Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bar Lobo - Barcelona

Thursday evening we set out for dinner in the El Raval neighborhood with Dan using his trusty guide book to get us to a restaurant they recommended. As we were heading there, I saw this beautiful place on a corner that looked very busy and very inviting. Turned out the place in the guide book was closed, so I suggested we go back to Bar Lobo. There was about a 20 minute wait, so we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of beers. The beer the bartender suggested was Cruz Campo Gran Reserva (3.10 euros) and I instantly had a new favorite beer that is 6.4% ABV! 

 We were seated at our table and fortunately we were handed a clipboard with the menu in about 5 different languages, including English. They had a wide assortment of typical and not so typical tapas, plus pastas, burgers, chicken, beef and duck. We started out with the Hummus and Pita Bread (5.60). The hummus was very good, one of the best I've ever had. The bread wasn't pita though, it was more substantial and very fresh tasting. Dan ordered the Rigatoni with Pesto Sauce and Fresh Tomato (10.70) which was very good. The pasta was covered in large slivers of Parmesan. I ordered the Penne with Fresh Mozzarella, Lime and Mint (10.20) and it was incredible. This will be a dish that I will try to recreate when I get home! Dan did not care for the beer, so he ordered a white wine called Copa Cigonyes (3.75) and I finished his beer.
 For dessert we ordered a slice of lemon pie (6.50) and a couple more glasses of that wonderful white wine. The pie was also very good, with a high meringue top and a creamy lemon filling in a graham cracker crust. I could have eaten every meal in this place while in Barcelona and that was with poor service. The waiter was not the most attentive, but the food made up for it. We sat next to a lovely elderly couple from Turkey at the beginning of our meal and had a nice conversation with them. We finished the meal with a couple from Boston and talked with them too. It's funny how you have conversations with other tables while in Europe, but in America and England you don't. It's really too bad that we don't open ourselves up more. After dinner we walked around and enjoyed the Christmas lights.
The restaurant is located at Pintor Fortuny 3 08001 Barcelona  934-815-346

Restaurante Don Fernando - Barcelona

  On the day after Christmas, Dan and I headed to Barcelona for five glorious days. Our flight out was delayed and we had to actually change planes, so we arrived around 2:30 PM as opposed to 12:30. Needless to say we were starving! We arrived at our B & B, The Marina View, and after unpacking we headed out to see the sights. After a short walk to the Ramblas we veered off into the Barri Gotic, or old Town, to see the city and to find some food. We found a little place called Restaurante Don Fernando and even though they had pictures of their food, we stopped in to have a few tapas. The servers were very friendly and spoke little English, but the menus had English translations. We ordered Patatas Gravas (5.50 euro) and they were crispy and spicy and very good. My favorite thing were the Chorizitos (5.50). They were little spicy chorizo sausages flavored with paprika and oh so tasty! We also had Alitas De Pollo which were chicken wings in a very good sauce (4.90) and Pan  Con Tomate, toasted bread rubbed with garlic and tomato. The bread was priced at 1.90 a person so it was 3.80 euros. Dan drank a bottle of Agua Mineral (1.75) and I had an ice cold mug of San Miguel (4.90) or as they called it Jarra De Cerveza. Overall the food was really good and just what we needed to get moving along.




They are located at C/Ferran #16 (Jto. Ramblas) 08002 Barcelona  933-023-330

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Liverpool Cathedral

Magnificent Liverpool Cathedral  

Cuthbert's Bakehouse - Liverpool





On our Saturday afternoon in Liverpool, we had just toured the magnificent Liverpool Cathedral and were ready for lunch. I was in the mood for Mexican, something we still have not eaten because Leeds does not seem to have any Mexican places, but the place close by did not open for lunch until 1 PM. We were walking towards the Metropolitan Cathedral, when we came upon  Cuthbert's Bakehouse. We looked at the menu and decided to eat here. It's a quaint, little place with mismatched tables and chairs and it looked perfect.
The server came to us immediately and took our orders. Dan wanted some hot, green tea (2.15) and I wanted one of the unusual sodas on the menu. After being told the first 2 I requested were no longer available, I decided on the Dandelion and Burdock (1.85). It had an interesting flavor that was sweet and unusual, a flavor that would take some getting used, but drinkable. Dan ordered the Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich (4.00) and requested brie cheese, which was not a problem. I ordered the Roast Beef and Horseradish (4.00). Both sandwiches came topped with a salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber and were on amazing rustic rolls. These were very good sandwiches and we had no problems devouring every bite. They were served with a side of crisps.

Dan got up and looked at the dessert case and saw the wonders that were on display. He called me up there and said that we had to order something because they all looked amazing. We decided on Sticky Toffee Pudding (4.50) which we had to wait on. The warm cake arrived topped in a toffee sauce and surrounded by a lake of hot custard. This was truly a great dessert and the perfect ending to a very good meal.
103 Mt Pleasant Liverpool L3 5TB  0844-245-8612

Piccolino - Liverpool

This past weekend, Dan and I went to Liverpool. We made reservations at Piccolino for dinner, they are part of the Individual Restaurant Group. One of our favorite Leeds' restaurants is The Restaurant which is also in that group. The space was nice, open and very well appointed, if not a little noisy. The music was very loud, which in turn leads to louder conversation from the diners. The service was very slow and we sat the table for over 10 minutes before a male server came to us and told us someone would get our drink order shortly.
Finally a woman showed up and took our orders. Dan had a large glass of Shiraz for 6.75 pounds and I had a large Montepulciano for 7.25, both were good. Dan started with the Caprese Salad (7.50) and I had the Barbabietola Salad (7.95).  Both salads were very good and the horseradish dressing on mine was perfect with the beets on the salad.
Long pause before main dishes arrive.

For dinner Dan had the Lasagna al Forno (10.50) and was a little disappointed with it. It was swimming in béchamel and did not have much substance, he much prefers the lasagna at Jamie's Italian. I ordered the Pollo ai Fungi (15.95), a wonderful plate of roasted, sliced chicken and mushrooms with delicate and fluffy gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce. I also ordered a side of the Broccoletti (3.95) a plate of tender young broccoli with red chillis and garlic butter, which we both enjoyed.
For dessert I ordered the Torta di Limone (6.25), a lemon polenta cake with carmelized oranges and vanilla mascarpone. It was very tasty and the mascarpone was wonderful. Dan ordered a dish of ice cream (5.50), which comes with three scoops that are house made. Dan asked if he could have three different flavors and they said yes. He had the vanilla, Vin Santo and roast almond. The ice creams were good, but were pretty much a soup by the time they arrived at the table, so you could not distinguish which ice cream was which. I also ordered a glass of Moscato (4.95) that was very nice.
Overall the food was good, the service when it appeared was good, but painfully slow.
They are located at 14a Cook St Liverpool L2 9QU  0151-236-2555.

Monday, December 23, 2013

It Bar and Food Joint - Leeds


Nice, big, messy, tasty, really good burgers from It Bar and Food Joint! Today, Dan and I had the chance to go to lunch and I have been bugging him about this place for a while. They followed me on Twitter and after checking out their menu I really wanted to try them out. Lucky for us, Mondays are 1/2 price food day, so we walked out paying less than 20 pounds for the meal. Good food and a bargain can't be beat!

When you walk in, you pick a table and order at the bar when you're ready. You also get a little bag of kettle corn to start with and I have been craving pop corn since we've been here, so another point for me. Today the young lady working the bar was very friendly and told us her favorite burgers were the Filthy Pig and the 8 Hours of Sloppy Joe, so that's what we ordered along with an Onion Tower. The Onion Tower was a stack of milk and spice marinated red onion slices, lightly floured and deep fried. These things were melt in your mouth brilliant! Dan had the Sloppy Joe burger and it was amazing. It was topped with 8 hour slow cooked chilli, cheese sauce, sour cream, lettuce and tomato. He loved it! I had the Filthy Pig and loved it too. It was topped with homemade BBQ pulled pork, coleslaw, streaky bacon, red onion, tomato and lettuce. Both burgers were a mouthful and we ended up knife and forking them. We asked to have them cooked medium-well and they came out perfectly.
Dan drank a diet coke, while I had an ice-cold Peroni. All that for under 20 pounds is unheard of here. Especially since the service and food were both outstanding.
You can find them at 57-59 New Briggate Leeds LS2 8JD  0113-246-9080

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Royal McGregor - Edinburgh


On Sunday night in Edinburgh, Dan and I ate at the Royal McGregor. Our server at another place recommended it, so we thought we would give it a try. We arrived around 7 PM and were seated in the small pub. The service in this place was incredible, 2 women running the place and having a great time in the meanwhile. We listened to some festive Muppet carols, much to our servers disdain, but with much joy in my heart and some other good Holiday tunes.


I started with a pint of Stewart's Christmas Advent Ale (3.65) and Dan had a 1/2 pint of Tennents Lager. My cask ale was so good, that I had to order another. For dinner I ordered off the Specials Menu and had the Roast turkey (12.95). This was a plate o'food with veggies, cranberry sauce, sausages and a wonderful roast turkey. There was also something that slightly resembled haggis, which I tried, but could not handle the consistency. Dan ordered the Steak and Ale pie (10.50), which was amazing! The chunks of beef were cooked to tender perfection and the plate also came with a nice helping of potatoes and green beans.
For dessert I ordered the wonderful Sticky toffee pudding (4.75) that was warm, sweet and gooey. Dan ordered a Scotch Whiskey Flight (13.95) that came with four regional whiskeys, water and dark chocolate to eat between the different ones. The bartender gave him a lot of info on what he was drinking and I helped with a few drinks of my own.
Wonderful meal, wonderful service and really good food helped to make this a night to remember. I was feeling so good, that I felt I needed to do the touristy thing and pose in one of those red phone booths!!
The restaurant is located at 154 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1QS 0131-225-7064

Chaophraya - Leeds

We ate at Chaophraya back on the 14th of November and I am just now writing it up. I really don't like to waste my time on bad meals or places that I would never return, but here goes. We were seated at a little table in the back of the beautiful restaurant, right at the servers station. We were promptly greeted by a server who took our beer and starter orders. We ordered Singha, a beer from Thailand and very good (3.75pounds). Our starter was the Chicken spring rolls (6.95) which were also very good. They also set a bowl of shrimp? chips on the table with some of their very good sweet chilli sauce. The chips were okay, just not something Dan and I really cared for.

Another server took our dinner orders, Dan chose the  Lamb Massaman Curry (10.95), which she told him he could order with any meat and he went with chicken and he ordered a side of Steamed organic rice (3.55). I love Spicy Beef and basil fried rice and knew this was what I wanted. It was denoted as a Chef's Signature Dish and Staff's Favorite Dish, how could I be wrong?! The dish was terrible. The rice was so over cooked and mushy that it was inedible, Dan's rice was also over cooked. Since no one came to the table during the meal, I picked out the beef and ate it, leaving the rest. When a server finally showed up, Dan told her that the rice was inedible, she apologized and said she would talk to a manager and the chef. A few minutes later she showed up with the ticket, all items accounted for and no show from the manager. Needless to say we paid the bill (75 American dollars!!) and left.
Dan wrote a letter to corporate about the experience and they apologized and asked us to come back and give them a second chance. We just figured that we could wait until we got home and eat at LuLu's Noodle Shop for some good Thai.