Tag Archives: Eat A Pitta

Blowing Away Some Big Cobwebs!

The Fabulous Dig Haushizzle,Rocking Dog

The Fabulous Dig Haushizzle

After the culinary savagery of the weekend there was still washing up to do on Tuesday. However I decided to throw in the towel and walk! Lovely calm friend and I decided to ditch ideas of a doggy muddy hike and to do something a little more gentle.

We didn’t have very much of a plan, but by the end of our foray I thought our trail was worthy of a blog post. Fellow Bristolian’s or visitors alike would find much to enjoy about our cunning plan. Calm Karen and I can promise walkers good coffee, lovely food, some extraordinary buildings, the historic docks and some quirky independent shops.

1. Parking. We chose to park on Portland Square (pay meter parking, cash or phone). Maximum stay is 4 hours and works out £1 an hour, that’s cheap for Bristol! Do not be tempted to park on nearby Brunswick Square as their maximum time limit is 2 hours. Parking sorted… let the trail begin! Please be aware that parts of this trail would be unsuitable for wheelchairs or prams (Christmas Steps and the possibly the changes in levels around St Nicholas Market) However, St Nicholas’s Market can be visited and circumvented cunningly, whilst the centre can be reached by staying on Colston Street, thereby missing out Christmas Steps.

2. Walk through the Bear Pit, the underpass (much more savoury than it used to be) and head past Loot and then onto Marlborough Street passing the Magistrates Court (Tesco will be across the road from you). Carry on walking, past the Bristol Royal Infirmary (the old bit), without realising it you will then be on Colston Street. Here on Colston Street you will find some eclectic shops which you may want to stop and peruse. Rag Trade is a great dress agency and I have picked up some lovely clothes there over the years. Further on, Makers and Blaze are unique shops to select unusual cards and gifts. A few steps on and you can enter a bookworm’s paradise, Bloom & Curll is a delightful secondhand bookshop and I adore it’s homely and eclectic style. Doug’ and Joe will each benefit from this literary visit. Keep Calm Karen and I then went slightly off piste by crossing the road to visit Dig Haushizzle. A real favourite of mine, I was disappointed that they had sold the lampshade I so loved. It looked as if it had come through moths, flood, fire, and neglect… but it had a certain charm! I know I would have had an uphill struggle to convince Andyman, especially since it had a somewhat eye-watering price tag! Somewhere there is a horror movie-esque lamp shade being coveted….. just not at the kennel! Track back across the road whence you came from.

3. Christmas Steps. You can’t fail to notice the wonderful set of flagstone steps which are the wonderfully named Christmas Steps. They are wonderfully atmospheric and it is easy to conjure up a picture of rather seedy Victorian life. On your way down the steep and worn steps there are a few interesting individual shops. Karen told me about 20th Century Flicks which can be found towards the bottom on the left hand side. Apparently she was invited to a cinema night there with friends. You can hire out the sweet little 11 seated cinema with a vast array of films to choose from. Sounds perfect especially if there is no noisy popcorner or rattly sweet opener sitting behind you!

4. This next stage is a little complicated as the centre is a tangle of road works, cones and taped off crossings (blooming Metrobus!). How ever you manage it, you need to cross to the other side of the road entirely. Try to get yourself into Small Street. Up on the left is a great place to drink lovely coffee (thank you Karen & Joe for the recommendation), Small Street Espresso. They also do delicious cake and serve everything with a smile. After refuelling head up past the Crown Court on your right and you will find yourself on Corn Street, notice the circa 400 year old nails where lots of business transactions were done. It’s where the term “Paying on the nail” comes from. On a Wednesday the Farmers market goes on here and it started in 1998. It happens to be one of the longest running farmer’s and producers markets in the country. You need to pass through the Grade 1 listed Corn Exchange building to get to our next destination.

5. Passing through the Exchange St Nicholas’s Market has an eclectic array of permanent stalls, some good, some tat and some frankly bonkers! Incidentally in the 1960’s the Exchange was a music venue and it saw the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Cream and  Spencer Davis play here. Carry on through the building and eventually you should chance upon the glorious glass arcade. Bristol was very badly bombed during WW2 and the glass roof was lost in the Blitz. Its roof was replaced in 1949 together with more recent renovation. You can eat food from across the globe here and it all feels very vibrant, fragrant and buzzy. I personally love Eat A Pitta. Close by is  Ahh Toots  a truly cakey spectacle and it sells good bread too. Flowers and fabrics, olives, cheese, lunch to go or to perch, a wheatgrass smoothie, raclette, a pie, the glass arcade is great. After picking up supper supplies head out to the back of St Nicholas Market (in line with the direction you entered the Corn Exchange building). You will probably find yourself passing through the covered market (again you will find the good, the bad and the ugly regarding stalls). You need to be heading for St Nicholas Street.

6. St Nicholas Street is where you’ll find Rag & Bone, another of my favourite haunts. If you aren’t into junk just pass on by! Directly opposite Rag & Bone there is a fabulous and rather regal water fountain set into the wall of the covered market. It looks like a very young Queen Victoria unlike the more matronly version (oops!) found near College Green, Bristol.

7. After dipping into R & B let’s head to the water! You’ll probably find a set of stone steps to head on down to Baldwin Street. You need to use the crossing to cross to the other side of the road. There are choices to be made here. You can walk on through to Queen’s Square and beyond OR you can walk along the cobbled street which is Welsh Back. Unfortunately due to buildings placed at the edge of the river there aren’t any great views along this stretch of water, just the odd glimpse. Eventually which ever way you choose to walk you will end up on a road called The Grove. Turn right along here there are some good places to eat (I love sitting out on the decking with a glass of wine and a platter at the River Station). Unfortunately over the years the Mud Dock has been rather inconsistent with its foodie offerings. Head on down to the bottom of the road (the Arnolfini will be directly in front of you on the opposite side of the road) and take a left turn. A bridge is coming up.

8. The newly renovated Prince Street Bridge will take you over the river Avon. Take a right turn onto the quayside and you cannot fail to notice the massive industrial cranes which make the harbour so iconic. Head past the M Shed  (if you wish you can while away some time learning about Bristols industrial past here). Bristols links with slavery is sadly not very pretty. Very Soon you will become aware of an area on your left which is very new to the harbourside. Wapping wharf is a development of shops and eateries. There are also a number of places to eat and buy art etc.. housed in shipping containers (how apt being a port city). We could have chosen to eat Spanish, noodles, fish, and any number of delicious foodie offerings but decided to carry on walking.

9. Journey’s end! We ate a bacon “doorstep” overlooking the grey water at “Brunel’s Buttery”. Unpretentious, it has been serving up delicious butties since 1980. Delicious!

10. If there was time you could follow the quay along to the SS Great Britain or you could hop on a ferry boat (either to cross to the other side of the Avon or for a leisurely pleasure cruise) Remember your 4 hour parking slot!

11. Our way back. In short, we headed back over Prince Street Bridge and took  a cobbled left then right, taking us past the front of the Arnolfini. Through the centre, through Broadmead shopping centre and into Cabot Circus (new shopping centre). We eventually arrived at House of Fraser (second level of shopping centre needed). Emerge by crossing to take you across the A4044 (Newfoundland Road). Directly across from you is Pritchard Street which will magically take you back to Portland Square and your car (hopefully minus a parking ticket!)

This might not make any sense at all, and I apologise in advance. My map reading has always been a little below par especially when I mistook a river for a road whilst on a journey with Andyman! Please let me know how you get on if you decide to walk this trail and i’d be grateful if you could share with any Bristol walkers, foodies or junkophiles!

It was a really lovely walk and many thanks to Karen for taking all the cobbled twists and turns with me. It certainly blew away the cobwebs.

More Dig Haushizzle!,Rocking Dog

More Dig Haushizzle!

Bookworm Paradise,Rocking Dog

Bookworm Paradise

Christmas Steps,Rocking Dog

Christmas Steps

St Nick's,Rocking Dog

St Nick’s

Pretty Cakes &...,Rocking Dog

Pretty Cakes &…

...Pretty Flowers!,Rocking Dog

…Pretty Flowers!

Regal Fountain,Rocking Dog

Regal Fountain

Love R & B!,Rocking Dog

Love R & B!

A Favourite View,Rocking Dog

A Favourite View

Alfresco Lunch In My City

Water's Edge, Rocking Dog

Water’s Edge

I met with a friend for an alfresco lunch in my city yesterday. Bristol was bathed in the most beautiful sunshine and the city looked glorious.

We passed through Corn Street and enjoyed looking at some of the amazing buildings in the vicinity. Corn Street is famous for its Nails. These four bronze “tables” are sited outside the Corn Exchange and were used by merchants to close a sale. Money placed on the surface of the Nail signified that a deal had been struck. This is where the saying “Paying on the Nail” comes from. The Nails are from different dates, the earliest being Elizabethan.

We decided to head to St Nicholas Market to see what took our fancy. “Ahh Toots” had its usual array of wonderful cakes dressed with gold dusted fruits, rose petals and pretzels. We managed to resist the temptation and bought a falafel and salad box at “Eat a Pitta”. Freshly cooked falafels were accompanied by a variety of salads, hummus, pickles and choice of dressing all for £5.50. Bargainous! We marvelled at the wondrous blue sky through the glass ceiling as we walked through to some green space.

Our alfresco lunch was eaten picnic style in dappled shade in Queen Square. The Square is used for many public events, but yesterday it had a sprinkling of lunchers, sunbathers and readers. The history of the square dates from 1699 when it was planned, and 1727 when it was completed. It was named after Queen Anne and was an incredibly fashionable place to live. In 1831 much of it was destroyed during the Bristol Riots. It was rebuilt, and now the majority of the buildings are offices.

We left Queen Square for a coffee at the Riverstation. We enjoyed gorgeous waterside views- such a perfect summers day. On our way out we loved Edward Allen’s stonking enamelled tin basin full of succulents and slender twigs. Yummy!

Our final port of call was a photo call at the ruined church of St Peter’s in Castle Park. The area was heavily bombed during the Bristol Blitz 24th-25th November 1940. The church has been preserved as a memorial to the civilian war dead of Bristol. During the Blitz 200 Bristolians’ lost their lives whist another 689 were injured. A beautiful sensory herb garden has been planted on one side of the ruin. Five silver birches meanwhile grow to represent the beaches of the D Day Landings.

In conclusion, a lovely sun blessed afternoon with yummy food and lots of chat!

Feeding Time, Rocking Dog

Feeding Time

Delicious Dogs Dinner!, Rocking Dog

Delicious Dogs Dinner!

Ahh Toots, Rocking Dog

Ahh Toots

The Glass Ceiling, Rocking Dog

The Glass Ceiling

Corn St. Nail

Corn St. Nail

Stone Angel, Rocking Dog

Stone Angel

Carved Beauty, Rocking Dog

Carved Beauty

River View, Rocking Dog

River View

Casualty Of The Blitz, Rocking Dog

Casualty Of The Blitz

Ed's Succulents, Rocking Dog

Ed’s Succulents

Sky & Spire, Rocking Dog

Sky & Spire

Plaid Bundles, Rocking Dog

Plaid Bundles

So, What Does the Weekend Hold For You?…

Special Cake Delivery, Rocking Dog

Special Cake Delivery

So, what does the weekend hold for you? I hope there are some lovely things to enjoy, be it friends to see, good food to eat or a bracing walk to be had.

Rocking Dog’s weekend is a bit of this and that. A large part of this and that will be clearing our cellar. It indeed resembles a sty and needs a good sort. There are paint tins galore, and enough china to stock a small hotel! Unfortunately, unlike my brother’s big clean out last week there will be no Gucci or Hermes handbags to uncover!

Our cellar was used by the previous occupants as an air raid shelter when the Bristol Blitz was underway (1940). Further back in time the cellar was used as a place to hang and store meat. The hooks remain as do the huge stone blocks with drainage channels. I wish I could say we use the space for storing an exquisite selection of wines, but alas not!

When the cobwebs are dusted from us, perhaps there’ll be the opportunity to see what’s going on in St Nicholas Market. There are always lovely things to eat and drink. Aah Toots and Eat a Pitta are favourites. Maybe a stroll around the harbour will follow with Real Live Rocking Dog.

If the weather allows the moss, oops! grass needs mowing and if time allows there’s a lengthy list of things still to organise for the Tipi wedding! I also really do have to get down to making Christmas stockings for a pitch. (No, no, you are not allowed to come out yet Michael much as I love you!)

On Sunday there are races to be run. Andyman is taking part in the Frenchay 10k run, a mightily hilly affair! Meanwhile our boy is doing the London Marathon and raising money for Sarcoma UK (Read why Alex aka Sick Note is running the race on this link). Thank you to all those who have sponsored him, truly appreciated. And…. yes, that is David Beckham with Alex in the photo below! Alex, in the course of his job gets to meet a number of high profile personalities but admitted being quite starstruck meeting DB. Good Luck boys!

Finally, there is indeed a special cake delivery to be made. Two very special people are setting out for new adventures over the channel and cake is such a British way of celebrating absolutely anything. Nigella’s chocolate cherry recipe complete with chocolate ganache is what I chose for the surprise cake. Unlike the icing depiction I’m not aware that the couple are going to be selling onions or life saving anytime soon! Bon Voyage Huw and Selina… happy sunny times we truly wish for you.

Lots to pack in and i’m sure there’ll be many tasks to carry over into another week or weekend…. but we can but hope!

Mowing The Moss!, Rocking Dog

Mowing The Moss!

Cellar Like A Sty, Rocking Dog

Cellar Like A Sty

Walk RLR Dog, Rocking Dog

Walk RLR Dog

Wedding Planning, Rocking Dog

Wedding Planning

Menu Planning, Rocking Dog

Menu Planning

....With Coffee, Rocking Dog

….With Coffee

Stockings To Make, Rocking Dog

Stockings To Make

St. Nick's Jaunt Perhaps, Rocking Dog

St. Nick’s Jaunt Perhaps

& Races To Be Run!, Rocking Dog

& Races To Be Run!

My Bristol..Honest It’s A Great City

Worth Coming To Bristol For...Ahh Toots, Rocking Dog

Worth Coming To Bristol For…Ahh Toots

I know i’m slightly biased but Bristol IS a great city. Yes, in parts it’s very rough around the edges, and like many cities bares witness to shocking examples of post war architecture. But ….Bristol has a vibrant beating heart, and if you know where to look, some gorgeous watering holes, architectural gems, together with green and watery landscapes.

I ventured into the hub of Bristol for sewing supplies on Friday, heading to St Nicholas’s covered market. Haberdashery carefully selected and paid for, I journey’d through the historical Glass Arcade. It was thronging with hungry workers and shoppers, debating whether to eat Caribbean, Moroccan, Mediterranean, Lebanese, Bristolian pies (Pieminister)….. or cake! Wow! “Ahh Toot’s” truly amazingly styled cake stall truly stopped me in my tracks, Sooooooooo beautiful. Their neighbour “Eat a Pitta” does the most amazing portable falafel pitta pockets, I can truly vouch for their yumminess! In short St Nicholas Market is a mere few minutes walk from Broadmead and Cabot Circus Shopping centres with their quota of bland generic eating places. It really is worth the walk to sample the proudly independent St Nick’s culinary global feast! Incidentally, on Wednesday Corn Street (one of the roads that leads into St Nick’s) hosts the weekly Farmer’s Market.

Walking across the centre (You’ll see the Bristol Hippodrome), Cenotaph and some rather non-descript modern fountains (known to some as the pissing men’s fountains!). Somewhat bizarrely I signed on for a career in the army in one of these central Bristol buildings.. but that’s a story for another day! Taking yourself up the historic “Christmas Steps” is very atmospheric and somehow quite Dickensian. The city stages open air film nights on these steps occasionally. Catching your breath at the top there are some lovely independent craft shops Makers and Blaze, a dress agency (Rag Trade) and a TRULY wonderful second hand bookshop, Bloom and Curll. My real favourite is Dig Haushizzle with its mouthwatering range of industrial come gothic come eccentric home loveliness. Thankfully it was closed when I took my photo’s… so my bank balance breathed a sigh of relief! If you want an unusual present the shop offers taxidermy courses, you can go home with a stuffed canary! The wonderful pinnacled John Foster Almshouses are reflected in the window.

Obviously this is a very small and blinkered snapshot of an hour spent in Bristol. The real crowd pleasers are of course The SS Great Britain, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Zoo, The Avon Gorge and Downs etc…etc…

Sunday we were down on the Harbourside at the Riverstation – lovely views, yummy food, calm friendly environment and artistic coffee!

If anyone ever wants a little custom made tour, i’d be happy to show you around My Bristol, especially if it involves foodie or vintage trails!

Naughty Ahh Toots!, Rocking Dog

Naughty Ahh Toots!

More Ahh Toots Style, Rocking Dog

More Ahh Toots Style

Glass Roof, St Nick's, Rocking Dog

Glass Roof, St Nick’s

A Favourite Haunt!, Rocking Dog

A Favourite Haunt!

Reflection, Rocking Dog

Reflection

Coffee Artistry!, Rocking Dog

Coffee Artistry!