Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hong Depot for Lunch

1 comment:
Hong Depot
193 Melbourne St, South Brisbane

I can not, for the life of me, remember what was at the corner of Melbourne and Boundary Street before Hong Depot was there. All I know is that block is now occupied by a vibrant and inviting Korean restaurant that commands my attention every time I walked past. I really, really wanted to try it... even before they painted a silhouette of Psy on their wall. Gangnam style, peeps.

Hong Depot is open for lunch and dinner. Marc told me that their dinner menu is more 'proper' (and expensive), with barbeques and hotpots and large set menus. When we went at lunch time, the food was quite cheap but there wasn't a lot to choose from.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Banneton Bakery

1 comment:
Banneton Bakery at The Gabba
25 Balaclava St, Woollongabba

I was on my way to mum and dad's place last Saturday morning when I thought I'd stop off at Banneton Bakery to pick up some breakfast supplies. I had never been before but I read lots of great reviews about the breads and baked goods. The general consensus is to avoid actually eating there because the atmosphere and service is supposedly under par so I figured that by purchasing the goods and eating elsewhere, I would avoid those issues.

The bakery is located in an industrial area where there isn't much else around. I got to Banneton not long after they opened and there was already a fair few people standing around buying bread and coffee. I took some time viewing the display cabinets before deciding what to get.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

La Via for Dinner

No comments:
La Via

To quench my recently developed thirst for Italian food, I voted to dine at an Italian restaurant last Friday. I was researching reputable establishments that were walking distance from West End, typing addresses into Google Maps and calculating routes to Paddington, New Farm and the likes. Then, I remembered La Via, which is right near us in South Bank. Definitely walkable. Sorted!

La Via is a relatively small restaurant but every time I've passed it, it's been packed. Friday night was no exception. I'm glad we made a reservation.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

All you can eat Hotpot and BBQ at Little Lamb

1 comment:
Little Lamb
Shop 22/23 Runcorn Plaza, 254 Warrigal Rd, Runcorn

Mention 'hotpot', 'charcoal barbeque' and 'all-you-can-eat' in one sentence and you're bound to spark my interest. Even though I'm an advocate for clean eating and trying to stay healthy rarara, there is an undeniable appeal to being able to pile your plate with food from a vast selection, gob it down and then, get up and do it all again.

As soon as I heard about Little Lamb, I started baiting friends to go. Unfortunately, my immediate clique is unenthusiastic about travelling beyond the Brisbane CBD and Zone 1 suburbs and the thought of anything Sunnybank and beyond seems almost other-worldly. The circumstances under which I went to Little Lamb would sound strange to anyone who isn't aware of just how crazy I am about food/restauranting. Last night, Byron and I decided to catch up over dinner and we ended up driving down to Brisbane and back over the span of 5 hours (with a 1:4 ratio of eating to travelling time).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Breakfast at Two Trees Espresso

Two Trees Espresso
58 Vulture St, West End

I first heard about Two Trees Espresso via mention of their DIY toasting station on Twitter. I figured it was a perfect spot to visit during my weekend morning strolls through West End. Last Sunday, I had an opportunity to stop by and see what the deal was.

I was keeping an eye out for Two Trees and still managed to walk right past. It's almost like an optical illusion. If you look at it from an angle, it's too indented to spot and all you can see is couple of closed stores and garage doors side by side. Walking right up to it, the cafe emerges.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lunch at Kimono

119 Melbourne St, South Brisbane

As South Brisbane residents who love sushi, Kimono was something Marc and I were really glad to have around. Unfortunately, at least 2 times we tried to visit, it was closed. Both times it happened was on Sunday and finally we got the hint that Kimono was closed for Sunday lunch. Learning from our mistakes, our next attempt was Saturday and horray, we got in!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Breakfast at Cafe Wrapture

Cafe Wrapture
71 Russell St, West End

My visit to Cafe Wrapture had been a long time coming. I first heard mention of its popular haloumi wrap towards the start of this year but never got a chance to try it. This past Saturday, I woke up early and went for a morning stroll through West End. Amusingly, I had no idea it was raining so I strutted out of the apartment in a getup of singlet, shorts and thongs and was immediately greeted by wet droplets on my hair and sunnies and amused looks from tradies getting coffee outside.

I have no issues walking in the rain as long as it's not cold. Wandering around, it was refreshing and peaceful seeing the streets quiet and inactive. I found Cafe Wrapture on Russell Street, near Cup Coffee. It's in a small, renovated old building that's easy to walk past if you're not looking out for it and difficult to miss if you are.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dinner at Siam Samrarn

Siam Samrarn

Sarcasm: I love it when rain reserves itself for the weekend. It started to drizzle on Friday and by Sunday afternoon, the sun was out again. How timely. Marc and I were ducking around through the streets of West End trying to find a dinner spot last Friday night. The place we'd made a booking at was somehow taken up by a private function so that obviously didn't pan out. Bottle of wine in hand, we had the task of finding a BYO venue.

The 2012 Good Food and Wine Show with George Calombaris in the Celebrity Theatre

GFAWS 2012 Brisbane

I hear about the Good Food and Wine Show every year but I'd never been before. This year, I figured I'd ammend that and purchase some tickets to see what the deal was. I went with my mum and dad on Sunday, which was the last day the show was on in Brisbane.

The GFAWS was held in the Convention Centre in South Bank, taking up exhibition halls 2 and 3. We got there at about 9:30am and queued up before we were let in at 10. There were quite a lot of people already waiting in line.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Satay Chicken Lettuce Wraps (sugar free and low carb)

1 comment:
Satay Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Home Cooking

A major hurdle in my pledge to go low-carb and sugar-free has been "what do I eat instead of bread?" I read on a forum a suggestion of using lettuce to wrap filling rather than using a processed, grain-based item. Lettuce is not something that makes its way into my trolley very often. The only time I buy any is when I'm planning to make tacos. I know it's meant to be 'good for me' so I figured it was as good of an excuse as any to try and incorporate it into my diet.

I set about making a satay chicken filling that was sweetened with coconut products instead of sugar. Try to avoid prebought basting sauces because their sugar content is often through the roof. The types of vegetables you end up using in the satay is obviously up to you. Broccoli is popular in satay stir-fries, as are green beans. I used celery and red capsicum.

Sydney Weekender 5 - Lunch Feast at Xanthi

No comments:
Xanthi Bar and Restaurant

Whilst our trip to Sydney wasn't planned around any 'foodie' destinations, I did very much want to check out the food offerings at Westfield Sydney. I knew there were a bunch of newish restaurants there and that the food court itself had a notable selection. We wandered up after 1/2 a day's worth of shopping and had a look around. The food court reminded me of the big shopping centres I visited in Singapore and Malaysia that had all kinds of fast food stalls offering quirky things ('Haute Dogs anyone?') rather than standard Maccas and KFC. I was tempted to stop there but we went up a floor to see what the restaurants were like.

Kat and I were tossing up between Chat Thai and Xanthi. Chat Thai has a hot reputation and there was a queue to get in. I do want to try it one day but on that occasion, my desire for Greek food won out and we went into Xanthi instead. I'd actually read up about it online and saw lots of rave reviews. They also had a lunch special that sounded enticing.

Sydney Weekender 4 - Breakfast at Rossini

No comments:
Rossini Cafe Bar and Restaurant

The thing about Sydney (and this applies to Brisbane too) is that there are gorgeous, fabulous and exciting boutique cafes galore... but they're not located in the CBD. Sure, you can find tonnes of foodie destinations in Surry Hills or Darlinghurst or anywhere a little way out of the commercial centre, but when you're on a tight schedule and staying in the city, it's easier to grab a bite somewhere close by.

Kat and I were staying in a hotel near Circular Quay so we figured we'd get breakfast there. On the weekend of our stay, the weather was moody at best. There was a brief display of sunshine Sunday morning so we thought we'd make the most of it by taking a stroll to the waterfront.

Sydney Weekender 3 - Macaron Stop at Laduree

No comments:
Laduree at Westfield Sydney CBD
Level 3, Westfield, 100 Market St, Sydney

Despite how long it's been going on for, macaron fever is nowhere close to fading. Keeping the hype up is relative newcomer to Australia, Parisian brand Laduree. It recently opened a store in Westfield Sydney CBD and has since experienced a continuous supply of dessert-lovers and foodies alike.

I'm not cuckoo crazy about macarons but I do enjoy them and I also have the annoying quality of liking to check things out. I didn't really know much about Laduree but lots of people were raving about their macarons so I thought I might as well stop by while I was in Sydney.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sydney Weekender 2 - Sparkling High Tea at The Tea Room

No comments:
The Tea Room, QVB

A friend of Kat's recommended high tea at The Tea Room for us to try while we were in Sydney. I was extremely happy to oblige since I've been somewhat high tea deprived in 2012. I don't care how practically pointless it is to have miniature foods stacked on a tier, it just oozes appeal to me. Call it a female thing.

The Tea Room takes up most of the top level of the Queen Victoria Building, accessible by lifts or up a curvy set of stairs. It is indeed one room but it's a huge room at that. The intricate high ceilings were far above our heads and the opposite wall was distant.

Sydney Weekender 1 - MoS Cafe for Breakfast

No comments:
MoS Cafe for Breakfast

Many, many months ago, somewhere around the start of this year, Kat and I planted a short, one-night Sydney fling at the start of November. We didn't have many plans for what we'd be doing. It was intended to be a 'do as we feel' trip for the purpose of getting away and enjoying a change of scenery.

We arrived early on the Saturday morning. I don't think I'll be booking any early morning flights in the future. I spent the whole night before paranoid about not being able to get a taxi. On the plus side, we were able to check into our hotel early. Stomachs were rumbling (something about flying makes me really hungry) and the friendly concierge directed us to some nearby cafes. We chose the MoS (i.e. Mueseum of Sydney) Cafe because it was close to a bustop we needed to get to afterwards.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Low Carb Salmon and Cream Cheese Pancake

1 comment:
Low Carb Salmon and Cream Cheese Pancake
Home Cooking

Towards the end of last week, I had an excess of eggs that needed to be used up. Sure, there are tonnes of low carb egg recipes (e.g. quiche or frittata) but many of these also needed other ingredients that I didn't have at home. I could have cooked the eggs au naturale but one thing I have learnt from going low carb is that there IS such a thing as too much scrambled/fried eggs. After a while, even omelets seem too eggy.

I started this dish as a salmon and cream cheese omelet (without much enthusiasm). What inspired me to switch it up was remembering how delicious those Korean/Japanese-style savory pancakes are. I'm talking about okonomiyaki or Korean seafood pancakes. They're delicious and incorporate lots of vegetables but they require flour in the batter. Having just baked the paleo muffins with nothing but almond meal, I flirted with the idea of forming a batter with almond meal instead of flour.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bucci on James St for Dinner

1 comment:
Bucci Restaurant

I don't often make plans for Italian restaurants, which is inexplicable since I love Italian food. Then again, there aren't many styles of cuisine that I don't enjoy so perhaps I'm just not picking favorites. I heard about Bucci through some other Brisbane food blogs and became curious. One night, I wandered into Bucci's website and found their menu. I was instantly sold.

Bucci came accross as an Italian restaurant, rather than a typical Australian-Italian eatery with an exclusive focus on pizza and pasta. I know there are other Italian restaurants around with 'proper' mains (i.e. a protein and sides) but I hadn't personally been to any. The more I read the menu, the better it sounded. I knew I had to try the food.

Sugar Free Coconut and Macadamia Paleo Muffins

No comments:
Sugar Free Coconut and Macadamia Paleo Muffins
Home Cooking

I talked about my quest to go sugar-free for 8 weeks in an earlier post. Today's write up is an extension of that. I mentioned briefly my view that reducing/cutting sugar is sure to have some positive effect but that reducing carbohydrates as a whole would introduce further health benefits. Again, there is a lot of back chatter so if you're just after the recipe, skip to the end of this dialogue.

Cutting back sugar has been EASY for me. I never drank soft drink or fruit juice. I don't really enjoy processed snacks. All I had to do was substitute fruit for nuts. What has been a huge challenge for me is eliminating bread from my diet. I don't like rice or noodles but bread is a staple for me. On my first week of going sugar-free, I was nearly downing 4 slices a day. That's when I realized that just cutting sugar didn't automatically mean improved diet. Complex carbohydrates were getting the better of me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Revisiting a past favorite with Three Monkeys

No comments:
Three Monkeys Cafe and Tea House
58 Mollison St, West End

I'm going through a reminiscent phase with my blog. Reblogging one of the first cafes I wrote about makes me almost warm and fuzzy inside. My first post about Three Monkeys was from early 2009. Now, over 3 years later, so much of my life has changed but that cafe is still a solid point of comfort for me in West End.

I was wandering through the suburb late one night and found myself gravitating towards Three Monkeys. I'd never really gone solo before. My past memories of the place were of coffee and cake catchups with various highschool and uni friends. Ah, those were the days. I had an hour to kill while Marc was at a gig at the Hifi so I decided to pay tribute to the younger me and revisit my old hangout.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Activated Nuts and Coco-nutty Granola

Activated Nuts and Coco-nutty Granola
Home Cooking

There's a lot of nutritional mumbo jumbo in this post about the theory of cutting sugar from one's diet and my opinions on it. If you're interested, read on. If you just want to know how to make delicious sugar-free nuts to eat at breakfast time or as a snack, skip to the recipe at the bottom.

Mochi, my friend and past regular on this blog has turned into a health fanatic. She's my idol! I'm totally inspired by her and wish I had her willpower. She told me a while back about how she was trying to cut out sugar from her diet. This seemed pretty intuitive until she mentioned that fruit was also out. I often eat fruit as an alternative to dessert to cut sugar cravings so for me, this was terrible news. I also found it non-sensical that fruit would ever be considered our enemy. I wrote it off as a quack theory and continued along my normal diet.

Just last week, I was roaming the internet when I stumbled across Sarah Wilson's blog and her plight against sugar. I started reading... and read enough to download her eBook 'I Quit Sugar'. What grabbed me the most was that she described herself as a past sugar addict who didn't appear to be a sugar addict. She had a seemingly 'healthy' diet, substituting honey instead of sugar, avoiding most processed foods and so on. It was reflective of my own diet and intrigued, I read more.

Salmon and Cream Cheese Ribbon Sandwiches

No comments:
Salmon and Cream Cheese Ribbon Sandwiches
Home Cooking

I can't remember which day it was this week that I suddenly developed a craving for NY bagels. Marc only eats smoked salmon in sushi form and has a personal vendetta against bagels (they're too chewy? That's the point!) so he couldn't understand the appeal. I tried to make a point by point argument for it but in the end decided it was easier to make the damn thing and demonstrate. I didn't wind up doing that (forgot to purchase key components: bagel and capers) but I stayed with the smoked salmon theme and produced some neat little sandwiches.

I've used smoked salmon for catering before (smoked salmon omelet rolls for example) and I think it's one of the best ingredients for introducing a bit of class without having to work for it. These little sandwiches are a great example of something quick and simple that is not only tasty but filling.

La Pizzaiola

No comments:
La Pizzaiola

Just when I thought I'd eaten everywhere there was to eat in Toowoomba, Stain threw one up for tasting. His birthday was last week and to celebrate, the old gang gathered up for dinner at La Pizzaiola; the birthday boy's choice.

I'd probably walked past this restaurant many times without taking notice. The entrance is small but there's a surprisingly expansive dining area inside, divided into several rooms. Larger inside than out. It's like a spacial illusion. We took up a table tucked away in one of the rooms and started perusing the menu.

Endless Noodles Revisited for Lunch

No comments:
Endless Noodles
Shop 1/70 Pinelands Rd, Sunnybank Hills

I've been so engrossed in trying new restaurants these days that I've been neglecting the old favorites. Most of these are eateries around Sunnybank. As great as it is to sit down for a fine dining experience, the style of eating I enjoy the most is still cheap, authentic eateries with hundreds of dishes, fast service and lots of flavor. Endless Noodles was first blogged here. Mum and dad found the place and I fell in love with the chunky handmade noodles. It was thus fitting that I revisited Endless Noodles with them on the weekend.

Endless Noodles is a textbook Asian eatery in terms of appearance, food, pricing and service. The menu is comprised of appetizers, noodle dishes, rice dishes and some mains for sharing. Over winter, they used to offer hotpot as well but I'm not sure if they still do.

My parents and I ordered a range of things (some familiar and some new) to try over lunch.