Valentine’s at Juan Chihuahua

Mexican is definitely one of my favourite, if not favourite cuisines so when I had heard about Juan Chihuahua opening on Sauchiehall St, it went straight to the top of list of places to try. As this was our first Valentine’s as a married couple, I wanted to actually do something rather than stay in with a takeaway so we decided to head to Juan Chihuahua.

The restaurant is based in what used to be the O Couture club & is quite a large restaurant compared to others on the street. We were actually 25 mins early as we had been out for drinks but didn’t want to rush another before dinner. We were seated straight away & that was largely due to the number of free tables – only a third of tables were occupied. The restaurant looks different from the previous outfit with a bar to the right hand side as soon as you walk in, the walls adorned with mexican paraphernalia & a number of booths & tables dotted around the floor.

RoseTortillas & Salsa

As it was Valentine’s day, there were a couple of nice touches including a live Spanish singer & a rose in a bottle of tequila on the table! We ordered some margaritas (it would be rude not too) & I opted for the “skinny” margarita which in actual fact contains the same ingredients as a Tommy’s margarita which is one of the more traditional ways of mixing a margarita. The menu is quite vast, with your choice of all traditional Mexican fair including fajitas, burritos & tacos with some additional burgers & meat/fish based dishes. Our drinks arrived & I noticed mine had coffee beans on the top but when I queried it, the waitress said it was what I ordered. However, there was a language barrier as she was Spanish & in actual fact I was given a “skinny” espresso margarita which was quickly changed once I had pointed out the error. When I did get my margarita, I have to admit it was a bit disappointing as it was really sweet! There was a lot of agave syrup added to it which masked any lime flavour the drink should have.

Margarita

Our starters arrived quite quickly – I had opted for the queso fundido which was a soft taco containing marinated chicken, cheese, hot sauce & mixed peppers/onions. It was well flavoured but I couldn’t help feeling there was something missing from it as it was missing that wow factor. Al opted for quesadillas de pollo, which as it sounds, a chicken quesadilla. I tried a bit of this & in all honesty, it didn’t taste too much different from my own starter, just put together in a different way. The one good point about the quesadilla is the portion of salsa that came with it which had a nice kick to it & was really moreish! On both starters, there was a side salad with a house coleslaw on it & although it tasted a bit like the sort of potato salad you get in the supermarket, it was really addictive & I found myself scoffing the lot.

Quesadilla de PolloQueso Fundido

Our mains took a bit longer to arrive than our starters & I was glad of this as it reassured me that the food was being prepared fresh rather than sitting waiting to go out. I had opted for something I don’t normally go for, a pulled beer enchilada which was HUGE! The beef was accompanied with red jalapenos & red onions as well as the usual refried beans, cheese & sour cream on top. I have a love hate relationship with red jalapenos as I find them too sweet but they worked really well in this dish as they didn’t overpower the taste of the beef, which was melt in the mouth tender. There was also a pot of spiced rice which did have a powdery taste to it as though the spices hadn’t been fully cooked but after a squirt of fresh lime, it transformed the taste. I couldn’t finish all of my enchilada as it was just so big. Al had mixed fajitas (beef, chicken & shrimp) which came in an overflowing skillet with a cute tray with 4 portions of sides. As often with restaurants these days, the fajitas only came with 4 tiny tortillas which quickly vanished but it was made up by the fact that the tortillas were fresh & not shop bought.

FajitasBeef Enchiladas

If you are a mexican food lover, I would definitely recommend Juan Chihuahua as the food was fresh & not to mention the portions were large. Maybe some tweaks on their cocktails to refine the flavour but given that all of the juice in them is freshly squeezed, you can forgive a bit of sweetness here & there!

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Auchrannie Resort, Arran

Last weekend we visit the Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran. Instead of getting each other a Christmas present, we decided to go away after Christmas & Auchrannie was somewhere I had always had my eye on. By chance, in late November a Groupon appeared so we decided to book a weekend away.

We were lucky with the weather as previous weekends had saw the ferry cancelled & diverted to Gourock. Luckily for us, the sailing was smooth & the crossing took a mere hour. The Auchrannie provide transport from the ferry port so there is no need to bring your car (which costs £55 on the ferry!!). We only had to wait a couple of minutes for the bus to arrive & our luggage was promptly put on board.

Now I don’t know about you but when I think of a house hotel, I imagine a vast house up a gravel path sitting in acres of its own land. This was not the case with Auchrannie which was up a path but it is surrounded by other houses which I found a bit unusual. The resort is made up of 3 sections: the house hotel which is adults only, the Spa Resort which is family friendly & then lodges which are available to rent & buy as timeshares. We were staying in the house hotel which was the first drop off for the bus. The staff were very friendly & provided a warm welcome.

We were shown to our room which was just up the stairs from the reception. On entering, the receptionist mentioned that she found the room a bit cold but it should heat up soon. The room was well decorated & actually a bit bigger than other hotel rooms we had stayed in. The phone suddenly rang & it was reception informing us that they felt the room was too cold so they were upgrading us to a suite for free! You hear of this happening to other people so it was a total shock for it to happen to us! Our suite was AMAZING! It had a bedroom & lounge as well as the biggest bathroom I’ve ever seen! We quickly settled in before heading off for a wander.

Bathroom

The house hotel has 2 restaurants: Brambles & eighteen69. It also contains a small bar in the main lounge, a 20 metre pool & small gym. In the Spa resort, which is a few minutes walk away, there is the Cruize bar & brasserie, a 20 metre pool, a kids play area, spa & gym area.

That night we decided to have dinner in the Cruize restaurant. Going for dinner around 6:30 it was quieter than we are used to but since it was low season, the whole resort was generally quieter than normal. The Cruize restaurant is aimed at a more laidback dining experience with a varied menu with a gastropub feel to it. We ordered salt & pepper prawns & an antipasto board to start followed by a cajun chicken pizza & burger with japalenos & Arran chilli cheese (when in Rome etc). The meal overall was delicious! The prawns came in a light but not quite tempura & the salt & pepper seasoning was subtle enough not to take away the taste of the prawns. The antipasto platter did not have as much meat as I would’ve have liked but it meant that it was light enough for me to enjoy my main. The ciabatta that accompanied it was lovely & fresh. Our mains also did not disappointed. The burger patty was moist & quite large. The jalapenos & chili cheese went with the standard tomato relish that accompanied it. The pizza was a delight. It was quite large & full of peppers, onions, cajun chicken & jalapenos. It was also drizzled with sour cream which I don’t normally like but it contrasted well with the spice.

Tempura PrawnsAntipasto

BurgerCajun Chicken Pizza

We followed dinner with some drinks in the bar area which has normal chairs & table as well as a den like area which has a tv if you wish to watch something whilst having some drinks. I sampled a few cocktails off the menu which were a tad pricey (most over £7) but they were well mixed & tasted lovely. My particular favourite was the Auchrannie bramble – their twist on the classic bramble which was so fresh & fruity.

White Russian

Our rate did not include breakfast so we had the choice of either the house hotel or spa resort. We opted to head over to Cruize as it was slightly cheaper than the house hotel breakfast. We were greeted with a standard hot breakfast buffet with a continental selection which had a good selection of fish & Arran cheeses. The breakfast was nice & there was nothing you can really complain about. Only thing I wasn’t too keen on were the links which had leek within them. I found that a bit weird.

I could document our day but I’d rather not bore you with the details! That evening we had booked into the Brambles restaurant. We arrived on time but had to wait 5-10 minutes as our table wasn’t ready. We ordered drinks & were given menus to peruse so the wait didn’t feel too long. We promptly ordered after being seated – prawns were on the menu again with tempura prawns & the “famous” fishcake for starters & fiery hot chicken & pepper kebabs & tomato & chorizo mussels to follow. The tempura prawns were lovely, accompanied by a tasty tomato & chilli jam. I ordered the fishcake which I was apprehensive about since I have childhood memories of dry, tasteless fishcakes. I had nothing to worry about with this! The fishcake was filled with smoked salmon & haddock & accompanied with a sunblushed tomato aioli. It was filled with fish which meant you didn’t really notice the potato within the fishcake. It was a bit on the large side for a starter so I did struggle to finish it. Our mains arrived & I have honestly never seen mussels so big in my life! They were massive! The tomato & chorizo sauce was so flavoursome which makes a change from other restaurants were the mussel sauce can be a bit bland. The kebabs were not as hot as had been advertised. They came with tortillas, sour cream, guacamole & salsa. The accompaniments were very fresh, the salsa being very tasty but the guacamole had too much lime in it making it slightly difficult to eat as it overpowered the other tastes.

Salt n Pepper PrawnsFishcake

MusselsMussels

Kebabs

That evening we decided to have drinks in the house hotel bar. The lounge area is decorated in a traditional Scottish style with a large fire. The bar itself is small but well stocked. I ordered a margarita later in the evening & although they didn’t have all of the ingredients there, the bartender went to get lime juice & I had my drink 10 minutes later. The staff were also quite chatty & willing to chat away with the residents sitting in the lounge.

We left the next morning but I could’ve stayed there another night or 2. Overall, we loved our stay at the Auchrannie, I mean who couldn’t with a room like that! But in all honesty, the facilities were fantastic & the restaurants were definitely worth the visit. We will more than likely return & actually make use of the pool & spa facilities next time!!

A Foodie Heaven!

We’re back! After a long absence (almost 7 months!!), Get Stuffed is back! Apologies for the hiatus but our wedding took precedence & with the strict diet I was on, it would’ve been posts rambling about how much I was missing pasta, cakes, bread, alcohol etc!

We’ve also joined the world of Facebook so please give the page a wee like over there: https://www.facebook.com/getstuffedfoodie

A fitting first post back is about my visit to the BBC Good Food Show at the SECC yesterday. Oh my, what a foodie heaven that place was! Both my sister & I are big fans of cooking shows & always wanted to go along to the show. This year, we finally were able to have the time (and pennies) to go along.

Before going to the show, we’d decided to go along to see James Martin in the Super Theatre but when we arrived that show was sold out 😦 Instead we opted to go & see Tom Kitchin of The Kitchin in Edinburgh. Quite fitting actually, going to see a local chef at a local show.

We had a good couple of hours to kill before the show, which I thought would be more than enough time to see all the stalls – it was only enough time to get around most of the show!! There honestly was something for everyone – from cheese to cookies to gin (a lot of gin merchants!) to kitchen gadgets. Everywhere you turned, there were queues for various stalls & lots of tasters & freebies being handed out. What more could you ask for?!

We made our way around the stalls in our agreed on path – there wasn’t much logic to it! I could go on about each stall we visited but there were too many to mention! A few that stood out for me were:

St Andrews Brewing Co – A one man brewery based in St Andrews

St Andrew's Brewing Co.  St Andrew's Brewing Co.

Dough It Yourself – They have the St idea of selling cookie mixes in jars that just need an egg & butter added. Wish I’d thought of it first!

Hebridean Sea Salt – Regular, Peat Smoked & Seaweed rock salt from the Isle of Lewis. They had run out of peat smoked by the time I got round to them but you need to try it to understand how amazing it is!

Secret Sausages – They look like sausages but are in fact veggies stuffed in veggie casing. Genious!

A shout out does have to go the The Barnados Big Bake Off for the coolest cake of the day:

IMAG1190

Finally 3pm came around, much quicker than I thought it would, so we went off to the Super Theatre to see Tom Kitchin in action. He made 2 dishes – pumpkin soup served in little pumpkins & (I can’t remember the name) mackerel & orange dish. Both looked pretty tasty & I have to admit I will be attempting a pumpkin soup in the next week.

Of course I couldn’t attend the show without picking up a few goodies:

– Black Bean Sauce, Szechuan Chilli Oil & Hot Salt & Pepper spice from Kwan’s Kitchen (had the black bean tonight & it’s soooo tasty!)

– Cairn O’Mhor Cider (Ok I’ll admit they’re a regular at my local farmers market but the cider is pretty good)

– Cute Cupcake cases from Simply Vintage Designs

– Le Mesurier Hollandaise Sauce

– Funkin Cocktail Mixer (normally I would steer clear of pre-made mixers but these were really fresh)

– And of course how could I resist some Border’s Dark Ginger Biscuits!