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Archive for the ‘Going Out’ Category

Rural Bites

I’ve been perusing the list of places featured in the many categories of the Scottish Restaurant Awards and decided that I have to give some of the out-of-the-city places a bash. We eat out ‘rurally’ when we go hill-walking but usually just anything filling and hot that can be grabbed from a pub after coming off a mountain. Any yet, Scotland is full of excellent restaurants, hiding away in national parks and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it villages. So I’m making a pact with myself to try out all of these in the next year. It’s not much of a chore, I must admit.

First up was the Angler’s Inn,  in Guildtown, just north of Perth. I can honestly say it’s one of the best lunches we’ve had in ages. Granted, we were the only people in the dining room so the atmosphere was somewhat calorie-free but hey, we can entertain each other, can’t we? (We took magazines, naturally).
My main dish of beef medallions and thyme dauphinoise was a slightly stonking £18.95 but was really, really very good. The Inn also has a specials board to be proud of, full of interesting dishes and really fresh seafood options, with 2 courses for £12.95 and 3 for £16.95, a definite bargain for the quality of ingredients and cooking on display. I didn’t see the specials deal until I’d ordered but MrT made the most of it by ordering stalker’s pie (stuffed with gamey delights) and so his bargain lunch made up for my splurge. If you get the chance – have the berry and cream tart too. In fact, have it twice.

My main gripe, not just with the Angler’s Inn but most of the rural restaurants on the list, is the rather limiting service hours – here it’s noon til 1.45pm and 7pm til 8.45pm. Not ideal if you happen to stumble across the place while on a leisurely tour of the area and fail to rock up during the particular hours deemed suitable for lunch and dinner. It just doesn’t seem very hospitable, y’all.

Here’s the rest of my list, if you’re interested.
Blackaddie, Sanquhar 
Ardeonaig, near Killin
Bardoulet’s Restaurant at the Horseshoe Inn, near Peebles. 
Cail Bruich, Bridge of Allan 
 The Cross, Kingussie  
Captain’s Galley, Caithness  
Angler’s Inn, Guildtown 
Peat Inn, near Cupar, Fife.
Glenapp Castle, south of Girvan, on the coast.

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I say dance – that’s a very loose description of me doing ‘zumba’. I’m completely addicted though – a Latina dance/aerobics mish mash. It’s extremely fun. Imagine doing exercise without realising you’re doing it. That’s zumba. If you look like a drunken baby giraffe whilst trying to keep up, that’s ok. In fact, that’s mean you’re doing it right.

Since I’m burning off that massive amount of calories while prancing about a bit twice a week, I’ve had to find new places to consume deliciousness. I have found Cookie – an Italian restaurant in Shawlands, with a difference. It’s ethos is to bring good food and cooking back into our own kitchens, not just something we have when eating out. It runs a range of cookery classes, loads of food and wine events (a movie night where they serve dinner while you watch a film!) plus a fab deli and grocery section. And the staff are always very happy to tell you where to buy the best ingredients and how to make amazing Italian food at home.
One the night we went in, there was one waiter who managed the whole place admirably and one chef, who managed to get really great dishes out of the kitchen while rustling up a lemon and polenta cake for the next day and baking some rosemary and dried tomato bread rolls. Wow. The shin of beef dish was pretty wow too.

In the spirit of Italian cookery, I made this bolognese sauce the other night. Now I know, spaghetti bolognese is generally nothing to write home about but this so is. Seriously, whip out that fountain pen and get scribbling, the folks will want to know all about it.

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I made it.

I feel like I’ve dragged myself here, to Friday, with sheer grit and brute (brute=hamster) force. I think it was the promise of spring last weekend, a broken promise that turned into a rather grey and busy week that has made it seem so lengthy.

But here we are. On Annie’s recommendation, I had Hasselback potatoes with dinner last night (delicious, by the way!) so I am heading into the weekend with satisfied taste buds. I’m also going to try Nick’s on Glasgow’s Hyndland Road for lunch on Sunday and have high hopes for that.

My lovely cousin is coming for lunch on Saturday, we’ll be eating this and then going out for coffee and cake and a visit to my favourite florist, here. Cake can be consumed freely as I’m now a fully-fledged gym member and celebrated this fact last night with a Zumba class. I was utterly atrocious at it (think attempting Latino-dancing, booty-shaking and much whooping… while also jogging on the spot) but it works, in that I left out of puff and red of face. Next week: circuits. I’ve been warned, sinisterly, of the horror of circuits. I’m brave though – see above for reference to sheer grit and brute/hamster force.

And finally, I’ll be scampering around town on the trail of my Glasgow Film Festival schedule – to see Rookies tonight and American:The Bill Hicks Story tomorrow night. Gentleman Broncos (last Monday) was really very good. Funny and weird, leaving you distinctly unsettled and unsure why. Very similar in style to Napoleon Dynamite, I’d say.

And so my lovelies – what are you doing with your weekend? And if it involves ironing/child-wrangling/walking around cold, wet forecourts looking for a new second-hand car – then what would you rather be doing with your weekend?

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Catching up

Right, I’m back at it. (Why is my life currently been run at a 30mins per hour speed so I only manage to ever do half of what I intend…? Including blogging.)

However – I have found a wee bit of time to do some of those things that I’ve really been meaning to do but, as they aren’t shouting loudly enough for my attention, have been languishing at the bottom of my list.

So – I have an address book! And it’s filling up nicely.
And I have a travel journal. I decided not to write retrospectively so it’s only got our trip to the Cotswolds in it so far but I’m sure that’ll pick up soon too (more on that later!)

I went to my favourite new antique place on Saturday and bought a fab 1930s mirror for my bedroom. I’m working on redecorating that room this week so here’s to three nights of sleeping on the sofa… (photos to follow! Not ones of me sleeping.)

I learned a poem for Burns’ Night. One that I felt was quite apt for the moment, with me being so needy and all. I studied this poem at school when I was eight years old and the idea of the friends you had then being your friends until you were really old seemed completely plausible. In fact, I couldn’t imagine not being friends with my ‘bestest pals’ forever. (Must facebook those people, it’s been a long time!)
So it’s recently I’ve come realise how special long-lasting friendships are and how hard we should all work to hang on to them.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And mony a cantie day, John,
We’ve had wi’ ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
And hand in hand we’ll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.

And finally, in the spirit of indulgence and, importantly, 101 list ticking – I went for a lovely massage  at a new day spa . I may have dozed off at one point. I may have drooled very slightly onto the floor from where my face rested in the hole in the table. I may never admit to this though.

So. What have you been up to?

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iFull

I’ve struggled with whether or not to post this as it’s my favourite secret haunt at the moment. The place I go for lunch every working day, often breakfast too. Secret, in that I make airily vague comments when colleagues ask where I ate each afternoon. “Oh, me? Just some coffee shop, up beside the, uh, near the post office, I think.”
It’s hard enough to get a seat at lunchtime without broadcasting it to other would-be diners. Although currently, unless a certain skinnyknatter drives down from Perthshire each day, I should be ok.

The place is called iFull. It’s a coffee shop/café on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. I’ve been going there almost every day for over a year and used to go sporadically before that. I’ve seen it through a few transitions and it was the rebirth when Mikey and Ros took over early this year, that confirmed me as an iFull-phile.

Homemade cake, the best chicken noodle soup I’ve ever had, hot and sticky pesto-chicken mozarella stuffed paninis and steaming mugs of light hot chocolate and piles of Delicious magazine back issues for me to peruse. What more could a girl want? Maybe gourmet crisps, handmade pasta lasagne, Stoat’s berry porridge, fruit cups, sushi, interesting salads and the fanciest cupcakes I’ve seen in quite a while? Oh yes, they’ve got those.

The staff are really very lovely too. Friendly, always helpful – they remember what I like or don’t like (no butter, no salad dressing, wholemeal bread rolls please, no salt in soup. Fussy, me?) It’s like having your mates chat to you while making your lunch. And then leaving you in peace while you eat it and read a magazine. And then, well, charging you for it. But very, very reasonably so.

I’m actually a wee bit in love with the place.

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And I have a host of things that I’ve been ‘saving’ to start in this lovely new year. Some very fun (a list of 101 things I want to accomplish) and some not so (stop eating cake so often).

One of the good and fun things I’ve decided I want to do is show people what a completely fab place Glasgow is. Do you know anyone who is coming to the Glasgow for the first time (or the twentieth time, even) who would like an eager, enthusiastic tour guide? Or maybe you’d like to visit and see bits of Glasgow you didn’t know existed? I will include ice-cream/coffee/ale/cocktail (delete as preference) stops along the way.

An open invitation to anyone that fancies getting to know Glasgow better – for free!

PS. In the spirit of the post, I have changed the banner image at the top to one of Glasgow’s classic tenements. Not the one I live in, but ones I used to walk past every day at work.

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The Bishop’s Wife

I’m going to see this tonight at the GFT with girls from work. It was this or It’s A Wonderful Life but we all agreed that although it’s very festive and lovely, we’ve all seen it approximately 72,000 times.

So has anyone see The Bishop’s Wife? I’ve been informed that it’s a tear-jerker so I am prepped with Kleenex in my bag. Report to follow!

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