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Monday, September 12, 2011

Food lately...

I decided earlier this week I really needed to take a second and do some blogging on some of my latest food experiences.

I will begin with a few of my recent outings.  A couple of weeks ago I did 3 nights of dining out in a row, which is A LOT for me, seeing as Sydney is not exactly the most affordable city in terms of eating out.

On the Wednesday night I went with a few friends to a place in Surry Hills called 'Table for Twenty' their concept is in many ways very similar to a tablenosh dinner and I heard about it when I was originally investigating the underground dining scene in Sydney. Table for Twenty now operates mainstream, but continues to seat people together at large tables for family-style eating and engaging together.  It was really fabulous time, I had a great night with my friends as well as meeting a few other people at our table.  For a flat fee of 50$ dinner included some organic wine, bread rolls and a delicious mezzanine platter with grilled veggies, home-made cheese and savory meatballs.  The main course was pork cutlets (I had seared tuna) with oven roasted potatoes, wilted spinach and a beautiful salad.  My favorite dish of the evening was the blueberry coconut tart that we had for dessert, it was absolutely divine!

The following evening I headed out to dinner again this time venturing to Concord with fellow foodie friend, Michael Shaffron to test out a Malaysian restaurant called 'Jackie M'.  This was my first time really eating Malaysian food and let me just say it was absolutely delcious!  Rather than re-cap the food experience I will just send you to read what Michael had to say on his blog gosstronomy and his pictures are also heaps better than mine!

The only part Michael doesn't mention is my small drama that occurred at the end of dinner.  We were just about to finish up when my husband called to tell me I needed to 'Go Move the Car' explaining he had just received a phone call from the cops saying I had parked in front of someone's driveway (it was a dark side street and obviously I did not take note of the driveway)!  Before hanging up he also said 'make sure you take someone with you b/c apparently they are pretty upset.'  I grabbed Michael to go with me and as we neared my car I could see about 10 people out on the sidewalk in front of it.  I called out to them saying, 'I am SO SO sorry.'  Well, let's just say before I had even finished my sentence there were at least 3 people screaming obscenities at me and I mean verbal abuse like I had never experienced!  It was unbelievable, I lasted about 30 seconds of getting pelted with the meanest things anyone has ever said to me before I just looked at Michael and said 'let's just get in the car clearly they are not accepting my apology.'  I am SO glad I took him with me and am pretty much thankful my car wasn't smashed in and I didn't get beaten up.  So, as much as I LOVED Jackie M...I am not sure if I will ever make it back to that part of town or at least I won't be driving :).

The next night we headed out again with a couple of friends for dinner in the city, I still pumped up on Malaysian food so we made an attempt to check out Mamak in the city, but the line was way too long for us.  We ended up at Miro tapas bar instead and enjoyed sharing a few plates of tapas along some sangria.  The food was pretty good, but I was mostly just pleased we car pooled and not to have anyone yelling at me by the end of the night!!

After the big week of dining out I slowed down a bit and was back in the kitchen again working on my wheat-free, low-dairy and sugarless cooking.  This was of course impossible to maintain while practicing wedding cakes.  But the other day I created a date slice with a carob glaze and other than the butter had no dairy and was wheat free and used no refined sugar.  I was very pleased and I think my afternoon tea guest was also satisfied with such a healthy little treat.

Then there was the Risotto I made the other night, which turned out to be a real winner.  I primarily used pearl barley mixed with a little bit of arborio rice.  I love using the pearl barley because it is heaps healthier and has a lot more texture.  I had roasted some red peppers earlier in the day and thought I would those would go well along with some baby spinach, goats cheese and a splash of black truffle oil (this alone make any risotto taste so good!).  I grilled a few chicken breasts to serve alongside.  It was indeed probably the best risotto I have ever made, Pete and I both agreed.  A wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free dinner delight indeed.

So, just to finish with some 'coffee-talk'...which is not really about me and our own recent experiments with coffee (we just had our first roasting lesson yesterday!).  I have realized it is one thing to make a good coffee and to be a cafe that is proud of your coffee, but is another thing to be SO worried about YOUR coffee reputation that you cannot handle anyone in your cafe with a coffee from a different place.  Let me recap my latest cafe experience in Newtown this past Saturday.

I headed over to Newtown to catch up with my friend Nikki for brunch on Saturday and while I was waiting ordered a coffee at a lovely little cafe called 'Foodarama'.  Once Nikki showed up we decided to head up to another cafe called 'Martini', so I got my coffee to go and we headed up the street.  There was a table just inside and as we decided whether to sit inside or outside, the barista called out 'not with that you won't.'  Nikki and I both looked at each other not quite sure what he was talking about and then he said it again a bit louder and bit a ruder 'not with that you won't, can't you see I am trying to run a coffee shop.'  It was at this stage he was referring to the coffee I was holding in my hand! Basically this man was SO concerned about someone seeing me with a coffee cup that had a different label on it that he RUDELY told us to get out!  Nikki and I were absolutely stunned, we conferred on the sidewalk and I went back in to explain 'we just left another cafe to come to yours and eat your food and you are asking us to leave because of my coffee?', he handed me a different coffee cup to place my cup in, I took the cup walked out the door and Nikki and I decided there is NO way we will ever be back to his cafe.  When did the customer become the enemy and service go OUT the window...I felt like saying buddy you need to GET A GRIP!  (ps. I was holding a 'campos' coffee cup...maybe that was the problem, he felt seriously threatened...)

That's enough food chat for now from me.  My fingers are starting to hurt and if anyone is reading this you might also be ready for a break :)


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