Tag Archives: tea

More coffee at Arabesque Bazaar..

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Saturday September 1st 2012

Arabesque Bazaar, Lark Lane, Liverpool

Joining me- Tannie

Leaving the Sefton park Food Festival on a sunny evening meant one thing..more coffee. A quick walk to Lark lane and we picked a table sat outside the newish Arabesque Bazaar. The hustle and bustle of park goers passed us by heading for more food and drinks down the lane.

A unique little place selling moroccan food , coffee and cake and moroccan inspired homeware as well as shisha pipes and belly dancing on a weekend.

A good pot of tea made with tea leaves, the coffee was typical cappuccino style. What this place has going for it is its out door area front and rear where you could spend time chatting with friends on a nice day. After quenching our thirsts I left for home having had a thoroughly lovely day.

Single coffee snob…

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As my summer holidays draw to a close I’d like to say a big thank you to all the people who have supported my blog through viewing posts /recommending.  I am currently close to 1000 views which is amazing!

Something which started off as a means of passing my summer holidays has now become a kind of hobby as it  has  opened doors to a whole little coffee world out there.  I had no idea so many people are interested in coffee or coffee shops (they serve tea too!) So what should be drawing to an end is actually only really the start. The  list of coffee places to visit that I  write is ever growing, with more interesting places popping up all of the time. 

I have also become a coffee snob. 6 weeks ago a cappuccino consisted of 1/3 coffee,  the rest froth and topped with a sprinkling of chocolate. And I accepted this. Not now. Not now I have tasted real, delicious coffee, made by people who love making coffee. Do I get impatient if it takes a while to get my coffee? No, because I know that a decent cappuccino is on its way.

So far I have found out

  • chocolate spoils the taste of the coffee-a true barista won’t sprinkle chocolate on top            
  • a great cappuccino fills a cup
  • great coffees have interesting foam art
  • good baristas let the milk settle before adding to the coffee
  • barista is the name of a coffee bar tender.

We drink coffee

  • whilst reading-morning papers, 50 shades, chick lits, emails
  • as a rest bite
  • to pass time whilst waiting for someone
  • to wake up
  • to keep going
  • as a premis for a first date
  • while catching up with friends.

A while ago most cafes sold regular coffee, now a days most sell cappucinos and lattes. It seems that by doing so they can label themselves as a coffee house. Don’t be fooled by this! Some are great little cafes but they don’t sell truly great coffee. Some are not great cafes but have become glorified greasy spoons by the fact they sell cappuccinos and lattes. The real coffee houses are places that serve up great coffee and even specialised tea.  

I started this blog to find interesting cafes/places to have coffee and catch ups. This has changed without me even realising it to finding places which serve great coffee. So because of this I have put 2 categories on my blog-

  1. Recommended- this is for great little cafes/coffee shops

Teacup, NQ, Manchester/Ivy Deli, Monton/Central Perk, Liverpool

  1. Great coffee- this is for places which serve great coffee

HomeSweetHome, NQ, Manchester/ Laynes Espresso, Leeds/ Franco’s Saltaire/North Tea power, NQ, Manchester

There are places I visited that I would not recommend so they did not make it on my blog.

So far top of my list is North tea Power in the Northern Quarter, Manchester. It has a loft apartment feel to it with the stripped floor boards and steel beams. People sip coffee at leisure while chatting, meeting, using lap tops or admiring the latest art gracing the walls. I met my mum and niece in the week and took them there for a brew stop pre shopping spree. My niece’s hot chocolate didn’t last long, the florentine met all of our approval and as always the coffee made me say ‘that’s a great coffee’. My mum liked the place (it was busy inside and out ) and asked me  ‘Have you not pulled here ?’ Even my mum noticed the amount of men who frequent here!

So,  it seems find yourself a great coffee place and men appreciate it too. I’m  thinking drinking coffee while perving over men may be added to the above list soon…who’s joining me?

Plucking where at Teacup?…

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August 17th 2012

Thomas Teacup.

Joining me-Tannie and Becky.

A quick walk round the corner and we were at Teacup. My last visit was at the Jubilee party and although it was quiet indoors it was manic outside. The service was shocking -getting our drinks (after asking for them 3 times) after we had eaten and a carrot cake that was dry and crumbled so much it was difficult to eat. But it comes highly recommended and so I was open to try again on an average day.

The large counter adorned with cakes on stands is a feast for the eyes. My picture only shows half of the counter! They even have a cake menu-yes a menu just with cakes, even more than on the counter. No wonder cake lovers love it here.

The service was immediate and helpful. Only serving a one sized cup, which is large, I needed something smaller ie less caffeine. The waitress recommended a one shot flat white. Standard is 2 shots in a small glass with a layer of foamy milk. Ordered with pear cake.

It was just what I needed. Served in a small glass was like a cross between a latte and an americano. To be honest it didn’t taste much different from a latte but I’m sure it would with the standard 2 shots in it. One to try earlier in the day. The pear cake didn’t last long . You know when something is good, it goes quiet. Tannie was happy. I was much more impressed this time now Teacup goes into my recommended category.

Becky joined us and somehow the conversation got onto the subject of murderers. I should have known mixing someone studying forensic psychology and someone with an obsession of notorious murderers was going to lead to table talk delving in sexual depravity. How could I not ? This conversation went on a while (we needed to eat again so moved to an eatery down the road). What was worrying was the fact the obsessive knew more than the one studying. She even proudly spoke of how she has visited areas linked to some murders. Thankfully she went on to discuss her fascination was with why people do these horrific crimes. O.k she did also talk knowledgeably about what they did, but I’m not feeling scared in her presence , just yet. From the conversation what I did realise about my friend is that 1) she knows what not to do (so you don’t get caught) 2) she’d plea mentally insane and 3) she reads some twisted articles before she goes to sleep.

From murderers the conversation shifted to the topic of hair removal. Becky explained the procedure she’s recently had for permanent hair removal. Tears to eyes springs to mind, apparently it’s sensitive on the shin area. I didn’t like the sound of having to pluck the dying hairs. Sorry but the thought of tweezers in the nether regions does not appeal to me. Becky had a simpler solution, sellotape. Easier to find than masking tape but not as harsh. I suppose it’s waxing with sellotape. Like de fuzzing clothes but de fluffing the body.

As the numbers start to rise you want to keep yourself nice and neat and not just for the obvious reasons,. Keeping on top of your game, being prepared is paramount. Hair goes grey everywhere. ”I’m not putting nice and easy there” and with that we all nodded. Well what can you say?

And that is the beauty of women’s conversations-the ability to one minute be talking about murderers and the next be talking bikini waxing!

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Florentine heaven at North Tea Power…

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August 17th 2012

Joining me-Tannie

North Tea Power, Northern Quarter, Manchester

Friday coffee and cake is becoming the new friday club. It used to consist of 4 of us meeting for tea and then ending up in a late one and a bad head the following morning. Now it’s become a civilised affair with a love of feeling ‘normal’ the next day, that’s not to say wine won’t be involved again. Tonight North Tea Power was on the agenda to try.

A comfortably sized coffee shop with an urban feel of steel posts and large wooden tables. I really like the feel of the place as although it wasn’t busy you could imagine it as a great place to get chatting to people due to its sociable layout-benches, large central wooden table and outdoor seating. The previous night it had showcased an artist’s pictures ( I found this out through following NTP on twitter) which tells me this is not just your run of the mill 9-5 coffee shop.

To Tannie’s disappointment the cake options were very slim, just the remains of the day on the counter. I on the other hand was not ,large florentines were staring right at me! A choice of alcoholic drinks also available and a light bites chalk board. I ordered my usual (cappuccino) and a florentine and Tannie opted for a sandwich and a small latte. She needed to re fuel after an afternoon exam (psychology, so not so easy-going). The drinks took a short while to arrive which was a good sign as the longer it takes to make a drink the better it tastes. I realised I had not said I didn’t want chocolate on but when the coffee came none had been put on, again a good sign.

The coffees were lush, falling into my great coffee category, which fills the criteria of no bitter afer taste, dense foam like topping and a full cup. The florentine was the best I’ve ever tasted and plenty of it. There are a number of people who choose to sit outdoors so, being checked on by staff could tempt people to have more than the one cup.

We had one small problem. Tannie hadn’t had her cake fix and considering she had just finished her exams she deserved a little of what she wanted. I agreed to give Teacup another try.

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Insect alert…

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Joining me-Bex

Local pub

Tip-I have since found out that my explanation of a cappuccino is a serious no no in the coffee world according to my friend Lisa,  who has had this discussion with a barista in Leeds-‘never put chocolate on it spoils the coffee’.

Having gone into work today (why on such a lovely day?) and having help from a trusted friend I thought we both deserved a ready-made cuppa. This took us to a local pub where we could sit outside and enjoy the remaining sun. Even though I had thrown something on and neglected my personal hygiene by putting my hair in a bun rather than washing it the time was only 3 o ‘clock and  I thought who am I going to see? Once there, before we had sat down, we had slipped in ‘shall we have some food?’  Opting for the early bird sandwich deal mine came with the standard sized cuppa.

 

A small cappuccino with quite a bit of  light froth and not very hot. I find when illy coffee is served the cups aren’t very big. Anyone know this to be different anywhere? Despite the small drinks the food went down well .

When eating outside nature always decides to join you. I noticed a small (tiny, money variety) spider crawling on my friend’s shoulder and disappear under her vest strap. I drew her attention to this and she seemed a little unsettled by it saying she would have nightmares that night. Bit of an over reaction I thought but then she went on to tell me the story of how a friend of hers once had a cockroach crawl out of her pants. This has obviously freaked my friend out. So to confirm that fear I went on to tell her my experience.

A couple of months ago I spent a lovely sunny Sunday on the beach with Tannie. I had needed to ‘visit’ the sand dunes and under fear of startling an  innocent passer-by enjoying their sunday stroll I was fairly hasty in my time there. A little while later I was lying back enjoying the sun when a persistent irritation around my right short leg caused me to sit up and take a look. To my horror a fly was half trapped under my denim turn up. I quickly pulled back my short to reveal said fly and his friend crawling out! A few squeels later I was fly free. Needless to say I was unsettled by this. All I could presume is that in my haste in the dunes I must have trapped a couple of  unsuspecting  flies in my pants.  I don’t know who was more traumatised,  me or the flies!

Note to self -DO NOT go to a pub dirty, that’ll be the day the cute guy with the rough n rugged look will jump out of his van and sit near you.

Cafe crawl begins at Home Sweet Home…

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Friday 3rd August 2012

Home Sweet Home , Northern Quarter, Manchester

Joining me-Tannie

Having met Tannie in town for a spot of tea at Simple (where we were turfed out at 7 due to a party) and not ready to go home it provided the perfect opportunity to nip for a coffee and some afters (namely cake). Having got caught up on the one way system Monday in the Northern Quarter, I was reminded of a little place I had spotted whilst being sat at the rear of Thomas Tea Cup back on Jubilee day. This was now ‘just round the corner’ from where we were. Having directed us the long way round-ie in a circle (my mental AA auto route was out of practise), the journey did prove productive in a)finding a junk shop much to Tannie’s delight and b)allowed us to see a few places in the NQ which I hadn’t noticed in the dark before.

When we got to Home Sweet Home we were greeted pleasantly by the hustle of the mixture of clients coming and going and the attentive staff. I was surprised that not only was it still open but that there was a bar and food menu on offer for the evening. Despite it being full of a mixture of diners, groups of girls who looked set for a night out afterwards, father and young son stopping for tea, couples and mixed groups we were still accommodated even though we only wanted a brew and some cake.

Sitting at a little table in the window it could have been an intimate tea for 2 but was just as nice company -a friend. Pushing the boat out I ordered a fully caffeinated cappuccino after 7pm (it was start of the weekend) with a slice of carrot cake while Tannie ordered a pot of tea and banana bread. Having been given the option of a mug of tea she’d taken the traditional pot option. Traditional tea-pot size, when it arrived, it was not. The picture below does not do the pot size full justice. Discussing my small venture for the holidays I named it the official start of my cafe crawl.

The picture says it all, one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had. Creamy, smooth, just right. And the carrot cake was delicious. Melt in the mouth, light, moist cake with thinly layered icing that was not too sweet. Luckily for me the pot of tea was that big that we managed to get 4 cups out of it (1 for me) so I got the best of both worlds. The banana bread was a tad dry but it didn’t spoil anything. As we sat in the window of Edge St the streets around us were filling with people hitting the town for their Friday night out. We had the option to join the revellers but were quite happy with our tea and cake.

Home Sweet Home is surprising in that it has 2 more rooms hidden at the back . The front of shop (so to speak) has a bar/counter which sells tea pots of cocktails as well as the usual tea. It has a country cottage decor with wooden tables and chairs. The company, atmosphere and cake was great making this the first cafe on my recommendation list. Suitable for any time of the day, with whoever. A little gem hidden behind Thomas Tea Cup.

The downside was walking to Oxford Rd for the car in new shoes. T was walking well considering she had bought hers a size too big, maybe she’s an expert at walking with her toes curled ,gripping to the sole? I am not, I like comfort. So you can imagine my disappointment when I had sore feet in shoes which I had lusted after for many months and was delighted to get in the sale. I thought I had left a sticker on the inside which had moved whilst walking and was irritating the hell out of the ball of my left foot. When I got home I took great pleasure in removing the said shoes only to be in more pain. I then realised it was not a sticker or label but a large blister on the ball of my left foot which meant I could not put my foot flat down on the floor. Will I ever NOT have difficulty walking in heels? Maybe a quick pop in socio rehab for medicinal purposes should have been had.

At least I was still full from the cake to ease the pain!

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