Archive for the ‘50 Kebab Challenge’ Tag

2014, The Year of Fish and Chips (recap)   32 comments

2014-12-31 end of year chart

“You’re going to swell up like a tick.”
–Work mate when he heard about the Chippy Challenge.

“No, he did the same thing with kebabs, last year…he’ll be fine.”
–Another colleague, in response.

Actually, I lost weight, starting the year at 178 lbs (12 stone 10 or, for the metric-minded, 81 kg) and spending most of the last 6 months dead on 154 lbs (11 stone even or 70 kg).  This was grand, as I drank more this year than usual and ran only about the normal amount (maybe even less than, but I haven’t tallied the runs yet).  I would highly recommend this diet at least to those who normally live on the 2013: Year of Kebabs Diet.  I’m looking forward to seeing what drifting back toward normal alcohol and food intake will do to the weight.

Of the 126 qualifying meals, 75 were at a chippy, 40 in a pub, 3 at the house, 1 at a Dutch fish stand, and 7 others (cafes and dining halls).

I didn’t travel much this year so geographically they are pretty tightly clustered around home and work. I nailed a couple in mainland Europe and a few down at the southern coast, as well, but I had 36 each in Oxford or Swindon so I have favourites in those two localities.

Top 10 in Swindon:

1 tie York Road Chippy
1 tie The Frying Fish
3 Trident Fish Bar
4 Britz Fish and Chips
5 Mr. Cod
6 Bobby’s Fish and Chips
7 Gill’s Fish Bar
8 Pinehurst Fisheries
9 J&J Fish Bar
10 Wong Kee Fish Bar

2014 Swindon chippy challenge

 

Top 3 in Oxford (Chippies in Oxford are generally shit, but seek these out):

1 Carfax Fish and Chips
2 Mediterranean Fish Bar (the one in Marston)
3 Three Goats’ Heads (pub, but very good)

2014 Oxford chippy challenge

 

The 5 most dreadful:

-1 Treasure Chinese Takeaway Shrivenham, Oxfordshire
-2 Simon’s Fish & Chips Oxford, Oxfordshire
-3 Seafoods Bath, Somerset
-4 Covingham Fish and Chips Swindon, Wiltshire
-5 Posh Fish Jericho Oxford, Oxfordshire

Best 5 of the rest:

1 Baker’s Arms (best pub F&C this year) Badbury, Wiltshire
2 Stotesbury’s Fish and Chips Newport, Isle of Wight
3 South Cerney Fish and Chips South Cerney, Gloucestershire
4 Robinson’s Traditional Fish and Chips Bowerhill, Wiltshire
5 Market Plaice Devizes, Wiltshire

 

george harrison cod

 

 

The Jolly Friar, Westbury, Wiltshire, Chippy Challenge #125   1 comment

Jolly Friar Westbury cod

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: none
Evaluation: Light but flavourful crust, large piece of perfectly cooked fish…on a cold day while sweat rapidly dries 8 miles into a 10 mile run there’s nothing more welcome.
Days since last: (Six Bells, Oxford)

Jolly Friar Westbury
Map link.

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November

 

 

 

Marmaris, Swindon, Chippy Challenge #112   1 comment

marmaris swindon fish and chips

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: dunno
Sides: chips
Evaluation: Chips and fish from the freezer.  This place does a decent kebab, though.  When you’ve been out drinkin’ and need sustenance, you do what you gotta do (and I needed a fish and chips as it has been 7 days since the last one); the kebab was really tempting, though.
Days since last: 7 (WingLoon, Oxford)

marmaris swindon
Map link.

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October

Britain, Year 5 Recap   3 comments

behind tk max 2014-01-01 small

Looking back, Year 5 was busier than I remember but not especially productive. Work is about where I left it at the Year 4 post but there has been no slippage, so that’s good. This post, however, is just another annual consolidation of random ‘highlights,’ for lack of a more appropriate term. The photos here are mostly leftovers from graffiti, sidewalk pies, or bits around the neighbourhood or work.

regents square progress 2013-2014

New Morrison’s (white frame) and cinema/restaurant complex (grey) at bottom of Prospect Hill 100m from the house in the new retail development.

I cleared some of the backlog of old t-shirts out of my pile of rags, but then printed shirts for my imaginary liqueur plant and traded them for others…treading water, zero-sum-game. The liqueurs are NOT fake, though, and quite nice in general.

2013-09-07 puke albert street near the donkey

Pavement pizza project…this one spotted near the Roaring Donkey in Septmenber

We moved house from Ferndale Road to Eastcott area of Old Town and, at the bottom of the hill the construction effort has been trundling along well enough. Our locals, the Beehive and the Castle, seem healthy although the Prince of Wales re-opened and closed during the course of the year.

2013-12-04 near albion street sm

It was a slack year for running despite projects to keep it interesting, like the Swindon Orienteering Challenge and my own efforts to hit every path in Old Town. Including several races and [of course] more of the pub crawl — often during the races — I managed about 1860 miles, down from a more typical 2000 to 2200…but I’m old and creaky. And, creepy.  The pub count only increased by 134 but we spent a lot more time in some fine ones we visited previously.

pot leaf 2013-09-06

Travel was entirely in England this year but we managed to make the Isle of Wight and I got to see the bustling metropolis that is Hemel Hempstead.

Christmas and New Year were low-key affairs and what you might otherwise expect. We tried very hard to develop gout, as usual, and somehow failed. This could be the year!

suicide graffito 2013-09-02

One project for the calendar year 2013 was the Kebab Challenge, a variation on the Burger Challenge and that led me to eschew kebabs for a while in favour of fish and chips. As the residence year overlaps the calendar year, I should mention that I have also started another project that involves a different adult beverage each day with a daily caption in the form of a haiku (something I did for a couple of months in Year 1).

So, there you have it. Year 6 begins.

2013-10-09 jinx gw underpass near ferndale sm

The Year in Kebabs: Reflections on the 2013 Challenge, 2014 Prep   11 comments

kebabs 2013

I weaseled into the 2012 Challenge (100 Yellow Beers in 100 Places) because it involved beer and then, quite drunk at the end of that year, decided to mock the 2013 Challenge (50 Burgers in 50 Places) because it didn’t involve beer. I also wanted to mock the other participants because, as fat Americans tend to do, they threw themselves into the gorging challenge with the gusto Brits plunge into drinking contests.  [Is it any wonder I’m trading up from the blue to the red covered passport?]

However, as burgers are particularly shitty in England (the few that aren’t are far too pricey to justify) I requested a substitute dining experience: the kebab. I have been hooked on the spitted elephant leg of spiced meat (I hope it’s meat, anyway) ever since my post-doc years in Amsterdam — in Holland, look for a ‘shoarma’ place to get a decent kebab: they usually aren’t to far from the coffee shop you wake up in.

I was aware that even my unhealthy lifestyle might be challenged by attacking this task too eagerly — to eat 50 of the dreadful things in 50 different places in a year — so I set a pace of one per week (with the option for a bonus kebab here and there) to ensure I finished well on the distant side of the goal line. A kpw (see one of the posts for an explanation) shouldn’t be too hard, should it? But, the pace was toxic and I have been looking forward to a break from this effort for months, now, and may not have another ‘bab before summer now that it’s over. I still enjoy them and have a good database started of who serves a decent one but enough is enough.

So, it may come as a surprise that I am continuing the street-foodie effort into 2014 not so much as part of “Wiley and Brownie’s Annual Challenge” but more due to my own OCD issues. Therefore, 2014 will be the year of Fish and Chips, with special efforts made to visit any with amusing names (such as A Salt and Batter-y, Frying Nemo, or the Codfather). Cod, haddock, pollock, what-have-you as long as it used to swim before it got battered and deep fried…at least one every seven days (minimum 52, probably closer to 100), no repeat venues, a brief report here and add the place to a Fish and Chips map (like the Kebab map that started with the 2013 Challenge, below):

The map so far

The map so far

Oxford area (near enough to work)

Oxford area (near enough to work)

Swindon (near enough the house)

Swindon (near enough the house)

2013 Kebab List:

# Name Town County Date
1  ZamZam  Swindon  Wiltshire 01 January 2013
2  Kebab Kid  Oxford  Oxfordshire 08 January 2013
3  Westway Chippy  Oxford  Oxfordshire 14 January 2013
4  Falafel House  Oxford  Oxfordshire 17 January 2013
5  Bread Basket  Swindon  Wiltshire 22 January 2013
DNC: chicken  One Minute Food House  Faringdon  Oxfordshire 25 January 2013
6  Branos Express  Oxford  Oxfordshire 28 January 2013
7  Marmaris Kebabs  Swindon  Wiltshire 02 February 2013
8  Keskins  Chippenham  Wiltshire 08 February 2013
9  Old Town Kebab House  Swindon  Wiltshire 16 February 2013
10  Bodrum Kebab House  Oxford  Oxfordshire 27 February 2013
11  Calne Charcoal Grill  Calne  Wiltshire 02 March 2013
12  The Kebab House  Devizes  Wiltshire 03 March 2013
13  King’s Best Barbeque  Swindon  Wiltshire 12 March 2013
14  Gorsehill Grill  Swindon  Wiltshire 16 March 2013
15  Caner’s Kebab Stand  Swindon  Wiltshire 25 March 2013
16  Meli Greek Cafe  Oxford  Oxfordshire 04 April 2013
17  Bodrum Fish Bar  Oxford  Oxfordshire 10 April 2013
18  The Rainbow Takeaway  Faringdon  Oxfordshire 18 April 2013
19  Cirencester Best Kebab  Cirencester  Gloucestershire 24 April 2013
20  Magic Kebab House  Swindon  Wiltshire 30 April 2013
21  Best Food 2000  Faringdon  Oxfordshire 08 May 2013
22  Yummy’s Kebab  Swindon  Wiltshire 18 May 2013
23  Sammy’s Kebab  Cricklade  Wiltshire 25 May 2013
24  Flames Kebab  Trowbridge  Wiltshire 30 May 2013
25  Hassan Kebab Van  Oxford  Oxfordshire 05 June 2013
26  Sammy’s Kebab and Burger  Swindon  Wiltshire 08 June 2013
27  Oscar Grill  Royal Wootton Bassett  Wiltshire 15 June 2013
28  The Brothers Kebab House  Swindon  Wiltshire 19 June 2013
29  Istanbul Kebab House  Didcot  Oxfordshire 26 June 2013
30 Flavour Café Kidlington  Oxfordshire 04 July 2013
31 Nemrut Southsea Hampshire 06 July 2013
32 Newroz Swindon Wiltshire 13 July 2013
33 our garden (homemade) Swindon Wiltshire 16 July 2013
34 Pewsey Pizza and Kebab Pewsey Wiltshire 20 July 2013
35 Poseiden Oxford  Oxfordshire 01 August 2013
36 LB Lebanese Cuisine Oxford  Oxfordshire 07 August 2013
37 Southmoor Kebab Stand Southmoor  Oxfordshire 13 August 2013
38 Fat Friar Batheaston Somerset 21 August 2013
39 Pizza and Kebab Hut Oxford  Oxfordshire 30 August 2013
40 Best Burritoz Swindon Wiltshire 06 September 2013
41 Curry Cottage Swindon Wiltshire 10 September 2013
42 Diamond Kebab Gloucester Gloucestershire 20 September 2013
43 Ruchi Swindon Wiltshire 24 September 2013
44 Reg’s Kebab Chippenham Wiltshire 04 October 2013
45 Moredon Charcoal Grill Swindon Wiltshire 09 October 2013
46 Botley Road Kebab Stand Oxford Oxfordshire 16 October 2013
47 Chick-O-Land Devizes Wiltshire 20 October 2013
48 Highworth Kebab Grill Highworth Wiltshire 30 October 2013
49 Baran Kentish Town London 02 November 2013
50 Kebab Point Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire 08 November 2013
51 Jimmy’s Kebab Stand Swindon Wiltshire 16 November 2013
52 Ahmed’s Kebab Van Oxford Oxfordshire 26 November 2013
53 Fairford Kebab and Pizza Fairford Gloucestershire 30 November 2013
54 Ali’s Kebab Van Oxford Oxfordshire 05 December 2013
55 Kebab and Pizza House Marlborough Wiltshire 14 December 2013
56 Korky’s Takeaway Swindon Wiltshire 24 December 2013
57 Posh Nosh Oxford Oxfordshire 28 December 2013

kebabs 2013 graph

Posh Nosh, Oxford (kpw* for week 53)   2 comments

[*kpw = kebab per week for 2013, as noted in an earlier post and the 57th entry for the 2013 Challenge and, note…I shall explain the 53 week year below.]

posh nosh oxford kebab

This is how the 2013 Challenge Ends, not with a whimper but with a crappy döner and chips.  It’s not as greasy as the photo looks but the chilli sauce is bland (good structure but no flavour) and the meat was incredibly salty.  For £4.50 I would have liked some of the veg, too, but that’s probably why the other stands were crowded and this one wasn’t.  Happy New Year, though.  Taking a break from the kebab for a while….

posh nosh oxford

===================================================

†Brief Explanation of the 53 Week Year just completed

      “Kebab Per Week” was a bit of a misnomer from the start as I counted the week from Saturday-to-Saturday inclusive, an eight day week that overlaps with the ones before and after so that, technically, I could have two kebabs as many as 15 days apart and still have one per week.  The longest spacing was 10 days, though, and I went over ‘bab quota a few times.
 
     The other issue is that the first and last weeks of 2013 had five and four days, respectively, by that definition, so the year had 51 ‘full’ weeks sandwiched by two short ones.  This way my liberal definition of a week was tempered by a Sharia count of the number of weeks.

Korky’s, Swindon (kpw* for week 52)   1 comment

[*kpw = kebab per week for 2013, as noted in an earlier post and the 56th entry for the 2013 Challenge]

korky's takeaway swindon kebab

The year is winding down and walking home from the bus station after a short day at work I took the opportunity to hit the last of the Town Centre kebaberies, Korky’s Takeaway on Fleet Street.  It was early for them and the pre-Christmas drinking crowds had not yet descended so the guy didn’t much notice I was there while I inspected the sad, damp piles of wilted salads and onions.  This is atypical even in shitty kebab shops, so I didn’t expect much of the sandwich (and shouldn’t according to the inspection report, either)..

Wrong.  It was quite nice.  Gamey, like lamb but more so like mutton, the texture was surprisingly more like meat than chewy connective tissue.  The flavour was that of freshly barbecued slices albeit straight from the steam table.  The chilli sauce was respectably spicy and the tomatoes and chillis (the only veg that didn’t disgust in appearance) were brilliant.  Even the pita from a bargain-sized bag was alright.  [Full disclosure: I had not eaten anything since biscotti at 6 in the morning.]

Cold out, I was ready to head off to a rendezvous at the Beehive but first took my choice of booths to listen to Christmas Carols on the tele while my host returned to his smart phone.  Merry Christmas, everyone.

korky's takeaway swindon

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