East Midlands Chilli Festival at Newark

East Midland Chilli Festival

This last weekend we ventured over to the outskirts of Newark to visit the East Midlands Chilli Festival 2014 at the Newark Showground. While we were looking for a little bit of heat to get our taste buds tingling, we were also hoping for some tasty street food and to meet some old foodie friends as well.

box of chillieschillie box

You would be forgiven for just thinking that the East Midlands Chilli Fest was just going to full of stalls laden with box after box of chilli’s. To an extent it kind of was, only many of those stalls had food, sauces, dips and rubs all inspired by the Chilli. At this fest they were there on occasion in your face but also playing nicely with your tastebuds by cosying up to their fellow ingredients with some more gentle offerings.

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So what and who did we find?

Twisted Chilli

Twisted Chilli Ltd Keep Korma and Curry On Sign

One of the first stalls that caught our eye was that of The Twisted Chilli Ltd from Wetwang ‘The Curry Capital of the Yorkshire Wolds’. Now I am not really one for English-style Indian Food or pre-packaged mixes but I have to say that the Twisted Chilli won me over, well long enough to make a purchase anyway. They had a very brightly coloured stall and a few curry dishes made using their spice mixes to try. It was your typical selection for the English late night curry seeker including a Korma, A Jalfrezi, and a Tikka Massalla (the most non-Indian Indian curry of them all).

Tikka Massalla Curry MixShashlick Marinade

The sauces were really quite tasty and although I usually like to cook my food from scratch I still bought a couple to take home and try for a lazy rainy day.

They claim that ‘we aim to provide top quality fresh ground spices for you to create your own flavour packed authentic curries at home.’ I’ll let you know how the mixes work out.

Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter

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The Sauce Shop

The Sauce Shop The Sauce Shop Range

The Sauce Shop team were here fighting the winds to keep the gazebo up and selling their excellent home produced sauces. We are fond of their ‘Nottinghamshire Sauce’ for our bacon butties in the morning, and their Caramel Sauce for sploshing all over our ice cream after tea. They had the full range there on the stall and the ones most geared to the festival were their ‘Really Hot Sauce’, ‘Buffalo Hot Sauce’, ‘Fiery Chilli Sauce’, and their ‘Smokey Chipotle Ketchup’ . Check them out on Facebook and Twitter

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The NowNow Food Company

Durban Chicken Curry Durban Chicken Curry

We were starting to feel a bit peckish walking around the place and figured it was best to eat something otherwise we would be buying everything (you know how it is). I had my eye on the ‘Durban Chicken Curry’ that was being served up ‘Bunnychow’ style by the NowNow Food company. For £5 you got a decent portion of the spicy Durban Curry in a hollowed out breadbowl (A Bunny Chow). It came with a nice chutney salad and a chilli sauce dip. This is a typical Durban Street Food Dish, hot spicy and flavourful. They were also selling a Bunny Chow filled with Bobotie another South African Classic. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter

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Andy’s Low and Slow

Andys Low and Slow

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork

Next stop on the MyFoodHunt lunching munch trek was at Andy’s Low and Slow an American Inspired BBQ stall. We had been given the tip from the Sauce Shop guys but I had already heard of Andy on the grapevine (or is that the twittosphere?). Andy describes his offering as “Birmingham based BBQ done how I like to eat it. No.3 at midds street food awards. Best beef ribs in town. No rules, no games, just honest home cooked BBQ by me.” Sounds nice to me. They had a couple of choices on the go including a very tempting Beef Brisket but I had to try the ’18-hour hickory pulled pork’ which was ‘served on a light brioche bun with fresh mustard ‘slaw, homemade ‘Sweet Heat’ BBQ sauce and pickles’ . It was pretty tasty with a light and subtle smokey note. I would like to try his 12-hour beef brisket chilli next time our paths cross. Andy’s Low and Slow can be found often at the Digbeth Dining Club in Birmingham on a Friday night, but to see if he is in our County check them out on Facebook and Twitter  for more details.

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The Real Pie Company

Thai Pies at East Mildands Chilli Fest

Thai Pies

The Real Thai Pie Company were also there in the midst of the street food vendors selling their “Award Winning Handmade Thai Pie’s”. They had a pretty good deal on the board selling 5 pies for £10 or just one for £2.50. I was intrigued by the ‘Devil Curry’ filled pie all I could find out about this one was that ‘the paste for this pie is bursting with a secret blend of chilli & other spices’. It was mixed with chicken, potato and onion all cooked in a spicy stock made from that paste. The kicker that I expect would mean no cooling respite from the chilli was that the curry sauce contains ‘No coconut milk.’ and since they describe it as “The spicy one!” I think this may be where the chilli and the devil made a pie pact!

Thai Pie Mussaman Curry Pie

Thai Pie Pies

The pies were looking good on the counter but I was getting too full by now to sample one, luckily they were available hot to eat or frozen to take home and cook. I picked up one of their Massaman Curry pies as that is one of my favourite Thai curries. The board told me that the curry contains ‘beef, potato & onion which is slow cooked in a blend of exotic herbs, spices & coconut milk.’

I am looking forward to eating this one. I’ll tweet you when I do! You can check Thai Pies out on Facebook and on Twitter as well

What else did we find?

Chillihydro

Chillihydro

If you needed advice or supplies for growing your own chillies you could talk to the guys at Chillihydro they were selling equipment for growing chilli plants.  Judging by the size of the plants that they had on display they must work quite well. Check them out through Twitter

Chilli Devil

                                                       Chilli Devil                                              Yorkshire Ketchup

Chilli Devil from Hull were there selling a wide range of mild to hot sauces and also a Yorkshire Ketchup. I like the tagline on their website that says

Here you’ll find all manner of chilli goodness, from chilli sauces so mild you could give them to grandparents or grandchildren alike, to raging monsters that will melt your face off…”

Caribbean Fusion

Caribbean Cooking

Other food to be eaten was being served up by Caribbean Fusion who offer ‘tasty traditional and authentic food from the islands of the Caribbean‘ and according to their banner ‘Mouth-watering classic Caribbean dishes’. You might not be that surprised to know that they were selling Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas, or Curried Chicken and Curried Mutton all of which smelt and looked ‘mouth-watering’. I was however quite surprised to see a jambalya on the stand (but hey ho why not?)

Edible Ornamentals

Dans Chilli

Everyone seemed to be getting in on the Chilli Act with Edible Ornamentals selling jars of ‘Dan’s Hot Sauce’.

They say that “This sauce is not for the light hearted and is only sold to the extremely brave!”

Bags of Chillies Chillies

They were also selling bags of Chillies at 2 for £2 as well as lots of chillies bagged up to order. They had a really good selection including Ghost Chillies, Habanero’s, Cherry Bomb’s, Dorset Naga’s, Jalapeno, Poblano, Seranade, and Padron just to list some of their offerings. This was a great stall for a chilli lover!

I like their tagline that says “Chillies are like love – you’ll always want more no matter how bad you got burnt the last time.”

They seem to be at a lot of these Chilli Festivals across the country so if you want to track them down try their Facebook and Twitter Pages

Last Purchase of the Day – Goan Vindaloo Paste from Velsi’s

Goan Vindaloo Paste

The Last purchase of the day was a small jar of Goan Vindaloo Paste from Velsi’s who specialise in ‘Goan style Pickles, Curry Sauces and pastes.’ We had a taste earlier in the day and went back to buy it as it was so tasty, not as hot as you might expect so plenty of flavour to go with the heat. It was interesting to read that “Goa’s regional flavours combines a mix of Portuguese and Indian culinary expertise.  Even the well known dish Vindaloo (Vin d’alho), literally means ‘wine of garlic’, is from Goa”

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All in all a pretty good day out in Nottinghamshire up in Newark.

It helped if you liked Chilli but it was not essential

I had an Ice Cream!

 

 

 

 

Meadow Lane Cafe – An ‘all day breakfast situation’

Meadow Lane Cafe

Last week I found myself over at the Lady Bay Industrial estate at the Meadow Lane Café in the search for a brunch type situation, to be more exact I was in the mood for an all-day-breakfast.

Meadow Lane Cafe Chalkboard

I was pretty sure that this was the sort of place that I would be able to achieve my aim especially when I saw the chalk board outside advertising a Large Breakfast for £4.95.  Once inside and across the threshold I only really had one decision to make and that was the size of the breakfast that I was aiming for. A Small breakfast, a Large Breakfast, or a Full Monty size breakfast, there was no ‘happy medium’ sized option so I ‘told my brain’ that the one in the middle, even though it said ‘large’ was really the average sized option.

All Day Breakfast at Meadown Lane Cafe

So what did I get for that £4.95? Well in reality a very large Cooked Breakfast that needed two plates. I am pretty sure that you can see it in the picture but just to break it down for you the first plate was covered in two slices of bacon, two fried eggs, two sausages, mushrooms, beans, and tomatoes. The second plate was two slices of buttered toast, and the mug of tea that was also part of the deal was in my hand being raised to my lips to take a sip.

So was this any good then? OK well positives first, the tea and the toast were good, and I was happy with my fried eggs. I was a bit disappointed with my catering style sausages but then again that is par for the course at most greasy spoons these days, you will do pretty well to get a gourmet effort for the price point. I didn’t like the sloppy tomatoes from a tin they made my bacon taste tart and tangy in a tinny way, and the mushrooms seemed to have seen much better days which made me a little sad.

Volume wise I had nothing to complain about, this large pile of breakfast fare kept me going all day and that was the aim of my focus when I had walked in through the door searching for sustenance. It isn’t a breakfast though that I will be dreaming about next time I need an all-day-breakfast situation, but I suppose it is good to know that there is an emergency greasy spoon location if I find myself at that industrial estate once more

The Meadow Lane Café is located at 356 Meadow Lane in Nottingham just alongside the Lady Bay Retail park. It is on the corner where Brand Street joins the lane.

 

Oscar and Rosie’s – Best Pizza in Nottingham is coming back. Check out their Kickstarter Campaign

Oscar and Rosies

 

It is hard to believe that it was only back in November last year that I first tasted  Oscar & Rosie’s Gourmet Pizza when they were undertaking a 6 month pop-up at the Picnic basket on Carrington Street. It is great to know that they are coming back to the city in September!

Gourmet Pizza - board sign

Back then when we visited I wrote that;

“The menu is filled with a lot of tasty sounding combinations, all well thought out. The menu lists are filled with quality ingredients,…(even the vegetarian options sounded good)”

Pizza with all the slices

Pizza with all the slices

We didn’t know what to choose on that first visit so we just had a pizza divided up with the different menu toppings in different sections. A quarter each of the “Meat Sweats”, a quarter of the “BBQ Chicken Combo”, and  quarter of the “Sausage Party”.

In my mind I recall fondly that all the toppings were good but the star of the show back then was the “Meat Sweats” pizza, which had the best combination of toppings on the menu; Freshly made home made tomato sauce and hand cut mozzarella, topped with slices of pepperoni, All the way from Wales from Gorno’s Speciality Foods crisp bacon and fennel infused sausage meat from JT Beedhams.

Ooh it was really good, check out the review here. It was good that we came back several times during that pop-up season to eat more of it.

So that was then, but what is now? Well as we said at the top they are coming back and Oscar & Rosie’s is due to open up on Saturday September 14th

“in the exciting new ‘Das Kino’ venue in Nottingham city centre. An off beat Brooklyn style bar, set over 2500 sq ft of extensively renovated grade 2 listed landmark building in the Lace Market. It’s to be found on Fletcher Gate, in the building that was previously Escucha, next door to The Cross Keys.”

“We’ll be serving our famous gourmet pizza by the quarter slice or by the square foot. We’ll also be expanding our menu to include deluxe Mac & Cheese varieties, some jazzy salads and mouth-watering desserts, as well as a daily lunch menu. All made with the trademark Oscar & Rosie’s high class produce”

Alongside this they have a Kickstarter Campaign to help raise some of the funds for the new venture. If you have never heard of Kickstarter well it is a sort of social funding where you pledge an amount of money and instead you get a ‘reward’ for your pledge. It is quite cool really. so for example you can pledge £20 and in return you get a 2 course lunch for two. so if you were going to visit anyway that is like a pretty good deal. That is just one example take a look at their Kickstarter page and see if there is something that you fancy.

Well anyway I just backed them and look forward to eating my pizza in September, how about you guys?

 

You can check them out through their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

The Griffin at Plumtree – Roast Beef Yorkshire Pudding Wrap? Oh go on then

 

The Griffin The Griffin Chalkboard

As I walked into The Griffin I was loving the chalkboard action on the pavement. The last time I ventured over this way all I saw was an offer of Sunday Lunch and an occasional bout of Fish and Chips. Today though I was seeing a whole weeks worth of offering from Pies on Tuesday, Homemade Curry on Wednesday and Steak on Thursday night. Then we get onto those Fish and Chips and Roast Dinner offers as we hit Friday and the Weekend.

But it is Monday and there were no offers on the table (or the board if we want to get picky) but this lunchtime that was OK I had a plan.

Griffin Menu

I could say that I walked through the doors of the Griffin without any plan of what I was going to eat, but this time that would not be true. While I was looking online to see if they were serving food at lunchtime I saw a review where someone said that you had to try the ‘Roast Beef Yorkshire Wrap’. I had never had one of those and so I kind of knew that if it was on offer today that I was going to be eating one of those. I like Roast Beef, and I like Yorkshire pudding, so this had to a thing to sample, I just hoped that it would work.

 Roast Beef Yorkshire Wrap

Roast Beef Yorshire Pudding Wrap

When it arrived I was a bit surprised at its appearance, I wasn’t sure what I thought it would look like, but I wasn’t expecting some sort of swiss roll effect. There were things that I liked about this ‘wrap’ and some things that I was not quite so sure about.  I liked the ‘idea’, but I do know that you cannot eat an idea, even though on occasion one might have to ‘eat ones own words’. It did taste good, the beef was thick and had flavour, but for me (and that is just my taste you understand) it was a bit too well done for my liking. I like my beef on the pink side with all of that lovely meat juice. I also like my Yorkshire pudding to be light and airy having risen perfectly in the oven. When you put it in a wrap it seems that you kind of flatten the air out a bit and make it a bit tough I needed a sharper knife to cut through it to be honest perhaps a steak knife

What a Plateful

The Roast Beef wrap plate

Don’t get me wrong here, I am still eating this wrap and I am still enjoying it. It is just my way that I am trying to improve it in my mind. I loved the idea and I loved the gravy that went with it. That really helped to soften it up a little. I also like the sort of twice cooked chips that came with the sandwich and also the plentiful peas. What I liked the most was that this large plate of tasty food was just £6.45 for what is essentially a Roast Beef dinner in wrap form. Excellent value indeed.

Lots of Peas

roast beef yorshire wrap

When I got back I really felt that I needed to work out how to make this dish and also to find out where the idea had come from. As it happened it is not as unusual as you might think. Just a quick Google and I found a recipe on the UK Food Network by Andy Bates his looked a little pinker. Then I looked a bit further along the search results and found versions made by Iceland and by Tesco. I wasn’t sure what to think any more about this dish, but what I do now is that I quite fancy trying to make it myself.

OK so back to the Griffin Inn. I like the spirit of adventure in their menu, I like the welcome and I like the value for money, I like it enough that I will be back again to try something else from their menu, perhaps that ‘Hunter’s Chicken’?

Library Phone Box

The Griffin Inn is located on the Main Rd in Plumtree, South Nottinghamshire. It is the only pub in the village, turn off the A606 Melton Road and head into Plumtree and you will see it on your right hand side. While you are there look out for the red phone box on the other side of the road that has been turned into one of those book lending libraries.

 

 

 

Nottingham Riverside Festival 2014 – Some Local Food, Some Fairground Food and Plenty of Fun

Fun Fair Sign

This weekend between the 1st and 3rd August we visited the Nottingham Riverside Festival which was  sprawling along the banks of the River Trent between Trent Bridge, the Suspension Bridge and spilling out over onto the playing fields by the Meadows.

Roller Coaster Waltzer Ghost Train

For some of us it would be all about those fairground rides like the Roller Coaster, The Waltzer, and the Ghost Train

Candy Floss Candy Lollipop Toffee Apples

For some of us it was about trying some of that classic fairground food that we remember from our childhood such a some candy floss, perhaps a toffee apple and maybe even one of those candy lollipops?

As it happens there was quite a lot more food on offer, both fairground food and some food from local and regional producers. I will tell you what, why don’t you just take a quick stroll along with me for a while and we can see what we can find?

Start at Trent Bridge

Food By the Trent Bridge

As you walk on to the embankment up at the Trent Bridge end by the Riverbank Pub (or Casa, the Aviary, or the Town Arms depending on your age) you find a little group of food vendors by the stage in the Riverside Bar car park. There was Dinky’s Donuts, The Duck Fat Roasties guys, and the I love Ostrich Stall all in a row.

Grilled Chicken Stall Peri Peri Chicken

I have tried all these before so I turned my attention to one of the other stalls just next to them that was selling fresh flame grilled chicken. The Portugese Peri Peri chicken did sound tempting but in the end I decided to just try one of their Garlic Chicken Ciabatta for £4. It was quite nice, a decent piece of chicken breast in a toasted Ciabatta bun filled with lettuce and tomato. They were looking quite popular.

Craft Fair Section

Simply Cakes Cup Cakes
After that I walked onto the main path under the trees and headed towards the Suspension Bridge. In amongst a load of stalls selling craft type things and stalls for local organisations I made a couple of great finds. The first was the Simply Cakes stall where they were selling… well they were selling er …cakes. They had slices of cakes, and this rather eye catching stand of cup cakes, but I only had eyes for their billionaires shortcake and I bought two slices which I will eat later while watching the fireworks!

Hartland Pies ChalkboardHartland Pies

Just along the path I found the Hartland Pies stall. These guys are really very good and you can find them as regulars at the local markets, food markets, and local events. I purchased a traditional scotch egg and a traditional pork pie (for the fireworks) but you could have got a chorizo pork pie or a black pudding scotch egg as well if you so wanted.

Main Stretch (Trent Bridge to Suspension Bridge)

Big Burger Burger Stall Hot Dogs and Burgers

From here I continued down into the main section of the fair on either side of the main road between the two bridges. There was a lot of fairground food in this section but there were also one or two other more interesting options that on another day I might have sampled.

Hot PeasHot Peas stall

If it had been a winter or autumn day and I was at the fairground then I might have had a pot of mushy peas with mint sauce to stir into then. They were selling a lot here and judging by the big tins of peas on the stall were expecting to do well. Perhaps tonight when it cools down I might be more tempted.

Mirch indian food stall

As I passed by the war memorial I came across the Mirch Masala stall ( the I in the Mirch being a red chilli). I have met these guys before at the Nottingham Beer Festival and they do serve really tasty food.

Onion BharjiPaneer Tikka Masala

The chap behind the stall gave me some of the Paneer Tikka Masala to sample, warning me that it was quite hot and that I should really have it with some rice. It was really tasty had a decent spicy kick and I will say that it is well worth trying.

Suspension Bridge Area

Fish and Chips Ice Cream Van Donuts and Pastries

As you approached the Suspension Bridge it was getting back into the typical fairground fare with donuts, fish and chips, and ice cream galore. I kept on walking.

Mem Saab Chicken Kebabs

Just past the bridge I stumbled on another gem finding the MemSaab stall. They were selling Indian wraps filled with meat that they were grilling up on skewers on the hot coals. I was seriously tempted but managed to keep my resolve (briefly), they were nice.

Fudge

Moving a little further on along the embankment past the suspension bridge I found a really tempting stall selling fudge. I was most taken by the fudge they had that was made to look (and taste) like a Vanilla Custard Slice. This was one over sugary excellent treat. Well why not just add it to the candy floss and the toffee apple. In for a penny in for a pound!

Craft Tent on the playing fields

Nibble Nose Cheese Company

The next find was most unexpected, I had wandered off the embankment and onto the playing fields where the rollercoaster was and found myself outside the craft tent. There was a banner for the Nibble Nose Cheese Company so I thought I would pop inside and take a gander

Cheese Skegness Blue Cheese

They had a lot of small wheels of cheese that you could sample and even buy a ‘rainbow’ box of all 7 falvours for £20 which seemed like quite a good deal. I decided to forgo the opportunity to buy one, but I was not able to resist the chance to get my hands on a slice of the “Skegness Blue”

Redwood Cheese

This was not the only cheese on offer in the tent, there was another stall selling ‘David Williams Cheese’ from Maccelsfield. I tried a couple of flavours then ended up buying a small wheel of their smoked cheddar called ‘Redwood’. Hopefully I will have time to eat all this cheese!

the river bank

Well after all that food there is only one thing to do and that is to head back along the river to our chosen vantage point to wait for the fireworks.

I need a rest after all that drooling over food.

There was lots of other choices to eat at the festival- plenty of fairground burgers, hotdogs and even the odd roast pork sandwich, there were too many to sample or even take pictures of, so if you have been or are going tonight or on Sunday. I hope you find something to your fancy. There really was something for everyone

The Hawksley – Hamburger and a Pint

The Hawksley

The Hawksley on Derby Road is another one of the Nottingham City Centre pubs that features part of the cave system. It is right next to the Hand and Heart pub which we have visited before that has a restaurant inside the caves. Here at the Hawklsey the pub kind of adjoins the sandstone and there are nooks and crannies where it touches the caves. It did smell a bit ‘cave-like, when we walked in and it was not as full of punters as its neighbour. For a brief moment we wondered whether to move on down the hill, but then we saw the Castle Rock Harvest Pale pump on the bar so we knew that all was well and decided to stay a while.

We got a pint and went up into the outside gallery which is right up against the sandstone. Its a pretty nice spot but all you can see is cliff and roof. the outside air and sunlight is within grasp but not sight. Lets be honest though it is better than being inside unless of course this is where all the smokers congregate? I suspect it might be when it is busy, damn never thought of that, why do they get the best outside bits?

Hawksley Hamburger

Well we had our pint of beer and so now we needed some food. There was a limited but all encompassing menu chalkboard offering your standard bar food with a hint of it being home cooked. If it hadn’t been hot I might have had the homemade pie or chicken curry type of situation, but instead knowing full well what may lay in store I opted for a hamburger.

This was not the most amazing hamburger in the world but as a pub hamburger it was perfectly acceptable. I liked the fact that when we ordered them one of the two ladies behind the bar went off upstairs to cook it for us to order. I don’t think that thee is a steady stream of people coming in for food, but when they do they seem to get a friendly greeting and the personal touch.

On the plate you got a really hearty freshly chopped up salad with good crunchy fresh lettuce, slices of red pepper, some red onion and a bit of tomato. Inside the burger you also got a slice of tomato and a large lettuce leaf, plus a slice of cheese on top of a basic burger meat patty. The chips were of the oven baked or frozen variety, and they were those ‘steak-type’ ones, not that bad, but I didn’t eat them all.

You know what I liked eating here at the Hawkley. I might not have chosen well off the menu, but I got what I needed from my burger and I liked the fact that I was gently told off for not eating all of my salad. It is those sort of homely touches that make a place your local.

The Hawksley is located at 69-73 Derby Road in Nottingham. It is just about a 10 minute walk up the hill from the Old Market Square and a couple of minutes down the hill from Canning Circus. We suggest adding it onto a pub crawl in the are including the Hand and Heart next door, and the three pubs at Canning Circus; The Sir John Borlase Warren, The Falcon Inn, and The Organ Grinder

 

The Canning Circus Circuit – Three Great Pubs for a mini pub crawl

If you head up to Canning Circus where the A610 from out of the city centre splits into Alfreton Road, Derby Road, and Ilkeston Road you will find a nice little grouping of three really well supplied pubs full of Real Ale pumps. This is a perfect group for a mini-pub crawl. It is just a short bus ride away from the Old Market Square and about a 10-15 minute walk. I recommend getting a bus (Take the 28 or 30 on the Pink Line, or the 34, 37 0n the Orange Line, or any of the buses on the Turquoise line)

Lets have a little look at what you might find. No apologies if it makes you feel thirsty

The Sir John Borlase Warren

The Sir John Borlese Warren

We first came up to Canning Circus on a food (and beer) hunt during the summer and at that time we were working our way along the Route to Real Ale. The Sir John Borlase Warren was one of the pubs in that guide. Back then it had just reopened after refurbishment and we had a fine time supping upon a pint of the Everards Sunchaser beer which is described by Everards as “a thirst-quenching beer made in the style of a continental lager”. Since then it has closed and re-opened again. We came up here again to sample beers on the Canning Circus Circuit and we popped in to see how it was faring.

We had a couple of nice pints from Oakham Ales , I like their beer if you can see them try the Scarlet Macaw which they describe as “Tart gooseberry and soft peach on the nose. Gooseberries and fruit to taste, before an intense bitterness that’s as sharp as a macaw’s screech!”  They have a ‘Meet the brewer’ night coming up at the pub on the 9th July.  We also sampled some beer from the ‘Funfair Brewery’    I think it was the ‘Dive Bomber’ which they say is a ‘straw coloured premium refreshing ale…. it goes well with spicy food’

I think what we are trying to say is that they serve some pretty good beers here

Bar Snack Menu at the Sir John Borlese Warren

On the food front at the moment they are just serving some simple bar snacks such as Pork Pies and a Cheese platter. I understand that in the near future they will start serving meals and there was even some talk of a pizza oven being brought in. So on the food side there may be some interesting times ahead.

The Falcon Inn

The Falcon Inn

The Falcon Inn is a mere 25yards or so away from the Sir John Borlase Warren in total stumbling distance. If you are walking between the two do not bother putting your coat on you won’t feel the benefit. I have already written about this pub on the blog in “The Falcon Inn – Wood Fire, Good Beer, and Pulled Pork“. Since then they have stopped doing food on a regular basis but they are doing a Sunday Lunch. If you are planning for food then you could take a chance as the situation seems to change a lot

Food Options at The Falcon Inn

At the moment they are serving up a couple of bar snacks, when we walked in this last week they were serving Crusty Cheese Cobs for £1.75 and I was happy to see that they were still selling the Falcon Scotch Eggs for £2.75. I would recommend trying one of their homemade scotch eggs with your pint. I hear that they are worth the trip up the hill on their own!

On the beer front they are a free house and seem to have 8 or so pumps with real ale. There always seems to be a few from the Lincoln Green brewery, I favour the ‘Marion’ which is a refreshing pale ale and not too strong, they describe it as ‘A full bodied pale ale with citrus aroma and a hint of grapefruit’

The Organ Grinder

The Organ Grinder

After you exit the Falcon stay on the same side of the road and walk along Alfreton Road for about 100yds and you will find yourself at the door of The Organ Grinder. This pub is a great place to meet up and drink a lot of that excellent beer from the Blue Monkey Brewery

Food options at the Organ Grinder

There is a pretty limited selection of food at the Organ Grinder but that is fair enough. You really shouldn’t be heading up here looking for food you should just be concentrating on trying as many of those Blue Monkey Beers as you possibly can. On their website they say that “We have up to nine cask ales on the bar.  Most are from Blue Monkey, with the occasional great guest beer”. Inside they have a big chalkboard and it usually contains a lot of Blue Monkey Action. The Blue Monkey Brewery is based locally on the Giltbrook Industrial Park in
Giltbrook (close to Ikea off the A610). They have many beers that we like, if we could only pick a few then it would be (in no particular order) BG Sips, Infinity, and Marmoset. The good thing is that you can usually get all three at the Organ Grinder

“There is a lot of good beer to be found at Canning Circus and plenty of bar snack type food to keep you safe while you sup. It really is worth moving off the well worn track in the city centre just a short way away to sample their fares and wares. Give it a go!” @myfoodhunt

 

Featuring some of the Best of Notts Streetfood – A little bit more Porco

Porco Streetfood

Have you tried

I was walking across Slab Square on Friday after work when I saw this chalk board sign asking passers by ‘Have you tried our amazing Porchetta and Pulled Pork Sandwiches or Boxes??”. I looked to my right to see the lovely Porco Streetfood stall and mentally said ‘Yes I have and it was jolly good as well.!!

My stroll was thus interrupted and I was drawn towards the stall with the aim of acquiring a small snack of Porchetta to sustain me on the rest of my stroll towards the pub.

Porco Menu

I have met up with Porco on a number of occasions and I have never been disappointed. The first time I met them was also in the Old Market Square and I wrote about that meeting last year on the blog back in July 2013 (Read More here). The next time I told you all about them was when they were at the launch of the Nottingham StrEAT in November when they were one of the featured traders at the evening Bistro event (Read about that here).

I was so excited and delighted at the same time to get my hands on that Porchetta sandwich that I felt implored to Tweet it out!

 

The next day I was feeling peckish and as I knew that they would be in the square I popped back to get another Porchetta sandwich and one of their Slow Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches. I concede that may well have been slightly greedy of me, but I had one for breakfast and one for lunch. OK so maybe I did eat breakfast and lunch at about the same time. You really cannot blame me for this as their sandwiches are just so goddam good, it is almost a crime not to overindulge at any reasonable opportunity.

Porchetta Sandwich

porchetta

I love Jez Poyser’s Porchetta so much that I had to go back again as already noted just to eat another sandwich. I have talked about this so many times now I fear that you may think I am on the Porco Streetfood Payroll. That isn’t the case at all, but I will admit that I would love to find myself behind that counter dealing that joy to the local Porchetta fans. Some time ago Jez told me how he makes the Porchetta and I have already posted that last July but just because I can I will post it again

“I take a whole middle – belly and loin (Free range Duroc from Woodside Farm, Wellow) and remove the spine and ribs, leaving the rib meat attached. Onto the meat side I add maldon sea salt, a toasted spice blend of fennel seeds, black pepper and a smidgen of chilli flakes. Then I sprinkle with finely grated lemon zest and finally layer generously with a paste composed of rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic and olive oil. I roll, tie and leave to cure overnight before running it through with the spit on the market square the following morning and letting the rotisserie work it’s magic.”

12 Hour Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder

BBQ Pulled Pork at Porco

I honestly am torn as to which of their main offerings I like the most. Their 12 Hour Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder which they say they cook in ‘true Texas style, slow cooked over hickory chips until it falls apart into moist strands of smoky, juicy, melt in the mouth gorgeousness.’ does exactly what it says in the description. It is very succulent, has a nice smoky flavour and really is very juicy in the most gentle of ways. They offer a choice of having it served with their own home made slaw, BBQ sauce and a choice of house pickles (cucumbers, red onion, shiitakes), either in a box  or piled onto a fresh white roll. I had mine on a roll. In the past I have never been much of a fan of ‘slaw’ or of ‘pickles’, but I tell you this much. Their slaw is to die for and as for the pickled shitakes? they are something else altogether. They are so good that they sell them on there own for £2.50, and if I hadn’t just eaten two sandwiches I would have bought a box of those as well!

For upcoming events and more information about Porco Streetfood check out their website and Follow them on Twitter

In the near future you can find them at the newly refurbished Star Inn in Beeston where they will be feeding the folks at the Ale & Cider Festival on the 29th June, and they will be at the Taste of Rushcliffe event on the 5th July in West Bridgford on Central Avenue.

You can find them alongside the Lions in Nottingham’s Old Market Square at the Nottingham Regional Fine Food Market on the 3rd Friday and Saturday of each month. Just like I just did in June

Grosvenor Pub Grub

The Grosveor Pub

The Grosvenor Pub at 291-293 Mansfield Road has quite some history behind it. A pub has been on this corner since the early part of the 19th Century when it was known as the Blacks Heads Inn. In 1873 it was renamed the Grosvenor Hotel when it was bought by John Robinson who was the founder of Home Brewery. Locally it was then known as the Squires largely due to the stabling of horses from the nearby Forest Racecourse. In the 1990’s the name was changed to the Grosvenor Pub, these days it is a John Barras pub.

I am not a massive fan of the big pub chains, but these days with so many pubs closing day by day I have to mellow somewhat as it is often the only way some of these pubs get to stay open.

Inside the Grosvenor

Inside Grosvenor there are the usual televisons showing sport (at the moment the World Cup in Brazil) but they are not as intrusive as you might think in comparison with a number of the city centre pubs. The pub itself sprawls around with rooms leading into rooms, despite my cynical misgivings I quite like the layout. It also helped that they have a fair offering on the beer front with the locally loved Castle Rock Harvest Pale being there on the pump to soothe my beer soul.

All Day Breakfast Offer Grosvenor

I am going to be honest, I didn’t plan to eat here and it really was a case of reaching that point of the evening where it was here or nowhere ‘until the pubs close’. So it was as case of checking out the menu looking for something that was not likely to involve too much microwave or freezer action (just my misgivings on chain pubs there not a comment on how they cook stuff here). It seemed that the All Day Breakfast Offer from the ‘Pub Classics’ section of the menu was offering us the best option. It was 2 plates for £9 and that was going to give us “Two rashers of bacon, two fried eggs, two Boroughbridge sausages, mushrooms, grilled tomato, Heinz™ baked beans and chips, served with toast and butter” for our outlay of nine English pounds.

All Day Breakfast at the Grosvenor

When the actual All Day Breakfast arrived I was half way through my pint of Harvest Pale, my third pint of the evening and I had moved beyond my food snobbery mindset and was pretty hungry. It is a simple but filling affair, there is not enough plate space for all the food, so you cannot complain about quantity. The sausages were not too bad, not as cheap as some places and they did have a nice herby flavour and were almost meaty. The bacon and the eggs were perfectly acceptable and the toast was, well the toast was toast what can you actually say about that. The beans and the mushrooms were a bit overcooked and the chips had seen better days. Did I eat them? well yes I did, but it would be a bit dishonest for me to say anything else about them when you can see exactly what I just said about them just by looking at them in the picture. As for the grilled tomato? we didn’t eat that.

How can I sum this up? I like the beer, I like the pub layout, the locals seem to be making use of the place and I sensed it was an actual local. As for the food, well it filled me up and was reasonable value. I wouldn’t be bringing my Mum here for Mothers Day or a special dinner, but if I was out and about in the area on some sort of pub crawl situation and just needed something ‘safe’ to help me along, well then this place might just work on that day.

Long Island American Diner – Bottle of 312 and a Decent Burger (Bogart style)

American Diner Sign

Long Island American Diner at the Long Island bar and night club on Market Street opened in mid May, as the name suggests they are selling ‘American Diner’ food. On their Facebook page they ask  “Want a taste of the American life? Why not come down to Long Island’s American Diner” and then give a flavour of their menu emploring you to
Come along and try our delicious American food from corn dogs, burgers, steaks, ribs, hot dogs and milkshakes and plenty more!”

Long Island Nottingham

There are two floors in Long Island an upstairs and a downstairs, the upper floor has retained it’s use as a night club served by an entrance just 15 or so feet up the hill, while the ‘Diner’ is based in the lower bar of the building and is open in the day serving food until late evening. We headed over with somewhat open minds to see what they had on offer and sample some of their food.

  Goose Island 312 to drink

Goose Island 312

Well the experience got off to a good start when we found that they sell Goose Island 312 beer at the Diner. This now means that we have found 6 places in the city that serve our favourite Craft Beer tipple from my adopted US home town of Chicago. For the record those places are Hopology, Watson Fothergills, Bunkers Hill, The Bell and sometimes the Lincolnshire Poacher. That is just about enough for a new Goose Island 312 pub crawl post!  Finding the 312 was a total bonus as were not expecting much beer joy here and had almost resigned ourselves to getting a couple of diet cokes.

Long Island Menu

Finding that 312 did mean that we were distracted from the Food Menu for a while, but that was fine the place wasn’t that busy so we were oit in any kind of rush to order and they seemed quite relaxed about it. The menu had a few American Diner classics on it as one my expect based on the theme. What we want to know though was is it just a theme?

Some Menu items

One unexpected classic dish on offer was the Fried Chicken & White Gravy. I have had this in the states a few times and had variations of it, where they often call it ‘Country Fried Steak’ this is a Southern Classic and usually is made from a chicken cutlet that has been coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried in Chicken fat. It is a bit like a wiener snitzel or if you have had Chicken Milanese? well its like that without the tomato sauce. It comes with a thick white gravy, which for us Brits is more like a creamy white sauce. It’s pretty nice often I have had a sausage gravy which is a thick white sauce with crumbed sausage meat. Trust me this is all good, and the best part is that you often have this for breakfast or brunch. It is real comfort food.

Burger Options

Burgers

In the end though we were just feeling hungry and not particularly adventurous so we started to check out the Burger section of the menu.

H.Bogart Burger

Humprey Bogart Burger

I opted for the H. Bogart Burger mainly because it was topped with a Fried Egg, but the other toppings of Smoked Bacon, Chorizo, and Black Pudding also whet my appetite as I really like all four of those toppings a lot and I was really curious to see if they all would work in combination. I kind of knew that they would as I often stick them all into an omelette back at home.

Bogart Burger Profile

Slice of Bogart Burger

I cut through my Burger so that it was easier to get hold of to eat, and also to release that yummy egg yolk. Looking at the ‘Bogart Burger Profile’ you can see that you get a pretty decent layer of black pudding sandwiched in between the fried egg and the chorizo. The lettuce element of the sandwich was positioned quite perfectly in a structural sense to stop too much juice seeping into the lower bun slice thus preventing bun sogginess. Having said that the egg yolk seepage into the top bun on the first bite or slice is an epic fail, but one that my chin and I were happy enough to take a chance upon and to be honest it was kind of self inflicted.

The verdict on the burger was that it is a fair effort. I like the combination of toppings, I like the softness of the brioche type bun, but it doesn’t need to have a funny name. I cant find any link between Bogart and this Burger, but what’s in a name anyway. I suppose it is slightly better than Burger 4 or Burger D. I would eat this combination again, but not sure if I would have another burger at Long Island, instead I might try something in the non-burger sections of the menu.

F. Sinatra Burger

Burger

My accomplice on this occasion chose the F. Sinatra Burger which was to come with toppings of ‘our bourbon BBQ sauce’, Jack Cheese and Smoked Bacon. It was declared to be quite decent. Not as good as some other well known burger joints in the city, but a fair effort and they said that they would eat one again. The good thing is that these are fair sized but not ridiculously sized burgers, so you can eat one and still be able to move.

Diner Girl Cartoon

I know that it is not a ‘real’ American Diner but I thought that they had themed the place out quite well and its a good place to bring your family in here early on in the day. I don’t know what it would be like later in the evening when the drinkers arrive or of it stays just as a diner downstairs. It might not be quite the same experience. Would I come back? well yes, possibly to try out their mac and cheese, a hot dog, or maybe that Country Fried Chicken dish I was talking about.

The Long Island American Diner is located at 26 – 28 Market Street just a short walk down from the Royal Centre Tram stop or a short walk up from the Old Market Square Tram Stop. You can follow them on Twitter and on Facebook to get up to date event information.

PS on Burger Naming (just for fun) – Too much Google Alert 

dean-martin-frank-sinatra-recipe

Back on the naming of burgers front, while I was looking to see if there ‘really’ was a Dean Martin,  Frank Sinatra, or H. Bogart recipe for a burger or even a list of their favourite toppings, I came across several stories about original recipes. In 1966, Dean Martin contributed a burger recipe to The Celebrity Cookbook, which was a collection of recipes by celebrities put together by Dinah Shore. Then apparently sometime in 2010 the Sinatra version appeared to go viral across the web, although the story is supposed to be a hoax it made me laugh at the reality of what they would really have wanted from a burger. Not sure that you could include Frank’s recipe on a Family Friendly Diner Menu.