Saturday, 28 June 2008

balmain eating house + adriano zumbo @ darling st., balmain

Back to being slow with my posts and this one probably dates over a month back (but nonetheless one worth blogging about!! Adriano Zumbo!! woo hoo!!) So...

It was at my insistence that J drove us out to Balmain to visit the infamous Adriano Zumbo (who I have read about, drooled about and longed for a very long time to visit his shop to try out his selection of cakes - highly commended and posted by fellow food bloggers.

Reluctantly, I listened to J and did the sensible thing of having some lunch before visiting the shop. We flicked through our new Entertainment Book and found a voucher for 'Balmain Eating House' which happened to be on the way to Adriano Zumbo's. And can I add, it was a rather good choice!

J with his steak sandwich that had a rather exquisite drizzle of hollandaise sauce on top.Garlic Mushrooms on wood-fired toast with the freshest side of green salad. This was so delish but did leave me a little hungry an hour later when all the food had digested.A side of herb bread.
It didn't take long for the bill to come and for me to be out the door and hurtling down the street with a sense of purpose. Perhaps I did get a little too excited cause as soon as the Adriano Zumbo store front came into sight, I almost ran across the street without checking traffic (fortunately J was next to me and grabbed my hand before I could get run over by a car). Reminder to self - don't kill yourself over cake.

In the shop, I asked the girl at the counter if I could take a photo to which she replied 'Of Course!' (I don't think I'm the first one to ask)

I could not believe my eyes! Each piece of cake was so beautifully and cleverly crafted and then so carefully and exquisitly arranged in the class cabinets - how could one not ask for a piece of everything!

It wasn't an easy choice but I finally pulled myself out of the store with my boxful of cakes. Even the box itself was so pretty! You should've seen me make faces at J as he drove home - every bump, every corner - I would squeal with the box of cakes in my lap.

Ta da!! My favourite is the one in the middle titled Miss Marple (custard encased in a sweet crepe drizzled with maple syrup and topped with strawberries and toffee - I didn't eat the toffee though).

Over 2 days, the cakes pictured above were consumed and I was seriously amazed by the range of flavours, colours, tastes and textures (and might I add, leave you hanging for more! In my case, I was addicted to the Miss Marple :P) Mum prefers the tarts (lemon and passionfruit) as they're not so sweet and we're both quite a big fan of the millefuille which is crispy as the pastry should be. I could pass on the chocolate dacquoise - usually I'm a big fan of chocolate but in this instance found the chocolate a little overpowering; especially as I was trying to taste all the different flavours in the other cakes and couldn't when I had the chocolate.

It was definitely a worthwhile trip and I'll be sure to be back! Apparently, every so often they launch a whole new range of cakes - which makes Adriano Zumbo that much more exciting!!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

t2 teahouse @ mac centre (again)

Yesterday, I reluctantly admitted that I was becoming a bit of a grandma and staying at home and surprisingly, one of my workmates agreed with me and said that she was going to be too (we're onto monthly pay next month and for the next couple of weeks, most of us are going to be considerably broke and homebound). Anyway, what I was actually saying was how I was gonna have to stay home one day of the weekend to finish my flowers for my cake which I would've mentioned before, encourages people to start talking me about their grandmas and what great cake decorators they were - so it appears that I've picked up on an activity/hobby that is not so common for my generation!! So to add to my grandma like behaviour, I really do love the T2 Teahouse at Mac Centre for afternoon tea!!

J is a gem and always agrees to afternoon tea. Mostly he has the Ice Teas on their menu.
Grandma Me with a pot of Hojicha - hidden behind J's girly Peach Ice Tea (Hojicha is a more savoury blend of green tea.)
Scones with Jam & Cream (J's favourite and they ones at T2 are quite delish!! Fortunately we weren't too late to order this time - they had adequately stocked up with scones), Orange & Almond Cake toasted with butter (which was a little to dense for my liking).
Note that T2 Teahouse have changed from a 'Pay, Sit Down, Get Served' system to 'Sit Down, Get Served, Pay' arrangement which I always think is a bit nicer. They've also got menus laid out on the tables so you can take your time and pick out your favourite tea (would recommend them to laminate their menus as a handful were looking a little tatty). Hmmm...I wonder what happened to all their Ice Teas though (they use to have a list of about 20 selections and on the new menu they've cut back to about 5?)

Lol...who wants to join me for a cup of tea?

miso @ world square

Even my boss at work has commented that I seem to eat nothing but Jap. Everytime I head out for dinner, it always ends up being Jap food and honestly, last Thursday I had every intention to try out that dumpling place that's up at World Square but bizarrely, I ended up at a Jap restaurant I hadn't tried downstairs (I blame that insane queue outside 'Din Tai Fung' - the dumpling place; it was already after 8pm and there were still at least 50 people waiting outside for a table! There was no way I was going to wait with those people - no matter how good the food is meant to be!)

So to settle for our closest option, it was Miso just as we headed downstairs. J&I had noticed this place awhile back and noted that it was actually under the group chain that looks after Makoto and Musashi (two Jap restaurants which I'm rather fond of) - this place was very likely to get a good review from me.

Miso serves 'Teshoku' - from what I gather a type of Japanese dining that involves lots of little side dishes to complement your main meal. Everything is served is pretty little Japanese bowls which I'm more than inclined to bag. Here's J's Sashimi with Rice Set (it was inundated with roe which I'm not the biggest fan of but nonetheless, still a tasty dish if you ignore the roe)I went for the Spicy Karage Chicken Set. Very very tasty and I love it how everything is presented so nicely and looks so fresh. I also had a Green Tea Smoothie with my meal which is very very nice (but quite filling with the meal - the meal comes with miso soup).J catches me mid-sentence. See how pretty the food is and how neatly everything is presented!Sitting next to us (they actually arrived before we did) was Carly and her bf Albert. I used to work with Carly and strangely enough, before Carly and Albert got together, I met him at a job assessment centre (which we bitched about as soon as we came out). Good to see you Carly & Albert!
As soon as we finish dinner (which by that time was closer to 9), J convinces himself that he wants to get the MP3 player which he looked at prior to dinner but unfortunately, as soon as we reached the shop was already closed. J then proceeds to loiter around the shop staring at the guy for him to open up but unfortunately, I had to stop him from doing so any further cause the guy inside was already turning off his lights. Boys!

Anyway, back to where I was, definitely recommend Miso - can't say it's the cheapest but definitely reasonably priced. Both our meals and drinks just came under $40 and it's definitely a different sort of dining to your regular Jap food. Give it a go!

good food & wine show 2008

I've been going to the Good Food & Wine Show for the past 2 years and I must say, it's always something to look forward to when the month of June rolls around. It seems like this year the show got even more publicity with Gordon Ramsay being one of the guests in the Celebrity Theatre. Stupid me should have bought tickets earlier (given I did get the email from Ticketmaster letting me know that tickets were on sale the next day/and from memory they were also pre-sale the time I got round to getting tickets, they'd already added a $15 premium to his shows!!!) Anyway, some snapshots from the day...

Seems to be a growing obsession of mine - getting photoed with some person dressed in a costume (this one was of a Lock & Lock container). The little kid at the front seems to be looking at me curiously.
The closest I got to Gordon Ramsay - he was signing away for a queue that was way too long (I can't imagine how long people would've been in that queue for!)Here we are in the Celebrity Theatre (which sat 2500 this year) for a cooking demonstration with Matt Moran (who's good mates with Gordon Ramsay). I haven't been watching the Chopping Block but after watching the show, I'm keen to try out Moran's restaurant, ARIA which according to Moran himself 'is bloody expensive'.Show attendees: The Drunk 1 and The Drunk 2. These boys disappeared for most of the show and squatted somewhere in the vicinity of the wine/beer stalls.Mandy and I with our loot. This year mum and I decided to bring our trolley (purchased at last year's show) - it turned out to be the best idea ever. It was very quickly filled up and you can see the 2 red bags and the good taste bag which we had to carry separately.Back at home, mum and I unpack our loot and somehow manage to cover the entire dining table. You may call me bias but thumbs up to the best biscotti and shortbread maker that I know (Suze from The Biscuit Tree) for her biscotti and shortbread (which I stocked up on at the show. Suze - the macadamia biscotti I'm eating right now is delicious!!!)
In summary, mum and I definitely bought a lot more than we did last year, we spent much more time at the show (squeezing in between the crowds of mammoth proportions!), I did have to convince mum out of buying another trolley (she started thinking that we needed two), Justin appeared to be happily drinking away, Ka joined Justin and seemed jolly, Mandy rocked up just as equipped as mum and I were with her trolley bag, and thankfully the skies held up (so we weren't running back to the carpark with all our bags and trolleys), can't wait till next year!