Sober for October; the story so far

10 days in and it’s fair to say that my sober October has already come with its ups and downs. The support I’ve received from my friends and family is undeniably the thing that has kept me going and my motivation up. None of my friends have attempted to peer pressure me into drinking (not that I would budge) and my mum is singing my praises at home!

The combination of the local lockdown, closed nightclubs and an increased workload has also worked in my favour. My motivation has been so happy to see the back of binge drinking, getting home in the early hours of the morning and writing off whole days at a time! I’ve been able to get up early and straight to work on most days. The third-year workload, Quench magazine, my blog and new food Instagram account has demanded all my head space, so, the no drinking couldn’t have come at a better time. My life has been absolutely filled with reading and writing!

Another interesting turn of events which has added to my sober October is a round of antibiotics! For the first time in my life I have been forced into a 9-day dry spell due to medication and it couldn’t have coincided with a better month. It has only added to the motivation and reasons to stay sober, so I’m extremely grateful for my ailments!  

Bring on the next 20 days!

The Mallorcan Covid holiday experience – Part 1

After endless months of being trapped inside and tied to my hometown, I was eager to get back to travelling the world. Like many others, my plans to travel far had been shot down. I had set my sights on South East Asia and Sri Lanka, but this trip would have to be postponed. However, despite the restrictions on travel, I was lucky enough to be able to visit my boyfriend at his home in the Mallorcan port of Port Andratx. I was able to say hello to sun and sea along with a firm goodbye to the British rain and fields!

As I entered the airport through their temperature measuring facility, I was worried that I would be turned away. I didn’t possess any symptoms, but I couldn’t help but feel intimidated by this dystopian procedure. However, I sailed through and made my way up towards security. The airport was nearly empty due to the number of flights having been immensely cut down and I got through security in a record time. Off – duty was closed along with any pub or restaurant which gave off an eerie vibe as it felt like I was wondering the corridors of an abandoned, shut up building. As this was early July, mask wearing had not yet been made mandatory in British shops, so this was the first time I had to wear one for a long period of time and it was definitely taking some getting used to.

The plane itself was a lot fuller than I expected. Everyone was clearly eager to get back to their holiday making and the Spanish regions were offering the best deal. There had been no lockdown restrictions put in place (yet) so the British public were clearly ready to get their warm weather fix.

As I stepped off the plane in Mallorca that evening I was hit by a wall of heat. It was so refreshing to finally be able to feel proper sun once more. I had landed at around 8pm local time which was perfect to watch the sunset as we drove from Palma airport to Port Andratx. We went straight out for a quick dinner as soon as we got there, and I had my first taste of the Mallorcan Covid experience. Masks were required to be worn as you walked around the town, which, coming from Britain, was an alien experience for me. All restaurant staff had to wear masks and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. It was an average of 30 degrees Celsius in the daytime and they were constantly moving around on their feet so it must have been a real struggle for them.

Port Andratx itself blew me away. Located on the coastal stretch of a sprawling mountainous region, the port sits in between two large, green hills speckled with villas and apartments. Restaurants line the promenade, allowing a gorgeous view of the scintillating ocean as you tuck into your lunch. I was so excited for the weeks to follow! Sun, sea and the perfect company. What more could you want?

Review: wahaca

Written by Indigo Jones, Hannah Penwright and Sasha Nugara for Quench magazine

Last week our section editors were offered the chance to review Wahaca Cardiff, a Mexican chain which can be found across the UK. The restaurant prides itself on sustainability, and its new menu explains how it’s the most sustainable yet. After having been to the restaurant our editors decided to write a collaborative review to discuss the highs and lows of the visit, whilst showcasing the wonderful food they were able to indulge on.

Indigo Jones

When I opened our mailbox and noticed an email from Wahaca, I was jumping for joy! I had never been to the restaurant before and have been itching to go due to my fascination and devotion to Mexican food. This love for the cuisine stemmed long before my trip to Mexico in 2017, where I experienced authentic food full of colour and flavours. Having travelled there myself, I had extremely high expectations for our meal at Wahaca.

I ordered the mushroom and feta tacos, chargrilled steak and cheese tacos and the Devon crab tostada. I decided on these options as I wanted to try the variety of things that Wahaca had to offer. All three dishes were full of flavour and were very appealing to the eye. My favourite out of the three had to be the Devon crab tostada as combination of the crab and pink pickled onions tasted so fresh and worked almost like a palette cleanser to the other dishes. My only complaint is that I would have loved a bit of a kick to the plates, having developed quite a tolerance for spicy food, I felt like that’s what these dishes were missing.  I would have asked one of the wait staff for some hot sauce to add to my food, but similar to Mexico unfortunately the service was slow, and I was unable to ask.

The highlight of the night had to be the £5 margaritas which they offered the week we attended to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. We ordered a variety of passion fruit and hibiscus flavoured margaritas, and these fruity drinks made the perfect accompaniment to our meals. I personally highly recommend going to Wahaca for both food and cocktails, and I would definitely attend again but perhaps next time I’ll ask for some hot sauce when I order!

Hannah Penwright

When limited to the vegetarian options, I love it when a restaurant serves tapas-style small plates as it means there’s likely to be a lot more choice- and Wahaca did not disappoint. My favourite out of the three small plates I chose was the mushroom and feta tacos; they were nothing short of incredible. The star of the tacos was definitely the mushrooms, as they were meaty (in a good way for a vegetarian), with a beautiful flavour. The smokiness of the ancho paired with the tangy feta was heavenly. The only disappointment was that there were only two- I could have happily eaten my weight in them.

Hannah’s three cheese quesadillas and cauliflower bites

The only dish out of the three I wouldn’t pick again was the black bean and three cheese quesadillas. For a small plate, I found them almost too filling that I struggled to finish the rest of my food. I’d also have liked some more flavour from the filling, as even with three types of cheese I found it quite bland. Regardless, the meal ended on a high note, as the last dish to arrive were the crispy cauliflower bites. Think perfectly crisp, well-seasoned batter, and a punchy aioli for an added kick to dip in. The cauliflower flavour wasn’t overpowering (which often seems the case with dishes like this), but it was just enough that the flavour still shone. It’s a shame these aren’t vegan so that more people can try them, as they’re too good not to order.

Often, being vegetarian in a restaurant means you have only a couple of options to pick from, which means eating there often can get a bit dull. However, there’s so many meat-free options at Wahaca that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored about eating here. I’ll definitely be returning to try more of the dishes!

Sasha Nugara

Today’s Covid climate has forced many restaurants to change their entire eating out experience in order to accommodate strict health and safety regulations. It is safe to say that Wahaca is no exception. Drip fed into the restaurant, we were given a comprehensive run down of the companies new policies and all the actions they were taking in order to ensure a safe experience. A one-way system had been formed around the restaurant and sheets of Perspex fixed onto the tables. If we could be confident about one thing, it was that they cared about our wellbeing.

The menu itself offered a dazzling selection of Mexican bites and the small plates option meant that I was able to sample as much as I could. I ordered the pork pibil tacos, the grilled chicken club quesadillas and the new cheese and chilli croquetas. The highlight of the meal was definitely the pork tacos due to the combination of succulent meat, tangy pickled onion and soft taco shell. The portion size was generous for a small plate – which I appreciated as I could eat them all day! The croquetas were perfectly round and perfectly cheesy but I would warn you to proceed with caution! Fortunately, I’m a huge spice fan and I absolutely loved the chilli wave, it was a perfect contrast to the mild quesadillas. They came with a tomatillo apple salsa which complimented the chilli perfectly and offered a refreshing after taste. Overall, the food did not disappoint, and I would recommend all that I ordered!

There’s nothing better than being able to enjoy your food with the comfortable knowledge that the journey it took to your plate was sustainable and had little effect on the environment. Wahaca have made moves to ensure their fish and meat come from trustworthy sources, making the special effort to become one of the first restaurants in the UK pass an audit by the Marine Stewardship Council and stock their approved fish. Equally, Wahaca was the first restaurant to become carbon neutral and they use renewable energy throughout their restaurants. They also help to fund the Improved Mexican Cookstove project which donates efficient cookstoves to low income households in Mexico, improving their livelihood and reducing fuel use as much as 58%. Its things like this which can help improve the eating out experience by tenfold as you guiltlessly support a company that are doing so much to give back. I will definitely be returning to Wahaca.