A Trip to York

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and I confess, although this is supposed to be a food blog based in the North East, I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful city of York yesterday, and I couldn’t help but want to share some of the fantastic food I ate there.

Let’s begin with the House of Trembling Madness, a pub and alcohol shop that I certainly wouldn’t have expected to produce some of the nicest ‘snack’ based food I have ever eaten. I arrived with my family with the intention of only staying for a few drinks, as the selection of beer was quite overwhelming. But after watching a couple across the bar receive a giant steak and ale pie, we decided to take a quick look at the menu to see if there was any light snacks that could tide us over until we had a proper lunch. We chose to share a Countryside Platter with a side of Chorizo in Scrumpy between the three of us, expecting it to be a relatively small dish, but when it turned up it became clear that we had greatly underestimated the size of our order. The platter (consisting of vegetable antipasto, rose petal harissa, hummus, homemade tzatziki, a mixture of olives, pickles, bread from a local bakery, a salad and some crunchy coleslaw) was absolutely massive, and the chorizo alone could have easily been a light meal.

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House of the Trembling Madness’ Countryside Platter and Chorizo in Scrumpy

Being a huge fan of hummus and chorizo, those were my favourite parts of the meal. The hummus, unlike the ones I usually buy, had a few whole chickpeas hidden within. This, in my opinion, really added to the texture, and made it especially nice when spreading it over the fresh bread. Additionally, the small dollop of spicy harissa was delicious when mixed into the already gorgeous hummus.

Then the chorizo. The chorizo was still in mini sausage shapes and was bathing in a sauce with onions. After devouring all of the meat, we discovered that where the beauty really lay in this dish was the sauce, which was beyond perfect when you dipped the bread into it.

As you can imagine, we left the House of Trembling Madness with our stomachs comfortably full and satisfied. But, knowing me, when we stumbled across a quaint looking coffee shop promising the best artisan coffee in York, any thoughts of being full went right out of the window (along with any hope of eating ‘healthily’ whilst on our little day trip). I ordered a cappuccino and a slice of their homemade chocolate and raspberry cake (oops).

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Spring Espresso’s Cappuccino and Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

The coffee, was amazing. And the cake, well that was amazing too. The sweetness of the chocolate cake went really well with the bitter and tangy raspberry spread. Altogether I was really impressed with the taste of both the coffee and the cake, especially since it was from a place we just stumbled upon.

The rest of our day consisted of wandering around York, and although I’m still convinced I could have squeezed in another no doubt fantastic meal, we decided to merely grab a sandwich from Pret to eat once we arrived home. It was probably for the best, as I still felt stuffed from the immense amount of food we had eaten earlier in the day.

One more thing before I’m finished: I’ll be heading up to Edinburgh in a few weeks time, so if anyone has any suggestions as to where I should eat, I’d love it if you could either leave a comment below, or let me know via Instagram. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed hearing about my visit to York, as I certainly enjoyed going.

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Battle of the Burger 2017

To launch this blog with a bang, I thought I’d start with one of my most anticipated food events of 2017: Battle of the Burger.

As alluded to in the title, Battle of the Burger is a competition to discover the best burger in the North East. Hosted this year by Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery, the event consists of eight different restaurants/bars, and each of them select one or two amazing burgers to sell in the hopes of winning. Today, I was introduced to 2017’s competitors: Zapatista Burrito Bar; Lola Jeans; Longhorns Barbecue Smokehouse; Shilling Newcastle; The Fat Hippo; The Wylam Brewery; The Grind and Jam Jar, and honestly, I was impressed.

Being familiar with both Fat Hippo and Zapatista, I decided to sample their burgers first. Zapatista created the Nacho Normal Cheeseburger, a burger featuring their Mexican sliced beef patty, chilli spiked cheddar cheese, pink pickled onions, chipotle and honey sauce and nacho chips, served in a brioche bun.

 

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Zapatista’s Nacho Normal Cheeseburger

Now, initially I was quite wary that a place well known for its burritos and tacos was entering a burger competition, but wow, I wrong to be worried. The Nacho Normal Cheeseburger was my second favourite burger of the day (don’t worry, my first favourite will soon be revealed). With its deliciously succulent patty and the slight spice of the cheese, I was in love. However, what really made it for me was the crunchiness of the nachos. It seemed to add a whole new texture to the burger and in my opinion really made it stand out.

So after being blown away by my first burger I headed over to the Fat Hippo, which, surprise, surprise, had a huge queue. It was worth it though, to taste the mouth watering Hail the String. Featuring a gorgeous beef patty topped with Monterey Jack cheese, chilli and bacon string fries, pickle back slaw, chorizo and the signature Fat Hippo sauce, the Hail the String burger was clearly generously garnished.

Fat Hippo's Hail the String Burger
Fat Hippo’s Hail the String Burger

Although not the best patty of the day, the elaborate toppings of the Hail the String put it in 3rd place on my Burger-scale.

So, (keep in mind that by now I had devoured two burgers, plus half a serving of chips, and was beginning to feel slightly full) next I decided to look around and find one of the slightly smaller, more slider-like burgers of the day to shove gracefully into my ever-growing stomach. After browsing the selection, I decided to try Shilling’s Buckled Butcher’s burger, and, I can now reveal, that it became my winner. Whilst the actual toppings and bun were not all that exciting, the fat, juicy, beautiful patty that lay in between was by far the best I had ever tasted. This was not at all a shock once you took a look at the many different cuts of meat that went into it. Brined beef knuckle, beef heart, BBQ coal infused beef fat, lean beef, braised blade beef and ox tail in BBQ cherry cola sauce were all rolled into one absolutely brilliant burger patty. Shilling, in my opinion is the true winner of Battle of the Burger.

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Shilling’s Buckled Butcher’s Burger

Moving onto the last two burgers I tried. I feel the need to point out that neither of these were not actually my own burgers, and were, in fact, my Dad’s. See, I do have a little bit of self control when it comes to food.

This next burger was arguably the most out-there, but not in the crazy toppings and sauces kind of way, but the¬†not actually meat kind of way. Yes, you heard right, one of Wylam Brewery’s own contributions to the competition was the refreshingly new Crispy Monkfish Burger. Garnished simply with tartar sauce and little gem lettuce, this alternative burger really blew me away.

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Wylam Brewery’s Crispy Monkfish Burger

The monkfish was, as promised, crispy, and to my relief had no fat on it whatsoever. If this wasn’t a burger competition, Wylam Brewery would definitely have my vote, but as it is, I felt as though I couldn’t vote for a burger that wasn’t really a burger.

Finally, we have Longhorn’s Pepper Don’t Preach burger. I’ve been told by many people that Longhorn’s do mouth-watering burgers, so I was eager to see if this one lived up to the praise. Let me tell you now, it certainly did. The slight sweetness of the BBQ sauce combined with the sticky bacon jam and the juiciness of the patty made me wish I had enough room left in my stomach to squeeze in one of my own. Also in the burger was a red cabbage pickle, sliced Monterey Jack and Longhorn’s own burger sauce, all sandwiched between a pretzel bun. Having been decidedly against pretzels for a while, the Pepper Don’t Preach truly managed to sway me, as I thoroughly enjoyed their spin on the classic pretzel!

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Longhorn’s Barbecue Smokehouse’s Pepper Don’t Preach Burger

Sadly I had neither the money nor stomach room to sample Lola Jeans’, Jam Jar’s or The Grind’s burgers, but I’m sure they would have all been as impressive as the ones I was lucky enough to try. If anyone did, however, try one, I would love and appreciate it if you could leave a comment telling me how they were.

So that brings my first blog post to an end. Hopefully I didn’t drone on for too long and manage to bore anyone to death. I really hope you enjoyed it, as I would love to continue posting. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see on my blog and I’ll try to include it next time!