Saturday, 27 June 2015

Salut Wines Cooper Street Manchester 26th June 2015

I found Salut Wines via Manchester Eat and Drink on Twitter and most appealing were their vegan dishes and the wine list highlights vegan wines, with the wines stored in a Enomatic wine machine, which keeps the wine in optimum drinking condition.   You top a "wine card" up with money and then purchase the wines, available in different sizes from the machine, which is good if you want to sample a few wines.   If you do not use all the money on the card you can save it for another visit.

I ordered the bread and dipping oils, crisps and olives which was shared between four and then I had the vegan board consisting of houmous, sundried tomatoes, stuffed vine leaves, olives and pitta bread which was spot on for a light lunch, I had no complaints.

I think the wine selections change on a daily basis with some interesting choices so I sampled excellent wines including a Spanish Rias Baixas Albarino, an Hungarian Chateau Dereszla Dry Tokaji and a French Seresin Sauvignon Blanc and they were all vegan!    I will definitely be revisiting Salut Wines on my next trip to Manchester.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Torteria Da Gagarin Via del Cardinale Livorno Italy 21st May 2015

Torteria Da Gagarin is renowned for its "Cinque e Cinque" or Five and Five which is a pancake made from chickpea flour, water and olive oil sandwiched between two pieces of bread, either focaccia or Italian baguette.   Its name originates from when focaccia bread and chickpeas cost 5 liras each

We had read the reviews on Tripadvisor which were excellent, so on a recent visit to Livorno one of the ports of call on a cruise, we had to pay this place a visit.   From the outside, I have to say, it is not impressive, in fact we would normally walk right on past, the only clue to it being the right place is the name "Viva Gagarin" written in red graffiti on the wall outside but peeking through the fly-screen we could see the place was packed, so in we went.

They only serve two types of "Cinque e Cinque" with or without "Melanzane" chargrilled aubergine.  The place is quite small with a counter top round the outside of the room with a few high stools for seating, with a serving counter at the far end and a big wood burning oven in the wall behind.   A lady was taking orders and a chap was making the pancakes in huge round pans.   We ordered two made with focaccia and aubergine with the only other accompaniment being black pepper.   Luckily we managed to get a seat inside and sat down with anticipation.   The "Cinque e Cinque" did not disappoint it was awesome.   The pancake was so moist with tons of olive oil and the aubergine was delicious soaked in garlic, olive oil, red chillies and herbs.   The place was a hive of activity with people coming and going, finally queuing outside the door, a sure sign of good food.   We are still talking about our visit even though a week has gone by, this place is definitely on the revisit list if we ever return to Livorno.