Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Veggie Cafe Leeds Road Ilkley 23rd March 2016

The Veggie is in the centre of Ilkley and since my last visit, has had a major makeover, is bigger and better and has great kerb appeal, with its carrot signage.   Inside it is modern, but has a welcoming warm feel and on an overcast Wednesday lunchtime was so busy, we just managed to get the last table.

There is a large menu on offer, a special boards, which included two soups and so many vegan options, it was difficult to choose.

I decided on a houmous, avocado and carrot wrap, a side of potato wedges and Earl Grey tea.  The waitress was really friendly and when I enquired if their wraps were soya free, she was happy to help.

The potato wedges were worth the trip on their own, proper wedges, perfectly cooked, sprinkled with sea salt and piping hot.

The wrap was delicious, with great presentation on the plate, with lovely fresh salad and a small dish with olives, sunblush tomato, caperberry and paprika sprinkled houmous.

The Veggie serves quality fresh produce, used with creativity and flair and every time a dish came out the kitchen to one of the other tables, I was licking my lips.   The portobello mushroom burger, with optional vegan cheese, looked like a cracking dish and will be my choice next visit and on the way out, I spotted their vegan chocolate cake!!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Beau's Kitchen High Street Skipton 17th March 2016

Beau's Kitchen at the top end of the main street in Skipton, previously known as Wild Oats Cafe, incorporates a wholefood store, cafe and takeaway, which I have been visiting for more years than I can remember.   Beau's Kitchen has had a makeover and looks so much better for it, I love its colourful blue frontage, where you can sit out on a sunny day like today.

There is an extensive menu, with a specials board once inside, with plenty of vegan options, all clearly highlighted.

I chose houmous and roast pepper salad bowl, with three of their homemade salads comprising of carrot and sesame, red cabbage and spring onion and quinoa, sun dried tomato and mixed peppers, with a big dollop of delicious houmous.   The dish was so colourful and vibrant, you wanted to dive in and eat and with a cafetiere of Columbian coffee, it was a really tasty lunch.

The place was packed at lunchtime and shows how popular vegan and vegetarian food is and I will definitely revisit, when next in Skipton.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Gino D'Acampo My Restaurant Corn Exchange Manchester 11th March 2016

This was my second visit to Gino D'Acampo My Restaurant and luckily for me, there was a 50% off food promotion on, so off I went armed with my allergen sheet, which I had been emailed a week or two ago.

The place was buzzing and I found out why, Gino himself was there, going round speaking to diners and obviously promoting sales of his many recipe books.

The place is very modern, lovely bright colours but very low lighting, so not ideal for taking photos, so my food photos taken with my mobile phone, do not do the food justice.

I had studied their comprehensive allergen list and knew they had a good number of vegan or vegan possible dishes and even better non of their bread contains soya, which I am allergic to, so if I fancy a pizza or bruschetta sometime, it is no problem.

I ordered the giant Apulian olives to start, which were some of the best I have eaten, large, juicy and full of flavour.

Main course was orecchiette pasta (known as little ears due to the shape) with broccoli, pinenuts, chilli, garlic and loads of olive oil.   I love the simplicity of the ingredients, but what a delicious dish, it was just the kind of thing I often make at home and I would definitely order it again.

To accompany my pasta I ordered spinach and chickpeas, which I thought may be cooked with butter, but the waitress quickly confirmed it was cooked with olive oil, garlic and chilli.   This dish was so good I could easily eat a large portion with some bread and I loved it, especially as it had a good kick of chilli.

Service throughout my time there was very friendly, efficient and professional and even though the place was very busy, there were no long waits for food or drinks.   Gino came to the table and I got the usual European two cheek kiss, it was nice to say a quick hello, before he dashed off to say hello to other diners.

I will definitely be returning to Gino D'Acampo My Restaurant, it is a great addition to the Corn Exchange.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Blueberries Cafe New Market Street Clitheroe 9th March 2016

Blueberries is a small independent cafe, in the historic market town of Clitheroe, located on the edge of the market area, off New Market Street.   It is not the most attractive of places from the outside, but was lovely and cosy inside and really busy on a cold Wednesday lunchtime, always a good sign.

Vegan options on the extensive menu and specials board are few and far between, made even worse by my allergy issues, as my go to dish, pre-allergy days would be jacket potato with baked beans.  I had a chat with the lady behind the counter, whose name was Annalise, explaining I was vegan with allergies and my concerns about bread and wraps, which all seem to have soya in these days.   She was so helpful and brought me the wraps to check and between us we created a roast vegetable, caramelised onion and sunblush tomato wrap with salad and chips.

I ordered an Americano coffee with an extra shot, it was fabulous and a great accompaniment to the wrap, which was one of the tastiest I have eaten in a long time, made fresh to order, so much better than the chains.

Annalise said they were always happy to accommodate any diet or allergy requirement and would always try to make something to suit, which I think is fantastic and one of the reasons I prefer to support small independents.

Addendum:   I returned to Blueberries yesterday on a cold miserable rainy day and a hot lunch was in order.   A huge jacket potato with roast vegetables, sunblush tomatoes, avocado, salad, a dish beetroot and a pot of Earl Grey, was just the ticket, tasty and satisfying.  

Blueberries obviously love to look after their customers and I will definitely return, as I prefer to support independents, who go the extra mile.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Rudy's Neapolitan Pizza Cotton Street Manchester 2nd March 2016

Rudy's Pizza is in the up and coming Ancoats area of Manchester and has been on my bucket list to visit for ages.   Owner Jim makes pizza the traditional Neapolitan way and I was dying to try his Marinara, so today was the day.

I was lucky to sit at the bar, overlooking the kitchen and the pizza making in operation, with a pizza oven burning away at about 400ยบ cooking pizza in about sixty seconds.

I ordered a Campari and soda served with crisps, a really nice touch and some fabulous olives.

Marinara pizzas on most Italian menus in the UK are seafood based, which is totally wrong and having eaten Marinara many times in Naples, I was so pleased to see that Rudy's serve it as it should be.

I was salivating as I saw the pizza go into the oven and when it was served, I could not wait to tuck in.

The dough is made in the traditional way, left to prove at room temperature and made fresh every day, you can tell, it was awesome.   The tomato sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes, topped with fresh garlic, oregano and basil, a simple topping with nowhere to hide.   The pizzas are substantial, but are so light and delicious, it would be a crime to leave any, I ate every morsel.   I have not eaten pizza as good as this since my last visit to Naples and that includes pizza in other areas of Italy.   Owner Jim is passionate about his pizzas, I had a chat with him and you can tell he is pizza mad, well all I can say is 'I am mad about Rudy's pizza' and I will be back.   And why Rudy's, well that's the name of Jim's dog.