Posts Tagged ‘Northern Quarter’

Not So Homemade

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

The other day while walking home through the Northern Quarter, I spotted this item through the kitchen window of one of the Northern Quarter’s hippest, grooviest and most pricey restaurants.

Wellocks Luxury Mayonnaise

For the most luxurious mayonnaise experience, try Wellocks.

While I know restaurants don’t make everything from scratch, it was just slightly scary to see that a key ingredient in this largely ‘sandwich focused’ establishment came out of a plastic tub that was a similar shape and size of a pot of paint or glue.

Perhaps they should consider hiding this little secret slightly better, or at least keeping it away from their very large windows for passing customers to see.

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.

Happy Classroomiversary to Me!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

You know I love celebrating anniversaries. Any excuse to potentially eat cake. So here’s another one! Today is one year since I started working in The Classroom office space in the Northern Quarter. A lot has happened in that time – I have done some work, spent a lot of time checking email and being distracted by the internet, and I have met some interesting (and weird) people. The atmosphere in the office has changed over the year as different personalities have come and gone and it has grown into a fun, vibrant and friendly place to be. I really enjoy coming to work – it is far more entertaining that checking Facebook at home alone on my couch. I would have brought in cake to celebrate, however it is Friday, which means there’s hardly anyone in here because who does work on a Friday? Ah, the joy of freelance.

Working hard in the classroom

Working hard in the classroom

Happy Needles

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Who would have thought that sticking sharp things into your skin could actually make you feel GOOD as opposed to riddled with pain or wishing to faint? I’m not talking syringes here and there are not hallucinogenic drugs involved – just incense, pressure points and teeny, tiny needles that solve all of your woes.

For anyone who cares, I have had stomach issues of various degrees for over 10 years now (when I realised how long it has been I almost fell off my chair) and have recently been feeling nauseous at around 5pm every day. I was sick of feeling sick (ha) and had tried doctors, naturopaths and peppermint tea but nothing helped. So one day, while idly walking through the Northern Quarter I went into The Health Store (a health food and vegetarian store) and enquired about their acupuncturist. The lady in the shop advocated his skills with such impressive salesmanship that I had to make an appointment.

Now, I hate needles. I am one of those people who faints during blood tests and I go all squeamish when the piecing of skin is discussed or performed. It’s just gross. So I felt a wee-bit nervous about allowing someone to stick large numbers of needles into my body. Chris, the acupuncturist, assured me I would be fine and I was quite surprised at how little you feel the needles. Those people who say “Oh you can’t feel the needles at all!” aren’t lying (much). During my first session with Chris, he put needles into my back. After the first needle I felt all brave and proud of my achievements and he placed a second and third needle in. On the fourth, I felt my body start to heat up and my head went into that heavy floppiness that I now recognise as “IT IS TIME TO LIE DOWN, JESS!” I didn’t completely faint – it was just a close call. After Chris had fanned me down and stuck a few more needles in me while I was lying down, I was back to my brave-self.

My second and third adventures to the acupuncturist have resulted in no fainting attacks and an amazing and surprising result. While this blog post may have seemed like an attempt to gain sympathy, it is actually a huge thumbs up to acupuncture and all its wonders. How on earth sticking needles into my wrists, calves and back have resulted in me not feeling nauseous anymore, I have no idea. But I don’t care – it has and I feel so much better than I have in months. I am adding acupuncture to my list of “Things Everyone Should Have” along with personal psychologist, a friend who is a hairdresser, and endless supplies of dark chocolate digestives. Jess’s tips to a perfect life. So go for it, friends. Acupuncture for all!

A Series of Unexpected Events

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Sometimes, just when you think things have settled down and the world is becoming normal again, life throws moments of “What?!” at you. Unexplainable happenings. Unbelievable occurrences. General mind-blowingly WEIRD stuff that makes you stop what you’re doing, shake your head and laugh out loud at the sheer absurdity of it all. The past month has been significantly more banal than my first few months of living in Manchester. Things have become serious, I’ve spent more time sitting in front of my computer watching movie re-runs in my pyjamas and I have a job. Boring. But then last night happened.

My initial plan was to meet my friend Eli and some co-workers at the Manchester Art Gallery. Last night was the Grayson Perry exhibition opening and Eli, who works at the gallery, had acquired tickets for us to go. Throughout the two hours of the opening, a random selection of people formed our group – friends of friends and the like. We made the most of the free wine, chatted and analysed Grayson’s amazing tapestries, trying to decide whether or not the lamp shades depicted in the kitchen scene were from IKEA or not. There must be something about the Art Gallery as I have made many friends within its walls. I originally met Eli there and we have since become good friends. Last night I made friends with a Scottish lass who screamed with delight when she discovered I had sent a ‘wee text’ to her mobile.

We all went for a drink and some food at a local pub and, after a fun evening of chatting, I decided to head home at about 10.30pm. I walked outside with two of my work colleagues and stood outside as they smoked cigarettes. While they inhaled toxic fumes, a guy walking past the pub stopped and asked to borrow a lighter. His Australian accent was picked up by the shrewd ears of my colleagues and we started chatting, discovering he was South Australian, now based in London, was visiting Manchester for a week and knew no one. Were we interested in going for a drink? Sure. One must look after one’s own kind.

So two Australians, an Irish/Jamaican and a Chinese guy, headed into the Northern Quarter for a quick drink. Where should we go? How about Terrace? Agreed. Arriving at Terrace Bar we discovered the place was heaving – music was pumping, people were drinking and the dance floor was going off. Highly unusual for a Wednesday night but hey – why not?

Our quick drink turned into two hours of dancing, laughing, singing and general craziness. It turns out we had accidentally walked into Terrace’s first birthday celebrations. At 12.30am I called it to a close, remembering that Wednesdays are school nights and that according to School Night Rules 101, I really I should have been in bed hours ago. But I had had such an unexpectedly fun evening out, made new friends and bonded with my new colleagues. I now know that two guys in my team can dance far better than me – an invaluable piece of information to know in the workplace.

I really enjoy life’s ‘What?!’ moments. They draw me out of deepening holes of self-pity and make me see how unexpected life can be. You never know what is going to happen or who you are going to meet when you step out of the front door of that pub and choose to take the risk and say yes. I don’t think my dreams would have been even half as entertaining as the events that occurred last night. I’m glad I chose life over sleep, although that may be the strong coffee that I am currently surviving on speaking.