Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Two Seeds, Ashburton by Bureaucrat

I've taken quite a fancy to High Street, Ashburton.  It's a lovely mix of cafes, lifestyle shops and food stores with a friendly, unpretentious neighbourhood vibe.  Two Seeds is one of the more newer cafes that have set up shop.  We went there for Mr Strong's birthday and just loved the food that was served.  It's cafe-style food with a semi Asian-fusion twist to it.  The result is just simply delicious grub!  With the Entertainment Book dining offer, we got up to $30 off our bill (click on these links to find out how we're raising money for FareShare by asking our Aussie readers to buy a copy of the 2016-17 Entertainment Book).

Two Seeds, lemongrass pork
Mother Hen chose this absolutely delish fusion lemongrass pork dish.  With Vietnamese-inspired flavours, the pan-fried pork pieces were tender and loaded with aromatic lemongrass.  As Mother Hen and I consider that pork should always have some fat, this dish had a very nice balance of meat and juicy fattiness to it - perfect!  It was served with a lovely fried egg, with the golden yolk oozing over the mound of rice.  I couldn't help but sneak a few forkfuls off her plate!  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Peter's Fish Market, Mainbeach (QLD) by Obelix

Hello from sunny Gold Coast!  A touch of sun is pure salve for the soul...and when I'm happy I tend to eat (with gusto) and when I eat, I am happy.  It's a feedback loop of the positive kind.  As soon as I touched down in Coolangatta, we sped to Peter's Fish Market for my fix.  It's been eight years since I've been and Peter's Fish Market is still one of the best fish and chips that I know of.  

fish and chips;  peter's fish market;  mainbeach;  gold coast
For the uninitiated, Peter Fish Market is right on the water by the Fish Co-Op. The catch comes fresh out of the water and into the market. You can either order your fish and chips in the standard manner ie queue up and place order or you can pick your seafood from the display and take it up to the counter for them to cook it in your nominated marinade and preparation. We did a combination of both.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

4 Seasons Laksa, Hampton East by Obelix

A good laksa is truly something to behold.  Kiddo being quite the laksa connoisseur sums it up nicely in her 10 year old wisdom, it has to taste good but not burn your mouth off.  The laksa soup at 4 Seasons have the right balance of aromatics and depth of flavour without the after burn.

4 Seasons Laksa, seafood curry laksa
Kiddo settled down for her regular of seafood curry laksa ($17.90).  As far as laksas go, it was on the pricier end but having said that it was a decent sized bowl (more than plenty for  a child) and plenty of seafood pieces and tofu and eggplant.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Chocolate Boutique Cafe, Parnell (New Zealand) by Bilby Blue

I have been visiting the Auckland suburb of Parnell for many years, and over that time the Chocolate Boutique has been one of the must-visit places for locals and tourists alike. It is in the “quaint” part of Parnell Village, just by the old-fashioned red telephone box, with tables spilling out onto a small terrace, and shaded by trees in summer.

parnell, chocolate boutique, chocolates
If you can squeeze in through the crowds you will see colourful displays of sweets in jars, rows of chocolates in cabinets and the beribboned Asian-style “noodle boxes” (each colour denoting a different variety of sweet treats). Its own brand chocolates are made in New Zealand from Belgian Callebaut chocolate, and the shop also stocks fine European chocolates, such as Valrhona from France and the Belgian Cavalier diabetic chocolate.

However the really popular attraction is the café, and in particular its signature Italian denso.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wonton House, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Not only does the Entertainment Book has dining offers for upmarket restaurants (e.g., Cafe Florentine in Brighton and Gramercy Bistro in Prahran), it also has heaps of dining offers for your day-to-day sort of restaurants and cafes.  The Lawyer and I had just enough time to squeeze in a quick dinner before a concert at the Arts Centre, and we figured we'd give Wonton House a try.  With a "buy one get one free" deal on offer, this would be a quick and cheap meal!  (Click on these links to find out how we're raising money for FareShare by asking our Aussie readers to buy a copy of the 2016-17 Entertainment Book).

While the menu has lots of wontons and noodles and rice dishes, we were limited to just ordering the signature dish - wonton noodles ($10.80), which was fine by us as we were keen to try this dish.  Wonton House proclaim that they make their wontons fresh each day.

I'm always a bit skeptical of how good wontons and dumplings are at renowned wonton/dumpling houses. They always seem to disappoint.  For me, the biggest no-no's are the use of MSG and non quality fillings.

Wonton House, wonton, noodles
Pleasingly, Wonton House's wontons are pretty good.  Big and plump, they're filled with (surprisingly) lots of prawn and pork.  I'd say it has more prawn in them than most places.  While the soup was a tad salty, the wontons themselves were nicely seasoned and I didn't get that icky coating of MSG on my tongue.  They were served with a reasonable amount of egg noodles and tender choi sum.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Black Toro, Glen Waverley (by invitation) by Benny

Our first surprise is the heavy traffic crawling around the Glen Waverley shopping strip (by The Glen shopping centre) looking for parking spots. After all, it is early on a Tuesday evening, and a gusty wind is coming directly from Antarctica – with wind chill it is (un)comfortably below freezing. If we hadn’t been invited by The Black Toro, Bilby Blue and I would be snuggled up at home watching MasterChef over bowls of homemade minestrone.

Having finally found a car park we arrive at a well-appointed modern bistro: open kitchen and bar; timber tables, good quality wine glasses and tableware; a huge black bull mural dominating one wall. The head chef, Garen Maskal, was previously sous chef at Ezard. The Black Toro is clearly a class above what you might expect in a typical suburban shopping strip.

the black toro;  tapas;  grilled corn
Kicking off with some amazing tapas...see below for description...