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Back Buzz - October 20, 2015

pumping heartUrban Pantry, 227 Crookes, Crookes, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Since it first opened in 2012, I’ve always thought of the family-owned Urban Pantry as Crookes’ very own gourmet deli. It’s a bit pricey for me to shop at regularly, but I have developed a tradition of stopping in just before Christmas and splurging £10 on cheeses. This usually consists of a bit of the gorgeous Brie Meaux, some Colton Basset Stilton, and a bit of something else. Lately a friend of ours told us that the hummus and the herby potato salad are worth checking out, so twice recently we’ve splurge on little tubs of each.

If you live in Sheffield and you aren’t struggling financial like we are, you should definitely stop into Urban Pantry and try some of their locally sourced wares. Not only do they have some great cheese but they also offer deli meats, locally made jams and chutneys, self-serve oils and vinegars, local honey and dairy products, pasta, cakes and biscuits, an olive bar, pizza kits, the local Robin of Loxley gin, and fresh bread from Walkley’s own Gerry’s Bakery. They also feature special tasting events and Meet the Producers nights.

Just a few months ago they started selling coffee beans as well as espresso drinks, so last week I finally stopped in to try a coffee. Unfortunately I’d just experienced a major financial blow on my way to the deli, so I wasn’t in the best state of mind to fully absorb all the nuanced details of the experience. But I plowed through my shock, ordering a double macchiato, and seated myself at the window counter. My macchiato was served in a large white café au lait cup, but I didn’t mind. It was barely half-filled and reminded me of the days in California when I first started making cappuccinos for breakfast and used the same type of cup -- an exact replica of this one, as a matter of fact -- in the tradition of a morning Italian coffee. And it was before noon, so fair enough.

The coffee, called Dark Peak and roasted by Sheffield’s own Smith Street Coffee, was extremely mild and extremely smooth, which was disappointing as I could have used a little robustness to help lift me out of my trauma. But it seems that more and more of the newer coffee cafes in Sheffield are going toward the smoother coffees, which is sad. (Thank god for Motore’s high-octane coffee among the other few.) Anyway, the big warm coffee cup experience was still comforting, helping to sooth the pain just for a moment or two.

Speaking of moments or two reminds me of an extremely short segment of a 4-way e-mail exchange from a few months ago, when three of us ex-aerospace programmers managed to locate a long-missing fourth named Ray (and I partially apologise for this not making any sense to those not involved):

cc: Vicky

I just sent Ray a text (in MNX):


And a question: -- Rick, Vicky & Jamie are wishing to Ask Ray*, in the light of the discovery of the pentaquark, if the world is about to end?

I got a reply:


(*"Ask Ray" was a regular science column in the Impact Enquirer, a satirical underground newspaper JC edited in the 1980s at Northrop Corp.) cc: Mistah Rick and Vicky

Is it true? Is this the rare Rayjasinskion that the LRC* has been trying to detect for so long?

*Large Rickandjamie Coalition cc: Mistah Rick and Vicky

It is! You have detected the most elementary particle in all Quarkdom**. My PC is defunct, so I have to do this on my phone. It took a while to figure out how to cc the 3 of you.

I have no current photos of me and I don't do selfies, so I'll just say that my hair is white, there's less of it and I'm 50 lbs heavier than when we were last in each other's company. I'm thinking Kung Fu so I can fend off all the women who keep leaping out of the shadows in order to ravish my fat self.
I quit Northrop and returned to Chicago, sans employment, the fall of 1990. I ended up driving a cab which I've been doing ever since.

**A wholly owned subsidiary of the Green Sweater Group.