Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

Oxford street food market

June 22, 2019

An excellent street food market, spoilt for choice.

I settled on souvlaki as I had already decided, but other stalls were very tempting.

Oxford City Council needs to set higher environmental standards, assuming set any.

A fruit juice stall with moronic music blasting out should be told to cease, as they are disturbing the peace and quiet of the square.

Food served in polystyrene boxes not acceptable.

There needs to be bench seats as n York for people to sit and enjoy the food.

The street food market comparable with a street food market I happened upon in Berlin. That in Berlin market better, but still excellent choice and variety. As a street food market should be.

Half the market is a traditional market at least it is on a Wednesday when bread, fruit and vegetables. Not so on a Saturday, second-hand books, art, Jewellery, music.

Oxford street food market puts to shame the travelling circuses hosted in Lincoln.

Lunch at Indonesian street food restaurant

May 8, 2019

Aldershot is a town most people avoid.

it is easy to see why, boarded-up shops, streets deserted, utter desolation. The result of decades of bad town centre planning by the local council.

There is though one reason to visit, lunch at Indonesian street food restaurant in Upper Union Street.

That was where I was heading.

Excellent Ayam Woku.

I was not the only one.

Three very attractive Indonesian women, who had travelled from Southampton, such the reputation the restaurant has.

I had one dish. When one dish arrived, |I thought that was their meal. No, more dishes arrived until their table resembled a mini-banquet.

This is how street food should be, not the rubbish served at Chow Down in Lincoln Castle or the travelling street food circus a few weeks earlier in the High Street.

Not only street food, this is how food should be street food or restaurant.

Simple food, tasty, no PR bullshit, no gimmicks, just quality ingredients, quality cooking.

Whilst I was there a man came in claiming to be from Google, or maybe giving the illusion he was from Google, he was wearing a Google jacket, claiming they needed to be on Google Maps.

They are already on Google Maps.

I suspected scam.

Lunch at Cartwheel

April 26, 2019

Cartwheel excellent for coffee. Today I decided to try for lunch.

I would usually eat at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station. Not today, too crowded and my favourite spot overlooking Nottingham Canal was taken. I thought I would give Cartwheel a try for lunch.

It is rare, a good place to eat but not good coffee, good coffee but not good food. Cartwheel a rarity, excellent food, and excellent coffee.

Prior to placing an order, carafe of ice cold water brought to my table, poured into a glass, then knife and fork and paper napkin neatly laid at the side.

This level of service, the norm in Athens, not in England.

Avocado on sourdough bread toast with side of potato hash.

Excellent, generous portion size. Potato hash sufficient for two.

After lunch, a cappuccino. Excellent.

I was asked, did I fancy a cake? No thanks, already too full

I was tempted a V60, and liked how served, cup, carafe and card providing information on on the coffee served, but not sufficient time.

Cartwheel is featured in the latest Great Food Club Handbook.

Cobbler and shoe shop next door, Loakes shoes, is well worth popping in.

Lincoln Vegan Festival 2019

April 6, 2019

A vegan festival would expect to showcase the best of vegan food.

Er, not in Lincoln, not if vegan festival last year was anything to go by.

Visit in the morning, eat?

I decided to check, could find little help on their facebook page, asked.

There is pizza, Indian, wraps, dosa, chips, Hot dogs, Vegan Steak sandwiches, pulled Jackfruit tacos and more.

To say the least did not sound appetising.

I ate first and turned up early afternoon.

A wise move.

Last year, the only stall making any effort at quality, an Indian stall.

Today, disgusting looking junk food.

Hot dogs. Yuk.

I am used to eating excellent vegetarian food, occasional vegan food, an Indian family that prepares excellent food, Indian restaurants, a dosa off Ollo Foods at Guildford farmers market, a lady who used to prepare excellent vegetarian meals at Guildford Institute, Food for Thought in Covent Garden.

But not what was on offer at Lincoln Vegan Festival. They even had the gall to demand Lincoln Drill Hall close its own cafe.

Apart from a couple of food stalls, clothes, hunt sabateurs, candles, soap, ceramics

I was there all of ten minutes.

I spent longer at Cafe Portico. Passing by, owner waved, I thought it rude not to look in and say hello, and he offered me a coffee.

Cafe Portico, unlike Lincoln Vegan Festival, do take care with their food. As does Curry Jacks I passed on my way to the vegan festival.

It was then to Vine’s Bakery, which opened on Friday at the foot of Steep Hill. They only opened on Friday, and selection currently poor, but it was as though Lincoln had never seen a bread shop before, maybe have not, as a steady stream of people passing through the door into the shop.

A walk up Steep Hill.

Looked in Imperial Teas. Pleased to see they have added Duffy’s bean-to-bar chocolate.

Duffy’s, high quality bean-to-bar, dark chocolate vegan by definition, I am surprised no stall at the Lincoln Vegan Festival. On the other hand, the low quality food offering, maybe wise not to be associated with when have a high quality product.

Not so pleased to see Tourist Information Centre promoting Loyal Free app. Does nothing for Lincoln, even less for local businesses, but does hijack personal data from your phone.

Later, cappuccino at Coffee Aroma.

There was to be talks at the Lincoln Vegan Festival, but if there was I saw no information.

Ludicrous claims relating to environment and health on the back of the Lincoln Vegan Festival flier.

The world has been subjected to a 50-year experiment of low fat, low meat, increased carbohydrates, based upon poor quality data and biased interpretation, meanwhile we have seen an exponential rise in heart disease, obesity and type-ii diabetes. Those who dared to challenge what has now become hard wired, were smeared, denied funding, barred from publication, not invited to conferences. The few contrary studies were dismissed.

Over the last 100 years a sharp rise in the use of vegetable oils from near zero. Trans-fats are formed when we hydrogenate vegetable oils to form hard fats. The first paper alerting to the possible dangers of trans-fats, an artificial fat found in cell membranes, was followed by forty years of deadly silence as the vegetable oil industry shut down all debate. The process produces other artificial fats of which very little is known.

Cooking using polyunsaturated vegetable oils leads to oxidation products linked to cancer. Not only liked to cancer, toxic to rats and mice, damage to DNA and RNA. We breath in these oxidation products each time we visit a junk food outlet, we ingest each time we eat junk food.

Soya oils has seen use increase a thousand fold over a century.

Olive oil does not have the long pedigree led to believe. Even in Greece, use of olive oil does not stretch back into antiquity. The use of olive oil was cosmetic not culinary.

The Mediterranean Diet is recent, conferences in Mediterranean locations, good food, favourable reports, get an invite for next year, all floated on an olive oil industry slush fund.

EAT-Lancet diet for a small planet, almost vegan, good for our health, good for the planet, too good to be true, the wheels fell off within days when subject to proper scientific scrutiny. That promoted by agribusiness should send alarm bells ringing.

Yes, we should eat more fruit and vegetables, grains and nuts, less processed food, maybe less meat, but we need to take a whole systems approach, not be the latest bigot in town jumping on the latest fashionable bandwagon, the latest fad.

In many parts of the world, grazing animals is more environmentally sound than growing crops.

There is nothing intrinsically healthy about a vegan diet, especially when highly processed, indeed all the evidence is heavily stacked against.

Organic food heavily processed is still heavily processed food.

Would those tucking into the vegan hot dogs be so keen if presented with a list of ingredients?

And what of the environmental cost?

Nitrogen-based fertilisers, pesticides, palm oil, genetic modification, reliance on oil industry, just a few of the issues.

Africa, Europe, Asia, North America was covered in open woodland and grassland, savannah, prairie, across which roamed huge herds of herbivores. Man was a hunter gatherer, ate red meat, ate fat, grains did not form part of our diet.

Animals are part of the natural cycle, recycle nutrients. Contrast with ploughed fields, soil erosion.

We need to drastically reduce carbon emissions, healthy grasslands, woodlands, soils, act as carbon sinks. They also help, less radiated energy back into the atmosphere.

Try walking across soil midday day in the Middle East.

We need better farming practices that are good for planet, animals and our health.

The recent trend for fake milks, much to the annoyance of baristas as a cannot make decent cappuccino with fake milk, pause and question the environmental cost.

Where has the soya come from? Plantations where once stood rain forests. Soy can be an allergen. The soy is possibly genetically modified. Soy is bitter and has to have additives to remove the bitterness.

What of almond milk? If California, what of the water used in a state suffering from drought and over extraction of water? Five litres of water for each almond.

If do not like milk, for whatever reason, have single origin V60 pour over.

Too much fake science. For example a vegan burger compared with a meat burger, the former served with green tea, the latter served with a latte with half a dozens spoons of sugar.

There is no such thing as cheap food, we simply externalise the costs, social costs, human rights abuse, environmental degradation, climate chaos and animal welfare.

A handful of people eating plants does little to address ethics in food production.

It is not ethical when we praise quality but expensive food, nor when we praise cheap substandard food.

It is not ethical when rich folk enjoy food produced by poor folk who get poorer the harder they work. It is not ethical when the rich get richer peddling junk food to the masses.

Lincoln Vegan Festival was sponsored by a fake cheese company. If they had a stall I did not see.

Fake cheese is not cheese.

Cheese comes from the milk of ruminants, they process what we cannot eat, turn it into milk, rare breed cows out on pasture, unpasteurised milk, turned into cheese, a wholesome natural product, without any additives, flavourings, not adulterated in any way. Slow food at its best. Anything else, is not cheese.

If not made from milk, it is not cheese.

The demand for cashew nuts to satisfy vegans, especially for fake cheese, is leading to appalling working conditions for those in the Third World who shell the nuts.

Veganuary was much hyped. Was it the success it claimed to be?

Veganuary was much hyped, yes a big increase, but a big increase on a small number is still a very small number. The real measure, how many stuck to a vegan diet? A mere 16%, a tiny number on an already small number. Butchers reported no loss of business.

A vegan sausage at Greggs was much hyped. Did sales increase because their sausage rolls were so bad? Bad diet, highly processed junk food, a diet rich in highly processed carbohydrates.

Leadenham Teahouse

February 13, 2019

On the way to Grantham stopped off at Leadenham to visit award-winning Leadenham Teahouse.

What does award-winning actually mean? Not a lot as these days virtually anyone is up for an award and when given by Good Taste Lincolnshire or Good Taste Awards meaningless.

Last year Good Taste Lincolnshire awarded Coffee Bobbins the best tea and coffee shop in Lincolnshire which serving poor quality tea and coffee made the award a laughing stock, as not even the best in Lincoln.

This time around the turn of Leadenham Teahouse for this worthless accolade.

Leadenham is a village on the way Lincoln to Grantham, I say village, actually Leadenham Teahouse on the cross roads, though there is a village church and it does host to my surprise a polo club.

Leadenham Teahouse is a tea shop serving tea and snacks and cake and coffee, a Post Office, well actually a Post Office counter and a little shop selling tourist tat.

As tea shops goes quite pleasant though nothing special.

Custom was myself and a coupe of ladies. No one came in to use the service of the Post Office.

I had avocado on sourdough toast with a sprinkling of cottage cheese, and a little salad.

OK, but poor quality sourdough to what I have had elsewhere and poor offering compared with excellent avocado on sourdough toast at The Cheese Society in Lincoln, which also came with melted halloumi cheese.

In the centre a wood-burning stove emitting more pollution than a diesel lorry, but maybe ok in the middle of nowhere.

The tourist tat, but no tourists, and I could not see why there would be especially as the tea shop not open on a Sunday and closes half day on a Saturday.

Outside bench seats by traffic lights on a major road.

I had a cappuccino. It was not good, poor quality catering supply coffee and clueless on how to make coffee. Though in a all fairness a tea shop not a coffee shop and there was a wide choice of tea.

A few cakes from local bakery, but did not look at all appealing.

I was surprised no fresh bread on sale.

I was told try the farm shop down the road.

Lunch at The Cheese Society

February 1, 2019

New Year’s Eve, I could not find anywhere open for lunch.

Luckily I managed to squeeze on the sharing table at The Cheese Society.

The same today, early afternoon, I thought I may be lucky, and again just managed to squeeze onto the sharing table.

Excellent avocado on sourdough bread topped with grilled halloumi cheese.

My companion Boston sausages on toasted sourdough bread topped with melted Lincolnshire Poacher (Cheddar-like local cheese, not to be be confused with finest adulterated fake cheddar from Skegness).

Served with a small salad, generous portion size.

I have no idea Boston sausage, maybe a variant of Lincolnshire sausage.

Whilst waiting, I tried a brie from Scotland. I will have to pop back and buy.

I recommended Ambrosia to add to their reading material.

I fancied a coffee from Base Camp, but closed, closed for the foreseeable future, change of ownership. Nothing to say closed, or when it may reopen.

Excellent cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

Walking through the High Street, a van and a lorry in what is a pedestrianised street. Every day the same, no Enforcement.

Demolition in Sincil Street, started Monday, by Wednesday almost demolished. And no bulldozers as reported by Lincolnite. Part of the ongoing destruction of Sincil Street by Lincoln City Council in cahoots with the local Coop.

The demolition scant regard for safety of passers-by. There should have been scaffolding and netting to stop debris landing in the street.

Shanti

January 26, 2019

I tend to avoid any town on a Saturday.

The town was busy, it seemed even busier than when shoppers out Christmas shopping or the January Sales.

Everywhere was packed.

I had intended to eat at Shanti around one, arrived at two.

It too was busy, two spare seats at a table for four.

I was asked to come back in forty-five minutes.

I took a walk up The Strait, Steep Hill and into Bailgate.

I noticed yet another business on Steep Hill closing. No surprise, one of the junk shops that is rarely open,

On the way back down, a chat with Fools on the Hill, fools with a table urging people to support a Second Referendum, only they lack the integrity and honesty to call it a Second Referendum and call it a People’s Vote.  No surprise, entirely clueless the EU and having a hard time gaining any support.

No change at Shanti, but the couple on the table for four about to leave.

To my annoyance told we have to check our bookings.

It was then, ask a group of Indians on a table to move up to create space for me.

Begs the question, why not put me on table where there was room when I first walked in?

Half an hour before a couple of rostis served with a small portion of salad. I was asked vegetarian cheese or vegan cheese? In other words real cheese or fake cheese, fake cheese which actually cannot be called cheese.

A vegetarian cum vegan fake Indian restaurant.

I was looking forward to eating at Shanti, I was very disappointed.

I found it to be very cramped and claustrophobic.

The food was ok not great. Not sure what was dumped on top. It tasted like jam.

I have had a far better dosa off a stall at the Guildford farmers market, and far far better Indian food elsewhere. I have also eaten at far better vegetarian restaurants.

The irony was, I passed Curry Jacks by the river. I would but the fact a cold location, been better off trying their food.

Curry Jacks once a month an evening of their food at Coffee Aroma.

Sausage and mash County Restaurant

January 8, 2019

County Restaurant for many years was an excellent place to eat. It then went downhill, picked up, sadly seems to have gone rapidly downhill again.

Very poor choice today, bangers and mash or bangers and mash. There was a choice of sausage or fake vegan sausage.

And a choice of a flavoured chicken.

The bangers and mash were served with (at extra cost) unappetising looking mash potatoes, under-cooked beans and overcooked greens, served in a bowl formed by a Yorkshire pudding that required a saw to cut, plus gravy if desired.

The sausages cheapest disgusting sausages they could find, though not as bad as found in a Coop or M&S bangers and mash ready meal.  The sausages under-cooked.

The mash tasted better than looked.

Vegan sausages to pander to the vegan lobby. I do not know why anyone wishes to eat fake sausages or fake meat, anymore than from Greggs a fake sausage roll or even why eat from Greggs,  I would rather have an excellent vegetarian dish, though the vegan sausages could not have been worse than the half cooked real sausages.

Served in a Yorkshire pudding a gimmick.

They need to concentrate on quality not gimmicks.

They used to have two good chefs. No sign of them. Maybe they have left.

Water, plastic, not glass.

On sale, Quad Restaurant reusable coffee cups, ugly not barista friendly plastic reusable cups. No surprise low take up.

Appalling meal at Pho Guildford

November 16, 2018

Pho is a fake Vietnamese street food restaurant in Tunsgate.

I went twice when Pho Guildford first opened in the summer when half price, then returned a few weeks later.

Each time, the food had deteriorated from previous visit, never saw the same staff twice, poor service their trademark.

Today I met up with a friend. As Bamboo Shoots closed, we went to Pho.

Pho was packed, very noisy, not pleasant, but luckily we got a table by the window. On previous visits, apart from the day it opened, empty.

Loud music, lots of noise, does not make for a pleasant environment to relax and eat, but Pho clueless and do not understand this or care.

Menu came promptly, not the food we ordered. A long wait, a very long wait, easily half an hour or more. Most of the people had left before our food came. A man sitting next to us was served promptly, even though he arrived some time after us.

When the food finally came it was cold. It was fairly obvious, cooked, left, before delivered to the table. The bowls were stone cold.

Prawns on a bed of bean shoots and noodles. Some of the prawns lukewarm, others cold as though out of a fridge. Bean shoots warm. Noodles cold as though out of a fridge.

Disgusting that food can be served like this.

We requested something else.

Only I ate as it was getting late. It was not good either.

Char-grilled pork, only it bore no resemblance to what have had before either in Pho Guildford or Pho Reading last week. Previously thin slices of pork, these were chunks of pork. Previously crunchy white rice slightly aromatic. This was neither and had had something unpleasant poured over half the rice.

I left half eaten.

When we complained, a tall black guy came to the table. Whether manager or serving staff he did not say.

He apologised and offered something else and said we did not have to pay. I would not have paid anyway.

He then asked did we live in Guildford and said he would bring us something.

When he returned we assumed it was to give us a voucher to eat again another day.

No, it was a book of special offers, available in every participating venue.

Could we use to to pay the bill? No. Only for their Christmas dinner.

When something is this bad, and it was bad. The meal should have been free with an invite to return at their expense.

But Pho is a chain, they do not care, poor service is their trademark.

Although in Tunsgate, Pho is part of Tunsgate Quarter, the latest Guildford White Elephant. A sterile artificial shopping centre, boarded-up units, crap chains like Cosy Club a fake 1930s bar, so fake a parody of fake and devoid of people. The only use of Tunsgate Quarter to provide a useful short cut when raining.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 16, 2018

A damp wet drizzly day in Guildford, though mild.

FCB kiosk on Guildford Station always has a guest coffee. I have often asked, why not have the beans on sale?

A first, Beanpress coffee the beans on sale in tins.

Last week I inquired the price. £18. This could not be right, I inquired of Beanpress, they would not say. Their website not working. I suggested put price of beans and description in a pdf file which can be downloaded or sent out on request.

I was told to e-mail. This I did last week. I finally got a reply this evening. Prices of beans, not the beans I inquired of.

Today I learnt £7-50. Reasonable. Unlike Coffee Lab not ripping customers off on the sale of guest beans. What not acceptable, old beans, roasted August 2018.

Bamboo Shoots closed today. I looked in Debenhams.

Debenhams used to have their own coffee shop. Then became Costa. I was shocked to find it has expanded on the ground floor, and busy, Debenhams customer obviously no taste in coffee.

Debenhams used to have excellent roast dinners, excellent roast pork. Today turkey, always turkey.

Looked in Food for Thought, sometimes freebies, not today. Ever changing coffee, Eat Your Hat, never heard of, no roast date, and looking at their website, marketing hype for the gullible.

I met up with a friend, Bamboo Shoots closed, we went to Pho.

Passing by Surrey Hills Coffee, not a single customer. The norm these days. No surprise when poor quality coffee. How long before they close?

Caracoli is closing or has closed.

I am surprised Canopy Coffee still in business.

Pho was packed, very noisy, not pleasant, but luckily we got a table by the window. On previous visits, apart from the day it opened, empty.

Menu came promptly, not the food we ordered. A long wait, a very long wait, easily half an hour or more. When the food finally came it was cold. It was fairly obvious, cooked, left, before delivered to the table. The bowls were stone cold. We requested something else. Only I ate as it was getting late. It was not good either.

Krema packed. I returned a little later still busy, but not packed. A cappuccino, then a V60 pour over.