Blog Archive

21 July 2005

Polski Fodder

Last night I went with a few folks from work to The Polonium Restaurant on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield for some traditional Polish food. Since I’ve never had any Eastern European cuisine before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Here’s what I had...

Starter: Bigos (Huntsmans Stew)
This was essentially cabbage and sauerkraut with bits of pork and spicy sausage in it. This tasted better than it looked and much better than I’ve just described it! Suzy had the Kings’ Herrings which were also very tasty – providing you like pickled fish, of course.

Main Course: Roast Hock (Pork) with Silesian Dumplings
After a few minutes of discussing the menu in Polish with the Polish waiter, the Polish guy from work also chose The Hock, so I assumed I’d made the right choice. The joint of pork I got was pretty big, with a huge bone running through it. Underneath the layer of fat was a good portion of slightly salty gammon-like pork, cooked to near-perfection. (Unfortunately, only some of the fat had turned crispy like crackling – otherwise it would have been perfect.) The dumplings were strange round slimy things, but they went well with my meal... and they went extremely well with the bit of Pork Goulash that I nicked off Suzy’s plate!

Before we arrived at the restaurant, we’d been told that eating Polish food is a good way to gain weight – and after eating a few of those dumplings and a bit of the crackling, I can certainly see why! (There were desserts available, but most of us opted to give them a miss as we were too stuffed.)

So, if you’ve never tried any Eastern European cuisine and you’re near Sheffield, I’d definitely recommend The Polonium Restaurant – and if you go on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you get a free shot of traditional Polish vodka (which has a piece of grass in the bottle)!

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12 July 2005

Around the World in 25 Days

Well, not all the way around the world – but I have been travelling quite a lot recently... which I guess is my poor excuse for not having posted much recently. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Firenze (Florence), Italy  –  16th to 23rd June 2005

Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore
Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore

It had been three years since Suzy and I had been on a holiday abroad, so we decided to take advantage of the cheap flights to Pisa being offered at the nearby Doncaster-Sheffield Robin Hood Airport and book our accommodation via

Before we went, we’d been told by several people to visit a restaurant called Il Latini. If you’re planning a trip to Florence, I’d definitely recommend trying to get a table there. And when I say try to get a table there, that’s exactly what I mean! We’d been warned that this was a popular restaurant but we were still shocked to find a crowd of probably more than 50 people waiting outside at 19:00 – and they don’t even open the doors until 19:30! Be prepared to share your table with other people as they really do cram their customers in; the food is well worth it though!

Another restaurant we’d highly recommend was Golden View Open Bar at Via dei Bardi 58r. (Their website’s in Italian and the menu is crazy – but don’t let that put you off!) Bored with the usual restaurants offering the same menus, we crossed over the Ponte Vecchio and stumbled across this place by accident – and we’re glad we did! The atmosphere was perfect, the food was outstanding, the service was great and the prices were very reasonable (and it seems that many people on the Internet agree)!

You can view some of the more scenic photos on Flickr:

Some more personal photos are available on Blueyonder Photos.

Montréal, Québec, Canada  –  29th June to 6th July 2005

Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal
Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal

This was my first business trip abroad. I say "business" but perhaps that’s a bit misleading as I managed to work it over a long weekend, as Canada Day was on the Friday. Not only that, but the International Montreal Jazz Festival was also in town for the week I was there!

Most of the signs are in French, people speak a mixture of French and English (or Franglais), they have an underground city of shops and restaurants for when it gets cold (i.e. -20°C to -30°C) and all prices are displayed without tax (which means you have to add on around 15% to get the "real" price of something)! Eating out is cheap, the bars are open until 3:00 in the morning and (as I kept being reliably informed by my colleagues over there) all the women are hot! :-) Montreal truly is a fascinating city.

Again, you can view some of my photos on Flickr:

(As you can see, I was very busy in the office!)

Wetheral, Carlisle, England  –  9th July 2005

Not quite as impressive as Florence or Montreal, but a nice place nevertheless, we visited The Crown Hotel in Wetheral to attend the wedding of Mr Chris Riley and Miss Dawn Nelson. (If you want to see photos of the stag do, they’re here.)

The weather was perfect, the hotel was picturesque, Dawn looked stunning, Chris looked stunned (© 2004 Andrew Stewart), there weren’t any major disasters (as far as I’m aware) and all-in-all the day (and night) was a lot of fun!

My photos of the wedding are available on my website:

For more photos, see The Best Man’s blog.

Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Riley and thanks for a wonderful end to my trip around the world!

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