January is usually a fairly flat month isn’t it? After all the excitement of my daughter’s birthday, then Christmas, and being able to spend time together relaxing as a family, in January there isn’t much to do other than continue to hibernate, count the pennies and wait until the better weather comes to lift the spirits a bit.

Hubby and I wanted to do something with the children last weekend- something other than the usual domestic jobs like buying groceries and cleaning, so we went to the internet for ideas. Most family days out kind of places are shut in January! We looked at theme parks, wildlife parks, outdoorsy places like Go Ape! And even tried Cadbury World – I decided I could resist going mad in there and stick to a packet of Buttons. But nothing was open last weekend. Cadbury World opens again later in the month and the other places start opening again in February, March and onwards.

There is always the cinema of course, but there was nothing in the new releases that we could all go see (with the right PG kind of rating), but by looking at a few cinemas and going a little further afield, we did manage to find a showing in the Saturday morning kids session at a cinema that was screening Ice Age 4 which we hadn’t seen, so we went there.

Afterwards, we decided to go to Chiquitos as they have a brand new sizzling menu and it appealed. Something sizzling in January has to be good, doesn’t it?! I wasn’t disappointed. I was expecting the usual tex-mex offer, but I was delighted to find that there were the classics like fajitas and burritos, but I could also get new dishes like the glazed mango cod salad topped with pink onion (which I had).

For starters, I wanted something like loaded potato skins, but Chiquitos have even re-vamped the lowly potato skin! The ones on the new menu are filled with sweetcorn & salsa which I really enjoyed- it made a nice change from skins with sour cream. My husband had nachos and got a ‘man’ sized portion. He’s very active so tiny little plates of food don’t really touch the sides. With the nachos and his burrito afterwards, he was full and couldn’t manage a pudding, which is just as well because I’m following Slimming World and didn’t want to be tempted with something gorgeous but too naughty for my plan!

My mango glazed cod salad was really tasty. It is not often that I clean my plate completely when I’m having salad. Usually there is some lettuce leftover or something like that, but they had got the proportions of the plate just right! I ate the lot and found myself savouring the unusual mix of flavours that this dish brought. I’d definitely have this meal again.

As well as the food on my own table, I managed to enjoy the food on other people’s too! This isn’t as bad as it sounds, I didn’t go picking at my neighbours’ plates! But the restaurant got quite busy for a Saturday afternoon in January and there was a great ambiance. As the servers were taking steaming plates of sizzling chicken fajitas, steaks and quesadillas to our neighbours, hubby and I caught the backdraft of the aroma- that lovely chargrilled barbequey scent that takes you straight to a summer garden party in your mind, and were able to enjoy that experience as much as we’d enjoyed eating our own!

They say that your pleasure of food starts in the mind don’t they? Appearance of food can be just as enjoyable as actually eating a meal, so we whiled away some time after we ate just people watching, seeing what other diners had chosen and taking in the overall atmosphere.

There’s nothing that satisfies the need for some sizzle in January like a pleasant afternoon, a full belly, great smells and a bit of people watching!!

Thank you to Chiquitos for sending me a voucher so my family and I could review the meal.

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