Conference Pastries

pastries

One thing that I find irresistible at conferences is the small danish pastries that are often served with the pre-conference coffee. It is something I missed from the online conferences I have been attending (due to covid) over the last couple of years. 

Obviously the pastries aren’t the only thing I have missed from in-person events, but having some pastries in London recently I was reminded how nice they are…

I suspect it is something to do with an early start, a couple of hours on the train into London, onto the underground, and then a walk from the tube to the conference venue. By that point I have been up for a while, worked up an appetite and right there on the table next to the coffee are some freshly baked pastries. Just what is needed after a long journey.

Nice Gin

Received a bottle of Aviation American Gin as a present.

I have had the gin before out and about, and enjoyed it. So it was nice to get a bottle of it as a present.

Too popular, by far

Today I went for a walk at lunchtime and popped over to the Temple Quay street food market. I had a look round to see what was available. I nearly turned away when I saw that She Sells Sushi was there with their stall (which I am pretty sure I didn’t see on the Temple Quay Facebook post about the market). I hadn’t had their great dishes for a while.

There was a big queue, but I thought, well the food is excellent, it will be worth the wait. 

I waited.

I waited some more.

However after waiting twenty minutes and there were about six more people in front of me I realised that I wasn’t going to have the time to queue more, buy some great food, take it back to the office, and then eat it. So with a heavy heart I left the queue and headed back to the office.

Next time I think I will have to get there earlier.

It does show how popular the stall is, and how popular the market is as well.

Not very impressed

Noticed on the Twitter that my tweet of my Instagram photo of my rice dish had been noticed by quite a few people from Spain. They were, to say the least, not very impressed.

Best comment so far…

“I have seen rice that would make a goat vomit.”

This one made me chuckle

“if it doesn’t have pineapple, it’s not paella”

They’ve started construction work

Now that the Frankie and Benny’s restaurant has closed on Flowerdown Retail Park. The site will become a  Burger King with a drive-thru.

Image: Threadneedle UK

Planning applications posted to the council showed how the site will be converted into a drive-thru and local businesses were consulted on the change.

The restaurant was closed due to the pandemic restrictions put in place in March 2020, and by August with other restaurants now allowed to open, Frankie and Benny’s remain closed.

It never reopened.

I posted last August (2021) that the site was going to become a Burger King.

Now nearly six months later construction work has started on the site with the conversion of the restaurant into a drive thru and burger joint.

I ‘ve never being a great fan of fast food burger joints, so I think the chances of ever eating out there is very slim. If I am going out to eat I like the whole dining experience, queuing for a brown paper bag full of fast food, is not really my thing.

Combine this news with the new Tim Hortons drive thru opening up at the old Pizza Hut, the closure of Prezzo and Pizza Express, the eating out scene in Weston is slowly turning into one of fast food and drive-thru eating.

With all the exciting stuff that happens in Bristol on the food scene, it’s a pity that Weston is going down this fast food road.

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

I do quite like having the meatballs when I visit IKEA, so now and again I buy them from my local supermarket and we have them for tea. I simply heat them in a frying pan with a little oil.

Time for a Coffee: Top Ten Blog Posts 2021

This year I have written 107 blog posts, slightly less than in 2020 when it was 120. In 2019 it was 58 blog posts, 2018 just 36. 

With the continued lockdown I went out to eat a lot less than I have in previous years, however not going out, meant I had a little more time to play catch up finishing off reviews of meals and street food I had eaten before.

Having been the most popular blog post for both 2018 and 2017, second in 2019, and  dropping seven places in 2020, dropping another place was a post asking the question could you use Sirloin for Beef Wellington? This was a response to the high ranking of another post about using sirloin steak in a Beef Wellington rather than fillet steak due to the way people were (at the time) searching Google. 

My post from September 2000 on Lidl French Week was the ninth most popular blog post. I do quite enjoy the way that Lidl does themed flavour weeks, and I often visit just to see what they have and get a few things. This post was on their French themed week and what I bought.

Eight was my review of Lidl Fritto Misto. Though I have bought the Lidl Fritto Misto from their Italy week quite a few times, the reality is that it’s okay, but not good. 

The top post from 2020 dropped six places to number seven, it was my review of some Lidl Sol Mar Cod Croquettes

Reporting in April 2021 on the news that the Old Frankie & Benny’s site to become a Burger King Drive-Thru was the sixth most popular blog post.

The most at number five was from August 2020 when I reported that Frankie and Benny’s in Weston-super-Mare may close in the end it did and is being converted into a burger joint with a drive through. :Last year this was seventh most popular.

The fourth most popular blog post from January 2021 was about Truffled Cauliflower Cheese is no more… at M&S. It has disappeared again, as I did want to get some for our Christmas lunch.

The third most viewed post was on the Truffled Cauliflower Cheese itself from October 2020. It’s described as cauliflower in a cheddar cheese and truffle sauce, topped with a  cheese, mushroom and chive ciabatta crumb. This post climbed five places from last year.

The post at number two, climbing one place, was a review of Lidl Coffee Ice Cream.

Lidl Coffee Ice Cream

They are not huge tubs, but what you get is a tasty creamy coffee ice cream, with a little chocolate in there as well.

So the most popular blog post on Time for a Coffee in 2021 was about the news that Prezzo to close in Weston-super-Mare published in March 2021.

Quite refreshing to see posts from 2021 being in the top ten.

Now this looks interesting

Saw this at my local Sainsburys supermarket.

It is a gluten free Katsu curry cooking kit.

I have been looking for such a kit or a while, so will be trying it out at some point.

It is nice to see such a greater range of gluten free foods in supermarkets these days. Though I do find that I still need to go to different supermarkets quite often as the ranges differ so much in each supermarket. For example I have to go to Waitrose for the Davina Steel pizza and focaccia bread mixes we like. The focaccia is great for making dough balls. I find the pasta range at Sainsbury’s really good. Asda sell some gluten free flour for 45p which is significantly cheaper than other brands which are around the £1.70 range. They don’t do the Schär Curvies (Pringle style crisps) which I get from Morrisons or Tesco.

A shadow of its former self

So our Bristol offices reopened on Monday 17th May following the third lockdown. Since the cover crisis started in March 2020 I have managed to get to Bristol twice last summer to work, but otherwise I have been working from home.

Today I went to the office, made me realise how much I hadn’t missing commuting, and it was nice to have a change of scenery from working from home. It was also nice to have those office conversations that are almost impossible to recreate online or using Yammer!

I went out for a walk at lunchtime, something I would generally always do when I was working in Bristol, and something I try and do when working from home. It was nice as it had been sometime since I had done a walk like that. The sun was shining and it was nice to get out and see the centre of Bristol.

I had bought a packed lunch with me, but did think if I see something nice, I might buy something to go with it. I was also interested to see how much impact the pandemic had had on the street food market and other food places in the centre.

As I got closer to the St Nicholas Market I could see that Matina, the Kurdish kebab place was still open, but as you might imagine the queue was nowhere as long as it was pre-pandemic. Their neighbour, Chilli Daddy was absent and all the doors were short tight.

Walking into St Nicholas’ Market it was very much a shadow of its former self. I am not sure if places have closed and disappeared, or were just shut. I am pretty sure that most places have shutdown, though Caribbean Wrap had a sign on their door saying open Wednesday to Saturday.

What was open was the cake place (whose name I can never remember), though their magnificent display of cakes didn’t quite look the same now hidden behind plastic screens. Eat a Pitta was open, but no free samples… I was slightly disappointed about that.

The juice and smoothie place was open, as was Low and Slow with their excellent barbecued and smoked meats. Pie Minister was there selling their delicious pies, and I was pleased to see that Taste, the Portuguese stall was there selling some tasty sounding dishes. The Wokyko Korean Fried Chicken noodle place was also selling their wares. Missing or closed was the Taco Barra, the Italian place, the Olive Grove salad bar,  and the North African stall.

Though I am usually supportive of the market and enjoy buying lunch there, today I wasn’t that hungry and I had a packed lunch back in the office. Though as I expect to be in Bristol more often now, I will be returning to the St Nicholas Market for lunch.

There were also quite a few changes across the centre of Bristol, some places had closed, others had changed hands, but it was nice to see that some familiar faces were still around.

Old Frankie & Benny’s site to become a Burger King Drive-Thru

Now that the Frankie and Benny restaurant has closed on Flowerdown Retail Park. It would appear that the site will become a  Burger King with a drive-thru. Planning applications posted to the council show how the site will be converted into a drive-thru and local businesses have been consulted on the change.

I am not a great fan of fast food burger joints, so I think the chances of ever eating out there is very slim. If I am going out to eat I like the whole dining experience, queuing for a brown paper bag full of fast food, is not really my thing.

Combine this news with the new KFC opening up at the old Homebase in Queensway, Worle, the closure of Prezzo and Pizza Express, the eating out scene in Weston is slowly turning into one of fast food and drive-thru eating.

With all the exciting stuff that happens in Bristol on the food scene, it’s a pity that Weston is going down this fast food road.