Gloucester Road and an apology

My life is full of great intentions, rarely fulfilled.

Take this weekend. I had the Monday off work, so resolved to return my girlfriend to Bristol whence she came and, while she worked the earlybird shift, undertake a mini foodie adventure. I had drawn up a wee list of  foodie places and products to try – a teamaker, a piemaker and a butcher who sells squirrel.

I made it to none of them.

Because my girlfriend was up at 5am, I woke at the same time, then went back to sleep. I awoke again at 9.45am in that half-life fug you get when you’re not a teenager and you sleep in for too long. It was one of those mornings when you move as fast as an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping (joke copyright Ben Elton and Richard Curtis).

What I did manage to do was make it up and out by 11am, when I went to see an old friend, who’s just had her second child, for coffee and gossip. Then it was off to pick up my girlfriend from work at 2pm.

She had already said she wanted to head for Gloucester Road, which she’d found while wandering around the city, something she does a lot, she’s a great explorer and walker. As I had yet to eat lunch I thought it an excellent idea.

Revolutionary Road? Erm, no.

As first impressions go it wasn’t great. I’ve lived in some grim industrial cities before and I’ve seen my fair share of charity shops. In the glimmering sunshine that and some slightly rugged-looking pubs was all I could see as we turned the corner. Thankfully there was more than met the eye.

In Bristol, Whiteladies Road is held up as  something of a foodie central. People voted for it to be one of Google Earth’s foodie streets or some other guff. And it is good – if you like your food ready to eat. It has loads of nice eateries lining its sides and in the streets around it, into Clifton etc. But Gloucester Road is different.

Here you are more likely to get the ingredients to make yourself something nice, rather than sit down and have someone present food to you. Two locally owned greengrocers, two excellent bakeries, an excellent butcher/delicatessen and also one of those world/health food shops that smell of vitamin tablets.

We came away with some nice stuff for dinner. We had a couple of duck legs already, and we got some great local spuds and parsnips to make into game chips (which I later horrifically burned), plus an aubergine to add poncy twat value.

We also popped into The Breadstore. As regular readers will know (if there are any), I have a bread addiction and love those pushers of the good shit, the proper bakery. The Breadstore is such – it sells bread as well as sundry others. We came away with a mushroom and rosemary cob, two pieces of date and walnut cake and a mighty slab of ginger flapjack which cost me….69p! Bargain.

Our dinner and sugar-heavy treat shopping over and done with, we went for a late lunch. The Promenade Butcher and Delicatessen (no website, sorry) was just over the road from the Breadstore and was really a butcher’s shop with a few chairs outside. And it was a pretty damn good find as well. Run by a loud South African (is there any other kind?) it was advertising a hot dog of kings – its mighty Boerewors in a bap. My GF, who hails from that part of the world, made feeble protestations of not being that hungry before ordering one, complete with Mrs Balls Chutney, which I am told is the Saffa version of Branston Pickle. It was massive and tasty – but perhaps not that local.

What was good in the shop was locally made Biltong – the South African cured meat staple. That was some good locally sourced shit my friend. Definitely getting a blog post to itself.

Afterwards we went home, where Jane cooked duck and aubergine to perfection and I burned the parsnip chips to buggery.

So an apology to the butcher, the teamaker and the pie expert, you’ll have to wait for my next trip to Brizzle. Until then, anon.

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