Tag Archives: cocktails

Grillstock Goes North: Manchester

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Ribs and brisket from Flamin' Amatuers

Ribs and brisket from Flamin’ Amatuers

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What do you expect from a festival called Grillstock? Well, BBQ, music and drinks and on that front it massively delivered. But there was unexpected delights too… ice cream, including barbeque flavour (do you get the theme yet!?), sweet cakes and tarts, boozy smoothies and wine. So there really was something for everyone and there was lots of families there together for the earlier part of the day.

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Manchester is embracing the street food ethos as Guerrilla Eats continues to grow in popularity and this was a fantastic outlet for those constantly looking for their next foodie fix.

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Given that this festival takes place every year in Bristol, Manchester showed great enthusiasm for the cause and the word on the street, which was clear to see anyway, was that the event was a huge success and is already looking likely to take place again next summer! Nobody told them that the weather wasn’t always 20 degrees and sunny but sssshhhh.

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Grillstock made its way to Manchester last weekend and it was a messy, meaty and musical mouthful for all involved. Albert Square was treated to a delectable mix of smokey barbequed meat, beers, cakes and music and boy did it go down well.

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Crackerjack won the ‘King of the Q’ competition and those lucky enough to taste some of their food, I got to taste Andy Annat’s brisket and ribs and they were great. The brisket could have done with an added 30 minutes on the heat but the sticky glaze it was coated with and the presentation was notably better than the other contenders.

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Guerrilla Eats is back with a boost of booze & beats!

Guerrilla Eats is ready to provide the great people of Manchester with local street food, craft beers and punches as well as music to dance the night away to this weekend.

The scamps will be setting up this Saturday (23rd Feb) at 60 New Bailey Street, Salford M3 5FS (right next to Salford Central railway station) from 6pm ‘till late.

Learning from the first event, this gathering will be indoors so no wet feet for the revellers – just pure passion for food with nothing to get in the way. The addition of booze and music will no doubt go down a treat and everyone is ready for an evening of great food and atmosphere!

Taking inspiration from the eponymous Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Guerrilla Eats is bringing a new concept in the North West – a street food night market; pairing street food, craft drinks and excellent music. All in all, a celebration of all that’s good for your tongues, tummies and your ears!

Mal O’Conner, of Guerrilla Eats, said: “Sitting down with friends, we noticed there wasn’t a night that catered to our needs of independent, low-cost food with craft drinks AND good music – so we decided to put something on that suited us – and that’s how the Gorilla came up with Guerrilla Eats.”

So, you’re wondering what’s going to be on offer… frankly, far too much for my mind to deal with – how will I ever make a decision about what to eat?! There’s definitely plenty of delicious grub available to suit all tastes and dietary needs from the likes of Fire and Salt BBQ co for some deep south BBQ comfort food to Chaat Cart which dishes up delicious vegetarian dosas and southern Indian fare or you can take a trip to the streets of Mexico with Margo & Rita’s burritos.

There’s pizzas fromStreatza, gourmet hot dogs from Dirty Dogs, quality burgers from Bistro Barn House and some yummy sweet treats from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium and Pancake Corner. So come on, don’t even try to tell me that your mouth isn’t watering at the thought!

All of this along with with craft beers from independent brewers and music from some of the North’s biggest up and coming DJs and you’ve got the makings of a banging Saturday night right there!

Guerilla Eats is at 60 New Bailey Street, Salford M3 5FS starting from 6pm.

Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn: Reviewed

Manchester’s newest taco joint, Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn, inspired by a road trip from Vegas to Mexico, is blowing the minds of those lucky, lusty (and smart) enough to have paid it a visit already.

Exterior signage

Exterior signage

Formally known as Socio Rehab, the guys behind Home Sweet Home, Almost Famous and Keko Moku have brought us another glorious hangout over two floors!

It’s not just ‘Almost Famous with Mexican food’. It’s a completely different vibe to Famous, not better or worse but different, more ‘grown up’ shall we say? Less slut, more class and unmistakably ‘cool’.

Guac and artichoke dips with 'chips'

Guac and artichoke dips with ‘chips’

The menu is large and varied, providing meaty, veggie and fishy options. Accompanied by the delightful Sarah Nosh, we started off with the guacamole which is hand-smashed at your table for uber-freshness meaning you get the full hit of the lime, chilli and coriander complimenting the avocado. Alongside this we ordered the warm artichoke, jalapeno and cheese dip which also comes with nachos and was extremely moreish and something I’d never had before so I was pleasantly surprised.

However, for the calorie conscious you can indulge in carb-free goodness too such as the chicken lettuce cups. Chicken, pineapple, peanuts and sunflower seeds drizzed with a teriyaki BBQ sauce and served in a gem lettuce leaf. VERY good.

Chicken Lettuce Cups

Chicken Lettuce Cups

On to the tacos, burritos and sticky buns (now you’re listening?!), well, they are quite something. We ordered the Beef Smackdown burrito which was delicious but a bit heavy for me (the portion sizes are substantial). The slow-cooked beef with chipotle gravy, peppers, onions, hot sauce and cheese is spicy and comforting and it sure as hell gives you bang for your buck.

MASSIVE Beef Smackdown

MASSIVE Beef Smackdown Burrito

We also tried the Yum Yum sticky pork buns. The mini brioche buns are very sweet, too sweet for some but I enjoyed them. Smoky and sweet shredded pork topped with BBQ sauce and pineapple, HELLO INDULGENCE. However, on my second visit I ordered the Dirty Chicken tacos and I really can’t recommend them enough.

Sticky Pork Buns with Chips AND Salad (we ordered extra)

Sticky Pork Buns with Chips AND Salad (we ordered extra)

Dirty Chicken Tacos - Phenomenal

Dirty Chicken Tacos

They’re gorgeously tasty, creamy, tangy, cheesy and even refreshing ALL AT ONCE! I don’t know how that’s possible, but it is at Luck & Lust.

A new feature to those who are fond of Famous and fancy something a little different is dessert! Now, apart from when the weekly special had vanilla ice-cream on the burger the closest thing I’ve come to a dessert in Famous is ordering another tequila Scramble cocktail.

However, dangerously, you can now choose between salted caramel chocolate brownie (baked with a freaking oreo in the middle!!!) or a pineapple and coconut cheesecake with strawberry sauce, lusty wafers and amazing blood orange jellies. Both come with a scoop of Penelope’s malted vanilla ice crea. Yummy! Could I pick a favourite? No. Basically, it will take several return visits in order to come to a conclusion.

Salted Caramel Brownie with Oreo

Pineapple Coconut Cheesecake

Pineapple Coconut Cheesecake

I must confess that due to lack of funds and having done Dry January I haven’t yet ventured into Tom’s cocktail creations but the drinks menu is certainly one to widen the eyes and whet the appetite. Next time.

The main difference between Famous and Luck & Lust, because people will compare (rightly or wrongly), is the sheer volume of the menu on offer at the latter. The quality is there, the atmosphere is there and also, they have actual plates at Luck. Decadence, indeed.

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A Christmas Miracle hits the Northern Quarter

Winter is coming and what better way than to shake off those seasonal blues by eating and drinking yourself to your ‘happy place’ in a winter wonderland where it’s always Christmas? I fear that this may become an addiction.

Traditional Christmas fair…?

Welcome to Miracle, the Northern Quarter’s seasonal celebration spot with Christmas-themed drinks and traditional Christmas food with an Almost Famous twist. Turkey slathered in butter slammed on a roll and topped with delights! You want it don’t you?

Yes, Miracle is the home of the Miracle burger! Now this is a proper turkey burger, not like those rancid ones you remember from school dinners, oh no, proper shredded turkey, sausage stuffing, potatoes AND brussel sprouts. As well as some extra pigs in blankets for garnish (that’s my kind of garnish!). It’s also worth mentioning that Miracle has really produced a miracle by making brussel sprouts taste really, very good!

Chris Bull, a man who knows his burgers, fries and general junk food, usually flat-out refuses to eat turkey yet, he scoffed away a Miracle burger with pleasure. A true compliment to the chefs!

Along with the mouth-watering burgers we tried the beef in beer, which has as much booze in as the cocktails, and the gobble gobble gravy fries which are topped with shredded buttered turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy! Christmas really has come early this year.

Gobble Gobble Gravy Fries, Beef in Beer and the Miracle turkey sandwich

Lead in through the back of Socio Rehab and up the stairs (my female sense of direction was scrambled by then) we emerged into a wintery wonderland of cocktails and debauchery, as well as fantastical decorations to get you into the festive spirit, including this one by Kat Crass Stitch!

So, I can’t even believe it’s taken me six paragraphs to get on to the drinks… The fantastic Mr Tom Higham was on hand to provide the cocktails, plenty of festive cheer as well as general insults and creative cursing (thanks, Tom!).

But seriously, the cocktails are inspired! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to drinks, but these were divine. The Apres Ski works as a delicious post-burger palate cleanser and was accurately described as ‘a melted mint Vienetta in a glass’ by one Sarah Nosh. Yummy!

The Candy Cane Collins, which will probably become my ‘usual’, is a delightfully punchy vanilla vodka cocktail topped up with CREAM SODA! A very welcome blast from the past, seriously, why don’t I drink Cream Soda all the time? I’m questioning my decisions in life as I type.

Candy Cane Collins and Apres Ski

Tom has put so much effort into this cocktail menu and he loves it so dearly that he even differentiates the candy canes for different drinks; a seasoned pro.

As well as cocktails there is the traditional mulled wine, spiced cider and boozy hot chocolate to warm the cockles of an evening as well as some bottled beers, wines and spirits.

Miracle also has more sweet treats in the form of desserts! The ‘Sweet Things’ come as a skewer of delicious pastry/doughy/brownie-type delicacies with like a custard and nutmeg dip. So delicious I completely forgot to take a picture. What was I saying earlier about not having a sweet tooth? I think Miracle has changed me!

Now, if you like the finer things in life then the Xmas in New York is for you; a cocktail made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon topped up with Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and finished with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. It was as hedonistic and rich as it sounds and, granted I couldn’t drink too many, it truly hits the spot. In fact, it hits about 25 million different spots, it’s so damn good!

A Very Berry (with gin) Christmas and Xmas in New York

Miracle is launching to the masses this Thursday (22nd) at 6pm. The first 50 folk to show up will be treated to free food and the first 100 will each receive a free drink! So, don your Christmas jumper and lift those Christmas spirits into delicious, drunken oblivion…

(We all need more of Kat’s Christmas crafts in our lives, I’m sure you’ll all agree. So fuck your family off this Christmas by taking them some of her lovely work: http://folksy.com/shops/CrassStitchCrafts.)

New mini-food menu launched at Tib Street Tavern

If beer, food and football, or just beer and food, is your thing you’ll be pleased to know that the Northern Quarter’s Tib Street Tavern has launched a food menu!

The traditional-style pub is serving up traditional pub grub with quality. The menu is a ‘mini’ one for the moment and it serves as a small taster for things to come when the full menu is launched.

Mini Menu

We opted to share the Currywurst sausage with chips and home made sauce, it was definitely the pub-grub that we needed! With the food at a very reasonable price, it provides the perfect amount satisfaction and sustenance to get your started on the pitchers of beer.

Currywurst Sausage and Chips with Homemade Sauce

The chips were great and seasoned really nicely (my partner enjoyed them and he’s definitely a chip man! The sausage was yummy and the homemade sauce was a tangy, tomato and onion mix with a hint of spices – really good!

You’ll also be pleased to know that a four-pint pitcher of Amstel is only £10 from 3pm-7pm, and only £12 afterwards, so you don’t have to keep going to the bar if the match is on – perfect!

Although Tib Street Tavern shows football it doesn’t allow football colours to be worn. Odd at first but it actually makes for a really friendly vibe, especially if you’re not there to watch the game.

Bliss…

We’ve always experienced great service at Tib Street Tavern and our last visit was no different with table service being provided if we were running low and a complimentary peanut mix for all tables as the hours grew wee.

It’s the little things which make a bar great.

I’ve been meaning to blog about this place for a while as it has quickly become a favourite of mine. It’s unassuming and low-key and although it won’t excite everyone it has a charm about it which will always keep me going back.

The first time I visited, the bar was super busy, and my three friends and I wanted cocktails so we asked to see a cocktail menu.

Instead of saying that they didn’t have a cocktail menu, the really lovely girls behind the bar said that the cocktail menu hadn’t quite been finalised yet but they were more than willing to make us some of the classics (margarita, cosmopolitan etc).

We ordered some cocktails and they were fantastic, if a little impromptu! Since then, we were hooked and it set us up for a great night!

Great service, with a (genuine) smile, great drinks offers, a new menu and an even newer one in the pipeline… what’s not to like? Get down and try it out!

Tib Street Tavern 74 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LG

Cocktails in The City at Manchester’s Town Hall

Start the Easter weekend with an evening of ‘cocktail-making and drinks enlightenment’ in the beautiful surroundings of Manchester Town Hall’s Great Hall.

Cocktails in the City will take place at The Town Hall on Wednesday April 4 from 5.30pm – 10pm and tickets are now available.

Tickets are priced at £18 and on offer is three cocktails plus many more tasters to add to that. Also, demonstrations and various cocktail-making classes will be taking place throughout the evening.

The event brings together all of Manchester’s top cocktail bars – and some of the world’s finest drinks brands – to offer a night of sipping, socialising and spirited drinks tutoring.

These include an ‘Around the World With Rum’ session from The Liquorists from 6pm – 7pm and ‘Boutique Gins’ from 7.30pm – 8.30pm.

However, if you’re more of a down-to-earth sort of person, you might want to visit the ‘Kitchen Cocktails’ demonstration between 6pm – 6.45pm which will be teaching you how to make delicious cocktails from store-cupboard ingredients.

With over 18 of the city’s top bars involved you can be sure you will go home satisfied. Some of the bars taking part are Apotheca, Black Dog Ballroom, Sandinista, Noho and Socio Rehab.

You’ll be treated to a variety of drinks and there will be something for every taste, including the likes of Ish Gin, The Kraken Rum, Havana Club, Grand Marnier and Grey Goose.

Andrew Scutts, founder of Cocktails In The City, said: “Cocktails In The City is basically a massive masterclass from all the best bars in Manchester under one roof.

“It’s a night of drinks entertainment and education,” he added.

Tickets cost £18 and you will receive £30 worth of cocktails, gifts and tutoring.

Last year’s Cocktails in the City went down very well with bars and tasters so secure your tickets now to avoid disappointment as places are limited.

Buy tickets here: http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Manchester/Manchester-Town-Hall/Cocktails-in-the-City/11601318/