When we used to live in a tiny little village that had no shop or indeed anywhere that would deliver a take-away, I used to cook most things from scratch. I know it’s healthier and cheaper, but honestly, it got a bit tedious. We all need a chinese, indian or pizza take out every now and then when you, quite frankly, just can’t be arsed.
But now we live in the heart of York. We have a huge array of take-away places, restaurants, coffee shops and bistros on our doorstep. Even the Sainsburys local is on our walk to school route – which means I pass it four times a day.
It becomes far too easy to think, ‘I’ll just pop in and get a ready meal. The kids will be hungry when they get home and it will take less time.’ Or the kids will walk home and at least once a week, but usually far more often, they say: ‘Can we get a take-away?’
My husband is hardly ever here. I am trying to eat healthily and the kids aren’t keen on my quinoa and lentil creations, weirdly. So frankly getting them a take-away is easy.
I fight against it. Well sort of. I do my best to ensure that the boys have home cooked meals at least four times a week, but I confess, the remaining three are probably either a ready meal, a take-away or a restaurant meal. But you know what, we have sacrificed having a garden to live in the city centre. So I think it’s only right that we make use of the dining facilities on our doorstep. And we all do enough sport to work off the calories.
The American Resident is once again running the Where I Live linky, this time looking at junk food near you, so I thought I’d share the places that we frequent most often for our high calorie, low health food options.
Ruby’s Chinese on Gillygate
This is the place we go to most often when we need a junk food fix. I love this Chinese for one reason. You can order online. It takes about two minutes if you know what you want (we always order the same thing!) and once you’ve placed your order, a little countdown clock tells you how many minutes it is until your order is ready, starting at 15. When it gets to five minutes, I put my shoes on and head down the street to get it. The food is good, portions huge and the people friendly.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen is where we go when
we are hungover the boys feel like burgers. It is also one of the few places in the UK that makes a burger that includes pineapple. Growing up in South Africa, a Hawaiian burger was pretty standard. Here not so much. And frankly, a burger without pineapple is a very sad thing. I also like the skinny fries and free monkey nuts.
My husband would eat at Nandos every meal he could. I’m a fan because it started in South Africa and has since become a global super power in the fast food market. Well done them I say. And as far as junk goes, it’s pretty healthy. Grilled chicken, spicy rice, mucho peas. I mean it’s positively a diet food (or not). But it is delicious. I particularly liked that when we went there on one occasion, my son asked how the coca-cola comes out of the self-serve vending machines. I told them that tiny oompa loompas sat inside, one pushing the flavour button, one pushing the water button, one pushing the gas button. He didn’t believe me. So I called the manager over, explained my version and asked him for the truth. So he dutifully told my son how it was all really plumbed in. When my son asked who changed the bottles of gas, he said: ‘The oompa loompas.’ High five to the Nandos manager.
This is where I go if I am on a shopping mission and need to refuel. I always have the chicken chow mein with teriyaki sauce. Do you know why I like this place? Because they serve the food in the kind of boxes you see in the movies. With chopsticks. I am that shallow. I’m all about the packaging. There is a tiny seating area upstairs too where you can watch the world go buy. After you’ve refuelled, you can hit the shops some more.
Now this gets a category to itself. We are lucky enough to have Mamma Mia’s close to home. These are good basic Italian pizzas which I enjoy. The children prefer the American style pizzas you can get from Kings on the other side of Gillygate where you can get BBQ sauce (and heartburn) instead of regular tomato sauce on top of the pizzas. They are also part of Just Eat, which is good when you have to take your kids straight to cricket from school and they are starving – Just Eat will deliver to the cricket pitch, making all the other parents hate you as their children say: Can we order a pizza too? But we also have Pizza Express, Zizzis and Ask all within a few minutes walk from our house. I like Ask because it is in the Grand Assembly Rooms, which is a stunning building. And the kids like Pizza Express (on the river) because they get babyccinos.
Both the Raj and Jaipur Spice are easily accessible for us and do an ok curry, the latter being the better of the two (although the Raj is under new management). But if you want really good curry, rather than a take-away, my top pick is Mumbai Lounge.
There are so many places to choose from that it’s hard to limit it. The above list is not for food gourmets (although some of the establishments may beg to differ). If that is what you’re after, look elsewhere. But if you have a kids, a hangover, apathy when it comes to cooking or just a need for junk, I can assure you that this list will see you right.
Next week, a list of exercises to help you work it all off…..