February 2018 marks the 7th anniversary of my eating adventures and, as ever, I'm excited about what the coming months will bring for us foodies! In case this is your first visit (if not, welcome back), I'm a 30-something female with a very healthy appetite!...I promise to share with you my experience of each restaurant, café or bar in which I set foot...so, let's go out!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Pelico, Bristol

Working outside of Bristol’s City Centre can often mean that when the hour of luncheon is nigh, the options for satisfying those hunger pangs are few and far between. Those working in North Bristol (I’m referring to the likes of Aztec West, UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus and the multitude of establishments that inhabit the nearby business park), have an arguably raw deal – given that succumbing to the University’s rather pricey catering outlets is second to a sweaty power-walk to the closest Sainsbury’s. If you’ve got more than thirty-minutes or a set of wheels at your disposal, you could bag yourself the likes of a McChicken Sandwich, a cheeky Nandos or the best that Costa Coffee has to offer at the Gallagher Retail Park, but if not, you may well be particularly interested in the post that follows…

Date and Time: Friday 20 January 2017, 12:30pm
Name of Service: Pelico, Bristol*
Location: Currently delivers to UWE Bristol (Frenchay Campus), Aztec West, the Bristol Business Park and BS1
Reason for using this Service: Limited lunchtime options

Working for UWE Bristol means that interaction with the student population is commonplace and this, besides provoking a degree of bemusement, (“so you’ve set up a hammock on the VC’s lawn”…“Are flip flops really appropriate footwear for November?”…And so on), the innovation and creativity that they bring to the workplace that I’ve been committed to for the last eleven years is one of the major plus points amidst the day-to-day grind. And, amongst the engineers, architects, music therapists and graphic designers are the Team Entrepreneurship students –  those enrolled upon a course that encourages individuals to build on their business aspirations beyond that of a prototype in order to start-up their own company to generate revenue from us; the general public. Enter Pelico – the brainchild of co-founders Alex and Leyth who have set up a lunchtime distribution service that strive ‘to deliver nutritionally balanced meals that taste great’. And trust me…they really do! For just over a humble fiver, you can order a lunchbox to rival that belonging to your next-desk-neighbour right up until Midday; for same-day delivery. Today (with my newcomer discount of 25% off), I bagged myself a Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Kale and Broccoli ensemble which was piping hot, packed with flavour and so generously portioned that I actually considered saving a few forkfuls for later, (though this of course, didn’t happen). The alternative option was a veggie-friendly 3-Bean Chilli Burrito with Guacamole which I could have scoffed just as easily. Furthermore, the courier arrived promptly, as per the time slot I had opted for as part of the ordering process and was both smiley and efficient - top marks all round there then!

Pelico’s menu changes every day and you can sign up to one of three 30-day lunch plans which allows you to bulk-buy voucher codes to make each lunchtime delivery (within the forthcoming month) decreasingly expensive based on the number you purchase. Lunches are created from scratch and ingredients are organic and locally-sourced so if supporting independent businesses is your bag (which quite frankly, it should be), this is your best bet for sustenance with soul. I think it’s also notable that, with sustainability at the core of their ethos, Pelico boxes its meals in biodegradable pulp boxes; striving to limit the waste produced and donating any leftovers to Bristol’s homeless. Electric vehicles* are used to deliver meals to UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus, Aztec West, Bristol Business Park and most recently, BS1 meaning that fundamentally, you can feel that you’re doing your bit for the environment whilst having a right old chow down!

In conclusion, I suggest that my first experience of Pelico certainly won’t be my last and I would encourage anyone in their catchment area to follow suit and order yourself a blinder of a lunch. Your taste buds will undoubtedly thank you for it.


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Office Pantry

13 January 2017

I’m pretty sure that there’s a snacking culture that exists in each and every office. It is arguably the most detrimental aspect of a workplace to one’s waistline and yet there is a way to combat those ‘tummy grumblings’ without reaching for the Galaxy Counters…Oh, is that just me?! That is, reaching for something that is actually nutritionally worthwhile…Now, healthy snacks are notoriously expensive – anything specialist (sugar-free, vegan-friendly or sans gluten for example) or dare I say it, organic, bumps up the price tag beyond that of the humble Mars Bar which consequently makes for a much less attractive option. Though Office Pantry* have come up with a way to healthify your workplace so that you have an assortment of nibbles at your disposal - on a daily basis - which don’t cost the earth and can be tailored to the tastes of your team…Sourced from British independent food producers and taste-tested by the founding creators’ Grandmothers (yes, really), Office Pantry deliver pallets of high-quality snacks, plus fresh fruit, soft drinks and even team-building tipples, to offices across the South of England. You can opt from a range of packages to accommodate the inhabitants of your office and snacks can work out under £1 each which I reckon is really rather reasonable. Fruit boxes and drinky poos vary in price but jotting down your requirements on the online enquiry form results in a phone call to discuss the finer details pretty much within the hour. I mean, I was seriously impressed that Oli from Office Pantry’s super friendly team gave me a jingle a mere 10  minutes after I pressed send on my request for a ‘snack sample box’. It will come as no surprise that I like to talk about food...a lot and so, the natter that ensued was pretty much the highlight of my afternoon whereby I was both professionally informed of how Office Pantry operates and quizzed about my colleagues’ snacking habits, (biscuits…We like biscuits!) As a result of this, I received my complimentary ‘taster’ portion the very next day which effectively showcased the kind of edibles that would be provided; tasty morsels like mini pesto breadsticks and mixed nuts that kept me fuelled throughout the day, minus the sugar slump that usually hits around mid-afternoon. Other edibles include seeded cereal bars, dried fruit crisps and popcorn – all of which can be requested before Monday’s delivery if there is something specific that tickles your fancy.

My big question was ultimately how offices typically fund this snack-sesh – I mean, I wasn’t going to personally shell out £37 per delivery (which incidentally is the cost of one Snack Pack based on an office of between 10-15 people) to feed my colleagues – sorry guys! Oli explained that although some managers foot the bill for such deliveries, other offices clubbed together to split the cost of what would constitute 37 items designed to last around a week. Others set up an honesty box so that once the direct debit had been settled, individuals could adhere to an itemised price list to pay for their chosen fare, (which, in turn, could pay back the initiator or fund the next delivery). Obviously I’m primarily focussing on snacking here (see aforementioned admission of culinary obsessiveness) but locally-sourced fruit boxes can be purchased from £20 per delivery and milk can be added to orders to make that age-old question of; ‘whose turn is it to get the milk’ a thing of the past. Add bespoke orders of porridge pots (ideal for those inconsiderate people who like to plan meetings over breakfast), alcoholic beverages (Friday wind-down anyone!?) or monthly deliveries of artisanally produced biltong (well, just because) to the mix and you have a company that pretty much covers the gastronomical needs of your workplace.
The folk at Office Pantry report that researchers found we are 62% more likely to get things wrong when in a hungry state which seems to suggest that an office’s productivity depends on snacking. Add to this that there is arguably no better way to unite a team than pouring over a collection of snacks to enjoy as part of a week at the coalface and you’re on to a winner – I thought my loyalty to my bi-weekly Graze box would never waver but step aside, collective consumption is the way forward! Don’t just take my word for it, order your trial box here. You’re welcome!