In March 2017 I started the @thefoodlife_GLA instagram account. In July I created this blog. I’m still not exactly sure what it is that motivates me to do this but I have managed to convince myself that it is a hobby. I’ve said this before, but I’ve never really had a hobby. So that in itself is motivation I guess. Although I’m sure that there are mixed reviews on whether it counts as a hobby.
By October my instagram gained 1000 followers. I’m not sure what the formula to this “success” (as some people may consider it) was… I still stand firmly by the belief that I do it for myself, a kind of reflection tool.
Only now, looking back, can I see how right I was about it helping me reflect. Not only do my pictures capture food – they help me remember the occasion, the event, the holiday…even sometimes the conversation that was had over the course of the meal in the snap.
The blog came second. I had always thought of starting one. I’m still glad that I did it. However, I’m not sure that it has been as successful. Of course, that depends on how you measure success in social media world. The reason I personally feel that it has not been as successful is simply because I have not posted as often as I said I would. Sometimes there is not much to say about a meal. An instagram post will suffice. I do not want to post on my blog for the sake of getting another post live. Thinking about it now, perhaps my blog is successful in the way that I want it to be. I have blogged. I have posted about the things that I felt deserved were worth my time. There are a few posts in my drafts still (some that I even began last August), that I am sure I will one day complete and publish. For me, although this is a food blog, I don’t want it just to be reviews of places I’ve eaten. I want it to be about the whole experience. I want it to capture part of my life (the part that revolves around food that is).
With all of this in mind I have decided to attempt to write a bit of a round up post. However, I am quite aware of the fact that I have managed to ramble on quite a bit before actually starting what I set out to do. Read on to find out some of the highlights of my year. I’ve gone for a chronological order as my indecisiveness would not allow me to rate them any other way.
Evelyn’s Cafe Bar (Manchester)
At the start of 2017 (prior to starting my instagram account) I headed to Manchester to meet up with friends who I had met when teaching in South Korea. One of the girls booked us into Evelyn’s and it did not disappoint. The first thing that caught my eye was their brunch cocktail menu. Perfect for a group of girls catching up after a few years of all being together in one place. I LOVED their avocado on toast. Which may have been what began my addiction throughout the rest of the year. It was an extremely generous serving on a slice of sourdough with one poached egg. Some may have preferred to spread this amount of avocado over two slices of toast with another egg however this ratio was right up my street. Our day continued, fuelled by copious amounts of prosecco and snacks and ended over korean BBQ. Sadly, was this was pre-food-insta/blogging days I do not have pictures. Saying that, I had such a great time catching up with the girls and enjoying so much delicious food it may still have been one of those meals I didn’t manage to snap (yes it happens sometimes!!).
Flat Iron (Curtain Road, London)
The next highlight of my year has to be mine and D’s trip to Flat Iron when we visited London in February. We had booked tickets to Harry Potter World and so decided to make a few days of it. At this stage I was using trip advisor maps to find places to eat near our hotel, then searching them on instagram accounts to see what people were really saying. TripAdvisor has it uses, but let’s face it, the most common users are those who love to complain. I basically planned our days around food (and the trip to see the Harry Potter studios). We arrived later than expected on the Sunday due to a technical fault with our plane so although we originally had planned to head to Flat Iron for dinner it became our late lunch (at about 3:00pm). I’m glad we had done this simply because you could not book and it was the kind of place you would probably have to queue up for later on in the day/evening. At 3:00pm it was quite quiet. We both ordered the flat iron as it was £10 each. So cheap for London. The flavour was amazing. I also loved that it came with a little meat cleaver.
Wilson Street Pantry (Glasgow)
Wilson street pantry was on my list in 2016. However, I did not get round to it until 2017. In the Easter holidays I was feeling cooped up so decided to treat myself to a solo brunch. First visit I had their avocado with lemon and smoked salt. It was simply divine. Sometimes I shy away from ordering avocado and eggs when out as its something I will make quite often at home. However, it is lovely to have it made for you as well. It was so delicious I was very temped to order the same again next time. However, instead opted for the smoked salmon and avocado with an added poached egg.
Red Onion (Glasgow)
In May some of my Uni girls were heading to Glasgow for a reunion. However, two of them had become vegan. Luckily Glasgow seems to be the place to be for vegans at the moment. There are so many options. However, as not all of us were vegan I decided to book the Red Onion as it had been recommended to me by Emma from EmmaEats.co.uk when I tweeted for suggestions. By the end of our meal everyone was happy. Yes, meat eaters, pescatarians and vegans. We all ate from a 6 course taster menu tailored to our eating choices. Although I try to eat less meat, when I go out I tend to eat meat most of the time. I see meat as a luxury. I also see going out for food as a luxury (although I’m sure family members would argue I go out too often for it to be a luxury – I disagree).
The courses were: bread and humous; french onion soup; scallops; trio of bon bons; pan-fried sirloin; and frozen raspberries with a white chocolate sauce. It really was a fantastic meal.
Chimichanga (Silverburn, Glasgow)
The next highlight of my year is less about the food. Don’t get me wrong it was delicious. When I was on holiday in July I randomly entered a food photography competition on facebook, which was part of the Silverburn shopping centre food festival. I won a place on a meet-up with Pam AKA the Glasgow Food Geek! I had been following her for a while. She was/is definitely one of my inspirations when it comes to food blogging/instagramming. She shared so many fab tips during the meet up. We have also met up since (for food OBVIOUSLY) and will continue to do so too! Not only did I get to meet Pam, I also met Becca (Beccablogger). Had I not started my instagram account I would not have entered this competition and I would not have met these two! Moving to Glasgow was not that daunting for me as I moved to Aberdeen for University when I was 18 and then all the way to South Korea, to teach English, when I was 22. Glasgow was a doddle. However, in the world of full-time work I never really had a way to make friends outside of work. Thanks to my foodie account/blog I have managed to find a way to put myself out there and meet some new people!
Cheap flights to Crete meant a 7 day road trip sampling so many foodie delights. We were so lucky when it came to food. We did not have a bad meal. We ate halloumi and/or feta most days. Quite often both. It was really hard to choose one picture from this trip so I’ve gone with two. The first I have chosen because it was on a day where we had done a lot of driving and were becoming quite hangry. This place did not look like much from outside, but oh my did we have a feast! It was also the first chicken souvlaki that I had been permitted on the trip. I had tried to order one a few times but owners/waiters always insisted I try their pork. Greek salads were also a daily occurrence. The second picture I have chosen is more about the experience. Elafonisi beach was b-e-a-u-tiful! It was absolutely stunning. It was so gorgeous that we did not want to leave to find food so we had to take what was on offer – CHEESE PIE! Eating pastry in my bikini can now be ticked off my bucket list.
I may have eaten out a lot this year but I’ve also discovered a few new dishes in the kitchen. When searching for more vegetarian recipes on the QUORN website I came across instructions for making sausage rolls. In my usual style I changed it up a bit and ended up creating this plait. Made with quorn mince, sweet potato and feta wrapped in puff pastry it has definitely been not only at home but with my veggie friends.
Starting my food blog led to Jude (The Wee Blondie) and I branching out from our usual burger hunt to trying a few other things. When she was contacted and asked to try out the Tails from the Grill menu at Hutchesons I was more than delighted to go along with her. The food was heavenly. Luscious pieces of medium rare d-rump steak served with oxtail croquets, huge king prawns, hand cut chips AND a sauce each. May I also add that wine is included in this awesome deal for £40 all in. (Although on this occasion, because Jude had been invited to try it out we did not have to pay). It is certainly something I am looking forward to trying again in 2018. In fact, this meal inspired me to book in for our hogmanay celebrations.
Alston Bar & Beef
Another foodie venture with Jude. We took advantage of the 5pm early evening set menu. The steak was so succulent. For me though, the highlight here was the garlic butter that came with it. To this day it still makes me mouth water just thinking about it. Marble tables and cool lighting at Alston Bar & Beef has put it on my list for returning too! Although the lighting could be considered a bit of a food photographer’s nightmare, I don’t think my snaps turned out too bad.
If someone asked me to recommend brunch in Glasgow I would probably send them to singl-end. I would also highly recommend they try their eggs benedict. Served on slices of sweet potato rather than an english muffin. Also instead of hollandaise it comes with avocado, cashew and tarragon “hollandaise.” It is certainly different from your usual eggs benedict however it is definitely one of the best things I ate in 2017.
New to Glasgow in 2017. Definitely a hit. Each visit was better than the last. Who knew kebabs could be so good!? Also a side of their doner fries are a MUST. Each visit the meat was cooked to perfection. On my most recent visit I went veggie and ordered the halloumi kebab and it did not disappoint.
La Ola Barbacoa (Fuengirola, Spain)
A meat platter served with a bottle of red after a day in the sunshine. Do I need to say any more? One of my fave meals of the year as it was tasty and in a wonderful setting with one of my favourite people.
Loops & Scoop
Just before heading on holiday in October I received an invite to the launch of Loop and Scoop in the West End. I had been following their instagram account for a while and had been looking forward to them opening. However I was gutted when the launch clashed with my holiday. I made sure to visit soon after my holiday and thoroughly enjoyed THE loop and scoop with tablet gelato. I could barely move afterwards.