Saturday, 31 October 2009

Toute Sweet, Cheltenham



I'm a big fan of American-style diners; I think it has something to do with my cooked breakfast obsession. So when I heard about Toute Sweet, advertising itself as an American diner despite the French-sounding name, I knew I'd have to visit.

This is not just a diner, though. On Friday nights, they have a 'theme night' where they serve a three course meal based on a particular cuisine. The menu is fixed, though you can find out in advance what you'll be eating; I found it quite entertaining that the only ordering I had to do was to stick my hand in the air when they asked "who's a vegetarian?"

Pea Soup

The evening when I visited, the theme was "A Taste of the Highlands" - or to put it another way, Scottish.

For starters there was pea soup; thick, creamy, and delicious, with just a touch of fresh mint. The main course featured more peas (are peas particularly Scottish? I have no idea), this time as an accompaniment for vegetarian haggis - something I've never eaten before, and of course I can't comment on the resemblance to 'real' haggis, but it was pleasantly spicy and felt suitably filling and warming for a chilly evening.

Vegetarian Haggis

Dessert was advertised as butterscotch tart, though there was no pastry in evidence - "butterscotch pudding" might have been more accurate. But butterscotch-anything is a winner in my book, and I wasn't disappointed.

Butterscotch pudding

One other thing I have to mention, although I didn't try one myself, is the Smurf-flavoured milkshake from the menu. I've never been a fan of milkshake in any flavour, but my friends seemed to enjoy theirs, and it's certainly a great colour!

Smurf-flavoured Milkshake

I really enjoyed every mouthful of my meal, and it's a bargain at £10 for three courses (and BYO with no corkage charges, since they're not licensed for alcohol). The portions weren't huge, but I don't usually order three courses and I couldn't have eaten more.

The restaurant is a tiny place with bright pink walls; the 'diner feel' is there in subtle touches, even down to a miniature jukebox in one corner, despite being housed in a typical Cheltenham terrace that could never fit seating booths.

We'll definitely be going back for more Friday night fun - but I'm also going to have to arrange a visit during the day, to eat chocolate-chip pancakes try out the daytime menu.

Address:8 Prestbury Road, Cheltenham
Style:American diner
Date Visited:23 October 2009
Link:Toute Sweet group on Facebook


But... that was real blood...



I think we were lucky that it was Hallowe'en.

At any other time of year, leaving a blood-splattered axe lying around is probably a good way to ensure a speedy response from your local police... but on October 31st, it's far more likely to be mistaken for costume.

But it wasn't a prop.

That was a real axe, covered in real blood.

My husband (who wasn't my husband, back then) had been chopping wood for our fire, when one of the logs jumped up and hit him in the face. A dramatic nosebleed ensued, he came inside dripping with blood, and I was far too busy worrying about him to give a second thought to the axe.

On his way in, he'd left it in the porch. The porch which the postman had to step inside to deliver our letters. And we didn't spot it until we headed out the next morning... after the post had arrived.

Yep, I'm pretty sure we'd have had the police round, if it hadn't been Hallowe'en.

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The Hallowe'en cake I made that year, for my sugarcraft course


Thursday, 29 October 2009

And The Winner Is...



...Kasia from Clockwork Orange.

Congratulations Kasia! Let me know if you have any further requests for your story.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Vegetable Pie Recipe



In the early days of my relationship with my husband, he expressed a liking for pies and pasties. Being an omnivore, he can pick up Cornish pasties anywhere, but the veggie options are often less appealing, and I wanted something I could make at home - stuffed with fresh vegetables.

I know a lot of people are nervous about making pastry, but I've always found it easy (if messy), so I started making something that looks a bit like this: just a simple pastry crust, filled with as many different vegetables as I can get my hands on.

It's different every time, but it's my husband's all-time-favourite meal. I hope you enjoy it too.

IMG_0337


Mixed Vegetable Pie
Makes 3 pies, each of which serves 2 as a main meal

For the pastry

600g plain flour
250g butter
approx. 1/2 pint water
  1. Chop the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour.

  2. Add water, a little at a time, until the dough is just sticking together (1/2 pint is usually about right, but it will depend on the humidity of the air & the absorbancy of the flour, so start with less).

    Mixing pastry

  3. Knead for a couple of minutes, then cover the bowl with a tea-towel and set aside to rest while you prepare the filling.

For the filling

6 medium potatoes
3 medium carrots
1 large courgette
1 large leek
6 large broccoli florets
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
a handful of frozen peas
3 large mushrooms
1 large red onion
100g mature cheddar (or other cheese)
black pepper & chilli flakes (to taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease three deep, 8in pie dishes (loose-based dishes are much easier).

  2. Chop the potatoes, carrots, courgette, and peppers into small (approx 1/2in) pieces. Thinly slice the leek, red onion, and cheese. Cut mushrooms into thick slices, and halve the brocolli florets.

  3. Cook the potatoes, carrots, courgettes, peppers, leek, and broccoli, but stop a couple of minutes before you would if you were going to eat them directly.

  4. Divide the pastry into 4. For three of the pieces, roll out into a large circles and line the pie dishes with pastry. Reserve the final quarter for making lids.

  5. Divide the vegetables between the three pie dishes. I start with root vegetables at the bottom, then a layer of cheese, onion & mushrooms, then topped off with green vegetables & peppers. Season liberally with black pepper and chilli (optional) at each layer.

    IMG_0333IMG_0336IMG_0335

  6. Divide the remaining pastry into 3, and roll out to make lids. Pinch onto the overhanging edges of the base, then punch some holes in the lid to let the steam out.

  7. Bake for 35 mins at 200°C.

    • Typically, I bake one of the three pies, and freeze the other two in their raw state; defrost overnight in the fridge the night before you want to cook them.


Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ann Willow Tea Shop, Stow-on-the-Wold



Ann Willow Tea Shop, Stow-on-the-Wold

I'd had a bit of a bad day last Friday (don't ask!) so when my husband asked if there was anything he could do to cheer me up on Saturday, I suggested we could go "somewhere nice" for a cream tea and maybe a bit of a walk. It's times like these that I'm grateful I live in the Cotswolds.

Stow-on-the-Wold is a charming, fairly typical Cotswold town with no shortage of tearooms - sadly we didn't have time to visit all of them for a proper comparison, so we'll just have to make a return visit! After a quick stroll through the streets, looking at menus and peering into windows, we settled on Ann Willow's for a light lunch.

Everywhere was rather busy (it was, after all, Saturday in tourist-land), but we somehow managed to get a seat in the amazing bay window, with a view out onto the square which was great for people-watching.

Soup

The soup of the day was potato & courgette, which appealed to both of us, and it was very tasty, though slightly saltier than I'd have made it myself. The soup was served with half a baguette and plenty of butter (at room temperature, and consequently easy to spread, which so many places don't think of).

18/10/2009

We then had coffee (which was fine but unexceptional) and scones. The scones were delicious: they were served warm, fresh from the oven, and were obviously hand-made (look at the irregular shapes). It's often the case that "fruit scones" really means "raisin scones", but in this case there was mixed fruit, which was a pleasant surprise. The only down-side was that they were rather small scones (I could easily have eaten two, even after the soup), although the servings of jam and clotted cream were suitably generous.

Everything was served on Willow Pattern china, which ties in nicely with the name, although in my personal opinion it looks rather odd with the green soup! We paid £7.50 each, and while it wasn't the best value meal I've eaten, I was happy that the quality (especially the scones) made up for small-ish portion sizes, and the prices were certainly comparable with the other teashops in the area.

Address:The Square, Stow on the Wold, GL54 1AB
Style:Tearoom
Date Visited:18th October 2009


China In Photographs (Results)



In case anyone was still wondering, the results have now been announced for the 'China In Photographs' competition which I entered earlier in the year. I didn't win, but you can see the winning shots online.

The complete set of photos I submitted:

Beijing railway station
(in the 'Artistic' category)

Buddhist temple, Beijing
(in the 'Famous Sites' category)

Chinese Chess
(in the 'Customs & Everyday Life' category)

China, Hollywood-Style
(in the 'Landscape' category)

IMGP5513
(in the 'People' category)



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Elizabethan Fun at Hardwick Hall



I've told you a little about Hardwick Hall before, so I won't repeat myself, but I did think you might like to see some pictures from a recent Elizabethan weekend there.

With extra special thanks to my husband for taking most of these pictures!

Stalls included the barber-surgeon, who had a pet leech and talked at length about some of the more grusome aspects of Elizabethan life:

Barber-surgeon's stall

Barber-surgeon's tools

Minstrels, playing some rather droning music:

Minstrels

A lady making braids for belts:

Braiding

A bow-maker, busy fletching (is that a verb?):

Fletcher's stall

Someone cooking over an open fire:

Cooking

And even a tavern:

Tavern



Sunday, 18 October 2009

Pasta for Autumn



I generally think of pasta as more of a summer food - or, to be more precise, the types of pasta dishes I tend to make (with the exception of lasagne) are light, summery fare.

Roasted vegetables, on the other hand, I mostly think of as autumn/winter food - so when I decided I wanted an autumnal dish to use up some leftover tagliatelle, I turned to the oven, and ended up with a very simple but tasty supper that I'll certainly be making again.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta


Roasted Vegetable & Pesto Tagliatelle
Serves 2

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 green pepper
2 large red onions
1 large courgette
4 large mushrooms
4tbsp pesto
2tbsp double cream
125g tagliatelle
parmesan & black pepper (to taste)
  1. Roast the vegetables (in large pieces) in the oven. 30 mins at 200°C should do the trick.

    IMG_0330

  2. Remove the skins from the peppers. I was taught to do this by sweating them in a plastic bag, but a tupperware box works just as well and is probably less wasteful - put them in while they're warm, and after a few minutes the skins should peel away easily.

  3. Chop all the vegetables into small-ish pieces, and keep warm.

  4. Cook the tagliatelle according to the instructions on the packet (if you make it fresh, it'll take 2-3 minutes).

  5. Drain the pasta, and stir through the pesto, cream, and roasted vegetables.

  6. Heat gently until the pesto & cream are warmed through, and serve with parmesan & black pepper.


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Jagannath, Moscow



So far as we could tell, there's only one vegetarian restaurant in Moscow (as opposed to St Petersburg, which has a whole chain).

Jagannath is a light space with bright decor, cheap internet access, and healthy, hearty Indian-vegetarian food. It's also very easy to order, even if you don't speak a word of Russian, because everything is laid out buffet-style and you can simply point at whatever you fancy.

We tried a few different dishes between us - in typical Russian style, the portions are small, so you'll need to order more than one. Everything seemed home-made and fresh, but a bit samey (lots of tomato-based sauces, and much less flavourful than I'm used to). No particular dish stood out for me, but there was nothing unpalatable; it was enjoyable but unexciting.

There's also a health food shop in the front, useful if you're self-catering and need to pick up something like soya milk that's otherwise very hard to find.

Jaggernath, Moscow

Address:11 Kuznetsky Most, Moscow
Style:Indian vegetarian
Date Visited:8 September 2008
Link:http://www.jagannath.ru/


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Dutch Water Garden



No, I haven't been to Holland (though it's on my list). This particular "Dutch" water garden is tucked away in rural Gloucestershire.

Westbury Court Garden

Apparently, before the Capability Brown trend for 'natural' landscaping, this style of garden was very popular in English country houses. But most were destroyed, replaced with whatever the new fashions dictated. Now, Westbury Court Garden is the only surviving example in England.

Westbury Court Garden

In the past, the canals were stocked with fish for fishing, and there was a huge warren to provide a ready supply of rabbit meat:

Westbury Court Garden

There are apple and pear trees everywhere, and a small vegetable plot.

Westbury Court Garden

Of course, it isn't all about the food. There are also some beautifully laid out, and stunningly colourful, flower gardens:

Westbury Court Garden

Westbury Court Garden

IMG_0275

And some rather unseasonal holly:

Holly

As you can see in the background of a lot of the photos, there's a little viewing pavilion to give a different perspective across the gardens.

Westbury Court Garden

Inside, something else quite extraordinary. Look at this panel:

Painted panels at Westbury Court Garden

The wood panelling has been painted to give it a bolder grain. (This, too, was apparently a fashion in the past.) The marble effect between the panels is also hand-painted.

Westbury Court Garden is only a small property on the scale of the National Trust, but definitely worth a visit if you're in the area on a sunny day.

Now for a serious moment. Today, as you're probably aware, is Blog Action Day 2009; this year's theme is Climate Change, and sadly it's not hard to tie that into today's post.

While we were visiting Westbury we learnt that they're having huge problems due to the increased levels of flooding in Gloucestershire in recent years - there was a display of impressive, and alarming, photos in which the beautiful gardens are submerged.

This creates a problem as the National Trust is trying to preserve 'heritage' species of plants, which haven't evolved to cope with the floods, and they're currently debating the relative merits of building flood barriers versus replacing the traditional plantings with less authentic but more resilient species. It makes me a bit sad that they find themselves forced to consider this kind of drastic replanting, but it's easy to see why, when some of the current hedges are slowly dying away.

I don't have a 'point', really... I just wanted to show you a beautiful place, and draw your attention to some of the little things that are under threat at the moment.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Milennium Harvest House Hotel, Boulder CO



I'll be honest - I didn't really have that much choice about where to stay in Boulder. I was there for a conference (NAACL 2009, if you care), it was the conference hotel, and almost everywhere else was full by the time I decided to go. It felt a little expensive, even at conference rates, but travelling alone always results in higher (per capita) hotel bills which I'm not really used to.

The room was huge and nicely laid out, with two(!) double beds, a good-sized desk, and a comfy seating area by the window. Arguably bigger than I really needed for just little old me, but given that I was there for a week, the extra space was appreciated.

IMG_3727

One of my personal hotel bugbears is when there's a card suggesting that you might wish to save the environment by not having your towels washed, and you dutifully follow the instructions, only to find that they change all your towels anyway. I've encountered this at a lot of hotels, so it's by no means unique to the Milennium Harvest House, but they were guilty of this. On the plus side, they also had a similar system for not getting your sheets changed, which seemed to work fine.

The breakfast buffet was included in the conference rate, and seemed quite nice: a selection of bread and pastries, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, diced potatoes, and french toast (there was also some meat for the omnivores). By the end of the week, though, I was getting a bit bored - the only variation day-to-day was an alternation between french toast and pancakes. I didn't try the restaurant in the evening, although the food they put on for the conference's welcome reception was yummy (mushroom quesadillas, mostly).

The real selling point for this hotel, though, is the setting and facilities.

IMG_3738

The hotel is in spacious grounds which, as well as some pleasant gardens, have tennis courts and swimming pools; the gardens also back onto the Boulder Creek Path which is a beautiful route through the town and out into the mountains.

It's worth being aware that they have live music in the gardens on weekend evenings during the summer - whether you love or hate this probably depends on your tastes, but it was loud enough that I couldn't get to sleep before the party finished.

Being at a conference for the week, I didn't really have enough time to make full use of what was on offer, but I got daily use out of the (indoor) swimming pool and gym, and I did hire a bike one morning for a short ride into the Rockies (the prices seemed very reasonable, and I didn't have to decide in advance how long I'd like to be out, which was a definite bonus).

IMG_3730

I'm not sure whether I'd stay here again, if I had more time to investigate other options, but it was certainly an enjoyable week.

Address:1345 Twenty-Eighth Street, Boulder, CO
Style:Sports/Outdoor
Date Visited:30 May - 5 June 2009
Link:http://www.millenniumhotels.com/millenniumboulder/


Monday, 12 October 2009

My Next Big Challenge



If anyone happened to look at my twitter babblings on Friday night, you'd have noticed a slightly strange emphasis.

Greenland.

And more specifically, a developing obsession with Kalaallisut, the Greenlandic language.

I fell in love with Greenland when I flew over it, and now we're actively making plans for a trip there next June.

I've been assured that most of the younger Greenlanders speak English, and that we'd get along fine without learning the language... but I'm a linguist at heart. I can't help myself. And when I found out that it's an ergative-absolutive language*, that was it; I've wanted to learn an ergative language ever since I first heard of them back in my earliest morpho-syntactic studies.

A couple of the most interesting things I found as I descended deeper and deeper into language-geekery on Friday: you can tell surprisingly much about what's in the news even without speaking the language, and the website of the Greenlandic language bureau has some really neat morphology tools and a free download of their work-in-progress Greenlandic-English dictionary.

There don't seem to be many helpful resources out there (though I have borrowed an introductory textbook, helpfully written in Danish...), and I have 1001 other things to be getting on with... but I seem to have committed myself regardless.

Over the next 9 months, I'm learning Greenlandic.

Wish me luck, folks - I think I'm going to need it!

* If you're wondering, but don't want to wade through a whole article to learn more, the simple(ish) definition is this: In a nominative-accusative language (the normal kind) the subject of an intransitive verb and the subject of a transitive verb are treated the same (e.g. 'he ran', 'he chased her'). In an ergative-absolutive language, the subject of an intransitive verb is treated the same as the object of a transitive verb, but the subject of a transitive verb is different (imagine if you still had 'he ran', but you had to write the second sentence as 'him chased she'...)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Le Fiacre, Chatel



It can be hard to find veggie-friendly food in France (although, as it happens, Paris is the first place where I ever saw soya yoghurts in a normal supermarket).

Châtel is a small town near the French-Swiss border, a lovely spot for skiing, but apparently not a place where vegetarians are commonplace - several restaurants had not a single veggie option on the menu.

We were staying with friends, and had reservations at Le Fiacre for New Year's Eve. I'll confess that after previous restaurant experiences in Châtel, I was a little bit worried about what I'd get to eat.

There wasn't a great deal of choice, but at least there was choice, and in the end I had the vegetarian pizza - assorted vegetables and a fried egg, on a very thin stonebaked pizza base, which was pretty perfect as pizzas go.

For dessert, I couldn't resist the chocolate fudge pudding:

dessert

You can tell you've ordered the most expensive dessert when it comes with the name of the restaurant piped in chocolate fondant... but this pudding was also accompanied by butterscotch sauce, raspberry sauce, mango coulis, whipped cream (which I gave to my husband) and vanilla ice-cream. There wasn't much left on the plate when I'd finished with it!

In typical French style the restaurant was very relaxed, service was fairly slow (certainly not rushed), and we had the table for the whole evening. The prices showed no sign of being inflated for New Year, which impressed me, and I'd certainly go again at any time of year.

Address:Chef Lieu, 74390 Châtel, France
Style:Italian/French/Swiss
Date Visited:31 December 2008


Friday, 9 October 2009

My Cuban Adventure



I wrote this piece for a travel writing competition; it didn't win, but I feel it deserves a wider audience than just me and a couple of anonymous judges.

The photos weren't part of the competition submission, but I haven't made any other edits. I'd love to know what you think.



It was only March, and thankfully we were in the shade, but still the heat was unbearable as we struggled up the steep forest track. Noticing that I was falling behind as asthma started to get the better of me, Maria reached out and took my hand to help me up as the walk gradually turned into a climb. She was visibly pregnant, but accustomed to the Cuban heat in a way that a ghostly-pale English girl like me never will be, and she laughed when her husband pointed out that we'd barely started our journey. He and my fiancé were well ahead, of course, striding easily up the mountain and scattering sandy earth down the slope behind them and into my sandals.

Andy and I had no idea where we were going; we still don't know exactly where we went. Following our new friends' directions we'd driven into the mountains south of Bayamo, to the very end of the smallest road marked on our map, then kept on driving along a potholed track that tested our hire car's suspension to its limits, until it was possible to drive no further.

Then we'd parked in a small village, exchanged cheerful greetings with a couple of young soldiers (uniformed even though they were on leave), and started the long walk up to Juan & Maria's family homes. The tiny mountain farms we were to visit can't be reached in any vehicle, though the Cuban government – in a desperate bid to curb migration to the cities – have ensured they all have electricity supplies.

IMGP3479

En route we paused to marvel at pineapples growing wild on the hillside, and to soak up the jaw-dropping vistas which opened up from time to time as we climbed higher, and to peer backwards trying to work out where we'd just come from. Every time I stopped to take a photo I was glad of the chance to catch my breath, however briefly, while hiding behind the camera.

After what felt like forever, though it was only mid-morning, we emerged blinking into the first farmyard. Scrawny chickens scratched hopefully at the dusty soil, and a couple of tiny girls ran to hide when they saw us, peering back with wide brown eyes at the strange, pale visitors. Though they backed away at first, I eventually persuaded them (in broken Spanish) to tell me their names and ages, and shocked them with the news that I'd come from England, before we ran out of common vocabulary.

IMGP3453

As guests we were greeted with bemused but friendly smiles and constant offers of coffee, served each time in a shot glass and prepared with so much sugar as to be virtually a syrup. We must have showed our enthusiasm because Juan proudly led us on a tour of the family's coffee-growing business, starting with the small plantation where the first beans of the season were just beginning to ripen, before taking in the yard where the whole crop would be laid out to dry in the sun before being swept up into sacks for storage. He then showed us the stove where a pan full of beans was roasting for the family's own use, already charred and blackened but apparently not yet ready to make coffee the Cuban way, which is as black and fine as coal-dust after grinding.

At the next farm we were shown the relics of a more sinister business. Cock-fighting is now illegal in Cuba, but the walls of one tumbledown barn were lined with cages where the family used to keep their champion birds; since it was made illegal, Juan told us, they kept only one. There was no suggestion that the fights had stopped – simply that they didn't make as much money as they had before the 'sport' was driven underground. The single ragged cockerel pecked forlornly at the bars of his cage when we disturbed him, looking like he'd never have the energy to be an aggressive fighter.

Before making our way back down to the car, we dropped in on another farmhouse where one of Juan's uncles was watching baseball on an old television set as he ate his rice and beans. The government provide it, he explained, and when it breaks down you call the government to repair it. Similarly, the government handed out energy-saving lightbulbs; now everyone uses them because they slice a massive percentage off a family's total power consumption.

Our visit to the mountains was a far cry from the turquoise oceans and white sand beaches to which, it seems, the Cuban government would prefer tourists to limit their visits. But it also taught us far more about this fascinating country than we could ever have learnt if we'd stuck to the tourist trail.

IMGP3426

* Names have been changed.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Hotel Bloom, Brussels



It's always slightly 'interesting' trying to decide where to stay in a city you don't know. Usually (for me, at least) it involves reading a lot of reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, looking at what deals are out there, and then booking something - possibly at random if nothing obvious suggests itself.

Brussels was a bit like that.

There were plenty of amazing-sounding places for £100/night, and then there was Hotel Bloom... relatively new, not hugely many reviews, but at £126 for three nights (courtesy of lastminute.com) it stood out as a bargain.

Bedroom in Hotel Bloom, Brussels

I've never stayed anywhere quite so... well... styled. Everything was carefully designed, from the bright bedroom murals to the various different seating areas in the lobby. You can judge for yourself on the funky designs (apparently all the bedrooms are different); I enjoyed the bright colours and can only imagine how much fun someone must have had creating all the different spaces.

Lobby of Hotel Bloom

I'm a fussy sleeper and I slept well: really comfortable mattresses and fluffy pillows (though the sheets could have been softer, if we're going to talk about luxury). The room had a coffee machine (with pods for normal coffee, decaf, and earl grey tea, restocked each day), a fridge with free bottled water (also restocked daily), a mini safe, and - most important? - free wifi.

The rate we paid didn't include breakfast; the hotel buffet was expensive at €25 (and still pricey at the weekend discount rate of €15) so we just went out to local cafes - you can get a decent continental breakfast in Brussels for between €6 and €8.

Hotel Bloom, Brussels

The outside of the building is pretty boring, but it's right next to the Botanique (a pleasant park for a stroll) and feels like a safe area. It seems to be in the business/financial district, so many of the restaurants were closed on weekends, but there was a small supermarket across the road and a good Turkish pizza place just a couple of streets away.

Walking to the Grand Place takes around 15 minutes, or there are regular trams and buses towards the city centre.

I'd definitely stay here again.

Address:Rue Royale 250, 1210 Brussels, Belgium
Style:Boutique
Date Visited:4-7 September 2009
Link:http://www.hotelbloom.com/


Saturday, 3 October 2009

Mokafe, Brussels



Belgian waffle

When we stepped off the Eurostar into Brussels at some crazy time of the morning, I wanted one thing: waffles for breakfast.

My husband took a little more persuading (he has a sweet tooth generally, but when it comes to breakfast he'd prefer a full English), but I can be quite persuasive, apparently, so off we set in search of a waffle shop.

What we found was Mokafe.

Mokafe, Brussels

The waffles were yummy (I ordered chocolate, my husband ordered strawberries, and we did a bit of mix-and-match), and with competitive prices even when compared to the local take-away stalls. Coffee came in one of those cute little filters that sits on top of the cup, and as with (apparently) everywhere in Brussels, you get a random sweetie with every drink.

But I think what took us back to Mokafe the day after (and the day after that!) was probably not so much the food as the setting. Plenty of 'outside' tables, as you can see, but 'outside' in this case is still sheltered in the beautiful Galleries St Hubert.

We did try their continental breakfast (bread, croissant, butter, jam, cheese, coffee, orange juice) one day, which was also good, but maybe not quite as exciting as the waffles. Still, as another blogger said when writing about this cafe, "the traveler's challenge is to find good, simple, local food without getting ripped off." Says it all, I think.

Galleries St Hubert, Brussels


Address:Mokafe, Galleries St Hubert, Brussels
Style:Belgian cafe
Date Visited:4, 5, 6 September 2009


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