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. 


Awesome afternoon at Opera Bar

Crews will continue to clear streets throughout day and overnight; slow morning commute can be expected