Monday, 22 September 2014

Gordon Street Coffee, Glasgow

As an honorary ‘laddie’ I was invited to Glasgow’s latest artisan coffee place; Gordon Street Coffee (GSC).

Situated right at the station entrance and next door to its sister restaurant Alston Bar & Beef, it appears to have the ideal spot. Thousands of commuters flow past every morning and if they can tempt folks away from Costa and Starbucks they shouldn't struggle for business any time soon.
GSC is one of a growing number of coffee houses in Glasgow roasting their own beans on the premises. They have gone one further and created a unique blend, aptly titled the ‘Glasgow Roast’. I was lucky enough to try the house espresso and the fully roasted espresso (more on the differences in a sec) and I can certainly vouch for the fresh flavour.

The purpose of my night however, was to see the roasting process in action. Master roaster John Gartly invites Glasgow’s burgeoning population of coffee experts to join him twice a week for free demonstrations. Luckily, there wasn’t a huge crowd on the first floor where the compact Diedriech roasting machine was situated. John (we swapped business cards so I can use his first name) told me about the relatively small size of this unit compared to previous jobs. It does the trick mind you and services an already healthy customer base. He also took care in explaining the differences in how the coffee growing regions of the world impact on the various tastes of each bean. His knowledge of not only the growing, farming and trading process but the livelihood of the growers is astounding. Happy to chat about his craft and how he has learned his trade, it was refreshing to hear real passion and not a textbook run-through of the roasting process.

Following our lesson on the quality of beans, the roasting process began. I’m not going to go into the full process but it was quite hypnotising. The beans are turned and tossed over burning hot plates and begin to crack. The genius of the roaster is to disregard gadgets or timers to determine progress. He measures the roast by the first crack (the expansion of the bean – much like a popcorn effect), which produces the house blend, and the second crack; producing the full Glasgow Roast. The house blend will suit those who like their coffee to kick them in the face with a pleasantly bitter taste. The full roast is far smoother and is to be enjoyed over the morning paper. My personal preference is the harsher wake up call. Relying on smell, he then opens the hatch and drops the smoking, heavenly smelling beans out of the roaster to be turned, buffered and cooled. The super fresh cargo is then bagged and tagged for sale to the public.

I asked how fresh one might expect coffee beans to be in the larger chain stores around the city. And while not condemning them, he simply made the valid point that by the time beans are roasted, processed, bagged and transported from the roasting plant in the south of England; the shelf life will have naturally diminished.

Of course, in addition to the beans being roasted upstairs, the baristas on the ground floor are serving up the usual selection of Lattes, Cappuccinos and herbal teas along with food and cold drinks. The shop also has a drinks license, which means travellers can enjoy a wee beverage while they watch the in-house departure board.

79 Gordon Street
Glasgow G1 3SQ
0141 221 1367

Opening Hours:
Mon­day to Sat­ur­day — 6am to 10pm Sun­day — 9am to 10pm

Sunday, 8 June 2014


On Saturday, June 14, 2014, Hard Rock will celebrate its 43rd birthday by turning back the clock to June 14th 1971 and will offer guests the opportunity to sample the original 1971 menu at the original 1971 prices for one hour between 11am-12pm!

Guests can enjoy the original menu of HRC Burger for 50p, Roadhouse Ribs for 80p and the Original BLT for 60p. For dessert those lucky enough to dine in the first hour can enjoy ice cream for 25p and the original Sundae for 40p!

What: Hard Rock Cafe celebrates 43 years with original 1971 menu

When: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Event begins 11am and ends at 12 midday

Where: Hard Rock Cafe Glasgow
179 Buchanan Street

Original 1971 Menu
*To avail of the special-priced 1971 priced menu on June 14 2014, all guests must be seated by the door host by 12 midday in the restaurant. The offer is valid only for dining-in at participating Hard Rock Cafe locations, limited to one item per person and restrictions apply. Not valid with any other offers, based on first come first served basis, drinks at regular prices. The original 1971 menu will be offered at Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Florence, Glasgow, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Manchester, Munich, Nice, Paris, Prague, Rome and Venice.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Cupcakes for You, Glasgow

Having started out as a cake shop, Cupcakes for You is now a quaint, vintage tearoom that is like a throwback to the 1940's.

Situated on Dumbarton Road it will soon be temporarily closing in order to expand the premises to meet the demand.

And it's no surprise why.

One of my lovely 'besties', Kirsteen, kindly offered to take me to afternoon tea and after not long returning from a fortnight in rural Ghana living on noodles, sweet bread and powdered milk, how could I resist?

Before I even tasted the cakes I instantly loved the place. It is very small, squeezing in three tables at most, but yet there is so much to look at when you arrive. There is a wireless, a gramophone, fine china to eat and drink from and also books about what Glasgow looked like back in the day which I always love.
Another thing I love is you are surrounded by cakes and I mean literally surrounded as there are lots of little cupcakes dotted around the shop. 
vintage tearoom glasgow

After being warmly welcomed we were shown to our table and our afternoon tea quickly arrived. There was a good selection of sandwiches ranging from beef, egg, ham and tuna as well as some sausage rolls but more importantly there was a great mix of amazing looking treats.


The first one I jumped for and reluctantly halved was the crispy cake. Anyone who knows me also knows I have a weird obsession with these and this one did not disappoint with chewy oats, flakes and chunks of chocolate throughout. 

I'd say the meringue was my favourite though; surely nothing can beat it when there is a chewy center and raspberry coulis on top. The lemon cupcake was definitely a close second but if I'm honest everything tasted great. I even scoffed a piece of gingerbread which I'm not usually a fan of.

It's safe to say after all this we were burst and I deliberated with myself whether it was socially acceptable to undo the tie belt around my waist... Kirst had wisely opted for a loose top, she's clearly been in this predicament before.
                      Blondes Afternoon tea
But we were told there was still more to come (!) in the form of scones straight out the oven. Purely down to feeling my dress was about to rip in two I could only manage half.

Cupcakes for You was definitely good value for money, not just because Kirst paid! The food was a delight and the voucher deal we had was £20 per couple which included bottomless tea and a glass of fizz. I  like that the tearoom also makes cakes to takeaway as well as for events and weddings. Looking online I also see the gramophone and the crockery are available to hire out which is a great idea for anyone looking to host a vintage themed party.
Champagne and Strawberry

It was by far a Sunday well spent; listening to old songs on the wireless, being provided with excellence service from Wendi, eating some lovely homebaked treats and drinking strong, warm tea... without powdered milk (Hooray!).

Cupcakes for You

1251 Dumbarton Road
G14 9UU

Opening Hours:
Tue - Sun11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

anCnoc Scotch Whisky

anCnoc Scotch whisky

I was actually really looking forward to going along to the anCnoc event last night. Having been brought up with a dad who loves whisky I'm always looking for a nice new brand for him to try. He's very much a lover of a peat smoked whisky which made this event perfect. 
I brought along the other half, who has recently acquired a palate for a good quality whisky, as a 'lassie's' stand in.
The event, ran by jelly and gin, was held in The Arches and as soon as you walked into arch 2 the smell of peat just hit you! My family who are from the Isle of Harris and having spent many a summer there as a kid, this is a smell that is very close to my heart and brings back many memories. So straight away I was excited to see what was on offer and knew my dad would love this!! 
There were 3 whiskies being showcased flaughter, tushkar and rutter!
The first table we came to was the 'flaughter' and stand in lassie 'rawsco' was straight in for a sample of this peaty whisky. 

Tasting notes - pale gold with an initial smoky and ashy aroma. Underneath that, fresh vanilla with a sharper hint of sticky toffee sweetness. An intensely smokey, peaty smooth finish.
Not only was there a sample of 3 whiskies, each has some accompaniments to go alongside. Personally, the ones at this table where the best....macaroons! They were delicious, with a slight hint of the peaty whisky! 
Next up was the edible peat bog: edible soil made with dried olives and malted barley, containing a smoky aubergine dip, planted with micro-herbs
Yes, this sounded like a very strange concoction, that actually worked very well and was very tasty.
'tushkar' was the next delight to sample. This particular whisky had an interesting story in that it will only be sold in Sweden. The Swede's supposedly go mad for the 'peaty' blends!
Tasting notes - polished gold in appearance with a rich sweet honey and vanilla heart is wrapped in a veil of warm peat smoke and pierced by overtones of fresh green apples, orange peel and cut spring flowers. Rich and full-bodied, the taste is bursting with powerful wood smoke. Opens up to exotic spices, honey, delightful toffee sweetness and a hint of freshly squeezed lemons. Waves of peat smoke accompanied by a distant reminder of warm leather.
Last by not least, 'rutter', which was accompanied by canapés served under smoke filled domes using the tastes of the anCnoc collection.
  • anCnoc whisky and treacle cured salmon, crowdie mousse and squid ink pasta rolls topped with salmon roe
  • Venison carpaccio smoked over whisky soaked hickory chips with celeriac remoulade on walnut crostini
  • Dunsyre blue shortbreads and mousse with spice beetroot and pear pickle
  • Wakame and hijiki seaweed salad
  • Squid ink crostini, black sesame and poppy seed crackers and tarator almond dip
The first thing you notice when you came to this table was the smell, the peaty aroma instantly tickled your senses. I can practically smell it again writing this, wafting from the smoke filled domes.
This was Rawsco's least favourite whisky though.
Tasting notes - sparkling gold, initially very smoky, quickly unveiling the unmistakable anCnoc character with delicate spices, juicy pineapple, peardrops and gentle vanillla. Full bodied, bursting with peaty richness. Soft undertones of honey, creamy vanilla, toffee and leather are punctuated by the freshness of green apples.
All in all I thought this was a very well organised event and I'll certainly be purchasing a bottle for Father's Day for TK! (And no doubt Rawsco will be wanting one for the drinks cabinet now too).
anCnoc peaty whisky range

ancnoc highland single malt scotch whisky

visits to Knockdhu Distillery on appointment only
01466 771223

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Las Iguanas, Glasgow

Blondie always seems to know when a new restaurant in town is going to open (probably before the owners do themselves) so when she mentioned a new South American style restaurant would be opening we knew the lassies had to have a much needed get together and go.

When we arrived at Las Iguanas it was fairly quiet but I am sure on a busy night it would have a great atmosphere. With the interior you can tell it is part of a franchise but I still really liked it. 

Las Iguanas Mexican Restaurant Glasgow

Wee Lorz and I ordered the Cana Royale which is Magnifica cachaça, raspberry liqueur & elderflower, topped with Cava. The waitress warned us on two occasions the drinks were quite strong and suggesting that for this reason we might not enjoy them. This was met with a confused look from myself and wee Lorz and I'm sure it comes as no surprise to most that we could have happily had a second.

Champagne Cocktails Glasgow

I definitely can't fault the staff on their friendliness as well as their willingness to help Blondie with her coriander allergy. However the time to take orders was a little too long and no one wants to be sitting across from wee Lorz when she's hungry... "I'm going to eat the table!"

We finally got to order our food and Blondie decided on the cayenne chicken and avocado torta. Myself and wee Lorz went for the cayenne coated fried chicken flatbread served with salad or fries.. I nearly made the mistake of ordering chips until I realised you could get curly fries (!). Luckily we didn't have to wait too much longer for all of this to arrive on our table.

Mexican Food Glasgow

The chicken had a lovely crispy coating with a nice kick from the cumin and mustard that it is tossed in and the creamy cayenne mayonnaise in the flatbread was a delight; so much so we ordered more to dip our curly fries into. We definitely made light work of the curly fries as well since you can't really go wrong with them.

There was a of eating in this meal, we were told the lunch portions are the same size as the a la carte, but I still felt it was on the pricey side. Especially when so many places in town offer good lunchtime deals. I would always rather have a cheaper, lighter option that doesn't make me want to put my head on my desk and have a quick, sneaky snooze. Most of the cocktails are reduced to £5 on the lunch menu but again I don't feel is that much of a steal since I expect to pay roughly that amount regardless of the time. 

I'm not sure if this restaurant is the first place that would spring to my mind for South American food, right now that place is still held for Viva Brazil on Bothwell Street and Las Iguanas stood out to me as more of a Mexican cuisine.  However you know you've been given a decent meal when the smallest of the three lassies literally wipes her plate clean and the remnants of mine...

Clean Plate Club

Las Iguanas

16-20 West Nile Street
Glasgow G1 2PW

Opening Hours:
Monday- Thursday 12.00 - 23.00 Friday & Saturday 12.00-23.30 Sunday 12.00 - 22.30

Friday, 7 March 2014

Eating Out in Dublin

I was a very lucky girl and one of my Christmas presents was a weekend away in Dublin with my husband. I'd never been to Ireland before and I was super excited to go; it has always been on my list of places to visit especially as I have Irish heritage on my paternal side.

We set off on a Friday afternoon and while it was a wet, cold and blustery weekend we really enjoyed our trip. Since this is a food blog here where we ate in Dublin and our suggestions on what to eat on a weekend trip to Dublin!

Hop House Kim Chi Restaurant

This is one of the strangest but best places I've been in a long time. It is half  Korean/Japanese restaurant and other half is a traditional Irish pub. Stay with me here--I know it sounds like a recipe for disaster but it is not.

Our airBNB hosts had recommended it and there are tons of awards on the front door. When we walked in there were no tables available unless you had reservations (good sign!) but were told we could eat on the bar side which we were happy to do.

The bar side did play the randomest old school playlist and mix your standard pub decorations with Asian language posters but it wasn't off putting to have your dinner there.  We ordered Salmon and Avocado Maki, Tempura Shrimp Udon and Jeyuk.

Our sushi came out first and it was really good. I'm picky with my sushi because I love it so much and this stood up to my high standards.  Next came my Udon and my husbands Jeyuk.  My noodles were great but I wish the tempura shrimp had been served on the side rather than on top of the soup as the batter went a bit soggy.  My husband liked his Korean chilli pork but wished he'd maybe gone for beef as the pork was an odd cut.

It was definitely an experience and I'd recommend it if you are in the Chinatown area (Parnell Street just off top of O'Connell street) of Dublin.

irish pancake

The Lovinspoon

The Lovinspoon is a quirky coffee house/cafe nestled in the north side of Dublin. Appearance wise it is totally a hipster joint with old sewing machine tables and an Infant of Prague wearing sunglasses but the customers all seemed like locals from old guys to young people. Not a hipster in sight!

I had the small plate with a pancake instead of toast and it was still more than enough for me and my husband cleaned his big breakfast plate. Everything was cooked fresh and the staff were very friendly. The also randomly had root beer which made me happy! 

If you are staying around Mountjoy or Parnell square I'd definitely recommend popping in for breakfast! Just note they are cash only.

Eddie Rockets

eddie rockets cheese fries
As an American this place cracks me up because we have an almost identical chain called Johnny Rockets--50's diner vibe with juke boxes and the lot.

We popped in for a late lunch/snack and it was packed but we got sat at the bar right away. I opted for cheese fries and a reese cup milkshake and my husband had a chilli cheese dog.  The milkshake was AMAZING and they bring you the extra shake in blending cup- yum! The cheese fries are with cheese sauce--I know some people don't like that but for me it was PERFECTION! I love cheese sauce on cheese fries.

The chilli dog was a huge foot long and my husband ate it all. Our server was really nice and brought me a side of pickles on the house, too!

Quirky but quaint, although I think it's quite a big chain, I'd definitely recommend popping in if you are a fellow expat looking for a little bit of home or if you are just hungry for some American nostalgia! I know a lot of people are keen on visiting chains but personally I like to support small local places but I can't fault a well run chain either!

best brunch dublin

I really wanted to go for a good brunch while we were in Dublin and read a lot of reviews and articles looking for the perfect place. Odessa seems to be "the" place than brought brunch to Dublin and the reviews were great as well.

We arrived right at opening on Sunday it is good we did as just about every other table than the one we got was reserved and the place was shortly packed. I loved the funky mosaic on the walls and the townhouse feel. I expected it to have Russian influences with a name like Odessa but the brunch menu was a hybrid of Anglo and American favourites from Huevos Ranchero, Full Breakfast and French Toast.

My husband is a sucker for black pudding and went for the Odessa Breakfast and I had the French toast, bacon (instead of ham), maple syrup with a side of home fries.  My French toast was lovely but I wish my bacon had been crispier. The side of home fries was HUGE as was our main portions. We really like our breakfast and if I was back in Dublin I'd come back again.

I will say that everyone around us seemed a "ladies who lunch" type of crowd but maybe that's who's just awake first thing Sunday morning in Dublin :)

So those are my recommendations for eating in Dublin; probably not your traditional Irish fare but it is what I enjoyed while I was there. Have you been to Dublin? What are your favourite places to eat?