What I love most about Etsy is that you aren’t just finding things that are totally unique, you are also supporting independent traders plus there are still lots of bargains to be found!
Pac Man and Jelly Ghost Soap (cruelty free/organic) £5.00
Once Upon A Time Art Print £16.68
Steam Punk Clockwork Cufflinks £45
Geek Chic Panda Doormat £15.00
Fallout 4 Inspired Minimalist Poster £6.00
Sterling Silver Wonder Woman Necklace £37.58
Science Bitch Tee £6.99
Geek Heart Nail Decals £3.50
Cookie Monster/Pacman Parody Tee £9.99
Are you cheekily adding any of these to your own Christmas present list?
Like most people I first saw Joss Whedon’s Mutant Enemy production logo at the end of Buffy The Vampire Slayer…Then Firefly and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s almost like a code, you say to another person “Grr” and if they reply “Argh” you know they are your kind of geek, so you can imagine how chuffed I was to find this Grr Argh limited edition tee on TeeChip. You better be quick if you want one as there are only 2 days left to order yours.
The mutants head is round just like on the logo but my tee creased slightly when taking the photo as it’s a bit too big for me. I ordered a Woman’s Medium (as I’m a size 12) but this tee isn’t cut for a woman at all, it’s almost square, although I fear if I’d have chosen a Small then it wouldn’t have been long enough for me as I’m 5’8″. Great if you are in to band tees (which I am) but not if you want to make a sexy/cute fan girl statement necessarily depending on your size.
It’s a Fruit of the Loom tee so the quality is really good and the printing has a slightly rough feel it to which I like, rather than a plastic shine.
This has taken almost three months to be delivered because they actually run out due to such a high demand and had to do a second print run! I’m sure though that won’t be a problem at this stage though. They did give me 50% off for my waiting time to be fair!
How many times have you looked at a menu in a restaurant and been totally spoiled for choice? How many times have you said “I’ll have to try those next time” only for the menu to have changed by the time you go back? Well, The Bloke had the wonderful idea of condensing at least two months worth of eating out into three consecutive nights!
‘Black Pudding’ with mustard mayo. I’ve never remotely fancied the idea of black pudding but as this was veggie I gave it a try and it was lovely – especially with the amazing mayo. The Bloke told me that yes, they really did get the flavour and texture spot on. The only criticism I had was that our tasters arrived separately with quite a wait before the second one arrived.
Beetroot and whipped goat cheese salad with cucumber jelly and walnut vinaigrette. This was sweet and luxurious but also fresh and light. All three ingredients complimented each other perfectly. I just wish there were more of it!
Chestnut mushroom, roasted pumpkin and chestnut gnochi with pumpkin sauce. This is wonderful comfort food for a cold Autumn evening. I found the three main ingredients had very similar earthy flavours so I was grateful for the vegetables surrounding the gnochi and wished there were a little more.
Thai potato cake with wasabi sauce. I’d never had anything with the flavour of wasabi without extreme heat before and I realised it is really complex. The wasabi really complimented the flavour of the potato cake without overwhelming it.
Lancashire cheese and basil sausages with confit garlic mash, beer gravy and tomato chutney. Sausage and mash can be done so well or messed up so easily. This was the best sausages and mash I have ever eaten in my entire life! The sausages were tasty and moist, the mash was creamy and fluffy but still had some body to it. The gravy had a rich BBQ style to it and the tomato puree had a beautiful sweet tang.
Lemon posset with ginger short bread. The lemon posset was beautifully thick and very tangy. The accompanying raspberry sauce was also very tangy so the ginger in the biscuits didn’t really stand a chance. They did have a lovely buttery consistency though. I’d have preferred the raspberry sauce to be a little sweeter and the ginger a little stronger.
I ordered olives and The Bloke ordered tomato humus with pita bread. They obviously worked well with each and even though The Bloke wasn’t sceptical about the flavoured humus at first, he actually really enjoyed it. I really liked the home made texture which was thick but not grainy.
Pumpkin and blue cheese pie with winter slaw.. This little slice of pie was so creamy, savoury and indulgent it put a very big smile on my face. This really has taught me that I’m a massive fan of blue cheese, which before this visit I never thought I would ever say! The slaw was a creamy but tangy addition which I appreciated.
Fennel and potato mandra curry with lemon and sultana pilaf and carrot & cumin salad. I’ve eaten many times on the curry mile, I’ve eaten in many Thai and pan Asian restaurants including Chophraya so I know what a brilliant curry tastes like. This was one of them. There was no over ridding flavour of any one ingredient. All of the different flavours were apparent, yet they blended together perfectly.
Pecorino and rocket salad. This actually came with the half sun dried tomatoes which were marinaded in something I couldn’t place and they weren’t mentioned on the menu so that was a nice surprise!
I have never been so consistently impressed with the food and the service in any restaurant before – including the one’s I’ve come back to time and time again. I don’t just think this is one of the best veggie restaurants in Manchester, I think it is one of the best restaurants in Manchester full stop. I promise meat eaters won’t miss the meat at all!
As I’m English I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving so I’ve turned it into the old imaginary dinner guests question with a fictional twist and a cocktail party at the end.
Lyra (The Golden Compass)
Probably the only kid you would want at a dinner party. She has ridden on a polar bear, fought crazy socialite scientist and talked to angels. I can’t imagine anything would phase her.
Agent Phil Coulson (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
He looks great in a suit, he’s witty and includes pop culture references, he’s a little dorky, those smile lines, he has a flying car.
Betty (Ugly Betty)
It would be nice to have another normal girl there and she is opinionated but really sweet with it.
Riddick (The Chronicles of Riddick)
I’m sure after a bottle of wine or three we will have found a side to him that isn’t so serious.
He’s the god of mischief, what more do you want for entertainment, even if he is a little sulky.
I just totally admire her I’d have to be careful not to go fan-girl crazy. Her social skills aren’t always that great in a big group and neither are mine so that’s cool.
Giles (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
I’m imagining this is his response to my desert that I’ve slaved over.
Clonal Jack O’Neal (Stargate)
Jack, Riddick and Ripley could bond over their space travel history or try and out-do each other.
I love how sweet and positive and sort of grungy she is even post makeover.
Barry Allen (The Flash)
I love how adorable and brave he is and I think he’d be on the same wave-length as Tai and Betty and me.
I’d have to fix him a very special Bloody Mary unless he was completely on the wagon.
It’s funny, I fall pretty much in the middle between the young people and the older people here (apart from Spike) which always seems to be the case at parties. I wonder which way it would go after Giles and Spike had downed a few cocktails, wether they would reminisce about old times or wether it would be a case of “Spikes got all bitey again, taxi!”
As regular readers will know I have a major thing for pizza and pasta so finding out that the PAPA awards exist was a nice surprise. Held at the Lancaster London Hotel, Hyde Park, London it was their 25th anniversary.
Guest Host, Aldo Zilli, said: “The PAPA Awards are the premier awards for Italian food – I should know, I won a few for my restaurants! It’s great to have won them and even better now to be hosting the main awards and judging the Pizza and Pasta Chef competitions. I have always had a passion for my food and it’s great that all of you [everyone present at the awards] do too.”
The Full list of Award winners are:
Pizza Chef of the Year Paulo Crolla – Paolo’s Italian, Glasgow
Pasta Chef of the Year Peter Puntrello – Sub Xpress, Peterborough
Independent Italian Restaurant Award – Il Michelangelo, Weston-Super-Mare
Italian Restaurant Chain Award – ASK Italian
Independent Pizza Restaurant Award- Suffolk Stonehouse, Bungay
Pizza Restaurant Chain Award – Pizza Express
Independent Pizza Delivery Store – Stone Willy’s Kitchen, Birmingham
Pizza Delivery Chain Award
Regional Winner – Basilico
National Winner – Papa John’s
New Product/Ingredient Award –
Food Service Category – Taste of Sicily White Truffle Oil
Retail Category – Italia Formaggi Raspadura cheese
Innovative Food to Go Award – Winner: Project Pie UK, Dundee
The PAPA Marketing Award –
Regional Award – La Favorita, 10th Anniversary campaign
National Award – Iceland – Power of Frozen campaign
Manufactured Pizza Product Award
Everyday Category – Iceland – Pizza Pala range – ham, mushroom and mascarpone
Indulgent Category – Co-operative Truly Irresistible Kashmiri butter chicken, red onion and spinach pizza
Innovative Category – Goodfella’s gluten free pepperoni, chorizo and mushroom pizza
Manufactured Pasta Product Award
Retail Ambient Category – Morrisons Signature Lumaconi
Retail Chilled Category – La Tua Pasta – Tortelloni black truffle
Foodservice Category – Rondanini – hand made braised beef Tortelloni with Barolo wine
Frozen Pizza Multiple Retailer of the Year – Aldi
Convenience Store Pizza Retailer of the Year – The Co-operative for the second successive year.
Chilled Pizza Multiple Retailer of the Year – Waitrose
Pasta Retailer Award – Aldi (Last year’s joint winner alongside Waitrose)
I notice that Domino’s (one of the most prolific companies which bombards all of our letter boxes with endless flyers) hasn’t won anything which surprised me. It’s good to see Goodfellas winning the Inovitive Catogory for there gluten free pizza, I’ll have to have a look at their veggie options. I’ve never ordered Pappa Johns but as they’ve arrived in Manchester and won the National Delivery award I’ll give them a try.
I’m not surprised that Pizza Express and Co-op won awards for there pizza’s as I find both to be very inovitive.
Did any of your favourites win awards?
It’s so easy to put a PS4 game or subscription box or new trainers on to your christmas wish list but I always like to add one thing from either a charity, organisation or brand that I believe is really trying to make a difference. I adore walking through woodlands so this year I’m picking the Woodland Trust.
Which I’d use as a vase
A reference book and journal in one
As a vegetarian it’s easy to dismiss some where with ‘Grill’ in the tittle but I’ve tried a few places like this and been pleasantly surprised at the veggie options – Chalk being no exception.
Me and The Bloke chose to visit on a Friday because “Yay Friday!” where there was a live singer singing some classic pop ballads which added to the atmosphere, he also happened to be a friend of a friend – small world eh. I wasn’t really a fan of the minimalistic decor but the low lighting did give it a cozy feel.
They have a fantastic selection of cocktails, wines and spirits but I missed a trick by sharing a very nice bottle of Chardonnay with The Bloke and not ordering myself a cocktail!
For starters I ordered courgette fritters with sour cream and chive. The sauce went beautifully with the fritters which were crunchy on the outside and had a surprisingly creamy texture to the courgette. The portion size was large for a starter but I wasn’t complaining!
The Bloke had ‘some of the best mushroom soup’ that he’d had for a long time. Thick, tasty and creamy.
This is were things started to go a tad awry. Both pie and jacket potatoes are my go-to comfort foods but putting them together to make a meal? Still I thought I’d give it a go. The potato came with sour cream which the made the cheese in the pie taste overly sweet by comparison and the dressing on the salad (tangy and sweet) was yet another dimension of flavour which clashed with the others.
The pastry on the bottom of the pie had completely welded it’s self to the dish but the sides were beautifully light and tasty. The outside of the potato was so tough I couldn’t actually cut through it. I ordered chilli and garlic broccoli on the side to share which didn’t turn up so I had to flag down a waiter and ask after it. It then eventually arrived as I was half way through my main. We were so disappointed to find it utterly drowned in some kind of sesame oil with no explanation as to why.
Compared to the huge amount of food included in my main The Bloke got a rather small souffle with one mushroom, salad and skinny fries. He was very glad there were fries and said that they complimented the dish well and that the souffle tasted lovely. I think he just wished it was larger and not surrounded by so much salad – so I shared some of my pie with him.
This is my ‘posh snickers’ desert which did not remotely disappoint! Dark chocolate logs with a snickery filling (yes that’s a thing now), caramel ice cream, peanuts and burnt sugar. Personally I would have preferred some sweet milk chocolate in there if we are being true to the real snickers but I love salty sweet combinations so I really enjoyed this. I was so full after my main but somehow managed to clear my desert slate completely, heehee.
Our experience was a bit of a hit and miss affaire which, when it was good it was very good and when it was bad it was really quite disapointing. Something that I also noticed was that we really had to make eye-contact along with a big smile to get the attention of the wait staff as they whizzed by and the usual little head nod just didn’t work.
Would I come here again?
There is just so much high quality competition in the Didsbury area I’m already spoilt for choice which has a great influence on my decision. If I’m being honest (as always) I’d visit again if I was with a lot of meat eaters but otherwise I’m not quite sure.
We were kindly invited to review Chalk and did not have to pay for our food and drink.
I hardly drink any caffeine these days but I find a lot of fresh fruit juice to be too acidic. These Frugo ones are lovely though and similar to the Oasis ones. The Dragon Fruit flavour is pleasantly sweet and the Ultra Green one with kiwi, lemon and passion fruit sounds bitter but is still sweet with a lovely tang to it.
Just thought I’d share these with you.