Monday, March 26, 2012

Lately on Instagram

Filler post time! I've been really busy with uni and working with Secret Foodies lately, so I have't had as many opportunities to carry my DSLR around for the blog. However one handy camera that is always hanging around in my pocket is my iphone, so here's a collection of some of the things I've eaten lately in crappy quality. This also means I've basically become one of those annoying people who compulsively photographs their meal before eating it, but whatever. My instagram username is 'lolalost' if you'd like to follow me there. I'll be back next week with a proper post!


From the top, left to right:
  • A fig, prosciutto and goats cheese salad with honey balsamic dressing that I made for dinner; the chocolate soufflé made by Warwick and I at a free Fratelli Fresh cooking class in Waterloo (highly recommended, by the way)
  • Wattleseed macaccino and the sashimi lunch set at Cafe Ish in Surry Hills
  • A lovely breakfast made for me by a nice boy before I had to rush off to work on a Sunday morning; a healthy summer breakfast of Greek yoghurt, honey, toasted muesli and nectarine
  • Tea time with my favourite kitty mug and Arnott's scotch fingers; shortbread cookies with dark chocolate squiggles, made with frozen leftover crust dough from my apricot tart
  • A late afternoon post-work gin & tonic by the harbour at The Deck Brassiere, Milsons Point; black sesame tang yuan for breakfast, a Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) tradition
  • Smoked salmon, eggs and pesto on sourdough at The Bean in Glebe; breakfast for dinner with a poached egg, avocado and salmon on a wholemeal English muffin
  • Salted caramel and hazelnut praline gelato from Gelato Messina, Darlinghurst; green tea ice-cream and red bean spring rolls at KuraKura Japanese
  • Thinly sliced wild snapper, truffle oil, pork crackling and the daily sashimi selection at Toko, Surry Hills
  • Fruity Monday margaritas and chorizo fajitas at the Flying Fajita Sistas in Glebe
  • Ajitama ramen from Makanai, Chatswood; Octopus takoyaki from Colo Tako, at the Chatswood food markets
  • Scotch brownies I baked for my baby friend Shalia's 18th birthday bash; baking kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) with my Swedish gay husband last Christmas

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Abercrombie, Chippendale

I love The Abercrombie, there's no beating around the bush here. Located right across the road from the UTS tower, it's the bar that my concrete Jenga university never accommodated, but still close enough to host ample boozing time between classes. Formerly home to Purple Sneakers, the pub was resurrected mid last year after being refurbished by the Midas touch of Gang Bang DJs Jaime Wirth and James Miller, whose quickly expanding inner-city pub portfolio boasts The Flinders, The Norfolk, The Carrington and most recently The Forresters. The new(er) Abercrombie is like the illegitimate love-child of a Scottish gadgie and a stoned American frat boy, sporting a mean coat of tartan and a meaner menu that will put any fast food chain to shame.

Deep Fried Golden Gaytime, The Abercrombie
Deep Fried Golden Gaytime $7

Hey you know what's awesome? Ice-cream. You know what even more awesome? Toffee ice-cream dipped in chocolate and coated in honeycomb biscuit crumbs. That's pretty awesome. But hey why stop there, you know what's even better? Toffee ice-cream dipped in chocolate, coated in honeycomb biscuit crumbs, BATTERED, DEEP FRIED AND DOUSED IN CARAMEL SAUCE. This is the deep fried Golden Gaytime, an ultimate in calorific indulgence and it is not for the faint-hearted. It tasted amazing, in a sort of revoltingly delicious way which makes your taste-buds demand more but your arteries wimper in pain. No time to hesitate or to think about the consequences, just eat fast because underneath that hot golden layer, ice-cream melts quickly. If you are fearless or just cardiovascularly reckless you may even try the deep fried Twinkie, which comes with a blanket of marshmallow creme fairy adorned with rainbow sprinkles. But even I have boundaries.

Salt & Pepa Squid, The Abercrombie
Salt & Pepa Squid $12 ($10 during weekday lunch)

The salt & pepa squid wears a gnarly coat of deep fried batter that is crunchy and moreish. They've got the salt and pepper seasoning down to a pat and the lime and tabasco mayo that comes with is absolute killer. Pieces of chilli and coriander makes it prettier.

Philly Cheese Steak, The Abercrombie
Philly Cheese Steak $17

The Philly cheese steak is orgasmically good, hunks of steak wedged in a warm roll, topped with red and green capsicum, mayo and a deluge of molten cheese. Also, chips on the side of anything is guaranteed to make it even better.

Double Cheeseburger, The Abercrombie
Double Cheeseburger $17 ($10 during weekday lunch)

Vegetables on the side of the double cheeseburger, like it should be. Bun, sauce, burger, cheese, burger, cheese, a bukkake-esque amount of mayonnaise and sesame bun. Glorious. The only vegetables that I ate were the chips.

Fried Chicken Burger, The Abercrombie
Fried Chicken Burger $17 ($10 during weekday lunch)

The fried chicken burger is tower of crunchy deep fried chook, topped with coleslaw, dressed in chilli mayo. A big ol' soft white bun and a side of chips ups the carb count on this number.

Toad in a Hole, The Abercrombie
Toad in a Hole $10

The toad in a hole is a traditional British dish, with sausage, onion and pastry (Yorkshire pudding batter) drowning in rosemary gravy. The gravy is fantastic, the excess perfect for dipping the side of chips in but beware, this fella is deceptively greasy - by time I finished the pastry, a solid layer of oil had pooled at the bottom of the dish. Not that I was fussed, but others may find it confronting - my dining companion informed me I was disgusting.

Glasgow Hotwings, The Abercrombie
Glasgow Hotwings $12

I think the Glasgow hotwings might no longer part of their menu and that is a damn crying shame. Spicy baked chicken wings in a sticky, fiery sauce, with blue cheese dressing for dipping and pieces of bread for mopping.

Blackened Fish Quinoa Salad, The Abercrombie
Blackened Fish & Quinoa Salad $15 ($10 during weekday lunch)

The only reason I ordered a salad at the Abercrombie this one time was to compensate for the fact that I was really there to ingest the deep fried Golden Gaytime. The blackened fish and quinoa salad was actually really delicious, with a fresh mix of quinoa, corn, red onion, beans and a lemon dressing, topped with four pieces of fish dredged in a solid coating of spices.

ABBA Cob Salad, The Abercrombie
ABBA Chicken Cob Salad $15 ($10 during weekday lunch)

Salads are the most recent addition to the menus, presumably for the occasional health-conscious diner who may have stumbled in and gotten lost. The ABBA chicken cob salad is a big ol' bowl of veggies topped with grilled chicken, bacon, egg, goats cheese and mustard dressing.

Mac n Cheese Balls, The Abercrombie
Mac n Cheese Balls $12 (for 4 pieces, $10 during weekday lunch)

The mac n cheese balls are my absolute, hands-down favourite. Macaroni and cheese, in spherical form,  crumbed and deep fried with aioli for dipping. I'm not even going to try to articulate my love for these delicious, golden, crunchy, cheesy, creamy, literal amazeballs.

Hot Dogs, The Abercrombie
Hot Dogs $3 each/4 for $10 (Tuesdays)

Tuesdays are for The World's Least Shit Pub Trivia and super cheap hot dogs. They come with four different toppings: Japanese with seaweed and wasabi mayo; Aussie with bacon, beetroot relish and barbecue sauce; German with cheese, sauerkraut and mustard; and chilli with mustard. Also please don't participate in their trivia night, there is already a ridiculous amount of teams every week and I'd like to have some chance of winning (just once, please).

Chips with Mayo and Gravy, The Abercrombie
Chips with Mayo and Gravy $7

Crinkle cut chips with mayo and gravy go down way too easy with a pint (or a jug). Lightly salted with a few bonus mini pickles thrown in for good measure. Boo yah.

The Abercrombie
100 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
Telephone: (02) 9280 2178

The Abercrombie on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 12, 2012

Missy K, Surry Hills

During the shitstorm that was Sydney weather last week, we decided it would be a good idea to head down to Surry Hills for dinner from Oxford St. Coincidentally during the fifteen minutes it took us to walk down Riley St, the clouds decided it would be the perfect time to open up and pelt us with freezing cold rain that no level of skilled umbrella use could shield. Needless to say, we were more than relieved when we found the haven of warmth and food that was Missy K. We had initially planned on going to Miss Chu however received a tip from Simon at the Darlinghurst Carhartt store who advised that this is a newer place in a similar pan-Asian vein but better (i.e. no Seinfeld Soup Nazism). I still haven't visited the infamous Miss Chu so I can't say whose food I prefer, but in that weather we really appreciated the in-door seating.

Prawn Dumplings, Missy K
Steamed Prawn Dumplings $7.50 (5 pieces)

I shared three dishes with Kat, who eats like a bird with a tiny stomach. There's a wide selection of dumpling fillings on the menu but we settled for the simple steamed prawn dumplings. These were fantastic, soft translucent skins encasing succulent prawn filling. Perfect with the slightly sweet and tart soy dressing and a bit of the chilli oil.

Duck Pancakes, Missy K
Peking Style Duck Pancakes $9.50 (4 pieces)

My childhood love, Peking style duck pancakes came ready-made and stacked up on top of each other. In each neat pancake wrap was the standard cucumber stick, shallot, sauce and a slice or two of roasted duck. These ones had a little more meat than traditional cuts of mostly skin and fat, but were fantastic regardless.

Salmon Rice Paper Rolls, Missy K
Fresh Rice Paper Rolls $9.50 (4 pieces)

The fresh rice paper rolls were excellent too, there's three varieties to choose from and we went for the sugar cured Atlantic salmon with avocado and pickled ginger. The rolls were fat and packed tightly, the delicate rice paper skins barely containing the fillings of salmon, avocado, carrot, lettuce and vermicelli; served with a shot glass of a sweet, sticky sauce topped with chopped peanuts which made a fantastic accompaniment.

Pan-fried Gyoza, Missy K
Pan Fried Gyoza $8.50 (5 pieces)

We were mistakenly delivered a plate of the pan fried gyoza so I took a sneaky snap before fighting an internal conflict whether to alert the waitress about the mix-up. They looked so good with their charred skins sprinkled with sesame seeds I was tempted just to eat them and destroy the evidence.

Duck Noodle Soup, Missy K
Roasted Duck and Flat Noodle Soup $13.50

I copped some major, major food envy when this big bowl of steaming, fragrant goodness was brought to the table. Dang's roasted duck and flat noodle soup looked and tasted amazing, heartwarming broth rich with flavours of duck with lovely flat rice noodles, a generous amount of tasty tender roast duck topped with bean sprouts and herbs. Perfect comfort food for the awful weather.

Pad See Ew, Missy K
Pad See Ew $13.50

Louise, our token non-Asian at the table was decidedly unadventurous and went for the pad see ew. It was great but come on and try some duck, girl! (#whitepeople, right?)

Missy K
57a Fitzroy St, Surry Hills 2010
Telephone: (02) 9331 0064

Missy K on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taste of Sydney Festival 2012

After torrential downpour and flash flooding cancelled the first night of the Taste of Sydney Festival, we arrived at Centennial Park the following day for the Friday lunch service to be greeted by hot, unrelenting sunshine and wet grounds. That's Sydney weather for you - we went home with sunburnt faces and muddy shoes. Climate fail aside, a great time was to be had thanks to Simon from The Heart of Food for the admission passes. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of the festival, imagine a big field of pop-up restaurants, serving a selection of four or five of their dishes from which the idea is to create a DIY bespoke degustation course compromised of various courses from various establishments. There are also other fancies such as cooking demos and classes, wine tasting, cocktail making classes and product exhibition stalls, but we were here for the food. The currency set up for the event is 'crowns', where 1 crown = $1, but must be purchased beforehand as none of the restaurants accept cash. The system can be a bit of a pain as crown tokens must be purchased in books of 10, 30 or 50 and most menu items cost 8, 10 or 12 crowns; but we managed to make it work and sampled five dishes for an even fifty (although I realised when writing this post that this was only because we unwittingly shorted someone 2 crowns, whoops).

Cauliflower Soup, L'Etoile
Chilled Cauliflower Soup with Bleu Cheese Crème $8 (crowns)

We encounter Manu Feidel outside L'Etoile filming a promo, where starstruck fans stood around whispering excitedly (quoth a schoolgirl, "He's so hunky!") and we had to fight through the small crowd and his star power to secure our first course, the chilled cauliflower soup with blue cheese crème. Served in an unassuming plastic cup, the flavour surprised our taste buds as if to scoff at us for our prejudice of its presentation. Cool, smooth and impossibly creamy, the rich soup seemed more like a luxe puree of cauliflower and subtle, creamy bleu cheese. A lovely and perfect start to our lunch.

Fritters, A Tavolta
Salt Cod, Potato and Truffle Fritters with Tarragon Mayonnaise $10 (crowns)

Next up was the fritelli di barccala, patata e tartufo, cute little fritters of salt cod, potato and truffle served with tarragon mayonnaise. We weren't really sure what cuisine these are as A Tavola is Italian, the internet is telling me salt cod fritters are Puerto Rican and I initially thought these were French croquettes but yay, cultural confusion! These were pretty tasty, a crisp exterior and soft filling of mashed potato and salty fish topped with peppery rocket. My unrefined taste beds failed to detect the truffle but the tarragon mayo was a great accompaniment, if a little scarce.

School Prawns, Quarter 21
Fried Hawkesbury School Prawns, Prosciutto and Rouille $12 (crowns)

I had school prawns for the first time last week at a launch party with fabulous food and I couldn't get enough so needless to say, the fried Hawkesbury school prawns, prosciutto and rouille at Quarter 21 was on our menu. The most generous serving of our choices that day, the prawns came in a cup/bowl hybrid container which held a satisfying amount. These were ridiculously crisp and moreish, the salty crunch crumbed shells were dangerously addictive and tasted even better with the mild rouille and a piece of prosciutto. I demolished these and didn't leave many for my dining companion. Whoops.

Pork Belly, Longrain
Crisp Pork Belly, Pickled Daikon and Chilli Jam in a Sweet Roll $12 (crowns)

Pork belly? Necessity. This slider is the crispy pork belly, picked daikon and chilli jam in a sweet roll from Longrain restaurant. Two slices of the most glorious roasted pork belly, encased in a layer of crackling and fat, topped with a mild chilli jam, tucked into a sweet bun speckled with sesame on a bed of pickled daikon and carrot. Words cannot describe my love for pork belly. This is unarticulated deliciousness dressed with Vietnamese flavours, the tangy pickles reminding me of a good old bánh mì, the chilli adding a tiny kick and sandwiched by a mini bun reminiscent of brioche.

Panna Cotta, The Montpellier Public House
Pepe Saya Buttermilk and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Poached Fruits $10 (crowns)

Our final course was dessert from The Montpellier Public House, sadly two crowns short of their signature Eton mess, we settled for the Pepe Saya buttermilk and vanilla panna cotta with poached fruits as I have heard nothing but lyricals waxed about Pepe Saya butter. The panna cotta was smooth and sweet, very vanilla and a little creamy, topped with a nicely sour berry compote. It was nice, and unanimously enjoyed but desserts are not really my thing (no sweet tooth, can you believe it?) so I can't be trusted to pass unbiased judgement on sweetie treats.

Overall a fantastically fun afternoon, we spent as much of it as we could scabbing samples, perving on the bartender at the Black Label Juice astroturf garden, hogging Rekorderlig's foosball table and sheltering from the sun in the Lilydale picnic area, listening to The Last Resort perform an amazing cover of Erykah Badu at The Argyle Bandstand. I'm just glad we didn't end up like this poor guy in the sun.