Leeds: Live it, Love it, Eat it

26 Feb

Eating out in Leeds: Jamie’s restaurant . Image courtesy of The Food Place

Leeds seems to have been built to welcome foreigners. The essence of Leeds stays in the crash or meeting of the different cultures, in other words, in the cosmopolitan aspect of the city.

Throughout the years, the shock of cultures have transformed Leeds into an empire of good taste since all different type of dishes that are served around the globe are close at hand, allowing the natives to discover the different cultures through the palate and providing the foreigners a warm welcome offering a home-feeling solely based on the sense of taste.

However, as it is known: if more options are offered, more chances are to get something wrong. Therefore some research must be done before stepping into the Leeds’ food land to rightly choose what better suits oneself.  Bloggers, who are usually ordinary people and most of the time work non-lucrative, can provide an honest and helpful opinion during the decision making process. Leeds’ food blogsphere is an endless dimension where researchers can found themselves easily lost, that is the reason why blogs written by Helen Simpson or Katie Bolton must be used as leading material.

Blogs are like good wine: the passage of time and the prestige that a certain brand has been building almost assure the consumer (in this case: the visitor of the blog) a good purchase. Food is not only a necessity but also a pleasure.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well – Virginia Woolf

Katie Bolton writes food blog Leeds Grub. Her personal aim since the day she created the blog was “to seek out some of the best eateries in Leeds, focusing on small, local businesses that serve truly tasty food that is also value for money”. Her ‘prestige’ as blogger can be stated by Leeds links: The City’s Top Food Blogs, a report published by The Guardian which qualified Bolton as a trustworthy food blogger; and at the same time, offered her perspective on some other blogs also dedicated to cuisine that she considered worth visiting such: Them Apple or The Good Stuff.
The Leeds Grub space does not give a simple advice on where to go. Bolton’s posts offer a good set of photographs of the food served (it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words) that are always backed up with her personal experience and thoughts. To conclude her posts she cleverly creates a section at the end where she ranks from 1 to 5: the presentation of the food, the taste, the ambiance of the place and also the service. She completes her work with the average price and with local’s address. Her blog does not always advice places to have big courses but also recommends places to have a bite, for example: Afternoon Tea Oulton Hall describes a typical English tea station that many foreigns, and also natives, would find overwhelming.

On the other hand, Helen Simpson writes with no fear about her food experiences on her blog The Writing of a Food Lover. She confesses that her biggest passion is the Italian cuisine even though her Jamie’s Italian Experience was not the most suitable. Differentiating from Bolton, Simpson frequents exotic places such as Thai Edge, which she strongly recommends or the argentinean Gaucho. Nevertheless, an ordinary burger carefully cooked with quality ingredients can become as exotic as a dish from Thailand, for Simpson a classic burger in Gourmet Burger became: “without a doubt, the best burger ever tasted”.

However, for many westerners no meal can be considered finished without the taste of good coffee. “Rich”, who writes the food blog mentioned above Them Apple, crucifies both Costa and even the beloved Starbucks coffee establishing Mrs Atha’s Coffee Shop as the ideal place for an authentic cup of coffee.

Leeds allows oriental visitors to enjoy their typical phrik nam pla, the South Americans to enjoy the famous and sweet dulce de leche and the West Europeans to enjoy a cup of coffee better than the Starbucks’. In other words, Leeds gathers different cultures by the art of cuisine, fact that makes the city not only cosmopolitan but also a good place to live when food is considered a pleasure of life.

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