Falling Forward: A Girl & Her Lists

The Best Places to Eat in Cardiff – The Chains

Posted by in Food Exploits

Last week I wrote a post on my favourite places to eat in Cardiff. I’ve split it into two posts, the Independents and the Chains, altho I have fairly loose rules for what constitutes a chain! This week it’s the turn of the chains – there are plenty in Cardiff to choose from, but some are definitely better than others.

The Chains*

*I say chain, I mean “has at least one other location outside of Cardiff, usually more.

Wahaca

 St David’s Dewi Sant Cardiff, 7 Bridge Street, Cardiff CF10 2EF | 02921 670 414

Oh, Wahaca. You only moved in recently but your sweet potato taquitos have totally stolen my heart. Their first location outside London, the Cardiff branch of Wahaca is beautiful inside and out and is a great addition to the city centre (if you like Mexican food). Bonus points for the Gluten Free menu they have and the totally amazing hibiscus water.

Bill’s

27-39 Wyndham Arcade, Mill Lane, Cardiff CF10 1FH | 029 2023 1524

I know some people who find Bill’s a bit hit and miss and while I can understand that I normally enjoy myself, so it’s going on the list. They’re not so  great if you’re going for a GF diet – some of their staff are more knowledgeable than others and their hollandaise sauce inexplicably contains wheat – but the majority of their food is solid, tasty fair. Ignore their breakfasts and go for lunch or dinner, your stomach will thank you.

Mission Buritto

The Friary, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF10 3FA | 029 2022 6677

I am so happy that Cardiff finally has a city centre burrito place, you have no idea. Doubly happy that they also offer rice and salad boxes and that you can basically have as much guacamole as you can fit in the box for a nominal price. I hear their burritos are pretty good, too ;) There’s not a huge amount of eat-in space, which makes it more of a summer eatery for me (burritos are way too messy to eat on the go), but otherwise two thumbs up for Mission Burrito. Nom.

Cosy Club

St David’s Dewi Sant Cardiff, 1 Hills Street, Cardiff CF10 2LE | 029 2022 5998

Cosy Club is another Cardiff chain that has a great Gluten Free menu – hurrah! They’re sometimes a little slow with service, but the food is worth the wait, I promise. They also have an amazing cocktails menu if you’re into that kind of thing (I am 100% into that kind of thing, fyi).

The menu changes fairly regularly and there’s a great selection of tapas, so if you’re a fan of the small dish revolution that seems to be happening everywhere these days then Cosy Club is a good one to check out.

Bangkok Cafe

207 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF11 9AJ | 029 2034 0455

Last but by no means least, we have Bangkok Cafe – purveyors of the best Thai food in Cardiff (in my opinion at least). Technically they were  chain since they also used to have a restaurant in Swansea, but not really a chain chain, if you get what I mean, especially since that venue has now apparently closed. (Sad times for Swansea residents. Move to Cardiff, kids).

I love the food at Bangkok Cafe – it’s fresh, vibrant and pretty reasonably priced. It can be a little on the spicy side so be careful what you order if spice isn’t your thing (it’s not mine either, don’t worry). Fret not tho, there are plenty of things on the menu for non-spice lovers, I urge you to check it out. & maybe take me with you? Thx.

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So that’s it – my totally informal, 100% bias guide to eating in Cardiff. Let me know where I should try next! :) I’m looking forward to Five Guys opening next week…

The Best Places to Eat in Cardiff – The Independents

Posted by in Food Exploits

I’ve lived in Cardiff for just over four years, and in that time I’ve had the chance to eat at over 50 restaurants, cafes, diners and eateries. (Yes, I count. You should not be in any way surprised by this by now.)

I thought it’d be fun to put together a list of my favourite places to eat in Cardiff, for people who’ve never been, or haven’t visited for a long time. If anywhere is missing from here it’s probably because I haven’t eaten there yet (an idea for another list, perhaps!).

I’ve split it into two posts, the Independents and the Chains, altho I have fairly loose rules for what constitutes a chain!

First up:

The Independents

The Potted Pig

27 High Street (underneath Zizzi), Cardiff, CF10 1PU | 02920 224 817

Situated in a former bank vault, The Potted Pig is my all-time favourite place to eat in Cardiff. Not only is the food delicious, but the lunch menu is reasonable, the Sunday roast is out of this world and they have 21 different types of gin behind the bar. Sold.

Best for: Sunday lunch or a boozy lunch meeting.

Riverside Cantonese

44 Tudor Street, Riverside, Cardiff, CF11 6AH | 02920 372 163

My second favourite place to eat in Cardiff – Riverside restaurant is just outside the city centre (in Riverside, funnily enough) but it’s only a 7 minute walk from the train station, so still a reasonable place to grab lunch if you’re in town. Riverside is a Chinese restaurant but the magic lies in their Dim Sum menu, so make sure you visit between 12-5pm to partake.

This is where we eat with Q’s dad when he comes over from Macau. If that’s not a good enough recommendation I don’t know what is!

Best for: Eating so much dim sim you have to roll yourself home, while still getting change from a twenty.

The New York Deli

20 High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB | 02920 388 388

Nestled in the High Street Arcade, the New York Deli is practically a Cardiff institution. Giant hoagies (a soft baguette to you and me) filled with all manner of fun like salt beef, pickles and swiss cheese (the Rueben is my favourite in case you haven’t guessed), you can also get salads, soups and bagels if you want something a little less gut busting. The menu is diverse and flexible, so don’t be afraid to substitute or go completely off piste. Their Christmas bagel is particularly amazing and, best of all, the sell Snapple. Hurrah!

Best for: MEAT. They have vegetarian food and it’s good, but their meaty fillings are superb. (Wait, that sounds rude…)

Wally’s Kaffeehaus

38-46 Royal Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AE | 029 2022 9265

Wally’s is great for buying lots of strange, intriguing foreign foods that you want but don’t necessarily need. If that sounds like a negative, it’s not – I love all of their products with a (perhaps) slightly unhealthy obsession with their chorizo. Mm.

They also have a coffee house, tucked away up the stairs where the breakfasts are filling but light. There’s a slant towards Austrian food and it’s great, so if you’re a fan of sausage (watch it) then I’d really suggest you give it a try one day. Their hot chocolate is also top notch.

Best for: A lazy breakfast, people watching over the Royal Arcade.

The Corner House

25 Caroline St, Cardiff CF10 1FF | 029 2022 8628

The Corner House is one of those places that we don’t eat at often, but when we do it’s good. It used to be our local of sorts before we moved house, and we’d often stop in with friends to grab a drink or two – they have a nice cocktails list and offer mulled cider in the winter, a Mia fave.

Their menu has moved more towards upmarket British classics recently, which is a move I wholeheartedly approve of, although steer clear of the deep fried halloumi, Sarah wasn’t a fan!

Best for: Drinks that turn into dinner that turns into ordering two puddings each.

Cafe Citta

4 Church Street, Cardiff CF10 1BG | 029 2022 4040

Cafe Citta is a firm favourite with my (half-Italian) boss, so I’m surprised that it took me so long to eat there. In fairness, we’d tried a couple of times before only to be turned away at the door – Cafe Citta is really, really tiny so try and go at a quiet time or book ahead if possible.

The food is delicious without being pretentious  – hearty Italian fair (you’ll find all the usual pizzas and pastas here) but far, far better than anything Pizza Express and Prezzo have to offer.

Surprisingly, there’s also some quite decent food for gluten free eaters like myself – I had the aubergine bake and it was amazing.

 Best for: Cosy, authentic Italian food.

Madame Fromage

18 Castle Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BW | 029 2064 4888

If you live in Cardiff, love cheese and haven’t been to Madam Fromage yet then I really don’t know what to do with you. Tucked inside Castle Arcade, they have a wonderful cheese counter full to the brim with local and international offerings. They also have a tiny cafe, where you can orders platters of their beautiful cheeses. Do this often, they are delicious.

Best for: Indulging your love of weird cheeses.

Pen Y Lan Pantry

72 Kimberley Road, Cardiff, CF23 5DN | 07854724980

Pen Y Lan Pantry is situated a couple of miles outside Cardiff City centre, but is on plenty of bus routes so don’t be afraid to go exploring for it one day. They offer a great selection of artisanal cheeses and meats, with homemade cakes and pies thrown in for good measure. It’s quite a small venue, but it’s full of charm and they even have a small shop section if you’re feeling inclined to recreate their goodies at home.

Best for: A quiet brunch when you’re tired of the city.

Y Mochyn Du

Sophia Close, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF11 9HW | 029 2037 1599

Y Mochyn Du is another one that’s a little bit outside the city centre but don’t let that put you off. It’s a bilingual pub, with Welsh speaking staff and menus so it’s a great place to go if you want to practice your Cymraeg! :) Their food is also delicious, especially the Sunday roast. Trust.

Best for: Practising your Welsh while stuffing your face.

Truffles

2-3 Church Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF10 1BG | 029 2021 0242

Truffles is one of those places that seems to have been in Cardiff since the dawn of time (in reality it’s been around since the 80s I think) and it doesn’t seem to have changed much since it was first opened. I like that tho – there is something wildly comforting about the lack of pretension at Truffles. The menu is honest and traditional, their roast is another one to seek out if you’re visiting / hungover (or both). It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it’ll be worth it, trust me.

Best for: Time travelling to the 80s (in a good way).

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This post ended up way longer than I expected, ha. Look out for the 2nd part in the next few days, featuring the so called ‘chains’ of Cardiff. They’re still good, I promise.

In the meantime, let me know where else I should be eating – I’m a big fan of food in case you haven’t noticed ;)

Friday Thanks

Posted by in Friday Thanks, Projects

Dear Cardiff,

Thanks for being so easy to fall in love with. You have quiet spaces and an awesome library and you feel like home to this redhead – no mean feat to someone who grew up 200 miles south west of you.

Love

Sarah

See other Friday Thanks here (or here) or visit the original inspiration for the project here.

New Office

Posted by in A Little Conversation

We moved into The Morgan Aracde Studios in Cardiff recently and it gets the most amazing light, almost all day.

Shadow

Look

Stairs

Fire Exit

Box

It was nice to pick up my camera after months of just snapping shots at events, rather than anything creative. I’ve got a film waiting to be processed with more shots from the office, I’m excited to see how they turn out!

I’m running a giveaway that ends tmrw! If you like books and money you should check it out since I’m giving away both :)

The Weekend In Pictures

Posted by in A Little Conversation, My Life In Lists, Projects

The weekend was lovely. Jools and Ian came to visit us and bought homemade rocky road from Portsmouth and St John’s doughnuts from London. Both were incredible. (Nom!)
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We met up with a gaggle of twitter women and Saturday night was filled with cocktails, of which there are no photos. Oops! But I managed to tick another three off my life list wish of try 100 cocktails, which was ace. (& I didn’t wake up with a hangover, double bonus). For lunch we took Ian and Jools out for dim sum, along with Liz and Scott. Pretty sure everyone enjoyed themselves, there was barely a scrap of food left so I think we did okay!

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Then we headed to Cardiff Bay to check out the food festival with their pretty bunting and gorgeous ice cream…

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and also introduced them to the wonderful weirdness that is the Ianto Jones Memorial wall. Good times!

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It’s nice when people come to visit you. It’s especially nice for me to show people around my new home, it makes me feel like a proper resident, heh. Thanks for coming, guys :) it was awesome.

It’s Been A Long Time Coming…

Posted by in A Little Conversation

But boy are the changes coming now. Two weeks today and Q will be making his way down the M5 to Cornwall, coming to pick me up and take me to Cardiff, with all my stuff, to stay. For good.

Let’s just absorb that for a second shall we? [feel free to make a cup of tea or beverage of your choice whilst I reflect on exactly how long I have been waiting for this and how amazing it feels for it to be right around the corner.]

I cannot wait to get there. In a tooting my own horn scenario I am massively proud of myself for throwing off the ‘financial retard’ (*snort*) shackle left to me by my previous boyfriend (thank you so much for that, dear) and saving £1200 in four months so that I am able to move to be with the love of my life. Fun! I’ve got enough money behind me that I can theoretically be unemployed for two months (but oh god, please don’t let me be unemployed for two months), I can enjoy my time and actually get to spend more than 5 days in a row with my boyfriend.

Those of you who know me well will realise what a turnaround this last twelve months have been for me. Those who don’t might think it strange that in the last year I’ve seemingly gone through houses, jobs, counties and relationships like outfits that don’t fit. It’s not as simple as the story portrays, so altho some people might think I’m (or we’re) rushing, I don’t. I think I’m finally moving towards the things I’ve been waiting for for a long time. Things I had all but given up on finding at all.

Love is amazing.

Letting Go

Posted by in A Little Conversation

My hair is too long and it’s flicking out over my ears when I put my glasses on. It makes me feel a little self conscious, feeling these tufts – not long enough to have weight; not short enough to be neat. They’re my default now, the first place my fingers go to when I am thinking or fretting – smoothing out the kinks again and again and again, unable to keep them straight. I tuck them behind my ears time and time again but I always find them flicked out whenever my fingers creep back.

I didn’t get selected for an interview for the job that I’d applied for. The new people to the game might have been surprised by my reaction but I wasn’t. I’m sure they were ready for tears but there weren’t any, just that beautiful sense of release. For all the stress and worry I put myself through in the run up and the wait, once the news comes I am surprisingly stoic – a quality I can probably thank my genes for.

I can stop wondering when they will get back to me, if it’ll be a phone call or an email or a letter on the mat. Whether or not I will be able to afford the ticket home, if I have the right clothes to wear or the right things to say. My stress levels are back down to zero (for this particular portion of my life at least, other things continue to cause problems but I am nothing if not good at compartmentalising at least) and I am calm for the first time in weeks.

It might have been different, perhaps, if I’d been beaten by a narrow margin. Just missing out on something is always more heart wrenchingly gutting. This job, however, had 145 applicants. Let me reiterate that – one hundred and forty five people. The fact that I matched their nine essential criteria but not the one desirable would have kicked me out in the first round under those circumstances, and I certainly don’t envy them the process – how the hell do you even begin to choose?

There will be other jobs, and I will apply and possibly there will be more disappointment in the future but I’m not low and I don’t feel sad about this one. For now I’m going to concentrate on having a lovely weekend with the boy who makes my heart beat faster; god I love that kid. My only sadness really is that I don’t get to spend a few more days with him this week – he’s been sorely missed during the past four.

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Ebb & Flow

Posted by in A Little Conversation

It’s the little things that wear you down. The itchy eyes in the morning when you wake up after another night of endless dreams. The fact that your petrol light is on, again. The man in the office that won’t stop jingling the coins is his pocket when he talks to you and refers to emails as ‘pinging’ things.

It’s the little things that pick you up. The friend who sent you the yellow roses for your birthday, as a surprise. Getting a film developed and finding a beautiful photo of the boy you’re falling in love with that you’d forgetten you’d even taken. Having the house to yourself for a night, empty and peaceful for the first time in months.

The days since my birthday have been full of ups and downs for me. It started high, predictably crashed when I left Cardiff and returned to the real world of Cornwall and my lack-lustre enthusiasm for a job I’m doing but don’t really understand why. Nobody seems to know what my role is, I think mostly I’m just here to keep it available for the woman I am covering maternity leave for. I don’t really seem to have a sense of purpose or urgency here, everything is ‘whenever you can do it’.

It stepped up again briefly, when  there was a moment last week when things seemed impossibly real. The possibilty of a break from the endless drudgery of saving, saving, saving that unfortunately didn’t come to fruition. It was strung out for days and by the end of it (which was yesterday) I was at my breaking point. Funny, really. I knew I couldn’t bank on it and by the end I was fully expecting to be told ‘no’ but when it came I was still disappointed.

It’s hard to get that balance right, between hope and overconfidence. The epic application form has been completed, sent off and delivered. The interviews are scheduled for later this month so I guess either way I will have my answer by the 27th, a small relief. I want to feel confident about it, everyone tells me I should. But I don’t. My brain is telling me that these things come in packs; rejection and disappointment. I know it’s rubbish – everything is just as likely to happen one way or another regardless of whether or not an unrelated thing failed yesterday but oh, it’s hard.

I’m not unhappy but I am hardened. I’m not expecting any of these things that I need to do to be easy because at least that way I am vaguely protected against the possible failure. I just need to remember not to let the hardness creep in and start to spoil my chances. Like I say, it’s a hard balance to hit.

I’d love to just switch my brain off and coast for a few weeks. Anyone want to take over?

27th Birthday, Come In. Your Time Is Up.

Posted by in A Little Conversation

It’s Wednesday now. Not a traditional time to start celebrating the weekend but since I am up off the M5 again tomorrow after work (and since I am leaving at 3pm tomorrow it hardly even counts as a full day) I am going to put my party hat* on right about now. My birthday plans have changed so many times this year I’ve almost lost count but I’m so excited about this weekend that I don’t really mind now.

I wanted to go on holiday, but people had plans or exams and it wasn’t feasible. I asked Andrew to plan it, but it turns out I actually have zero money, so that awesome idea was out. (which is a real shame.) Then I was going to ask people down here, but after the stress of planning it last year I decided to gate crash a friends birthday party instead, which is on Saturday.

With a bit of neat planning on our part Issue two of Télégramme launches on Sunday, i.e. my birthday (have I mentioned this enough yet?) and I’m really hoping I’m not too hungover to tell you all about it, ha. But if I am then just assume that “fnarghhh…” all over my twitter means that it’s ready, okay? I’ll do my best to be coherent, but given the inevitable amount of rum I will consume on Saturday I can’t make any promises.

As it is I’ll be wearing this:

plus these:

and seeing him, all of which makes me happier than I should possibly admit. So come the fuck on, Thursday. I can’t wait to get there.

*I do not actually have a party hat. I do have a pretty nice trilby tho, so I might wear that.

Catch Up

Posted by in A Little Conversation

This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind one, but fun all the same. Barely any pictures taken, mostly because I was too drunk to hold the camera, but it was aces, I promise. You should have been there.

A friend and I headed up to Cardiff on Saturday to meet some other friends. The highlights included a horses mask, dancing!, a stop wanking sign, kinder eggs, dancing!, bad mojitos (actually, make that really terrible mojitos), catch ups with long lost pals, DANCING! and did I mention there was some dancing?

Lowlights: chips with cheese and gravy. Wtf?

edit: I forgot to mention the epic Usher marathon, and a certain stubborn welshman who wouldn’t stop singing along. Funny as hell.