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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Birthday and dinner at the Himalayan Char Grill

Happy birthday to me and to With Bite!  It's unbelievable to consider that I started With Bite 6 years ago!  What a journey it's been.  Since blogging about my adventures in food in Halifax, I've had some incredible life -and food- experiences, and I'd like to thank everyone who has followed these adventures with me since then.


This past wknd marked my 30the birthday.  Holy cannoli!  I feel so old, but yet so young at the same time. Thankfully, I have some incredible friends here in Oz and my birthday (week) was so incredible that I'll remember if for years to come.

My best pal Maria - whom I met at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax - lives in Brisbane, and made my (life) weekend, by travelling to Sydney to spend my birthday with me.  Maria is one of those friendships that are lifelong - we don't talk all that often, but she's always there when you need her and, no matte how much time has passed, we pick up where we left off.

Anyway, Maria arrived in Sydney on Friday, picked me up from work, and we got to the first night's celebrations with a bottle of S. C. Pannell's Pronto; a b;end of Sauvingnon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Grigio in the backyard.  I had ordered a great bunch of wines from work for my bday festivities and this was among the best.  It's funny since M sent me a msg. upon arrival that she was looking forward to a good glass of wine, and I had already put 6 btls. of white in the fridge to chill for the wknd.  Priorities, ppl!

The really amazing part to the wknd though, was that my friend Christine had told me the Wednesday prior that she was throwing a BBQ for me in my own backyard and that I didn't have to do a thing.  I didn;t really believe her, but I should have.  At about 7 pm on Friday, she - and my friends- arrived with sausages, pasta salad, baguette and a brownie bday cake for me!  Oh, and sparklers. :)  

Me, blowing out the candles on my M&M-dusted brownie 'cake'

It was an awesome night.  One that ended up in me having a bit too much to drink, being lazy in the am and M and I leaving a bit too late to make my much-anticipated birthday hot air balloon ride.  Yup, they left without us.  In an effort to drown my (liver) sorrows at having missed the ride, we got MacDonald's breakfast.  Don't judge.   Upon leaving Macckers with our bfast, I just so happened to lok up at the sky and see our balloon headed to the heavens.  Oh, the irony!  In my semi-depressed state, we ended up having our Macckers in a park over-looking the departure site.

See that speck in the sky?
That's the balloon I shoulda been on had I had my act together!

And so, we drowned our sorrows at Coogie Beach...

Later, we met my pals at the Himalayan Char Grill for dinner.  But, not before opening some pre-dinner drinks in the backyard - a btl of bubbly as an aperitif prior to dinner.  Gotta love opening bubbles..
When we got to the resto, I opened  btls of Jacquinot Champagne NV for my bday festivities.  This is an awesome btl; much less commercial than Moet or Veuve and way better on the palate.

I was happy to influence the whole group on their selections. My housemate had ordered takeaway in the past and I raved about the beef cheeks and the scallops which I had tried of theirs.  At least 80% of the table ended up ordering the beef cheeks on account of my rave review, and a little less than that went with the scallops.

M and I shared two dishes: the beef cheeks, obviously, and the samosa.  The samosa was incredible; crispy and luscious, served with a tomato salsa and a creamy yogurt-based tamarind sauce. I'd go back just for the sauce....

Samosa Chat ($12.90)

Veggie Samosa w/ spiced yogurt, tamarind sauce and tomato-onion salsa

But seriously, the beef  cheeks were incredible. So, so, so succulent and tender, they were well worth the price and the hype.  The sauce was rich and heartwarming, and served with some roti and raita, this dish would have been an indulgent plate for one.

Masala Beef Cheek ($22.90)

Diced Beef  w/ peppers in Himalayan spices

Once dinner was over, we headed up tp The Little Guy on GPR for some cocktails - an awesome spot for wknd drinks, or a Sunday arvo session.  This is M and I with a couple of my fave - a good, really good, G&T. 


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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Awesome afternoon at Opera Bar

On the heels of an incredible Bday dinner, M & and I planned to spend the arvo at The Morrison for happy hour wine and oysters.  Being from the east coast of Canada, we both have a weakness for bivalves...We had already purchased our tix to Les Miserables, and were looking for a way to pass the time in advance of the film.  We caught a bus up to Circular Quay with the intention of meandering down to The Morrison.   However, when M suggested that we spend some leisurely time on the waterfront - and have a drink at Opera Bar, I was all too happy to oblige!  I  ended up that we quit trying to "rush a good thing", and so The Morrison was forgotten, and we quickly ordered another tasty bevy and snacks at Opera Bar.

Our drinks were further enhanced by a plate of Yam crisps and prawn popcorn. 

The Yam crisps were OK.  Certainly not life-changing.  They provided a good bit of crunch to go along with our wines, but they were pretty greasy.  I wouldn't likely order them again. 

Yam Crisps ($8)

The prawn popcorn, on the other hand, were delicious - I'm hungry just thinking about them now.   The plum, juicy prawns were coated in a light, crispy batter and served with a luscious, mayo-based spicy jalapeno dipping sauce.  YUM.


Prawn Popcorn ($13)

w/ spicy jalapeño sauce 

Opera Bar, I've determined,  is one of those spots that cater to both tourists and locals alike; tourists because it's the Sydney opera-based bar, but locals, because it's simply a damn-good spot to spend a sunny wknd afternoon.

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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Urban Bites - a bit underwhelming

A few weeks ago, I went to meet my friend Margaret for brunch in Newtown. On this particular day, we were meeting for brunch at a cafe called Urban Bites in Newtown.  This is one of the many spots I've noted on a warm, sunny day, and had been jealous of the people actually eating there.  Today, it was my turn.  The forecast was particularly sneaky; when I got dressed, it read 23, so jeans were appropriate.  However, by the time I reached the midpoint, the temp. had shot up to 31 degrees and I was dying; having to call M to tell her I'd be delayed since I could barely function putting one foot in front of the other, let alone doing it quickly.  

I'm pretty used to the Sydney temps these days, but when you're not dressed for it (as in, wearing as little clothing as possible), it's a bit of an ordeal for a Newfie girl.  When I got to the resto, after downing about a litre of water, I noticed a canine a few feet away.  Normally, I'm not a fan of animals in restos (it's gross; am I wrong here?) but M and I agreed that this pathetic-looking pooch pretty much summed up how all of Sydney was feeling that day.

Margaret ended up ordering the Big Breakfast - I think - which consisted of bacon (back bacon) 2 eggs and (sourdough) toast for something ridiculous like $8.  This is a bargain, folks.  I also love how Aussies tend to add a grilled tomato to breakfast - that's my kinda garnish.  

Big Breakfast? 

I was feeling eggs and smoked salmon of some kind, so I went for the scramble with spinach.  It was delicious.  I felt like shoving the whole thing between those two slabs of Turkish toast and making an awesome sambo, but I erred on the side of conservative, and simply had my pile of eggs with a touch of toast. 


Smoked Salmon & Spinach Scramble w/ Turkish Toast

Australians are serious about their coffee.  I once ordered an iced coffee and received a glass of frosty coffee topped with about two scoops of vanilla ice cream.   I wanted cold coffee, not a calorie fix!  Anyway, on this occasion, I ended up with a frappucino-y type-thing, which sated my fix for both caffeine and frosty.

That being said, I recall by b-fast bill being about $26 for the eggs/java, so l likely won't head back to this spot again.  And in Sydney, why would you - when there are so many options for bfast right around the corner.

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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Turkish food at Harvest

One of my favourite things to do at festivals is, wait for it...eat!  Yes, it's a shocker, but I truly appreciate fair food and Aussie's do it pretty darn well.  I've seen/smelled/eaten some great dishes at the various neighbourhood festivals here.  It's always hot, so freshly squeezed lemonade is a favourite (had one today actually at Mardi Gras), as is ice cream, obviously.  I also love the fried/baked potato on a stick - it sounds trashier than it actually is.  
Anyhow, my favourite item of fair food thus far is Gozleme, a bite that was so good, it took a spot on my Top Ten Bites of 2012 list.  I've since realised that Gozleme is available every Saturday in my hood at the Glebe Markets, but I like to maintain its special-ness by only eating it on the appropriate occasion.  I mean, would rum & eggnog really be as good in the summer?!?  
Gozleme is, essentially, a cross between a flatbread and a crepe, filled and sprinkled with lemon.  The options are usually feta w/ either beef; spinach, spinach & mushroom, or all three.  I say this again, and I can't stress it enough: I am NOT a vegetarian.  But - I do enjoy meatless meals...so I went for the spinach & mushroom option.  
It was so tasty.  I imagine that it was one of those occasions where the company and the setting enhanced the food experience, but to my memory, it was certainly one of the best bites of 2012.  My friends and I were attending Harvest Festival, which was bittersweet for me, since one of my favorite bands - Beirut - pulled out on the morning of!!  Who does that?  I was heartbroken.  BUT, Harvest did rekindle my love of Cake and Ben Folds Five (their new album is amazing) and introduced me to The Dandy Warhols and Santigold - whom I had loved before, but never knew the name of the artist.  

Anyhow, we parked ourselves in the shade of a gumtree with our cans of (overpriced) Sunshack apple cider, and had our snacks while waiting for Cake to grace the stage.  The gozleme bread had that awesome chewy consistency, which was both nutty, yet slightly sweet.  And obvs - how can you go wrong with spinach, feta & shrooms?

Yes, it was a cultural discovery in both bands and Turkish cuisine, one that I'll happily repeat any (festival) day!



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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Countless options for bfast at the Clipper Cafe

Last week, I met my friend Margaret for brunch in Glebe. Margaret is a pal that I 'borrowed' from my sister - they met in Manhattan. Actually, Margaret is the wife that my sister 'borrowed' from her boyfriend's best friend.  Keep up people!  Anyhow, luckily for me, M now lives in Sydney as opposed to Manhattan, so I get to meet her sporadically to catch up; talk about life, food, fun and how much we both miss my sister.

Since we met up in her 'hood (Newtown) the last time, we decided to reunite in Glebe on this sunny Tuesday am.  We decided to go to the Clipper Cafe because: a) my gal pal Christine works there, and b) I wanted to introduce Mags to the amazingness that is La Banette.

When I arrived, M was already waiting patiently with her latte in hand, so we set about ordering some bfast.  Having already poured over many of Sydney's food blogs at images, I decided on the baked eggs Napoli while M decided on a panini sambo.


Baked Eggs Napoli w/ Chorizo & Mushroom

w/ Toasted Sourdogh ($10ish)

Sadly my gal Christine wasn't at work, however, one of her colleagues assisted me with my dilemma: Instead of having to choose between Chorizo and mushroom (pancetta was the other option), she suggested that I have 1/2 and 1/2!  And she didn't charge me extra either.    But seriously; this was such a fantastic dish - and such a creative one too.  The poached eggs (which were a little runny for my taste) were nestled deep within the tomato sauce, topped with a pile of the piquant sausage and tender 'shrooms.  There were even bits of halloomi cheese scattered about.  In all honesty, I haven't eaten this much in one sitting in a long time, but it was just so good - and not something I was going to get packed up as a takeaway.  And, who doesn't love to mop up the tomato sauce left at the finish?

Toasted Sandwich
w/fresh tomatos, pesto & Bocconcinni ($8)

I didn't try M's sambo (I had enough to deal with), but she did rave about the quality.  Looked delish, as did the Prosciutto, mushroom and Brie option.

And once we were finished, I took M over to La Banette where we ooo'd and aww'd over the precious baked goods.  Naught was had however - were were both ready to roll down GPR at this point after our uber satisfying and well-priced bfast at Clipper.  Return visits are soon to happen too, as ther were so many tantalizing options on that menu board. I should note too, that many of the items were vegetarian friendly. :)

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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

A carnivore's dream at The Lane

After a very long work week, my housemate and I headed over to Sydney's swanky bar Establishment for some post-work drinks.  This is a beautiful space,  decked out with a creamy marble bar and matching colonial-type columns.   The drink menu is surprisingly affordable - I would even venture to say that I was disappointed by the quality of their wine list.  That being said, I was happy to indulge in a couple glasses of $8 Merivale-branded house bubbly, while my pal had (our) usual; a gin & tonic.  Merivale is the parent company of a slew of bars/restos in Sydney, including Establishment's adjacent fine dining resto; Est.


After a few glasses, my housemate and I headed over to The Lane in the CBD for a quick snack before heading out for...some more drinks.  Since we were both pretty new to the city's dining scene - and ravenous at this point - we ended up just walking around the corner and took a seat at the first spot whose menu was appetizing and still had a bit of life to it. Some spots in the CBD empty out at 7-8ish...

The Lane

Once seated at The Lane, we got a couple glasses of vino and put in an order for some snacks.  I'm not a huge meat eater anymore, tending to usually go for seafood option, but K and I compromised and ordered the Meat Plate - a selection of four cured meats, and the QLD King Prawns.

Meat Plate ($19.50)

The meat plate was pretty self explanatory; a plate of meat.  The selections were tasty though; San Daniele Prosciutto, Sopressata, Capacolla and Genoa Salami.  Don't get me wrong, I love a nice slice of salty, spicy Sopressata, but it was an enormous amount of salt, and I was guzzleling water for days afterward.  Well, to be honest, I guzzled a couple beers immediately afterward to quench my thirst.  The bread was super-nice though; uber soft, with a slight char on the outside.

QLD King Prawns ($16.9)

 BBQ-grilled w/ lemon and garlic butter, served w/ aioli

A carnivore's dream at The Lane  
The King Prawns (I've been criticized by Aussies for calling them shrimp) were fantastic; a little messy, but well worth it.  The tender meat paired nicely with the garlicky aioli, and was further enhanced by the spicy dressed rocket garnish.  Also, they grilled their lemon wedge -  I love that.  Brooklyn Warehouse in Halifax does that.

Anywho, filled to the brim, my protein cup overflowed as we left The Lane and headed back down into the CBD towards our hood.  I'm happy that I spied this place, it's a nice spot to go for a pre-drink snack, and was still pretty hoppin' when we left at 10 pm.

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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Shellfish at Bar Reggio I'm Angus Steakhouse

I was pretty excited to see my bestie when she visited me in Sydney last week.  She was in town on a conference, and we ended up having some great meals (and drinks) together.  Once such night was the one we went to Bar Reggio, a little Italian BYO in my work hood.  The boys in the office are quite familiar with the restos in this area, and when I asked if there was a good spot for BYO, they said that this was one of their favourites.   There would be quite the line up on a Friday night however, and they only take resos for large groups, so I headed over right after work to put my name down for a table for two.  The gyuy at the door said it would be 9pm for a table for two...it was 7:15.

Once M joined me, we set off to the bottleshop and picked up a couple bottles of wine. Of course, having already scanned the menu we knew that we would be having mussels and picked up a nice Riesling counteract the chili in the tomato sauce. In the meantime, while we waited for 9pm, we headed over to   Pocket Bar; a super cool little bar in Darlinghurst. PB was a great discovery, and I've been back to it several times since; with a funky interior and some serious cocktails, it's a great spot to catch up with friends.

My tab card...

When we got back to Bar Reggio there was still a serious wait, but it was well worth it.  The aromas wafting from the resto were intoxicating and quintessential for an Italian resto: sweet tomato sauce; yeasty bread dough and greasy cheese.  While we stood in the doorway, we watched one of the kitchen guys top a beautiful flatbread with a vibrant blend of fresh tomato and herbs - the bruschetta - which we ended up ordering as well.  

Mussels w/ chili & Napoli sauce

We were really pleased with the mussels.  Both M and I grew up in the Atlantic provinces in Canada, so seafood is very important to us, and we're pretty particular.  These suckers were fresh, plump and flavourful - and a generous serving too.  The sauce was certainly more-ish.  I found myself enjoying that to the same extent as I did the shellfish.  Unfortunately, by the time we got our bruschetta, the tomato topping wasn't quite as generous, but it was still delicious.  In fact, we ended up saving the broth from our muscles and spooning the bits of red pepper, tomato and onion onto the bruschetta base.  That was my idea.  I'm a genius.

Later in the week, we headed over to Cockle Bay in search of some oysters.  We ended up at I'm Angus Steakhouse at a table overlooking the boardwalk.  In that heat, a refreshing bevy was needed, and what better than a gin and tonic. As a side note - my favourite bevvy to beat the heat at home in Sydney is a tall glass of tonic water with a good squeeze of lemon and a generous handful of mint from the garden.  

Oysters Killpatrick ($20)

We ordered some oysters as a little snack before heading to the grocery store to get some ingredients for dinner.  We got 1/2 a dozen, and after debating over Natural and Killpatrick for a good while, we chose the Killpatrick; a topping of bacon and Worcestershire sauce.  The price wasn't too bad for oysters - especially in such a 'touristy' location.  They were Sydney Rock Oysters and the quality of the shellfish was top notch.  Beautiful oysters topped mysterious Worsh. sauce and salty bacon - we were some pretty happy gals.

The following am, I took a stroll over to the Botanical Gardens as my friend had mentioned that the rose garden was in full bloom.  My iPhone was full of flower shots afterward, but these are some of my faves.


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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Night Noodle Markets - part of Crave Sydney Food Festival!

I was thrilled to be in Sydney for one of it's most anticipated festivals; Crave Sydney food & wine festival.  During the month, there are a plethora of events, raging from cocktail events;  killer meal deals; food-based artwork and more.  I even managed to haul my ass out of bed for 'Breakfast on Bondi', an event that featured an Australian soprano accompanied by an orchestra while the sun rose.  It was pretty incredible.

But one of the main attractions for this event is the Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park.  A longstanding tradition, this event runs until about 10 pm for two weeks in October and features noodles, dumplings, desserts and more.  The vibe here is so chill and jovial; it's an awesome spot to catch up with your nearest and dearest.

Crave Sydney Banners at the entrance to Hyde Park

Red Chinese paper lanterns lined the walkways 

and a multitude of coloured lights highlighted the trees

There are so many food options to choose from here.  Being at the 'noodle markets', I had to indulge and chose a vegetarian bowl of greasy chow mein noodles with vegetables ($9) from one of the many stalls.  I have to admit, that the noodles were simply 'ok', but at this event (to me) it's more about the atmosphere than the food.  It's about plonking yourself on a patch of grass and taking in the sights.  If you're lucky enough to score a table - even better.  And better still, the festival is BYO.   Score.

Vegetarian Noodle Bowl

Myself and my pal Christina in front of the tallest 

building in Sydney; the Westfield Tower

A panorama of the festival!


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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Top Ten Bites of 2012

And so, we've come to the end of 2012.  As many people do at this time of year, I've been considering the past twelve months and all the changes that have come with it.  2012 was a big year for me; I left a good life in Halifax and now live a great one in Sydney, Australia.  One of the things that was lacking for me in Nova Scotia was the opportunity to try wines from all over the world.  Working with the company I'm with now, makes this desire a reality and I'm not only trying wines, but meeting their amazing winemakers as well.

I thought about the great dining experiences that I've had this year too.  And there were many; I actually had difficulty trying to choose the 10 most special.  Some are from restaurants near and dear to my heart in Halifax, while others are from my new 'home' in Sydney.  Many of these bites weren't exactly what you would call 'gourmet', but as I transitioned into this new life, sometimes comfort food was more important that gourmet. The underlying theme here though, is that these experiences will always be fond memories because of the people I got to share them with and the lessons that I learned along the way.

Enjoy the photos, and try some of these dishes if you can as they're certainly worth it.  I hope that this blog post might offer you the inspiration to 'bite the bullet' and take a chance .  Don't let 2013 pass you by without taking some risks and maybe having a little adventure along the way.  Perhaps a change of scenery is just the thing to help you find what you're looking for.  All the best to you this year, and again, thanks for reading. 

XO -K

Top Ten Bites of 2012
(in no particular order)

Amuse Bouche at Seasons by Atlantica

This is one of those meals that was made even better by the circumstances.  On a cold winter's night we called up another couple (who appreciated good food and drink as much as I do) for an impromptu dinner to try out Season's at Atlantica.  This was the amuse bouche; a piece of buttery brioche topped with a slice of mellow Brie and crowned with a soft-poached Prosciutto-wrapped egg yoke.  How satisfying it was to slice through the paper-thin Prosciutto and watch the creamy egg yoke pool in the bottom of my plate.

And the evening was equally satisfying: we started with cocktails; I brought some nice bottles; and we had apps and mains (trying one another's and critiquing them).  We shared a dessert and then they introduced me to my new favourite digestive: a shot of ice-cold Limoncello paired with one of espresso.  The coffee helped to digest the meal, while the Limoncello's tangy, citrus burst helped to refresh the palate after the bitter coffee.   Sadly, my friends are no longer together, but the memory of this dinner will be one I cherish for years to come. 

  Scallop Entree at Saege (Halifax)

This is another meal made better by the circumstances.  After struggling with a knee injury for almost two years, I had decided to overcome it by challenging myself and running the 10K Bluenose run with Team Myles, its ambassador running team.  On this particular evening -  after running up and down Citadel Hill 20+ times as part of our hill training - I decided I deserved a lazy late-night meal, and met my bf at Saege for dinner.  This was my entree and consisted of some of my favourite ingredients: plump seared scallops; creamy sweet potato; wilted spinach; roasted cherry tomatoes and, sandwiched in between it all was a slab of bacon! You can check out my post of the full meal here.

Ekmek at Estia (Halifax)

I really, really love Estia in Halifax.  Every meal that I've eaten there has been satisfying and delicious without breaking the bank.  This is a shot of their Ekmek had during my birthday 'week'! The smooth vanilla custard is topped with pillowy whipped cream and sprinkled with shards of toasted almonds and pistachios.  The best part, though is the base; a mess of shredded phyllo pastry soaked in sweet honey.  For a bit more about Estia's Ekmek and other delicious fare, click here.  

Radicchio Salad at The Bicycle Thief (Halifax) 

This is the dish I was eating when I decided that I had to make a move from Halifax - not knowing where - just to a wine region in general.  Over dinner,  dining companions (uber winos and uber Bicycle Thief fans) were discussing the wines they had tried on their travels and I thought: "If I'm gonna learn about wine, I gotta get out there and try some!" And that's when the trip to Australia truly started to materialize.  This dish was spectacular and super cheap (like $9 or something) for the portion.  The crunchy, bitter radicchio was tossed in a warm pancetta vinaigrette, studded with toasted pine nuts and dusted in salty Parmesan.  My mouth waters simply thinking about it.  You can read all about his meal here.

Avocado Creme Brûlée at Pipa (Halifax)

Avocado creme brûlée!  I was pretty skeptical about this dish.  I was dining at Pipa and my bf and I decided to share some dessert.  When we asked the owner for her reco she said -  hands down - the avocado creme brûlée.  Avocado is considered a sweet in South America and this is a common preparation for it.  There isn't a blog post for this one, but all I can say is that it is totally worth the trip to Pipa.  Beneath the crisp sugar topping, the silky avocado custard is the epitome of luscious.

'Back Door' Pad Thai from Fid Resto (Halifax)

It's no secret how I feel about Fid.  It's one of my favourite restos in Halifax.  This meal was no exception -  except that it wasn't eaten at Fid.  During the Open Halifax event, Fid started doing 'Back Door' Pad Thai, where one could order their Pad Thai as take-away for a reduced price.  

This was a particularly warm/sunny afternoon in June and my bf and I munched happily away on our take-away by the duck pond in Halifax's Public Gardens.  As lovely as the afternoon was, the memory is bittersweet as I knew that it was one of our last.  See the full post about Fid's Pad Thai here.

Calamari at James Street Bistro (Brisbane)

I am such a sucker for calamari.  When I was snorkeling off the Great Barrier Reef this year, I was mesmerized by the magical world hiding our beneath the ocean's surface.  You can imagine my surprise when I saw several sets of bulging eyes coming in my direction; that of a school of squid!  Little did they know all the ways I was contemplating cooking them...

This was the calamari that we had at the James Street Bistro in Brisbane on my first night in Australia.  Maria (my bestie from Canada) and her husband Josh took me out to dinner where we shared this delectable dish.  You can read all about the full meal here.  Thankfully, they didn't get offended when I practically fell asleep at the table from jet lag; at that point, I had been travelling for over 30 hrs, but awake for about 48!

Savoury Muffin at The Little Pantry (Brisbane)

After my first big night out in Brisbane - exactly a week after I arrived - Maria and I decided to do a little pub crawl.  We were in pretty rough shape the next day, but I managed to venture out to our local coffee shop for some java, and much needed carbohydrates.  This is the best muffin I've ever had in my life; buttery, salty and rich; it just what the doctor (would have) ordered.  Here's the full post: The Little Pantry.

San Choy Bow at Dragon Palace (NSW)

This is a discovery from the Dragon Palace restaurant that I visited in Tamworth, rural New South Wales, AUS.  The memory of this particular meal will always be marred by the fact that it was shared with my boss, who later totally ripped me off in an 'overworked/underpaid' kind of situation.  However, I've since repeated this dish with Maria, my gal pal from (PEI) Brisbane,  so I choose to remember that instead.  It's also a pretty good lesson learned about work/life situations too; a late lesson, but "better late than never".   Read all about this tasty dish here

  Veggie Burger from Chicken's Plus (Sydney)                           

This was my first real hangover meal in Sydney.  After a pretty crazy night out, my housemate and I were bracing ourselves for the worst when our other housemate (a raging alcoholic) would come home.  As I sat there at 5 pm eating my veggie burger from Chicken's Plus, I knew that big changes were to come.  And they did; our housemate was arrested and evicted and my resolve was tested.  I put on my big girl pants that night, and now really consider this my 'comfort food'.  Click here for my post about burger culture in Oz. 

Gozleme at Harvest Music Festival (Sydney)

                  

Festival food! When I arrived in Oz, I said I wanted to take in as many festivals/concerts as I could.  This photo was taken at my first; Harvest Festival in Sydney.  The dish was delicious, but further enhanced by the fact that:  I can't resist festival food;  I had a slight beer buzz;  and I got to spend a day in the grass listening to great music with wonderful friends.  This snack is called Gozleme - a traditional Lebanese crepe filled with cheese, spinach and mushroom drizzled with lemon juice.  For any Newfoundlanders out there, it tastes like toutons! No blog post for this yet, but it's coming.

Happy New Year from sunny Sydney!

Welcome 2013!

Fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Food flying high at the Flying Fajita Sisters

On one of the 'hotter' days in September, I arrived home to my housemate's news that: "We're going to The Flying Fajita Sisters for dinner.  You have 20 minutes to get ready."  Having trekked around the 'hood in the heat all day, I felt less than stellar, but with the thought of an icy cold, salty Margarita in my future, I pulled myself together...quickly.  

We met three of our pals for dinner at 7:30 and were seated at a little table in the garden.  The bonus about restos on GPR is the fact that many of them have an outdoor dining area hidden away in the back.  Most of us ordered a Margarita to start - mine being the classic; lime flavoured with a nice, salty rim.  I ordered it frozen as it goes down slightly less quickly that way. 

The Classic Frozen Margaritas ($13)

And..."when in Mexico"...we also ordered some shots of tequila.  Giving our sever a relative budget and saying "No way(!) to Jose", we asked that she excite our palate with something a little more exotic that the typical shots you'd get at a bar.  What she brought out was heavenly and we ended up with another round later in the night.  The tequila itself was sweet and luscious. With a honeyed texture and beautiful orange blossom notes, the shots were topped with a slice of orange dusted in a layer of cinnamon which brought out the liquid's sweet and slightly spicy notes.

Tequila ($8/shot)

My housemate ordered one of the daily specials: fish tacos.  Though the tacos featured grilled sea bass, the resto had run out and offered red snapper as an alternative. Served with a wedge of lime, citrus served to elevate the fish's flavour and add a nice zing to the dish.  Tender, flaky fish; chunky salsa; creamy guacamole; rich crema, and robust corn salsa were all on offer to be packaged up within the warm, soft flour tortillas.  

Fish Tacos ($18ish)

w/ guacamole, crema, green salad and corn salsa

I wasn't ravenous when we arrived so I ordered something small.  I'm always a sucker for specials because I know that they'll only be available for a limited time.  I decided on one of the other options listed that evening; taquitos filled with potato and chorizo sausage, topped with salsa verde, queso freso and served with a marinated tomato salad.  It was a great little meal: the crispy shell was wrapped around soft potato and spicy sausage; the salsa verde and crumbed cheese added a richness to the dish while the marinated tomato salad provided a touch of sweetness - and a great textural contrast as well.

Taquitos ($12)

 w/ potato, chorizo, salsa verde and queso fresco 

I will definitely be a repeat customer here.  The quality of the food was fantastic, the margaritas were 'just right' and the presentation was really nice for Mexican food - which can admittedly be a little sloppy.  Great service topped off the night.  Once we were all sorted, we headed down the street to The Little Guy - also on GPR, one of Sydney's 'small bars', and a laid-back spot that's perfect for a weeknight drink or a Sunday session.

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  • Written by Kristen Pickett
  • Category: With Bite

Veggie Burgers: Chickens Plus vs. Fish on Fire

In the last couple weeks, I've gone to Chickens Plus and Fish on Fire on Glebe Point Road - and at both, I've had veggie burgers!  I've just been in that kind of mood lately, although last week I did try a beef burger from CP ($5.50) and it was pretty tasty.

Anyhow, I do enjoy veggie burgers here in Oz.  I have to say that they're a bit different from ones that I'm used to in Canada but they're still quite good. As opposed to a bunch of beans, lentils and oats - like the ones I'm used to - these ones are filled with green peas, carrots and corn.  Pretty nutritious, actually. In the end, I prefer CP's offerings over that of FOF, and will probably stick with them from now on.  Another thing that I like about the burger culture here is the presence of beetroot and pineapple; two things that are rarely common in Canada.

The VB from CP is super substantial.  The patty is filling (and contains the ingredients listed above), but there are also several slices of beetroot and tomato, adding to its appeal.  The bun is a nice quality as well with the bread both soft and structured enough to carry the weight of the patty and toppings.  The burger comes with one sauce; I had "plenty" of mayo.

Chickens Plus Veggie Burger

w/ lettuce, tomato, beetroot, red onion 

& a sauce of your choice ($5.90)

  Veggie Burgers: Chickens Plus vs. Fish on Fire

I wasn't too keen on the VB at FOF.  Though, the patty had the same fillings as that of CP, it didn't have that well-packed consistency and was a bit sloppy.  It also only came with only a sauce and 'salad' as toppings, which was essentially lettuce and some red cabbage.  Finally, the bun really put me off; it was almost crusty on the outside, but had that gooey, uncooked taste within.  I can say though, that the $2 extra for the order of fries was well worth it, as they were super tasty.  

Fish on Fire Veggie Burger ( $4.50)

 Add fries for $2

I'm not saying that FOF isn't worth going to, but if you are on Glebe Point Road and looking for a Veggie Burger, I'd recommend Chickens Plus as the winner.  Both restos have many other choices, and I have enjoyed their fries as well.  FOF does have outdoor seating, however, which is much more appealing that CP's counter-style.  But if neither has the seating that you're looking for, the park across the road is a nice alternative to both!

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