Tuesday was a wonderful day for food! It started off with pancakes ala Nigella for breakfast. The “ala Nigella” part means that we had blueberry syrup all over the pancakes. The recipe is here but essentially you mix some maple syrup and blueberries together in a pan over a low heat and voila, blueberry sauce! Bacon is obviously mandatory as well.
Lunch came in the form of fish and chips from Fish& which is based out of a hut on Commercial Street in Leeds City centre. Their tagline is “Fish& chips with a twist” with the signature twist being a lemon, lime and chilli batter for your fish.
As I was having a fairly late lunch, I decided to go for the tapas portion of fish and chips which, at £3.50 is a really good price, especially when you consider that a sandwich from Tesco will cost about the same. The batter really is delicious and I’d highly recommend you try it. Don’t be scared by the chilli, there’s only a hint of heat there and it works really well with the lemon and lime. I’m also a massive fan of the chips from Fish& because they’re chunky and always perfectly cooked. It’s worth mentioning that neither the fish or the chips are ever greasy which is quite a change from the norm.
Street food used to be a greasy burger with some onions and a slice of plastic cheese, but as was highlighted recently on The Apprentice, this idea seems to be changing. We can now buy really good quality food on the streets and for me, Fish& is the best street food vendor in Leeds. I was planning to go in to town on Monday but I realised that they open Tuesday to Saturday so I delayed my trip just so I could get my fish and chips!
I had been very excited about dinner for quite a while because it was at one of my favourite restaurants – Pinche Pinche in Chapel Allerton. There’s a real lack of Mexican restaurants in Leeds but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter because both Philippa and I would still go to Pinche Pinche anyway because the food is amazing.
On Tuesday night, they were hosting a street food and tequila night which was a complete steal at £15 per person. Simon, the owner of the restaurant, spent some time in Mexico and really wanted to show people what food Mexicans actually eat. Most people would instantly say fajitas or chilli con carne when asked to name a Mexican dish but Simon told us that you wouldn’t find Mexicans eating those dishes at all – he said that they just don’t exist.
There were three courses for food. The first was nachos with guacamole and given that neither of us like guacamole, it’s saying something that our plate went back completely clean! The guacamole was absolutely lovely and has changed both of our opinions on it. Looking at their website, it seems like the guacamole they use for the nachos is different to the guacamole that is used for the tacos. Maybe it’s because there were other ingredients that detracted from the avocado that made it much tastier than your usual guacamole.
The next round was a plate of tostadas which are crispy tortilla shells. We had both chicken and lamb as the fillings with a really nice salsa. The chicken tinga was shredded and marinated in herbs and spices and the lamb was marinated in a pasilla chile marinade.
The final plate of food was tacos – soft tortilla wraps with a choice of three different toppings: chicken tinga, steak and lamb in a pasilla chile marinade. We also had a salsa verdi and a salsa ranchera which we could slather on the tacos as we pleased. For me, the salsa verdi went really well with the chicken tinga and the ranchera salsa was better matched to the steak and lamb. Of the three meats, my favourite was the steak whereas Philippa preferred the chicken tinga.
Of course, no trip to a Mexican restaurant would be complete without a round of churros – a doughnut coated in cinnamon sugar with a gooey chocolate dipping sauce. These weren’t included in the cost of the evening but we couldn’t resist them.
The tequila part of the evening was delivered by Robert ‘Skippy’ Jupp (of Skippy’s bar fame at Trio in Headingley). He was really passionate about tequila and was quite eager to dispel the myth that tequila is only good with salt and lemon. He gave a talk that was supposed to last 15 minutes but I have a feeling he was talking for much longer which was perfectly fine because he kept everyone interested all the way through. He explained what makes a quality tequila (the percentage of agave – the higher the better) and then the differences between the quality tequilas. Like wine, it’s all about ageing – what type of barrel it’s stored in, how long it’s stored in the barrel, how large the barrel is and so on. Skippy said that the talk we got was a cut down version of his usual 3 hour talk. When we were leaving, it sounded like him and Simon were hatching a plan to put on the whole talk at a future event so keep your eyes peeled for this.
During his talk, Skippy made sure we were well stocked with tasting glasses of tequila. We tasted three different types, ranging from one which had been rested for about a month up to one which had been rested for over a year. We also had a Tommy’s Margarita which is simply tequila, lime juice and agave syrup served over crushed ice. These were so nice that we ordered seconds (and maybe thirds, my memory’s a bit hazy at that point!).
My only complaint was that it would have been better if there was more food, especially given the amount of tequila we were drinking! We were actually offered a second plate of tacos but I’m not sure everyone did and I still could have eaten more. We would have happily paid extra to have more food.
As always, I really enjoyed Pinche Pinche and it was particularly nice to meet the owner. All of the waiters are extremely friendly and I think some of them recognised us from previous trips (does this mean we’ve been too often?).