Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Around the World in 50 dinners


Once again, good readers, I must thank you for your patience as I have finally reached 50 restaurants. We at 'Aroundtheworldin80dinners' Global Headquarters (Beijing) realise that after getting half way last year, it has taken the best part of a year to crawl through the next 10. All will be explained in the forthcoming '50th Meal Celebration Edition' (signed limited edition available). To mark this momentous occasion I invited 'The Blonde' to celebrate at Alladin in Withington.

Alladin is a hidden gem of a Sryian eatery, serving exquisite Middle-Eastern food to Manchester's great and good for many years (Dev from Corrie was there!). We ate Kibbeh, fathoosh, tabbouleh and fayatar wth a fruity BYO white and a sweet Turkish coffee with a heavy hint of cardamon. A feast worthy of the occasion.

'The Blonde' is a relative newcomer to our great city and the newist member of 'Aroundtheworldin80dinners Exclusive Dining Club, (invitation only). She is fantastic company and the perfect companion on such a special event. 'Dev from Corrie' signed a menu, which is now availble as a limited edition '50th Meal Celebration' porcelain plate (price on request).

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


On my way to the cinema to see 'Blood, the Last Vampire', which according to the Guardian was 'Japanese school girls with swords fight vampires', the hunger struck. I stopped at a newish Greek Cypriot stall at the Arndale Food hall called 'Zorba's'. Now I'm old enough to remember the film with Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates, and that famous dance on the beach.

While lazily grazing on kefthes and rice (and wondering if there was a Turkish Cypriot restaurant- answers on a postcard), I realised this was a rare thing for a film historian and food lover, a film\food franchise. The only others I could think of were 'Tampopo' and a small take-away in north Manchester, 'The Omar Shariff'. I began to think of possible others-'Good bye Mister Chips', a health-conscience chippie or 'Hamberger Hill', a war themed fast food place with staff dressed as Rambo or, my personal favourite, '101 Dalmations', a Korean bosinting (dog stew) chain.

Someone said that life was all disappointment then you die-well there was only one school girl with a sword and Zorba was from Crete.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Restaurante O'Refugio, nr Lisbon

I took a short break from all the end-of-term madness at MMU to go to June and Rowena's joint birthday party in Valado da Santa Quiteria, a small village about an hour from Lisbon. It was a great party with all the trimmings- and it went on for two days, at least that's what I remember! Outside of that though, two culinary highlights stand out.

Firstly, a fabulous lunch at the Restaurante O'Refugio as a thank you to Maria. I stayed on Maria's farm with the goats, rabbits and chickens-I ain't afraid of no goats. The lunch was long and leisurely washed down with a rustic White and a few glasses of Port, the kind of delight that only the Europeans know how to indulge.

The second was an afternoon spent helping Maria make 'pasteis de Bacalhau', croquettes of salt cod, potatoes, egg and parsley and as fine a thing ever to come out of a frying pan as I've ever tasted. It was an experience I will never forget, I had found an Iberian Ambridge and my very own Clarrie.