Melanie's Food Adventures

In the Second City of the Empire……

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Although I have spent the vast majority of my life up here in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, I actually hail from Glasgow, well Paisley to be precise. Unfortunately I have no memories of living there as we moved when I was very young up to the North East, like many families in the early seventies *collective gasp as you didn’t expect me be that old* so that my Dad could start work in the oil industry. It’s here that we’ve planted our family roots but each time I head back down to Glasgow I always feel spiritually home. There’s just something about the place that still feels magical to me.

My Mum and I had a plans to spend time down there as she had bought us tickets to see Robbie Williams and so I set off looking for a great place to eat and somewhere new to drink cocktails! It wasn’t difficult to know who to ask as Glasgow Food Bloggers are as friendly as they come. Each one I have spoken to have been wonderfully supportive and always happy to hand out foody advice. One such lovely food blogger is Glasgow Food Geek. I love Pam’s blog and I’m so envious of all the new and exciting places that are springing up in Glasgow that she gets to try! There seemed to be great buzz around a new place called Alston Bar & Beef, which is situated under Central Station, in what used to be the store room for Boots the Chemist in the station. With over 50 gins stocked, including many from here in Scotland, this was my cocktail place. I’d contacted them before heading down just to check it was ok to take pictures for my blog and they seemed genuinely happy to know I would be sampling their utterly fabulous cocktails!

We arrived just after midday (don’t judge us!) and started to read through the beautiful list of cocktails (please understand that I was going to be child-free while in Glasgow, so cocktails were going to feature heavily!). I decided to start with The Royal Passage, which was made with Caorunn Gin, Lychee Liquer, Fresh Lychee, Lime Juice, Homemade Grenadine and Cranberry juice poured over ice. My Mum, who wasn’t a gin lover, went for a Margarita. Both went down a treat. One of Alston’s staff came over to chat and I introduced myself and explained that it was me with the food blog. As it turned out, Jen was the one behind their Tweets so she instantly knew who I was! She went on to explain the history of the place and let us look through into the restaurant section. We will definitely come back here to eat next time as the place looked gorgeous and the menus full of fantastic dishes that I really wanted to try. Alston’s specialise in beef, take a look at their website to find out where it’s sourced, but there is absolutely something for everyone!

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First cocktail done with, it was time for me to try another and it had to be The 1873, a homage to the street that the bar is named after. With Caorunn Gin, St Germain, Blueberry Jam and Lemon Juice topped with…. hello??, Champagne, this was a winner!!! Thanks goes to Jen and Linsey for making us feel so welcome.

After heading back upstairs into the sunshine (yes, sunshine in Glasgow….. did that surprise you?) we headed for some retail therapy. As we walked along Gordon Street, my Mum pointed out two words that make me very happy COOK SHOP. I have to be honest and say I hadn’t even heard of Steamer Trading Cook Shop , but I was very happy to step inside! A vast array of cookware, utensils, baking products and gadgets actually made me slightly giddy. I particularly went mushy when I saw the glorious range of Kitchen Aid Mixers… *whispers* One day you will be mine…….. Along one of the walls to the rear was the largest collection of kitchen knives I’ve ever seen! Douglas, one of the members of staff suggested that next time I was down he could show me some of the knives as they differ depending on the country they’re from. I will definitely take him up on his very kind offer!

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After a bit more retail therapy we headed to Princess Square where I had booked a table at the recently opened NY American Grill. I’d been in touch with Leanne, General Manager, to book a table and was fortunate to meet her when we arrived. She was so enthusiastic about their new venture and explained that they had really done their research on authentic American food, even travelling over to the States, and you could clearly see that with the food that was on offer.

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We enjoyed a couple of cocktails each, with me starting with an I Love Lucy which was a vodka and passion fruit based cocktail and utterly delicious! My second choice was a Tara Rum Plum (how cool a name is that??) which added a twist to a classic Mai Tai by adding Plum Liqueur and fresh plums. I’ve never seen anything like it elsewhere and I would like to try and find the Plum Liqueur to make my own!! Our food was fantastic from start to finish….. I had the Sweet Potato & Bean Tacos and my Mum had the BBQ Half Chicken. It was the quietest we’d been all day!! We ensured that we had room for pudding (it would be rude not to!) so I ordered the classic New York Cheesecake with Peanut Butter Drizzle and my Mum went with Fresh Fruit with a sticky warm ice wine reduction and Vanilla Ice Cream. All utterly delicious and we left very happy (partly due to the cocktails).

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Melanie, Food Adventurer

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