Food & Adventures

Monday 30 April 2018

Lunch at Filmore and Union | John Lewis Newcastle

We were shopping in Newcastle this week and decided to stop for lunch at Filmore and Union. On the 1st floor of John Lewis in Eldon Square where Rossopomodoro used to be with views overlooking the Mall. The seating area is light and contemporary with some great interior design including a wall of foliage.

They have a Breakfast and Lunch menu to choose from as well as a Sunday Brunch menu (you can find them all here). There is a wide selection of Juices and Smoothies on offer as well as some alcoholic drinks if you're in the mood. We both went for a juice to drink as I noticed they had juicers in the bar area for making them freshly squeezed. Mrs Cool went for good old fashioned Orange Juice but I wanted something a bit different so went for the Union Tonic which is Pineapple, Lemon, Orange, Apple and Strawberry we both agreed that the drinks were delicious and very refreshing.

For our meals Mrs Cool went for the Soup of the Day which was Thai Carrot and Coconut which she said was very aromatic and not too spicy. There was little drizzle of oil which we were trying to decipher and decided it was some kind of nut oil and this really elevated the flavour. The soup came with a slice of toasted seeded bread and Mrs. Cool felt it was a pretty perfect lunch dish.

I noticed that they also had a Tagine of the Day and being a lover of tagine decided to go for this. It was Lamb, Pea, Potato and Prune Tagine, While not as good as my own tagines that I've made myself at home this was still a really good tagine. The flavour was very authentic and it came with wholegrain rice and a sort of lime mayo which was a really great addition. My only criticism of the tagine is there was quite a lot of sauce and it could've done with little bit of bread to mop it up. Luckily Mrs. Cool was kind enough to donate some of the bread that came with her soup.

After our meals we decided to have a coffee and split a dessert. There was a variety of Cakes, Brownies and Muffins on offer and we went for the Chocolate Brownie. This was perfectly gooey in the middle and I thought it was great but Mrs. Cool thought it was too sweet. It was served with sour cream, which I've never seen before, but I thought this off set the sweetness of the brownie brilliantly.

There is a strong emphasis on healthy living and most of the dishes are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian or Vegan. We'll definitely be back as I noticed there was Avocado on toast on the breakfast menu and I want to see how it compares to my current favourite from the Tyneside bar Cafe.

Well, that's all for now.



Thursday 26 April 2018

Ranking the MCU Movies

Avengers: Infinity War is released this week and it will be the culmination of 10 years and 19 movies (as well as 6 TV shows on Netflix). Leading up to the release me and my son Harry have been rewatching all of the MCU movies and have decided to rank them from worst to best.

18. Thor: The Dark World

Thor returns and this time is battling some ancient elves lead by the 9th Doctor. They're trying to get The Aether, which is the Reality Stone and want to turn the universe back into the darkness that existed before. I don't dislike this film, it just never seems to get going.

17. The Incredible Hulk

Bruce Banner has already been involved in a Gamma Radiation accident and is on the run from the US Government when he is tracked down and turns back into the Green Goliath. This is the film that first showed there is a shared universe across the Marvel movies. The Incredible Hulk was my favourite when I was a kid and I've been disappointed with the Hulk solo movies. Hopefully there will be more and can do Hulk justice.

16. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America's second outing sees him uncovering a plot by HYDRA to take over SHIELD and kill a large percentage of the population. The titular Winter Soldier is a weapon of HYDRA and an old friend of Cap who has been brain washed. This would have implications in future MCU movies. This was not as bad as I had remembered from the first time I watched but as with Thor: The Dark World it just never seemed to get going.

15. Iron Man 2

Tony Stark is back as Iron Man this time he is taking on Whiplash, a baddie with a grudge against the Stark family. There seems to be a pattern with the original avengers' follow up movies. Again I don't not like this film but with first film being so good I was left disappointed. The highlight of this film is the fight between a drunk Iron Man and Rhodey, who has just nicked the MK II version of the Iron Man Armour.

14. Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Avengers team up again this time to take down an AI that was created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner using some jiggery pokery with an Infinity Stone. I liked a lot about this film. it introduced a few new Avengers in Vision and Scarlet Witch and I thought Ultron was a pretty good baddie. But alas there were just better films in the series so this is why it features so low.

13. Iron Man 3

Tony Stark is back in the Iron Man suit for his final solo film. This time is is trying to stop a terrorist from blowing shit up. When I first watched this I didn't really like it but watching it a second time i really enjoyed it. I liked the baddies as The Mandarin was great (I've come to terms with the twist) and Killian was good smarmy dickhead.

12. Captain America

The first origin story on the list. Steve Rogers is a weedy kid from Brooklyn who wants to join the army to protect people from the Nazi's. He is given the chance with the help of a Super Soldier Serum and becomes Captain America. I didn't think I was going to like this when it came out as I thought the American patriotism would be too much for me but I really enjoyed it. Cap is great and the villanous Red Skull is now one of my favourite bad guys in the MCU.

11. Thor

Thor is the God of Thunder, son of Odin King of Asgard. Thor is banished to Earth when he is set up by his brother Loki and has to prove he is worthy the wield the mighty hammer Mjolnir. I really love Norse Mythology and new I would enjoy this when it was announced. The MCU humour is really prevalent throughout this film but the action is great too.

10. Doctor Strange

Stephen Strange is a brilliant neurosurgeon who, after a car crash, is unable to work goes on a spiritual journey to heal himself. Learning some mystical powers and becoming the Sorcerer Supreme to protect Earth from Magical and Mystical threats. I was actually in two minds about whether to even go to see this when it came out at the cinema. I just didn't get how it would work with the other MCU films but boy am I glad I did. I've written a full review of Doctor Strange here.

9. Avengers Assemble

The first big team up of Earth's Mightiest Heroes sees them defending Earth against attack from the alien race of Chitauri lead by Loki. I love this film and apart from the first Iron Man this was my favourite MCU movie up to that point. The scale of this film is huge, the battles are great and it teases the first mention of Thanos

8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The Guardians of the Galaxy are back for more mischief in outer space. This time they meet Peter Quill's Dad, Ego, The living planet who is not all he's cracked up to be. This is the film where I finally got Mrs. Cool to start coming around to the MCU movies. The humour is spot on all the way through and the soundtrack is perfect. I've written a full review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here.

7. Spider-man: Homecoming

Peter Parker is buzzin' after helping Iron Man in Civil War but then he is dropped back into his normal life in New York. He discovers The Vulture has been stealing weapons that were developed using the alien tech left behind from the aftermath of Avengers Assemble. Spider-Man is one of my favourite superheroes of all time (and probably my favourite of all Marvel heroes) so when I found out he was joining the MCU I was super excited and I can't wait to see what happens with our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man next.

6. Ant-Man

Scott Lang is a thief who after being released from prison is persuaded back to a life of crime by one of his friends. He breaks into a safe owned by Dr. Hank Pym, but the only thing inside is a suit, The Ant-Man Suit. Now with the ability to shrink to the size of an ant while at the same time increasing his strength he helps Dr. Pym to stop a mad scientist from creating a weapon. It sounds ridiculous I know but this film is so good. As with most of the MCU movies this gets the mix of action and comedy spot off. Paul Rudd is not someone you would expect be play a superhero but he is perfect as Ant-Man.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians of the Galaxy are a ragtag group of miscreants who come together not out of a sense of honour or duty but because a madman known as Ronan is trying to destroy the galaxy and they don't want to die. This one came out of nowhere, I had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy before this film was announced but my god is it good. The battle scenes are visually stunning and it's funny, not just a smirk here or there but it is laugh out loud funny. This film also started the trend of the soundtrack being an important part of the story which has been followed not just by MCU movies but by movies in general over the last few years.

4. Captain America: Civil War

In the aftermath of Age of Ultron the governments of the world are concerned by the lack of accountability the Avengers seem to have. This causes a rift between the Avengers when Cap goes off on one to help his friend the Winter Soldier and leads to the civil war Team Cap and Team Ironman. This is more like Avengers 2.5 and brings a lot of the team together along with some new faces and then tears them apart. I've written a full review of Captain America: Civil War here.

3. Black Panther

T'Challa returns to his home country of Wakanda after Captain America: Civil War. He is crowned King but then faces a challenge from a pretender to the throne and has to prove he is worthy of being The Black Panther. There was a lot of hype around this film it is by no means unwarranted, Harry wanted this to be number one but I overruled him. I've written a full review of Black Panther here.

2. Iron Man

Tony Stark is the billionaire genius owner of a weapons company, when he is kidnapped in Afghanistan he has to use his brains to build and armoured suit to get out. In doing so realises he has a responsibility and the power to help those who have been the victim of the weapons his company has created. The film that kicked off the MCU is still one of my favourites, Robert Downey Jr. just is Tony Stark and this film is just about perfect.

1. Thor: Ragnarok

The final outing for the God of Thunder sees him abandoned on a junk planet and forced to fight The Hulk in gladiatorial arena before escaping and returning to Asgard to avenge his fathers death and prevent Ragnarok (which is the end of all things). As near perfect Iron Man is this just pips it and is perfect in every way. Although this is a Thor movie it could equally be a Hulk movie and that earns it extra point. The supporting cast are great too with Jeff Goldblum being the highlight. I've written a full review of Thor: Ragnarok here.

How will the next phase of movies change my list we can only wait and see. Do you agree with my list? Are you completely outraged by it? What would you have as your number 1? Look out for my review of Avengers: Infinity War which I will be posting next week.

Well, that's all for now.



Monday 23 April 2018

Monday Munchies: Sticky Beef Burritos

A while ago I posted about how every now and then we love to have a family Burrito bar at home where me, Mrs. Cool and the kids can all design our own Burritos (You can read that here). I've decided to revisit a burrito recipe and share one that is a bit more for grown ups, it is so easy and will only take about 20 mins from start to finish.

This recipe serves 2 and you will need:

250g Beef Mince
100g Rice
Strong Cheese (I used cheddar and you can use as much as you want)
1 Tomato
1 Lime
1 Little Gem Lettuce
25g Honey
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
1tbsp Chipotle paste
Tortilla Wraps (either 6 small or 4 regular).


Put 175ml of cold water in a pan on a high heat and add the rice, once it's boiling turn the heat down and leave for 15 minutes or until the water has all been absorbed.

Next heat some oil in a frying pan, add the beef and season with salt and pepper. As the beef browns break it up with a spoon or spatula.

Add the paprika and chilli flakes to the beef and cook for 1 minute, in the meantime chop the tomato and add this along with the honey, chipotle paste and squeeze in half the juice of half the lime, cook this for another few mins until it is all sticky.

Warm the tortillas in the oven for a few minutes, shred the lettuce and grate the cheese.

Finally it's time to build your Burrito, start by putting rice on your tortilla, then add the beef and then the lettuce and cheese. If you want you can also add some sour cream or guacamole.

Buen Provecho



Thursday 19 April 2018

Ready Player One: A Review

Steven Spielberg's latest blockbuster is a full on pop culture geek-gasm with cameos and references from all areas of movies, books and games. I haven't read the book so I went into this film with no preconceptions and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I took my son Harry, 11, and daughter Heidi, 9, and they both loved it too and proceeded to point out all of the characters who were making appearances, even though I already knew them all (I'm not so completely ancient that I don't know who Tracer is).

The premise is tried and tested albeit in a new setting. In the future real life is pretty shitty so most people spend their time in the virtual world called The Oasis. There, you can customise your avatar to look how you want to look and interact with everyone else around the world. The main character is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a guy who lives with his Aunt in a trailer park called The Stacks in Columbus, Ohio. In The Oasis Wade is Parzival, his best friend is Aech (Lena Waithe) and along with some other players Art3mis (Olivia Cooke), Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Phillip Zhao) as well as pretty much everyone else in the world are trying to complete a quest set by The Oasis' creator.

James Halliday (Mark Rylance) created the The Oasis but died a few years before the film, in his will he set a quest for anyone willing to undertake it. Whoever completes the quest will receive his shares in the company and effectively own The Oasis. The players have been trying for years but no one is even close. As well as the players there is also another company (Innovative Online Industries or IOI) who are trying to win so they can start charging people to use The Oasis and sell advertising and head of the company is Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) they archetypal joyless douchebag with no imagination.

The first part of the quest is a race through a sprawling city racetrack. Some of the racers have vehicles from various TV and Movies including, The Pontiac Trans-Am from Smokey and the Bandit, The A-Team Van, Mad Max's V8 Interceptor, the 1966 Batmobile and of course The DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future. The race is littered with obstacles including the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and the end level Boss is King Kong.

Obviously there has to be a love story, Parzival fancies Art3mis straight away and tries to win her over with some dance moves. In the real world they meet up when IOI tries to kill Parzival to stop him winning anymore of the challenges. It turns out that IOI are a pretty dark company as they buy people's debt and make them work it off in 'Loyalty Centres' that are essentially virtual work camps.

The next part of the quest involves solving a riddle in the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. This was my favourite scene, the hotel is recreated perfectly and it's just as creepy as in the actual Shining complete with the twins girls, the ghost woman in room 237 and the blood coming from the elevator.

The final challenge of the quest seems easy as they just have to play a game on the Atari 2600 (fun fact: I used to have an Atari 2600 when I was a kid). However, they don't know which game. IOI have loads of players trying to play every game from the Atari 2600 and failing. They have also set up a huge shield around the game so no one else can try and play, so Parzival and the rest of his crew recruit an army of players to lay siege to the shield and a huge battle ensues.

The battle is chock full of cameos too, with Freddie Krueger, Chucky, The Army of Darkness and Spawn all making appearances. The Iron Giant is teased throughout the film and finally shows up in this battle to help get Parzival inside the the shield.

As enjoyable as the film was I don't feel this will be a classic along side Spielberg's other big hits but it is still worth watching. The plot was a bit predictable but the the aesthetics are incredible and the soundtrack is pretty decent too. The acting is secondary to the action but there are some good performances particularly Ben Mendelsohn who seems to be carving out a good niche for himself playing dickheads, there are also good cameos from Simon Pegg and T.J. Miller. As fantastic as the film seems it's not so far fetched with regard to the way VR Tech is going and something like the Oasis is probably not that far off.

Well, that's all for now.



Monday 2 April 2018

Big Cool Five

It was hard to narrow this months Big Cool Five down to just five entries.  Some of the things we got up to that didn't make the cut was when wee visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and we had a weekend away in Scarborough. However I decided that these are my Big Cool Five for March.

The Greatest Showman

Well what can I say about The Greatest Showman, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it but it turned out to be one of the best films I've seen in a long time. The cast is great and the songs are very catchy and if you haven't seen it yet go and see it now. I've written a full review here.

American Style BBQ Cookout

One of my favourite meals is a full on, messy, dirty, American style BBQ. This month I went all out and made slow cooked brisket, Buffalo Chicken wings, Barbecued Corn on the cob, Homemade BBQ Sauce and the best ever Slaw. You can find the full recipe here.

LEGOLAND Manchester

We had a little trip to Manchester and my highlight of this trip was LEGOLAND. We love LEGO in our house and LEGOLAND was so much fun. There were LEGO rides, a 4D LEGO movie and lots of LEGO to build with including race track where you can race your own LEGO cars against other master builders. Mrs Cool wrote a full review here.

Black Mirror

The main TV show we watched this month was Black Mirror. We managed to get through all four seasons. We loved the surreal social commentary the show made via various alternative realities. My particular favourites are the debut episode National Anthem and the season four opener USS Callister. Black Mirror is available to watch now on Netflix.

Easter Panto at Tyne Theatre and Opera House

We love a panto but have never been to one at easter. It was a bit surreal shouting 'It's behind you' and 'Oh no it isn't' in March but it was so much fun. The Kids were loving it especially Jack who is usually a bit reserved when were around other people but even he was singing along. Bobby Davro is the star and I remember loving him when I was a kid and I can tel you he is still hilarious.

Now that spring has sprung I'm looking forward to what we will be getting up to in April. Check Back next month for my next Big Cool Five.

Well, That's all for now.


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