Cardiff

My time in Cardiff Wales was very short, only one full day, but it was a lovely city with less hustle and bustle after coming straight from Liverpool.

The first place I visited was Cardiff Market, which was great because I got there early enough to avoid a big crowd. There was a great variety of interesting stalls including things like Indian spices, vintage records, palm reading, fresh produce, and my personal favorite, the yarn shop. It was called the Wool Pack, but she had a massive collection of acrylic yarn (all of the shelves on the left side), which I got a beautiful teal skein from.

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After getting lost (thanks, Google Maps) and having to ask for directions at a craft beer shop, my first food stop was at Crumbs Kitchen. It was worth the hassle though, because I had a very good lunch there. The first floor of the restaurant is a bit chaotic, due to that being where the orders take place, but there is a second story with extra seating away from the main crowd. I got the chili over brown rice, with rose lemonade and chocolate cake. The whole grain goodness of the brown rice was a nice welcome, due to my Workaway host at that time only feeding us less filling white rice. The serving was huge though, and I ended up taking half away for my dinner later.

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I gotta admit, part of the appeal of Cardiff was being a Torchwood fan. I never managed to get into Doctor Who (though I still find Weeping Angels terrifying), but I was addicted to Torchwood when I found it in Netflix. Because of this, I decided to brave the rain and wind and march two miles from my hotel to the area where they shot the show. It was odd to look at all these buildings in real life when before I’ve only seen them in panoramic filmed shots. Definitely worth a trip if you’re a fan.

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A place you must visit in Cardiff is Cinnamon Sticks, an almost painfully adorable tea room shop. Everything ranging from the wallpaper to the servers’ outfits is either floral, pink, or dainty. Though I’m not a huge tea fan (unless it’s cold, sweet, and Southern), but I did partake in their cake, which is beyond amazing. I got a piece of their chocolate peanut butter masterpiece and can say that it was probably the best piece of cake I’ve ever had. The peanut butter frosting was the perfect amount of rich and fluffy, and the chocolate cake was the perfect spongey texture. I was sad I didn’t have time or the stomach space to try their savory vegan options, but I’ll just have to get them next time I go to Cardiff, since I will definitely be visiting Cinnamon Sticks again.

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Freshman Eats, Plus a Coffee Shop Review

I was worried my food blog would take a down-turn when I went off to college. Most freshman stick with the campus’ cafeteria food, or just straight up ramen noodles. But I refuse to be like that. Though the University of Montevallo is very veggie friendly, I have a meal plan where I end up eating there once every weekday, and all other times I make my own food. Campbell’s classic tomato soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and quick cooking pasta have all become my friend.

I want to rely on processed and pre-made foods less, and I’m going to try and start cooking (and blogging) lots more. But until then, I’ll leave you with a review of the local coffee shop/bookstore, Eclipse Coffee & Books.

Eclipse is pretty much the only place other than fast food to eat in Montevallo. I heard great reviews from other students, so a group of us decided to take a walk over there and try it out.

When you first enter, you can tell the food is going to be good. The place has a relaxed, almost Hippie-ish atmosphere. There are many paintings/drawings tacked all over the place, by local artists no doubt. My favorite painting by far though is below, a portrait of a man and his cat. The main room is where the kitchen is and the most amount of chairs and tables. But throughout the building there are rooms stuffed from floor to ceiling with books, where there are small designated eating areas.

Eclipse has a broad menu with sandwiches, salads, soups, (not to mention breakfast is served all day, and they have pita pizzas on Wednesdays) and about half is already vegetarian. After looking over and considering for a while, I opted for the veggie sandwich and an Alternative Baking Company double chocolate chip cookie.

The sandwich was really delicious and surprisingly filling. It was served on warm pita bread (the only vegan bread available there), slathered with red pepper hummus. The veggie fillings were sliced cucumber, carrot, tomato, avocado (which I requested for an extra 50 cents), and red onion. It was served with a two pickles and pretzel sticks on the side. With its interesting atmosphere and great food, I would definitely recommend you try Eclipse Coffee & Books next time you wander into Montevallo.

A small wooden totem pole in front of Eclipse.