One reason I run is so that I can continue to eat cake and drink wine, not usually together as in my opinion cake and wine is not a good combination. These days baking is quite the fashionable thing to do along with knitting and sewing and all sorts of stuff that previously no one under the age of 50 dared to admit to. Who knows it may soon be ok to confess that you have been listening to The Archers on Radio 4 since your 20s and not immediately be pigeonholed into fogeydom.
I digress. Today I am going to try to write about food – responding to a WordPress writing challenge to help get me blogging again – any port welcome in my writers block storm. When you are drifting in the blogging desert it’s hard not to see everything you write as contrived, pedestrian or to use the current ( but hated by me ) expression a bit ‘meh’ .
So in essence the challenge is to take yourself out of your comfort zone by writing about something you don’t usually write about, or in a style that is different. This exercise acts to liberate you and re-ignite your blogging mojo ( apologies for all the mixed metaphors).
I am going to attempt a restaurant review.
Like most people who appreciate food, I have quite strong opinions on what I think constitutes a good food outing – be that a restaurant, shopping, bar or coffee shop. I read a few food blogs and restaurant reviews and many are very entertaining. But in all honesty I can’t really see me making the leap from glutton to critic, not least because I reckon this reviewing malarkey would get in the way of eating !
A few Sundays ago, I had arranged to meet my old school friend for cake and conversation – we have known each other for almost 40 years, ( eek ) although this is only of modest relevance to the review. We had planned to go to Peter’s Yard on the Meadows in Edinburgh, but when we got there it looked busy and the cake choice was sparse, so I suggested we try this place I had wanted to visit for some time – my friend and work colleague Shauna had recommended it, and she is no slouch when it comes to recognising a good cake experience.
As a bonus the alternative venue Lovecrumbs was a brisk 20 minute walk from Peter’s Yard – and much of it uphill, so that would help us build up an appetite. ( I should point out at this stage that earlier that morning, I had run 5 miles so my calorie balance was already in deficit and with room for cake).
Lovecrumbs is located on West Port on the edge of the area referred by some locals as the ‘pubic triangle’, as nearby there are a number of lap dancing and show bars. Describing these seedy venues in such polite terms upsets me a bit, but this post is not about my views on the exploitation of women, or why society needs to feed this aspect of dubious male behaviour – I will save that for the other suggested writing exercise ‘rant’.
Anyway – I explain the location to give context to the chosen name of the lovely cake shop Lovecrumbs – it may be merely a coincidence but is the choice of name a witty reference or ironic nod to their choice of location ? or perhaps there is no connection, as it is true their crumbs are indeed very lovely.
I do wonder though just how many stray drunks – separated from their stag party chums may have inadvertently wandered into Lovecrumbs looking for something completely different.
Back to the Sunday outing of two middle-aged ladies.
Lovecrumbs decor might best be described as junk shop chic or faded elegance as it is kitted out with old mismatched chairs and tables,vintage crockery and some other quirky details that sit well with the mostly Art school and student clientele. There is no doubt that on entering the cafe we raised the average age by a good few years, but no surprises that it is favoured by students on a Sunday afternoon at the start of term time. 30 years ago I might have pictured my student self nurturing a restorative cup of tea and cake if only a place like this existed.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I don’t really care about the surroundings or even truthfully the other customers as long as the food is good and honestly prepared. It is becoming less prevalent now, but in the dark years of the 90s and before when convenience was king, ‘home made’ baking was a very loose description, and so often the tell-tale signs of perfectly formed cake and foil casing gave the game away.
As a home baker who can taste a real ingredient with the first mouthful, I much prefer a bumpy misshapen offering where you can properly taste the butter to one that is uniform in structure but leaves an aftertaste of chemical vanilla.
Cakes at Lovecrumbs are displayed in an old wardrobe , which is a nice touch and the menu hand written on a blackboard. The staff are attentive and carefully explain the individual quirks of the venue. One welcome quirk is a very practical solution ( individual thermos) to the tea shop dilemma and another of my pet peeves – never getting hot water to top up your tea.
I ordered a coffee and cardamom cake and my friend opted for the cream cheese chocolate brownie. The cardamom addition to a coffee buttercream sandwich was an interesting fragrant twist. We both had tea ( there are lots of tea options ) which came served in a Heath Robinsonesque contraption of a hand knitted* teabag suspended on a twig, served in bone china cups and a flask of boiling water to refresh our teabag brew.
It looks as if the the bags are individually filled with your chosen tea leaves, which although it looks a bit odd delivers a good cup of tea or two.
The cakes were moist and tasty , the tea was fresh and lovely and the conversation was good.
I hope to find time to go back to Lovecrumbs , probably out of preference on a day that is rainy or cold outside, and then I might sit for an age reading a book or a paper.There are lots of interesting cakes I would like to try, and so I urge you to visit Lovecrumbs, home of excellent cakes, friendly young staff and curious furniture.
* tea bags are not actually hand knitted 🙂