21 July 2017

A New Menu at Turtle Bay, Leeds

I've been a big fan of Turtle Bay since it landed in Yorkshire, nearly a couple of years ago now - and it's been great to see the brand grow in popularity in that time.

Between visits to a couple of its Northern branches I've familiarised myself with the menu and established some firm favourites - so I was very excited to hear that they'd refreshed their menu with a whole host of new dishes and drinks for me to fall in love with! 

I was thrilled to be invited along to the Leeds restaurant to check out some of the new options.

I know the food at Turtle Bay is good,.. really good even. But one of my favourite things about visiting is actually the amazing rum cocktails! I was keen to try the Roots Culture, one of the new cocktail offerings made with Uncle Wray overproof rum, strawberry liqueur, raspberry, lime and lemonade. Absolutely delicious and, like all good cocktails, a little too easy to drink!

Turtle Bay do have a nice range of 'softails' too which I (as the usual designated driver) really appreciate - there's nothing more depressing than drinking boring coke while everyone else is on tasty and colourful concoctions!

Choosing a starter was tricky - so many delicious sounding options! I did try to convince KC to get one too so I could try a bit but I couldn't tempt him. As it was all up to me, I settled on the Stuffed Pepper Roti - trini oven baked roti stuffed with cheese, carrots, spiced potatoes and onions, and served with scotch bonnet & herb mayo...

Mmm these were good! Hot though, I'd been eyeing up the impressive array of table sauces but didnt dare add any of these in the end!

As a vegan, KC can occasionally be a difficult chap to take out for dinner, but Turtle Bay has always offered some really tasty and interesting vegan options and these have been expanded again with some new additions to the menu. He liked the look of the Spinach, Aubergine and Sweet Potato curry. This fragrant spiced dish came served with fluffy steamed rice and got two thumbs up from my gentleman guest! I didn't try any but it sure did smell good!

I couldn't resist the pull of spicy chicken, and opted for the Two-Way Chicken Burger. Another new dish, this consisted of a spicy panko-crumbed chicken fillet, topped with pulled jerk chicken, crispy gem lettuce, fresh pineapple chow and herb mayo in a sweet bun.

 Now, I am undoubtedly one of those people that will tell you pineapple on pizza is the devils work. The very idea of it is so hideous that it's almost enough to put me off pizza altogher. So I was a little wary of my pineapple filled chicken burger, but it was actually amazing! 

I knew the chicken would be good (and it was!) but I wasn't quite prepared for the juicy taste sensation of the pineapple - it added such an unusual edge to an otherwise relatively sedate menu choice.

It's still awful on pizza though!

The spicy fries are probably worth a mention too, I could have eaten these aaaallllll day long!

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm all about the desserts, and Turtle Bay have never let me down in this area - their BBQ pinapple with coconut ice cream is one of my favourite things that I've ever eaten, and the upside down rum cake is pretty special too. On this occasion, though, I looked to the newly offered Passion Pie - an exotic twist on a classic lemon meringue pie.

The meringue topping was so light and squidgy I just wanted to keep prodding it (I didn't) and it was delicious to eat on its own - though of course much better combined with the zesty passionfruit curd and sweet sauce. It was huge too, and took me longer to finish than the rest of the meal put together - I managed it all though!

I know some restaurants concentrate on putting out amazing food, other places have an impressive drinks list to lure in customers, and some simply offer a really cool, relaxed place to hang out - but when (like me!) you dont get to go out that often you need a place that does all that in one, and Turtle Bay ticks all the boxes for us!

20 July 2017

Am I too old for festivals?

For weeks now, months even, I've seen loads of bright eyed youngsters getting giddy about their upcoming festivals this summer. And I've been happy for them, excited,.. even a little jealous, but from the safe distance of knowing that the festival life is not for me these days, that I've outgrown it.

And then I realised why - it's been twenty years since my first festival. I took my little brother to V97. He got sunburnt. I was stung by a wasp (twice!), we danced like idiots to the Prodigy, we got lost on the way home - it was awesome, and it was the start of a long love affair with festivals.

Photo from Hannah at planestrainsandmeltdowns.com
Some of my other favourite stupid festival memories include:

Taking a full box of Rice Krispie Squares to Leeds one year so I didn't have to spend any money on food. I haven't been able to eat one since. 

Agreeing to meet my bother at a particular spot at the end of the end of the night to I could make sure we got on the right coach home. I waited so long that by the time I figured out he wasn't coming, the coach had gone without me. I ended up sleeping on the reception floor of Milton Keynes police station. My brother, of course, got straight on the coach and fell asleep, only realising I wasn't there when the coach pulled up back in Bradford.

Photo from Hannah at planestrainsandmeltdowns.com
Heading to Leeds on the morning before the festival started, pitching my tent, hanging out for the day - then getting the train back home to see my favourite band who were playing half a mile away from my house! I did make it back bright and early the next morning though! 

Bumping into a good friend early on in the day, and trying to convince him to come and see The Get Up Kids with me. He'd never heard of them, and I wandered off to my own to watch. 17 years later we live together and they're his favourite band.

Photo by Hannah at planestrainsandmeltdowns.com
Then there's the knowledge that I was always invariably grumpy as sin on the last day as the culminative effects of not sleeping for several nights got the better of me, the fact I could buy a full weekend ticket (including camping!) for around £70,.... and the more recent sad realisation that I seem to have no photographs from these wonderful occasions (so big thanks to Hannah and Vicki for letting me us theirs!)

Photo by Vicki at tippytupps.com

Maybe it's the need to capture some of my festival memories on camera that has me itching to go back to a festival now, maybe it's just nostalgia. It might be the many upgrades to the festival-going experience that has me excited (fancy pre-set up tents and food that you actually want to eat rather than have to for survival? Yes please!)

Mainly though it's learning about the huge variety of type of festival available. I used to think festivals were all for drunk teenagers, and that suited me because I was a drunk teenager. Now that I'm an adult with a family it's great to discover so many festivals are designed for adults with families! I took Travelodge's Family Festival Personality Quiz for inspiration, and it suggested that as a 'gang of nature lovers', Latitude Festival or Yorkshire's Deer Shed Festival would suit us perfectly!

We've left it a bit late this year but now I know festival-going is not something I have to leave behind me, we definitely want to include it in our plans for next summer (if only so the kids are having their first festival experience where I can keep an eye on them!)

* I was incentivised to write this post, but I genuiney have done some daft stuff at festivals!