Happy mediums remember, happy mediums. With that in mind I went to Fat Hippo Underground in Newcastle for national burger day. Fat Hippo Underground, takes the place of what was one of my wife’s and I favourite restaurants when we were dating, Starters and Puds which was great but maybe I bit too forward thinking at the time. It’s just past the Theatre Royal and down some stairs in a basement on Shakespeare Street, just off Grey Street once you walk past the theatre.
Anyway to the food, and drink. As it was National Burger Day there was a couple of one day only burgers, including a rather fine burger called Dr.. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, if you don’t like saturated fat look away now. A long with two 4oz patties (this seems to be the default at FHU), the brioche bun was filled with brie, parma ham, onion jam and caramelised pear. Served with sweet potato fries this was one hell of a tasty burger, that sweet and salty combo just set off the burgers brilliantly, maybe I didn’t savour the flavour enough as the burger was gone very quickly.
This was also washed down with a pint of the new in house IPA, brewed by Allendale brewery who are one of my favourite local independent brewers. They’ve been putting some beer on Allen Valley Velo’s prize lists lately, so maybe I should get cracking and train a touch harder, that way a certain t-total gent who won the last lot won’t have to give them away (He deserves all the victories coming his way given the way he commits himself, it’s easy to say when he’s a class act on and off the bike). Anyway the IPA was a really good brew, as I’d come to expect, I don’t drink enough to be an expert but I know that this went down well and had enough flavour to satisfy me.
So there we are I enjoyed a nice filling dose of protein and some saturated fat, which I personally think when naturally occurring is fine in moderation (like all food). Also I have to say one thing I’ve discovered as a cyclist is that my iron intake needs to be higher, so I’ve had to increase the amount of red meat I eat, obviously I also eat plenty of leafy greens too. It helps a little to offset any anaemia and also helps a little with my Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Also no I didn’t have a pudding, it was that filling.
So to summarise embrace the red meat, treat yourself to a tasty burger, and head down those stairs to Fat Hippo Underground. They do also have a restaurant in Jesmond, which is the original Fat Hippo, which I still need to investigate.
One thing that’s got me recently at more than one restaurant has been vegetables, you know the good old side dish of boiled vegetables. I’ve had two issues that have got me thinking, firstly over done veg you know the too soft kind that is probably the reason why some kids are put off vegetables.
Though secondly and more worryingly is vegetables carrying strong flavours which may work with one dish but not the rest of the menu, so that you end up with a flavour combination that just doesn’t seem to work, and more than likely the chef had never even considered.
To me both seem quite bad, why not put the effort in to getting right, after all it could be something that plants a seed of doubt in the diners mind.
The great thing about cooking and cycling for that matter is the ability to explore, I was reminded of this cooking my dinner tonight. After seeing a pasta shape I hadn’t seen before, Trofie, I decided to investigate what to do with it. I have a thing of using the right sauces for the pasta. So I discovered that Trofie originally comes from Liguria, funnily enough that’s where the Giro will start in 2015.
So despite not having visited Liguria, I got to explore this region through a very simple dish of Trofie with pesto, potato and green beans. I know first of all potato and pasta is a carb overload, well it would be if you used equal measures. The pasta is in a ratio of 2:1 to the potato. What I can tell you is that my attempt was very tasty in a light summery way, not packing a huge flavour punch, but still flavoursome.
Now maybe i could visit Liguria and see the Giro explore it next May.
One place I really like to visit when in need of a quick bite to eat when I’m in Newcastle on my day’s off is Ninety Nine. It’s a small take out place, they do have a couple of seats inside, where you can grab a burger, salad, or pasta to go. They describe themselves as gourmet fast food, and to be honest what they’re doing is sticking it to the corporate men who seem to dominate Newcastle, and other cities, food options, even better they’re doing it in a prime location.
So why’s this good for cyclists? Well, one I can’t be the only one who sometimes needs to get things done post training ride and is up against the clock, and put simply Ninety Nine can deliver what you want after a training session, clean food, healthy ingredients and plenty of protein and carbs (if you want them). Plus it doesn’t feel like you’re making a sacrifice, you’re eating a burger but a good tasty fresh and locally sourced burger, rather than a questionable thing that has gone through quite a few processes.
Yesterday’s Black and Blue burger certainly cured my hunger, especially after I went too long without food, and you know the trouble that brings with it - indecision, irritability, etc and post importantly for your cycling poor recovery.
Obviously if you’re not a cyclist Ninety Nine is still a great place to grab a bite to eat, and then take a few steps to sit at Monument, people watch and relax.