So I'm a really big fan of planning everything in advance and when things change last minute or get cancelled, I'm definitely not much fun to be around. At all. Especially if it involves food. If I have my heart set on some food, whether it's visiting a particular venue or cooking something new at home, and it doesn't go as planned, then I am crushed.
During the Christmas break we set an entire day aside to travel and visit a new restaurant for brunch. But when taking another look at their menu the night before we realised that it menu didn't quite line up with the opening times on the rest of the website and after a quick tweet and were disappointed (understatement) to be told (a little rudely I felt but that's a different issue) that they weren't actually serving brunch at all that day. This probably seems like an overreaction but I really, really, like food you guys (#sorrynotsorry).
With a now totally free day and feeling a pretty let down we headed into Liverpool to browse some shops and grab a bite to eat somewhere else. After seeing photos of our original destination online, I was pretty sure the day wasn't going to meet my expectations but we headed out anyway and eventually ended up at NoLita Cantina on Bold Street.
An american bistro/diner style, Nolita Cantina is a little on the cosy side but it's incredibly inviting, with a similar design of exposed brick and old wood that makes all bloggers/hipsters hearts beat a little quicker but with subtle, americana twists. It's very understated though and definitely keeps the authenticity of a really good independent venue, steering well clear of being 'gimmicky'. The staff were very pleasant and with an easy to understand menu of burgers and sandwiches, you don't need to be an expert foodie to enjoy your visit.
We both chose to eat from the burger menu. Remember when I said I didn't really rate burgers? The past few months have entirely changed my mind. I had a cheeseburger (£8.5), made up of two beautiful juicy 4oz beef burgers topped with melted cheese, ketchup and 'homemade slaw' that was unlike any I've had before. I don't usually like slaw but the large chunks of onion and cabbage in this added a fantastic texture to the burger and I didn't even really think about it as slaw when I was eating it. It definitely didn't resemble the kind you'd buy in a supermarket. If I was being fussy I might have moaned that they weren't served slightly rare as the menu bar suggested but the beef did fall apart in my mouth and tasted delicious so I wasn't too bothered in the end. It does also say on the menu that if you are particular about your meat you can tell your server.
Dave chose a pulled pork 'burger' (£11) which I've been avoiding a little lately as its too easy to find it done quite badly from a horrid pre packaged thing in any neighbourhood pub now. I should have had more faith. One bite of his burger and I was already planning my meal for our next visit. The burgers were both a little messy and we both ended up eating them with knives and forks which I've never done before and must have looked pretty ridiculous to the people around us but they tasted so good that I just couldn't care. Please ignore the poor quality of the photos, my camera hated the lighting but the food actually looked and tasted amazing.
The meals were accompanied with 'seasoned fries', a mixture of thin spiced chips and sweet potato fries, all of which were crunchy and cooked to perfection. It made for an amazing mix. We also tried the nolita cheese dip and chipolte mayo to eat with our fries, both were delicious and I haven't stopped thinking about the cheese dip for the past couple of weeks. I'm determined to make one at home now since Liverpool is a little far to go just for fries so if anyone has a good recipe, please send it my way.
There isn't an enormous amount of choice at NoLita Cantina and I'm not sure there was a lot for vegetarians but if you like hearty american style food, there's a lot to love here. The prices were incredibly reasonable too considering the burgers both came with large helpings of fries on the side. I think you could easily pay £10-12 for a burger of equal quality alone in a lot of places and on certain days/times they offer discounts for Independent Liverpool cardholders too.
After this discovery I'm definitely going to be embracing 'going with the flow' a little bit more and try and stay more relaxed when our plans have to change because you never know what might happen instead. And if it ends in burgers this good, I just can't be mad.