Posts Tagged ‘meat’

Kurt, Steven and Yelp are Close to my Heart

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Last night brought another delicious Yelp Elite Event into my life – this time we were welcomed by Bar 21 in the Northern Quarter to sample their wares and check out their disco-tastic dance floors. In recognition of Bar21‘s ‘Movie ‘n’ Music’ theme, the evening was to be focussed on all things famous. It was suggested that we dress up as something film-related. Considering my very poor effort at the previous Elite event where we were asked to dress in ‘Summer attire’ and I wore sunglasses, I decided to actually think about my outfit for this event. With the use of my office’s printing facilities, a pair of scissors and a box of safety pins, I transformed an average red dress into HOMAGE TO B-GRADE MALE ACTION MOVIE STARS THAT I LOVE.

So many handsome men have attached themselves to me.

So many handsome men have attached themselves to me.

Steven, Kurt, Chuck, Jean-Claude, Arnie and co were well received by my fellow Yelpers and there were some mighty fine film and music related tees worn on the night as well.

I had never been to Bar21 before and, to be honest, I had purposefully avoided it. From the outside it had always appeared a bit concrete and uncomfortable, so I was pleasantly surprised when I ventured inside and discovered a bright and cheery bar full of memorabilia. Anywhere with a giant photograph from Back From the Future on the wall is a winner in my world.

We were allowed to choose a drink from their extensive Happy Hour list and Hannah and I were particularly happy to see that Doom Bar ale was an option. An excellent start to the evening.

The super friendly staff made us feel very welcome and took us on a tour of their downstairs dance floor. I think I will need to return for some serious hot-stepping one evening. It has been a long time since my last dance session… too long.

Next was a cocktail master class where we were shown how to make two drinks and then allowed to sample the tasty concoctions. Unfortunately (although probably luckily for our brain cells) there were 30 Yelpers and 15 glasses of each drink so there were a few sharpened elbows pushing their way through to get their drink of choice. Humans + free alcohol = messy. Hannah and I decided sharing is caring and went halfsies. The cocktails were good although neither would be something I’d normally choose. One had a cream layer and the other tasted like liquid Haribo. SWEEEEEEEET.

Mixology madness

Mixology madness

After the cocktails we were all in need of some food and we were overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of dishes put out for us to gorge on. It was a meatlovers’ delight with chorizo, salami, ribs, burgers and more kinds of chicken wings than I’ve seen in a long time. And it was tasty! I wouldn’t normally have chosen to come to Bar21 for food but I was really impressed with what I ate. The beef burgers were served with proscuitto and blue cheese – so good. Sadly, they were also drenched in some sort of brown sauce that was far too strong and completely overpowered all of the flavours. After I had attempted to remove most of the sauce the burger was definitely a winner on my plate.

Food! Photo credit: Hannah's phone.

Food! Photo credit: Hannah’s phone.

Dessert came out as we were still stuffing our faces – lime curd or chocolate mousse tartlets were our choices. Surprisingly I went for the lime as the chocolate didn’t look dark enough for my liking. And the lime was good – nice and sharp and served in a deliciously buttery pastry. Yum.

If we hadn’t consumed enough, out came a birthday cake to celebrate Yelp Manchester’s 10th birthday. Marzipan covered red velvet cake anyone? Yes please. As we forced the cake into our mouths (ok, there was no force involved. It was delicious.) Bar21‘s Thursday night quiz began and in our teams of 4, 5 or 6, we competed to the death to win great prizes and ultimate glory. My team failed miserably and finished in third-last place. We were largely let down by the Australian on our team who didn’t know how many stars were on her own country’s flag. Yep. For shame.

As the evening came to a close and I headed home to bed like the Grandma I have become, I felt that great sense of pure satisfaction after you have had a great night out. Good food, good drinks, good friends, good times. Looking forward to Yelping it up once again in September.

P.S. My stupid phone died during the cocktail master class so I have a serious lack of photographs of food. Very disappointing.

MEAT.

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Last month my service desk team was named TEAM OF THE MONTH for our outstanding time to answer, availability and general awesomeness. As a prize, we were given £10 each for a team dinner so we could bond and stuff. On Friday night most of us headed our for a few drinks at Brew Dog before going to Almost Famous, Manchester’s most beloved burger joint. The plan was to overload our arteries with meat, cheese, chips and burger sauce.

Just after I moved to Manchester, the original Almost Famous burned down in the Northern Quarter and a new branch has opened up at the other end of town. This place is big – an expansive open space with a bar area plus tables and couches for people to sit, eat, drink and be merry. We grabbed a table and after deciphering the slightly confusing menu we ordered at the bar and awaited our food fates. Even I, the semi-vegetarian, was excited about eating some beef. It had been a while since I had had a burger and I had heard good things about Almost Famous. That said, Britain’s love for meat was reinforced as every burger came with at least two patties and most had additional forms of meat – bacon and pulled pork were popular favourites. There were no vegetarian options at all and even some of the chips came with meat additions.

Mmm… burger...

Mmm… burger…

I went for the Famous Burger – as traditional as you can get with two beef patties, cheese, salad, tomato, gherkin and sauce in a bun. The patties were thin so were the equivalent of one patty that you would get in an Australian gourmet burger. It was good – nice flavours and I didn’t feel like I had consumed a bottle of oil by the end of it. However I really want Jus Burger to set up an outlet here and show the Brits what a real gourmet burger is. All burgers in this country are served with slightly sweetened brioche buns – I much prefer Jus’s home made sour dough bread. Plus the toppings aren’t really very creative, it simply seems like they try and shove as many kinds of meat as physically possible in between two slices of bread. Definitely no interesting cheeses, avocado or unusual flavours. Just MEAT and MEAT with MEAT.

It did fill my burger craving and I don’t need to have another one for a while. The chips were good – a mix of normal potato and sweet potato, I went through and ate all of the sweet potato before handing the rest of over to my male companions who inhaled the left overs.

I Want to Vomit

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I thought I had experienced the worst possible restaurant meal of my life when I had “Mont St Michel” inspired fish at a tourist restaurant on the aforementioned island. However, it turns out I was wrong, and the worst meal that I would have in my life would, in fact, be today.

Allow me to explain. It is Tuesday which means we have a lady come and change the sheets and towels and do a quick once over with the vacuum. Yes, we are spoilt rich kids. This means we have to leave the apartment when she arrives because 1. there isn’t enough room for all of us and 2. I hate the fact that someone cleans my apartment (although I do enjoy not having to deal with washing my own sheets.) So today she came at lunch time so Tom and I decided to go out for lunch. We went with our friend, Sonia, and headed to a local brasserie that Tom had eaten at before and that he assured me was AWESOME.

Tom had tried to get me to go to this brasserie on numerous previous occasions but my warning lights for “IT’S A BRASSERIE! DO NOT EAT THERE!” had flashed and I had suggested we go somewhere else. Unfortunately the cold weather had gotten to my brain today and I said we could go to this brasserie just as long as Tom swore it was really that good. Yes. Ok, fine.

When we told Sonia (a local Frenchie) that we were going to a brasserie she had a worried look on her face but came along with us like a good sport. From the outside it didn’t look too bad – there were people in there eating and the food looked relatively edible. And so we sat down. There was a set menu of entree/main or main/dessert with a glass of wine or a coffee for 11.50Euros. We ordered and, not really thinking clearly, I ordered ‘La tête de veau’ focussing more on the ‘veau’ (veal) than the ‘tête’. I mainly selected this because the other options were duck (too fatty), or fish with caper sauce (too caper-y.) As we waited for the food, Sonia commented that she had never dared order ‘La tête de veau’, to which I asked why. Because it is the head. Right. Of course it is seeing as ‘tête’ means head and I know that. I’ve known that for years but I presumed it was like many cuts of meat in French – it isn’t what it sounds like. You can also order ‘nuts of veal’ and ‘mouse of lamb’ and they aren’t what you think they are.

Tête de veau

Tête de veau

My dish arrived and I was a little bit concerned by the fact that the entire thing appeared to be fat. Fat with some sort of grey skin attached. Writing this is proving difficult because the more I remember, the more I wish to regurgitate it. I tried to eat as much as I could but it was all fat. As a person who cuts ALL fat off meat before eating it, this wasn’t the wisest choice. The veal was then covered in a ‘sauce’ that was hard boiled egg and onion with some sort of mayonnaise. It was so strong. Thankfully there were two boiled potatoes on the plate so my lunch was reduced to two boiled potatoes.

Tête de veau

The left overs – that's fat. Fat fat fat.

It’s ok, I thought. I’m having dessert. Sonia and I had both ordered the apricot tart and I declared to Tom that apricot tart can never be done wrong. WELL! Apparently it can! To make an apricot tart inedible, all you have to do is cook it for far too long so that the base burns and the insides curdle. It was seriously disgusting.

We then had to wait for our coffees to arrive because they were part of the deal. Sonia gave hers to Tom and I just didn’t drink mine. The only upside was the Valrhona chocolate on the side of the coffee. So for my 11.50 Euros I had two boiled potatoes and a little piece of Valrhona chocolate. And Tom got a lot of dirty looks from two unimpressed girls. Poor Tom.

Now That’s a Steak

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I can’t remember if I have discussed this previously, but Tom and I are currently involved in a small competition with two other couples – Sonia and Guibril, and Becky and Vivien. The competition is boys vs girls and involves the daily punishment of sit ups, push ups and the plank (hold yourself up off the floor with your forearms and toes. Fun fun.) It is in its third month, with the first month involving 20 sit ups, 20 push ups and 20 seconds of plank. Month #Two was 40, 40, 40, and now we have 60, 60, 60. It’s hard. But the reward for the team who does the most exercises at the end of each month is a dinner paid for by the losing team.

The first month was won by the girls (WOO!) and the boys took us for indian at a remarkably good indian restaurant. Unfortunately, due only to Sonia being incapacitated due to a sore back and Becky having to spend an entire day on a plane, the boys won the second month. It wasn’t a particularly spectacular win but we let them feel good about themselves and took them to a restaurant called Le Bistro du Coin on Saturday night.

I had booked the restaurant via my favourite website, La Fourchette, which granted us a 40% discount on the meal. There was no way we were paying full price for the boys’ dinners. When we arrived at the restaurant we had to wait for our table as it had been given to someone else. That’s never a good start. The owner of the restaurant was smooth and relatively friendly, however he had that French cockiness about him that lets him get away with things like not having a table for us.

When we were eventually seated, it took a while until we were served and then the food itself wasn’t all that spectacular. I ordered a piece of beef which was chewy and a fairly ordinary cut, and the eschalot sauce was gloopy and unremarkable. Others had the duck that was small although apparently quite tasty. Tom was the winner – for an extra 11.50 Euros, he ordered the côte de boeuf. A huge 500g piece of meat, perfectly cooked and very, very tasty. Back in Perth, Tom would often choose the T-Bone steak and would hack away at the huge slab of flesh, and he hadn’t found anything that could compare in Paris. But here it was.

Bistro du Coin steak

It was even served with bone marrow

The desserts were ordinary – my moelleux au chocolate tasted like it came out of a packet and Tom’s profiteroles were mostly whipped cream. The other waitstaff were a bit strange, too – they managed to drop two wine glasses in the time we were there and one waiter kept asking us if we wanted the bill. None of the other food we ate was worth photographing – that’s how much I am not going to go back. Unfortunately Tom has now had a taste of the giant steak so will be wanting to return but I think he will be going on his own.