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Archive for May, 2017

Eating Out In Leeds – Marco’s New York Italian

Marco's New York Italian - Crab Cakes

“Stuff your talentless faces with my mother’s crab cakes!” – Friends
On Saturday night I was invited out by Marco’s New York Italian Restaurant for a three course meal. Marco’s has been open for around a month, up near Leeds Arena at the top of town.

At first glance of the menu I thought it was pretty basic and nothing jumped out at me that I wanted to try – usually when I see a menu I’ve already decided what I’m having three days before I get there, but I think that says more about me than it does about any restaurant!!

Eating Out In Leeds - Marco's New York Italian Restaurant

When we arrived at Marco’s New York Italian, a very friendly maitre d’ asked if we wanted to be seated or have a drink in the bar first, so I ordered a large glass of wine and settled into the comfy seats around a communal table in the bar. We were brought a dish of olives and a bowl of spicy blow-your-head-off nuts that we picked at before deciding to sit down.

The chairs at the dinner table were lovely – I do appreciate a good chair at a restaurant as all too often you get provided with a quirky metal stool or a chair with a gap in the back and it’s just not comfortable dining. Service from the waiting staff was excellent, water was poured for us every time someone passed our table and they always waited for both of us to be seated before taking any orders.

Marco's New York Italian - Ribs

Marco's New York Italian - Rocket and Zarpellon salad

A bit uninspired by the menu, I opted for crab cakes to start as it’s not something I ever have at home and I chose cannelonni for main course. Stu went for ribs to start, so the waiter brought him a finger bowl, and surf and turf for main course – a steak cooked to order and some gigantic buttery prawns.

The food was well presented and I loved the spotty dotty plates, adding a bit more personality than just plain white crockery. When I sliced into my crab cakes I was more than pleasantly surprised. They were stuffed with shredded crab meat from end to end, unlike the slightly rubbery textured crab cakes I’ve had before, they were delicious.

Marco's New York Italian - Cannelloni and garlic ciabatta

Marco's New York Italian - Surf & Turf

I mostly chose the cannelonni for the garlic ciabatta and it did not disappoint – soaked in garlic and butter, I could have eaten it with every meal until the end of time! The cannelonni itself was served in a cast iron dish, bubbling with molten lava like cheese and tomato and stuffed with a creamy spinach and ricotta filling. Just look at that photo, I knew I would be jealous of myself when I wrote up this post! I chose a rocket and parmesan salad to go alongside my meal and that was big enough to be a stand alone dish itself, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Marco's New York Italian - Lemon Sorbet with Frozen Limoncello

I was hoping for lemon sorbet on the dessert menu, but I never dreamed it would come with a frozen limoncello on the side – a bitter, icy, sharp delight! They also had affogato on the menu too, but the limoncello tipped me over the edge.

We finished the meal with a drink at the table, I chose Frangelico, an incredibly light hazelnut liquor with ice. They also had Disaronno, an army of vodkas and a whole collection of cocktails that I didn’t even get chance to look at. There’s definitely plenty of things to go back to Marco’s time and time again to try something new, especially if all the classics are as good as the cannelonni. Next time I think I fancy trying their carbonara!

You’ll find Marco’s New York Italian Restaurant on Wade Lane in Leeds
Starters begin at £5.95 and main courses are from £9.50

posted by onetenzeroseven in Leeds,Travel and have Comment (1)

Where To Stay In Amsterdam – ClinkNOORD Hostel

Where to stay in Amsterdam - Clink Noord

No one ever goes to Amsterdam Noord“, I read someone say on Twitter while we were on our way to Amsterdam. If you’re looking for where to stay in Amsterdam, the Noord is the perfect location for getting around. Amsterdam Noord is as close to Amsterdam Centraal station than any other area of the city and a free ferry runs across the river 24 hours a day. Why no one ever ventures there, I have no idea! It was my favourite part about our whole stay.

But location wasn’t the main reason we decided to stay in the Noord. That reason was Clink Hostels. We got in touch with Clink to chat about staying over and blogging and they were keen to offer us a discount in exchange for telling you guys about their amazing home from home.

Private double room at Clink Hostels Amsterdam, with en suite bathroom and double bed

We stayed in a private double room at ClinkNOORD, which was small, but cosy and really, really clean. We even got a knock on the door one morning from maintenance because they detected the room was too warm (it wasn’t, I like it toasty)!

When deciding where to stay in Amsterdam I wouldn’t normally think of staying in a hostel as a couple, especially if you were much over 30, but Clink has everything you would get in a budget hotel – and then some. With the option of their en suite private rooms, you don’t need to overspend on a hotel room and you can dip in and out of the communal feel as you wish.

A home from home in Amsterdam at Clink Hostels

A place to work at Clink Noord, definitely in the running for best hostel in Amsterdam

On the first morning we had breakfast in the hostel, which included pastries, cereals, meats (hot and cold) eggs and cheeses. There was plenty on offer for €5.90. From 12pm the kitchen was open for guests to use to cook their own food or dinner was available from the bar.

The dorm rooms all have lockers inside to keep your valuables and there are special, smaller lockers in reception that are just big enough to fit valuables like a small laptop, passport and cash. Built into an old lab, everywhere was decorated with this fun science theme like these periodic table locker doors.

I loved the lab and science vibes at Clink Noord - all the decor was so fun, including these periodic table style lockers in reception

Clink Noord - Where to stay in Amsterdam

The staff at reception were very welcoming and friendly and I’m sure most of them were working there so they could enjoy the city too. Each staff member wore a lanyard with a number of flags on, denoting which languages they spoke, to make your trip as easy and comfortable as possible.

The staff at Clink Noord are super friendly and speak a range of different languages to suit your needs

The first thing I looked up to do in Amsterdam was to get the best views across the city and I discovered the A’dam Lookout, which just happened to be next door to the hostel. Even better, ClinkNOORD offered a discount on tickets for the 360 degree observation deck.

The free ferry got us over to the centre of Amsterdam in just two minutes and from there you could hop on a tram or wander the streets and canals of the city to your heart’s content. After a long day walking, it was great to come back to the hostel to hang out. There are a whole bunch of communal areas with sofas and comfy chairs – including areas tucked away on the staircases if you wanted some alone time.

Communal space at Clink Noord, built inside an old lab building

Private room at Clink Noord - Fun illustrated artwork on the walls

If character is a big part of your decision for where to stay in Amsterdam, then Clink is for you. I love the kooky illustrations that covered the walls in our room and the ceilings were painted bright red, adding tonnes of character to the space. Complimenting the feel of Noord, there was even an art gallery filled with amazing painted canvases by local artists, which flowed into the rest of the area that was bursting with colourful murals and street art. My favourite morning was hanging out at the NDSM, but that’s another blog post entirely!

ClinkNOORD is set along the banks of Buiksloterkanaal, a pretty canal that runs off the river IJ. It was a gorgeous setting outside the hostel, with a line up of pastel coloured bikes parked up on one side and a bridge that crossed over to a kooky park area on the other side. We wandered over to the park one afternoon to find what looked like a bunch of art students creating projects in the sunshine.

Bikes are everywhere in Amsterdam!

Where to stay in Amsterdam - Clink Noord lounge space

Amazing pizza at Clink Noord hostel in Amsterdam

On the last day we spent the afternoon up at NDSM having a beer in the sunshine and exploring the street art. To get back to the hostel it was quicker to cross the ferry back to the centre and then hop on the ferry back to Clink instead of walking. I think there’s a bus that services the Noord, but we didn’t look into it in time.

Back at the hostel we ordered pizzas and snuggled up on the giant sofas to read for a while. The pizzas were really good – so good in fact, we wished we stayed in one night for dinner instead of navigating the fast food places of Amsterdam which were hit and miss.

Zinc Bar at Clink Noord was always lively, but never overcrowded

Clink Noord has it's own bar and pizza restaurant

The Zinc bar always seemed like a go to place to hang out for a lot of Clink residents and the cocktails were super tasty. Clink have events on throughout the week and fun games and quizzes to keep you entertained. We didn’t have time to enjoy any of these during our stay, but I would definitely spend a night in the bar next time!

Happy hour at Clink Noord in Amsterdam - Cocktails are super tasty!

We were so sad to leave ClinkNOORD, look at our sad faces! It was honestly the most warm and welcoming place I have ever stayed that wasn’t someone’s house… and even more welcoming than some people’s homes I’ve stayed at, hah! I can’t recommend it enough, both for comfort and location.

Clink Noord - Best Places To Stay in Amsterdam

A private double room with an en suite at ClinkNOORD is priced around €80 per night, but you can grab a bunk bed in a dorm room for just €17.

Would you stay in a hostel? I’ve got to admit, this one blows my perception of hostels out of the water! My top tip for where to stay in Amsterdam, for sure!
Loves x xx

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posted by onetenzeroseven in Travel and have Comment (1)