Cosmo, and the conundrum of the buffet restaurant

This post originally appeared on The Culture Vulture. 

It started with a pie…

Mum and Dad had taken us to Greece for our summer holiday. It was August, sometime in the late 90s, and it was bloody HOT. Energy zapped and tummies rumbling, we piled into the hotel’s air-conditioned buffet restaurant to escape the sear of the midday sun. Lunch was served on help-yourself silver platters, the contents of which incited inevitable grumbles from some.

“How the hell do you pronounce that, Clive? And WHAT is that?!” yelled the lady in front of me, picking at her peeling left shoulder and wrinkling her crimson nose.

“I don’t know June, looks a bit iffy to me. ‘Ere, just have some chips – safer than this foreign muck”.

They piled their plates high and sloped off, leaving me to assess the situation. There were the remains of the usual suspects – pasta, pizza and the few paltry chips left after Clive and June’s obliteration, but there was also a pie. There was something about this pie. Maybe it was the strange name, maybe it was the fact that nobody had touched it, but I had to try this pie. I served myself a slice, hurried back to our table, and took a bite. And that was it. A crisp, flaky wrapper of filo encased a filling so sensational that my mouth instantly waters every time I think about it. Salty feta on the brink of melting was entwined with irony spinach, imbued with the distinctive tang of fresh dill. Simple, but utterly magical; I’d never tasted anything like it and 20 years later, Spanakopita remains one of my favourite ever meals.

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Trinity Kitchen – A Sneak Preview

Pho, Trinity Kitchen

Remember when street food was a dirty burger from an insalubrious van on a Saturday night? Those days seem long gone now. Ever since the foodie world claimed it as its own, connotations of street food have changed beyond recognition, and you’re now more likely to pick up a gourmet pulled pork bun (brioche, of course), than soggy chips and a stomach ache.

Like it or loathe it, it’s here to stay, and I’m personally delighted that Leeds has embraced the street food craze with wide, open arms. From regular food festivals to world street food markets, our city centre streets are now dotted with a vast and exciting array of vans and vendors, their enticing aromas interfering with our shopping habits so that our quick nip into Boots will often come with a side of the best fish and chips you will ever taste (Fish&, I’m Looking at you!)

And that’s all very well in the summer, but what about when the great British winter sets in and Leeds plunges into a climate that’s decidedly unfavourable for al fresco dining?

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