In Review: 63 Degrees, Manchester

63 degrees manchester
Arriving a tad too early for a dinner at 63 Degrees in Manchester ended up working to our advantage. With the kitchen buzzing for the night ahead, The Manfriend and I settled into our seats and launched into a delightfully informal conversation with the hostess.

There is a delectable intimacy to this little French restaurant that was clear from the get-go (even if we were the only patrons daring to dine at 6pm).

In regards to the food, the menu would make up my dream meal plan. The choice was quite literally so difficult we had to form a dish-sharing committee of two. He, enviably, had a starter of pan-fried scallops with truffle and lamb’s lettuce salad (Saint-Jacques poêlées, truffe et salade de mâche) placed in front of him while I started with a small plate of stuffed pigeon and foie gras (pigeon royal farci au foie gras). As we shared forkfuls of each other’s starters, it all became a little audibly pornographic. This is that kind of food.

With The Manfriend on a truffle kick, his beef fillet Rossini with potato puree and truffle (Filet de boeuf Rossini, purée à la truffe) arrived shortly after we licked the first plates clean.

That, and my Native Lobster.

I don’t often eat lobster in the UK. Nursed on a mix of Floridian and le Midi-an seafood, I tend to save lobster feasts for places tried and true. Lobster in Manchester? I had an – untrustworthy – inkling…

As you could probably guess, both mains were exemplary.

Soaked in tarragon butter, the Homard Bleu au beurre d’estragon was the poster child of guilt and joy. Managing to look up from the lobster long enough to feign an interest in the beef fillet, I am forced to attest to multi-skilled magic of 63 Degrees: each bite is truly perfect.

And, when paired with an impeccably light Feuilleté de pomme de terre (potato in puff pastry), the maker of a very happy man.

Skipping a tempting wine list to save room for ‘afters’, we finished the meal with a rave-reviewed chocolate and caramel fondant with candied chestnut ice cream alongside a selection of matured French cheeses. In a restaurant that so obviously sources fine ingredients, the cheese board is always a must for me. Dare I say the Camembert, Goat’s cheese and a Comté induces quasi chocolate-euphoric feelings.

We are dying to return already.

63 degrees manchester
63 degrees manchester
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The Weekend Wonder – Sophia Bush

sophia bush

“I think the greatest thing that we can do is take care of each other.”
- Sophia Bush

Oil Pulling 101

oil pulling 101

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling – or oil swishing – is the practice of swishing oil around your mouth. Not all too fun a concept when put literally, eh?

The catch (and the reason the internet is going wild over it) is, when oil pulling is done right (see below) you experience some really phenomenal health benefits.

What does oil pulling do?

Ready for a laundry list? Many people have experienced different benefits from oil pulling, but the most common results include cleaner teeth and gums, whiter teeth, general detoxification, clearer skin, as well as an improvement in conditions like arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, eczema, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems, and PMS.

How do you do oil pulling?

In a nutshell (get it? GET IT?!), you swish one to two teaspoons of oil around your mouth for twenty minutes at the start of your day (pre-breakfast). Though many people find it hard to ‘pull’ for the full twenty to begin with, starting at five minutes and working up towards twenty over a week or two tends to work for most people.

Similar to the concept of oil cleansing for the face, high quality oils are able to cut through plaque and detoxify the body through one of the most porous (read: dirty) places in the human body, all without disturbing the teeth or gums.

After twenty minutes, you should dispose of the residue (an ugly mix of oil and detoxed saliva) in a toilet, flush, and brush your teeth as per usual. It is important to remember not to spit it down a sink or drain (which can cause blockages) or swallow the oil (which is full of toxins and bacteria at the end of the process).

What are the negatives of oil pulling?

As long as you’re not swallowing the ‘leftover’ oil, you will be happy to know there is no harm in oil pulling. At its most extreme, the only side effects reported have been mild ‘detox’ symptoms in the initial few days; mild congestion, headaches, mucous drainage -

What oils do you use for oil pulling?

A pure-as-you-can-get-it vegetable based oil (coconut, sesame or olive work best for me).

Shop The Oils:
Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil from Fushi
Organic Cold-Pressed Sesame Seed Oil from Pukka
Extra virgin olive oil from Punta Licosa

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Happy Towns

happy towns
This week, Twinings Infusions launched a  ‘Make Work Wonderful’ portal on The Huffington Post. With a few of my Northern friends sharing their opinions about one article in particular, I was quickly sucked into the Britain’s Happiest Workers: 10 Towns Where You’ll Find Them conversation.

Having spent the last four months enjoying the spoils of Leeds (and the surrounding areas), it was no surprise to see a few Northern towns on the list. What I did find surprising, however, was the absence of London. LONDON! Though places like Luton have the fastest broadband in the UK, the fourth-lowest pollution, and high scores in the job satisfaction and work equality stakes, it does not hold a candle to London in my eyes.

I think I brings up an interesting debate. Though I was born and half-raised in England’s capital city, London evokes complete Marmite reactions in people:

You have the lifers: Be they raised in London or not, they would never dream of leaving. They know every secret bar in Soho, their own personal Top 10 list of Best Burgers, and know how to convince a pedal-bike driver into giving them a free ride at 4am. Ahem.

You have the in-betweeners: They live in London but don’t care too much about it. The in-betweeners tend to live beyond Zone 3, will go for drinks ‘in the city’ once a month or less, and are likely to be saving up for ‘the future’ (aka the chance to move out of London).

You have the fearful: Bright lights, big city? It’s just not right for some people. I tend to forget that these people exist until I’m back in Indiana (where I went to high school). Corn fields, little city? It’s just not right for some people.

Until recently, I considered myself a lifer. Now splitting my time between London and Leeds, I suppose I’m an in-betweener. Just not an in-betweener that you’ll ever find living in Luton.

What factors do you believe contribute to making a ‘Happy’ location? Would you trade living in your favourite city for a bit more disposable income?

In Review: Cloud 23 Afternoon Tea, Manchester

cloud 23 manchester
In the middle of a very busy day of meetings in Manchester, the business partner and I felt we deserved an indulgent break on the 23rd floor of the Hilton hotel. At the tippy top of Manchester’s tallest building, Cloud 23 is known – if not for its cocktails – for its afternoon tea.

Offered from 12 to 5pm, Cloud 23 serve their afternoon tea rather traditionally: a selection of finger sandwiches, a scone with cream and jam, and a selection of cakes with unlimited tea or coffee. The non-traditional side of things came down to the views: from 23 floors up, Manchester is simply captivating – a sight that contributes hugely to the overall atmosphere.

Opting for a pot of full-bodied Long Jin green tea, we were quickly presented with our tower of tea things. To my delight? A moist slice red velvet cake and dreamy little scones. To my (not so delighted) surprise? The ‘finger sandwiches’ were miniscule: a quarter slice of tuna sandwich, a quarter slice of ham sandwich, and a two-bite cheese wrap. Though there was nothing unbecoming of the savoury options, they absolutely did not justify a minimum £19.95 per person price tag. A shame, as everything else was comparatively lovely.

By the recommendation of our excellent server, we reached ‘full’ by pairing our last few bites of cheesecake with Pommery’s 4 Seasons champagne tasting board. Featuring 50ml flutes of Brut Rosé, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, and Extra Dry, the extra bubbly pounds spent turned out to be great value for money.

With the right tweaks made to the savoury options, Cloud 23 has the chance to be a phenomenal afternoon tea hotspot for the North.

cloud 23 manchester
cloud 23 manchester
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