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DISCOVER GLASGOW

By DiscoverGlasgowOrg, Oct 14 2015 11:07PM


As a Glaswegian, when I hear someone say ‘There’s a new food place opened up…’ my first thought is always a sarcastic ‘Great! Another burger place…’

It’s not that I don’t like burgers. Or burger restaurants. Quite the opposite, in fact. I adore them.

It’s just…there’s a lot of them in Glasgow. All next to each other, like a wee burger city, ready to create absolute havoc by having people like me stop dead in the street for 10 minutes while I decide which one to choose from.


So when The Trading House in St Vincent Place began its marketing and pre-launch communications , showing off its horse-drawn stagecoaches, illustrations of hot air balloons, and two dapper chaps called Mr Peculiar and Mr Particular to name a few, I was curious as to what they could bring to a thriving market that would be a bit…different.



The double decker horse and carriage
The double decker horse and carriage

Housed inside the Citizen Building on St Vincent Place, you’d be forgiven for walking past and not initially noticing that the construction work has finished and the magnificent red sandstone building is now the home to The New World Trading Company’s first venture in Scotland.

Once inside though, it’s anything but modest, revelling in its globe trodden sophistication.

The venue mirrors the feel of the East India Trading Company, but doesn’t overdo it. You’re not tripping over wooden elephants, or served by people with fake handlebar moustache’s and Abraham Lincoln top hats. There’s just enough of the little touches to convince you that you’re not in Glasgow (I may have tried to steal one of the fancy hanging lamps, but apparently that’s frowned upon - who knew?).





 The all-important Almanac of Ale
The all-important Almanac of Ale

They currently boast an Almanac of 80 Ale’s which include some of Scotland’s best - chosen personally by the company’s Beer Guru. These fine ales, wheat beers, and stouts sit comfortably beside quite an extensive gin selection. My advice would be to dive into the Almanac and not be afraid to try some of the stuff you’ve never heard of - the Delirium and Gamma Ray were favourites of ours!

If you’re feeling fancy, then there’s an extensive cocktail selection to mull over. All are Trading Company twists on traditional favourites such as Cardamom Old Fashioned and Raspberry Amaretto Sour, and if you can’t decide, ask the bar staff! They've had extensive training, and were forced to try every item on the menu (such a hard life!). They’ll even give you some background to the drink, and how it was made or named (again, such a terrible job…).



One of the many tasty cocktails on offer
One of the many tasty cocktails on offer

The food menu is equally as impressive and varied, without being confusing or offering too much to choose from. The kitchen itself is being run by Martin Kane, who has previously manned Darcy’s in Princes Square, and also the famous Willow Tea Rooms.



To start I tried the goat’s cheese & tomato quiche, and was amazed at what should have been a standard, boring dish being dressed up in what my Dad describes as a ‘fitba pie’ shell. It was fantastic, with nae a soggy crust in site, and just the right size so as not to fill you up. I have it on great authority that the Basket of Wings is a great choice also - not too greasy!




For main course I went for the Malaysian Chicken Curry while my friend chose the 9oz Rump Steak. Again, the portion sizes were just right - the only thing I struggled with was it was a tad too spicy for me, but that's personal taste rather than a complaint. My companion’s plate was licked clean in 10 minutes flat. I’m not a steak connoisseur, but I'll take that as a positive sign.



In the evening we returned to try the cocktail making class, before switching over to the Ale Room, specially designed with a focus on lagers. The walls are teeming with history about the drink, housing framed mounts of different keg plugs. We sampled a dozen of the lagers, ales, and oddities that are available on The Trading House menu, smelling the grain used to make each one.


It is a testament to a town built on beer that this restaurant and bar has managed to bring something fresh to St. Vincent Street. Taken individually, these individual points would simply be plusses in a review. But The Trading House is more than a sum of its parts, it’s a friendly space filled with tasteful delights, with a slightly eccentric aesthetic that makes it homely and yet exotic at the same time. We look forward to trying all 80 beers on sale, but by then we are sure the knowledgeable Beer Guru will have found another score for us to sample.



Self-made cocktails at The Trading House lesson
Self-made cocktails at The Trading House lesson

We wiled away the afternoon with a few ales and cocktails, while the staff continued to surprise us with their knowledge of the food and drink. The accompanying live music was decent but not too loud, an acoustic set presented by pair of guitarist singers. It was at this moment that we were presented with the dessert menu, and realised that we were definitely liking this place. I tend to judge restaurants based on their sticky toffee pudding. Some are really sickly sweet, while others are overdone and dry. Then there are those that are too heavy and can't be finished, but I am happy to say The Trading House has nailed it. It was really spongy with a smooth sauce, and a dollop of ice cream on the top, and is hands down the best sticky toffee I've eaten. Relief!





By DiscoverGlasgowOrg, Aug 7 2014 07:04PM

When I set up Discover Glasgow, I did so with the sole purpose of making a site that celebrates the city. If our tweets or coverage has ever strayed into politics, it has been tied to the city itself. I’ve had a few tweets and messages that discouraged linking Discover Glasgow to either the Vote Yes or Better Together campaigns, that it sullied the enjoyment of what Discover Glasgow is. So just for the record, the opinions stated here are my own. I choose to post them on the Discover Glasgow blog because it seems like a relevant outlet for this topic. The referendum on September 18th is going to affect this city, my city, your city, so it is very relevant. To those who wish to enjoy Discover Glasgow unsullied, please ignore this blog post. For those who are curious about why I am voting Yes, read on.


I was undecided for quite some time, dwelling on what it might mean, or what it might not mean, for Scotland to gain its independence. I spent the best part of my 20s living in London, and loved my time there, so I do not think I could be accused of being biased towards the English, or indeed the rest of the UK. I have family in Wales, and friends in all parts of Great Britain, but, let’s be honest, it’s not that great. The country has had issues for a long, long time, and many of these come from social and economic disparity. If Scotland were to have full control over its own budget, then we may see less Scottish people relying on food banks, projects that I have contributed to. So here, in no order, are the reasons that have swayed me to vote yes.


POLITICS

Alex Salmond is right in that Scotland is often governed by politicians it did not vote for, highlighted by the fact that Tory government have one MSP in the Scottish parliament. Not only that, but Westminster is an archaic beast, filled with a flange of politians who seem to do little else than shout and bicker at one another. These are mostly old men, guaranteed their high salaries, subsidised bar, and gold-plated pensions. Some may even be enrolled into the House of Lords, which as an institution has avoided much needed reform. In contrast, the Scottish parliament sessions are civil, and how I imagine a country should be run, not by a screaming squad of old Etonians acting as if they are in the schoolyard, or worse, a zoo. It is all for show though; I have witnessed first-hand politicians in London from all parties laughing over drinks and enjoying dinner together. It’s the theatrics of spin that rubs me the wrong way, and in the modern age of social media, they are fooling no-one.


THE BETTER TOGETHER CAMPAIGN

As a filmmaker and screenwriter, the Better Together and No campaign offended me on so many levels. I’m a regular cinema goer, and having to be inflicted with two of the worst adverts ever made each and every time was painful. The first, featuring five ‘hip’ young Scots, was filmed in a studio draped in blue. The people picked were not only all within the same age bracket, but none of them could act, or appear to care. The second, with a smart ‘No’ voter dressed in a suit, poking holes in the dishevelled looking ‘Yes’ voter’s ideas, was a blatant rip-off of the distasteful Mac vs PC adverts. That and the information being communicated was factually inaccurate, which led to actual booing and jeering from cinema audiences around Scotland. The Vote Yes advert managed to at least tell a story about a child growing up, show off places in Scotland that we know and love. It was well-shot, fairly well scripted, and cohesive in its message. It’s a shame that complaints regarding the first two meant that this also had to get pulled.

THE CURRENCY DEBATE

I’m pretty sure every Scottish person that has ventured south of the border, especially to London, will have had their Scottish noted rejected at various English stores. You can spend US Dollars and Euros in London, but not Scottish Sterling. So I don’t see why we couldn’t have our own currency, we practically do anyway! But to be serious for a moment, I think the currency question is the own goal of the Better Together campaign. It’s a threat tactic to suggest that Scotland would suddenly not be able to use the British Pound. If a currency union was not found, Scotland could either join the Euro, or make its own currency. All of these options have their pros and cons, but to say Scotland will suddenly be without money is preposterous. If Scotland vote Yes, the money won’t suddenly combust. For all the experts and politicians who have bandied together to say that a currency union is impossible, at the end of the day, if Scotland vote Yes, these opinions and views will no doubt suddenly change. The threat of a country without a currency seems like the last trick in a political playbook of a desperate campaign. Scotland’s independence would be a gradual uncoupling, during which the currency question would be answered. We will have a currency union, make our own currency probably linked to the pound, or join the Euro like the Republic of Ireland did.


TELEVISION

As a population Scotland contributes far more to the BBC License Fee than it gets in return. ITV could not even be bothered showing the recent debate, which was probably just as well given how mishandled the whole event was, from the format, to the questions, and the perplexed audience that inhabited the cheap-looking set. As a filmmaker and screenwriter, there are so few opportunities in Scotland, yet there are so many talented cast and crew that I feel an independent Scotland would allow for a better use of that talent, instead of the constant migration to London. Sure, Scotland TV can sometimes be cringeworthy, but that’s because so little of it is made. Let’s get back to the good old days of Taggart and Hamish MacBeth.


CELEBRITIES

A gaggle of celebrities, mostly English on inspection, have come out in support of the Better Together campaign. As much as I love JK Rowling’s books, Mick Jagger’s music, and Dame Judi Dench’s films, these people are far removed from the people of Scotland, both in terms of geography and money. The letter they co-signed spoke of a joined citizenship, yet an independent Scotland does not mean this will suddenly end. It is not a divorce.


CHANGE

The main reason I am voting is for change. Will it be tough? Sure. Is it uncertain? Indeed. But something has to give, something has to change in Great Britain to address the imbalance of power and wealth. If we vote to keep things the way they are, the rich will only get richer, the poor will only get poorer, and our country.


To borrow an apt phrase from one of England’s best known scribes, an independent Scotland is an undiscovered country, one which I would very much like to explore.





By DiscoverGlasgowOrg, Aug 4 2014 09:49PM



Last night, we wished a fond farewell to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The eleven days of sport proved to be uplifting and inspirational, for the people of Glasgow, its welcome visitors, and the economy of Scotland. There has been this amazing buzz around the city, from fans queuing to get their photo with the Big G, eager adventurers discovering the various Clyde statues dotted around the districts, and spectators recalling the highlights of whatever sport they had been watching.


I was lucky enough to be at the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony, two days before the actual event. Like it or loathe it, it was a hilarious and tear-jerking event, made more grounded by only some of the famous faces appearing, with their stand-ins wearing vests to let us know that they were not going to be there on the actual night. They provided a lot of banter, from the Queen’s stand-in to the numbered Flag Bearers. “Please Welcome Flag Bearer Number One!” boomed over the tannoy. A well-wisher on the crowd screamed “Go on Number One!” The hilarity continued after the event was finished, with some great banter with the many Clydesiders guiding us on the way home.


And that really summed it up; general good spirits and tongue-in-cheek banter. On the Closing Ceremony last night, Hazel Irving said something along the lines that Glasgow 2014 has allowed people to see Glasgow in a great light, and to allow us to shed the awkward stereotypes that mar our reputation in other cities and countries. That is the Glasgow I see every day. That’s why I set up DiscoverGlasgow.org. Its been here since well before the Games, and it will hopefully flourish long after (or as long as I can afford to maintain it). I have been discussing with other people some ideas to expand and collaborate on in order to push Glasgow even further, and I hope to reveal those more in the coming months.


If you want to see some of our choice pics from the Commonwealth Games, please visit our Facebook Page.





By DiscoverGlasgowOrg, Jul 8 2014 06:03PM

Glasgow as a city has many sights, but one that is lacking is a zoo. Up until 2003 there had been a zoo, but funding issues and questions regarding the treatment of animals led to its demise.




However, Glaswegians can make the hour journey to the capital to see the wonders of Edinburgh Zoo. The sun was shining on the day that we visited, with many of the animals lolling around in the warm daylight. We arrived to be greeted by a family of meerkats, and left having met both of the Pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, who it was announced might be pregnant!



We also were lucky enough to see the elusive Golden Cat, pawing the window, eyeing us up for lunch. The excellent zoo keeper, who we also met at the eagles talk later on, said we were very lucky to get the photos that we did.





The penguins were of course out in force, flying through the water right under our feet!



The only real disappointing aspect of the visit to the zoo were the humans visiting at the same time. I personally wish for greater animal equality in my lifetime. I think hunting and killing animals to extinction in this day and age of dominance and self-sufficiency only shows how utterly backwards we are as a species, whether it be rich cowards shooting lions, poachers stripping elephants, or whalers harpooning their catch. Some would say that it is hypocritcal to visit a zoo, where animals are locked up, and hold these views, but zoos often provide shelter for animals who may have died in the wild. Not only that, but they help educate and nurture our own understanding of the animal kingdom, and our growing position as guardians to these beautiful creatures, both big and small.




Yet two instances at the zoo made me angry beyond belief, and ashamed to be human. The first was a young family who brought their five or six year old son to the zoo. With a large toy gun. Seriously.




The second was a middle aged woman banging on the glass of the leopard habitat, trying to wake the poor cat up. It was almost beyond comprehention, but then I realised that this person and the group she was with had it in their heads that the animals were there to amuse and entertain. Some of you may agreee, but I'm afraid I do not. Edinburgh Zoo is a great place to visit, and children and adults alike will be fixated by the wide range of animals. What it is not is a circus. The handlers, helpers and volunteers clearly love their jobs, evident from speaking to them, and hearing them offer facts and stories about the animals as if they were people. That's what I chose to take away from my visit.


Our full set of photos can be seen on our Facebook page.




By DiscoverGlasgowOrg, Jun 18 2014 10:53AM

No matter what season it is, sometimes you just want to indulge in a big, juicy burger. We've been sampling many of Glasgow's eateries to find the ultimate desination for burger connoisseurs. In descending order:


Number 5 - Ad Lib




Coming fifth is not a discredit to Ad Lib (there were many, many eatieries that have not placed in this list). The burger's hear are a cut above the standard pub fare, whether you are eating in the City Centre branch on Hope Street or the Merchant Cityone on Ingram Street. What really makes Ad Lib stand out from the crowd is the Monster Burger Challenge, which dares you to devour a 3lb Aberdeen Angus Burger within two hours. SUcceed and you get the meal for free, along with a T-shirt to prove you have the stomach of a glutton.


Number 4 - Bar BLOC+



One of Glasgow's most chilled out bars not only offers regular support to local bands and free gigs to its patrons, but its kitchen also cooks up a really great burger. Not to be missed.


Number 2 and 3 - Burger Meats Bun and Bread Meats Bread




It is almost impossible to choose between Glasgow's two newest burger joints. Despite a bitter rivalry involving the similar names, their menus are very different. Bread Meats Bread is slightly more expansive, but is also more expensive. Burger Meats Bun wins points for serving Gosling's Ginger Beer, but its a basement restaurant so lacks the people watching that the cornerside Bread Meats Bread offers. That location comes at a premium for space though, so you may be queuing for a short while, but good things come to those who wait. Try both, and make your own mind up.


Number 1 - Nice 'N' Sleazys by Meathammer Ltd




Meathammer's burgers are simply the most tasty and inventive this side of the hemisphere (they would be challenged for the crown by Fergburger in Queenstown, New Zealand). From the Murderous Hog to the Behemoth, these burgers will make your mouth water when you read the menu, but leave you feeling very satisfied by the last bite. Meathammer serves out of Nice 'N' Sleazys on Sauchiehall Street, although for any Westenders, they have now expanded to the Record Factory, although you will have to put up with the mob of students residing there.


One to avoid - Cocktail & Burger



While the temptation of 2 for 1 burgers was enough to draw us into the dingy basement restaurant, the age old lesson of quality over quantity was ever present. The burger itself was so-so, but we had to wait 40 minutes for our accompanying fries, while the two waitresses gabbed at the desk. With little apology once the error had been corrected, we swiftly finished our chips and left, never to return.


So there you have it folks. Have you had a tasty burger in somewhere other than the places that we mentioned here? If so, let us know, so we can expand on our list.



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