Top places to get pub grub in Newcastle

In my opinion, there’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned pub grub. With many of the UK’s pubs struggling to stay afloat and the price of beer sadly rising, many venues are turning to food to help keep their doors open. While I’ve seen lots of places offering fancy fare, personally I think you can’t beat the traditional British classics that have been served in alehouses for years.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 10.30.37 AM

The joy of classic pub grub

For me, the joy of pub grub is threefold. Firstly, if you find somewhere offering fantastic home-cooked food, it just tastes that little bit more authentic and warming than ultra-sophisticated dishes. Secondly, I love the atmosphere of traditional pubs – so welcoming and cosy. Thirdly, pick the right venue and you can pair your pie, fish and chips or sausage and mash with a delicious real ale. What could be better?

Newcastle is a haven of traditional pubs, and if you know where to look you can get some absolutely amazing – but always down to earth and classically British – food. Below, I’ve listed a few of my favourites.

By the way, if you don’t live in or around Newcastle but are intrigued by its pubs (as you should be!), I’d really recommend taking a trip here, even if only overnight or for a few days. There are plenty of affordable hotels in Newcastle, as well as great attractions including breweries, castles and museums.

The Bridge Hotel

First on my list is the Bridge Hotel, which has been going for more than 100 years – pretty impressive, hey? You’ll find it next to the Castle Keep around two minutes away from the scenic quayside, where it regularly hosts live music.

In terms of food and drink, this is a great place to come if you, like me, are a fan of real ales. Regulars include Golden Sheep and Deuchars IPA, while they also have guest ales and craft beers to boot.

Food is served daily and includes home-cooked hot meals as well as delicious sandwiches, and if you come in on a Sunday you also have the option of tucking into a good old British roast. Choose from chicken (my personal favourite), pork or beef.

The Broad Chare

Next up we have the Broad Chare, which you’ll find on the Quayside. This pub prides itself on serving classic British food – and does so with aplomb.

One of my favourite things about this place food-wise is that as well as offering hearty main courses like steak and chips, it also serves up some seriously satisfying snacks. Things like scotch eggs, oysters and hand-raised pork pies – yum. As a testament to its achievements in the kitchen, it snapped up a Michelin Bib Gourmand award in 2012.

There are plenty of cask ales available too; these change regularly, but at the time of writing Black Sheep Bitter and The Writer’s Block were a few of the staples.

The Redhouse

Last on my list is the Redhouse, which is also on the Quayside. This grade II listed building is a traditional pie and mash alehouse, which has the added bonus of having gorgeous views over the Tyne Bridge – presuming you have eyes for anything but pie, that is…

You’ll have three key decisions to make when eating here. Firstly, you’ll need to pick your pie. Options include chicken, gammon and leek, as well as sausage, apple, onion and cider pie. Next up, you’ll need to tackle a mash-based conundrum in deciding whether to go for mustard, cheese or straight-up creamy. Then you need to pick how you’d like your peas and what liquor you’d like the whole lot doused in. Pie perfection!

 

A guide to fine dining in San Francisco

A holiday in San Francisco is full of colours and flavours, whether this is referring to the city’s culture and nightlife or its culinary scene. Spending the days visiting a wealth of tourist attractions is bound to build up an appetite and with so much to choose from in terms of eating establishments it can be hard to know where to begin.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 8.49.14 PM

Be sure to sample the delights of all the different communities that make up San Francisco, as well as the destination’s obsession with fusion food. Having booked your trip with Air Express, then you can start planning your dining experiences. And there is no better place to start than right here.

Frances, 3870 17th Street

Since your San Francisco holiday is likely to take you on a culinary journey around the world, it makes good sense to start off in the place that you have chosen to travel to – California. Making a reservation well in advance or queuing up before 5pm when they open is the only way to get a table at Frances.

It is a world-class restaurant where chef Melissa Perello serves up great Californian cuisine alongside a huge helping of warmth and personal service. The produce is local and cooked with innovative creativity, leading to excellent dishes. Try the baked cherrystone clams or a bavette steak prepared perfectly.

State Bird Provisions, 1529 Fillmore Street

This is another establishment where it is worth planning in advance to visit otherwise you may not find yourself getting seated. An ever-changing menu of imaginative dishes is presented to customers and carts – almost like a Californian tapas or mezze.

Guests can therefore experience a wide selection of flavours within the course of one meal. The fried state bird of the restaurant’s name is quail, with other notable delicacies including duck liver mousse and pancake with smoked sturgeon. Of course the offerings are likely to have changed by the time you visit, but there are bound to be a whole new selection of tempting morsels to try.

Namu Gaji, 499 Dolores Street

From California, wing your taste buds to Korea with this amazing restaurant that fuses flavours from the Asian nation with produce from the United States. It is the brainchild and collaborative project of three brothers – the Lees, who also run a small farm from which they source all their vegetables and herbs.

Expect Korean fried chicken, beef tongue and potato puffs to all grace the menu. The team of waiting staff will also be able to advise you on which of the fine selection of wines will complement the dishes perfectly. And if you can’t get here for your evening meal, they are also open at lunch times.

Nopalito, 306 Broderick Street and 1224 9th Avenue

It is always a good sign when an establishment has to open up a second restaurant in order to cope with demand and this is exactly the case with Nopalito. The selection of tequilas is just as good as the tamales and carnitas that are served up by chefs José Ramos and Gonzalo Guzman.

They have gathered inspiration from several different regions of Mexico, making the menu a varied mix of fine dishes. Many of these are the perfect way to warm yourself up on a foggy San Franciscan day.

 

Eating and drinking my way through Bangkok (Thonglor Edition)

It goes without saying that there’s an abundance of mouth-watering, glorious Thai food in Bangkok. From the ubiquitous food stalls to glitzy eateries, it’d be hard to disappoint. Occasionally, however, you need a change of flavors. Bangkok’s international cuisine scene is steadily growing, rising to match the increasing amount of foreigners who call this magical place home. I’ll be highlighting four of my favorite spots in the hip expat haven of Bangkok, Thong Lo. Book a hotel in Bangkok with Trailfinders to be situated right in the middle of the eating frenzy. You’re going to need a nap after this gastronomic itinerary.

Note: Soi Thonglor is the same as Sukhumvit Soi 55.

Roast-Coffee-Bangkok

Roast
If you want premium coffee and tea in Bangkok, look no further. My friend, a self proclaimed coffee connoisseur, went wild for the single-origin Brazilian coffee hand-dripped lovingly by the owner himself. Being a tea drinker, I fell madly in love with the Strawberry Honey Tea. With muddled mint leaves, fresh sliced strawberries, lime juice, and tea ice cubes, it could be considered the elixir of life. Their food is top notch also—I really love their salmon steaks and chips with mushy peas. The salmon falls apart just eyeing it and the flaky breading complements the full flavor of the fish.

Address: 2/F, Seenspace, Thonglor Soi 13

8051beirutshichetaouk

Beirut
When friends and family come visit, no matter how much Thai food we gorge ourselves with this Lebanese eatery always ends up being their favorite. I dig the shich taouk wrap, which is filled with juicy chicken marinated in yogurt and spices. Combined with the oven-baked naan dipped into either their powerful garlic mousse or tahini and you’ve got the perfect dinner on your hands. Their Arabic dessert, kunafa bil-jibn, which is cheese pastry soaked in sweet syrup is incredible. Feasting on the outdoor patio with the strong scent of shisha filling the air brings it all together.

Address: 2/F, 8 Building, Thonglor Soi 8

masala-art-bangkok

Masala Art
Right next door to Beirut is the best Indian food in Bangkok, hands down. Ranked in the top 20 restaurants in Bangkok on TripAdvisor (there are 7000 restaurants listed), I had high expectations on my first visit. It smashed them. The service is extremely attentive and the food exceptional. The chicken korma is decadent, with succulent chicken soaking in a cashew and yogurt based curry. Order some basmati rice and freshly baked onion kulcha (flatbread) to sop up the creamy sauce. I often daydream about the food at this place. Seriously.

Address: 2/F, 8 Building, Thonglor Soi 8

shades-of-retro

Shades of Retro
This funky hole-in-the-wall is my favorite drinking spot. It’s located down a small side street in a house filled with eclectic trinkets and antiques. No buckets or beer towers here, it’s all about their specialty cocktails they masterfully whip up. Their trademark cocktail OLD BITCH!! (all caps and exclamations included) is light, frothy, and citrusy while their Smoke on the Water is robust and complex. If you catch me in there, I’ll probably be sucking down their sweet Watermelon Mojito. Oh, and did I mention free endless popcorn? I’m such a sucker for that.

Address: 522/3 Soi Thonglor

Where to Eat Out in Chicago

The city of Chicago is full of wonderful restaurants in all price ranges. You can quickly find an affordable restaurant to take the kids too, and just as easily pick the perfect place for a romantic evening out. If you are thinking of travelling on a budget you should look at HostelBookers range of cheap Chicago accommodation.

Low priced restaurant options are scattered all across Chicago. On North Avenue, Piece serves pizza and pub style meals, while the Sultan’s Market has Mediterranean and Middle Eastern choices, as well as vegetarian options. Big Star is located at 1531 North Dumen. This place has excellent Mexican food at reasonable prices.

Many of Chicago’s restaurants offer wonderful breakfasts at affordable prices. Walker Bros Original Pancake at 153 Green Bay Road, M. Henry on Clark Street, and Yolk on Michigan Avenue are just a few such places. Bongo Room also has a very nice breakfast menu. Located on North Milwaukee Avenue, they are open during the lunch and dinner hours as well.

Source: sharandoss

Source: sharandoss

You can’t mention affordable eating without touching on Chicago’s array of hot dog stands. An American staple in the fast food category, these restaurants make eating a hot dog a culinary experience. Portillo’s Hot Dogs, Hot Doug’s, and Johnnie’s Beef are among the best.

If you are looking for a more upscale atmosphere, but you don’t want to blow your budget, try The Italian Village. This one historic building contains three different restaurants. Each is elegantly decorated, but the prices will surprise you. The Village has an Italian theme with traditional dishes from northern Italy. La Cantina is on the lowest level. It’s a great place to relax and socialize over a steak dinner. Vivere is a contemporary restaurant with handmade pastas from Chef Robert Reynaud.

Untitled2

Source Medici: Eric Fischer

Moderate priced restaurants in Chicago include several American fare choices. Medici on 57th in Hyde Park serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Firkin on Milwaukee Avenue features fish and steaks along with 30 of the area’s finest beers. Charlie Beinlick’s on Skokie Boulevard is a wonderful place to grab a burger with the kids.

Moderate priced steakhouses abound in the Chicago area. Aodake Sushi and Steakhouse on 75th Street proves you don’t have to sacrifice taste to save money. Ted’s Montana Grill serves grilled shrimp and sliders as well as steak. This family friendly restaurant works just as well when you’re looking for something romantic.

Affordable seafood can be found at Bonefish Grill on Roselle Road. Triple Crown Restaurant on Wentworth Avenue puts a Chinese twist on their seafood selection. Di Piero’srestorante on Main Street is ideal if not everyone in your group likes seafood. They also have Italian dishes and pizza on the menu.

There are times when you want a sophisticated or romantic atmosphere when dining. Chicago will not disappoint you when it comes to fine dining. The Gibson Bar and Steakhouse is located on North Rush Street. Steak and seafood are the main features on their extensive menu. The look and feel of this place is perfect for a romantic evening dinner. Open late nights; they also have a daily happy hour.

Untitled2

 

SourceAlinea:kimberlykv

Alinea on North Halstead Street is a modern upscale restaurant. Open for dinner only, they offer American classics. The excellent customer service during their multi course meals is what keeps people coming back.

Mon Ami Gabi is a French high end restaurant in the North Lincoln Park area of Chicago. Seafood and Steak are the highlights of their menu options. Outdoor dining is available, as well as gluten free dishes.

How to eat like a local in Copenhagen

The vibrant city of Copenhagen features no fewer than 2000 restaurants, cafes and other types of eateries to choose from, which cater to all tastes and budgets. While it is possible to find dishes from all corners of the globe here, people who want to enjoy a real taste of Copenhagen will want to turn their attentions to modest eateries aimed at local people.

Strøget Copenhagen
The largest number of restaurants, cafes and snack shops can be found in the Strøget area of Copenhagen. There are also a large number of shops and boutiques to be found here, which makes the Strøget area a popular place for residents of Copenhagen to stop for a bite to eat in between browsing for bargains here.

Rather than falling into the usual tourist trap of eating at more highly priced restaurants and cafes aimed at visitors, follow the example of local people and head to one of the snack bars that can be found lining many of the city’s streets. These snack bars offer a wide range of cheap ad tasty treats and offer visitors the chance to sit at one of the street tables in the sunshine and indulge in a spot of people watching while they eat. If your’e a blogger and want to get some reviews done it also helps to give you a more diverse experience.

A wide range of different types of snacks and light meals are served at these carts, including delicious open faced sandwiches known locally as smørrebrød. Polser is a type of hot dog which can also be found at many snack bars known as pølsevogn or sausage wagons, while these are also the perfect places to sample the pastries that Denmark is famous for throughout the world. While we may know them simply as Danish pastries, in Copenhagen they are known as wienerbrød.

Copenhagen’s numerous and excellent bakeries are the best places to pick up local-style breakfasts. Known locally as bager, the city bakeries can be recognised by the signs that hang out front in the shape of a pretzel. These are great places to buy fresh bread as well as sandwiches and more tasty pastries. One of the great things about buying breakfast instead of eating in a café is that you can choose a bench in a scenic spot of the city and dine outdoors.

Enjoying brunch with family and friends is a very popular pastime in Copenhagen, especially in the summer months. A large number of cafes located throughout the city are famous for their extensive brunch menus, which usually come with a theme such as American or French.

Many of the city’s restaurants offer special dagens ret menus, which translates as meal of the day. These restaurants are particularly popular with local people as they offer huge portions of whatever the cook feels like serving up that day for a very reasonable price.

Those who have taken advantage of cheap flights to Copenhagen will also be able to use the money they save to sample some of the city’s gourmet cuisine. There are a number of Michelin starred restaurants to be found in Copenhagen, as when Danish people have something to celebrate they love to do it by enjoying an excellent meal with good friends. People who are searching for rare and exciting Danish cuisine to should head to Noma and Ensemble, where the food and service are simply to die for.