One of the perks of my job is that I get to travel to some pretty nice places (hi, San Francisco, Bergen, Åland Islands), and get to eat some pretty good food too. If you're looking for some techie content, then move along and go and read about Kafka, but if you enjoy food pr0n then stay put.
I was working for a client in the centre of Manchester this week, staying as usual at a Premier Inn. I'm a big fan of my fried breakfasts, and whilst never anything to write home about (or indeed write a blog about) Premier Inn breakfasts are generally fine for what they are -- but this one was a real disappointment. Even with the excitement of seeing bubble and squeak, it was a real let down; luke warm, and the sausages in particular tasted really artificially flavoured.
Fortunately my eating the rest of the week more than made up for having to settle for a bowl of bran flakes for breakfast. At lunchtime my colleague and I were really spoilt by the nearby venue The Kitchens. Within it there's separate little businesses each making a different type of food. It was so good we went back each day to try something different:
Pick of the bunch was definitely The Hip Hop Chip Shop. Their "Meat Junkie Meal" was fabulously awesome. Picture this : a really good sausage. Not the kind of crap that Premier Inn are served up (see above), but a really well made sausage. Now wrap it in good quality bacon. Now batter it, and deep fry it. As if that wasn't enough, serve it with some of the best onion rings I've ever tasted, really good chips -- and a fantastic chip shop gravy with a cheeky bit of chilli in it.
There's no way you'd eat this more than once in a while given the amount of fried material in one serving, but my god, it's worth the risk of coronary disease (and 3rd degree burns from the battered sausage)
Next up was Bangers and Bacon. I'd never even heard of a Cubano sandwich before let alone tasted one, but after this gem I'll be sure to look out for them. Pork, ham, cheese, mustard, and pickles - what's not to be liked in that! I'm a bit of a sucker for anything with a good pickle in it to be honest.
Last was Well Hung. My first ever Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich wasn't quite the revelation of the Cubano above, but still a pretty decent sandwich.
Neck-and-neck with the Meat Junkie Meal for accolade of "meal of the week" was the magnificence of both the starter and main I had for an evening meal at Beef and Pudding. The "Bury Bomb" was Black Pudding with Lancashire cheese wrapped in potato, and astoundingly good:
Something rarely seen on restaurant menus, and for shame really, is the suet pudding. This one was filled with chunks of beef and served with mash, mushy peas, and gravy - and was superb.
Elsewhere my evening meals took me to Hawksmoor for a very good burger (make sure you get the shortribs with it):
and to Mowgli for some interesting Indian "Street Food", the highlight of which was a ginger and rhubarb dhal: