Thursday, 18 June 2015

Eats | Pinche Pinche, Chapel Allerton, Leeds

Whilst visiting family in Leeds, they took me to an amazing little Mexican tapas restaurant called Pinche Pinche. Done out in a basic style, with sturdy tables and lots of cushions, this little restaurant served a wide range of foods, but most particularly, a range of tapas.

In view of this, we decided to order a significant amount of the tapas selection, to try as much as possible. We had guacamole, cheese balls, quesadillas, costillas, ceviche, sopes and tacos. When it arrived, it all looked beautiful, and when we took a bite, it was delicious.

Particularly highlights were the melting lamb tacos, authentic guacamole, refreshing ceviche and goats cheese balls with tangy, pink pickled onions. We ate more than we should, ordered more, and found we couldn't finish it. All in a friendly atmosphere, with attentive service and good wine/cocktails. We each paid around £30 for the meal which, considering the food we had, I was happy with.

I will be back. I will be having all I had before, and definitely trying the churros with chocolate next time. Watch this space.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

What I've Been Reading | May 2015

It's been a mixed bag this month with one long book (guess which one from the above photograph) consuming a significant amount of my reading time.

Banvard's Folly by Paul Collins

This intriguing little book had been on my Amazon wish list for some time after I heard a mention of it - possibly in another book. It is a collection of non fiction articles about - essentially - famous people who are no longer famous. These include the most prolific Shakespeare forger of all time, a Victorian Poet who sold 1.5 million copies of his poetry, the man who genetically engineer the first suitable grapes for American wine and another fellow who ardently believed that the Earth was hollow and sought the financial backing for an expedition under its surface. All the stories are about people who were famous, notorious, household names - and who now languish only in the history books, or not even there.
Some of the stories of these lives are amusing, some are poignant; some tell of lost opportunities, some of supreme stupidity or delusion. They are all fascinating. It's not too easy to get hold of the copy of this but if you can find it, I would highly recommend it.

Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns

Apologies for the bad photo of this one. This had again been a recommendation from somewhere and when I spotted it in the library the other week, I seized the opportunity to tick it off my to read list. Initially I was not overwhelmed by the premise - young Sophia marries in the 1930s, becomes disillusioned with husband, embarks on affair - but I decided to give it a go. Similarly, the style of the writing - innocence, naivety and almost comedy - was difficult to deal with during the first few chapters. However, as the story went on and the story becomes more serious - even distressing - the tone of the writing makes the story itself even more stark in contrast. Without giving too much away, there are some horrifying scenes in a hospital, and some heartbreaking scenes towards the end. 
Recommended - give it a few chapters, though.

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

I confess it feels like I have been reading this forever - I assume because I have been carrying it around in my handbag and it weighs a tonne. Ostensibly a story about Lata, a young woman who's mother is insisting on finding her a suitable husband, A Suitable Boy is in fact a saga about several interconnecting families, with broad themes including family, love, society and politics. It has been, so far (I am about half way through) a fascinating inside into 1950s India, with its residual collective memory of the British rule and of Partition. There are a large number of characters and the book is in multiple parts, but it does not feel unwieldy, or confusing at any point. The story is entertaining and the setting is evocative - I just wish it didn't weigh so much...