Food

The Bite, Dalston

Nestled on Kingsland Road, Dalston is a delightful little Italian restaurant, The Bite. We stumbled on it, late Saturday evening, tired and hungry for pizza; it didn’t disappoint.

The Bite has a casual, cosy feel, with friendly staff and a typical Italian menu: pizza, pasta, calzone.

Their pizzas are Neopoliatan style, with a thin base and lots of sauce.I went for the Capricciosa and to be honest, it was absolutely just as good as the ones I’ve had in Rome and Venice.

A lovely thin but doughy base, with a very generous helping of mozzarella, plus cooked ham, mushrooms, artichokes and green olives. For all those crazy pizza combinations out there, is there anything better than this classic?!

The Bite is a no frills kind of place, but cute and welcoming, with lots of delicious Italian comfort food.

The Bite, 533 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London E8 4AR

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Fashion

Velvet dungarees

A few weeks ago, I wondered into Monsoon, and immediately spotted one of the sales assistants wearing the most perfect black velvet dungarees. I had to have them.

Monsoon velvet dungarees
Dungarees – Monsoon, £30 (sale). Shoes – Dr Martens, £70 (sale). Tshirt – Zara, v old.

Being above average height, jumpsuits, playsuits, dungarees are always, always too short in the body (basically, they’re all up in my business). So I didn’t have high hopes when I tried them on, but they fitted like a dream.

They’ve got a slim ‘mom jeans’ style leg, with adjustable straps that come up the back.

On the front there are silver hoops, and some really lovely covered buttons on the side.

The velvet fabric makes them that little bit smarter, so that I can be team them up with a roll neck and brogues to be work appropriate. But I’m also loving chucking them on with a stripy tshirt and trainers at the weekend. Basically, I’m going to be living in these velvet dungarees for the rest of winter.

Fashion

Leopard print boots

Jeans and a jumper is a simple, easy outfit in the winter, but it quickly becomes a bit dull.

So this is where my beloved leopard print boots have come into play. Turns out, jeans and jumper combos were just missing the perfect pair of boots – something a bit different to jazz things up.

I’ve been leopard print obsessed for years so I have had to work very hard to control myself this season, now that leopard is back IN.

Leopard Print Boots: Marks & Spencer, £35
Boots: Marks & Spencer, £35

When I saw these leopard print boots in Marks and Spencer, it was of course, love at first sight though!

Boots: Marks & Spencer, £35

They have just the right height heel that’s totally suitable for day time but also great for a dressed up evening. And they’re just perfect with a pair of black skinny jeans.

Leopard print boots: Marks & Spencer, £35. Velvet jeggings: River Island dale, £25
Boots: Marks & Spencer, £35. Velvet jeggings: River Island, £25 (sale). Chenille jumper: Marks & Spencer, £35.

I especially love wearing them with these slightly cropped skinny velvet jeggings from River Island that I picked up on sale after Christmas.

I don’t often find anything in River Island, but these are so comfortable, and they hold their shape. They’ve been a great alternative to black skinny jeans, which always fade way too quickly.

Personal

New Year’s Resolutions

So the beginning of February is the perfect time to formalise my New Year’s resolutions, right?

I’ve had a month to think them over, test the waters and decide on some achievable goals for 2019. Nothing wild, just a few areas of minor improvement, and a little more effort all round.

1. Make plans

It sounds so cliched, but life is busy and so often I find myself saying ‘we should meet up’, ‘let’s go for a drink sometime’, ‘I need to come and visit’.

One of my main goals this year is to actually make those plans, pin down a time and place, and meet up with the friends I haven’t seen in far too long. I’ve started this by getting my diary filled in, working out when I’m free and making a plan.

2. Send the first message

This one ties in with the previous one, but I find it hard sometimes to actually just message someone and ask if they want to do something. I have a bad habit of assuming that people will be busy, or just won’t want to hang out with me. So this year I’m really going to try and get over those doubts, and just ask people. I need to keep in mind – what’s the worst that can happen?

3. Stop hoarding

I am a hoarder. I keep hold of the most ridiculous things; receipts, clothes tags, and pretty much every birthday/christmas card I’ve ever received. Slowly, very slowly, I am starting to clear out all the corners that I’ve stuffed with various crap but I also need to learn to throw stuff away in the first place!

4. Buy less

I’m really, really trying to buy less clothes. I’ve cleared out so many things that still had the tags in, or I wore once. And while I’ve managed to make a bit of money selling them on eBay, it is such a waste, and I’m not proud of it. My new rule is, will I wear it at least 15 times? If not, why am I buying it?

Miscellaneous goals

  • Put more effort into this blog and write more!
  • Set aside time for studying each week (also never sign up for part time studying again)
  • Read a book a month (that’s not a marketing text book!)
  • Be a little more active (maybe even go to the gym once a week?!)
  • Prepare lunches for work and stop eating noodles everyday!
  • Visit lots of new places and explore more of the world (the same goal every year)

 

None of these are groundbreaking, world changing goals. But hopefully if I can make a little bit of progress with them, I’ll make some positive changes.

– Verity May

Personal

Starting over

I’ve been doing this ‘blogging’ thing on and off for the last couple of years, but I think it’s well over due that I put a bit of focus, planning and consistent effort into it.

I read a lot of other peoples’ blogs; fashion, travel, lifestyle and the more personal stuff, and it’s all so great. And at the back of my head I’m always thinking – I could do this too. As a Content Marketer, I spend a lot of my working day writing, and I’ve always kind of thought that I don’t want to spend my spare time writing as well. But to be honest, I love writing; I need a vague idea, or a few facts and I can just start typing for hours.

So far everything on this blog has been food focused, which seemed like a good way to start – I love to eat, so why not share all the amazing food I’ve discovered? And I’ll definitely continue with the food posts, but I’m also going to start sharing some other bits and pieces.

I’m going to try my hand at writing about some of my other interests and experiences; fashion, music, lifestyle and some more personal bits. It’ll probably be quite a learning curve, but I guess what’s the worst that can happen?!

Anyways, if you do happen to read the occasional post, then I hope you’ll bare with me while I figure out the ‘blogging’ thing… again.

– Verity May

Food

Greens, Zetland Road, Bristol

Turn off the busy parade of Gloucester Road, and you find a handful of cute, independent restaurants along Zetland Road. One of my favourites for a special occasion is Greens; serving a small menu of traditional British dishes with influences from international cuisines, using high quality, local ingredients.

Greens is a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant, taken over by Head Chef Martin Laurentowicz, and front of house Nick Wallace, in 2012, whose partnership began in fine dining restaurants in Scotland.

From the outside, Greens looks cute and cosy; very enticing when you walk past at night. And inside it’s decorated very simply, with a cool, intimate atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you can dress up for on date night, or pop in on the spur of the moment if there’s a spare table.

Last time we went was over the weekend between Christmas and New Year, the time when you have no real clue what day it is. There were a handful of other tables, a mix of families, friends and dates.

To start I had the wild mushroom and buffalo mozzarella arancini with aioli and truffle oil (£8.50). Mushroom and mozzarella are always a perfect combination, so these were fried delights.

This was followed traditional Cullen skink with smoked haddock, braised leeks and cripsy potatoes (£16.50). Cullen is a thick Scottish soup – the smoked haddock flavour was almost overwhelming, but the braised leeks added a little taste of sweetness. Overall, it was a little too salty for my taste, but I did enjoy it.

Finally we shared a sticky toffee pudding with ice cream and cream. It was rich, decadent and amazing.

Greens is a lovely little place for an evening meal, especially if you catch their evening set menu of two courses for £17.95 or three courses for £23.95, Monday to Thursday.

Greens Restaurant. 25 Zetland Road, Bristol BS6 7AH.

Food, Travel

Las Vegas

On our whirlwind tour of California, we also managed to skip over the border into Nevada, and spend a couple of nights in Sin City – Las Vegas.

MGM Grand Las Vegas

We drove through the desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, which took about 5 hours and was filled with some incredible, expansive views of desert and mountains. When we got to Las Vegas, we dropped the hire car at the airport and got an Uber to our hotel, the MGM Grand.

If we were going to Vegas I wanted to get the full, vibrant, brash experience – and staying on the main strip at one of those massive hotels and casinos was essential. Nothing can quite prepare you for just the size of everything in Vegas; the MGM Grand has over 6,000 rooms, plus a sprawling casino with over 2,000 arcade games and slot machines. There’s also restaurants, shows and events, and an impressive pool complex – you could pretty much spend your whole trip inside the hotel.

However, for our first night we had a quick turn around and out to catch LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors at the T Mobile arena. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a basketball game before, but despite watching from up in the heavens, the atmosphere was insane, and the game itself is so quick and skilled that it literally kept me on the edge of my seat.

La Salsa Cantina

Located in the depths of the Showcase Mall on The Strip, in a weird twilight, La Salsa Cantina offers probably one of the cheapest breakfasts in Las Vegas. If you’re there before midday, they have a $5 breakfast deal with eggs, bacon, tortilla and potatoes.

We however, decided to splash out on the breakfast quesadilla and the breakfast burrito.  It’s pretty much the definition of ‘cheap and cheerful’; a generous breakfast, lots of flavour, plus 99 cent Bloody Marys, what’s not to love?!

Las Salsa Cantina – 3785 S. Las Vegas Boulevard #1500, Las Vegas NV 89109

Las Vegas Strip

We started off after breakfast with a beer at the Sin City Brewing Company and a little shopping in the Miracle Mile shopping centre. Then we made our way back out to The Strip, and just wondered around all afternoon, taking in the pure excess of everything.

We checked out the flamingos at Flamingo Las Vegas, we had a drink in Caesars Palace, and we explored The Bellagio, before heading back to the MGM Grand.

Downtown Las Vegas

For our second night in Vegas, we decided to explore Downtown Las Vegas – here you can find some slightly smaller, and older, casinos such as El Cortez and the Fremont Street Experience, as well as amazing sushi.

Fremont Street is the highlight of Downtown Vegas, with the world’s largest video screen dazzling you from above, there were small stages with performers, as well as, of course, more casinos. It’s definitely worth venturing away from the main strip to explore downtown. 

Bocho Sushi, Las Vegas

One of the best meals for our entire trip, was the sushi at Bocho Sushi. We sat at the downstairs sushi bar, and ordered excessive amounts of food, it’s Vegas after all.

Starting off with 6 delightful beef gyozas ($7) and miso soup ($3), we followed up with a Spicy tuna roll ($6.50) and a California roll ($6).

We also tried one of their speciality rolls, Disco Inferno ($13) – spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, seared escolar, jalapeno, spicy mayo, spicy house sauce, eel sauce, with green onion and tobiko on top. Seriously, seriously, fiery and delicious.

Bocho Sushi – 124 S 6th St #150Las Vegas, NV89101

Find out more about our drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Food

Quay St. Diner, Bristol

If you’re looking for a new brunch, lunch, dinner, all day dining spot in Bristol city centre, Quay St. Diner is the place to go. The California inspired restaurant is located in the former premises of Roll for the Soul, and has hit the spot with it’s laidback atmosphere, colourful interior and delicious menu.

Pride of place in their open kitchen is their custom charcoal grill, which has enabled them to build the menu around cooking over an open fire; ‘live fire cooking’.

We ventured in there on a rainy Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, for breakfast (maybe brunch is more accurate, it was nearly midday!) and were absolutely delighted with it.

First off, the coffee – I ordered a latte (£2.80), while Tom had a flat white. I’m not really much of a coffee expert, but I loved the giant teal coffee cup, and thoroughly enjoyed the coffee!

The brunch menu, served 9am-12pm Mon-Fri and 9am-2pm on the weekend, is full of tasty, California influenced choices, from Pancakes and Fruit to Brunch Tacos topped with grilled tomato and ancho chilli salsa, smashed avocado, pumpkin seeds, fruit salsa and pomegranate!

We both went for the Huevos Rancheros (£7) – baked Mexican eggs in a tomato salsa with crumbled feta on top and sourdough dippers, and added bacon (£2). It was incredible. The salsa was a little on the hot and spicy side, but full of flavour, and the contrast with the feta was just right. Oh, and the thick chunks of bacon were amazing.

The all day menu also looks exciting; small plates, tacos, and a selection of burgers, steak, salad etc. We’ll definitely be back to try it out.

Quay St. Diner is a great, friendly and welcoming place, with full flavour, smokey, delicious food – go now!

Quay St. Diner, 2, Quay Street, Bristol, BS1 2JL. 

Food

Got Beef, Cardiff

Inspired by street vendors and food trucks, Got Beef initially started out as a mobile catering business for gourmet burgers, and then took up residence as a pop up kitchen at The Canadian in Adamstown, Cardiff. In 2014, Got Beef fully joined Cardiff’s growing burger scene with its own restaurant on Whitchurch Road.

Got Beef burgers

Offering a creative burger menu, and some very indulgent sides – it’s best to go there hungry. There’s a lot of mouth watering choices, and a special mention definitely has to go to the Donald Trump burger – ‘Mexican cheese, American cheese, Russian dressing, topped with a tiny pickle’!

I went ‘dirty’ with my food choices. I order the Dirty South burger (£8): a tender beef patty, with cajun onions, a homemade bbq sauce, jalapenos, cajun mayo and American cheese all served in a brioche bun. The burger itself was great, and the jalapenos gave it a real kick – I would say that the bun was a little oversized compared to the burger though, but overall it’s up there with the best burgers!

On the side I went for the dirty fries (£3.55) – perfectly cooked fries topped with American cheese, bacon sprinkles, jalepenos and chipotle sauce. It was a perfect portion size for one person; indulgent, delicious but not too excessive.

The true highlight of the meal was the halloumi fries (£3.60) – big chunky pieces of cheese fried and smothered in hoisin sauce, peanut crumble and sesame seeds.

We went on a Monday evening, and the place was buzzing – it’s probably worth booking a table. We were slightly disappointed with how long we had to wait after we ordered the food, and a long gap between burgers and sides arriving – but it was very busy and the staff were all lovely.

If you’re after a burger in Cardiff, Got Beef should definitely be on your shortlist!

Got Beef – 83, Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14 3JP

Food

Wallfish Bistro, Clifton

Award winning restaurant, Wallfish Bistro is quietly tucked away on Princess Victoria Street in Clifton. It’s a small place, with a handful of tables upstairs and a few more in the basement, simple decor, and a laid back atmosphere. The menu offers contemporary British dishes, with an emphasis on fish and seafood.

As it was a special occasion (my mum’s birthday), we may have gone a little overboard with our food order, but once we’d read the menu it was hard to maintain self control – we wanted to try it all.

For the first round of food, between us we ordered an assortment of appetisers: Green Sicilian olives (£4.00), Radishes with mayonnaise and celery salt (£3.50), a Porlock oyster (£2.90) and the Scrumpy-fried oyster with jalapeno mayonnaise and pickled vegetables (£3.00). I’m not the biggest fan of oysters, but I had a little try of the fried oyster, and I’d definitely recommend it.

Then for a starter I had the Portland crab on toast with pickled cucumber, lemon and watercress (£9): big juicy flakes of crab, which contrasted perfectly with the tangy pickled cucumber.

For my main course I had the Smoked haddock (£18); a sizeable piece of fish, served up with braised leeks, saffron and a few mussels scattered around the edge. The combination of the sweet leeks, and the intensely fishy taste of smoked haddock was spot on.

Tom had the Rack of Cinderford Lamb (£22) which came with peas, girolles, shallots and green sauce. I don’t eat lamb, but he was adamant that it was the best lamb he’d ever had.

Finally, we made it to dessert, with a few simple offerings on the menu – I went for the Chocolate mousse cake with raspberries and creme fraiche (£6.50).

Wallfish Bistro is a perfect little place, however, the restaurant is currently up for sale, so if you’re tempted by all this insanely delicious food then call up and book a table ASAP!

Wallfish Bistro – 112 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol, BS84DB