Sky High Tea with Roberts #embracethenew

I love a good Afternoon Tea but I’ve never been on a Sky High Tea before

So when I got an invitation to join Robert’s Bakery and try out some of their new products at a Sky High Tea, I couldn’t say no. Did someone say baked goods? The bakery aisle has always been my favourite. Roberts is a northern bakery that has been around since 1887 and is currently embracing the new with some awesome new products.

What is a Sky High Tea you ask? It’s afternoon tea…on a table that’s suspended 100ft in the air. Not one for the faint hearted!

sky high tea - ticket

A few weeks ago on a particularly wet day, myself and some fellow lovely ladies from We Blog North headed over to the Etihad Stadium to meet with the brand.

sky high tea - eithiad

I wasn’t sure what to expect but the Robert’s team were absolutely lovely and explained away all our fears. I’m actually afraid of heights myself but luckily not enough to stop myself doing things like this! We were perfectly safe as each chair came with seat belts and no handbags were allowed to come with us. We were also protected from the rain with a cover so that was very reassuring.

sky high tea - rain

sky high tea - we blog north

If you have a spare half hour you should definitely check out the other’s blogs: Jacinta, Kirsten, Laura, Holly, Kat and Asma. So once we were all individually strapped into our seats (which can spin 360 degrees btw!), we were off!

sky high tea - table

The table rose a hell of a lot faster than I was expected and before I knew it, we were 100ft up. It actually didn’t feel that high at all…until you looked down of course!

sky high tea - diane and asma

sky high tea - view

sky high tea - stadium

sky high tea - long way down

Once we were all used to the height, it was time to get down to business. Afternoon tea time. Here was the menu:

sky high tea - afternoon tea

Bottom tier:

Stilton, Walnuts and oh-so-sweet Pear, on Seriously Seeded Bloomer

Creamy Wild Mushroom Crispy Bacon on Mightily Malted Bloomer

Chorizo, Fabulous Feta and Rocket on Wondrous White Bloomer

Peri-Peri Chicken on Fiery Corn Ready-to Rolls

sky high tea - sandwiches

I could only eat the chicken and the mushroom sandwiches as I don’t eat pork but I can confirm that they were both delicious. My favourite was definitely the chicken as I loved the combo of the peri peri with the fire corn roll.

sky high tea - chicken

The middle tier:

Fresh Courgette, Mushroom and Turmeric Mini Loaf

Marbled Red Pesto and Pink Peppercorn Mini Loaf with Creamy Goats Cheese centre

and a special surprise of Bijou White Bread roll with a centre of Camembert and Rose Jelly.

sky high tea - bread

The latter was my favourite as I’m a massive fan of camembert. The goats cheese roll was my least favourite as although I love goats cheese, I’ve discovered that I’m not a fan of pink peppercorn. It was just a tad overpowering for me. The courgette was also very tasty but the camembert was a clear winner.

Top tier:

Sticky Toffee Scones with Soft Fudge and Dates

Lemon and Orange Scones made with zest and squeezed juices then mixed with candied citrus

Both served with clotted cream

sky high tea - scone

I loved the citrus scone but I could have eaten the sticky toffee one all day and every day. Still dreaming about it now! I’ve never had a flavoured scone before (unless you count cheese) so this was a lovely change from regular scones.

Finally, we were all given a taste of Robert’s gin and tonic fun buns.

sky high tea - buns

I was a bit apprehensive as I’m really not a fan of gin (probably comes from my rebellious teenage self taking a swig of a bottle from my parents liquor cabinet and instantly regretting it…) but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by these. They have the sweetness that you’d want from something that’s called a fun bun but then they have that kick of gin at the end. The kick isn’t too overpowering for someone like myself that doesn’t like it. But it’s enough of a kick that gin fans will love it. Apparently things that are supposedly gin flavoured are usually way too subtle so this definitely hits the mark for all you gin lovers out there.

sky high tea - g&t bun

sky high tea - staff

After a lovely afternoon tea, we headed back down to earth where we were sent on our way with some goody bags. I was really happy to find that one of the items was the gin buns. Also, Topher got to try the firey corn rolls which were definitely up his street!

sky high tea - goody bag

Thanks Robert’s for a great experience that certainly livened up what would have probably been a dull Thursday lunchtime!

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Tampopo Trafford Centre – Thai Taste Tour

I’ve never been to Thailand but it’s definitely on my bucket list. 

Having only just started getting myself acquainted with the food of the country in the last year, it’s safe to say that I have a lot to learn. So when I was invited to Tampopo Trafford Centre to try out their Thai Taste Tour Supper Club, I couldn’t say no.

Tampopo has 4 branches and a kiosk in Manchester. The Trafford Centre is their largest. The chain is inspired by East Asian cuisines from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - decor

Topher and I arrived just after 8 in the evening and it’s quite obvious that one of us was pretty tired!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - diane

Tampopo Trafford Centre - Topher

However he soon perked up when we were served some prawn crackers to munch on while we decided what to drink. Tasty!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - prawn crackers

Thai Taste Tour Supper Club

We both went with mocktails – Pink Lemonade for me and a Virgin Mojito for Topher. We tasted both and recommend them if you’re looking for something refreshing to go with your meal!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - mocktails

Our server began by taking us through the main ingredients that you tend to find in a lot of Thai dishes. Her knowledge was incredible and she seemed super passionate about what she was sharing with us.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - ingredients

Our first course was the Corn fritters and Thai salad. I really like corn fritters so was pleased with the dish. Both were delicious and came with a kick!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - corn fritters & thai salad

Next was the Tom Yam Soup. We both had mixed feelings on this. I loved the taste but it was a bit too spicy for me, while Topher loved the spice but wasn’t a fan of the taste. So I guess it just depends on personal preference.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - tom yam soup

The Pad Thai was next. This was by far my favourite dish of the night. I could have eaten an entire bowl of this stuff. Really craving it right now actually! It was mild and full of flavour and just incredibly moreish. Both of us hoovered these down!

Tampopo Trafford Centre - pad thai

The final savoury dish was Hot and Sour Stir Fry & Red Curry Veg served with rice. Both of us loved the taste of this but due to my wimpy taste buds, it completely blew my head off. Topher was perfectly happy though. If you’re a fan of spicy dishes, I definitely recommend this.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - hot and sour stri fry & red curry veg

The final dish was a mango sorbet which was a welcome end to the meal. My tongue needed cooling down! It was perfect.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - mango sorbet

Overall I’m so glad we tried this Taste Tour, it was a great insight into Thai food and I’m so happy to have discovered Pad Thai.

In between courses, Topher and I perused the menu and we will definitely be back to one of the Tampopo restaurants. I lost count of the amount of amazing dishes I want to try. Plus, the atmosphere was so nice and the staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgable.

Tampopo Trafford Centre - mural

Thanks for having us Tampopo! We’ll be back!

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#WorldPastaDay at Vapiano

Just in case you didn’t know, tomorrow, October 25th is #WorldPastaDay and last week I was invited to Manchester’s Vapiano to come and celebrate. 

Situated in the Corn Exchange in the city centre, Vapiano is one of the few restaurants that Topher and I hadn’t tried yet. Quite surprising considering how much we eat pasta at home. I always favour the more tomato based dishes and if it has seafood in it, all the better, while Topher says that carbonara is hands down his favourite.

#WorldPastaDay - vapiano

#WorldPastaDay - interior

#WorldPastaDay - vapiano interior

So last week we had a little date night at the restaurant. First of all, the interior is gorgeous – spacious, clean and very atmospheric. Great for dates, hanging out with friends and even bringing the whole family along.

#WorldPastaDay - bar

We started the evening by collecting our cards that would record our food and drink and finding ourselves a seat so we could peruse the menu. Topher chose Vapiano’s own brand of Pomegranate tea drink while I opted for a virgin mojito as I was driving.

#WorldPastaDay - drinks

Vapiano works in a different way to most restaurants. You walk up to the counter, order your dish and they make it for you there and then in front of your eyes. It’s great because it gives you the option to customise your dish to make it into your favourite.

#WorldPastaDay - counter

#WorldPastaDay - pizza making

You choose a dish from the menu then pick the type of pasta and there is also the option to add more meat or seafood as well as cheese and mushrooms.

#WorldPastaDay - pasta types

I chose the Gamberetti E Spinaci which was king prawns, basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, onions, spinach and cream. Having never tried a campanelle pasta before, I decided to choose that for my pasta dish. My favourite is trying new things after all! It turned out to be a great decision as the chef who made it actually said that this pasta paired well with the Gamberetti E Spinaci. Score.

For the final touch, my favourite pasta could never not include cheese so when asked I had to say yes!

#WorldPastaDay - pesto

#WorldPastaDay - cooking

#WorldPastaDay - herbs

Topher being a lover of carbonara had to go for his favourite, the fusilli pasta with bacon, onions, egg and cream. With cheese on top of course. Topher is also a massive fan of pepper so asked for a little extra.

#WorldPastaDay - carbonara

Both our dishes were delicious and we can’t wait to go back and sample some other things on the menu including the risotto and pizzas!

#WorldPastaDay - pasta

Happy #WorldPastaDay!

What’s your favourite pasta dish?

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Los Angeles Food: What we ate on our Honeymoon

So, Los Angeles Food. As you know, all we had was an afternoon & evening in Los Angeles so there’s not much food in this one! 4 meals isn’t too bad though (technically one is in Anaheim but shh!). Here’s what we ate:

Fat Sal’s

I can’t remember where I saw the recommendation for this place but my oh my am I glad we found it. Topher is still asking for fat sandwiches today! We visited the Hollywood location and it was the perfect place to celebrate finally making it to LA.

Los Angeles Food - fat sals

Their fat sandwiches have fries in them. That’s all I need to say! Having been stuffed to the brim with food over the previous 24 hours, we opted to share a sandwich and a portion fries. It was the perfect amount but we wanted more because it was so good.

Los Angeles Food - fat sals sandwich

We chose the classic Fat Sal Sandwich which is roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries and brown gravy on a garlic hero. One word: heaven. Just pure heaven. I would kill to get my hands on another one of these. And one all to myself for that matter. If you’re ever in California or Texas, go! They’ve got a few locations in both states.

Los Angeles Food - inside sandwich

Milk

The home of ice cream and an instagramer’s dream – we stopped off at Milk for some dessert before doing our sightseeing.

Los Angeles Food - milk exterior

Los Angeles Food - milk interior

I was told their ice cream sandwiches are king and I definitely agree. Ice cream sandwiched between two large macarons, it was the perfect size to give you a sugar rush but not put you in a sugar coma. I had red velvet and Topher had some kind of chocolate which probably had coffee in it too (I can’t remember exactly). Both were great and I recommend this place.

Parking was a little bit interesting as there is none but there was a residential street nearby that looked safe enough (in terms of getting a ticket kind of safe!).

Los Angeles Food - ice cream sandwiches

Souplantation

I told myself we would avoid chains (at least ones we had tried before and that you can get everywhere) but after our sightseeing was done in the evening, we headed to Souplantation. The same company as Sweet Tomatoes which Topher and I love; we knew we would need an injection of something green in our diet during the trip. It’s basically a giant salad bar buffet where you can also get soups, and other hot foods along with dessert.

We piled our plates high with veggies and it was awesome. I may have had some cornbread too which I’m known among friends and family for stuffing my handbag full of the stuff on the way out. This time, it was just a couple of pieces on my plate. I also discovered their snickerdoodles which were so incredibly delicious and I don’t remember seeing at Sweet Tomatoes so I’ll have to keep an eye out on our next trip.

Los Angeles Food - souplantation

The Griddle Cafe

In the morning before heading out to Universal Studios, we were in the mood for pancakes so we went to The Griddle Cafe.

Los Angeles Food - griddle cafe interior

The menu was very impressive and the flavours were really out there and interesting. I decided to go with “tis the season” which was pumpkin flavour pancakes and Topher decided on an espresso based stack called Eyes wide open (surprise surprise)

Los Angeles Food - griddle cafe menu

So I was aware that the portions were big…I just didn’t realise that they were this big! Seriously kids, it’s nice to share. Please share!

Los Angeles Food - pumpkin pancakes

I mean this is ridiculous!

Los Angeles Food - diane vs pancakes

Even Topher struggled. Neither of us finished even half of our stack and for Topher that’s saying something. I felt so guilty for wasting so much food.

Los Angeles Food - coffee pancakes

Los Angeles Food - Topher vs Pancakes

He said his was nice but didn’t have enough coffee to it and as for mine, they were so delicious. They got the amount of sweet just right so it wasn’t too much. Apart from the size, my only problem with it was the huge amount of whipped cream on top –  it soaked into the stack and made it waaaay too sweet. I think I would have been able to eat a bit more of it without it. Still wouldn’t have been half but it would have been something.

We couldn’t even take leftovers as we were going to Universal and then off to our new hotel in Anaheim. I would definitely recommend this place though. Just be prepared for the size and share between at least two people.

Los Angeles Food - beaten by pancakes

In N Out Burger

Finally, we couldn’t go to California and not sample In N Out Burger. We went to one in Anaheim near our hotel after getting stuck in a load of traffic so we couldn’t wait to eat. We both ordered cheeseburgers and a side of fries, “Animal Style” to share. For fellow first timers, Animal Style fries are not on the main menu – they’re on a secret one so you just have to ask when you order.

I wouldn’t call it a religious experience but it was tasty and definitely just what we needed after a long day. I’d go again if I was in the area!

Los Angeles Food - in n out burger

And that’s everything we ate. Stay tuned for next week when I post about what we got up to at Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Here’s where we’ve been so far:

Part 1: New York

What we ate in New York

Part 2: San Francisco

What we ate in San Francisco

Color Factory

Madonna Inn & A Californian Roadtrip

Part 3: Los Angeles 

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San Francisco Food: What We Ate on Our Honeymoon

San Francisco Food – I loved it!

With only a couple of days to sample as many different SF eats, we did our best. The only thing I know that we definitely missed was trying a burrito as apparently the city is quite famous for them. It was on my list but it was on the day that we got sunburned and went back to the hotel early. So we’ll have to leave that for next time.

Once again I’ll remind you that my husband Topher can eat for days while I get starving and then can usually only manage a small portion (boo!).

As for this time, take a look at everything we ate:

Boudin Bakery

What’s a first time trip to San Francisco without visiting the historic Boudin Bakery. Being a seafood lover I had to get the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. I did have reservations about not being able to finish the whole thing as I saw loads of people leaving their bread bowls but I had no problem at all.

San Francisco Food - boudin bakery

It was so delicious and Topher and I really wanted to take home some chocolate bread too but decided against it due to the sheer amount of other food we needed to consume that weekend. If I ever come back to San Francisco, I’ll definitely be getting this again. Topher had beef chilli in a bread bowl and wolfed the whole thing down. I had a taste of it too and it was nom!

San Francisco Food - clam chowder & chilli

Mr Holmes Bakehouse 

First thing in the morning, we set off to line up for Mr Holmes Bakehouse as I wanted to try a cruffin. One thing to point out with San Francisco, they love queuing for stuff. If something is good, there will pretty much always be a line so keep that in mind! We arrived at about 7.45am on a Saturday morning and the place was due to open at 8. There were about 5 people in line ahead of us and more people joined behind us.

Unfortunately, cruffins don’t actually arrive on the premises until 9am. I didn’t know this until reading the signs outside as at the time of researching I’m pretty sure it didn’t say on their website. They now have a countdown clock on their website so you can figure out what time they arrive. Boo. We had another bakery to hit so I just picked a churro croissant instead.

San Francisco Food - mr holmes bakehouse

You can see them to the left of the green dipped croissants. It was amazing and I don’t even usually like croissants. Topher had a savoury danish which he said “hit the spot”. Croissant in hand, I turned around ready to get my instagram shot with the pink “I got baked in San Francisco” neon sign but it was turned off. Broken? Or the staff couldn’t be bothered to turn it on? Not sure, I felt stupid asking so we left.

I was a bit miffed but it wasn’t the end of the world and I got a tasty pastry so we headed off to our next target bakery.

San Francisco Food - mr holmes pastries

B.Patisserie

I had heard great things about B.Patisserie’s Kouign Aman (pronounced Queen Aman) pastry but nothing prepared me for the piece of heaven I tasted. I could have had a whole plate of them. Dough, butter and sugar have never tasted so good! Topher had a chocolate pastry which he really enjoyed.

San Francisco Food - b patisserie pastries

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

On the hunt for carbohydrates after our busy morning, we finally reached The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen where the smell of cheese greeted us. Topher found himself overwhelmed with all the choice but I knew what I wanted. The mac n cheese grilled cheese. Doesn’t that sound like carb heaven?

San Francisco Food - Grilled cheese interior

San Francisco Food - grilled cheese sign

San Francisco Food - grilled cheese wall

It was everything I thought it would be and more!

San Francisco Food - mac & cheese grilled cheese

Topher finally decided on the Reuben Adams which is essentially a pastrami sandwich and he loved it.

San Francisco Food - pastrami grilled cheese

We also had a side of garlic fries as we were starving. They were tasty and I really liked the dip that came with the

San Francisco Food - garlic fries

Ten Ren Tea

This wasn’t a planned stop but while we were strolling through Chinatown, we had a craving for bobo tea so we stopped here. Turns out it’s quite a famous chain. Topher got a coffee one and I got a red bean one. Delicious! Topher was really impressed that they would make it to your specifications too so he got a super strong one. They were perfect for cooling down as it got quite warm that afternoon.

san francisco food - bubble tea

Tadich Grill

In the evening we headed out for our fancy meal of the trip, Tadich Grill. It’s a seafood restaurant that was established in 1849! As you know, I’m a massive seafood fan so I couldn’t miss it. They don’t take reservations so you just have to turn up and wait.

San Francisco Food - tadich grill

We got lucky and got seated straight away despite the long queue because we were willing to sit at the bar. If you want a table, you have to wait and it looks like you may have to wait awhile.

The majority of the bar is used for diners, so we hopped onto our barstools and discussed the menu.

San Francisco Food - tadich interior

Topher had fish which I don’t remember what it was. Trout perhaps? Whatever it was, he ate it all.

San Francisco Food - fish

Topher finds my love of seafood funny as every time we go to a restaurant that serves it, I have to pick the dish that has as many different kinds of seafood in it as possible. Yes, yes, I like to eat the ocean. So of course, I picked the famous Cioppino which is a tomatoey stew sauce with clams, prawns, scallops, white fish, shrimp, crab meat and mussels. They even give you an attractive bib to protect your clothes. It was so tasty! I managed to eat the majority of it but had to forgo most of the garlic toast that accompanied it.

So if you love seafood, I definitely recommend this place.

San Francisco Food - cioppino

Humphry Slocombe

An ice cream shop that is known for it’s interesting flavours, I had to give Humphry Slocombe a try. It usually has a long line but as we arrived not too long before closing at their Ferry Building location, there were only a couple of people in front of us.

San Francisco Food - humprey slocombe

Topher of course had the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee flavour and I tried the Harvest Graham and Honey Milk which was pretty tasty. Out of the two ice cream places we tried (the other being Bi.Rite which is further down), Topher says that this place was his favourite. I’m not sure which I prefer. Guess I’ll have to come back and try again!

San Francisco Food - humprey slocombe ice cream

Tartine

Another early start and another queue before opening time, we stood outside Tartine Bakery. I’m glad we did as when we sat down with our purchases, the line was down the street. It did move quickly though.

San Francisco Food - tartine exterior

I of course had to have their famous Morning Bun which is pastry with cinnamon, sugar and candied orange. I think this may have snuck into first place on the pastry front for me. It was incredible. Topher had a savoury scone and a chocolate hazelnut tart which he also enjoyed. He did agree that we would have to come back one day to try one of their massive pain au chocolates though. Those things were huge!

San Francisco Food - tartine pastries

Cha Cha Cha

Lunch was at the Haight District branch of Cha Cha Cha – a Caribbean, Cuban tapas place that serves awesome sangria. The interior was super quirky!

San Francisco Food - cha cha cha interior

Say hello to my only alcoholic drink of the holiday! This sangria was really nice.

San Francisco Food - cha cha cha sangria

Topher had the spicy chicken sandwich.

San Francisco Food - chicken sandwich

And I had the steak sandwich.

San Francisco Food - steak sandwich

As good as our sandwiches were, the highlight was definitely the side of plantains. Even Topher was picking away at them and he claimed to not even like plantain!

San Francisco Food - plantain

Bi-Rite Creamery

Be prepared to queue! We weren’t helped that this was a super hot day so of course everyone would be after some ice cream. I would say we queued about 20 minutes – 30 tops, I kind of lost count after awhile as I just wanted to sit down at this point.

San Francisco Food - bi rite creamery queue

So we finally reached the front and went for two scoops each (we earned it!). I got black sesame and ricanelas (snickerdoodle) and Topher got ricanelas and the ritual coffee toffee. I really loved mine. Maybe this was my favourite? I think Topher preferred Humphry’s because the coffee flavour was a lot stronger. I would recommend trying both places so you can pick your own favourite.

San Francisco Food - bi rite ice cream

Brenda’s French Soul Food

I finally got my beignets! And they were awesome. Once again we queued up before opening time and there were only a few people with us. Probably because it was a Monday morning.

San Francisco Food - brenda's exterior

San Francisco Food - brenda's interior

So we decided to share everything and went with some french toast and a beignet flight where you get to try the plain, chocolate, apple and crawfish beignets. Obviously start with the crawfish! All of them were delicious and we were surprised at how big they were. We could have probably just had those and been happy.

San Francisco Food - beignets

But of course we made the mistake of ordering the french toast as well which also turned out to be huge. It’s like a loaf of bread! They were incredibly delicious but I could only manage one slice. Topher did his best and finished the majority but even he couldn’t clean the plate. Oops! I would definitely recommend this place though. The beignets were to die for.

San Francisco Food - french toast

Ike’s

I’d heard good things about this sandwich place so for our last meal in San Francisco, we headed over.

San Francisco Food - ike's

The menu was extensive and there’s something for everyone. They even cater for halal and vegans. I was so happy to see a meatball sandwich that had only beef meatballs so I ordered the Michael Jordan which has meatballs, marinara sauce and pepper jack. It was so good but as I was still full from breakfast I could only eat half of it. I really don’t remember what Topher had but he finished the whole thing so that tells me that he liked it!

San Francisco Food - meatball sub

And that’s it for our food adventure in San Francisco. 

Check out what we got up to while we were there (apart from eating of course!)

And see part one of our Honeymoon where we visited New York

And what we ate!

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