24 August 2015

A Weekend in Paris

Since Jess and I graduated (she in 2014, I in 2013) we've been talking about traveling and seeking out the cheapest ways to do it. We snapped up a bargain when we went to Paris last month, paying just £69 each for return tickets on the Eurostar. Our Airbnb apartment in Montmartre cost us £25 a night each and it was exactly what we needed in a brilliant location. I would highly recommend Lea to anyone wanting an affordable stay in Paris in a nice, quiet area. I have an entire post coming up all about the food as I couldn't possibly fit it all into one, so for now, here are a few snaps from our short summer trip and a little about what we got up to...

We arrived on Friday afternoon and headed straight up to Sacré-Cœur, on Poppy's recommendation. Poppy lived in Paris for a while and lent me her mapbook of the city which was an absolute necessity during our trip. Once we'd had a wander round the church we were just about dying from the heat so went to get something to eat from a nearby cafe.

Peach iced tea and a ham baguette - a typically French (for me, anyway) lunch and in 30°C heat it was spot on.

Later that evening we went down to a bar (which I'll tell you more about next week), drank cocktails and people-watched as the sun went down but the streets got busier.

We were up and out of the apartment by 8am on the Saturday but we had no idea that the French enjoyed a slower start so while we waited for everything to open we had a wander around the quiet streets of Montmartre.

We got the Metro to Madeleine and went to Galeries Lafayette - the most beautiful department store I have ever seen. It reminded me of Bendel's in New York, but this was much, much bigger.
Then, despite being told by a number of people not to bother, we went to the Eiffel tower and had a look at the famous landmark in real life. It was mildly underwhelming but it was pretty cool to see it - it seemed a lot bigger than in all the films I had seen.

By this point I needed an ice cream, and that's when I found this violet beauty. It was the colour, scent and flavour of one of my favourite childhood sweets and was about as big as my head, but I managed to eat (nearly) all of it.

Despite only being in the French capital for 48 hours, we soaked up every last minute of our trip and didn't feel like we missed out on anything. There's a lot I haven't included here because I have separate posts lined up and these will be live very soon. Expect to see french fries, lots of pastries and actual bowls of hot chocolate :)


18 August 2015

French Toast at The Angel – Abergavenny

This isn't the first time The Angel Hotel has featured on What Naomi Wrote - one of my first posts was all about the afternoon tea they serve (outstanding, a must for any afternoon tea lover, ie everyone) and when I recently had a taste of their breakfast menu I thought it was too good an experience not to share with you.

The Angel is my favourite place to go to for food and drink in Abergavenny – it is just outstanding in every respect. In recent years the standard of service and food has improved significantly. I frequently choose cocktails in the bar at The Angel over a cheap glass of wine at spoons – maybe I'm growing up, spending my money more wisely, but these days quality appeals more to me than quantity, more so than ever before. 

Bethan and Josh were in Abergavenny for the day and it's become a bit of a tradition for us to meet for breakfast. The Angel is the only place in town that offers such an  extensive menu and it's become my go-to for a special treat on a weekend. You certainly get what you pay for and it's damn good.

Seeing french toast served with bacon and syrup on the menu makes it difficult for me to even consider anything else, but I was happy with my choice. The french toast was eggy and fluffy and four rashers of crispy bacon was beyond generous.

The only criticism I have is that the syrup was golden, and not maple like the description on the menu had promised. It tasted great but I thought it was a bit cheeky to skimp out on something so imperative to the dish!
Despite this, I was happy with my plate and the coffee that came in a smart little cafetiere. (It's very important to me that my coffee is still hot when my food arrives).

Josh and Bethan devoured their full English and sausage and egg roll. Bethan's tea came in a beautiful black cast iron teapot while Josh stuck to orange juice (he's one of those who doesn't like tea or coffee). Then it was off to the hairdresser's for Bethan and a little bit of wedding dress window shopping... also for Bethan. She and Josh are getting married next year and I'm a bridesmaid!

Where do you go for a special treat breakfast? I'm working my way through the menu at The Angel – Josh's full English looked so yummy, I think I'll be ordering that next time.

16 August 2015

Tampopo – Bristol

Beth was about to embark on a four-month adventure in Asia, so what better way to say goodbye than with a meal at Tampopo?

Serving freshly made food inspired by authentic east-Asian cuisine, Tampopo offers something for everyone, and it is one of my favourite places to eat. Sadly, at the time of writing this, I found out that the Bristol restaurant had closed as of June 28. However, the ones in Manchester are still around and they are definitely worth checking out if you're in the city.
We were in the mood for cocktails. The sun was shining (albeit through a glass ceiling) and it was Friday. The Singapore Sling was the waitress' recommendation and a good one it was. Service was fast and we sipped on our gin while deciding on what food to order.

I'll never stop going on about Vietnamese rice paper rolls – also known as summer rolls, crystal rolls or goi cuon.  They are entirely underrated for such a healthy, delicious snack or starter. These were served with a peanut sauce which had just the right amount of spice and salt. 

We also shared some Japanese pork gyozas with soy sauce which were warm and crispy and delicious. I love east Asian starters and could eat them as my main meal as I did so in Bar Soba, but there was ramen to be devoured...

This was a generous bowl of ramen, let me just say that. The chicken was chargrilled and juicy and the pineapple sticks (I think that's what they were) made for a fruity addition to an otherwise traditional bowl of ramen (minus the boiled egg – only down side). I had a good crack at eating this but didn't manage to finish the whole bowl, unfortunately.
Beth ordered the Vietamese style chicken salad (Ga Xe Phay), a lighter option with a dressing not dissimilar to the one I had with my summer rolls at The Hanoi Bike Shop. Sweet, salty and citrusy – it reminded me of the salad I had at Pho last year. Fresh and tasty for a summer day.

I'm sad that Bristol's Tampopo is no longer, but trust me when I say it's a restaurant worth visiting if you're ever in Manchester. With a lot more to choose from and dishes from all over east Asia, Tampopo beats Wagamamas hands down every time for me. Find out more here.

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