Filthy Gorgeous – restaurant review

Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

It’s not often I look at a menu and immediately know – not only what I’m going to order, but also what else I’d like to try on my next few visits after that.  That’s exactly what happened though when newly opened Filthy Gorgeous invited me in for lunch.  Their aim is to do burgers and milkshakes right, but with some quirky extras that make them a little different from the average burger bar.

Moopocalypse Cow, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

To drink, I went for the Moopocalypse Cow milkshake – milk, chocolate ice cream, fudge sauce and chocolate brownie pieces.  It was delicious and almost a meal in itself.

Krabby Patty, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

For my burger, I chose the Krabby Patty – a soft-shelled crab with sriracha mayo, coriander, lime juice, lettuce and tomato.  It’s described on the menu as a ‘crab burger’ which made me think it would be crab meat, but it’s an actual entire crab!  I was really pleased with my choice and glad I got stuck in, because it was the perfect combination of textures and flavours.

Krabby Patty, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Sweet Potato Fries, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

The item on the menu that really caught everyone’s eye was the sweet potato fries with toasted marshmallows and bacon shrapnel.  We ordered a portion to share, along with some plain fries as back-up.  The verdict was positive on both, to the extent that we started scooping up marshmallow goo with the plain fries too 🙂

Dirty South, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Elsewhere at the table was the Dirty South – buttermilk fried chicken, chipotle mayo, honey nut Cheerios and BBQ sauce – which was a close second on my wishlist.  How good do those chunks of chicken look?!

Cheat Day, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Putting everything else to shame was the ridiculous Cheat Day – two beef burgers, fried chicken, pretzels, bacon shrapnel, Gorgeous sauce and Franks Buffalo sauce.

Popcorn Ice Cream, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

After eating my milkshake’s chocolate brownies and ice cream alongside my meal, I passed on dessert, but admired the popcorn ice cream and (above) and the Dead Unicorn sundae (below) – Jack and chocolate ice cream, bitter cherry sorbet, candy floss, marshmallows, banana, sprinkles and a wafer cone.  Phew!

Dead Unicorn Sundae, Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Filthy Gorgeous’s aesthetics match the quirky menu, with wooden tables and metallic grey walls contrasting against floral wallpaper and a fancy chandelier.  It’s well-lit and they give you plates to eat from, both of which are an improvement on its predecessor in this location, which in my opinion took that little step from hipster into impractical 😉  Also on offer are beers, wines, cocktails, a photo booth and a set of Cards Against Humanity if you feel like making a night of it after all that sugar!

Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Filthy Gorgeous is on Netherkirkgate, and is available via Deliveroo.

Filthy Gorgeous, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Filthy Gorgeous invited me for lunch in exchange for a fair review.  Images, text and opinions are my own.

Italy, August 2016: San Casciano, Tuscany

San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Tuscany, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Italy is one of my favourite destinations. Before this trip to Tuscany, I had been to Rome and Turin, and there are so many places still on my list. This time around, we went to the Florence region and stayed in a villa recommended to us by James’s boss, in a village called – deep breath – San Casciano in Val di Pesa. San Casciano is (in theory) conveniently located a half hour’s drive out of Florence, and felt to me like the epitome of Tuscany. Rolling hills, olive groves, vineyards, little churches with tall, thin bell towers, and an abundance of gelaterias, cafes and pizzerias with relaxed outdoor seating areas.

San Casciano, Tuscany, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

We stayed at Il Visciolo, a farmhouse-style villa that manages to feel rustic and traditional, while still having all the mod-cons we needed (so, wifi, lights and a fridge then, haha, but also automatic sun awnings and solar outdoor lighting, which were really nice to have).

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture PostcardsIl Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

The whole building pictured above is the rental property, and it would comfortably sleep four. As well as the master bedroom, there’s another double bed on a mezzanine level in the study, which sounds like it might be warm, but I think it would be ok. The window is covered over by a brickwork lattice (you can see it in the external photo above) which keeps the room cool and allows you to see out without letting anyone see in – the bathroom is the same. The thick walls and tiled floors also keep the house nice and cool. In any case, the amount of space was a luxury for just the two of us, and we spent a lot of time relaxing and reading, and enjoying the peace and quiet and beautiful views:

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

The owners are extremely helpful for anything you might need, and welcomed us with some fruit, bruscetta served with their own home-grown olive oil, and a bottle of Chianti. We had some additional friendly visitors in the form of their cats, and a praying mantis who came to hang out one evening!

Il Visciolo, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Praying Mantis, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Unfortunately, Mr Mantis wasn’t the only insect to visit us, and I took a severe reaction to mosquito bites – scroll quickly past if you’re squeamish! Even more unfortunately, since James didn’t seem to have been bitten at all, we assumed that I was allergic to the washing powder used on the bedsheets, and didn’t use the mosquito net provided. Rookie mistake. This was the most dramatic allergic reaction I’ve ever had though, so I definitely learned my lesson and will be well-armed with anti-histamine tablets in future!

Mosquito Bites, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Mosquito Bites, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

San Casciano, Tuscany, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Piazza della Repubblica, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Our first night in San Casciano coincided with the village’s Saint Day celebrations, with a market on Piazza della Repubblica, fireworks launched in the valley below and visible from the piazza’s terrace, and live music in Piazza Cavour. As an almost-Bonfire-Night baby (I was born 4th Nov), I’ve always adored fireworks, so it was a lovely way to start the trip, especially if we pretended they were celebrating our arrival 😉

Pizzeria La Carbonaia, San Casciano, Italy - Emma's Picture Postcards

Otherwise, our time in the village was spent sampling the local cuisine – tough job, but someone’s got to do it 😉 We started off at Pizzeria La Carbonaia, where I had the Carbonaia pizza (above), topped with sausage meat and, at a guess, about ten cloves’ worth of garlic. It was so delicious that we bookended our trip with dinner there on the first and last nights of our trip, and I had the same pizza the second time too! We also sampled, at Nello, the local speciality of a 1kg T-bone steak – so, half a cow, basically – at a casual €45/kg, which is the minimum portion size. We expected to have major meat sweats and aching jaws and stomachs after sharing one, but actually it was beautifully tender and melt-in-the-mouth, and we managed it fine between two with some fried potatoes on the side. If you’re travelling in a larger group though, I’d definitely recommend one between three or four of you! We also went for lunch at Cinque di Vino (fancier and a little theatrical!) and dinner at the more down-to-earth Trattoria Cantinetta del Nonno, where we had simple but tasty pasta starters and meaty mains. All washed down with local Chianti wine, served in adorable little glass jugs.

Emma's Picture Postcards

Back soon with photos of Florence 🙂

This post contains affiliate links.

Giraffe restaurant review

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

bowl for the soul

Recently Giraffe invited a few Aberdeen bloggers along to sample their new menu. I had only been to Giraffe once before, with my dad in London, but I loved it then and was keen to try out their Aberdeen branch, located in Union Square shopping centre.

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Giraffe’s ethos is to be a friendly place that showcases food and music from around the world. The restaurant is really nicely decorated, with lots of wood and cozy lighting (including fairy lights!), painted brickwork, and a choice of tables or raised booths, with a few of the tables looking out onto the shopping centre. Their dishes tend to include a lot of fresh vegetables and a tasty mixture of flavours, and their smoothie and cocktail menus are not to be missed!

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

I went for a mango mule cocktail, Goan prawn curry and passion fruit cheesecake, and they were all delicious. The curry was just the right level of spicy for me (and gorgeous to look at!) and the cheesecake ticked all the boxes on my extensive cheesecake checklist: not too sweet, neither too creamy nor too dense, enough biscuit base but not too much, etc 😉

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Goan king prawn curry

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

passion fruit cheesecake

Some of the other dishes around the table looked great too, including the “bowl for the soul” (pictured at the top of this post), the harissa chicken burger (below) and the churros, which didn’t last long enough for me to catch a photo! Churros aren’t really my cup of tea but were a very popular choice, and looked very cinnamonny (that’s a word).

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

harissa chicken burger

The blogger meet was such a fun evening and I really enjoyed chatting with Karen, Hannah, Sarah, Laura, Laura and Eni (Amey, Anastasia, Denise, Jo, Katherine, Lauren, Mairi and Sarah were also there but at the other end of the table!) We were well looked after and were each given a goodie bag, which included a £5 discount voucher for another meal. So James and I decided to treat ourselves to a meal out the following week.

Giraffe, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

mango mama and espresso martini

This time I tried the espresso martini and tuk-tuk duck stir fry. I enjoyed the martini, and the stir fry was SO GOOD. I must have said so about 10 times while eating it. Tender duck, crunchy veg, doughy noodles and yummy chilli jam. SO GOOD.

*First meal provided by Giraffe in exchange for an honest review. Second meal paid for ourselves minus a £5 voucher. Opinions, text and photos are my own.

Favourite Blogs, part 3

Time to share another few of my favourites with you!

Wander to Wonder

Wander to Wonder

Miho lives in London and is a major foodie. She takes the most mouthwatering photos to accompany her restaurant reviews, and also when her husband E cooks up something beautiful – his Instagram here. I try to remember to read Miho’s blog when I’ve just eaten because otherwise my stomach rumbles too loudly! She also has some gorgeous travel posts, including recent trips to Japan and New York, plus regular happy posts where she rounds up all her favourite things from the past month.

Oh That Film Blog

Oh! That Film Blog

Amy’s blog is the one and only film review site that I’ll always read before watching a film. She has a knack for whetting my appetite for a film, providing a really thorough review, without dropping any spoilers. She covers the big blockbusters, the small indie films, and the vast majority of genres. Plus she lists Samuel L. Jackson as one of her favourite actors, so what’s not to like 😉

Nishaantishu

Nishaantishu

Freya is a humanitarian photographer who lives in London and works in various far-flung locations such as India and Pakistan. As you can imagine, her work is pretty exhausting, both physically and emotionally, so she makes a conscious effort to allow herself the time to recharge her batteries when she’s home. Her photos are breathtaking and the accompanying text is very honest and thought-provoking. I’ve appreciated reading her journey to find some peace and quiet without the guilt that so often comes with doing nothing or saying no (to your to-do list, to socialising, or whatever else), because it’s a journey I’ve been on for a few years as well. Especially as a student, I found it so difficult to switch off, and still find it tricky to balance letting myself have some down time without completely losing the will to be productive.

Hope you’re having a great weekend, and have some new favourite blogs to enjoy!

USA, October 2015: Part 1 – Destin, FL

Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

Hello! I’m back, after an unexpected month off from blogging. I was planning to schedule a post or two for while I was away on holiday, which… didn’t happen… and then when I got home it took me a while to get back into the swing of things.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here that I had a holiday to the US planned. My cousin, who lives in Atlanta, was getting married, and we (my boyfriend, parents, sister and I) decided to make the most of the opportunity for some beach time as well. To minimise driving time (or, heaven forbid, the cost of flying into and out of different airports) we decided to head for the Florida Panhandle, and after a little bit of searching online we found this beautiful rental apartment in Destin.

Harbor Landing, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

Harbor Landing, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

The apartment was one of the best and most spacious rental accommodations I’ve ever stayed in. The kitchen was fully equipped with everything you could need, and there was a lot of storage space, so it would be ideal for a longer stay. It has three bedrooms, two with king size beds and one with two doubles, and all have en suite bathrooms. There are two balconies, the main one looking out over the marina and accessible from the living room and master bedroom, and the second looking down on to the pool and accessible from the second (our) bedroom.

Harbor Landing, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

Harbor Landing, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

Harbor Landing, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

The sea was mostly hidden by a neighbouring apartment complex, but we did have a sea view on either side of it, and were treated to some spectacular sunsets. It was also fun to watch the wildlife in the marina – there were often enormous shoals of fish circling around in there, and casual fishermen would swing by to haul up a net full of them, plus there was a regular heron, some extremely tame sparrows, and we even saw a great big ray swimming around one day.

Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

Harbor Landing, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

The apartment complex had a beautiful swimming pool, which was mostly deserted, since it was “cold”, to quote the locals – the temperature was in the upper 20’s every day, and perfect for sunbathing as far as we were concerned! We also had an access code allowing us onto the beach – as far as we could tell from exploring, the beach seemed to be entirely private access, so that’s something to bear in mind if you’re visiting Destin. There are some public access beaches in the national parks, but from what I read on Tripadvisor the quality isn’t as high, and you often have to pay for access and/or walk a considerable distance from your car to reach the actual sea side. Anyway, our particular stretch of white sand was pretty perfect, and also quiet, so we were more than content to stay close!

Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

Since we were visiting out of season, we knew that the majority of Destin’s local attractions would be closed. To be honest though, I’m not sure there was a huge amount we were missing out on, other than Big Kahuna’s, a water park which looked fun, and a weekly fireworks display on the beach front. We were also told that the traffic in summer is CRAZY, and it was still busy by our standards in October! In any case, our number one priority was just to relax, and we took that seriously 🙂 We did venture out to the local outlet mall – a few items of clothing were found by all, and my sister and I also got a great deal on a beautiful Calvin Klein handbag each, but it was mostly an exercise in sighing over all the beautiful things – and to try out the tasty cuisine and Southern hospitality. With a member of the party who is both gluten intolerant and a vegetarian, plus another two who don’t like fish or seafood, this turned out to be much more difficult than I would have imagined. Most places have a gluten-free menu, but almost all the dishes on there are meat-based. I can recommend the following though:

La Paz, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

The Local Market – We ate here at least three times, and loved it. The decor is lovely, really open, with big wooden tables and benches, with chalk board menus and shelves full of produce. The majority of the lunch menu is sandwiches, which are on the pricier side (around $12-13) but 100% worth it – they are big, stuffed full of high quality, fresh ingredients, and come with generous sides plus a packet of Lays chips (Walkers crisps to us Brits). They also do amazing specials – I had a half rotisserie chicken, which was safely the biggest portion of chicken I’ve ever had in my life, with fries and coleslaw, for $6. $6, folks. The staff are friendly and relaxed, patiently waited for us to slowwwly decide what we wanted to order, and welcomed us back when we returned.

La Paz – La Paz is next door to, and shares a car park with, The Local Market; I noticed some of the staff in both; The Local Market is open for breakfast and lunch and La Paz is open for dinner; they have a similar vibe… I’m going to go ahead and say they’re sister restaurants, although they’re not advertised as such. Anyway, La Paz is a Mexican restaurant with a friendly, family feel. The decor is quirky, with walls covered (and then some) in fun / crazy art and pictures. Most importantly though, the food is fresh and tasty – the photo above (sorry for the poor quality!) is of the South of the Border salad. 100% of the dishes on the menu are available gluten free (with the carbs coming in the form of corn chips, corn tortillas or rice) and there are plenty of veggie options.

Mimmo’s – A more upmarket option, Mimmo’s is an Italian restaurant open for both lunch and dinner on weekdays, dinner only on weekends. The front windows are almost entirely covered by enormous curtains, which made me doubt it was open despite one of those neon “open” signs, but it’s nice inside and the food and service were great. Gluten free pasta is available, although only one type, but that was a happy compromise.

Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards Harbor Landing, Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

A few others we tried:

– Waffle House – The waffles, bacon and maple syrup get my vote; the coffee, not so much. The wait staff were the friendliest of the trip, which is saying something, but this is one to avoid if you’re coeliac – the one “gluten free” option, an omelette, was served with toast…

– TGI Friday’s – TGI’s is TGI’s – reliable quality, if a little overpriced. Bonus points for an extra lovely waiter, and a complete GF menu including dessert, beer and cider.

– Pizza Hut – mentioned here only because the GF pizza was enjoyed; the rest of us suffered from huge amounts of grease! The restaurant was large but always empty, which is never a good sign.

Cheeseburger in Paradise – good fries, and a GF vegetarian burger!

Island Wing Company – really good, baked chicken wings. Choose how many you want (from 5 to 100!) and which of the many sauces takes your fancy. We visited on a Sunday lunch time so there were several different NFL games showing on the multiple TV screens, which was… overwhelming. When we left I noticed that they have an outdoor seating area with only one screen, so if I were to go back I’d definitely sit there!

Destin, Florida - Emma's Picture Postcards

I hope y’all 😉 have a lovely weekend. I’m off to a ceilidh tonight and a wedding reception tomorrow, and inspired by this post by Sunny Sweet Pea, I think I might have a relaxing movie day on Sunday to recover!

Cafe Boheme, Aberdeen

Cafe Boheme Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

A few weeks ago, James and I returned home from work trips and decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal out. I’d had a well-paid but tough week away with clients; meanwhile James attended a conference in Canada, then interviewed and was accepted for a research position in the same department where he’s been doing his PHD. Time to celebrate with a cheeky glass of champagne 😉

Cafe Boheme, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Café Bohème is a lovely little French restaurant on Windmill Brae. At a guess I’d say it only seats around 30 people, and it is beautifully decorated. I love the table settings – as pictured above, a fresh rose, salt and pepper in little preserving jars, and a butter dish that looks like a service bell. The staff are very friendly and professional, and the owner, Dominique, takes a hands-on approach to all aspects of his restaurant, and it really feels like he’s welcoming you into his home.

Cafe Boheme, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

The food is simple but delicious. We had booked in for Early Dinner and decided to go for the 3-course set menu for £18.95, and my goodness what a good deal that is. We were served delicious home-made bread both before and with our mushroom Soupe du Jour starter. For the main course we had Navarin D’Agneau (lamb stew, pictured above), and for dessert we selected the Creme Brûlée and Profiteroles.

Cafe Boheme, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

Everything was delicious. The lamb was beautifully tender, and the gravy/sauce was quite light. The profiteroles had a chocolate filling and caramel sauce, rather than the usual cream filling with chocolate sauce – an interesting twist, tasty and rich. Three profiteroles might not seem a lot compared to some servings, but I was struggling by the end, and I rarely have any difficulty packing in dessert!

Cafe Boheme, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

I would highly recommend Café Bohème – make sure to book, as the restaurant only opens 12:00-13:45 and 18:00-21:00 Tuesday-Saturday, and as mentioned above is fairly small. The food, service and atmosphere are wonderful, and really made for a special evening, worth every penny (and not too many of them either)!

Café Bohème, Aberdeen - Emma's Picture Postcards

A Few of my Favourite Blogs

The main reason I started blogging was, funnily enough, the fact that I loved reading blogs! I thought I’d share some of my favourites:

Steffy’s Pros and Cons

Steffy's Pros and Cons

Steffy’s Pros and Cons is the first blog I ever read regularly – when I found it I loved it so much I read the entire archive, dating back about 3 years, in a week! Steffy loves vintage and her posts are mostly personal style, with a little lifestyle thrown in for good measure. Since she started her blog she got an adorable Weenie dog called Claude, got engaged and married, changed jobs and moved to Long Beach NY from Miami! When deciding which picture to use above I had a look on my Pinterest and couldn’t resist choosing this one – it’s the only time I’ve ever bought an item as a result of a blog post! I love these cat tights and I’m sure I’ll feature them myself at some point 😀

Alex in Wanderland

Alex in Wanderland

I read a few travel blogs but Alex in Wanderland is my absolute favourite. Alex is originally from the USA and has been travelling for more than 3 years, mainly throughout South East Asia, Central and North America so far! The world is really her oyster and I find her blog so inspirational. She shares a lot of insight into the ups and downs of full-time travel, plus gorgeous photos along the way.

 I’ve Got Cake

I've Got Cake

I’ve Got Cake is a mixture of gorgeous personal style and mouth-watering food. I actually only found this blog since I started my own (via Dana kindly liking a couple of my early posts, yay!) but it has quickly become a firm favourite. I love food but like to keep things as simple as possible when cooking because I get stressed out really easily in the kitchen. This, combined with living with someone who enjoys and is good at cooking (and will do anything to avoid stressed Emma!) has resulted in me becoming extremely lazy and rarely cooking at all. When I do cook I go for options that don’t require any multi-tasking, e.g. stir fry, spaghetti carbonara, and anything I can chuck in the oven. I’ve Got Cake has given me lots of inspiration because although the end results seem relatively fancy and there are some ingredients I might not think to use normally, Dana doesn’t use a huge quantity of ingredients and keeps the method as straightforward as possible, and is reassuringly laid back. She is also absolutely hilarious and I can’t get enough of her down-to-earth, no-nonsense take on the world 😀