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Posts Tagged "food and drink"

Review: Four Corners Cafe

Review: Four Corners Cafe

Four Corners Cafe was one of those finds you always dream of coming across in a serendipitous way. I had arrived at Waterloo Station more than an hour and a half before a scheduled meeting at The Sea Life London Aquarium and was looking for somewhere to settle down and get an hours work done. Out came my go to coffee app, Best Coffee (£). I discovered that there was an independent coffee bar a few hundred metres away. Using the map on the app I was able to find Four Corners Cafe easily. My route from near the London Eye did take me through what looked like London’s street art gallery – the long dark passage under the tracks out of Waterloo Station. Like many London cafes, they cater for cyclists in addition to walk-in customers. The first indication…

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The Coffee Experience at Coffee Island

The Coffee Experience at Coffee Island

If like me you have an enquiring mind and are not just satisfied with the taste of food or drink but want to understand its provenance then a visit to Coffee Island in London should be high on your list. It is not just an ordinary coffee bar but a complete coffee experience. Of course you can go in, order your coffee-to-go and leave; or you can order coffee and cake get out the laptop, connect to the wifi and sip, nibble and work. No sooner had I entered than I was greeted by João their Portuguese barista. Surprisingly he was not behind the bar but in front of it. João was not about to serve me coffee but asked if I was interested in coffee and the various brewing methods. In the shop window where the coffee grindery, he set…

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11 things I miss about Sicily

11 things I miss about Sicily

I recently travelled to Sicily for almost three weeks. Returning home it took less than 24 hours to miss what I had left behind. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate my own country, far from it. Britain has a tremendous amount to offer and I would never want to be anything other than British. However, there are a few things Sicily offers that make me want to go back there… often. Here are some of the essentially Sicilian things I miss The intensity of the flavours Food grown in the soils of Sicily seem to take on an intensity of flavours that few places can match. This is particularly noticeable in citrus fruits such as lemons and blood oranges, garlic and onions and of course the ubiquitous pomadoro or tomato. Sicilian lemons are well-known in culinary circles for their intensity of…

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Cafe Review: Mint in Malta

Cafe Review: Mint in Malta

When I was planning my trip to Malta I had not expected to be reviewing a Kiwi run coffee bar like those populating the streets of London, Mebourne and Auckland. I discovered Mint thanks to a recommendation on Twitter to try out a Maltese restaurant in Sliema; a fortuitous decision to take the ferry from Sliema to Valetta rather than brave the traffic on the approaches to Malta’s capital; and a mention in Time Out’s Malta and Gozo publication that Mint was a great place for a coffee. Sliema is an up market resort full of top end shops and a number of boutique hotels. It has just had a facelift with an improved promenade that curves round Marsamxett Harbour. The lime green and chocolate brown signature colours are not easy to miss. Outside there is a small but not…

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Devon Unpacked: Cream Teas

Devon Unpacked: Cream Teas

The search for a perfect cream tea I have to admit I have a strong weakness for clotted cream and an even stronger weakness for cream tea. Yes, I know the previous sentence is loaded with oxymorons but I use them deliberately because I am unlikely to pass up the opportunity to sample a really good cream tea especially in Devon or Cornwall. These two counties claim to be the home of the scone, jam and clotted cream though neither can agree on the correct way to eat it. Is it jam first? Or is it cream first? A sign outside a tearoom in Closely, North Devon says a cream tea should be…, …two warm scones fresh from the oven – a dish of strawberry jam – a dish of clotted cream and… I agree with that. Definitely the scones…

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Puglia street food in Bari

Puglia street food in Bari

The Old City of Bari is full of narrow alleys and hidden streets surrounding small piazzas. The basilica, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Christmas fame, dominates the skyline. However it is not the sites I have come to see because hidden away in the heart this warren of passages and alleys is some of the best food you can eat in the province of Bari. Our tour began in Piazza Mercantile or Market Square. Close to the port it was here that the produce the merchants and fishermen brought into the harbour were sold. Now it is the place to gather and is surrounded by bars and restaurants. It was not the place for us to start eating though as that was to be deeper in the Old City of Bari on a street called Strada Palazzo del Citia. Starters Tucked…

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Puglia foodie trip

Puglia foodie trip

“Come hungry,” they said on the itinerary. The trip was titled “Eating your way around Puglia” so I assumed correctly that there would be a lot of eating the local food. As always I like to do some research before I travel and having done so I can say this is one trip I will definitely be enjoying. Puglia is the heel of boot of Italy. Southern Italian cuisine tends to be based on the natural seasonal ingredients the landscape serves up. In the case of Puglia this is olives, cheese, breads and fresh fruit and vegetables among other things. Also because nowhere in Puglia is far from the sea there is plenty of fish too. It goes without saying the the cuisine is Mediterranean, a style I am very fond of. It’s not just about tasting the food but how…

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Grind Coffee Barista Experience

Grind Coffee Barista Experience

I was introduced to Grind Coffee in Putney when it had only just opened. The coffee was like no other and the flat white has yet to be beaten in my opinion. Certainly the likes of Ronan Keating, Nick Clegg and various members of England’s rowing and rugby teams think so too along with an average of 1000 customers a day. The owner, originally a drummer opened a drum shop in Putney and begn selling good coffee alongside the drum kits. He soon discovered he was selling more coffee than drums so got rid of the kits to indulge his passion for coffee. When I first discovered Grind it was a tiny little place with customers spilling out onto pavement. Now it has expanded into the adjoining building but still keeps that special coffee bar ambience. Now there are couple…

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Dartmoor: Top 10 things to do

Dartmoor: Top 10 things to do

Dartmoor National Park occupies a large portion of Devon just to the north of Plymouth. It has recently earned fame as the setting for War Horse and was the setting for Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. The granite massif that rises up from the Devon lowlands is, for the most part, a bleak and desolate moorland; a unique landscape in Britain. It was for this reason that, during Napoleonic times Dartmoor prison was built there. There are plenty of things to do on Dartmoor and, what I like to call Greater Dartmoor. Here then are my Top Ten in no particular order. How many are in your top ten? 1. Cycle Drake’s Trail Drakes Trail is a hiking and cycling route from Plymouth to Tavistock passing by Sir Francis Drake’s birth place and Buckland Abbey which he owned in later…

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Travel Unpacked: The Year in Review

Travel Unpacked: The Year in Review

2014 has come to an end and 2015 has arrived. The first week of January is a time to look back over the preceding year and look forward to the next. I spend time browsing this websites statistics and the social media channels associated with it in effort to see what is working for me and my readers and where I can make improvements. It is also a time to reminisce on my travels and to plan ahead to next year (I will return to that in a future post). According to the stats for the Travel Unpacked website the most popular posts are reviews. Be it kit, accommodation, airlines or places to eat or drink they are popular with visitors to the blog. Top of the list is a review of the Cabin Max Lyon, a convertible wheeled rucsac-cum-cabin…

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