Monday, 27 July 2015

Travel Tips - Austin

A bit of a late post (sorry about that, it's been in my drafts for ages and I haven't had a chance to finish it) but in May this year I went to Austin with my work for a few days to visit our US offices. So here are all the cool things I saw and experiences while I was out there and out of office hours - Enjoy!

First of all, if you're heading to Austin be prepared for all the meat and massive portions. It's like nothing i've ever seen before...And on the second day there we all went on a food tour! Heart attack waiting to happen I know. But you have to think of it this way; this food isn't like Mc Donalds and processed, it's fresh local meat, veg, fish! 

Via 313 Pizzeria (I think that was the name anyway...)

I can't remember the name of this pizza place but I think it might have been Via 313 Pizzeria? Anyway, the pizza flavors were great, but i'll be honest i've tasted better. But it all depends on what type of pizza you like really. I prefer thin stonebaked pizza, but this was really heavy thick pizza - I could only manage one slice... So if you love thick crust pizza you will LOVE this place. And the huge selection of beers (as you can see from the picture) plus a lovely outdoor seating area really tops it off.

Freedmon's BBQ

This is where I got my fill of meat (I had to take my belt off completely!) but my god it was worth the massive belly. We had a selection of things that we shared at the table like the brisket which was cooked to perfection. The brisket is so tender, it literally just falls apart when you try and pick it up! And it's coated in pepper and something else (not sure what it was) but it complimented it so well. Added to that it's served with a assorted house-made pickles, barbecue sauce, and
focaccia bread - YUM! We also had a few sides like the horseradish potato salad and the grilled cabbage slaw which really helped balance out all that meat. Hungry yet?

Hey!… You gonna eat or what?

I think this food truck was in a food trailer park near Barton Springs? I didn't know what to expect when we pulled up but we got what the owner calls a 'The Shiner Monte Cristo' sandwich which doesn't look that great in the picture above but I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you're going to Barton Springs! It's pretty much a deep fried sandwich. Sounds horrible right? Well you'd be wrong my friend. This was surprisingly light and the ham, turkey and cheese filling worked so well with the homemade cherry and fig jelly.

Odd Duck

I guess Odd Duck was the poshest restaurant I went to while I was in Austin and the food was amazing but by this point of the food tour I just couldn't stuff anymore in! So I tasted everything but didn't eat much really. So some of the things we tried and are in the photos above were the 'Goat lasagna, spinach, bechamel and brussels sprouts', the 'Grilled pompano, rhubarb salsa, bok choy and sumac' and both of these were delicious. And then for dessert we had 'Avocado ice cream with sesame seeds' which in my opinion wouldn't have worked without the sesame seeds. We also shared some 'strawberry, jasmine and rhubarb cream puffs' which I actually prefered to the ice cream, which is weird because I don't normally like strawberry jam. 


Shiner's Saloon

So we was on the way home late one night, desperately trying to find somewhere to get some food. We saw this door with arrows saying food...great! We went up a narrow flight of stairs and had no idea where it was leading us (it really didn't look like somewhere to get food from) and we started regretting our choice. Then we found ourselves in this stereotypical southern bar with the most talented country singer i've ever heard! It was a fantastic experience and we ended up staying for ages just for the music. So if you go to Austin, late one night, go to a country bar and listen to some talented artists - you won't regret it!

Have you visited Austin before? Would you recommend any other places to visit? Any questions about my experience in Austin?
Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Bloggers Food & Drink Festival

I'm sure if you hang out on Twitter a lot you would have seen many bloggers getting pumped up and excited about The Bloggers Hub Food & Drink Festival event last Monday - and I was one of them!

This was my first blogger event I had been to where I was a blogger (all the other times i've been working at the event) so i'll admit I was a bit nervous at first! But i'm sure we've all been there and there's a first time for everything. But once I started chatting, the nerves just disappeared - then the fun began!

So as you can imagine, when you go to a food & drink event you're going to have a lot of yummy samples and sometimes they're not all as fantastic as they promote themselves to be or maybe just not to your personal taste. But I swear I went to every stand at this event and everything I tried was DELICIOUS. And to make things even better, all the representatives of the brands were so lovely and really helpful with giving tips and information about the products.

Here are just a few of the brands that really stood out to me:

The Good Brownie co.

The first impression I got was how amazing the brownies smelt at the stand. I think I was hooked by that alone. But once I started having a chat I found out that all the brownies are actually wheat and gluten free! I think a lot of people have the idea that when food is wheat and gluten free that it will taste different or maybe not as nice. But trust me when I say this. They taste way better then any brownies i've ever had! 
Unfortunately I was too busy to take pictures of the samples the same night and then on Tuesday I wasn't well so I didn't get around to it until now. That's 2 days after getting my brownie sample. I thought it would have dried out by now like most brownies, but I just took a bite and it's so soft, gooey and fresh! They also offer sugar and dairy free, vegan and protein options so they really are for everyone. 
Go order yourself some now (you won't regret it) or even find The Good Brownie co at these upcoming events


I would have taken a picture of the adorable little muffins that Sukrin was giving out at the event...but within seconds of getting home my boyfriend had eaten them! But from the noises he was making, I think they tasted pretty damn good!
I did have a great chat with the Sukrin representative at the event and the main thing I got from it was how passionate these guys are about their products. They really care about food and quality! If you have a sweet tooth and just love to bake these guys will be your heaven. They have a huge range of products that are all-natural with zero calorie sugar alternatives, naturally gluten-free and fat-reduced flours and low-carb, sugar and gluten-free easy to bake mixes.
So check out their website, you can order all of their yummy products online!

Mallow and Marsh

This was one of the brands I had heard of already and had seen their products in shops but I had never actually tried - but I was itching to! I'm not personally a fan of factory made marshmallows, I always think the taste and texture isn't right and tastes a bit...plasticy? But Mallow and Marsh are on a whole different level. When you try them you'll notice how light, bouncy, gooey and fresh they taste! Unlike most marshmallows, these gooey cubes of heaven have no additives or preservatives and are made with 100% natural ingredients. Mallow and Marsh say "We make creamy bundles of gooey deliciousness" and that really is the truth! They also have some kick ass recipes to try using their products, check it out here
You can order online and find them in Sainsbury's, Whole Foods, Coffee Republic, and East of England Co Op - Enjoy!


When I first saw this product I was really interested because i've never heard of maple water before... I was a bit sceptical at first, I thought it would taste SUPER sweet and be like taking medicine as a kid. But I was pleasantly surprised! I guess when you see the words 'maple' you instantly think of the thick sweet syrup - this is nothing like that. 
I tried it chilled like it recommends and it's actually really refreshing! A very subtle maple flavour and not sickly or overpowering in anyway! To make things better, it is a nature drink (No added Sugar or Preservatives, it's Gluten Free, dairy Free, Vegan and Non GMO) and has benefits like 46 naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, electrolytes and prebiotics! Boy that sounds like a good drink right?! 
You can find all the locations Wahta is sold here.

Speculaas Spice

The first thing you will notice with Speculaas Spice is the amazing smell! For some reason it first made me think of that fresh cooked brownie smell...but spicy? At the event they were giving out these cute little biscuits that made been made with the Speculaas Spice mix in the adorable wooden moulds they also have available for purchase with the spices. To make things even better, all the products are free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives as well as being either organic, Fairtrade sourced or both!
But back to the spice mix biscuit....which was incredible, imagine a ginger biscuit but way better. And the great thing about these spices is that you don't have to stick to any rules. Don't like biscuits? That's cool! Apparently this mix works wonders in a tagine or a curry too.
And there are loads of recipes you can try out here.

Have you tried any of these products before? What did you think? What were your favorites? Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!

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