Tag Archives: food

WHAT I ATE: burgers and salads, oh my!

I should be practicing a little frugality, but it is extremely hard when there are so many delicious places to eat at. Here are a few noteworthy things I ate recently…

StreetSoul Burger Bar, Randwick

nacho-style fries

The Spot holds a place in my heart as the place to go for cheap films, but over the past month or so, it’s also been a default last-minute dinner destination because it’s filled with some serious restaurant gems. My most recent discovery is StreetSoul Burger Bar, because I love a good burger, and am always on the lookout for a new favourite place. StreetSoul is local, is open til fairly late, and offers a decent variety of burgers and fries — case in point, the nacho-style fries. This combines nacho toppings (guac, sour cream, and cheese) with perfectly-cooked fries to create what is essentially a Mexican poutine. Brilliant.

mushroom madness

I opted for a vegetarian burger and got Mushroom Madness, because friggin’ mushrooms! It had a rosemary-seasoned whole field mushroom, baby cos lettuce, tomatoes, spanish onions, mayo, pesto, red peppers and grilled haloumi. Seriously.

The Grounds of Alexandria

soy flat white empty

The Grounds of Alexandria has been on my list for a while, and after an impromptu visit, it’s not hard to see why. We dropped by at around midday, and the place was bustling — there was a decent line for take-away orders, and all the tables were taken, so there was the beginning of a line for sit-in diners. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long to be seated (it was windy as heck), but the food is definitely worth standing around for a while.

kale and baby beetroot

I am still at a loss on where to find kale in Sydney. A girl I met at a dinner party told me that it could readily be found in the salad section of Woolworths or Coles, but I have been to several stores in different suburbs and have yet to find any. Last year I did find a bag of washed baby kale in my local Woolworths, but since then it has unicorned itself.

In the meantime, I’ll have to get my fix at The Grounds — their kale and baby beetroot salad is drizzled with a lemon-yoghurt dressing that is a little too citrusy for my tastes, but is still delicious and filling.

fries and chilli aioliAnd I am a sucker for fries and aioli, so obviously I had to get this side-dish. The fries were accompanied by chili aioli, which is what clinched it for me. They did not disappoint.

So while my wallet may be a little disappointed in me, my stomach certainly isn’t. Hey, maybe if someone tells me where I can get some fresh kale, I’ll stop eating out so much

(no

that’s a lie

but please tell me).

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What I Ate: Terrigal

Last week I went to Terrigal for three days; I ate a lot of food and mostly hung around the hotel, hardly straying from the surrounds. Not really what I expected to do, but a good time was had by all, so no regrets.

I am having trouble with my words, so here, have some photographs.

beach it up!

Terrigal Beach in the evening. So quiet, so sandy.

The only time we went outside was to walk along the beach. It was nice.

The hotel room; the pool.

We stayed at Crowne Plaza, Terrigal because Kyri has a Priority Privilege card. DISCOUNTS EVERYWHERE!

I had envisioned going to the beach a lot more, and actually swimming in the sea. But that was before I got a look at the pool. And the spa. And the sauna. So you can understand why leaving the hotel was hard.

G&Ts, robes, How I Met Your Mother, and room service.

Kyri brought along his hard drive with a tonne of films and television shows on it, and I made us watch a buttload of How I Met Your Mother. I really, really like that show for some reason I can’t quite explain, laugh track and all.

We also watched The Five Year Engagement, and maybe I was just in a weird mood, but boy was a bulk of that film depressing! Tell me if I’m wrong.

Goats cheese souffle; Seared scallop; Coconut and kaffir lime sorbet.

Swordfish; Lamb; Dark chocolate nemesis and strawberry coulis.

We had planned on leaving the hotel to eat at least once, but that never happened. Most of our eating was done at the hotel’s restaurant, Sea Salt. On the first night, we had the degustation menu, which had a few hits and misses.

HITS:

  • Twice Cooked Goats Cheese Soufflé, Beetroot Relish, Walnut & Micro Herb Salad, Sherry Vinegar Dressing
  • Seared Scallop, Chilled Leek & Potato Cream, Crab Remoulade, Truffle Dressing & Gaufrette Crisps
  • Market Fish (swordfish), Salad of Beetroot Crisps, Fennel, Roasted Eschallots, Sour Dough, Green & Cannellini Beans, Cabernet Vinegar Dressing

MISSES:

  • Pressed Pork Terrine, Crisp Apple, Radicchio & Crackle Salad, Prune & Fig Balsamic Dressing
  • White Pyrenees Lamb Double Cutlet, Gnocchi Romaine, Black Cabbage, Caponata, Pancetta & Thyme Jus
  • Handmade sweeteners that came with tea and coffee

You can view the full menu here.

ETA: A lot of the reason why I enjoyed the pork terrine and lamb less than the rest of the menu is probably because I’ve weened myself off land-meat for the most part of my diet. For instance, Kyri really enjoyed the lamb, so it can’t have been that bad. Also, I found the sweets a little too sweet. There was an oat cake which I’m 95% sure was just oats soaked in sugar and combined with more melted sugar. It was…unpleasant. But that’s just a personal preference.

Though, I still don’t understand the appeal of terrines. Pressed…meat? Please to be explaining why.

We also ate lunch and buffet breakfasts at Sea Salt, but I didn’t take any pictures of those. Overall, I really enjoyed the food and service at Sea Salt, and am interested to see how Blue Salt restaurant at my local Crowne Plaza compares.

In conclusion, Terrigal: would holiday (and eat) there again.

Snackin’

I’ve been eating out a lot lately, and while it has been enjoyable, it has not been kind to my wallet.

It’s not that I have expensive taste, I just have a bottomless stomach.

Here is a snack I ate recently for free (because my boyfriend paid for it all) (but I mean, it was relatively inexpensive) and it was delicious.

garlic cracker snax!

HOW TO DINE LIKE A LAZY PERSON ON A BUDGET

  1. Get some fine wafer crackers. I’m pretty sure they have to be this exact brand, because I can’t find any other substitute that is quite like this. At first you will be like “this tastes like a waffle cone, how bizarre” but then you will be like “I need to put all of these in my mouth as fast as possible”
  2. Get a giant tub of garlic dip. This particular tub was purchased at Costco; it is delicious, cheap and will last you a very long time — such are the fruits that Costco bear. Every time you think you’ve seen everything Costco has to offer, it gives you a giant tub of garlic dip. When a man is tired of Costco, he is tired of life.
  3. Put the fine wafer cracker into the garlic dip.
  4. Devour at your leisure. You may need more than one packet of wafer crackers.

Now you know how to eat like a poor, sporadic blogger. You’re welcome.

Jim Beam Honey launch party

The other week, I was given the opportunity to attend the launch party Jim Beam Honey at Bar100 in the Rocks, thanks to the Soup.

The launch party gave us a chance to try out the new honey-infused bourbon with a range of different mixers, including peach iced tea and ginger ale. At one point, they just gave it to us straight, and I’m not even a bourbon-drinker, but it had this subtle honey taste at the end that made the whole drink go down a lot smoother. Honey makes everything better.

The launch also gave us a chance to speak to Jared the Mixologist, who gave us his insights on bourbon, brewing and beyond. Here are some tips he gave us about drink mixing:

  • fill your glass with as much ice as possible. This ensures your drink stays nice and cold, and also dilutes it a bit.
  • when thinking of mixers to put in your alcohol, think of what flavours will match the food. Or if you’re not eating, I guess what flavours will match the alcohol. Jim Beam and Honey would go well with fruitier flavours.
  • Jared said his favourite was to mix Jim Beam Honey with vanilla and lavender.
  • at one point Kyri got him talking about carbonating coconut juice and/or water. I don’t recall the endpoint of this conversation that well.

You can see Jared talking a little about Jim Beam Honey and the different flavours you can mix it with here.

crappy Instagram photo!

crowding ’round the bar while Jared talks.

Pizza! Drinks!

for snacks there was pizza, provided by 8Brothers Brasserie.

At the end of the night, us Soupers were given a Jim Beam Honey pack, which included a bottle of the honey-infused bourbon with a bunch of mixers. I’m going to throw a tasting party later this week, so hopefully I’ll have more things to say about it then.

How To: Rainy Day Brunch

This is a thing I did today because I woke up feeling bad and hungry and it was also raining. Doing this made me feel better, and I hope that if you do it, it will make you feel better too.

How To: Rainy Day Brunch

1. Wake up feeling terrible. Turn off your alarm and look at the clock. Look outside and notice it is raining. Text your friend a thousand sorries that you won’t be able to meet up today after all. Go back to sleep.

2. Wake up feeling bad. Look outside and notice it is still raining. Look at the clock. Notice it is late. Haul yourself out of bed. It may be an effort, but I promise you, it is worth it.

3. Get to the kitchen. Look for ingredients. Cobble together this recipe. It is savoury French toast with avocado.

french toast and avocado

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 avocado
  • milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil/butter

Method:

1. break eggs into a bowl. add milk (I never measure how much, but use your judgement). add salt and pepper.

2. take the slices of bread and coat them in the eggy mixture. try and get an even amount of egg on each slice of bread, and make sure they don’t get too soggy and break apart.

3. put some oil/butter in a frying pan and let it heat up. then, put the eggy bread into the pan. my frying pan is only big enough for two slices, and yours probably is too. sensible people would cook the bread in two batches, rather than attempting to cram all three slices in at once. even more sensible people would only eat two slices of bread. but you’re not sensible, you’re sad! it’s raining! do whatever the hell you want.

4. while you’re waiting for your french toast to cook, cut open the avocado lengthwise. remove the seed and then slice the avocado into cubes inside the skin. put the avocado aside. if that was confusing, I recommend you watch this video.

5. is your french toast cooked yet? that depends on how fast you cut the avocado. if you cut it slowly, or had to watch the video, you should have been keeping an eye on the stove. if you cut avocado quickly, your toast is probably not done yet. turn the bread as necessary.

6. plate up! put your (presumably cooked) French toast on a plate. get the avocado and spoon the little cubes onto your toast. mash it on there if you want. season with salt and pepper.

7. and then eat it! enjoy! hooray, you’re done!

optional: consume it with tea while watching an episode of Community or 30 Rock. Or read a book.

By the time you have finished, maybe the rain has stopped. Maybe it has not. Maybe you have cheered yourself up so much that you do not even care anymore.

A Trip Down York Lane

Coffee is my comfort food and cafés are my safe haven. So having lived in Sydney my entire life and being a lover of coffee for most of that time, you’d think that I would be an expert on where to get good coffee. But alas, being a student means getting my caffeine fix around my schooling schedule, leaving me at the mercy of chain stores that are open ’til late. Hello, Gloria Jeans and Starbucks.

But my student days are behind me (for now), and I’ve suddenly found myself with more time to peruse my friend Kelly and I have been on the hunt for cafés to while away the hours in. We’re fans of good coffee, comfy seats and funky decor, and we’ve visited a string of particularly good coffee places of late; amongst them is…

YORK LANE

Café by day and a wine bar by night, York Lane is tucked away in a narrow alley in Wynyard. I found out about this place from Corridor Kitchen, but I wouldn’t blame passersby for wanting to drop in after spying the quirky bicycle-sign on the corner of Erskine Street and York Lane (the actual lane) advertising York Lane (the café/bar).

It’s a shame that I didn’t take more photos of the decor, but it was definitely quirky and cosy. The otherwise neutral-coloured café was pleasantly accented with pops of red from milk-crate shelving and the occasional red stool. What impressed me the most was the way they made use of the small space; a lot of tiny cafés tend to squeeze in as much seating as possible, making for a cramped dining experience.

Tiny cafés usually make me a wee bit claustrophobic, and I don’t usually stay long inside them, but this was definitely not the case in York Lane. The seating was spaced out quite well, and there was even a tiny ledge for Kelly and I to rest our bags on. The lunch crowd seemed to come in short cycles — unsurprising as everyone else seemed to be business people on their lunch breaks — so the café was never over-crowded, and there wasn’t any pressure to vacate our seats quickly to make room for other customers.

The menus are charmingly handwritten, and for lunch there were a variety of tapas dishes and wine on offer. We decided on the Pumpkin, Goats’ Cheese + Sun-dried Tomato Parcels and the Haloumi + Pea Fritters with Tzatziki, skipping the wine and opting for more caffeinated beverages (which is why we were there in the first place).

haloumi and pea fritters w/ tzatziki ($9); pumpkin, goats’ cheese and sun-dried tomato parcels ($10)

a mocha and a latte with two sugars

Although the dishes were small, Kelly and I both walked away feeling surprisingly full. I enjoyed my mocha thoroughly, though Kelly did remark that her latte was milkier than usual — take that as you will.

The service was pretty great as well; the guy serving us was super-attentive and lovely, and we didn’t have to wait long to give our orders. Ordering food shouldn’t be a chore. A repeat visit is definitely in the books, and I’d also like to check it out at night for a few drinks. It would be interesting to see how the York Lane crowd changes when the sun goes down.

Seasonal Coffees

Call me a cynic, but over the years Christmas has lost its shine; the plastic evergreens are coming out earlier, the carols played over shopping centre speakers are jarring, and I can never for the life of me figure out what to gift to my father.

But if there’s one good thing the commercialisation of Christmas has brought about, it’s the seasonal coffees. This year, Samme and I decided to take our bellies on a tour of what festive delights our ‘local’ chain-store coffee houses had to offer.

STARBUCKS
When we ventured out into the City for our seasonal coffees, my first instinct was to head to Gloria Jeans first; in the past, they’ve had Christmassy drinks…right? Um, apparently not. Or if they did, they didn’t follow through this year. I don’t even think there was a sprig of holly or tinsel to be seen anywhere in the store. Boo!

But Starbucks didn’t let me down. They’ve got six festive beverages on offer: three of them cold, and three of them hot, to accomodate the dichotomy between Australia’s hot Christmas and the traditional White Christmas. But on a more practical level, because Sydney’s weather is fucking crazy and you may think you want a frappuccino when you walk into the store, but the weather could turn on you and make you wish you were holding a hot latte on the way out.

Anyway, Samme and I decided that it was far too cold for any of the cold drinks on offer, so I chose the Peppermint Mocha, simply because peppermint-flavoured coffee was mentioned in a Gilmore Girls episode and it reminded me of that and I just really love Gilmore Girls, okay shut up. Samme is less inclined to be swayed by the antics of Lorelais, and she chose the Gingerbread Latte Toffee Nut Latte, which in my opinion, seemed to be the more delicious option. I don’t even like peppermint normally, but I thought it would be super festive because of candy canes and…Gilmore Girls.

So lesson learnt! Don’t choose beverages based on TV shows.

A+ for Chrismassing up the place, Starbucks. It was fun being inside you.

All in all, a successful coffeetime. A+ for Chrismassing up the place, Starbucks. It was fun being inside you.

KRISPY KREME
I don’t remember signing up for the Krispy Kreme newsletter, but it was probably long ago, in a sugared haze. Anyway, they’ve somehow got a hold of my email address and I’ve been getting sporadic emails ever since. Recently they sent me one that mentioned Christmas doughnuts, so once Samme and I had decided to go on our Seasonal Coffee Escapades, naturally I put Krispy Kreme on our list of destinations.

Our store of choice was the Krispy Kreme on George Street. There was no clear signage for seasonal treats of any kind, which was disappointing, because I was sure I had read the email correctly. Not entirely disheartened, I asked the girl at the counter if they were serving any Christmas doughnuts.

“Do you have, er, like, any Christmassy doughnuts?” I started talking with my hands. I made them into a doughnut shape. I don’t think she paid attention.

“What was that? What are you talking about?” she asked.

“Christmas-themed doughnuts. I, um…I got an email. Christmas?” I am not very good at talking. It was at this exact moment that I realised I should have remembered the names of the doughnuts I was asking for. The girl looked at me quizzically. I should have done a little more research.

“We don’t have any Christmas doughnuts, sorry.”

Samme and I left the store disappointed. I swore I did not just dream up the Christmas doughnuts, and later that night I found out I was right.

Vindicated!

I hopped over to the Krispy Kreme website, and they have not one, not two, but THREE Christmas- (or, Kristmas-) themed doughnuts: Kristmas Cake, Kristmas Pudding (pictured above), and Kristmas Sprinkles. Oh, and there’s a Kristmas mini gift pack with 12 kristmassy mini doughnuts, so I don’t know. Maybe I should try another Krispy Kreme store, because looking at all those pictures have made me really, really want some fried Kristmas dough.

GLORIA JEANS
Remember way back at the beginning of this post where I said Samme and I went to Gloria Jeans and there were no Christmas-themed coffees? Well later, we went to the Gloria Jeans near George Street cinemas, and it turns out they had two ‘seasonal’ beverages on offer, after all. They had a Butterscotch Chiller and a Butterscotch Latte.

Samme pointed out that Butterscotch drinks aren’t really seasonal and don’t they have those drinks available all year round? But they had it advertised specially and they put like, pictures of holly sprigs around the ad for the drinks, so of course I had to drink one of them. Samme was still not convinced, so she went to the Starbucks down the street to get a White Chocolate  Raspberry Cranberry MochaFrappuccino (as the weather had hotted up; Sydney weather be crazy) and I got a Butterscotch Chiller.

Yep.

The concept of a Butterscotch Chiller is far better than an actual Butterscotch Chiller, because that drink was sweet as fuck. I don’t recommend it.

The moral of the story is that Starbucks serves the best Christmas coffee, and if you disagree with me then you are wrong. I also did a quick google search to find out the names of the Starbucks coffees, and according to this site, Eggnog Lattes are a thing that exist in the world. They don’t seem to exist in Australia, but one supposes that they certainly exist in say, America. So next year, I’m going to spend Christmas in America, where I can play in the snow and drink all the eggnog lattes. The end.