Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.
(From “Oysters” by Seamus Heaney)
A plate of oysters. My starter during a meal at Donnelly's of Barna with my friend V, who first introduced me to Ireland and Ireland to me. Delicious!
photo credit: visityork.org
As a tourist honeypot, there’s plenty of places to eat in York. but during our recent visit we had some difficulty finding somewhere to eat for a quick midday meal. We wanted something more than a sandwich or ubiquitous Panini but didn’t want to sit down for a full blown 2 or 3 course meal in a restaurant. There were quite a few “teashops” and cafes serving not very exciting English style food, and all the usual chains like Cafe Rouge, Strada etc. They can be O.K. but we fancied something a bit different. Trudging round the streets of York for half an hour or so, it was getting a little late and I started to feel a hypo coming on so needed to find something quickly. Turning down a side street we came across El Piano in Grape Lane. I wasn’t sure whether it was a cafe or a shop at first, but there were some inviting odours wafting out of the front door, so we decided to go in and have a look.
It turned out to be a cafe-restaurant and found a table in the corner next to the window so we could watch the world go by. The menu looked interesting, with largely Mediterranean style dishes, so we decided to order. We decided to have a selection of Tapas style dishes – one Spanish influenced and another Greek style. It was meat free, but that wasn’t a problem. We ordered some tea but when we were asked whether we wanted soya or coconut milk we discovered that it was not only vegetarian, but vegan, and so dairy free. We decided to have milk free green tea!
The food was very good. A good selection of tasty dips and small plates with plenty of corn chips on the side. And it wasn’t expensive. The staff were very friendly and helpful too.
Apparently the restaurant is part of a chain – with the other two branches in Spain.
Eating out healthily in Memphis wasn’t easy. There were plenty of places serving good food, but in the main it was either fried or served up in a sweet sauce – not so great for a diabetic watching their diet!
One place I particularly liked was the Flying Fish on Second Street, just opposite the Peabody Hotel. It was quite informal – a large chippie really, but much better than most you’ll find in Britain.
The Flying Fish
It seemed to be very popular – it was always busy.
Inside the Flying Fish
They had an enormous menu and every time I went in there were people standing in the queue who were having trouble deciding what to eat.
Menu at the Flying Fish
Most of the food on offer was fried, but there were some more healthy options. Chips (or “fries”) came as the standard accompaniment, but there was the option to substitute other vegetables, and I chose to have red beans and rice. There were both alcoholic and soft drinks available. I drank ice tea which was on tap and you could refill as many times as you wanted. The food came with dips – tomatoe salsa and mayonnaise – and there were bowls of crackers and various relishes on all the tables.
I ate there three times. First time I had a “combo basket” of shrimp and catfish
During my second visit (Sunday lunchtime) I had an oyster “po’ boy”
I had my last meal there on my final evening in Memphis – this time I had two course, half a dozen oysters followed by a big plate of “boiled shrimp”
Overall the food was excellent and extremely good value.