Christmas Day, it should be voluntary for staff to work that day, and those who do volunteer, should be paid double if not triple pay for the day, and a paid for taxi provided to work and back home.

That staff face disciplinary action if call in sick over Christmas it is a  reasonable assumption they are being forced against their will to work over Christmas.

Let us assume a serf working at Wagamama has noro virus? Are they forced to work? If yes, there are going to be a lot of sick people after eating at Wagamama.

Are the Food Standards Agency and local Environmental Health investigating Wagamama, who not only think it ok to have sick staff in a food environment, but are threatening them if they do not show for work when sick?

I would urge everyone to boycott this chain. Not unless happy to eat where staff handling, preparing, serving your food could have noro virus or some other unpleasant disease.

This illustrates once again why we need a Basic Income. Then no one is forced to work McShit jobs at chains like Wagamama.

No surprise Wagamama owned by Vulture Capitalists, in this case  Duke Street Private Equity, founded by Edmund Truell who has donated hundreds of thousands to the Tory Party.

Why eat at Wagamama when there are quality independent alternatives? If, for example in Guildford eat at Bamboo Shoots.

I would no more eat at Wagamama, then I would drink what masquerades as coffee at Costa or tax dodging Starbucks or Caffe Nero.