Monday, December 30, 2013

Mangoes and Cream Ice-cream

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Mangoes and Cream Ice-Cream
Home Cooking 

Tasked with bringing some food to my family Christmas dinner last weekend, I jumped from a lazy "can I just make a salad" to whisking up 3 items in a cooking fit. One of these contributions was a mango ice-cream (original recipe from Not Quite Nigella; click here). My ice-cream machine is something I have used only a handful of times but don't at all regret buying because I get a sense of domestic satisfaction from owning one. Just knowing I can whip up my own imaginative concoction of ice-cream flavours is really, bloody awesome.

I decided to give the old girl a whirl last week by making my mango ice-cream in it. This is actually a bit of a fail story because I had just finished making my ice-cream mix, put the machine together and then realised... "wait, where is the whisk component??"

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mighty Mighty for a Meaty Feast

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Mighty Mighty

Continuing on my love affair with all things Southern American, I arranged a trip to Mighty Mighty last weekend.  Marc queried whether we had already been to Mighty Mighty before. It is unwise of him to ever cast doubt over my restaurant memory and the place he was thinking of was in fact Funny Funny. Besides both having redundancies in their names, these two restaurants are nothing alike. Funny Funny is a Korean restaurant. Mighty Mighty features Southern cuisine with an emphasis on meat. I pitched the menu to two carnivorous males and they baited without question.

Mighty Mighty is located near James Street in the new M and A centre. I swear this whole building popped up out of thin air (or maybe I just haven't explored the Valley in a long time) and there's undoubtedly many other newbies venues I should check out in the future. Our restaurant of the evening has a large, inviting outdoor area and more tables inside with a view of the kitchen and bar.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Malaya Corner CBD for Lunch

Malaya Corner, Brisbane CBD
157 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane 

Malaya Corner in Sunnybank was one of the first ever restaurants that I wrote a review about. Ah, what sweet memories of my youth. I found out the other day that they have sprouted several new locations throughout Brisbane, one of which is in the CBD. Marc and I went along to this Elizabeth Street location for lunch earlier this week.

For anyone who's been to Little Singapore in the city, the layout of Malaya Corner is quite similar to that but it felt to me like there was more seating space. We went during peak hour but although the restaurant was very busy, it was never fully packed (and that's a good thing).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Makanan Indonesia for Lunch

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Makanan Indonesia

Marc and I enjoyed three meals out at Hardgrave Road over three consecutive days on the weekend. Ah the joys of living in a dining precinct. We had Trang's on Friday. Mizu on the Saturday, and whilst there, I noticed Makanan Indonesia and decided it would be next. I didn't really expect 'next' to be the following day though.

After a long period of next to no communication, I finally got to catch up with old family friend Mork on Sunday. To add to the festivities, Jaws joined as well and we had a nice chilled day lounging around the apartment and pool, punctuated by lunch in the middle.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Banana Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingHome Cooking

Tis the season to be eating. Whilst I'm not much of a domestic goddess these days (not in the kitchen anyway; if ironing and picking up after the males of my life count then I am well into godliness) there is something about Christmas that puts the baking spirit in me. I find myself brainstorming recipes at work and sectioning off my weekends according to what I should bake/bring to which events. It may sound stressful to some but to me, I'm embracing the chance to touch up my baking skills.

Marc and I try to be healthy most of the time but I believe it'll be increasingly difficult until after Christmas. I'm sure that's why new years resolutions were invented. In any case, I don't make things any easier by all the baking I've been doing. One of my projects last weekend was a banana cake. I absolutely adore banana bread. If I could eat anything I wanted without putting on weight, it would be a staple in my diet. I've whipped up a large number of banana loaves and cakes for this blog.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Domino's Wagyu Duet

Domino's Wagyu Duet

It was recently brought to my attention that family favourite pizza chain Domino's would be launching a $50 wagyu pizza. Now, $50 for a pizza be it in a restaurant or at a fast food outlet is enough to draw anyone's attention. By offering a product of this price and calibre on their menu, they're not just putting forward another flavour of pizza, but expanding their horizons entirely. With their Chef's Best selection (launched earlier this year), Domino's already set out to satisfy the gourmet tastebuds of current generations influenced by Masterchef and spoilt by boutique cafes and delis. To me, a $50 wagyu pizza further sets out to say that hey, Domino's is not just a lazy weekday meal fix to scoff down in front of the TV but something to be preplanned and enjoyed at the table like a restaurant meal.

Let me set the record straight be explaining that $50 is not as outlandish as it may first seem. For starters, you get two individual pizzas at that price, hence the term 'Wagyu Duet'. Both pizzas are a reasonable size and together, can feed up to 4 average adults or 2 very hungry young males. I pointed out to Marc that two pizzas by a 'gourmet' pizza chain like Pizza Capers would come close to $50 anyway. He rebutted that Pizza Capers pizzas were larger and I used the analogy of ordering actual steak from a restaurant. Most people (especially men) who order wagyu steaks are initially disappointed by how small they appear. That's because the high fat content of a good quality wagyu steak makes it more filling.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Two for One Tuesdays at Brewhouse

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Brewhouse Brisbane

It's a rare and wonderful thing when Marc and I share reminiscent memories about growing up in Brisbane. After all, we are a number of years apart, were raised at opposite ends of town and went to different universities. Both of us remember great things about Brewhouse as it was on Albert Street in the city. To me, Brewhouse was all about jugs of beer with friends after uni, a kilo of chicken wings and deep fried cookies and cream ice-cream to boot. For Marc, it was a spacious inner city venue, perfect for well, the same as what I liked really. Cheap food and beer. We were both sad when it closed down.

I drive past the new Brewhouse location on Stanley Street so often that it's a wonder I never made the connection before. One day, I read the sign saying 'Brewhouse' and thought "... hang on... could it be the same one?" I also spotted the two for one mains and desserts special they have every Tuesday and figured the best way to find out was to go and try the food.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bonsai Botanika for Coffee and Cake

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Bonsai Botanika
109 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane CBD

Bonsai Botanika was one of those things I heard about after returning from Europe that made me feel like I was away for much longer than 3 months. Before my trip, it simply didn't exist. After I got back, it was the talk of the town on Urbanspoon. Naturally, I wanted to try it straight away to see what the fuss is about. I half-heartedly read a description about the venue being a ramen bar and figured that was that. Later on in a discussion with a friend from work, I learnt that it was most famous for its flourless chocolate cake. Hang on. What? Ramen cafe famous for cake? It was time to do some background reading.

I don't normally like to read other reviews about a venue in case it influences my judgement but in this case, I couldn't help myself. Bonsai Botanika has such a mixed reception through the online blogosphere that I wanted to know if it was worth my time going at all. After a few articles, I still hadn't figured out the entire picture. Apparently, BB was a hybrid of cafe x ramen x grill. What an odd mix! Furthermore, I read that it was the brainchild of the people behind Edamame in St Lucia, which is an eatery I loved during my uni years. My curiosity was enough that I wanted to at least give this place a go.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mizu Japanese, West End for Dinner

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Mizu Japanese, West End

For as long as I can remember, I've been hearing recommendations for the traditional Japanese-style breakfast at Mizu in New Farm. I didn't think I'd ever successfully make it there but imagine my delight when I discovered a secondary Mizu restaurant right near me in West End. I'm not sure if they also do breakfast but we had dinner there last Saturday night.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mama Korean Kitchen

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Mama Korean Kitchen
Ground Floor, Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre, Carindale

I know that the major renovations at Westfield Carindale were completed a long time ago but somehow, in my mind, it still seems new. I guess it's because I'm not a Carindale resident anymore and don't stop there every day on my way home like I did during my uni days. Shopping at Carindale is now a rare treat and when I do make it there (and manage to find parking), I can't help but be wowed all over again, especially when I compared it to the tiny Carindale shops of my childhood memories.

One of the additions is the second food court near the library. Since its opening, I haven't once eaten at the old food court. With additions like Guzman Y Gomez, Yum Cha Cuisine and Ginga Sushi, it's got all my favourites covered in one area and there's no reason to traverse to the other side of the mall. Mama Korean Kitchen is located here in the middle of the new food court. It's the first introduction of Korean food to Carindale that I know of. It's a good idea though because Korean food is rad and there's something for everyone.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Southside Diner for Lunch

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Southside Diner

You can call me a lover of all foods Southern American. Corn bread. Ribs. Big, melty burgers. Sweet, creamy pies. It's all good stuff. Besides, it's obvious I'm not the only one who's digging the soul food craze because American diners are popping up all over Brisbane. I took one look at the menu at Southside Diner and knew I had to try it.

We arranged to meet up with Renae and Duncan for late lunch on Saturday. It was a rainy day but the restaurant was really busy. Marc and I got there first and scored an awesome booth seat by the window.

Itoshin for Dinner

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Itoshin Japanese Restaurant
2484 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

I now bring you a post that's a couple months old. Marc and I dined at Itoshin on our way to Pottsville, at an inconvenient time when we were moving house and didn't have internet. After that, I forgot all about the trip until I started rummaging through my old photos. I'm pleased to say that Itoshin recalls fond memories and it's very much worth covering even if my experience is outdated.

As I mentioned above, we were driving to Pottsville from Brisbane one night with the intention of having dinner at the Gold Coast. Some may beg to differ but Marc and I have never had a good experience trying to find parking at the coast. I'm sure it's a similar situation for outsiders trying to have dinner out in Brisbane CBD but because we've always lived locally, it was never a problem for us. The GC on the other hand...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Shady Palms Cafe and Bar for Brunch

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Shady Palms Cafe and Bar

I've only been to Lady Marmalade once but I had a good enough time there to be excited by the owner's next venture into dining: Shady Palms. This time, the venue is cafe by day and bar by night. As keen as I am to see how the team go at approaching an evening service, I am still primarily a brunch girl so my first visit to Shady Palms was always going to be for brunch.

Bestie Kat and I met up for a morning feed this weekend. There's no onsite parking so you'll have to scope around. I used to live in Stones Corner so it wasn't an issue for me but Kat had a bit of trouble finding a spot. Even though it as a rainy, dreary morning, quite a lot of people were out for breakfast. I noticed that Shady Palms has further seating as you advance into the building but I played it safe and plonked myself at the first vacant table I spotted, right by the front counter.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spring for Brunch

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Spring - Reblog

Continuing on from the 'Adventures of Trying to Pick up my Steam Mop' (click here to see what I'm on about), I rescheduled an inner city car trip to get brunch at Spring last weekend. This time, we finally brought home that accursed appliance so it was a successful outing. Furthermore, we had a fantastic meal at Spring and it has established itself in my mind as one of my favourite Brisbane eating venues. Read on for details...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hong Depot for BBQ Dinner

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Hong Depot Reblog
193 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane

I blogged this place about a year ago as a lunch spot. I noticed at the time that the dinner time menu was very different and I resolved to try it again at night. The perfect occasion presented itself when my old friend Andrew came up to Brisbane for a business trip earlier this week. We decided to catch up over dinner in West End. Originally, we planned to meet in the central dining area (Melbourne Street meets Boundary Street) but when Marc and I got there first, Hong Depot smelt so good that I decided to forgo all other options.

At night, Hong Depot is primarily a Korean barbecue restaurant. There are lots of those tubular ventilation arms that extend from the ceiling to prevent the place from getting too smoky. We kept it simple and went for the barbecue with three varieties of meat, plus a large seafood pancake to share. The seafood pancake turned out to be so delicious that we ordered another of the same.

Norman Hotel for Dinner

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Norman Hotel

This place must have the most successful marketing campaign of anything in the food industry. "Worst vegetarian restaurant" really resonated with me and I became convinced that Norman was synonymous with a carnivore's paradise. Long time readers of this blog should know that I am in no way anti-vegetarian. I love vegetables and in my day to day home eating, I risk iron deficiency through my reluctance to cook meat (out of laziness rather than morality). I am often attracted to menu descriptions containing terms like 'sweet potato', 'pumpkin' and 'roast vegetable'. The thing is,even though I love veggies, I am just as enthusiastic about meat. When a venue touts itself as being exceptional at any form of cuisine, it is a sure way to peak my interest.

I was feeling particularly lacking in iron (read = "lethargic and tired") this week so I suggested to Marc that we go out for a steak dinner. He didn't really need much convincing. I wanted to try the Norman because of all those billboards I had seen and because Marc had been there once and had a good experience.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Assorted Treats from Eat Street, Hamilton Harbour

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Eat Street Markets

Our friend Garthritis had the brilliant suggestion of checking out the Eat Street container market in Hamilton. Once upon a time, I was an individually whose finger was very much on the pulse of the Brisbane Dining scene but work, age, tiredness and poverty have gotten in the way and more often than not, I spend the weekends previously dedicated to documenting food to watching movies at home with takeaway pizza. I'm glad that Garthritis was there to inspire us to explore beyond our hovel and experience life as cultured human beings once again.

Eat Street is news to me but I had heard about it from a variety of sources. I believe that it has become a weekly occurance (every Friday and Saturday night from 4pm to 10pm) so if you're at a lost over what to do on the weekend, pencil a visit in. On the weekend that we went, there was also the Northshore Containervale, which finished up on the 16th of November but don't worry, the food stalls will remain. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially because the term 'Containervale' drew a blank in my mind. The concept is that old shipping containers (for those who, like me, are vague with this kind of thing, shipping containers are huge units used for transporting cargo, each about the size of a large caravan) are transformed into food and drink outlets. While we were there, we also got to see some interesting boutique clothing, art and accessory stores.

Fish Roe for Dinner and Wine

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Fish Roe Seafood Cafe, Milton Location

I'd like to think of myself as a very planned individual. I love organising things and scheduling things and coordinating things. Unfortunately, it's quite often that my laziness overrides my plans and the result is: things do not get done.

Long story short is that I live in an apartment and own a puppy. As toilet trained as he is now, the pee's still gotta go somewhere and it accumulates on the balcony and becomes quite a nose-full. I ordered a steam mop to help tackle the situation and had it delivered to Marc's work in the city. He rides a bike to and from work and the steam mop was decidedly too big to fit on it. I've had bad experience after bad experience of trying to pull over for a short stop in the city. The one way streets, no stopping zones and wild pedestrians fill me with fear. I point blank refuse to drive to the city during the day. But... I needed that steam mop.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mrs Luu's for Lunch

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Mrs Luu's
25 Railway Tce, Milton 

It may be many months since my last banh mi post but keep in mind that three of those months were spent in Europe where Vietnamese cuisine is rarer than gold. My desire for banh mi has in no way diminished over that time. I had listed Mrs Luu's as a restaurant I had to try because of its reputation for amazing banh mi (amongst other things). I figured that Milton is close to West End and that I'd easily get there once I moved from Carindale to West End. I didn't figure how inconvenient the stretch of river in between would be. If you, like me, are unwilling to pay a toll to travel 50m, it's not as straightforward as you'd think to get from A to B.

One day, I happened to need a filing cabinet from Officeworks so I jumped on the opportunity to try Mrs Luu's. It was actually a short stroll across Milton Road to get to the eatery from there.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Charm Sushi for Dinner and BYO

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Charm Sushi
Albert Street, Brisbane CBD

My friend Jaws was really excited about this new establishment in Brisbane. He took me there when we first caught up after I got back from Europe. I had suggested we meet up over coffee but it was overridden with his suggestion of 'a Korean BYO eatery with its own bottle shop'. He touted this venue as the greatest invention to hit our city in the last decade.

Although it was described to me as a Korean restaurant, I later learnt that the place was called Charm Sushi, which sounds more Japanese. Whatever the true identity of this eatery mahy be, it does contain both Japanese and Korean style dishes and plenty of sushi options.

I've been to Charm Sushi twice now in total. The first time was with Jaws. I had dinner plans later on that night so he ate and I just had a drink. As promised, it was extremely convenient to walk on into the bottle shop corner, pick up a six-pack and plop ourselves down to eat, drink and catch up.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Swampdog for Dinner

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Alrighty then, readers! After yet another achingly long hiatus, I'm back. This time, I haven't been jetsetting the world enjoying endless days of sun, hotels, wine and food. I've been doing the exact opposite of holidaying which is facing reality and transitioning to an 'official adult'. The lack of blog entries can be blamed on the fact that I haven't had internet until this week, after moving into my new home just over a month ago. Honestly, at this point I'm so used to things not working out smoothly that I hardly batted an eyelid. Aside from the usual stresses of relocation, I've also started a new job and adopted a puppy (my 'son' Odin, a keeshond) so unfortunately for fans of this blog and for my tastebuds, dining out has taken a backseat.

Marc and I had the rare dinner together last week. It's an oddity for us because we work on different time schedules. I've usually left for work before he's even awake and I tend to be asleep by the time he's home. I can't remember exactly what day of the week it was but we both hapened to be awake and hungry at the same time and I nominated Swampdog for an easy and nearby dinner option.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oshin Japanese Restaurant for AYCE Sukiyaki

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Oshin Japanese Restaurant

One of the things Marc and I missed the most about travelling through Europe was Asian food, or more specifically, Japanese food. Sushi shops were seen around the place but generally overpriced and crap quality. There are pleasures in life that I wouldn't have trouble giving up but sushi and sashimi is not one of them.

Upon coming home, it should be no surprise then that Japanese restaurants featured heavily on my must-visits. I was in town for one reason or another a couple of weeks back and stayed to have dinner with Marc. Because I was being such a cheapskate after Europe (holiday sent me broke), he suggested some kind of fast food, but I had just got a job offer and felt like a reward. It's very typical of me to want to spend money before I even officially earnt any. In any case, I suggested Oshin.

Monday, October 7, 2013

PJ Steaks for Lunch

PJ Steaks
2/173 Boundary Street, West End

I awkwardly booked myself an appointment at 4pm last week. Work finished at 2 and it normally takes me an hour or so for me to get home. The dilemma was whether I should go home first or head straight to my appointment. Or, more specifically, where and what was for lunch??

I was about 20 minutes from my house when I realised I wouldn't have time to cook food and head out again so I quickly changed my route and headed to West End. Because it wasn't lunch or dinner time (around 3pm), the first two places I tried told me their kitchens were closed. It was a relief for me when I saw that PJ Steaks was still cooking.

The first time I realised a cheese steak venue had opened up in my neighbourhood, I was immediately interested. Having never been to the USA before, I didn't really know what it was but it just sounded good. Logic tells me that cheese steak is a layer of melty cheese on a singular chunk of steak. Google tells me that cheese steak (originating from Philadelphia) is essentially a sub stuffed with thinly sliced steak mixed with onion and cheese. When I got to PJ Steaks, I saw that was exactly what they offered.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kung Food Noodle

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Kung Food Noodle
Shop 24, Pinelands Shopping Centre, Sunnybank Hills 

A couple weeks after I got back from Europe, dad suggested that we go out for lamb soup for lunch. I had never heard of lamb soup before and I wasn't working at the time so I figured, why the hell not. He started explaining the history to me before we even arrived at the restaurant. Apparently, this style of lamb soup is local to Xi'An in China. Because I was trying to cut back on carbs, I asked if there were noodles or rice involved and dad replied that "no, but there's mantou". Mantou means steamed bun in Chinese so I was really confused. How are steamed buns and lamb soup connected?

Kung Food Noodles is located in Centro Pinelands, Sunnybank Hills. The shop front is small but they clearly focus on noodle dishes. Most of the menu and photos on display featured beautiful soup noodles and stir-fried noodles.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Piefection for Lunch

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Piefection Gourmet Pies

Pies and pizza fall into the same category for me. The thought of a greasy frozen meat pie with fake mince slop, or a fast food puffy-based pizza drowned in cheese both make me want to hurl. On the other hand, gourmet, crafted pizza and pies always draw me in. I promise it's not because I'm an uppity snob. I genuinely feel that with these two groups of food, the variations are on entirely different planes.

I first heard about Piefection on my own blog, via a comment by a reader (thanks Audrey!) While I was living in Toowoomba, it wasn't easy to plan a trip there. I remember one day, I finished work at around 4pm and rushed to Brisbane in an attempt to stop by at Piefection before it closed. I think that timing-wise, I would have been fine but it just got too stressful so I went home instead.