Archive for the ‘York’ Category

Independent Life

September 16, 2018

Every town has one if not more freebie magazines. These are nearly always rubbish, an appalling waste of trees. Viva Brighton is a rare exception. And far too often these freebie magazines are shoved through the letterbox as unsolicited junk mail to be thrown away unread.

On a recent trip to York, I picked up a copy of Independent Life from Brew & Brownie then leafed through whilst waiting for my lunch at Burr. Like Viva Brighton, another rare exception, worth picking up.

I was though baffled, why Leeds and York, nowhere near each other.

I learnt later at Kiosk it used to cover Leeds, only recently Leeds and York. Still odd though.

Maybe follow the example of Viva Brighton (which has a sister magazine Viva Lewes), Independent Leeds and Independent York.

Kiosk would be an excellent location from which to distribute.

Not on glossy paper. Another plus.

I thought the title Independent came from the fact it was an independent publication, maybe, but actually comes from the focus on indie businesses, which is yet another plus.

It is the indie businesses, quirky, of character, that make the old part of York, Hull Old Town or North Laine in Brighton worth a visit.

Why visit a town for the same crap corporate chains to be found in any town?

A huge mistake Guildford tourist information has made. A short video clip to promote Guildford, featuring er coffee chains, two grotty shopping centres. Reasons not to visit methinks.

Independent Life also publishes The Little Black Book Leeds, now vol 3, a guide to the independent businesses in Leeds. If one does not exist, I assume in the pipeline a similar guide for indie businesses in York.

Independent Life local indie businesses, local culture, art, poetry, well worth grabbing a copy.

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Spring Espresso Fossgate

September 14, 2018

I had tried to find Spring Espresso Fossgate in the past, but not successful, it does help to have a map.

Fossgate is a little foodie mecca, three coffee shops cheek by jowl, The Fossgate Social opposite Kiosk, Spring Espresso nearby, next to Kiosk, what looked like an amazing food shop but no time to look in.

I ask of cold brew. Yes, they bring a bottle out of the fridge serve with ice. No time, I ask for a takeaway cup.

— to be continued —-

Afternoon in York

September 14, 2018

I caught a bus half an hour earlier than I needed to to catch a train, as cannot rely on the unreliable bus service.

I had assumed, never assume, the train to Doncaster would be Northern Fail. it was East Midlands, a single coach, a joke I know. I would have travelled Saturday, had I known, as Northern Fail on strike.

There used to be from the train a stunning view across the Brayford of Lincoln Cathedral, now a mere glimpse thanks to ugly University buildings obscuring the view.

Cold and raining at Doncaster.

An empty Pullman train. Pulled and pushed by diesel locomotives.

The last time I saw a Pullman train, though far longer, was at Chichester Station last month.

York Station, an iconic Victorian Station. At the time it was constructed, the largest railway station in the world. Appropriate then nearby the National Railway Museum.

From the Station, head to York Minster, running parallel to the City Wall. Over the bridge, then a choice, right into Kendal and into the old part of town, or onward to York Minster and into the old part of town.

If head straight on, Bake Shop and Brew & Brownie. Cakes and coffee and lunch. I noticed their coffee had changed, now Allpress.

Into Lendal, lunch at Burr. Excellent for lunch, not for coffee.

On display in the window, indie coffee guide with mention they are listed. No mention they are only listed because they have paid to be listed and write their own entry. In other words the guide is a scam and lacks any credibility.

The only way to find coffee shops, is to follow ones feet, and when find a good coffee shop, ask.

Lunch grilled wild mushrooms, halloumi cheese, pine nuts on toasted sourdough bread. Generaous portion size, excellent.

Last time I had a coffee, never again, it was by someone from the kitchen. I witness the same again, cardinal sin, chocolate dumped on taste. I resist the strong tempation to ask to touch the cup to see how hot (it was not my coffee).

A discussion on coffee. I recommend, locally, Dark Woods, otherwise, Outpost Coffee, Pharmacie.

I am recommended to try a roastery in Micklegate, not known if also serve coffee. Also try Kiosk.

Every town has one if not more freebie magazines. They are rubbish and appalling waste of trees. Viva Brighton is a rare exception.

From Brew & Brownie, I picked up Independent Life and leafed through whilst waiting for my lunch at Burr. Like Viva Brighton, another rare exception, worth picking up.

I was though baffled, why Leeds and York, nowhere near each other.

I learnt later at Kiosk it used to cover Leeds, only recently Leeds and York. Still odd though.

Not on glossy paper. Another plus.

I notice next to Spring Espresso what appears to be a quality butcher.

I find after a little wandering around, Fossgate. This street is a little foodie mecca, three coffee shops within spitting distance of each, Spring Espresso Fossgate, The Fossgate Social and Kiosk.

I had been recommended Kiosk, so Kiosk it was.

A lovely little coffee shop.

They did serve Maude and Dark Woods, both excellent coffee roasteries. That in itself sufficient recommendation. Now Assembly.

I order a cappuccino. Excellent.

It is very rare to have the perfect cappuccino, smooth, this was one of those very rare occasions. Assembly house espresso may also have played its part, as described as creamy.

Outside, three Chinese girls, excellent coffee, they take me at my word, and walk in.

I look in The Fossgate Social, a little garden out the back, more of a bar serving coffee than a coffee shop, but good selection of craft beer.

I had tried to find Spring Espresso Fossgate in the past, but not successful, it does help to have a map, therefore pop in.

Now little time. I ask of cold brew. Yes, they bring a bottle out of the fridge serve with ice. No time, I ask for a takeaway cup.

Lost, I find The Shambles, then The Shambles market lots of street food, then Kings Square.

One of my reasons for visiting ona Friday, The Attic in Kings Square.

I find my way to York Minster, then on to York Station.

I am just in time to pick something from little cake stall.

Train is on time, then running late. Train overcrowded, one reason not to travel to Kings Cross from York on a Friday.

Garbled message as approaching, change at Doncaster, then Retford.

I stay on the train miss connection at Newark, have 30 minutes walk through Newark to alternative Newark station. No station staff on hand.

— to be continued —-

Harlequin Cafe and The Attic

April 20, 2018

On leaving Spring Espresso Lendal and wandering around, arrived back at York Minster, then found Harlequin Cafe and The Attic overlooking a small square, King’s Square.  I was actually heading towards a market or at least following a sign to a market.

First Floor Harlequin Cafe (closed) and on the second floor The Attic.

Through a door and up narrow stairs.

I have lumped the two together, but strictly speaking I should not as two different one a tea shop the other a coffee shop cum drinking den in the evening.  The only reason I have is because Harlequin Cafe was closed. All I could do was peer though the door and carry on upwards to The Attic, quite literally the attic.

Why was Harlequin Cafe closed, I asked on reaching The Attic. Why was it closed, I inquired? I learnt it closed at 3-30 in the afternoon Looking perplexed, I was told it was a tea room.

Not wishing for yet another cappuccino I chose, or was chosen for me, pour over Kalita Wave using a single origin from Has bean, I think a Burundi.

A signed copy of Coffeeography occupying pride of place on the shelf. I suggested why not invite Stephen Leighton for an afternoon of conversation, such an event of  conversation with Stephen Leighton had taken place one afternoon at Coffee Aroma.

A choice of KeepCup or ecoffee reusable cups. The black with Attic, far more attractive than ecoffee in Oxfam.

A short walk to a local market but now no time to have a wander round.

I asked the way to the station as now in a more modern less attractive part of the city and lost.

Spring Espresso Lendal

April 20, 2018

What a difference walking down a street can make.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the coffee awful.

Is my sense of taste awry? No, bad coffee.

Spring Espresso Lendal serves coffee from Square Mile, Red Brick espresso blend and single origin.

I have yet to have a bad Square Mile coffee and Spring Espresso Lendal was no exception.

Excellent cappuccino, restoring my faith that my sense of taste had not gone awry.

Did they have guest coffees? Occasionally, but very rarely as always a changing guest coffee from Square Mile.

I noticed a Synesso espresso machine. Showing an interest, I was told the only one in the country, at least of that model. Spring Espresso have a second coffee shop in York with a different Synesso.

On the counter a small cold brew tower. I have never seen one so small, though unusual to ever see one in the UK.  It was dripping at one drip every two seconds through the coffee and into a carafe below. Eight hours.  Odd though to serve with tonic.

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.

 

Afternoon in York

April 20, 2018

Wednesday very hot, hottest day of the year, fortunately Thursday not as hot.

Virgin Trains Doncaster to York running several minutes late. Then at the last minute, train switched to another platform. Passengers only became aware on seeing the train pull into another platform. Station staff then tried to stop passengers boarding and refused to hold the train to enable passengers to board.

Whilst waiting for the late running train, a train for Kings Cross pulled in with announcement already full standing room only.

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

What struck me, walking from the station, and then wandering around, the number of tourists.  Second that the centre relatively unspoilt, even where chains, and there was a good mix of independents where there were chains, the streets had not been destroyed, original buildings and shopfronts. Oxfam did though have to be an exception, ugly shop sign. Could they not have had the good grace to have had a sign in keeping with the character of the building?

Contrast with Lincoln, a historic town, and yet few tourists compared compared with York. Could this be due to poor town centre planning, destruction of whole swathes of the town centre, the latest being Sincil Street?

The  centre of York traffic free contrast with centre of Lincoln where it is not.

Passed a couple of coffee shops. I wandered in a couple, but far too hot to be sat inside.  Brew and Brownie tempting, but too hot 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.

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.

Further down the street, Spring Espresso Lendal serving Square Mile Coffee.  What a difference walking down a street can make. Excellent coffee.

View story at Medium.com

Then wandering around, arrived back at York Minster, then found Harlequin Coffee and The Attic overlooking a square, King’s Square, as I followed signs to a market.

First Floor Harlequin Cafe (closed) and  on the second floor The Attic.

Not wishing for yet another cappuccino I chose, or was chosen for me, pour over Kalita Wave using a single origin from Has bean, I think a Burundi.

A short walk to a local market but now no time to have a wander round.

I asked the way to the station as now in a more modern less attractive part of the city and lost.

Crossed a different bridge over the River Ouse en route the the station

On arrival at the station found train running fifteen minutes late, which meant would not make connecting service at Newark.

Train left twenty minutes late.

It was announced, leave at Newark, walk to other Newark Station, fifteen minutes walk, will be met by station staff and guided where to go.

Not true 15 minutes walk. It is 15 minutes walk into town, and that is assuming know the way. No staff greeting passengers. No transport to convey passengers. not even bottles of water handed out which was the least they could have done.

Poorly signposted across the town, including dircting on unnesseary long way around.

— to be completed —