Monthly Archives: December 2011

Looking back on 2011 – if I had to do it again…

It’s such a cliché but I can’t believe the year is almost over. 

But I don’t have any regrets because life is too short for that.  However, I do have a few things I would like to do again – or maybe just do a little differently.

Books and more books at Voltaire in West End GlasgowI’d visit the second hand bookshops in the West End alone – without my children.  I’d lose myself in the reams and reams of books escaping into a million different worlds – all without any worry of what’s for tea.  I’d breathe it all in and hunt for favourite books from my youth.  And all these wonderful rediscoveries would unfold at my leisure – not at the pressing pace of my restless sons.

I’d have dinner at Persia – and this time you can be sure I’d order that succulent delicious lamb, and of course the dolma.  My mouth waters  just thinking about it.   In fact I really want to go right now; the thought is making me hungry.    I would try and avoid the pit stop on the way home though; rescuing two large ladies in one year would be tempting fate I think.

Roller Girls in GlasgowAnd I’d return to the Roller Derby.  Now that I know the rules I’d cheer and yell in the right places.  I’d pick a home team to root for; watch them move up and down the ranks.  And the next time round of course I’d being wearing the right clothes. 

In fact I have a temporary tattoo ready along with an assortment of badges – though I’m afraid the sparkling hot pants are a step too far for me – even in a shiny new year.

What are you going to be doing in 2012?

– B

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Silent Sunday – 11 December

Star light, star bright…..

Fairy lights in Royal Exchange Square, Gasgow

Mother India making every mother happy

I lure my husband to meet the kids and me for an early dinner with the promise of curry.  But not just any curry, a new adventure – Indian tapas. 

Initially I’m  slightly confused by this concept from Mother India’s Cafe  but I think it’s a great idea.  You get a variety of smaller Indian dishes in perfect tapas size portions so you won’t have to physically roll yourself away after the meal.

Still, this award winning eatery has a lot to live up to.  We’ve heard it’s good – but we’re self-proclaimed curry connoisseurs and ready to put its reputation to the test.

Mother India inside, GlasgowI’m pleased that despite boasting a new concept, the welcoming restaurant still has little traditional touches here and there like the flocked wallpaper – it’s deep, red, velvet flower pattern tempts me to touch and it’s homey feel is complimented by the array of Indian portraits. 

And of course, the most important feature is the menu – a superb choice of both new and more traditional dishes.  I’m almost overwhelmed with choice;  the staff recommend two to three dishes per person – a good tip.  We finally choose the Chicken Shaslik, Chilli Garlic Chicken, Channa Aloo, Chicken Pakora and Vegetable Pakora.

The dishes don’t arrive in any set order and are beautifully presented in copper pots, hotplates and smell absolutely amazing.  Your senses will thank you and your mouth will water.

The food is sensational; every dish is distinct, fresh, bursting with flavour and expertly made.  The quality of the ingredients and extraordinary tastes leaves my mouth tingling with delight.   We have no choice but to clear all the pots – in fact I scrape around the edges to get the last of any missed morsels. 

And just as impressive as the food is the excellent price.  The whole meal (for a family of four) with drinks came to just over £30, quality and value.

Now you can stay in with Mother India

Indian take away Mother India, GlasgowWe leave the restaurant completely satisfied – but notice the shop next door – Dining in with Mother India .  So I go for nosey and to my delight discover they sell portions of the food we had just devoured for take away.  

Heat and eat tasty homemade food (that you don’t actually have to make), what’s not to love! 

So next time the family wants Mum to make something delicious – check out Mother India.

– B

Where to raise your glass in Glasgow

Tis’ the season to be jolly. 

And if you’re celebrating the festivities in Glasgow then you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to sipping tipple or enjoying a brew. 

Like an old friend

Stairs at Old Hairdressers BarTucked away on Renfield lane (across from Stereo) is The Old Hairdressers Bar – organic industrial meets comfy snug.  Still relatively new, it has the feeling of being in transition and unfinished – yet still manages to be welcoming. 

In fact it’s almost like going to an old friends, so feel free to climb the stairs and curl up on a couch in the mezzanine or gather round a table and soak up the soft glow of  candlelight. 

And with beers starting from around  £2.50, you can linger a little longer without the worry of wearing out the wallet.

Winter wonderland

Step away from the rush,  escape from the festive frenzy and treat yourself to a hot cuppa joy.  Nestled amid the many stalls of the Christmas Market at St Enoch Square is the wonderful Gluhwein House – the perfect place to unwind and whittle away time. 

The warmth and wonderful spicy sweet scent is enough to revitalise even the most tired feet and shattered shopper.  Ahhhh.

WEST is best

This independent brewery is slightly off the beaten path, housed in the magnificent Templeton Building off Glasgow Green.  Beautiful views and perfect brews are guaranteed at WEST Brewery. 

In keeping with the German theme – this brewery produces all of its beers in accordance with the ‘Reinheitsgebot’ known as the ‘German Purity Law’ .  And if that doesn’t impress you , I  assure you that the award winning beers will – they even have a speciality Christmas beer!

A cocktail above all others

Admittedly from the outside this West George Street bar may not look like much and can be easy to miss.   But don’t judge  Blue Dog bar by its cover because inside their award winning team of mixologists are perfecting the art form of creating quality cocktails.

And while perfection may not come cheap (cocktails ranging from 6.95 to just under 9 quid) – this tiny piano bar is definitely the place to go for outstanding concoctions in Glasgow.

Even if you’re not into the entire jazz piano bar thing,   you can’t help but be impressed by the dexterity, skill and passion of the bartenders.  Not only do they know a thing or two about cocktails but clearly  they love what they do.  And if you’re still undecided, they may even whip you up a signature tipple to sip on!

Wherever you end up, be safe,  have a great time and enjoy!

– T

Silent Sunday – 4 December

Hmmmmm – goooood.

Chocolate pot with amaretto cream & hazelnut biscuit

Remember to refuel this Yule

Santa’s law – never shop on an empty stomach!

So if you’ve been out pounding the streets looking for that perfect something for that special someone, remember to also stop to feed yourself.  Because an empty stomach only makes for disastrous gifts.  So put down the festive tie and sock set for dad and eat something!  Your family and friends will thank you.

Fortunately nestled in between the shops of Glasgow are ample eateries ready and waiting to replenish your energy – send you off fed, full and ready to finish off that Christmas list.

Berits and Brown

Possibly boasting the best sandwiches in town – this light-filled, friendly delicatessen in Glasgow’s Merchant City (Wilson Street) offers deli eating at its best with hearty soups, deli platters, cheese and tapas boards.   And then there’s the gourmet sandwiches. The Mediterranean on toasted focaccia stuffed with roasted veg, hummus and mozza is divine.  And at £8.99 leaves plenty left over for Christmas gifts….or dessert.

Pinto

Restock your energy quickly and inexpensively.  If you‘re short on time and want to save those pennies for presents, Pinto on Queen Street is perfect.  This healthy Mexican ‘fast-food’ option promises ‘a fiesta in your mouth’.  The quirky colourful shop offers hearty flavourful burritos, tacos, nachos and more with an abundance of fillings.  And all hovering around the £5 – really you can’t go wrong.  No reservation required and if you’re pushed for time, you can take away.

Kember and Jones

If you’re trekking through the West End and desperately need a break, rest your tired feet and feed your soul at the welcoming Kember and Jones.  But be warned, there will be a queue – but on the bright side, it will be well worth the wait.

This ‘Fine Food Emporium’ welcomes you with the most delicious of smells and friendliest staff.   Their in-house chefs expertly prepare the most scrumptious cakes, tarts, scones, muffins, bread, soups and more. And their signature espresso blend coffee is sure to put that spring back in your step.

The Italian Caffé Enoteca

food at Italian caffe in GlasgowYou’ve done it!  You scowered those shops, fought through crowds and ticked off all those lovelies on your Christmas list.  Hooray.  Now it’s time to get away from the madness of the shops and treat yourself to something delectable.  And there’s no better place to do this than the Italian Cafe tucked away on Albion Street.

Their weekday lunch menu is extensive and their titillating taster menu allows you to sample four small plates from just £8.95.   The food is so wonderful that admittedly you may never want to leave.

Happy shopping (and eating!)

-T