Health kick! Our Lady Laura’s healthy January was also a tasty one…

BLT salad, Naked Deli, Chillingham Road
BLT salad, Naked Deli, Chillingham Road

Main-imageThank the lord that January is over! I’ve been doing dry January, which has been something of a struggle. In fact, it’s probably the worst month of the year to abstain, as a lovely glass of wine is the best way to beat the January blues. I’ve also been on a serious detox which, again, hasn’t been the best, what with Christmas chocolate still hanging around the house. But I’ve done it, so bring on the bubbles and G&Ts!

First on my list of places to visit will be Glass House, the new champagne bar opening on Dean Street in Newcastle in the coming weeks. With live jazz and swing nights, cocktails and champagne, it sounds like the perfect place to climb back on the wagon.

The Botanist is another fantastic new bar and restaurant in Newcastle, and it’s always packed due to its incredible cocktails and fab food. Featuring the beautiful glass domed ceiling of Monument Mall and several bar areas, the surroundings are nothing short of impressive, as is the huge range of food and drinks.

During my healthy January I’ve been visiting the Naked Deli on Chillingham Road for lunch nearly every weekday. From fitness fanatics in Lycra to OAPs, the diverse fan base is testament to the amazing menu on offer. The tuna steak in their Nicoise salad is perfect, while the BLT salad of chicken, bacon and a poached egg accompanied by a huge
salad certainly hits the spot for its protein power.

They also have a new cold press juicer imported from America, which extracts the maximum nutrients for that extra zing.

Hake fillet with mussel clam broth and kale at Jesmond Dene House

A cheeky midweek meal at Jesmond Dene House starred a wonderful roast squash and ricotta cheese starter followed by roasted hake fillets served with a mussel and clam broth and curly kale. It was so delicious – it just goes to show you can eat out and still have a healthy dinner.

The Staiths Café is another place I’ve found and fallen in love with. Part café, part community hub and local shop, it stocks a great range of artisan products alongside homemade cakes, fresh breads and lunch options. In the evening you can enjoy the likes of curry, chilli, pizza, Lebanese chicken kebabs and lasagne and its sunset views over the coal staiths are gorgeous. Head to the official opening on February 5 from 6pm for food, drinks and entertainment.

I’m also looking forward to the EAT! IN Festival Feb 20-March 1. The innovative programme includes a series of paladares hosted by talented home cooks at secret neighbourhood venues to be revealed at the last minute.

I’m looking forward to the Bosnian, Jewish, Catalan, Cuban and Geordie Paladares, but get booking quick as tickets are selling like hotcakes. In the meantime, I’m so relieved it’s February and I can forget dry January for another year…

Big country
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