How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

I’ve never been fan of the famous ‘Full English Breakfast” so when my boyfriend asked if I wanted to go for breakfast at Frankie and Benny’s I was unsure. It’s not something I have ever done before, getting ready for breakfast apart from on holiday but I thought it would be worth a try. Other friends had tried their breakfast and said it was so good and worth the money.

The set up of the breakfast service was exactly the same as lunch time or tea time, we were politely shown to a table and as it was late morning we were asked if we would want the lunch menu or breakfast. Breakfast it was! I was surprised to see the variety of foods that were up for grabs on the menu and pleasantly surprised to see they did other things rather than just the full english. I quite fancied a sausage sandwich yet I was disappointed to see they didn’t have one on the menu without a fried egg. However, when the waitress took my order she was more than happy to order it without the egg. With the sandwich I ordered a side order of hash browns and a glass of apple juice.

The service isn’t one of Frankie and Benny’s good things. I often find that no matter what restaurant I go to I am left waiting for my food for longer than necessary. When the food finally arrived I was disappointed to see that the chefs had got my order wrong and had it fact placed an egg in the sandwich. The waitress was extremely apologetic and took my order away to be fixed leaving me to munch on the hash browns. My order arrived back with yet more apologies, I shrugged them off and tucked in. The food was really good, as it always is at Frankie and Benny’s, however I think the length in which they make you wait for it is slightly unnecessary.

Both me and my boyfriend fully enjoyed our sandwiches and my boyfriend took full advantage of the re-fillable tea and coffee. I would say that the price of the food is slightly higher than it should be especially for a sausage sandwich yet the perks or the meal such as the 99p re-fillable coffee make up for it. Those of you that are into your ‘Full English Breakfast’ should definitely try theirs out, all their big breakfasts are only a fiver.

Frankie and Benny’s is always somewhere I will visit again, but I’m not too sure whether I would go for breakfast again but its something you should all try out!

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Cheap and Cheerful

Wetherspoons is always a good option when hungry and you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Luckily for us people in Sunderland there are two of their pubs to choose from, The Lambton Worm and The Cooper Rose. Personally I prefer The Lambton Worm, it seems to have a more family feel to it and somehow more welcoming.

It seems quite a few restaurants/pubs are enabling you to go up place your order. The service in Wetherspoons is typical for a pub, the waitresses and waiters seem rushed off their feet. This more than often leaves you standing at the bar with your fingers crossed that you will be the next person they will lay eyes on so your order can be taken. However, my experiences at Wetherspoons show that when the waitress or waiter finally get round to you they are more than happy to help.

The menu is standard for a pub, there is always something in which you will fancy. Wetherspoons also have different nights, such as curry nights on different days of the week for lowered prices. I always go for one of their chicken burgers with the option to have a breast or breaded. The waitress or waiter at the bar also offers onion rings and other sides, which I more than often go for! A burger, chips, onion rings as well a drink costs me less that a fiver, or just over. So cheap you can’t say no.

Quality wise, the burgers don’t quite make the cut to be served at Handmade Burger Co. But they do leave you satisfied and for a fiver what more can you expect. I have been to Wetherspoons numerous times, on the occasions that I don’t go for the chicken burger, I order the lasagne. I must admit it isn’t the best. The food doesn’t have the fresh taste you get at proper restaurants rather than a pub, often leaving me to think that the food may have been microwaved.

Even though the quality of the food isn’t the best, it never stops me from going. Wetherspoons is easy to get to in Sunderland, both of their branches are in the centre of town and the food always arrives quickly leaving you with a full tummy. You will have been to better places yet it definitely fulfills the reasons I go for, cheap and cheerful!

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Festival Foodies

Only blurred memories remain from my experiences at music festivals. I can still hear the loud buzz of music as well as waking up to the smell of alcohol and dirt in a dingy tent with dreadlocked hair and baby wipe showers. I also remember the food, out of all things, of course the food. This one particular pizza company, Pizza To The People was visited at Leeds Festival 2010 and to my delight at V Festival 2011.

I suppose I can’t really say much about service from the guys serving pizza from a trailer, apart from the screaming the get drunken people in line, I remember the people making the pizza were friendly and patient whilst you made your decision. Pizza To The People sold primarily pizza (as said in the name), pizza may get boring after a while but this place in particular was just so good! I still crave it even though its been months since i’ve been to a music festival months after! The pizzas were stone baked and made fresh to order whilst you stood and wait! You can choose your toppings and they throw them on for you.

Depending on how hungry you are or how greedy you are feeling, the option to have a full pizza or half is available. This was perfect if you are sharing with a friend with different preferences for toppings. Typical for festival food, pizza is served on a polystyrene plate, something in which you turn a blind eye to. As well as being piping hot when you received it the quality of the food was obvious. Well when i say quality, I mean for festival standards.

I have to be honest that i can’t remember pricing for the pizza, but again typically for a festival I remember it being highly over priced. Yet, it’s something you are willing to pay for. I guess I would be willing to pay a steeper price for this pizza no matter where I’m eating it!

If you are heading to a festival this year, be sure to look out for Pizza To The People! Here’s a few photos from my experiences at festivals.

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Burgers, Burgers and More Burgers

I didn’t want to bore my friend with my lack of culinary skills whilst she stayed last weekend, so the only option was to go out and eat again. My friend had in the past raved about the Handmade Burger Co. as well as other friends who had been in London. I hadn’t even heard of the restaurant before my friends had mentioned it and as they have a restaurant in the Metro Centre it seemed like the perfect time for myself, my friend and boyfriend to try it out especially as our hangovers were out in full force from the night before.

Similar to Nando’s, the Handmade Burger Co. had a laid back approach to dining something I was thankful for in my hungover slumber. There was no wait for a table, the 3 of us shuffled round on a leather sofa which was positioned similar to a booth. As it says in the name of the restaurant, it primarily sells burgers, yet I was shocked to see the vast variety of burgers in which they sold. We were able to go up and order ourselves at our own leisure. As I didn’t have the biggest of appetites I went for one of their ‘smaller burgers’ a classic beef which I asked if I could swap the mayo for BBQ sauce, they were happy to do this! The burgers arrive by themselves, prompting me to order a side order of chips as well as a coke.

Everything was paid for there and then, so no waiting around after the meal either. I was surprised to see that they offered 10% student discount, something I had never come across whilst going out to eat. The Handmade Burger Co. also have a special offer on Mondays which give students 30% discount off all food and drink, if only we went on a Monday! The meal came to less than a tenner, there was nothing to complain about. Again similar to Nando’s, my friend and boyfriend were offered loyalty cards in which built up to a free meal once a certain amounts of stamps were collected. The waitress failed to ask me if I would like to take part in collecting stamps, a tiny flaw in the service. However, she was more interested in the night out I had the previous night and showing me photos of her dressed up on a night out, I couldn’t figure out whether this was professional or not. The laid back approach of the restaurant really worked, making me feel really comfortable the whole time I was there!

The wait for the meal was short. It became more apparent that they had a lot of the same features as a Nando’s restaurant and as a big fan of Nando’s it made me like this place more. The burger was really good, the high quality of the food was apparent, you could tell it wasn’t just any old processed meat. Something which they boasted about on the walls of the restaurant such as where they get their meat from. Not only was the burger really good the chips were proper chips, not those little skinny things, proper chunky chips. I wasn’t feeling my best, so couldn’t finish the meal however the small amount that I did have proved to be somewhere I would definitely be visiting again.

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In Here It’s Always Friday

‘Thank God It’s Friday’ sprung to mind whilst sitting at uni last friday. The only think getting me through the long day was knowing my friend, Leah, from home was coming to visit and the fact we were going to TGI Friday’s for tea!

The american themed restaurant always has a good atmosphere no matter where you go in the country. Straight away the high standard of service was shown by the waiter who opened the door for us and promptly showed us to a table. The restaurant was busy for a Friday night, however surprisingly there was no waiting around.

I don’t really like change, no matter what the situation, so I was slightly horrified to see that TGI Frdiay’s had changed there menu and my beloved BBQ burger was no longer on the menu. Not going to lie, I went into mass panic with only a bottomless coke to calm me down. For starters I order some garlic bread whilst Leah ordered the mozzarella sticks. My second favourite main meal on the menu, the BBQ ribs, were still there (thank god) so I opted for the half rack whilst Leah, a vegetarian, ordered the vegi burger. Apparently the best vegi burgers going, not that I’m willing to try.

The wait for the starters seemed lengthy, but I think it was our rumbling tummies which made it seem longer. The garlic bread I had ordered could have probably fed 2 people, so i had to leave some to make room for my main, I was slightly upset about this as it was so good. I don’t think there was a problem with the mozzarella sticks either, as Leah had managed to polish them all off. The waiter definitely knew the way to our hearts as he placed 2 more cokes on the table without us having to ask, showing the good service once again. The wait for the main meals seemed much shorter. No complaints could be made about the food, yet again, keeping to TGI Friday’s high standards in food and service.

Yet again, another restaurant with barely any faults. With all your new bulging student loans, it’s definitely a place to visit for food slightly more expensive than other restaurants, yet definitely worth it!

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Eyes Bigger Than Your Belly

During the Easter holidays, I was at home in the North West and as a standard past time for my mum, gran and myself we went shopping to the Trafford Centre! For those who haven’t been before, the Trafford Centre is a huge shopping centre in Manchester similar to the Metro Centre, however, slightly smaller. They have a huge food court with restaurants from all over the world, always leaving me spoilt for choice. The final decision was Pizza Express, I love Italian food so was the perfect place.

As expected, the restaurant was busy. We were able to be seated straight away, in a booth, my favourite kind of seating area, even if that does sound stupid! However, the waitress told us it was going to be 30 minute wait for food to be served.

Even though it was clear the waitress’ were run off their feet, we were quickly seen to, with our drinks promptly infront of us as well as our food order with the chefs! We had ordered dough balls to start which arrived with a garlic butter, they were the perfect starter dish which kept our tummies satisfied.

We were all pleasantly surprised when our main meals arrived before the supposed 30 minute wait. My gran had ordered lasagne which is always a favourite of mine, whilst I was again spoilt for choice, not knowing whether to go for pasta or pizza. My mum agreed to order a lasagne and a pizza, we shared both, the of best worlds! The food is always good when at Pizza Express and today wasn’t an exception. However, perhaps I should of made a stronger decision when ordering the food as me and my mum were left with food we couldn’t finish. Eyes bigger than your belly sprung to mind!

The price was good the amount of food we ordered, admittedly I didn’t pay, yet I would be willing to pay as it is so worth it. It’s the perfect Italian restaurant with a large range of food fit for all ages! Just don’t make sure you have eyes bigger than your belly, like I did!

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Easy To Find…

Here is a map of all the restuarants that will be mentioned in this blog. I’ve mapped the restaurants in the North East, however some places I ate in restaurants in other parts of the country!

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Fancy A Change?

When in Newcastle shopping for the day, me, my mum and sister fancied a change to where we would usually go to eat lunch. I had heard lots about Wagamama from friends and family as well as positive reviews and tweets that circled the web; however had not yet had the opportunity to try the food.

At first the Newcastle restaurant reminded me of my primary school dining area. Rows of benches lined the restaurant with only menus and condiments to separate you from the next group of customers. Once seated I realised it was quite a quirky way to have a as a layout, different from others I had been to before. Wagamama was spotless with an extremely modern feel to the whole place. The cooking area was on display with out frosted glass dividing it from the rest of the restaurant. The whole place had a calm atmosphere, rare when going out to eat. The restaurant was quiet yet there were plenty of staff who were eager to take your drinks and food order.

All three of us were starving and eager to order and eat. I would say that the only problem with Wagamama, was the menu. You needed a degree to understand it. Once we had decided what we wanted the next issue was what type of noodle to get with it; who would of thought that there are different kinds of noodles. We didn’t really care, we just wanted noodles!

Keeping with the modern and quirky theme that surrounded Wagamama, the way in which your order was taken was too done differently. The waitress scribbled our order down on the paper placemats in front of us, something which I liked as it was clear she had got the order right. The 3 of us had ordered to starter dishes to share, pork ribs in a teriyaki sauce and fried squid with a chilli dip, yes I know, ew squid, but it was actually really good! After demolishing the starter dishes the main arrived, all three of us had ordered the same. The meal was well presented in deep wooden like bowls with the option to eat with chop sticks, truly British, we ate with forks. The main meal was chicken served with noodles (just noodles) tossed together in a teriyaki sauce topped off with lettuce leaves and grated carrot. The food was to a high standard, both quality and quantity, leaving me with a large majority of the meal left over and an extremely full tummy!

Price wise, it was well worth the money, perhaps slightly more expensive however I’d strongly recommend the restaurant and maybe with all your new student loans its a perfect time to try it!

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Puttin’ The Chick in Chicken

Originating from a Mozambiquan Portuguese community in South Africa, Nando’s has become a favourite of mine, something I can not go without for long! Whilst visiting a friend in Durham, I decided to check out their Nando’s. The restaurant is often rated poorly by food critics claiming it is somewhat predictable and overrated. Although, from my experience, this had been one of the most satisfying, with the food quality in top form alongside the warm welcoming service and squeaky clean surfaces.

Many of my friends claim Nando’s is over priced for some chicken and chips but there is something special about the place that makes paying that little extra cash feel worth while, maybe the range of unique sauce blends and not to mention the way in which you are made to feel respected as a customer. Being a Saturday I was almost convinced I’d be endlessly waiting for a table but I was sure proved wrong when a table for two was immediately granted to us and the menus were placed under our noses. The first and only blip came from a small spillage on the table creating a sticky layer on the surface, however this was cleaned up sharply with many apologies from the waitress seating us.

For a ‘fast food’ restaurant, Nando’s does not exactly fit the typical stereotype. No tiresome queues, no filthy floors, no screaming children driving their parents up the wall and no stench of stale grease lingering in your nostrils which is a major bonus, but the freedom to go and place your order as and when you feel like it. Not that I usually have to take any time to pick my meal with my heart set on medium spiced chicken pitta (medium spice) with chips, rice and a bottomless glass of Coca-Cola.

However, this time I had built up my Nando’s loyalty card with stamps for each visit and was rewarded with half of a chicken as a complimentary standard for loyal customers, meaning I only had to purchase my chips, rice and drink on the side. After ten minutes, the food had arrived promptly at the table. With the snappy service, it hadn’t given me time to realise I was about to attempt eating a whole half chicken!!

As usual the food was up to its usual standard, the chicken was fresh and practically fell off the bone whilst the chips and rice were presented well on the plate. I couldn’t complain, yet again! The service also remained at a high standard throughout our meal, we were regularly asked if the food was ok and whether or not we needed anything else. Sticking to the typical fast-food restaurant stereotype, Nando’s also do a takeaway service, enabling you to make an order over the phone and collect when ready!   What more could you possibly ask for?

Nando’s is renowned all over the world and tweeted about daily by celebrities. Example and Ed Sheeran even made a song about it, it must be good!

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The Perfect Hangover Cure?

Last Thursday, as a final bid to get rid of our lingering hangovers, myself and four friends decided to eat out. We wanted something quick, cheap and satisfying. After scrolling through many online menus, Chiquito, a Mexican restaurant, quickly became the favourite. The brightly coloured online menu was easy to navigate and had something we would all enjoy. It was either the menu that persuaded me or my rumbly tummy but we were soon out of the door and in the car on the way to the Metrocentre.

On arrival, Chiquito was what I expected. However, the wait for the table was not. The restaurant seem under-staffed for the size of it, leaving the 5 of us stood in the entrance for longer than necessary. Once finally seated we couldn’t complain about the spacious dining area and the complimentary nachos and dip which made us forget about the wait. As standard, our waitress took our drinks order, however, the waiting game began again when the order didn’t arrive for a further ten minutes.

Whilst scanning through the menu, the large selection of food appeared highly appetising, resulting in a coin flip to decide our main courses. For starters, the five of us got a sharing platter which, again, took longer than usual to arrive, yet we couldn’t complain about the quality and quantity of the food. For my main I ordered a steak and onion wrap with a choice of a either side salad or fries, although this preference was not offered when my order was taken by the waitress. After an extensive half hour wait, the food arrived at the table and fortunately I had received the side fries I’d had my fingers crossed for! Despite the wait which made us question our choice of restaurant, the food quality was exceptional even if it was my own fault for filling up on the free nachos and starter for not being able to finish!

Finally, the  freshly prepared food was well worth the fairly average pricing and didn’t leave us with any nasty surprises, even for students! Did we leave a tip? Nope, the poor service was too much of a major flaw and lowered the pleasure of our experience at Chiquito. Will I go again? Yeah, I’d go again, but maybe not when I want something quick, however, we all left the restaurant with satisfied tummies, which is what we wanted… The perfect hangover cure!

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