First things fucking first.
What in the name of all that is holy is this fucking thing?
Everybody has a line they won't cross... This is my line.
I go over for a nice quite weekend. You know... meet up with a couple of friends, go to a United match, few harmless pints afterwards... "ah sure we'll stop in here (random kebab shop) for something to eat before we head home"... That was my first mistake. The next was ordering a "mixed" kebab.
I don't know what this thing was or who it belonged to or was attached to in a previous life but it wasn't about to join the long list of nasty shit I've eaten over the years I can tell you that.
I was well chuffed with the spread of gear we were presented with when I opened the take away boxes, it looked super, just the way to end a grand weekend. By Jaysus I abandoned all notions of finishing my kebab after I pulled that creature from its depths.
It creeped me out to the point that I'd to leave the room and eat my gravy chips on the balcony and even then I wasn't right.
The gravy chips were very very lovely though.
(photos up to here by my compadre and photographer of some note Steve Neville)
Anyway I'll reverse the lorry a bit...
Day 1. In my usual fashion of ignoring all the detailed well considered advice of friends on where to eat in a place I'm travelling to I set off for Manchester with a belly full of breakfast roll and Lucozade and proceeded to eat nothing but slices of pizza for the remainder of my first day. Take that curry mile.
Day 2 started not so good. After spending the previous evening drinking bottle after bottle of beer and slice after slice of pizza with a soundtrack of Thin Lizzy and The Stone Roses with my friends Steve and Lorraine in their magnificently appointed apartment overlooking Old Trafford, followed by numerous more ill advised pints in the residents bar of my hotel the old stomach wasn't in the best of form. I avoided the over priced room service breakfast and decided a cure all Lucozade would do the trick. I wandered up to Old Trafford soon after and decided a bit of food might not go astray after all.
food travel shows... I am available for work...
A simple standard fare hot dog was about all that was on offer to a fella like me in the cheap seats... I think you'll forgive me if I don't dwell too long on the hot dog, it was what it was.
What is worth mentioning though is shortly after this photo was taken and the dog eaten I wandered down to the edge of the pitch and stood face right up against the safety netting just to the left of the practice goal seen in the picture as Manchester United's well paid ball booters practised taking shots. Me being the gobshite I am decided to pay more attention to sub keeper Anders Lindegaard's imminent dive rather than the flight of the ball that had just left the foot of Robin van Persie. A ball that didn't hit its presumed intended target but instead connected quite sweetly with, to the surprise of both Mr. van Persie and myself; not to mention to the considerable amusement of everyone around me, the middle of my forehead.
Safe in the knowledge that I'd gotten my daily dose of public humiliation out of the way I happily watched United beat Norwich 4-0 and continued on with my day.
Later on that evening Steve, Lorraine and myself decided to head into Deansgate for a bit of grub and ended up in a pub called The Knott Bar. A nice place with a full jukebox, wet pints and, considering they were 3 minutes away from finishing their food service for the evening, good burgers.
Lorraine went for the vegetarian option of the haloumi and falafel burger which she was kind enough to let me taste.
Myself and Steve had a choice between a beef burger or a lamb burger with goats cheese; we decided to fuck shit up and order one of each and create a half beef/half lamb hybrid.
Again they were really good; my only complaint and this is not being levelled solely at this establishment; it's at a growing number of restaurants who think that it's suitable to replace a burger bun with ciabatta bread. It's not. It's too much. A buns primary job as far as I'm concerned is to hold its contents together on their voyage from plate to face. With ciabatta you've to do too much work to get to the good stuff; it's like a child proof cap on a burger. It's too tough, too filling and acts like a sponge leaving the overall burger eating experience a lot drier. Apart from that the food was delicious.
This leads me up to the aforementioned point in the night where we went for a few drinks and ended up in that less than ideal kebab situation but sure you know how that panned out.
Day 3 and wanting to banish the previous nights demons from my system I met up with Steve and we headed into town to get our breakfast on. We arrived at a nice looking spot called The Koffee Pot. As tempting as the prospect of Haggis for breakfast was I went for an old reliable fry up (no picture required) while Steve ordered Kippers. You're on your own there fella.
What arrived down to him was one of the more unusual plates of breakfast I've seen, a wedge of toast you could build a house on topped with kippers, a poached egg and wholegrain mustard butter. I sampled a bit of course... and while not horrified I happily returned to my full English breakfast.
Weekend over I set about making my way back to Ireland stopping only for some kind of a vanilla cream custard filled chocolate coated donut from Krispy Kreme which was pretty fucking spectacular.
Until next time Manchester, I'll try my best to be a little more adventurous but it's not really my style.
G'wan the lads