Yesterday was simply the most gorgeous day in Manchester. In fact, it was dangerously gorgeous, the sort of day that makes you forget that it is actually still February, in a normally cold and rainy corner of the UK, and that it is probably not appropriate to start getting out all your summer dresses and flinging them excitedly all over your bed (not that anyone, ahem, would do such a thing *quickly hides sandals and straw boater under pile of dark woollen items*)
Anyway, yesterday I ventured forth WITHOUT A COAT, as I conducted my urgent business about town. First stop was Burton Road in West Didsbury, to collect a sampler box of cakes from And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon, the cake-shop-cum-cafe that's taken Didsbury by storm since it opened last year. The Didsbury Cake War really seems to be hotting up nicely, with ever more exciting flavours being created to keep us interested - my box contained Lemon Meringue, Lemon & Raspberry Cheesecake, and Tiramisu cupcakes, and I'm not going to pretend that the first two weren't more or less gone by the time I'd driven the mile or so back to my house.
The verdict? The first two were just delicious, and probably very good for me as well, what with their high fruit content; cupcakes also look quite impossibly cute wearing a jaunty hat of meringue atop their cakey torso. I'm afraid that as I don't like coffee we have to rely on Mr Liz for a detailed and insightful review of the Tiramisu; after much thought, his considered opinion was "om nom nom nom, nom, nom nom nom." Hope this kind of feedback is helpful to you Anna. Worrying news elsewhere for my waistline is the confirmation that the lovely Airy Fairies are moving into their new shop on School Lane sometime in March; soon, I fear I may subsist entirely on a diet of cake.
Oh, and tapas. Last night was the preview evening for the new menu at Pinchjo's, also on Burton Road, and frankly what could be nicer at the end of such a beautiful day than sitting in a Tapas Bar and pretending you are a terribly chic Spanish lady somewhere in sunny Barcelona? Joe has done an amazing job with this tiny bar and restaurant, transforming it into a welcoming haven serving - I think - pretty much the best tapas in Manchester, and the place was packed out last night with cheerful people having an extraordinarily good time (some of them perhaps too good - I shall say nothing about the party who spent the latter part of the evening smearing chocolate ganache on each other's faces...)
We missed the opening round of pinchos ("tasty things on sticks" is, I believe, their exact English translation) but then spent a very pleasant three hours chatting and drinking wine with the ever-lovely Didsbury Life, while a selection of tempting goodies was brought to our hungry mouths; indeed, the waiting staff coped admirably with what must have looked like a nest of baby birds with their beaks open ready for more food. Amongst other tasty morsels, we enjoyed Lamb Koftas with cucumber dip, a Feta Salad made truly remarkable by the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, Chickpeas with Chorizo and Onion, and - best of all - a chicken thing on a stick that I can't tell you the name of as Joe forgot to put it on the menu.
We ate every scrap and - this is a mark of how good it was - Mr Liz devoured all the vegetarian courses, normally eyed with such suspicion, with great and unwavering enthusiasm, seeming particularly taken with the halloumi, green bean and tomato dish. So hats off to you Joe, and might I suggest that your new slogan is born - "Food so good that even normally ill-behaved carnivorous boys hoover up every last morsel, even the veggie stuff". True, it needs a little work, but you're welcome to use it - it's the least I can do after such a great night.
- Pinchjo's is at 192 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 1LH; go now, and make the sunshine come back...