The prospect of leaving York in a few months’ time has prompted me to compile a ‘bucket list’ of things I want to do before we leave. There are twenty things on the list, and you can read about my first attempt to knock off a few of them here.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that everything on the list was food-related. Actually, that only applies to half the list – but they seem to be the ones I’m finding easiest to do first. Hmmm. So on with round two.
Widely reputed to be one of the best restaurants in York, J Bakers had to be on my list…and Al (reluctantly, it had to be said, for the place serves not an all-day breakfast) booked a table for my birthday. Two courses out of the seven (we went for the grazing menu) had some particularly inventive flair about them – one was a frothy soup of (mainly) goat’s cheese – gorgeously creamy – and another was a chocolate grazing board containing a variety of different chocolate textures (including ice cream, torte, brownie, mousse and chocolate ‘soil’ with alcohol-soaked raisins to roll in it). The other courses were standard but well-cooked. It’s hard to find a fault – so, for argument’s sake, let’s say there was no fault. But I don’t know…when somewhere has been highly recommended to you on several occasions, you kind of start expecting more. I think I would recommend it. But I think the food combinations are just as inventive (or more so) at Cafe No 8.
When walking down the Shambles the other day, I had to take advantage of Via Vecchia bakery still being open to pop in and get a loaf. You know a place is going to be good when it has no website. First, it means they’re well-enough advertised by other websites’ outstanding reviews (cunning – let others do your marketing for you), and second, in this case, it probably means they’re too busy baking incredible bread to waste time on a website. And it is incredible. They bake fresh every day – and close up shop when they’re sold out, so you have to be quick. I bought walnut bread, and there were thumbs up from all who tried it when we dunked it in soup later on. It was some of the nicest bread I’ve ever tasted. Via Vecchia will definitely be getting more of my business before I leave.
So many friends had recommended The Pig and Pastry that I had to make the trek down to Southbank to see what the fuss was about. There was no way that me plus buggy were going to get in (the place is permanently packed) but we happily sat outside and listened to more than a few customers coming out the door saying things like “Good food, but shame it was so busy”, and more than a few customers who didn’t even make it through the door saying things like “Too busy – we’ll go elsewhere”. Give it a rest, people – the place is good, and therefore popular. Deal with it.
I chose a houmous, pesto, halloumi and roasted pepper sandwich. I wasn’t entirely sure it was going to work. I’d learned the too-many-ingredients-spoil-a-sandwich rule back in Year 8 when we’d had to design one for a Food project, and mine had contained Marmite, sweetcorn and squid, amongst other things. That didn’t work – so I was interested to see whether this one did.
Yep. It worked alright. It worked sooooo well. Thick and chunky, with plenty of each filling, but not horrendous to fit in my vertically-challenged mouth stretch. And fantastic bread too. When asked if I wanted salad, I gave a confident ‘YES!’, as I’ve never been able to admit to strangers that I don’t like salad. But I needn’t have worried – three perfect salads arrived to accompany the sandwich: one – a simple green leafy affair, two – a yummy coleslaw (I detest coleslaw. This was the first one I’d tried and liked. And I didn’t just like it – I could have eaten a bucketload of the stuff), and three – a couscous salad with various things in that I didn’t even try to identify as I was too busy stuffing the delicious combo into my mouth. But there were raisins, definitely, and – the highlight – pistachio kernels. YUM. There was also some mint kicking around somewhere, but I’m not entirely sure to which part of the meal it belonged. The pig (or the pastry – not sure which one of them does the cooking) certainly knows how to make a lunch.
I cannot describe in words the party my mouth had that day. When I stopped to gulp some water, I tried to calculate how many more P&P lunches I could buy with my remaining birthday money. Of course I’m meant to be doing sensible things like climbing the Minster Tower and going to Newby Hall, but as I’m weighing up the prospect of culture versus eight yummyscrummy lunches…well, I’m just not sure who’s going to win.
My, this is a long post. That’s what happens when you combine the girl with food.