Thursday, August 28, 2014

Midam Korean for Lunch

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Midam Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant
Shop 3, 21 Farne Street, Sunnybank Hills

Maybe I'm becoming a bad daughter but I feel like I hardly get to share a meal with my folks these days. We used to do it almost every weekend but I find that my weekends are now getting cluttered with a mix of work, chores and social events. Last week, dad and I shared the same day off today so we ended up catching up with my grandparents over lunch.

They originally wanted to try Sakura in Runcorn because I've mentioned how nice the sashimi is there. Unfortunately, it's only open for lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so we had to find an alternative. Out of the blue, my dad mentioned Korean and I jumped on that because I'm ALWAYS in the mood for Korean.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seafood Class at James Street Cooking School

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Fast and Furious Seafood Class at James Street Cooking School

It's been a minor break since my previous blog entry for a sad reason: I dropped my old laptop and it got very, very sick. When I say 'old' it was probably purchased less than 4 years ago but anyone who saw it pitied the machine. I used it as my plate holder, cup holder, army-grade portable table and more. It had food stains all over its screens and keys and I only rebooted it once in a blue moon so constantly had programs running. It's a wonder it survived till now. I was wondering if I should even bother with a new laptop but impulse purchasing got the better of me and today, I came home with an Apple Macbook Air.

I already owned Apple everything bar the Macbook so it sort of made sense as the next step to total Apple-dependancy. The thing that put me off was that I've been a Windows user my whole life so I didn't know how I could adjust to a new OS. It has been a struggle to say the least! I'm just grateful I have actually fiddled around enough to get a post up on my blog. The photo editing was the most challenging and as I type, I still have photos all dumped in one big folder. Sorting can wait. I couldn't figure out how to make my 'Hungry Kittens' watermark become italics but I figured that's no big deal. Maybe the straight font will freshen the look.

Alright, let's move back a week to the date of this cooking class. Jenny and I are always talking about things we should do to make our days off more productive. On this occasion, we actually committed to a "we should do this" proposal and booked the class. After looking through the variety of cooking classes there are in Brisbane (quite a few nowadays), we decided on seafood because it's something we both don't have confidence in cooking at home.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pizza and Cider at The Burrow

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The Burrow Revisted

This will be my second post for The Burrow, the first of which covered a breakfast experience as well as a lunch experience. I might as well complete the set! I don't often harp on with multiple reviews of the same venue because it's bound to get repetitive but with Brew, I feel a sense of duty. Why? Well, this place is known for pizza and beer and in both my previous posts, I had neither of those. Marc and I fixed that right up by having a big old pizza session earlier this year.

I've already spoken about the venue itself. It's casual in a cool, relaxed and fun way. Basically it's the perfect environment for catchup chats with friends. There are long benches so if you're a smaller group, expect to share the table with others. I think there are new seating options outside too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Breakfast at Primal Pantry

Primal Pantry 

I went through a brief phase of being VERY interested in the paleo diet. I already 'attempt' to cut out refined carbs and sugars, focusing instead on fresh fruit and veg and proteins. I say 'attempt' because if you look through my blog, even briefly, you'll know my success is minimal. I enjoy eating out too much to be able to stick to a restricted diet.

Classic New York Cheesecake

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Classic New York Cheesecake
Home Cooking

In line with finishing up old blog posts, this cake can be dated by the occasion it was baked for: Marc's 30th birthday. That, my friends, was all the way back in May. I love baking but I try to restrict it to special occasions because with only two people in the house (and one tummy-sensitive puppy who can't eat anything besides dog biscuits), about 50% of anything I bake will end up contributing to my waistline. There's no occasion more special and more cake-suitable than a birthday.

For Marc, I kept it simple and baked his all time favourite cake, which is a plain cheesecake. We are both in agreement that when it comes to cheesecake, we want to be able to taste the creamy cheesiness. I don't like cheesecakes adorned with tonnes of stuff. A drizzle of berry coulis is fine but massive swirls of fruit and chunky chocolate bits and lemon toppings etc is just unecessarily distracting. That's not to say I would pass on a berry swirl cheesecake (it's still delicious) but it's not my preference.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

La Macelleria Gelateria for Dessert

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La Macelleria Gelateria
29 Florence Street, Newstead

I think I give off the wrong impression that I'm an insatiable sweettooth. Sure, I have days when I really crave cake or chocolate (and who doesn't?) but overall, it's savoury food that I love. The one exception is gelato. I can have gelato any day of the week. I could eat it instead of breakfast, lunch or dinner and then have it again for dessert after. I can't seem to get sick of gelato like I do with other sugary foods. And that's why I try my hardest to stay away from it when I'm not on holidays because I know once I start, I can't stop.

After our huge dinner at Ribs and Burgers, any resolve to be healthy had already melted away. Sad to say, we fell for the age old flawed diet mentality of "today is ruined anyway, we'll start fresh tomorrow". I sure wasn't going to waste my rare dessert slot on any old sugar fling; I wanted gelato, and that was that. Jenny had recommended La Macelleria Gelateria the day before and since we were already in the area, it was the obvious choice.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dinner at Ribs and Burgers

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Ribs and Burgers
39 James St, Fortitude Valley

Funnily enough it was actually my orthodontist who first told me about Ribs and Burgers. He always seems to be checking into nice restaurants on Facebook so I trusted his judgement. His feedback at the time was that the food was good but they found it difficult to get a table.

Marc and I got there on a Thursday night and it was blessedly quiet. The set-up is you order and pay at the counter first and receive a number and basket of condiments and cutlery for your table. I took up one of the inside booth seats.

Pistachio Macarons

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Pistachio Macarons
Home Cooking

Following the success of my French chocolate macarons, I became overconfident and assumed I could just whip them up without thinking. This lead to at least 3 sloppy batches and many dollars worth of wasted almond meal and icing sugar. I was wailing about my domestic failings to Jenny when she put me in my place. Macarons are NOT to be simply 'whipped up'. They are temperamental. They require planning and precision.

I don't know if the chocolate ones were just a fluke or if it was indeed an easier recipe to get right but I didn't want to take any more chances when it came to other flavours. My goal was to bake the perfect pistachio macaron and when I accidentally purchased $25 of pistachios, it became even more critical that I didn't screw this lot up.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Picnic Cafe for Breakfast

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Picnic Cafe
12 Martha Street, Camp Hill

Because I'm on Instagram every 5 minutes, I'm finding that a lot more of my food inspiration comes from that. I follow Picnic Cafe (@picniccafe) and their sumptuous desserts and gorgeous breakfast photo uploads catch my eye every time I scroll through my feed. I linked a couple of posts to Kat and she wholeheartedly agreed that the food looked irresistible.

We arranged to have lunch there last Sunday but I ended up skipping my morning hot yoga class (too lazy) so we brought it forward to breakfast instead. I didn't make a booking or anything so I was relieved when I was shown to a table right away. Recently, I've had a bad run of being made to wait for tables at hotspot cafes so it was nice to be able to sit down straight away and grab a coffee.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Solo Lunching at Oliver and Co

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Oliver and Co Deli and Table
Gourmet Food Court, Westfield Indooroopilly, Indooroopilly

I have just discovered that Blogger has a section of 'Draft' posts that I haven't yet published. I was shocked to see I have a lot of restaurant and recipe posts this year that I've completely forgotten to write about. Time to tick through each one...

The first of these comes from a brief stint this year where for about 2 weeks, I kept going to Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. It's remarkable for me because I don't really have any reason to drive out that way and in any case, Carindale is my Westfield of choice. It's been so long now that I can't actually remember why I did go there, but suffice to say I did. And I had to have lunch.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Strawberry Picking at Strawberry Fields Farm

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Strawberry Fields Farm

As a grown up, I feel like I have an obligation to fill my down time with productive activities. Gone are the days when partying and slothing felt like an adequate way to spend the weekend. That's not to say I don't do that anymore... but I can no longer feel good about it. Marc and I are constantly making empty promises to go hiking or camping but it wasn't until someone else got on board that things got put into motion.

A couple of weekends ago, Jenny planned a hiking roadtrip for us complete with an itemized itinerary. We packed a picnic lunch to enjoy before a walk through Kondalilla National Park in Montville. One of my favourite things about this day was our stop at the Strawberry Fields Farm.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Domino's New Pulled Pork Range

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Domino's New Pulled Pork Range

Southern American-style food is The It Thing of 2014. Of the new restaurants and gastrobars popping up in Brisbane, I'd say 90% of them fall into this category of cheesy fries, sticky ribs and finger-licking messy food. One of the most popular items to appear on these new menus is 'pulled pork', and not without reason.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

French Chocolate Macarons

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French Chocolate Macarons
Home Cooking

Macarons make me so sad. I've attempted them nearly 10 times and this one batch was the only one that worked. I haven't tried the same recipe again but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest this recipe is easier to pull off than others. I'm a huge fan of David Lebovitz and I found this recipe for chocolate macarons on his blog. The content was reassuring to someone like me who had many failed previous attempts.

The theory is that chocolate macarons are a good place to start for the uninitiated because the cocoa acts as a stabilizer. Much of what makes macarons so temperamental relates to the moisture content of the mixture. There is a real science to baking them and when you start researching macaron recipes, you'll come across advice that range from chemistry lab-like to voodoo witchcraft.

In David's blog post, he trials many of these suggestions and discovers that for his particular recipe at least, they are not necessary.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Il Locale for Dinner

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Il Locale

I was bored at home one afternoon when the mood for Italian food struck me hard. Marc and I weren't even planning on dining out that night but I researched and booked us a table within 30 minutes. When it comes to food and satisfying my cravings, I'm just that efficient. I came across Il Locale via my usual trusty online sources and the appealing online menu sealed the deal.

We arrived for dinner on a Thursday night just after 8pm. Il Locale is located in the little centre off Nash St in Rosalie that also contains Grill'd and Tomato Brothers. The restaurant itself is what I would call medium sized. We had a little table towards the back by the window, with a view into the open kitchen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Kwan Brothers for Cocktails and Dinner

Kwan Brothers

I'm really loving all the ventures that are part of the Alfred and Constance group due to their fun-never-ends philosophy. Kitchens close late and their bars and restaurants are open on public holidays too. It gives a sense of reliability. When Garthritis told me about their new Asian street food development Kwan Brothers, I was immediately interested.

The online reviews are a bit up and down so I hesitated about going but Hien and I walked past one afternoon and the decor looked so funky, even from the outside, that I decided I had to make up my own mind. We went there as a largeish group last Friday night. Due to my poor organisation skills, I didn't make a booking and I was also the last one to arrive. Garthritis managed to get us all a big table towards the back of the venue that we shared with another some other diners.

Coco Bliss for Healthy Goodies

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Coco Bliss West End
Corner Melbourne and Edmondstone Streets, West End

There are certain foods that are my equivalent of a booster shot of good conscience. Anything 'organic', 'vegetarian', 'wholefoods' etc etc just make me FEEL healthy even if I only have one meal's worth. I'm not sure I believe all that stuff but I know it works at the very least on a placebo level. I strive to fill my body with something marketed to the health-oriented every now and again to balance the bad.

I'd seen mentions of Coco Bliss before but was under the impression it was too far away for me to just pop into. Luckily for me, a new Coco Bliss store opened up in West End, around the corner from Habitat and Hong Depot. It's only a 5 minute drive from my place with convenient parking so I managed to munch my way through a few of their menu items over 2 days.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Weekend Away 3 - Waves Bistro at The Pier Hotel, Coffs Harbour

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Waves Bistro

As I write this I'm two days into the Michelle Bridges 12 weeks body transformation challenge. It's pretty good so far and I wasn't hungry or missing food at all... until I edited the photos for this post. I know a snapper burger might not be the most magical and creative gourmet item you've ever seen but it's the kind of food I love to eat (in a world where food doesn't make us fat). After a numer of consecutive health-conscious meals, there's nothing like fried food to get me drooling.

Coffs Harbour was another town that Marc and I stopped at on our road trip from Sydney to Brisbane. We arrived in time for a late lunch and after a casual beach stroll, we searched for somewhere to eat. It was getting on a bit in the day, just before 3pm so some venues had packed up their lunch trade.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekend Away 2 - Breakfast at The Beach House, Port Macquarie

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The Beach House

Something that always feels uniquely 'holiday' to me is going out for breakfast, especially when it's by the seaside. In our regular working lives, Marc never gets up early enough for breakfast so I end up scheduling morning food sessions with my girlfriends instead. Being in a different environment, such as Port Macquarie, somehow injects Marc with enough energy and vitality to make it out for breakfast.

We strolled by the waterfront and spotted a cafe with huge deck that overlooked the ocean. With the weather being as perfect as it was, we definitely wanted to be outdoors. This cafe turned out to be The Beach House.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Weekend Away 1 - Dinner Glasshouse Thai, Port Macquarie

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Glasshouse Thai Restaurant
Shop 1, Corner Clarence and Hay Street, Port Macquarie, NSW

Sometimes the most random places end up part of an important memory in your life. Glasshouse is the first restaurant we found appealing when we walked out onto the street from our hotel in Port Macquarie last weekend. So, why is it a big deal? It happened after I got proposed to! There's no words that can describe that dizzying, adrenaline-filled, hyperactive, almost nauseous feeling that hit me in the moment. And it was in that state (only slightly dulled by red wine) that I set out for dinner. I can hardly even remember the meal. Luckily I have my photos to remind me, and I cleverly typed some notes on my phone so I know what we felt about our food.

Glasshouse is a small but inviting restaurant in the centre of Port Macquarie, not far from the water. It was lightly raining that night and the smell and brightness from this restaurant lured us in off the street. We gladly took up a table inside and browsed through the menu.