Portugal – Part 1, the flight and a stay in Faro

First of all, I decided after looking at the ridiculous prices of flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh (direct flights) to Lisbon, to go from the little used Prestwick Airport on the west coast of Scotland on a flight to Faro. They mainly only serve Portugal and predominantly Spain, but at very reasonable prices.

Shot of Prestwick, direct from the Bus stop arriving

Firstly, it is so easy to get there, whether by bus (above) or train (below); much easier to get to than Glasgow Airport; still with no train link, though this was tried in the past.

Prestwick Train Station

Inside, the airport is very empty, short queues, and there’s even a wall bar (apologies for the photo), to commemorate Elvis Presley’s only stop in the UK, back in 1960. Though he may have had a secret trip (earlier) to London.

Various shots of Prestwick Airport

The flight was naturally with Ryanair, where I had one of their “deals” with tea.


Once in Faro (for the night), I stayed in a relatively inexpensive (50 euros) hotel, the Hotel Alfonso, that had the typical spartan, tiled look – all I needed!


It was interesting to be in Faro, as the centre of the city has seen better days, so with my late arrival, I had few choices to find a restaurant; though the one I did find (after hotel advice) was perfectly adequate; even with a large screen for the late football.

Sto. Antonio restaurant

The Sto. Antonio (?), if that is what it’s called, served a variety of dishes, mainly Portuguese, but it was a gentle introduction to the cuisine I would be eating for the next few days.

Salad and Gazela green wine

With even the little things, like presentation, quite different to what I am used to. I had one of the “green” wines that the Portuguese do so well – In this case, it was a Gazela wine, and at only 9%, it was quaffable and not too heavy.

Wine and table water

CB

Tchai Ovna, Tea House / Café, West End, Glasgow, Scotland

Have been here simply NOT enough times over the years, but when in attendance, I always think – why not? They have an incredible selection of rare teas, in a gigantic pot!

Tchai Ovna, down an alleyway in Glasgow’s West End, on the banks of the Clyde river

It’s down an alley that if you didn’t know, you would never expect a café to be. Though there are signs around the corner that do state there is a café here.

Signs directing you to Tchai Ovna.

I decided, been here before but didn’t partake, finally to have a sharing, Middle East platter with a friend, and it was beautiful.

Middle East platter to share

It did what it said it would do, and with a pot of Darjeeling, a huge pot to share, it was more than sufficient to pass away a couple of hours, amongst an eclectic mix of people; vegans, students, artisans, etc.

It is also available for dinner reservations.

Have already planned my next visit.

5/5

CB

Eusebi Deli, West End, Glasgow, Scotland – Best Pizza dough on Earth

One of my main beefs with pizza and specifically with “thin and crispy” or even non-thin pizzas, is that the dough, even after baking, is ALWAYS soggy and wet in the middle! Always!

Bianco Pizza (Béchamel base, potato, parmesan, rosemary & gremolata and Salad – Interesting

So when I was here at Eusebis yesterday, in the West End of Glasgow, and was told that the particular type of dough / pizza was the best in the world(?), I thought let’s try it. Boy, it is!

Firstly, the pizza itself, Potato Pizza?, was excellent; who would’ve thought? The accompanying side salad was different as well, with some form of attention paid in its creation – even with apple slices.

Service perfect and personal, even when it was actually quite busy both inside and outside in the late Sunday afternoon.

5/5 – Will go again, though have been here before, but this is the first time since pre-Covid

CB

Bavaria and some of the Food – So much better than the reputation

Interesting, I was watching Saturday Kitchen yesterday on the BBC, and was fascinated by a Rick Stein interview of a Duke there in Andalucía, who thought British food was very underrated.

The same I feel for German food, and specifically, Bavarian cuisine that is available at many breweries and guest houses / restaurants.

Wurst, Kartoffelsalat und Bier

It’s just something that they do very well with basic food. Note that the potato salad has very little mayo in it – it’s not a heavy, sticky food; though of course I know it’s not completely healthy as well.

Topped off with a culture of beer gardens, it’s a treasure to take part in.

Somehow it all just fits.

CB

279 Café Bistro, West End, Glasgow – Another veggie Burger – Different!

279 Café Bistro, Glasgow

I must have walked by here several thousand times, another place that was on my list, and finally went in this week to see just what it has to offer. Equally, with a bistro vibe, it also happens to be one of the few restaurants in this area of the West End that is open late.

The décor and food were spot on, and had a lovely chat with the head waiter / proprietor about Corona, opening hours, strategy for day or night diners, etc.

I once again went for a non-meat burger, and was surprised that there were two choices (and staples in this type of food); haloumi or bean burger – I chose the former and also decided to have it “with cheese”; that the waiter and myself laughed about – a cheese burger, with more cheese!

Haloumi and Cheese Veggie Burger

It was lovely, healthy and the stack of chips was like a Rubik’s cube. The addition of avocado was an added plus.

4 /5 – Recommended

Will also in the near future, try their night menu.

CB

Vegan Burgers in Glasgow – The continuous quest for the best one . . .

Vegan Burger at the Western Baths Club

I for some reason had been invited to the Western Baths Club, in Glasgow’s West End, and decided to order their version of the “vegan” burger – very surprised at the quality.

Maybe it’s because the trendy, vegan-friendly, West End of Glasgow has a helluva lot more experience when it comes to this type of food, but the overall presentation, taste and attitude (even had a shout out from the kitchen as to whether I required cheese – vegan presumably – with my burger) was significantly better than other places.

It was freshly made, with a fresh salad on top and was turned around in only a few minutes.

The corresponding price of £7.00 was unbelievable and will definitely go again, if invited.

4/5

CB

Dunkeld – Perthshire visit – Part 3

The final stop of my recent visit to the Perthshire region, was a complete surprise when we decided to have a quick couple of hours in Dunkeld.

Note, I’ve been here before, but not to this section of the village, which is difficult to believe as it’s actually quite small here. The other part is Birnam, a quarter of a mile south.

We came here via the A984 from Blairgowrie – what a very pleasant surprise, as the road was dead quiet (it was a Wednesday afternoon), and we happened to go through a delightful hamlet called Spittalfield, complete with café and village green. It also seemed like an ideal area for a bicycle tour, as the Number 7 from Sustrans (and others paths) go through this area.

What was interesting to me (above), was the monied type of feel here, a Monte Carlo(!) of the Highlands; you could almost smell it, and a walk along the High Street proved this as well. We found a wine bar / shop that served me the best sandwich I’ve ever had, but have no idea what the name of the café was The Scottish Deli? – but it was near the Palmerston Cafe, and has only been around the last year. Where I washed it down with a fine, vintage Port!

Later, we walked over the bridge and then made our way back to Glasgow

CB

The Week Ahead – Not much travel but we still have COP26 here in Glasgow / New Bakery – Lilys Bakes; Superb!

As I am still under the weather due to a recent surgery, there is not much travel (I had to cancel several trips), but we still have many things to look at both in the arts and in Glasgow, Scotland, and the UK

If you have not been under a rock, COP26 is still here until Friday, and I will put some more shots of the proceedings during the week. Like below, where a protest with Greta Thunberg was happening on the weekend:

Also, we’ve a new bakery here call Lily Bakes Cakes, they are in the West End and are completely lethal! Honestly, they are sickening in a good way, and though I am not sure if I posted before, due to the fact that they are only open to the public for 2 days, they usually have a queue outside!

A queue for cakes; brilliant I say! Here’s what they did for Halloween – to die for:

CB

Bread meets Bread, West End, Glasgow – Another vegan Burger. . .

This is an interesting spot, as whenever I have walked past it in the past (a good many times), there were always quite a few people inside. I despair, as the burger, ambiance, music were definitely not my scene – though the service was outstanding.

I don’t know much, but when the three students next to me only ordered tap water, and all three shared a bowl of chips, I sorta got that it would be expensive – it was. £9.00 for a Vegan Burger, but you have to THEN pay more for the chips / fries, what ever they are called nowadays.

Sorry, it seems to me that at every other place I’ve been to recently, the chips are included with the burger. In addition, with my tea (merely a cup), the bill would have approached £15.00; but they conveniently (for me) forgot to charge me for it.

Another “plant” based burger

The other two things that had me, were:

  1. The burger was not beans, falafel, etc – It looked just like real meat; but it also tasted like real meat – as in real meat that had been undercooked.
  2. The bowl of chips contained old and slightly cold chips – Hey, this is NOT that difficult to do correctly – Up your game!

Would I go again? Probably never; not tasty, overpriced, and lastly, as you can see in the entrance shot above, slightly cold as one of the two doors was always open.

2/5

CB

The Thornwood Bar, Glasgow – Worth a Shout

I remember this place, The Thornwood, from a LONG time ago; a story involving a friend, who having been desperate for a pint, was “accidentally” shoved (and presumably lost much of his beer!) by a local inside here, who apparently didn’t take to any “outsiders” drinking in his local.

My, times have changed, as much has in this area of Thornwood, located on the extreme west of Glasgow’s West End.

This area over the past few years has now become an area filled with more and more cafes, pizza places, bicycle shops, etc – for the ever expanding West End, and for the continuing development southerly, on the River Clyde.

I tried the vegan burger, made from Falafel – brilliant; does what it says on the tin, along with a breakfast tea.

5/5

CB