Added on Saturday 7 Jun 2008
I've been very tardy in updating my newsletter, some lovely spring weather and a lot going on has proved to be an effective combination in luring me away from my desk. Now I have so much to write about I hardly know where to start. However, some exciting times coming up with the West End Festival just round the corner so that seems like an appropriate point to kick off. Jim and I went along to the launch of the festival's programme at the Kibble Palace and met Michael Dale, Liz Scobbie and her cousin Julie Duncanson (who plays Shona in River City) and Lynne Scobbie (the star behind Paintings on Railings) and my old buddy Roy Beers - always ready with the latest on Glasgow West End's dining and drinking. Take a look at Roy's ten top tips for places to visit during the festival. Take advantage of some great deals in our restaurant reservation service. Our most recent restaurant is the increasingly popular Drawing Room
At the launch I also met John Hancox of the Children's Garden at the Botanics and Willy Slavin, the Parish Priest from St Simon's, Partick - the church is celebrating being 150 year's old with events included in the WEF programme including a talk by Ranald Macinnes of Historic Scotland I went along to the St Simons Celebratory Civic Dinner at the City Chambers, where I bumped into Jeana and Costas Papamikial and also met some very friendly people at the table hosted by Baillie John McLachlin. Including the Duke Family from Purdon Street, who brought some fabulous old school photographs from the 50s.
Another highlight last month was when a member of our Discussion Forum, Tam, made a trip to Glasgow from Ontario. No newcomer to Glasgow, he was still sutiably impressed by trips to Kelvingrove, The Hunterian, Sonny and Vito's, Brel, Rio's Cafe, The Goat and the Ashoka West End, where we had a chat with Glasgow's Curry Queen Nasreen Aksi and took advantage of our restaurant reservation's deal there. However, a big fan of Denise Mina the highlight was a an afternoon at OranMor's Play, Pie and Pint, where we went along to see Karen Dunbar performing Denise's 'A Drunk Woman Looks at the Thistle'. What an outstanding piece of work. The writing was extraordinary and Karen Dunbar was just amazing. Tam was delighted to have a wee chat with Denise after the event.
We also met Tam, Robert and loads of friends and family at Maydaze in The Old Fruitmarket. Tam also came along to the allotment where he was kind enough to turn over a bit of ground at the Allotment and my John has been up helping out too as we had some sprucing up to do for the Open Day, part of the West End Festival Programme on 14th June. I've also been busy at my art class putting together a wee book for the Minature Book Exhibition at Hillhead Library.
Still I can't pretend it's been hard work and i've been out and about quite a lot. I went along with Anne to check out La Vallee Blanche, the French restaurant at 360 Byres Road, a very high class establishment, we enjoyed sampling their wonderful French fare.
I also had lunch with Jim at Cafezique, the new bistro opened by the owners of Delizique on Hyndland Road. It certainly has quite an atmosphere and has rather clerverly create a combination of friendliness and chic. Also very innovative and useful is the new FotoBareesta on Woodlands Road; a lovely spacious, fresh space with some great homebaking and super Danesi coffee. What makes it really different is that while you are enjoying a light lunch or snack you can take advantage of a range of photographic services and leave with a printed tea shirt or a great photo-book. Definitely a cert to catch on.
I found out about FotoBareesta and also 'Otto', the new bar/grill, to replace the Rubaiyat, when I met up with Catrina Allan at Jellybean. Definitely a West End girl in the know, I had a great time with Catrina discussing all sorts of ideas regarding developments on the website. I heard all about Zahid Mohammed's plans for the Rubaiyat, where he aims to be hand's on in ensuring high quality service in his new venture.
It's full steam ahead to open the pub and restaurant for the West End Festival and if you print out this page and take it along on 15th June, four people dining will receive a bottle of wine free.
I enjoyed a leisurely lunch and gab with Roy Beers at Cafe Cherubini, where we had a chat with the owner Mark Di Lucca, who is always making new plans for his great little bistro. Roy is addicted to their Caprese Salad. Next week we are both going along to dine at Kamasutra and Roy is also keen to check out the new tapas restaurant 'Torres', so you'll be able to find out all about that in his dining and drinking feature.
Last Saturday I went along to the Royal Concert Hall for the launch of the Glasgow Group's celebrating 50 years exhibitions. Lots of great exhibitions will take place in various venues throughout the city and I need to get back along to have a proper look at the exhibition in the Concert Hall. Too many people to chat to, which distracted from the art, but nice to see Alasdair Gray, Anita Manning, and of course lots of the artists including Gordon Muir, Jo Linley and Robert Burns.
I also caught up with the Usual Suspects, Eleanor, Joan, Rena and Maggie at The Ubiquitous Chip, where we had a great natter and a really lovely Sunday Lunch. We were celebrating Joan's successful completion of the 10K, so well done Ms Mckenzie, also Linda Keenan and my niece Aileen Young, Nicki Gritton and Claire Coyle. All completed in just around an hour's time - impressive stuff.
I also had a bit of catching up to do with my husband and had an assignment with him in Little Italy last week. Good to see him and hear all about his exploits at the Chris Difford Songwriting Workshop in Monestevole, where he spent a week being creative and gaining enthusiasm for new songwriting avenues. Already he's been through in Edinburgh performing at a Folk Club! Anyway, watch out for some photographs - soon to appear in Jim's photo diary
Recently I've had lots of visitors from Old Kilpatrick so that's been very enjoyable. Maggie Campbell and Denise Goldman came up together and we had a rare chat about the old days and Anne Campbell also took a run up to see me so very good to hear about the goings on in the village.
I've also been catching up with some new shopping ventures in the West End - particularly impressive is Nancy Smillie's Jewellery Studio at Kelvinbridge. Some fabulous designer jewellery to chose from and great bags and accessories. Another great addition to a really vibrant location where you will also find shops such as Felix and Oscar, Flounce, Galletly and Tubbs and Strawberry Fields - clothes for kids, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a spectacular sale.
Another area I love is Hyndland Street and round about Partick Cross and I had a little wander around there the other day. As usual I popped into see Maxine in Handbags and Gladrags and was delighted to find the perfect summer bag, soft Italian leather in cream and black. I then went round to pick up some tasty Polish snacks in 'Polish Taste' and investigated the new Scottish deli 'Blas', where Ross Parry was on hand to tell me about all their great home grown/reared products.
Another West End area that I like to visit is Kelvinbridge and Woodlands. I am always happy to be invited along to Sonny and Vito's and Offshore in Gibson Street is also a popular choice. I enjoyed some lunch at Offshore recently when I met up with Eric Kay from GOW, we had a great natter about the achievements of the residents of the GOW Triangle Project, who have created a beautiful backcourt - an inspiration for all tenement dwellers in Glasgow.
There's masses of new stuff up on the site including: