Birmingham: Broad Street, Staying Cool & Chinese New Year!

2015 hasn't been that exciting if I'm completely truthful, so with that said its time to flashback to this time last year! How I did I get so lucky with my food and lifestyle blog publications during February 2014? Chinese New Year was celebrated with my friend Kelly in Birmingham's Chinatown for the year of the horse! How time changes our situations in life! Oh, February 2014!

Yes, I can be a cheeky sod, after dining at Coast To Coast American Restaurant on Broad Street I had to tweet all about it! With a bit of luck and negotiation I secured an evening at their Birmingham Broad Street location one Saturday evening during February 2014. I chose my friend Kelly as my plus one so we could spend some time away from the stresses of our dissertation. I for one needed compile a food orientated publication that would feature on my blog. Since that was the reason for our visit! Choosing from the vast menu we both enjoyed the hospitality of Coast To Coast that winter night. I ordered the pulled pork burger that was served with coleslaw and fries, a tasty component to my American infused evening. Both me and Kelly sampled a few cocktails before we sat down for our evening meal. I was tripping, I had been given the chance to blog about a restaurant and enjoy a great meal in the process! Let's just say I was very happy to be a part of that! Of course, I was very thankful for the opportunity! Yes, C2C!

Newly opened on Birmingham's entertainment avenue, Coast To Coast's opening beckoned a new start for Broad Street due the many vacant outlets that took the life out of my student city. Even students need treats that don't incur vile hangovers, so a new place to have a bit to eat acted as the perfect antidote to mine and Kelly's final year university commitments. I was on the frontier of my final semester at University College Birmingham, so I wanted to get the best of what Birmingham had to show me this time last year. It was great to be getting recognition for my blog, first and foremost I never set out to be a paid blogger because for me its all about my own personal adventures that contribute to each post. Back to the food, we sipped our mixed drinks and moved on to desert before calling it a night. I chose the peanut butter cheese cake that was served with ice cream, Kelly enjoyed the chocolate brownie so all was sweet! We both left feeling full and happy indeed B! We enjoyed the hospitality, it was a really nice evening. Oh!

Februrary 2014 was a month of surprises, well even more so when I got an email inviting me to spend one night at the Rotunda. The view from my Staying Cool serviced apartment was out of this world! Birmingham never looked so good! I lounged around for the evening, enjoying the amenities and of course marvelling at the view of Birmingham's Bullring and ever expanding Eastside. Like my food review I had never before been asked to stay in a lovely apartment to then publish a publication for it. There must be something Birmingham, because it looked damn good from the top! Chilling out I made the best of the Sky television that posed as a luxury for I was currently living in student halls of residence at that time so that was lovely. I had the kettle boiled several times, the wide selection of tea, coffees and hot chocolates had me hooked! There was one thing that I didn't want to miss, I wanted to see the sunrise! It was beautiful! It was something to write home about, I was not going to mess these blog gigs up for nothing! No way! 

Taking a brief interlude I accepted an invitation to review a new show concept at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre. Brought by the English Touring Theatre I enjoyed the performance of Eternal Love that bitterly cold February night. I had the chance to revisit the backstage to see the different set and props, I'm sure the trees were from Blenheim Palace? I met a whole host of bloggers and tweeters that evening, plus I had the chance to be part of a question time with a representative from the show to find out more about the history of this alternative love story. Aside from my blogging pursuits I was busy with the joys of final year, my Dissertation took up a ferocious amount of my time due to its enormity of 10,000 words and all the 'academic' reading I had to undertake! Well in a manner of speaking! Birmingham looked good to me for once, through the year I was away and since my return from Newark my opinion of my former student city was fine with me! I was well impressed with February's rich pickings!

As if our American chow down at Coast To Coast wasn't enough! Me and Kelly made it down to Chinatown the very next day after our working meal! Chinese New Year had arrived so we reconvened and headed for Birmingham's Chinese Quarter to join the festivities. Waiting in the dodgy weather conditions was worth it because we caught the opening ceremony and the releasing of the firecrackers! No Chinese New Year is complete without a parade of dancing dragons, I left the photography to Kelly for she can snap a photo without stress! In between the festivities we ran for cover in Caffe Chino, we had a Bubble Tea to pass the time before the dragons and fireworks. I didn't appreciate those tea drinkers who didn't favour an Oolong brew or something more Oriental! Toasting the day we dined on some crazy Dim Sum dishes at Ken Ho on Hurst Street. I put my trust in Kelly to order some out of the ordinary dishes for us to enjoy, I was impressed by Kelly because she challenged me! Tea is tea, so there we go Brummie! 

Since moving back to Birmingham from Newark, NJ in early 2013, it was quite something to see Centenary Square look like a building site! The all new Library of Birmingham took a long time to be finally built but it now stands very proud! I took some time away from my Dissertation during 2014's throw of February to capture this icon for a blog publication, I saw the view from the top that looks over Birmingham's growing skyline to think that I've been very lucky to experience such a experience over the last four years. I look back on February 2014 with a smile because I was afforded some great opportunities during that month, I didn't stress about having more blog ventures because I was busy with uni and going on day trips! Chinese New Year was cool, Kelly's now in Hong Kong so I look back on those times fondly because I don't know when I'll see her again! Her food choices for us were the best! I wouldn't mind Staying Cool again! February 2015 wasn't so bad really, I got a job at long last! Onwards and upwards February '16!

Fabulous February!

Joseph Harrison


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