Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Roundup

That Was The Year That Was

BAM! There it goes, 2013's done so here's an obligatory round up telling you about things you already know if you read our blog.

What actually happened in 2013?  Do you know what I'm not actually sure, I know it was a good year but sitting here now to write this post my calorie addled brain cells are struggling to place events in to their correct time frame.  Was 2013 the year when Findus explained that their lasagnes could contain up to 100% horse meat (officially the least reassuring statistic of all time)?  I'm not really sure so I'll just stick to the things I'm up to 100% sure happened in 2013.  I can tell you what didn't happen much in 2013 and that's blogging.  I'm not totally sure why but we didn't manage to blog very much this year despite having a great year of new experiences, it may well have been that we've hit the dry spell I think most bloggers hit after a few years of writing but it was definitely at least in part due to the introduction of round discs of maize flour in to our food lives.

Magnificent arepa photo from Bacon On The Beech
In June we hit the Levenshulme Food And Drink Festival with our street food venture ¡Arepa!¡Arepa!¡Arepa! selling the carbtastic food of Jules' homeland of Colombia.  It was a bigger hit than we could have ever imagined, we really weren't sure if people would even try these unassuming little flatbreads that are up to 100% impossible to describe but they did and people liked them.  I have to say the proudest moments of the year and probably the biggest buzzes have been when people have given them a go, walked away, only to return to tell us how much they enjoyed it particularly those people who cannot eat gluten who are rarely catered for.  We became a regular fixture at our local market in Levy which has itself gone from strength to strength (the Christmas market was a particular winner and a fantastic way to end the year) and we also got to play with the big monkeys at Guerilla Eats.  We've loved every minute of it but it has been a lot of work to get it going on top of the day jobs, hoping to put together a blog post in the future on the experience of starting a street food venture so others can learn from our mistakes, our successes and our blind luck.  Massive thanks has to go the more than generous food traders from Guerilla Eats who helped us get off the ground without killing anybody or losing lots and lots of money.

Despite the lack of blogging we still managed to reap the biggest reward of blogging in Manchester..... FREEBIES!  Of course I jest.  The biggest reward is still and always will be getting to speak with other food fans and even going further than that making good friends which we've been really lucky to do this year. That's not to say that we only made friends this year, 2013 was the year that bloggers became a bit of a target for critics, trolls, chefs and general tweeters which wasn't really upsetting, it was just a bit weird.  Each time I'd try and get a discussion going with this angry population to try and get to the root of the anguish they would just flip out or ignore me.  Tant piss.  At one point we ended up blogging and tweeting more about blogging than we did about food, in essence we became meta bloggers.  Which was incredibly twatty so we had to stop it.  That said it did give us our most popular post of the year which yet again failed to draw out any coherent arguments from the blogging opposition.

What happened in our kitchen last year?  Not a lot I'm afraid as all the action was happening at the bottom of the garden.  Despite the fact I had never even built a shin high brick wall before I decided it was time I hand built a pizza oven (with the more than able assistance of a man called Blob).  Not only that but I thought I may as well build one twice as big as it needed to be.  Well I'm happy to say that the beast is done, it doesn't look pretty, it took 8 months to build and I still need to build a door but 'Oetker' lives and pumped out some pizzas just two weeks ago that put most of the Manchester pizza restaurants to shame.  If an idiot like me can make good quality pizzas there's no excuse for the lack of a good pizza place in our home town.  We have got some amazing pizza in our 'hood though in the shape of Honest Crust who are the highest of high water marks for pizza in the North of England, only bettered by Franco Manca darn sarf in my opinion.  Fingers crossed somebody opens a quality pizzeria in the near future, I'm looking at you Kosmonaut.

What else happened to us this year?  Well we went to Greece and ate a load of amazing food and we got our first cat and proceeded to take lots and lots and lots of pictures of it.

I am told that people like lists so let's have a quick rundown of some of our faves and not so faves...

Streetfood & Supperclubs

Two of our favourite non restaurant based places to get food!  This year we continued to love the food of Chaat Cart and Dirty Dogs, on multiple occasions both of these traders made us literally say 'wow' and showed that you don't have to have a roof over your head to get the best food around.  My new favourite though had to be Mumma Schnitzel, the first people I've met to take the under appreciated chicken burger seriously, please do take the time to seek them out.

Lovely dosa photo from Beware The Blob
We probably didn't get to go to as many supperclubs as we wanted to this year but two that did manage to get to absolutely blew the bloody doors off.  Both Wendy's House and Little Italy Kitchen are perfect examples of why supperclubs work, perfect hosts serving amazing food in the warmest of surroundings.  We have pledged to go back to both and take as many people as we can.  An honourable mention must also go to Franco (head honcho of Solita) for arranging a charity supper club with proceeds going to The Trussel Trust, fantastic night full of meaty meat, super strong limencello and good times.  Lovely stuff

Favourite New Restaurants

That doesn't necessarily mean the restaurant was new, just new to us.  This also means this doesn't include some old favourites which we will come to shortly.  In preference order here are our top ten meals of 2013...
  1. L'Enclume
  2. Parkers Arms
  3. Tickets
  4. The French
  5. Aumbry
  6. Manchester House
  7. Albert's Square Chop House
  8. Livebait
  9. Bar Del Pla
  10. La Pepita
So there are a couple of things to say here.  For starters even though it came second in the list I would still say if you haven't already been you should go as quickly as you can to Parkers Arms as their food is so accessible, so fantastic and of such a high standard whilst also being amazing value and the welcome so unbelievably warm that everybody will love that place.  Go, go now.

Secondly the presence of Albert's Square Chop House and Livebait prove the point that when bloggers are invited to review a restaurant that review only shows what a restaurant is capable of and not what you should expect on every visit.  When we dined with them our experience was exceptional but return visits and reports from other people tell us that they could not maintain that standard.

Restaurants that just missed out on the top 10 that deserve a mention include Gorilla and Luck, Lust Liquor & Burn who are both doing Manchester proud in the good eats stakes.

Least Favourite New Restaurant

It does pain me to bash a restaurant, I understand the vast majority of chefs and restaurateurs pour their heart and soul in to their work but at the same time there is some shit out there (worst at the top)...
  1. Pizzeria Ristorante
  2. Stock
  3. Neighbourhood
Neigbourhood was so bad I couldn't bring myself to blog it, suffice to say the food was bad, service was poor and the low point of the meal was the manager being so arrogant that he assumed we had not ordered something when we chased a missing side dish and spoke to us like something that was made of up to 100% shit.

Stock.  This is a crazy place.  Crazy.

Pizzeria Ristorante.  Nuff said.

The Old Favourites

Here's a list of our old favourites that we return to whenever we can with our favourite right at the top...
  1. Mughli
It's a short list I know but Mughli really is the only place that we ever go back to, we are slaves to trying new places out but Mughli is so good and we are so proud to have it in Manchester that we go whenever we can.  After hosting our bloggers Christmas do in spectacular fashion I can't really see this changing in 2014.

2014 - More Food Adventures Or Nuclear Winter?

Probably more food adventures.  There will definitely be at least one new food venture from us in 2014 which we are incredibly excited about and hopefully will be one of the first proper steps to quitting that pesky day job to make food people love for a living.  Exciting.

Aside from that we are hoping to get back to the blogging grindstone as we have missed it this year, with trips planned to Colombia and New York we should have plenty of inspiration.

What else can you be certain to expect in 2014?  More pictures of the cat.  Nothing else is certain.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for dropping by and leaving us a comment!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...