27/02/2017

Lean15 Series: French Style Cod with Black Olives


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

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26/02/2017

Afternoon Tea: Peckforton Castle - Cheshire


Grandma Baker very kindly gifted us with an afternoon tea voucher at Christmas, for Peckforton Castle, a beautiful hotel in the countryside of Cheshire. This being as my Uncle is getting married here in the summer, so we would get to have a chance to check out the venue beforehand.
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25/02/2017

Review: Ayo's Cakes & Bakes

Mint Chocolate Wafer Bark

We had kindly been given this box of treats from Leah herself at the #BloggersAreUs event.

"Ayo’s Cakes and Bakes was born out of a lifelong love of all things buttery, sugary and downright delicious. Be it for a birthday, wedding or something special to end the week I’m sure you’ll find something to tickle your taste buds."
(source: website)
Surprisingly, we managed to go through the rest of the night without eating them on the way home, that we were able to take pictures of it all, well almost..
Vanilla Cupcake & Spice Cupcake

Mixed Nut Palmiers

The cupcakes were not a part of the box, but we were lucky enough to be able to take some away with us - one of each flavour (missing the chocolate one, as James was too impatient to wait)

We had already tried the cupcakes and mixed nut palmiers prior to taking the box home, as during the event, they were beautifully presented at their stand and we are able to eat them, after taking photos of them of course. Absolutely loved them both, the cupcakes were so moist and perfect balance of icing.

Vanilla Shortbread Biscuits

The packaging was beautifully presented but we are aware that they are still working on their branding and still figuring out pricing for this treat box, so once we know the details, we will update this post for you.

The chocolate bark was a favourite, we're a big fan of mint chocolate but we don't have it as often, so it was a real treat - although we felt one piece at a time was just right, as too many would have been sickly, but that's a better way to savour them even more!

I'm a lover of all shortbreads and that heart shaped vanilla biscuit was so good, could imagine it with some dipping chocolate and that is what we call perfection.

Spice Loaf Cake

The spice cake was something different, almost like carrot cake without the carrot but still has the tastes. We decided to pair this loaf with some custard and it was just simply amazing, the moist sponge soaking in that warm custard.

If you're looking for some treats or hosting an event, we would highly recommend Ayo's Cakes and Bakes. Make sure to check them out and support this business.

Disclaimer: we had received these through the #BloggerAreUs event, we had not been asked to do a review but we wanted to support a small start up busniess. As always, all opinions and photos are our own.

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24/02/2017

Lean15 Series: Prawn & Noodle Stir-Fry


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

Serves: 2 Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 6 spins onions, finely sliced (49p)
- 2 clove garlic, finely chopped (50p)
- 400g raw prawns, peeled (£6)
- 100g mange tout, sliced in half (£1)
- 6 baby sweetcorn, sliced in half (£1.20)
- 8 midget trees (tender-stem broccoli) (£1.80)
- 400g 'straight to wok' noodles (£1.79)
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce

Total: £12.78

Instructions:

1. Melt the coconut oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the spring onions and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the prawns and continue to stir for a further minute.

2. Toss in the mange tout, sweetcorn and midget trees, along with about 2 tablespoons of water. Let the water bubble up and create steam to cook the vegetables. Add the noodles, breaking up the clumps with your fingers as you drop them in. Too to mix the noodles with the other ingredients, then stir-fry for a minute until the noodles are warmed through and soft.

3. Remove from the heat, pour in the soy sauce and fish sauce, then give the whole lot one last stir before piling onto a plate and munching away.

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23/02/2017

Lean15 Series: Bad Boy Burrito


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 500g sirloin steak, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1cm thick slices
-1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper, de-seeded and roughly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 6 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 x 400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 large tortilla wraps
- Small bunch of coriander, leaves only, roughly chopped
- Squeeze of lime juice

Total: £

Instructions:

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the steak and fry for 1-2 minutes, turning the meat a couple of times. Throw in the onion, red pepper and garlic and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the paprika, oregano and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss everything together for a minute. Chuck in the kidney beans and cook for another minute, by which time the beans should be warmed through.

2. Pile half the mixture along the middle of each wrap, then top with some chopped coriander and finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Roll up and gobble down.

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22/02/2017

Review: Quick Lunching with NutriPots


Nearly two weeks ago, we attended a blogger event called #BloggersAreUs and in our goodie bags, we had received some of these NutriPots. We had tried other flavours before when we were subscribed to Degustabox and really enjoyed them.

So when we got more flavours within our goodie bags, we just felt it was right to write a blog post about them. 


Are you always in a rush? Too busy for food? (okay no one is ever too busy) but instead of grabbing a quick burrito or burger on the go, you should grab yourselves a NurtiPot.

Just like you would with a Pot Noodle (assuming you do) - Boil some water and fill to the line, cover the lid and allow to cook - taa daa and your food is ready within 5 minutes. Simple.


The impressive difference is that these quick pots are healthier and nutritious, full with flavour and most importantly super easy and quick to make.

We've recently had these for no cooking lazy days, quick mid-day snack and even packed lunch for work. You just can't fault them, we hope to try more flavours - our current favourite is the Quattro Formaggi Pasta.


Disclaimer: we had received these through the #BloggerAreUs event goodie bags, we had not been asked to do a review but we felt they were worth it. As always, all opinions and photos are our own.

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21/02/2017

Review: Salt & Dry Strongroom Bar - Shoreditch, London

Special lamb curry - £13.50

We were again extremely lucky to be presented with a fantastic opportunity to review Salt & Dry's new inter-continental menu at Shoreditch bar and kitchen, Strongroom. 

"Salt & Dry is a busy bespoke event catering company, runs a fleet of extraordinary cooking vehicles, as well as designing menus for some of the city’s successful new restaurant launches, including Ethos, Rudies and Counter Kitchen. Their palette of dishes is truly international."


They have landed with a three month residency at Strongroom, cooking up a variety of food types from their own house-cured bacon, clean-eating salads and vegetarian dishes. They also lay claim to having the best burger this side of L.A (that will be tested out shortly!)

We were met by Georgy who we'd organised our visit with, and got passed on to Philip, one of the managers who was always very attentive, friendly and informative about his restaurant and bar. He explained how one of the workers Matt used to be a head at EMI records, and the musical influence had carried over to the bar and restaurant - check out the drinks menu disguised as a vinyl! They also host live music and quiz nights every week.

Poutine (home fries, beef dip & mozzarella) - £4.50, Hot wings £5.00

Back to the food, and we started sharing bites of hot wings, and beef and mozzarella covered fries - both of which were divine and extremely moreish. They were just the right size to warm us up for the main courses, which we could see being cooked up to our right side through the kitchen window. 


Having already thought she'd made her mind up with the chicken curry, Jessica was swayed at the last moment by the tantalising sound of the... lamb curry which was one of today's specials. It was so tasty and beautifully presented, although only because of Jessica's need for spice, it could have done with a tad bit more kick.

Hereford blade burger, melted onions, Jarlsberg and chips £13.00

My burger unusually came wrapped up, leaving for the big reveal. It was soon apparent why it was presented in this way, as it was in a very soft bun which especially in my hands, would've fell apart instantly. Personally, I wasn't a fan of how soft it was and therefore presented, but it certainly didn't take away from the taste. It was spicy from the jalapeños, and the burger itself was thick and juicy - just perfect!

Belgian chocolate doughnut - £2.50

To end with, the unusual desserts of doughnuts. But it didn't take long to realise they would become the highlight of the meal. They may look a bit too much after what went before, but they were both so soft, not sickly at all, and beautifully tasty. 

Blackcurrant and custard doughnut - £3.00

Overall it was a fantastic meal which will surely stand out against some tough competition on that street and area of Shoreditch. The service was faultless and every bite of food was delicious. We are already planning to come back on a quiz night with friends, and grab one of their apple and pear pies which sounded out of this world! 

Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★
Atmosphere: ★★★
Toilets: 


Disclaimer: this meal was complimentary, in return for a review. But as always, all pictures and opinions are our own.

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20/02/2017

Lean15 Series: Thai Green Curry


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

Serves: 4 Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 star anise (we didn't include this)
- 1 small aubergine, chopped into small pieces (70p)
- 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste (£1.69)
- 1 x 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk (£1.10)
- Handful of baby sweetcorn (£1.20)
- 450g raw king prawns, peeled (£3.30)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 limes (£1.20)
- 1/2 bunch of basil, leaves only, roughly chopped (70p)
- 1/2 bunch of coriander, leaves only, roughly chopped (70p)
- 1 red chilli, roughly chopped (60p)

Total: £11.19

Instructions:

1. Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the star anise and aubergine and fry for 1 minute, then add in the curry paste and half the coconut milk. Stir the paste into the milk, then increase the heat to maximum.

2. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk, then half-fill the tin with water, slosh it around and pour this into the pan as well. Toss the sweetcorn, then bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drop in the prawns and simmer for a further 2 minutes until they turn pink and are fully cooked.

3. Take the pan off the heat and chuck in the fish sauce to taste, the juice of 2 of the limes, the herbs and the chilli.

4. Serve up the curry in bowls, with the last lime cut into quarters for squeezing.

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19/02/2017

Lean15 Series: Joe's Chicken Pie


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

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Restaurant: The Priory Tavern - Kilburn, London

Braised Beef Short Rib served with Roast Desiree Potatoes, Honey Roast Carrots & Parsnips, Braised Red Cabbage, Seasonal Green, Homemade Farmhouse Gravy, Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Garlic - £14.50
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Event: Gin Festival @ Tobacco Dock - London


We were lucky enough to be invited to another fantastic event this weekend, and this time it would be the 3rd annual Gin Festival at Tobacco Dock. We would be in the company of a plethora of brands, over 100 different gins, cocktails and masterclasses from industry experts.

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17/02/2017

Lean15 Series: Eggs Baked in Avocado


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

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16/02/2017

Lean15 Series: The Body Coach Club Sandwich


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

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15/02/2017

Valentine's Day: Magical Lantern Festival


Last night, as we all clearly know was Valentine's Day. I know half of you hate it for whatever reason but whatever, it happened - so a bit of background story; originally the plan for Valentine's Day was simple, home cooked meal from James, pretty standard and we were happy with that idea, but little did I know - James had booked us a surprise, a surprise for me of course, which was super lovely and thoughtful.

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12/02/2017

Event: #BloggersAreUs @ Looking Glass Cocktail Club, Shoreditch - London


Yesterday (Saturday 11th February) was the #BloggersAreUs event hosted by one of our good friends, Ashlee Moyo from AshleeMoEvents.

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Restaurant: Sticks'n'Sushi, Covent Garden - London

Ebi Bites - Tempura shrimp, miso aïoli, chili, lime & coriander £ 7.80
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11/02/2017

Restaurant: Bibimbap & The Shan State, Soho - London

Bibimbap 

James - Chilli Chicken - Marinated in chilli, garlic and soy sauce with julienned vegetables, plus fried egg - £8.50
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10/02/2017

Lean15 Series: Cheesy Chorizo, Chicken and Spinach

- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

Serves: 2 Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 150g Chorizo, finely diced (£2)
- 1 Red Onion, diced (17p)
- 480g Skinless Chicken Breast Fillet, cut into 1cm slices (£3)
- 8 Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half (90p)
- 200g Baby Spinach (£1)
- 1 ball of Mozzarella, torn into chunks (80p)
- 40g Pine Nuts (£2.80)

Total: £10.67

Instructions:

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan, with a medium to high heat. Add the chorizo and fry for a minute. Add the onion and fry for another minute.

2. Increase the heat to maximum and add the chicken, along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir fry for about three minutes, by this time the chicken should be cooked through.

3. Throw in the cherry tomatoes and cook for a minute. Toss in the spinach and stir through until fully wilted. Use a wooden spoon to make little pockets in the chicken and vegetable mixture, then drop in small chunks of the mozzarella. Turn off the heat and let the mozzarella melt before spooning the whole delicious lot onto a plate, and scatter over the pine nuts.

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09/02/2017

Review: Polish Village Meals*


Pierogi z Miesem - Dumplings stuffed with pork and onions*
Pierogi z Kaputsa i Grzybami - Dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut and mushroom*
Pierogi Ruskie - Dumplings stuffed with potatoes and soft cheese*

A few weeks ago, we were offered the chance to try and review some Polish cuisine, following on from our first review with The Polish Bakery. How could we turn down this opportunity? And oh it did not disappoint.

On the packaging for the dumplings, there were three different ways to cook them. To create a fair review, we decided to go ahead and attempt all three ways to find out which gives the best results - out of boiling, frying and the microwave; we thought the best was frying.

All the flavours were so good, and as a lover of potatoes I thought my favourite would be that with the soft cheese, but the sauerkraut with mushroom ended up being our favourite.


Piers z Kurczaka w Pierzynce - Breaded chicken breast topped with mushroom and cheese*

We had received so much, probably a good 2-3 days worth of food. With it all being so good and fresh, we had to share with the family.

The breaded chicken was my sisters favourite, it was such a unique way of putting all these flavours and textures in one dish. The cheese made it seem like a pizza - although we felt to leave it in the microwave for a bit longer than suggested to soften the chicken a bit more.


Golabki - cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and pork*

Krokiety z serem typu greckiego i szpinakiem - pancake stuffed with spinach and cheese*
Krokiety z grzybami i serum - pancake stuffed with mushroom and cheese*
Krokiety meksykanskie - pancake stuffed with spicy chicken, chopped onion and vegetables*

Biggs - traditional Polish sauerkraut stew*
Kapusta zasmazana - sauteed cabbage*


Learning from the cooking techniques from the dumplings, we went straight in for frying the stuffed pancakes and we believe this would have been for the best outcome anyway.

Frying the pancakes gave it that crisp outside, which complimented the filling inside, especially with the one with cheese inside! Each all different to one another, with so much filling and flavour. They all complimented the sides of their traditional Polish sauerkraut stew and sauteed cabbage.

We enjoyed every single one in its own way, that we couldn't give you a favourite - they were all just so tasty and different.



Ciasto Domowe Z Owocami - Homemade Fruit Cake*

As we always say there is always room for dessert, although we have to admit, it was the first thing we ate and honestly didn't share with anyone else. I think from the fact that James ate half of this cake, it's safe to say this was his favourite.

It was just so moist, not too sweet and excellent balance in flavour - perfect with a good cup of tea! We will most definitely be purchasing this cake, and as I write up this post, I can just imagine how good it would be with custard!

*PR sample, sent to us for review - all opinions are our own

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08/02/2017

Lean15 Series: Salmon with Chilli Edamame


- This recipe is based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks -

Serves: 2 Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 12 mins

Ingredients:

- 2 x 250g Salmon Fillet, skin on (£4.30)
- 400g Frozen Edamame (£2)
- 1 Red Chilli, finely diced (65p)
- 2 tsp Honey
- 4 tsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp light Soy Sauce
- 4 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 4 Spring Onions, finely sliced (55p)
- 1 Red Pepper, de-seeded and sliced (50p)
- 25g Walnuts (£2.60)
- Handful of Rocket leaves (£1)

Total: £11.60

Instructions:

1. Bring two saucepans of water to the boil, then slide the salmon filet into one and drop the edamame  into the other. Simmer the edamame for 1 and a half minutes, then drain in a sieve and rinse in cold running water. Poach the salmon for 12 minutes or until just cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift out the fish and place on a plate. When it is cool, peel off the skin.

2. Meanwhile, mix together the chilli, honey, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and spring onions to make a dressing.

3. Tip the edamame into a bowl, and add the red pepper, walnuts and rocket. Pour over the dressing and toss the whole lot together.

4. Place the salad on a plate and serve the salmon on top. Serve and enjoy!

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05/02/2017

Restaurant: Urbano 32 - Bridge Street, Chester

Prosciutto, Rocket, Parmesan, Tomato, Mozzarella - £11

Tonight, we are also celebrating James' birthday (yes, still) but this time with some of his friends from Chester.

We decided to go here, Urbano 32, since we've both never been here before and considering our previous visit to their sister company across the road, Burger Shed 41 was a success, we thought their pizza would be a good shout for this casual dinner.

Nduja Spicy Sausage (very hot!), Tomato, Mozzarella - £12

We were joined with Josh, Libby, and our biggest fans, Jack and Lisa (jhezze triple date and that)

As a Londoner, regardless of the day of the week, Sunday, Tuesday, whatever, it will always be just as full as a Friday, okay but you know what I mean if you're from London but here in Chester, it's clearly the complete ends of the stick, as we were pretty much the only people in there and another couple at the front. We weren't really sure weather that made an effect of the atmosphere around us but nevertheless, we were happy within our own company and at least we didn't have to shout over each other.

Deep Fried Calamari - £6

As the cute couples we are, each couple shared a starter, with Josh and Libby sharing the meatballs, James and I sharing the calamari, and Jack and Lisa sharing the garlic bread. Not that we can say much for the others but clearly these starters were not exactly for sharing as James and I only had two pieces of calamari each, not that  complaining as I wasn't as hungry.

Chicken, Sun Dried Tomato, Pesto, Pine Nuts, Tomato, Mozzarella - £12

Chicken Caesar Salad, Croutons, Boiled Egg, Parmesan - £10

When it came to the mains and being in a specialised pizza place you'd expect us all to have pizzas, well most of us did, but me. I opted for a chicken Caesar salad, while James had the Nduja pizza, Jack and Josh got the pepperoni pizza, Libby with her Prosciutto pizza and Lisa with her pesto and sundried tomato pizza.

All was great, and surprisingly James got the hottest pizza and there and even left a slice, disappointing, as if o can talk, I didn't even finish my salad (clearly full) but never too full for dessert.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake - £5

Brownie with Vanilla Gelato - £5

Jack and Lisa decided not to get one, but James and I shared, omg yes shared! the white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, while Libby got her own and Josh got the brownie!

Once the meal was over, Josh and Libby had to head back as they had an early start the next day but apparently the night wasn't over for us just yet. Jack was ready to head out for a drink after.

It was such a lovely meal and to catch up with the boys, was basically exactly a year since we last saw them (James' last birthday) and finally meet the lovely girls. Hopefully it won't be a whole year til we see them again.

Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★
Atmosphere: ★★★



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Lean15 Series: What We Eat Post Gym


Since joining the gym earlier this month, we have been thinking more about what we eat - not that I, Jessica, want to completely change our way of food, but we thought that this would make an interesting and suitable series for us to share.

We are not nutrition expects or anything like that, so we didn't want to attempt this series on our own, so we thought with the help of Joe Wicks and his Lean in 15 cookbook. In this book, he shares smoothies, snacks and what to eat before and after working out - which is the type of guidance us beginners need.

So, as we are beginners, we tend to aim to go to the gym 2-3 times a week, so this series will be posted 3 times a week for when we do go to the gym, what we've made within the cookbook, how we felt about it and at the same time learn more about this lifestyle and hopefully incorporate it into our daily eating habits.

Also, following our previous Budget Series, we had asked if you'd like us to continue adding the prices of each item we bought and so we will for this series too.

Please note - disclaimer:
- These recipes are based on the Lean in 15 cookbook by Joe Wicks
- We do not have any allergies or have a particular type of food requirements
- The prices shown are based on the date of purchase and according to Tesco website
- These recipes may include the basics, for example, rice, onion, garlic - that we have not purchased
- These are not a sponsored posts (unless stated)

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04/02/2017

Restaurant: Chez Jules - Northgate Street, Chester

Crab cake with rocket and mayonnaise 

It's as if we don't know how to stay in one place! We are back in Chester and of course for more celebrations with my family and close friends. From arriving early morning and having a chilled afternoon, I was still unaware of where the meal was going to be tonight - right up until pulling up outside on the night!

Pork Croquette with Lentils 

With 17 of us all together, we had two big tables right next to each other. It's one of Chester's old famous and favourite restaurants, and we knew we were in for some good French food. They change their menu every single day, and offer everything from snails (which my' cousin Harry actually had), to some great steaks!

10oz Medium-rare Flat Iron 

It was a very busy Saturday night and the service was a bit messy in parts, but having worked in two busy restaurants before, I do always tend to be quite understanding in that kind of situation. There was a lot of confusion with who ordered what, and how did this person ask for their steak to be cooked etc, but in the end, everyone ended up to be full and happy!

On an occasion like this, it is the company that is most important, and that was of course the best part! I as always was very appreciative that everyone turned out for my birthday!

Banoffee Pie - Salted caramel, dark chocolate crumble

Despite having already had dessert, there was more to come as my cake come out. As you can see, it wasn't anything run of the mill as it was specially made - it was my car! Dad wasn't happy at all that it didn't come out in as good condition as it was given to them in. We're not too sure what happened to it, but it certainly still looked and tasted great!


Food: ★★★
Customer service: ★★
Atmosphere: ★★★


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