thinhungrygirl

tea 42, manchester

tea 42 opened in late 2013 and quickly became known among afternoon tea and cake lovers alike.

placed on the road between debenhams and the arndale centre, it’s a slightly strange location – but this doesn’t stop people from flooding in.

visiting for a saturday lunchtime, we were seated fairly quickly but told we’d have to return the table in one hour. this wouldn’t hinder our meal according to the host as we’d be able to “have a three course meal in that time!”

not in my lifetime.

we were given our large menus (seriously, we could barely fit three on the table and ended up jousting with them) and our drinks orders take. then the waiting began – first, for the drinks to arrive, and then for our food order to be taken. we were given a complimentary drink for the wait on food, but it doesn’t help when you can see servers milling around with seemingly nothing else to do.

the menu is a pretty vast array of breakfast, lunch, starters/small plates, cakes and sandwiches.

i went for what the menu describes as, and i quote, “chickpea & roasted red pepper pate with Galore! red onion marmalade & artisan toasted shards.”

tea42i received some tasty chutney, a pot of hummus with about 3 specks of red peppers in it, and bread. not even lightly toasted.

tea422my mum’s piri-piri chicken skewers were tasty, nicely spiced and very juicy, but the “red onion and lime salsa salad” was predominantly oil. if you look carefully, you can see that it’s full to the brim.

tea423my boyfriend’s soup and sandwich was probably the better option, but the waitress seemed to have no recollection of us ordering it, then putting on the table without a spoon – or second glance.

yes, they were busy, but there are ways to deal with this. service was poor, despite the attempts to be friendly, food was okay, and it felt like noone quite knew what they were doing.

if they were to specialise in just the tea and cake perhaps – it worked for teacup for long enough – but i wont be heading back.

red’s true bbq, manchester

situated in the old livebait building in manchester, red’s true bbq has come to save our souls and forgive our sins.

looking for yet another alternative to sunday lunch, we headed straight to red’s on their first weekend of opening. we were seated quickly with a great view of the kitchen, when you can peer in at the sheer masses of food that gets sent out and a variety of hanging meats.

reds (2)the atmosphere is relaxed, with some great music playing, and a real feeling that the staff enjoy their work here.

we were instantly excited by what was around us; the hot sauce! the lights! the quite literally biblical sized menu!

saucessauces include the carolina’s, kansas, ketchup and an amazing 6 spice hot sauce – which was by far my favourite.

10 commandmentsafter saying the holy words and reminding ourselves of the 10 commandments of bbq, we got stuck straight into the menu. i eventually decided on a smoked chicken & pulled pork hoagie with 2 ‘humble’ sides (fries and onion rings) and the other half went for the st.louis ribs, smoked sausage, and a ‘divine’ side of texas toast.

chicken and pork hoagieserved up on trays and piled as high as they get, this is not food to be sniffed at. my hoagie was packed full of flavour and, although it became a bit cloying – my fault for choosing two soft/shredded meats – the hot sauce and crunchy, vinegary slaw soon took care of that. however, the fries were uninspiring and onion rings a touch greasy.

st.louis ribs and sausagethe texas toast was a much better choice, as it seems the ‘divine’ sides are – no wonder they are held in such high esteem. the st.louis ribs, sticky and blackened, were tasty, if a bit overpowering of the rest of the meal. saying that, the meat fell off the bone easily and made for some finger-licking fun.

the smoked sausage, however, really stole the show. it had a wonderful bite to it, with a real *crack* to the skin and wealth of spice running throughout. this is what i would recommend ordering.

service ran smoothly throughout the meal, with lovely server thom coming to check up on us and have a chat whilst waiting for the card machine to process, and this is what really reminded me of my time in america.

all hail red’s – amen!

brewdog, manchester

the guys at brewdog know what they’re doing – their strong following of beer lovers keeps them popping up in cities across the uk, sharing their love of hops through beer schools and serving up ridiculous percentage brews.

i’m learning the ways of the beer drinker but, sadly, i am not there just yet.

however, there is one thing i do know about, and that’s bbq – luckily, that’s a love brewdog also shares.

beef brisketvisiting on a thursday evening with a brewdog virgin, we poured over the food and drinks menu, but i quickly knew what i wanted; having been here with a yelp contingent, i had to go back for more mac&cheese, and opted for the brisket as my main meat.

i apologise for yet another poorly lit photo (i have a bad phone camera!) but just take a look at that smoke ring. wow.

the meat itself was tender and packed with flavour, if a bit dry, especially with the hunk of brown bread served alongside. the mac&cheese, however, took care of this and added the much needed moisture.

pulled pork rollmy companion went for the pulled pork roll with a side of sweet potato fries, which were heavenly. the meat was much easier to eat with a large helping of bbq sauce on top, something my dish could have done with.

on the whole, a great meal in super relaxed surroundings. and a smoke ring that will stick in my memory.

the blue pig, manchester

there’s something about sunday lunches, isn’t there?

every family has their own way of doing things – what time of day do you actually eat? what trimmings are there? what meat do you traditionally have?

i am, naturally, a huge fan of sunday roasts as they are a great excuse to stuff your face and have a nap afterwards (same goes for christmas dinner!) i am not, however, a great lover of eating out on a sunday. the potatoes are never crispy enough, meat usually dry or worse, turkey, and how hard is it to find somewhere that throws a few pigs in blankets in with your meal?

we had a hankering for a meal out last week so headed to the blue pig – we were actually looking to eat from their every-day menu and sample some deli delights, not realising that they only serve the roasts. upon sitting down, we didn’t quite feel like moving, so stayed for beef and pork dinners.

beef roast the blue pigserved in what can only be described as earthenware troughs, my beef brisket was a tasty way to spend the lunching hour. potatoes were crispy, carrots and parsnips well cooked, and would you just look at the size of that yorkshire pudding! wow.

the only disappointment was the meat, which was a touch too dry, and difficult to cut – especially in this style of plate/bowl hybrid.

pork roast the blue pigthe boyfriend’s pork was much more tender and the crackling on top like a salty, savoury biscuit.

where the blue pig gets its points from me is the fact they serve up my favourite side:

thebluepig2cauliflower cheese! so often overlooked but so simple. perfect portion sizes with 3 large florets and creamy cheesy sauce.

sad we didn’t get to eat from the main menu, but not a bad shot.

elixir tonics & treats, manchester

what is it about cocktails that keep us going back?

obviously, the answer for many people is the hidden alcohol content – but there’s something about the artistry of being able to make a great cocktail that really draws me to bars like elixir. and man are they artists.

WP_20140115_001

the welcome is more than you could ask for; it’s a little bit dingy and dark, with brick walls and exposed pipes, perfect when you want to hide away after a long day at work! our bartender quickly came over to talk us through the menu, offering us some flavoured (cucumber) water whilst we made our choices.

i went for the lovelace martini after reading about it on yelp. served with a shot of prosecco topped with lemon sorbet, it was deliciously fruity and a real treat for the eye, especially as it was topped with a sugar lace pattern.

WP_20140115_004the other half drank his tequila based concoction after ordering quite blindly – the majority of alcohols are listed by their brand as opposed to type, so you do have to be a bit of a buff. however, there’s no shame in asking and the guys behind the bar are more than happy to explain and discuss your tastes.

WP_20140115_002unfortunately, we were already heading to lucha libre for dinner, but the food menu sounds – and, judging by some photos i’ve seen, looks – amazing. massive sandwiches and sharing platters all washed down with these stunning cocktails?

watch this space.

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