Friday, 28 February 2014

Library Of Birmingham: The Next Chapter...

No longer does Centenary Square look like a huge site of construction for a new state of the art Library of Birmingham stands to write a whole new chapter for Birmingham. Praise is due but let's set things straight, a library is for quiet not for idle chatter and noisy, disruptive individuals, I will learn to value the 'shush' given by a librarian any day of the week! Sort it out! 

I've been meaning to publish a blog like this for a while but the weather has been rather dreadful in Birmingham and the rest of West Midlands so with a pleasant day yesterday I mad my move! To the left is the Library of Birmingham shining in all of its glory in the afternoon sun on a chilly February afternoon. I still think that this landmark looks fabulous five months since it was opened in September 2013. I do believe that the new Library of Birmingham has created a storm of interest and media attention that's attracted visitors from far and wide to view this new Birmingham landmark as a tourist attraction rather than a library. Birmingham is benefiting from a boost of visitors seeing this striking new library that has transformed the make-up of Centenary Square. Opened by female activist Malala Yousafzai voiced; "A city without books in a city without a library is like a graveyard". Birmingham, preach about it all! 

So, with Malala's words spoken Birmingham began a new era! Not forgetting Birmingham's Central Library that now stands with a question mark due to its future. After the new library has taken its place, what's the next step going to be? I actually love the Paradise Forum complex, it retains Birmingham's unique 1970's architecture that features a lot within Birmingham's city centre. It's quite unclear what the future of the complex will be that now features a Nandos and a Wetherspoon's amongst other public amenities. Can a library without books act as a viable part of Birmingham's future? The Birmingham I once knew in my fresher year has changed a lot, but I would say the new Birmingham is looking just fine! Whatever happens to the original library of Birmingham I do hope that the next phase keeps the integrity of its current architechural beginnings for its great to move forward with the modern times, but its never good to forget what once was! Tell it to the children! Reading is? 

Books, books and more books! Birmingham's new library is remarkable, there's so much to see on the many floors, there's more than just one reason to visit. I joined the Library of Birmingham during the first week it opened, making my contribution to this new addition to Birmingham. The circular design with the impressive bookcases that are filled with unknown books really impresses me much! I'm currently reading North Korea: Undercover, a investigative analysis of modern day North Korea that looks under the surface of the world's most secretive countries. I'm not going to go into the facts of this read for the DPRK holds some guarded secrets. Aside from my current read I have to say that the Library of Birmingham hosts much more than just the expected titles for I saw many visuals aids that definitely diversified my visitor experience. During this modern age there's more to life than just books? Yes for tech!

If I needed to study I would choose to book a study room because I like my quiet! The popularity of this new library has created something of a frenzy! Birmingham's newest library hosts an area that I just love! The Library of Cultures puts everything into perspective for the ArtPop style displays of the famous playwright William Shakespeare really caught my eye! Amongst the paintings and exhibits I also love the videos that are projected onto the walls, depicting past events in Birmingham if I'm not mistaken. Need I be so careless not to mention that the Repetory Theatre has been overhauled as part of the joint development of the new Library of Birmingham. I had the opportunity to attend a promotional event at the REP Theatre that was hosted by Visit Berlin and OutNow Consulting. Birmingham receives its share of unfair negative press but I know that this city is world-class! Those haters can move on for Birmingham is a first grade city that deserves a little respect!

Reinvention is the ultimate key! To the left is the view from the Secret Garden, a panoramic view of Birmingham's progressive skyline  that the city should be proud of! I seriously got lucky with the weather for the intervals of rain had passed for the time I was taking my snaps of the vista from the Library of Birmingham. I saw as far as the Rotunda, I was happy with that view. I have faith in Birmingham for many reasons! Many say that Birmingham doesn't tick all the boxes to be a credible city compared to London, I would argue that Birmingham is a unique city with a lot to offer and enjoy for local Brummies and international visitors alike. I believe that the new Library of Birmingham is a catalyst for change to bring a brighter image for this city. I know all my chat is very complimentary I'm just stating my honest opinion about this subject, I can be judgmental but that emotion is just a waste of time! Keep on, B! 

The next chapter of Birmingham's new library has almost been completed, for the books that stand present on the shelves will be enjoyed for a long while yet and the face of Birmingham's Westside has been transformed to a new level. The next phase of the Midland Metro's current extension into Birmingham will bring the new Spanish trams to Centenary Square, maybe bringing more people to the Library of Birmingham? Who honestly knows? I would have to say that Birmingham's new library is more than just an ordinary place for books for its become a whole new talking point that's hopefully reinvigorating Birmingham's pulling power as a reputable and attractive tourist destination?! Books are books but this library is creating a positive reaction for tourism within the region! I'm just a travel blogger that always tries my best to report real and honest experiences from wherever I am! Who knew that Birmingham's newest library would become a icon? Reading is what? Reading is fundamental!

The Library Is Open! 

Joseph Harrison 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre... Eternal Love

What love is eternal? Eternal Love happens to be a darling and captivating play that's currently in the middle of its 2014 UK Theatre Tour. This 12th Century inspired show stops by at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre from Tuesday 25th of February 2014 till Saturday 1st of March 2014! With a little lift, Wolves has still got it! Do you believe in life after love? I don't think so!

How did I get the chance to see such a heartfelt play? I'm a blogger, so I was approached by the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton to be part of their 'Tweet All About It' programme. Jumping at the chance to branch away from my degree studies for one night I accepted the challenge to Tweet to my hearts content at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre. Meeting with other Bloggers and Tweeters proved to be like a breath of fresh air as I conduct my blogging work in an independent manner so it's always good to embrace a new wind of change. To the left is the promotional stand for Eternal Love, a play I had not previously heard of before that evening on the 25th of February 2014, let's just say that us Bloggers and Tweeters were excited to see the show! The last show that I saw at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton was Cabaret, so I sensed that 12th Century France didn't have any establishments like Berlin's Kit Kat Klub!

I want to applaud the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton for welcoming such a play to its theatre and to the city for us local folk to enjoy. I been a theatre-goer at the Grand Theatre since I was a young boy to now the age of 23. Musicals are great but breaking away from the norm is even better, let's enjoy this carefully crafted production that goes back at least 850 years into the past. I have faith in Wolverhampton to rise up to be different, let's show everyone what Wolverhampton is made of! Back to the show I suggest you keep reading for Abelard and Heloise portray something on the lies of a turbulent and lustful romance that's not meant to be, so see this show for yourself because as they say talk is cheap! Let's celebrate more shows like Eternal Love by the English Touring Theatre company to make an appearance at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre! It's now 120 years young! Age may of be a number but with the recent face lift this Wolverhampton theatre can turn back time! Go!

Taking a peak backstage it was great to get a glimpse of a theatre without any audience to see some hidden parts from the love affair that is Eternal Love. I got a look in from the orchestral booth to see if the view from up above looked better compared to the usual view from the seated stalls and circles. The view impressed me, I never truly realised how dazzling the Grand Theatre looked for the show! During the backstage tour I saw a range of costumes that had been fashioned according to the 12th Century period of Abelard and Heloise's lustful existence. There was even an edible book and a range of other peculiar looking props that I'm sure all had a perfect part to play within Eternal Love. Being backstage reminded me of my time performing at the Grand. After marvelling at the stage to then learn that the two trees that stood in the middle of stage were from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Retreating to the University of Wolverhampton suite our eyes were opened to the story of the historical beginnings of Abelard's 12th Century existence in Paris, France. Josh Roache, a representative of the English Touring Theatre conducted an insightful presentation regarding the background of the ETT and the thought process behind Eternal Love. A quirky fact I learnt was that the writer of Eternal Love, Howard Brenton actually wrote the television series Spooks. I sat with my notebook and pen, listening to each question and the speech made by the representative with great interest, I even asked my own question to contribute something to the talk. Blogging and using Twitter has got me some great gigs, I wouldn't mind another theatre gig! Throughout all of this excitement I never forgot to tweet like mad, it was the only acceptable time to use mobile phone whilst someone was talking. I loved my seat, I always sit way up! Bring on the show? Serving, Wolves Grand! Let's go! 

Eternal Love transformed 2014 Wolverhampton into an interpretation of 12th Century Paris! The love story began with a range of beautifully sung French melodies. Questioning authority a brash and young thinker bombarded the supposedly wise member of the Notre Dame, that thinker had to be Abelard, the man with the mind. The first act introduced the blossoming love affair between the philosopher, Abelard and his pupil Heloise for their courtship was disguised within the illusion of insightful teachings. Religion is questioned for nothing is ever yes or no when the thoughts of Aristotle were exercised by Abelard and his pupils. Could Abelard and Heloise keep their secret love hidden? Even in the 12th Century everyone loved to gossip, so word on the street was that a forbidden love connection had been formed between a teacher and his pupil for idle chat can spread like wildfire! I wanted to see more! Sure! 

Canon Fulbert, Heloise's uncle had been alerted to a strange report made by three unsuspecting characters, had his niece Heloise been up to no good? Like with all good times something has to come to an end, but for these star crossed lovers would the end be so sweet? Smuggled out of Paris, Heloise was bearing a illegitimate child who would be named Astrolabe, she made her way to a remote farm to retreat for some time. Time should be a healer but with a few years past a shock wedding occurred by the compost heap, resulting in a mutiny that left Abelard emasculated for sure! Sister's do it for themselves for Heloise reluctantly joined a local convent for her bad habits had finally caught up with her! I suppose all is fair within love and war? In the end their love shall remain eternal. For once in my theatre-going days I hadn't ever though about seeing such a performance like Eternal Love. I wouldn't say no to another Shakespeare like show again. Trust me, it's got to be WV1! Home! 

Hippodrome, Who?

Joseph Harrison

Monday, 24 February 2014

Staying Cool... The Rotunda, Birmingham

Finding the perfect hotel or apartment can be stressful, so Staying Cool is the place to be! Birmingham's iconic Rotunda tower stands in the heart of Birmingham's city centre, overlooking every angle of England's first class city that won't stand for second place. Yes, it's more than just a room with a view! Staying Cool is the only way to find out Birmingham does it better! It does! 

Drop those bags, forget about your stress! Stay Cool by making a cup of tea or even a hot chocolate from the wide range of complimentary options from the kitchen. I stayed in a 'Mini' apartment, a perfectly balanced studio that boasts all of the necessary appliances and home comforts that are available at Staying Cool. Take things easy by using the microwave for a four minute wonder meal or cook your own gourmet choice for the appliances located within the kitchen area? They are perfect for whatever the occasion may be? I'm more a microwave meal or take-out guy when I'm away but its all about choosing that personal option at Staying Cool. Are you more of a coffee person? Then brew yourself a cup of freshly brewed coffee from the state-of-art Gaggia Espresso Machine to quench that thirst. If you don't want to cook, dine at one of the many world class restaurants found in Birmingham? B, cool it! 

Fast forward to the morning after the night before, did Birmingham provide an eventful night for you? Either way I highly recommend that a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice will be the perfect cure to kick-start the day. Check the fridge for the key ingredients for a refreshing breakfast accompaniment. I brewed a pop of tea and had a bowl of muesli for breakfast. What would you choose? Hotel breakfasts can be so stuffy and can be a bit too early! Keep things at your own pace at Staying Cool Birmingham. Do you always forget to buy a pint of milk from the shop? There's no need to worry for there's always a bottle of organic milk sat waiting in the fridge for you, so a pot of earl grey breakfast tea can be enjoyed hassle free. Wake up to a flavoursome bowl of muesli as you watch the sunrise over Birmingham's city, something that you won't experience at any other Birmingham based accommodation! Stressing isn't allowed at Staying Cool, everything will work out.

If you got crazy the previous night you'll be good for breakfast! Be at one with Birmingham, city life can get quite hectic at times so let the view transport you somewhere calmer. This West Midland city is truly unrated for the skyline that Staying Cool presents is truly something to be proud of! Don't listen to what the whispers say! My studio apartment at Staying Cool was on the 19th floor, a head for heights isn't needed because the view is truly amazing. I loved watching the city pass me by, being relaxed whilst everyone else hurried around the Bullring shopping area of Birmingham is the way! When night falls Birmingham comes alive with a million lights, even the traffic looks picturesque! If your room faces the Bullring and Digbeth then look closely to the left side after sunset for I saw the lights of Birmingham Airport! Staying Cool at the Rotunda is definitely more than just an apartment. It's all about the view! Yes BHM!

Getting to the Rotunda is easy, meeting in the middle both Moor Street and New Street stations make connections from other provincial UK locations effortless. If you're flying into Birmingham Airport there is a efficient rail service from Birmingham International train station to Birmingham New Street station so being a International traveler doesn't have to be a problem when considering Staying Cool at Rotunda, Birmingham. Need I be so dismissive that Birmingham Coach Station stands mere minutes away from the Rotunda? For that reason, choosing National Express could be another transport option, missing out on a night or two at Staying Cool, Birmingham would be utter foolishness! If your stay isn't just for business then Staying Cool is at the centre of the action within walking distance to Birmingham's Chinatown and nightlife in Southside. Choose dinner at one of Birmingham's restaurants within the city centre core, choose Chinese, Italian or Thai? Sure, Birmingham can do fancy! 

Staying connected is cool, every apartment is equipped with high speed WiFi internet access so keeping the world at your feet can be done. Rotunda is key! Lounging about is what has to be done whilst at Staying Cool, Birmingham. Like I mentioned before the views are something else but its nice to shut the world out and put the television on, so kick back with a cup of tea made from the kitchen and be entertained by a programme or two. Life can get too much sometimes so let's take some space to make things better? Hotels are for losers! Each apartment has Sky television, a DVD player and a range of board-games so staying entertained can be achieved without a doubt. I loved the freedom to enjoy the surroundings at my own pace, I forgot about my stresses during my time at Staying Cool, Birmingham that proved to be quite a juxtapose. Let Birmingham be your new first love! You should stay cool?

Located above is the contemporary designed living areas that look super stylish, talk is cheap but what I saw is honest and truthful. Birmingham's got style, so I can confirm that Staying Cool at Rotunda Birmingham instills the future of Birmingham first class transformation into a hip and fashion forward city of the future. Luxuriate in the style and sophistication of Staying Cool's carefully decorated living spaces, for the 'Mini' option, the bedroom and living areas act as one with a clever and cool partition that marries the bedroom and living space harmoniously. Keep it cool next time! Let's face it we like to dress in designer brands so why not decide to stay in an apartment that's equally en-trend? I think we all know the answer to that question. So trade in those tacky hotels for the rich and modern designs at Staying Cool, Birmingham! I wouldn't say it for fun! I truly endorse a stay at Birmingham's coolest address at the Rotunda! Of course, Birmingham will keep it cool for you! Yes B! 

Are You Staying Cool?

Joseph Harrison

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

50 Shades: New York City, USA!

Fifty shades of what? No, I've not read those books, neither do I ever want to! Please, I'm no schmuck! I'm talking about the fabulous fifty shades of New York City! From my time living only a heartbeat away from the Big Apple I grew a greater appreciation for the hidden and less popular parts of this insane yet ever endearing North American city. So, are you ready? 

Shalom Williamsburg! If you haven't heard of Williamsburg then I'm not going to be concerned because this Kosher community took me a lot of searching to find. I didn't even have a 3G enabled mobile back when I visited the home of New York's Jewish Hasidim, so I had to rely on a helpful passersby due to my pre-trip research not working out. Lee Avenue is where it all happens, it's a hype of energy for sure with its bustling businesses that all abide by Kosher law. I had watched countless YouTube videos about the Hasidim living in New York City before my visit, especially in Williamsburg so I was very intrigued to rewrite the tourist guide and see a slice of Jewish life in New York. Captured to the left is the gateway to Lee Avenue, a road that took me by surprise for sure, it was unlike anything I had ever seen before with its Hebrew billboards I was taken out of my comfort zone! No tourist maps allowed!

Making my way from Newark to the heart of New York City's Jewish heartland, the journey wouldn't of been as chaotic if I had started from Manhattan but I loved the adventure! I didn't see a McDonald's restaurant or any other American chain until I made my way back to Manhattan later that day. Lee Avenue really shows how Kosher everybody lives in that side of Brooklyn, modest clothing is the way forward. Mothercare would have a field day if they managed to set up shop in this part of Williamsburg for each Jewish woman that I saw had a baby in a pushchair, whilst other ladies had multiple children with them, I guess that those Williamsburg families are the true reason for the Jewish baby boom! Frankel's Kosher Supermarket provided me with my lunch that day, I ate Kosher snacks for the first time from a 100% Kosher mart. Trusting New York City was the only way that I was ever going to see such a closed neighbourhood during my time in Williamsburg, New York City! Go!

Greenwich Village, it's all very kitsch and quite camp but that's just fine with me. If I could have my time again living in America I would live in this part of New York City! Who know's what the future has in store for me? Back in March 2012 my co-worker Sharissa told me about the wonders of Greenwich Village, those words painted a picture in my head for sure! Jumping off the PATH at Christopher Street little did I know that this side of NYC would hold many memories for me. My first afternoon in Greenwich Village was absolutely darling! I found the many men's fashion boutiques to be so en-trend, I went to Rag & Bone, I parted with $70 for a turquoise tank top. I think the dreamy looking shop assistant stopped me dead with his good looks! Taking the PATH from Newark to that trendy part of the city gave me somewhere to have a break from the hard streets of Newark, New Jersey. Christopher St, who?

Fast forward to May of 2012 I returned back to Greenwich Village, I made my way to Christopher Street to find the perfect spot to watch the NYC Pride March 2012! I was accompanied by my friend Dean, he was so cute! That occasion was my very first Gay Pride event so I feel very lucky that I spent that time in New York City! Cyndi Lauper was the Grand Marshal, I guess girl just wanted to have some fun? I randomly made another visit on a beautiful August morning that I should've been resting, my hectic work schedule had me exhausted but when I awoke at 7am that sunny morning, I pushed my tiredness away to make it to the city of New York! I remember eating a really good slice of pizza from a crazy looking pizza takeaway on the corner of Sheridan Square and Stonewall Place, it was great! Greenwich Village had become my happy place, hoping over the that side of town always kept me centred. These experiences won't ever leave my heart or mind! I'm hungry! Let's go Downtown? Yes!

你好! Chinatown New York City broke the mould for me, it looked nothing like its depicted in the movies! its much more real and gritty! Making a random visit in February 2012 with my fellow Intern Paolo we found Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant. To the left is that very restaurant that served up some very interesting culinary delights. Chinatown, NYC lies around the Canal Street area not too far from the Manhattan Bridge and the Downtown NYC. It was mad to see all of the bag and watch stalls amongst the many Chinese restaurants, I loved it but I always felt the need to be cautious at the same time! I found a great little comic shop that sold special edition Pokemon cards, the child within me influenced a rather surprise purchase that just had to be made! There's nothing quite like the edgy streets of New York City's Chinatown! Embrace the shade, I know that New York City wouldn't wanted it any other way! Vietnamese food! 

During my time discovering New York City I would have to say that Chinatown has a crazy feeling, a sense of activity and excitement could always be felt during each visit. I learnt to further trust the streets of New York City and be safe, as time progressed I was becoming more and more familiar with the NYC Subway, so getting to and from this part of NYC didn't prove to be a stress at all! Upon my final visit of 2012 I enjoyed another delicious meal at Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant, that final meal wasn't any ordinary meal for it was Christmas Eve night, I won't forget that visit for a long while. To celebrate my stateside Christmas Eve I found a great Bubble Tea cafe that were selling two medium Bubble Tea's for $2.50! NYC showed me to enjoy my first Christmas away from home! From my first visit to Chinatown NYC to my unplanned discovery when I found out that Chinatown sits at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, this side of town is one of my fifty shades of NYC! Trust me, NYC!

Battery Park throws the final form of shade in this NYC instalment, I had best get started! Desperately Seeking Susan is one of my favourite films, so when I made it to Battery Park I was simply lost for words! No, shade because I was looking for 1980's 'Get in the Groove' Madonna along that riverfront! Throwing another serving of shade I have to proclaim that the Lady of Liberty and Ellis Island can be seen within the distance from Battery Park from where I was standing. During that Battery Park moment there was so much going on that I just didn't know where to look! Little did I know that my blog name 'Desperately Seeking Adventure' would take form after that NYC day of discovery within the Downtown! Talk about fan-girling, I was living for the Material Girl! I love Times Square but Battery Park and the Downtown had serious character, a story stood before that needed to be told! I was getting my life in NYC! 

Broadway and Times Square had my heart, I visited that NYC tourist trap during my very first day of sightseeing in the city. I loved my life each time when I would visit Times Square, the lights had me gagged during the nighttime. Choosing to be brave, I challenged myself visiting places like Queens and The Bronx rather than repeating the tourist appropriate streets of NYC's Midtown. During September 2012 I got my tickets booked up, taking my seat at the Marquis Theatre to see Evita was the right thing to do! With Ricky Martin as the big name in the show, I had to see him playing the part of 'Che!' I have lost count, fifty shades or more I know that my year spent dipping in and out of NYC life needed no justification. All I need to tell you is that NYC certainly has many different shades! I know that I will make my sweet way back to the Big Apple, I'm not stressing because it will all be about divine timing. From Manhattan, Brooklyn then to Queens, there's always room for The Bronx! Yass!

NYC! Some Shade Given, Girl!

Joseph Harrison 

Monday, 3 February 2014

2014: Happy Chinese New Year, Birmingham!

Birmingham just celebrated Chinese New Year! Southside Birmingham said 'Gung Hei Fat Choi' to the year of the horse! Let's work hard to achieve our goals this year and be determined for its my year of the horse! Let us all enjoy one great day of celebration in Birmingham's Oriental heart! Bring on the Dragons, Bubble Tea and Dim Sum already! 伯明翰, 恭喜發財! 加油!

Making our way to Chinatown in Southside we patiently waited for the awakening of the dragons for the new year, but we must have read something wrong for the showcase was announced to begin at 12:30 pm. Getting out of the cold weather and away from the building crowds we retreated to Caffe Chino for a HK Style Bubble Tea, that did just the trick but I always have to have my Bubble Tea cold. I had never seen Caffe Chino so busy, it was usually chilled out and calm, we would usually be able to listen to the Cantonese music and chat quietly. It was Chinese New Year after all, it was a hive of activity! I wasn't pleased to hear some people order English Tea, its an Oriental Bakery not Greggs! If I was the couple having English Tea I would have exchanged it for a steaming pot of Oolong Tea! In the spirit of the new 'zodiac', a horse looking figure gave leaflets out with the Arcadian. Good fortune to you, Birmingham!

Tea for two? 是的,让我喝一杯奶茶! As we both enjoyed our Bubble Tea I couldn't help but notice that Cathay Street was progressively growing busier with excited Birmingham folk who were ready for the festivities. I always make tracks down to Chinatown in Birmingham, whether if its for a lovely meal or to pick some groceries from the Day In Supermarket. I would like to say I felt comfortable with Birmingham's Chinatown! I had never before celebrated a Chinese New Year, so I was very much looking forward to the day ahead to learn new customs, things that I might need to consider when I make tracks closer to China. Each visit to Caffe Chino takes me back to NYC, its one of my fondest memories of my placement having Bubble Tea on Christmas Eve 2012! A flashback maybe? Me and Kelly watched the clock, we really wanted to secure a good view ahead of the dragon dancing! 谢你 Caffe Chino! I'll miss you when I leave Birmingham! Sure, Southside's my favourite part of Birmingham! 

Keeping calm and carrying on we found a space that gave us a good view of the performance area. As the time grew closer to show time the crowd grew some more and the space became very restricted but after some restructuring of the crowd everything settled. To the right are dragons in all of their glory, I loved the whole routine as I felt part of the Chinese New Year festivities! I just want to be in Hong Kong already, I have some time to wait still! Back to the dragons, I loved the fast paced arrangement that was played, it definitely detracted away from the cold temperatures but no rain fell so that was sign of good luck! The sound of firecrackers and fireworks could be heard at the finale of the routine, welcoming in the New Year with the unveiling of the New Year red sign that read in both Cantonese and English. Cantonese would have been a handy language to know that day! I'll learn Mandarin too! 大陆新年快乐!

The presenters made their speeches, Kirtsy Lo greeted the crowd in English and her co-host Jimmy Chun spoke in Cantonese after all it was Chinese New Year! The Lord Mayor of Birmingham was present amongst other notable figures such as a council member there was also a number of representatives from the Chinese Festival Committee to make their respected speeches. The sponsors of the Dragon were the International phone provider Lebara and Tiger sponsors were the Genting Casino. I always pride Southside for being a diverse and vibrant part of Birmingham, its my favourite part of the city! I look back at this part of my Chinese New Year experience in Birmingham with a smile upon my face as it was something different to do, for that I'm thankful. Best of all without Kelly there wouldn't of been any photos for her knack of photography came in handy within the crowds. With the beat of the gong the Chinese New Year celebrations were in motion! Hi Horse! 伯明翰,马年快乐!

Ken Ho, Birmingham was the one! Kelly chose our restaurant as she knew the food would be served to an optimum standard. We were hungry! Kelly also took care of our food order for she made some surprise selections that I would soon find out what they tasted like. We choose to eat Dim Sum, a range of special dishes that could literally have fed the 5,000! Amongst the Custard Buns to the left I would find out that the dish next to Buns happened to be Cow's Stomach in a spicy chilli sauce, I actually enjoyed this alternative dish because I'm strange like that! Located to the top left is Pig's Blood Jelly, another dish that rewrites the book when it comes to the British way of a Chinese meal. I liked the Pig's Blood Jelly for it was flavoursome and was served in a Black Bean like sauce, yes really! I just love to try new foods! Our other dishes were Calamari Fritters, Steamed Prawn Parcels and Sesame Prawn Rolls. Oh! 

The Prawn Rolls were sublime, jammed pack with steamed Prawns that tasted so much better than the takeaway option. We also ordered one final item that surprised my taste-buds once more, choosing a fruit based pastry that contained the Durian fruit, they tasted very good! I actually love Dim Sum and pledge to sample some more outlandish dishes in Birmingham this semester or make sure I have lunch at one of the Malaysian kitchens in Chinatown. I would like to think that my taste tolerance is widening for I want to sample as many barmy sounding snacks and dishes once I make it to Asia and also parts of South East Asia, I will Desperately Seek that taste Adventure! Chinese New Year was great, I loved my first day of celebrating the year of the horse! I hope that this Chinese Zodiac shows me the way to greater things and if people get in my way I'll give them sharp kick just like a horse! I'm not joking about the kicking part! Another ace day of discovery in Birmingham! 伯明翰!

恭喜你发财! 新年春好!

Joseph Harrison

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Serving Up... Coast 2 Coast; Birmingham!

America is a country that's known for its iconic dishes, it's a country that serves food with a friendly smile. Fear not if you've never experienced America because Coast To Coast American Restaurant & Bar, Birmingham brings the land of the free direct to BrindleyPlace, Birmingham! Take a chance on Coast To Coast, Birmingham for an authentic all American dining experience!

Coast To Coast Brum brings the energy of a New York City sports bar! Enjoy a pre-dinner drink or enjoy some appetisers because its all about you at C2C! Catch the big games from the comfort of the bar area because it serves up a feeling of style and sophistication! Order a freshly made cocktail from the bar and trust the bartenders for they know their liquors! Better still it doesn't cost you the earth to enjoy a tantalising mixed drink for Coast To Coast, Birmingham has everyone's budgets in mind. First impressions count for something, upon my visit to Coast To Coast, Birmingham I received a warm welcome, I was assured that my table would be ready in less than fifteen minutes. Making mine a Mojito, I spent my first moments at the bar surrounded by the lively atmosphere that detracted away from the cold dreary February weather, I could have been in NYC due to the familiar setting! Brum, I say C2C is for right now! 

Birmingham's Broad Street and BrindleyPlace are both home to a range of lively and dynamic entertainment and hospitality venues. I would have to say that Coast To Coast American Restaurant and Bar has brought something new and exciting to this part of Birmingham! Broad Street has been through the mill but its slowly getting back on its feet, it's all about the staying power of a brand for this entertainment hungry part of Birmingham to serve. The contemporary design of this American infused restaurant puts Broad street back on the map! I would have to say that variety is definitely the spice of life so change that Brummie Balti for a hearty portion of American soul food! Forget the usual American choices like that shall not be named but you know who I mean, nobody want's it to be Friday everyday!? We wouldn't get anything done let alone have the means to enjoy ourselves?! At the end of the day you are free to live your life, do what you want! Mine's a Mojito! C2C, Touchdown!

Feeling hungry? Believe me, I knew exactly what I wanted to eat. Choosing the Pulled Pork Burger served with homemade Sweet Potato Fries with Coleslaw, it made the perfect combination for a Saturday night treat. Captured to the right is my flavoursome and eye-catching meal served that was on a wooden board, its all about that extra touch at Coast To Coast, Birmingham. I did take take care to capture my meal in the best way, I must say that my burger bun wasn't meant to be a soft bun so I was served exactly what had been printed in the menu. Accompanied by my friend Kelly, she enjoyed a hearty serving of the Sizzling Fajitas that were cleverly served with a selection of accompaniments such as; freshly prepared Guacamole, Cheese and Salsa. American food has many hidden depths. Remember, American food tastes better at C2C! Sure, Coast To Coast did their research! Yes, Brum! 

It's one complete dining experience at Coast To Coast, Birmingham as their menu boasts a wide range of authentic American dishes that range from Pizzas to Latin American Wraps! Be under no illusion that American cuisine begins and ends with the words Burgers and Fries because Coast To Coast, Birmingham offers a wide selection of Club Sandwiches, Ribs, Tacos, American Meatballs and much more! I have had the opportunity to live in America so I know a honest serving of American hospitality when I see it! Let's just say that the servers at Coast To Coast, Birmingham marry their British background with the perfect image of America's high standards of service! Choose Coast To Coast Birmingham for a lunch time treat or make a special celebration even better at this American infused eatery? Some would say that talk is cheap, I suggest that you make reservations at Coast To Coast, Birmingham you'll have a great experience like I did, you'll be returning for seconds! Choices! 

From Hollywood to the Empire State, this American Restaurant stays true to its aim to serve fresh and authentic American dishes within a modern and dynamic environment. Take note of the countless mementos that took me right back to New Jersey! From Coast To Coast its not difficult to realise that this cross-country dining experience can be much more than just a meal! Enjoy your time with the non-stop supply of iconic American anthems from a playlist that took me back to the Hard Rock Cafe, Times Square in New York City! It's almost been two years since the day so my Coast To Coast, Birmingham experience ensured those memories hadn't faded away just yet! I had the opportunity to take in the energetic and fast-paced environment of the Saturday night service at Coast To Coast, Birmingham, nothing was rushed at all. Our server Luke Vernon had an excellent product knowledge and served us with humour! Thanks! 

Myself and Kelly felt content with our main courses it was time to choose our deserts, a task that was very simple! I didn't need to be briefed what the choices were. The desert menu didn't exist at Coast To Coast? Our server, Luke explained our options in an animated fashion! I made a winning decision by choosing the Peanut Butter Cheesecake because it was a winner! My Cheesecake was served with Honeycomb Ice Cream and Whipped cream, it was truly divine! Kelly dared to chose the Chocolate Brownie that was also served with the perfect accompaniments, we equally enjoyed our deserts at Coast To Coast Birmingham. We decided to ditch the hot coffee, so we indulged in an iced Baileys latte that wrapped up our Coast To Coast, Birmingham experience just at the right level! Be mindful when making your reservations because Coast To Coast can get very busy! No, it's no secret that you're going to love this Birmingham Broad St restaurant! Thank you, Coast To Coast Birmingham! 

I Will Be Back For Breakfast! 

Joseph Harrison