Cat's Eyes on Glasgow: I went to a dinner party with Michael McIntyre, Sir Richard Branson, David Coulthard and Alex Salmond

This week, Branson avoids a pickle, I spill the beans on the Scottish Aeropress Championships and why it's bye, bye American pie at Hard Rock Cafe.

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Richard Branson
Richard Branson

The Scottish Business Awards

This week I went to a dinner party with Michael McIntyre, Sir Richard Branson, David Coulthard and Alex Salmond. Ok, so I say dinner party, which sounds lovely and cosy, but there were actually around 2,000 other folk there, all celebrating The Scottish Business Awards.

At the start of the evening there was a live Q&A with Sir Rich (seems appropriate to call him that after his mega status in the Rich List was revealed last week!) He candidly answered questions about his teenage years as a Virgin businessmen (why he REALLY called his company that!) and how he turned a small magazine into a global empire. He avoided getting himself in a pickle with the Scottish audience, though, by choosing not to weigh in on the Independence debate. He said it wasn't his place, as an Englishman, to comment and it was up to us to decide. Clever cop out, perhaps…

Despite being hosted in Edinburgh, there were Glasgow winners on the night. Including my bloke's company Itison who won Online Business of the Year. I was very proud. The only real disappointment of the night was Branson's odd denim suit. Still, better that than when he wore a kilt backwards!

The Scottish Aeropress Championships

Time for me to spill the beans. On Sunday, I hosted the Scottish Aeropress Championships. If you're unsure of what an Aeropress is, it's basically a nifty wee coffee maker - somewhere between a cafetiere and your local Starbucks - and it's gained a cult following with caffeine addicts the world over. Each year there's an international competition to find out who can make the best brew with one, and for the first time we'll be sending a mug from Glasgow.

Even if coffee isn't your cup of tea, it was a great event. Eighteen competitors, each with their own method (I never knew there was such a latte ways to make coffee!), faced a roasting from the judges. In the end, though, it all boiled down to taste. The cool thing about the competition is that anyone can enter, so the final had two baristas from (my personal favourite) Glasgow java-joint - Avenue G - a guy from Falkirk and the ultimate winner Dave Robson. Dave will head off to Italy in June to represent Scotland as the creme de la creme of our coffee Joes. Well done Dave!

Hard Rock Cafe

The Hard Rock Cafe is big on burgers. It's known for it's American All-Star menu, all ribs (eat too many and you'll never see yours again), hot wings and potato skins. It's clearly a recipe that works, not only has there been queues outside the door of the Buchanan Street restaurant since it opened, there's a beefy 180 HRC's in more than 50 countries around the world.

It's a big deal, then, that the chain has decided to roll out a new menu across all it's sites. The idea being that folk these days like lighter bites (as well as pig outs), so the new offering has more in the way of salads and healthy sliders. Don't go having the blues, though, it wouldn't be rock and roll if there wasn't a few naughty delights, like the Molten Lave Cake and Margarita flight - three of their best margaritas with nachos to wash 'em down.

To celebrate their menu reboot they're also taking their Hard Rock Calling festival on the road and it's coming to Glasgow! This Saturday between 4 and 8pm they're hosting a free music festival at Braehead with sets from Fatherson, River 68's, We Were Kings, and winners of Hard Rock Rising 2013, The Carnabys. Get ready to rock, Glasgow!

Wee Bird Recommends

The fantastic Southside Fringe Festival is currently on in the city. This cultural fest has art, music and theatre that's generally a cut above the rest… haw haw! Wee Bird particularly likes the Art on the Hill exhibition, which features hundreds of local Glasgow artists. You can go and have a wee gander until the end of the month, every evening till 10pm at The Church on the Hill, Algie Street.

Food and drink

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