Sunday, 29 January 2017

Pre-match day date at The Fork in the Road, Middlesbrough

This weekend my boyfriend and I decided it had been too long since we'd been to a Boro match together and got tickets to see Saturday's game. We wanted to make a little day of it so said we would go out for food. You all know how going for food makes me happy and when he asked me where to go, I instantly said The Fork in the Road.

Opened just before Christmas, The Fork in the Road is a not-for-profit business that focuses on offering opportunities to those who need help getting back into employment including recovering addicts, ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed. The Fork in the Road adds another restaurant to Middlesbrough's bustling food scene. Located just off Bedford and Baker Street, its in the perfect location for a great night out.

We visited at lunchtime, around 1.30pm on a Saturday, and were attended to brilliantly. There were a number of members of staff walking the room ensuring everyone was happy with their food and happy to help if anything extra was needed. We were handed the lunch menu and were pleasantly surprised by the great choice. I'm quite a fussy person when it comes to food but this menu catered brilliantly and there were many options I could have picked.

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

The Fork in the Road Middlesbrough Food Review Restaurant Teesside

In the end, I decided to go for the Pie of the Day which was Steak and Blue Cheese. Matt went a little healthier and chose the Belly Pork and Chorizo Salad. It took a while for our food to arrive but I think it was down to the fact that I chose the pie! When it did finally arrive we were both happy with the presentation and of course the taste of our chosen dishes.

I was apprehensive about the fact my pie had blue cheese in it as I know it can be overpowering. This pie had the perfect balance with the cheese just adding something a little extra. It was quite a rich pie but it was softened by the fact I had mash and a selection of green vegetables to accompany it. Matt really enjoyed his salad and was pleased it was topped with a perfectly poached egg.

Before I wrap up and tell you that you all must visit The Fork in the Road, I must comment on the decor. They've really done a great job of making the restaurant feel elegant and modern whilst also keeping elements of Middlesbrough's heritage. I love places that play an ode to our location history instead of trying to modernise everything. I would definitely have a lot of their style elements in my home. I know I've been rabbiting on about the decor for a while but I think it definitely adds to the experience of a restaurant as it's all about the atmosphere as well as the food.

I'm thrilled that we have yet another fantastic restaurant in Middlesbrough that I can tell everyone about. If you are in the area and looking for a delicious lunch or a yummy dinner, I can't recommend The Fork in the Road enough.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Indulging in a whole load of Mexican food - Mohujos, Stockton

As you may well know, I'm a lover of Mexican food. Whenever there is an opportunity to get a burrito I'll take it. I'm always cooking up chicken fajitas or chilli con carne at home and knocking back the guacamole and tortilla chips. It's my favourite cuisine. In Middlesbrough, there aren't many independent places that I know of that serve good Mexican food. We have Chiquitos of course, but quite frankly it's pants.

I've written on my blog before about Mohujos Burrito Bar on Bedford Street which is a descendant of the original Mohujos which sits across from the River Tees in Stockton. Before Christmas myself, my Mum and Sister all paid a visit to the OG to see if it was any good.

Mohujos Stockton Mexican Restaurant Teesside Review
Mohujos Stockton Mexican Restaurant Teesside Review
Mohujos Stockton Mexican Restaurant Teesside Review
Mohujos Stockton Mexican Restaurant Teesside Review
Mohujos Stockton Mexican Restaurant Teesside Review

As it was the festive season, we decided to go all out and start with the Grande Nachos to share between the three of us. This was a large plate of nachos covered in chipotle chicken, salsa and loads of delicious cheese. On the side we had guacamole and sour cream, these could have gone on top but my sister is super fussy!

These were delicious, we stuffed our faces and soon realised the mistake we'd made as we were pretty full. Our leftover nachos were taken away and our main courses came pretty soon after which none of us were ever going to finish.

My sister picked Chicken Enchiladas (oven-baked tortillas with cheesy enchilada sauce filled with chipotle chicken and smothered in more sauce then topped with Jack cheese), I had Chicken Tostadas (fried corn tortilla baskets filled with refried beans, mixed beans, red pepper finished with guacamole, sour cream, cheese and salsa) and Mum chose Nacho Chicken (chicken breast with salsa, cheese, tortilla chips, guacamole and sour cream). Each of our dishes was very yummy with lots of good quality meat, fresh salad and tasty sides it was just a shame we were all too full to finish!

Although we were literally bursting at the seams, my sister said she needed some churros. I mean to come to a Mexican restaurant and not have churros is pretty much against the law, so she got some. Myself and Mum had been on the cocktails having around three each including Daiquiris and Mexican sunrises. There was a good list of choices, but they didn't come out looking pretty enough for any photos. Instead of dessert, I asked for a hot chocolate with a shot of Kaluha which was a little too strong for my liking!

We left Mohujos full of delicious Mexican food, feeling a little bit tipsy and vowing that we would definitely visit again.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Plans have come together - America here we come.

For a while now, myself and my boyfriend Matt have had the idea that we wanted to visit America. We've been lucky to visit a number of European locations over the past few years including sunny Santorini, fancy Florence, breezy Belfast and vibrant Vilnius. Although we aren't finished touring Europe, we thought that now would be the perfect time for us to take the journey over to the states.

I have already been across to America visiting Florida when I was a kid and New York when I turned 21. Matt, however, has not had the pleasure yet so I can't wait for him to experience the Yanks way of life.

For our trip to America, we didn't just want to do one location, we wanted to try and get to a few. We are going to take two weeks over in the USA and visit New York, then hop on a plane to New Orleans and finish up in Atlanta. Doesn't that sound amazing!

Although I've already been to New York, I'm dying to go back. We only had around three days there last time and we walked our little legs off trying to see as much as we could. This time we're going for five days, which I hope will give us more time, and we're hoping to see lots more.

This time, rather than going with my Mum and my friend, I'm going with Matt which will be a completely different trip. We love to explore and a lot of our trips revolve around food so I think we're going to really enjoy ourselves in New York. I want to do lots of research into places to eat before I go, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know! Also, Matt wants to go to different places that I didn't visit before like Coney Island, so I can't wait to be there.

From New York, we will then travel South to New Orleans. Our initial itinerary included Houston, Texas, as our second location but after much thought, we decided against it. Although we really wanted to see a Houston Texans NFL game, we thought that there wouldn't be much else for us to see. Still wanting to get the authentic Southern experience, we decided there would be a lot more to see and do in New Orleans. We will be there for 4 nights and I'm excited to experience the atmosphere and also the food. It's always about the food!

Last up on our trip is Atlanta. I won't lie to you, the only reason we chose this was because the Walking Dead was filmed there. On further inspection, we've discovered the Coca Cola factory is there and that they have an amazing food market (Ponce City Market) which we're looking forward to visiting. We're going to have to do some real research here and see where we can go, what shopping opportunities there are and also, of course, the best places to eat. Seriously, we're going to come back a few stone heavier than we left, but it will be worth it!

So we're going to have to wait quite a few months now before we get on our first plane and head on over the Atlantic Ocean but that just means we have lots of time to research and save our pennies!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Keep that festive feeling every month.

Okay, so we've come to that point in which our numerous days off have come to an end. Reality is setting back in and we're going to have to go to work again. We can't simply stay at home, gorge on food and enjoy our families company forever. We've got to go out into the big wide world and earn our pennies. What a bloody bummer ey.

Can I win the lottery, please?

Anyways, back to my actual point. Christmas is a magical time of the year. We count down to a special day in the calendar preparing our house for the occasion and putting so much emphasis on the day. Now that it's over, what happens? We wait another 365 days for it to come around again. For me that's sad.

So how do we keep this magical Christmas feeling all year round and not get down by the fact we have to go to work and be real people? Here are a few ideas about how you can stay in high spirits all year round.

- Make plans. This is top of the list because ultimately that's all Christmas is one big plan. Each month if you can decide to do one or two great things that you're really excited for then you're on to a winner. It doesn't have to cost a lot, it could simply be seeing a long lost friend for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, or going for a walk to a scenic spot you've never been before. Whatever it is, just make sure you're excited about it.

- Treat yourself. At Christmas we treat ourselves, we treat ourselves big time. Now I'm not saying to keep up that kind of eating, I'm saying if you want that cake then have it. When Christmas is over we give ourselves so many restrictions on what we can eat, do, say and be like in the New Year. Well, no thanks, it's all about balance and if I want to treat myself to that cupcake, I bloody well will.

- Don't wish away all of your days. Okay, so this contradicts my first statement about getting excited for one day a month as I want to make sure you're enjoying every day. With Christmas we count down so intensely to the 25th December that as quick as it comes, it's gone again. Plan some great big fun things, but also have lots of daily wins that make you happy.

- Make your home cosy. One thing that makes us look forward to Christmas time is the decorations and the impact it makes on your home. Putting up the tree, adding the tinsel, fairy lights and copious candles makes your house feel cosier. Keep this theme going throughout the year and add cosy touches where you can.

- See friends and family more often. This is always on our New Years Resolution list but somehow it seems hard to keep to. Christmas is one time of the year when we all get together with our families and for the most part, we love the time we spend with them. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy to be with the ones that you love, taking time away from social media to really indulge in conversation.

If we all make an effort to do these five things this year, I think we can keep that Christmas feeling alive until, well next Christmas...
© this Northerner.

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