Monthly Archives: March 2012

Soak up the sunshine (while it last)

Hooray!  Spring has arrived in Glasgow.  And whether it’s here to stay or just passing through, getting outside is a must.  And that’s exactly what we do.

A microcosm of Glasgow – people watching gold

Kelvingrove Park in Bloom, GlasgowWith food, drink and obligatory football we head off to Kelvingrove Park – just one of Glasgow’s beautiful open spaces, with the magnificent Art Gallery and Museum as our backdrop.  Cherry blossom perfection – everything is in bloom.

Ideal for picnicking or kicking about your ball of choice about – Kelvingrove Park is a microcosm of Glasgow so great for people-watching.  Toddlers test out new walking feet, excited kids waver on bikes finally free from stabilisers and young lovers wander next to slow-stepping seniors.

Ice-cream and free entertainment

On a day like this, ice-cream is a must.  And at Kelvingrove’s skate park we’re treated to the moves and manoeuvres of the boarders and BMX stunt bikers, young and old alike.   Besides a lot of swerving around, there’s actually a few impressive stunts.

We leisurely explore and end up at the Stewart Memorial Fountain, built in 1872 to commemorate Lord Provost Stewart of Murdostoun – apparently why we haven’t all died of cholera.   We throw coins into the fountain, making secret wishes before reluctantly heading back to the car.

Still more to discover

Hanging out in Kelvingrove is the perfect way to spend a sunshine-filled afternoon.  And even though we’ve seen a lot there’s still more to discover.  Cypress Duck Pond and a Heritage Trail are definitely on the ‘to see’ list next time round.

Sunshine is fleeting so get out in it and rejuvenate your soul in one of Glasgow’s beautiful green spaces.

-B

Silent Sunday – 25 March

Once upon a tart – serving up sweet and sexy. 

Alluring artwork at Once Upon a Tart - Glasgow

Fabby Dhabba do!

In Glasgow we’re spoiled for choice when comes to Indian food.  So never settle for mediocre!

You will remember the first bite – and the next, and the one after that because at Dhabba every single dish is bursting with new and wonderful flavours.

Every mouthful is a delight.

Perfectly portioned deliciousness

Dhabba, North Indian in Glasgow - bursting with flavourThis laid-back Merchant City locale boasts authentic and traditional dishes from North India* using the freshest of ingredients and intriguing combinations of spices and  seasonings.

The result: mouth-watering, refreshingly light and perfectly portioned food – thankfully no threat of discomfort or popping your trousers here.

Even the nann and rice impress

Amiable service with a sly smile – perhaps because they know you’re in for a taste sensation.  And they’re happy to guide you in the right direction if you’re not quite sure what to choose from their extensive selection of tempting dishes.

Dhabba in Glasgow - a taste sensationWe finally opt to start with Aloo Ke Soole – deep fried croquets of minced potatoes, paneer, fried onion and spices with a touch of fenugreek (£4.95), followed up by the mushroom and paneer based Bharloan Dhingri (£4.45).

Daal is a popular dish but with its rich fusion of flavours the Pilee Daal Tadka (£7.25) is a certainly far from ordinary.  And the Aloo Gobi Matter Masledar’s florets of cauliflower, potatoes, peas and chilli blend (£8.25) are equally as delicious.

Even the garlic nann and rice fused with cumin seeds impress.

Make your taste buds sing

If you’ve never had Indian food before – what are you waiting for – start here!   And if you’re a seasoned curry connoisseur but never experienced Dhabba, treat your taste buds.

Just over £45 for several rounds of drinks and endless food is a sweet (savoury) deal.

So go on, celebrate food – celebrate life and choose Dhabba.  Your mouth will sing because really, everything should taste this good!

T

*Admittedly I’m not an expert on North Indian cuisine but I know good food.  And this is it!

Silent Sunday – 18 March

The Duke and trusty companion show off matching hats.  Nice. 

Duke of Wellington Statue with Traffic Cone, Glasgow

Aye Write – wrong to miss!

Aye write stage, GlasgowI charge across the city after work – arriving out of breath at the Mitchell Library where I follow the vibrant stripes of Aye Write for Pauline Black’s  talk.

This vivacious woman is lead singer of the ska band Selecta, originally formed in 1979.  But tonight isn’t about music.  Tonight she’s talking about her powerful autobiography, Black by Design, charting her life in three stages:

  1. Early childhood as Pauline Vickers – who at the age of four finds out she’s adopted.
  2. The construction of her identity.  She changes her name to Pauline Black,  recognising her ethnicity – something that her adopted white parents alarmingly refused to acknowledge.
  3. Discovering her birth mother –  and her original name Belinda Magnus

With its high ceilings and stain glassed windows,  the Main Hall is like being in someone’s front room – the stage is equally welcoming with two armchairs for poet and novelist Jackie Kay  (who I’m just as thrilled to hear) and Pauline.

Right there – living in the moment

We gather in and Pauline brings us into her fascinating life, sharing extracts from her book that remarkably is both shocking and humorous.  She speaks in a way that takes us there with her in the moment.

Fascinating – not to be missed

This is what Aye Write is about – a magical opportunity to eavesdrop on fascinating discussions, get the lowdown on latest books and insights into unusual subjects.  This festival is not to be missed and is only on for a few more days – so check out the latest programme.   Whether it’s experiencing ’12 minutes of love’  through tango or hearing about trekking across the Antarctic , there’s truly something for everyone.

So snap up tickets while they’re still there for the taking – you’ll be glad you did.

– B

Hooked on Gandolfi

In the mood for a taste sensation – and ordinary’s out of the question?

Look no further than the fantastic Gandolfi Fish.

Food fit for a Sea King, Gandolfi, GlasgowThis magical Merchant City aquarium* offers some of the most flavourful seafare in Glasgow.  Besides impressive food, they know a thing or two about service.  Their  knowledgeable staff are happy to suggest the perfect wine and their jovial, relaxed approach is refreshing.

Incidentally our waitress was right – the Lorendona Monterey County Pinot Grigio goes marvellously with white fish.

It’s about taste

Slick bar at Gandolfi Fish, GlasgowStriking surroundings (note the slick up-lit bar) compliment perfectly presented food.  Here, looks matter.  But thankfully so does taste.

Their menu is concise but perfectly formed – and there’s more than enough to tempt your tastebuds.

We start with their soup of the day (£4) – a hearty lentil that warms and satisfies.  Next up, the baked fillet of cod served with peas and parmesan risotto with (or without) crisp pancetta (£15.95) is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  And their panko crumbed fillet of sea bass is a culinary masterpiece (16.95).  If you’ve never tried Monkfish – I assure you now is the time.

Fish to go

If you’re set on staying in or saving your pennies – Gandolfi’s fish-to-go shop next door is a fantastic alternative.

Ever changing – always good

There may be more fish in the sea but few are as delish and delectable as Gandolfi’s.  Their innovative and ever-changing menu is a great reason to come back – I know I certainly will.

*Ok so it’s not actually an aquarium, but at night Gandolfi’s huge windows and warm glow is completely enchanting. 

Silent Sunday – 11 March

Sunday splendour in Glasgow’s South Side

Queens Park, Glasgow

 

Willy Wonka eat your sweet heart out

The brightly coloured sofas and trays of perfectly formed chocolates instantly catch my eye. This is isn’t your average place; it’s the extraordinary No 1 Chocolate Factory in Glasgow.

Head to the back for the full chocolate experience – indulge in making, decorating and of course eating chocolate.  And that’s exactly what we do.

Chocolate 101 – apparently anything goes

My son and I look the part in our chef’s hats and aprons – and we’re ready for business.  We spend the best part of an hour playing with chocolate.  And what an absolutely fantastic time.

Chocolate pictureWe begin by decorating our plastic moulds; I carefully detail my dinosaur’s eyes, mouth, spikes and a tail with white chocolate.

My son opts for a slightly different approach splodging as much milk chocolate as possible into both the top and bottom of his pig mould masterpiece.

Once our first layer sets, even more chocolate is poured in then we click the mould shut and give it a good shake to spread the delicious mixture around.

Next up we try our hand at decorating a chocolate bar with what else – more chocolate, followed by sweetie goodies.   For our final chocolate design feat we create a 3D type picture formed from yet more chocolate and chocolate play doh.

Admiring my hand-crafted chocolate creations and my beaming chocolate infused boy, I can’t help but feel it’s £13 well-spent.  And truthfully I’m not sure who had more fun.

Get messy…or not

Dark chocolate cheesecake delightsBe warned, this isn’t for the faint of heart.

You will get your hands dirty and chocolate will ooze and gush everywhere – but in the most delightful of ways.

But for any of you who can’t bring yourself to muck in, there’s plenty of room to relax in the cafe and simply savour soup, a tasty panini or one of their many, many delicious cakes – the dark chocolate cheesecake is not to be missed.

-B

Discover Glasgow’s design innovators

Rain or shine, Glasgow doesn’t falter.  Simply put, this city has style for miles.  Whether you’re West End vogue, city-centre slick, South Side style savvy or anywhere in between – flair is celebrated in all its many facets.

Glasgow revels in individual style

Glasgow School of Art Fashion Show 2012And while, yes, we’re considered one of the best shopping meccas outside London – our extraordinary and diverse panache isn’t merely about easy access to shops or High Street replication.

It’s about interpreting, experimenting and revelling in illustrious, individual expression.

And never more so than at Glasgow School of Arts’ annual Fashion Show.

This invigorating event showcases new and innovative designs by the art school’s talented third year textile students.  Last year’s show had me skipping all the way home and vowing to wear sculpted creations that would rival GaGa and be at home in the Tate.   This year’s show promises to be just as sensational, not least because it’s being hosted in the SWG3 studio warehouse – a fantastically creative space.

Go FROW* and discover Glasgow’s fashion talents close up

So what are you waiting for?  Get yourself FROW* and meet tomorrow’s design innovators today.  This style extravaganza is only happening on the 13 and 14 March (5pm, 7pm and 9pm), so snap up your tickets quick .  At only £5/7 a pop it’s a steal and even better – it goes towards funding their graduating exhibition at New Designers 2013 in London.

Enjoy dahling!

* FROW (Front Row)

– T

Silent Sunday – 4 March

Never know where you’ll get a sassy wink and a smile in Glasgow

Mini car with lashes in Glasgow