Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Guildford farmers market

June 7, 2017

A blustery  day.

Many stallholders failed to turn up, others turned up then packed up, the market started to pack up early  afternoon.

All in all a wasted trip.

Depressing to see stallholders buying drinking coffee from Costa and tax-dodging Caffè Nero. Support local producers, do as we say, not as we do.

Why no indie coffee stall on the market, one at the top one at the bottom of the market? Stalls serving speciality coffee, roasted locally.

Godalming has an excellent street food market in July, why not Guildford, why not August, along the High Street, overflow into Tunsgate? It is not too late to organise for August or September.

There is one in Allen House Grounds. Waste of time, wrong location, few are aware.

Bedda, two Sicilian guys serving excellent pasta are a must for the market. They have applied, why have they not been invited?

A new coffee coffee  shop Esquires Coffee has opened top of the High Street. Do not waste the effort  on a trek to the top of the High Street as wasted effort.  Not worth a visit. Clueless on coffee.  Two serving could  not have been more miserable  if they tried.

Guildford farmers market is held first Tuesday of the month.

Street Food Picnic Allen House Grounds 17 June 2017.

Godalming Food Festival 1 July 2017.

The Dispensary Kitchen

June 3, 2017

Although I was earlier than usual in Winchester, I was too late to have a coffee at Coffee Lab due to time spent at the street food market.

This though proved to be a mixed blessing, as I found The Dispensary Kitchen.

Earlier I had been recommended to try by the bank manger in Santander. Coffee Lab also recommended I try.

Banks managers used to flog dodgy financial products, for which a few years down the line the bank would be hit with multi-million pound fines. Now they play safe and recommend coffee shops.

A Victorian building, which has been sympathetically restored, stark modern furniture which provides a pleasant contrast.

A long chat with the owner, who also made me a cappuccino.

He actually apologised, was not the barista, but no reason to apologise, it was an excellent coffee.

Beans a blend, Elixir 22, sourced from The Roasting Party, the same roastery that supplies Einstein and Heisenberg blends to Coffee Lab.

Named 22, as use 22 grams of coffee, the norm is 18.

A light roast, though not as light as the single origin roasts by Makusihi, which I am starting to think may be too light.

A fresh bag was opened for me. Not much of a aroma.

I kept the bag for reference. Journey home, wonderful aroma of the coffee wafting by.

Currently 1 kg bags. They may have smaller for retail sale.

Later in the evening The Dispensary Kitchen  turns into a restaurant.

A good idea, as makes better use of resources.

I have never understood the coffee shops in Guildford that close at five o’clock, turning away customers.

It is always a pleasure to visit a new coffee shop and be served excellent coffee.

Very new, had only opened the week before.

Winchester needs more quality businesses like this that take a pride in the quality of service and what they serve. Local businesses that recycle money within the local economy, not chains that serve rubbish and drain the local economy.

Winchester is starting to develop its own coffee culture: Flat Whites, Coffee Lab, Coffee Lab Academy, and now The Dispensary Kitchen. It was only a year ago that Coffee Lab opened.

Taverna Kamasias

May 28, 2017

The week before we had eaten at Ocean Basket in Ayia Napa. A big mistake, the food disgusting, service terrible, the KFC or McDonald’s of seafood.

Last year we ate at Papa’s fish and chips. Misleading, as although it is a fish n chip shop, it is also an excellent fish restaurant. Excellent sea bream.

Wednesday night Nicolas Tavern or Taverna Kamasias?

I was told that at Taverna Kamasias the sea bream even better than at Papa’s fish and chips.

I assumed Taverna Kamasias was a fish restaurant. I was wrong, a Greek-Cypriot taverna, strictly speaking a meze house serving fish and meat meze.

I asked was the fish freshly caught? I was told yes.

We ordered a Greek salad. This was served with bread and pitta bread.

For starter, we decided on what we had at Papa’s fish and chips, fingers of cheese, fried, covered in sesame seeds.

We must have got the name wrong. What was served, molten cheese in a bowl with hot tomatoes. It did not look appetising, but was delicious.

Then came the sea bream, my companion chose a seafood platter.

Both were excellent.

The seafood platter included very tiny crabs as find on the beach.

We could have taken our own wine. I did not know this. I could have brought a bottle of red wine from Melissonas Hill Vineyard, though it would not have gone with the fish.

A side dish of vegetables.

Neighbouring table had steak served on a wooden platter. Another table snails.

We did not order dessert, nevertheless a dessert arrived. Slices of watermelon, a couple of strawberries, a couple of Greek cakes and something I did not know what it was served in a jar of honey.

To one side, large loudspeakers, imply must be a venue for live music.

On arrival, maybe around eight o’clock, almost empty. When we left, a little before eleven o’clock, the place was heaving.

What we did not know was this was Black Angus steak night. Yes, it was chalked up, but I assumed it was one of the dishes on offer.

We then drove through Protaras. It was deserted, the bars and restaurants empty. The local economy destroyed by all-inclusive hotels.

Taverna Kamasias, one of the best places to eat in Cyprus, indeed one of the best places I have eaten.

Ocean Basket Ayia Napa

May 18, 2017

If you want bad overpriced seafood coupled with piss-poor service then Ocean Basket in Ayia Napa is the place to eat.

There are good fish restaurants in the locality, in Protaras and Paralimni, but this is not one of them.

We had intended to eat at a fish restaurant in Paralimni. A big mistake that we chose to eat at Ocean Basket instead.

Dips and menu arrived promptly, though no mention of what the dips were, no bread.

A long wait before our order was taken. After half an hour or more had passed, we summoned a waitress. She did not want to know. A waiter was summoned. He at least apologised. He thought our order had already been taken.

Once our order was taken the food arrived promptly. Too promptly to be freshly cooked.

The fish n chips was disgusting. The cod not fresh, the chips not freshly cooked.

Any fish n chip shop in England that served this would not survive long in business.

The seafood platter looked ok, but was cold.

The bread never did arrive.

The toilets tucked behind the bar were not hard to find, follow the smell. They were though clean.

We should have walked out and left the food untouched.

The McDonald’s or KFC of seafood.

A place to be avoided.

My dining companion who chose the seafood platter in less than an hour of eating, had bad attack of food poisoning and had to run to the toilet.

Try Papa’s fish and chips (a fish restaurant)  or Kamasias. Both are in Paralimni.

We then drove through the centre of Ayia Napa. Nighttime and yet the streets were all but deserted, the restaurants and bars empty. As with nearby Protaras, another resort where local economy destroyed by all-inclusive hotels.

Cottage pie at Alton Station Cafe

May 3, 2017

Wednesday night, bikers night. Though few bikers, too cold and wet.

This little black shed is not where to expect high quality food. Be pleasantly surprised.

I was looking forward to moussaka, no moussaka.

A choice of cottage pie or a chicken casserole.

I opted for the cottage pie, and they knocked out a salad to go with it.

The cottage pie was excellent. So good, I could have done with seconds.

I opted for crumble and custard, which also was good.

I mentioned O’Connor’s Secret Garden appeared to have closed. I suggested they looked into taking it on, provided they did not change it.

Bedda

May 3, 2017

Today, Wednesday, is street food market in Winchester.

Each visit, the market gets smaller. Though loss of many of the stalls is no loss.

Bedda is Sicilian for good.

Bedda is a Sicilian stall on the Winchester street food market.  Two Sicilian guys doing pasta. Today was their first day.

I tried their tagliatelle or was it tagliolini. Lovely creamy sauce, with added sliced oyster mushrooms (at least I think they were oyster mushrooms).

It was excellent, in fact worth a trip to Winchester for.

The only time I have had as good, was from El Maná in Puerto de la Cruz, and from an Italian chef in Bassano del Grappa, president of north Italy food association.

We had a long conversation. I was suggesting where they could have a stall.

Maybe Guildford farmers market first Tuesday of the month. I do not know if they would meet the criteria, though their food is clearly made locally and there is a stall with paella.

An absolute must for them would be Godalming Food Festival  and Staycation Live.

They should also check various events in Gostrey Meadow in Farnham, especially the Farnham Carnival.

 

Guildford farmers market

May 2, 2017

After a chilly start, the afternoon was quite pleasant. A marked contrast to the wintry weather yesterday.

Reserved my bread and flapjacks at Celtic Baker to collect later.

Excellent dosa from the chutney stall. Far superior to the dosa I had at the South Bank Street Food Market yesterday.  Ollo Foods is an absolute must for Godalming Food Festival and Staycation Live.

At least one new stall. A man selling quality pork pies. That was all he was selling, pork pies.

The farmers market is turning into Alcoholics Alley. Too many stalls selling alcoholic drinks. One fruit and vegetable stall I never buy from, poor standard, rarely fresh produce, high prices. Today they had sunk to a new low. Bags of plastic wrapped apples, the apples rotten.

Does the market not exact any standards, as other markets do?

It is not acceptable anyone selling produce that is packaged in a way that is not compostable or recyclable. This should be a condition to be on the market.

When did Environmental Health last do a check on this market? Have they ever carried out checks? Or is there a conflict of interest at play?

Why is there no quality coffee stall on the market?

Two ladies were giving away cakes. Not sure why, but the cakes were excellent. They were from a group that discusses dying. I mentioned death cafes, and referred them to an article in Standart issue 7.  They were aware of death cafes.

It was then a coffee in Harris + Hoole. Tax dodging Caffè Nero has taken a stake. Does this mean H+H now serve the same low quality coffee? Fortunately not.

South Bank Street Food Market

May 1, 2017

South Bank Street Food Market is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a Monday if a Bank Holiday.

A wide variety of food and drink.

My only criticism,  becoming too crowded and needs to relocate to where more space.

I had a dosa off one of the stalls. Nowhere the standard of Guildford farmers market off the chutney stall.

Two coffee stalls, one a battered old Citroen van, the other .

When a coffee stall adulterates its coffee with syrups, cannot be bothered to grind coffee fresh for each cup because it is too much trouble, then it is best avoided.

Which is why I had a coffee off The Ethiopian Coffee Company. The other reason because I know they will serve me a good coffee.  I had actually been looking forward to this coffee since the day before.  Coffee off this stall is probably the best coffee in London.

I also bought cakes, Middle East Greek-style cakes, off one of the stalls.

Lincoln farmers market

April 14, 2017

Is this sad little market someones idea of a joke?

Half a dozen stalls.

Maybe middle of winter, early January, but this is mid-April, spring.

I chatted to one of the stalls, to learn it does not get much better in the summer, when fresh produce.

I found a leaflet, but what was shown appeared to be wishful thinking, as only fresh meat on the market today. I saw no bread, cheeses, cask ales.

I learnt there was a market Saturday, but up by Lincoln Castle. That there was a market every Friday, but in a different location.

Therefore had one found next week, a market further down the High Street, then turned up the next week, and found no market, would you turn up again?

And what of publicity? I have seen none.

I had had afternoon tea at Henry’s, was walking back down the High Street, through The Stonebow, was passing Stokes on High Bridge, when I noticed a few stalls further down the High Street.

As I walked past the stalls, I noticed people were walking past, not even glancing at the stalls, let alone stopping to have a look.

Very apparent no one was there for the market, but then with no publicity, only half a dozen stalls, hardly surprising.

I would not make a special trip.

Is this the best Lincoln can do, a city of 100,000 souls, surrounded by villages, a county town for an agricultural county?

But then Lincoln, a market town, does not even have a market.

Whoever is responsible for this market should hang their heads in shame.

I did at least pick up excellent strawberries.

Lincoln Street Food Market

March 17, 2017

Wednesday was a lovely warm spring day, some parts of the country almost reached 19C.

Today 9C, strong cold wind, with windchill factor much lower, then it started to rain.

Begs the question, why hold a street food market this time of year?

Would not late spring, summer or early autumn be a better time?

No publicity the days before.

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.

It was only later, I learnt there were stalls the other side of the level crossing, by then too late. Nothing anywhere to say more stalls.

I did not try any of the stalls, and none seemed busy, too cold. I did though have a cappuccino off The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Organised by a travelling circus, which explains why not very good.

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

And if true what I was told by a local coffee shop, Lincoln BIG are paying to bring this travelling circus into town, then not good.

Lincoln should  organise its own street food festival, invite stalls.

Though on the other hand, looking at their competence or lack thereof on running markets in the town, then maybe not.

The street food market will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Through the busy pedestrianised High Street, an idiot driving through in a van, even though not permitted, with one hand on steering wheel, the other holding a mobile phone. Several pedestrians nearly run down.

Coffee Aroma is harassed for leaving tables and chairs outside after four o’clock, on the other hand blind eye turned to traffic driving through a busy pedestrianised street putting pedestrians at risk middle of the afternoon.