Unblogged Food: January – March 2014

The first three months of the year were full of eating experiences – from cafes to eating adventures interstate.

The Grounds of Alexandria
The Grounds of Alexandria

I started the year with my first ever visit to The Grounds of Alexandria, not just for the amazing breakfasts that everyone raves about, but with the ultimate aim of scoping out the venue as a potential wedding venue. One of my favourite parts of the visit was visiting all the market stalls they have on the weekends, with the fresh lemonade being a top pick.

(We ultimately decided not to go with The Grounds as a wedding venue because some close friends have chosen to get married there early next year. We just wanted a venue that was a bit more unique to us.)

The new hot Reuben club sandwich with wagyu salt beef, rangers valley rump, spiced wagyu pastrami, stacked in rye bread with sauerkraut, pickles and mustard, $16.50
The new hot Reuben club sandwich with wagyu salt beef, rangers valley rump, spiced wagyu pastrami, stacked in rye bread with sauerkraut, pickles and mustard, $16.50

I always remember the amazing Reuben sandwiches I ate while I was in America. I had a craving recently, and Reuben & Moore was my Reuben-purveyor of choice, with amazing soft and salty beef and a healthy dose of sauerkraut and pickles to top it off. This was a huge serving, and definitely satiated my craving. I find myself more and more impressed with the food offerings at the Westfield Sydney Level 5 food court every time I visit.

Roast pig on the barbecue
Roast pig on the barbecue

In January, I went to the Barossa Valley to help staff the annual Ride to Cure Diabetes fundraising event that my organisation runs. Over the course of a weekend, nearly 400 people from around Australia fly into the beautiful Adelaide Barossa Valley to challenge themselves to a bike ride of 35km, 80km or 160km to raise funds for type 1 diabetes research. We raise in excess of $1m every year at this event – an amazing result! This year as part of the ‘carb-loading dinner’ that we serve to Riders before the next day’s big Ride, we had whole roast pigs on the barbecue, with succulent crackling.

RivaReno Gelato in Darlinghurst
RivaReno Gelato in Darlinghurst

By invitation of owner Kieran Tosolini, I also had the chance to visit RivaReno Gelato in Darlinghurst and sample a range of their amazing gelato flavours. It’s since become our favourite gelato joint, even beating Gelato Messina. The point of difference is that they store their gelato differently (in canisters that preserve the integrity of the gelato rather than in open canisters with constant blasts of cold air), they make it fresh every day, and they use only the best ingredients including authentic cows milk from Italy. Even more exciting considering my new diet, they do fantastic dairy-free sorbets as well!

Haul from Best Taste Dim Sum in Flemington
Haul from Best Taste Dim Sum in Flemington

On the same day that we went to have pho in Flemington, we picked up $60 worth of delicious delicious dim sum from Best Taste Dim Sum on Henley Street. For a month afterwards, we feasted like kings in the morning, steaming up a serve of buns, dim sum, lo mai gai, dumplings and amazing Malay cake. It’s fantastic value, so if you have some room spare in the freezer, I highly recommend a visit!

Chinese New Year banquet dinner
Chinese New Year banquet dinner

No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without three full tables laden with amazing dishes at K’s grandparent’s favourite Chinese restaurant, Lee Central Park Chinese Restaurant in Thornleigh.

Lamb racks
Lamb racks

K’s dad doesn’t cook very often, but when he does he always cooks an amazing meal – I still remember the paella he made last year. This time he cooked some incredibly tender and flavourful lamb racks on the barbecue, better than I’ve ever had at any restaurant.

Home-made mini-quiches
Home-made mini-quiches

K’s work has a tradition whereby every week, someone is responsible for bringing some snacks to share on a Friday. When it came to K’s turn, he struggled for an idea about what to make until I suggested mini-quiches as a simple and easy-to-make option that would keep well. He ended up making two versions – a traditional quiche with bacon, egg and cheese, and another with salmon and cream cheese.

Bowery to Williamsburg, Melbourne
Bowery to Williamsburg, Melbourne

On a recent visit to Melbourne, I went to Bowery to Williamsburg with a friend for brunch. Here I had one of the yummiest bagels I’ve ever had in Australia. They have a great bagel range here, and it’s very popular with both the corporate and creative crowds.

Kitchen Table Cafe, Aspendale
Kitchen Table Cafe, Aspendale

My dad lives almost forty-five minutes out of the city in Melbourne but for some reason, I find that I always seem to go into the city whenever I want to meet a friend for dinner. I moved away from this habit the last time I was in Melbourne and met a friend locally for brunch at Kitchen Table Cafe in Aspendale where we had a great simple breakfast of avocado on toast with tomatoes and a perfectly poached egg.

The Porch, Crows Nest
The Porch, Crows Nest

My colleagues and I usually bring lunch to work, but lately we’ve been trying to make a habit of going out for lunch at least once a fortnight together – we put it into our diaries so that we’re guaranteed to carry through with it! One of the meals we had recently was at The Porch cafe in Crows Nest where I ordered the most delectable shakshuka eggs and others enjoyed corn fritters and lovely eggs and avocado on sourdough. The food is great and the atmosphere warm and friendly, but a word of warning – the service isn’t fantastic due to some language barriers.

Protein Pancakes at Wholemeal Cafe, Darlinghurst
Protein Pancakes at Wholemeal Cafe, Darlinghurst

I mentioned in my special engagement announcement entry that K and I dropped by Wholemeal Cafe for breakfast on the day we officially got engaged. There, I had protein pancakes for the first time in my life, made with the cafe’s special protein pancake mix which you can also buy separately for at-home pancake meals. These pancakes were surprisingly filling and I only needed to eat two before I was uncomfortably full. The cafe also does protein bread (only 3g of carbs per slice!), so if you’re on a fitness kick like I am at the moment, it’s a great place to visit pre and post workout.

Harmony Day lunch
Harmony Day lunch

Finally, we celebrated Harmony Day at work with everyone bringing in a dish to share. We started with Irish sausages, Israeli salad, Aussie garden salad, continued with mini Portugese chicken sliders, fried rice and silken tofu, and finished with mini pavlovas and Ukrainian poppyseed scroll. For a small office, we all come from relatively diverse backgrounds, and it was great to share a meal together – so often we neglect to socialise with our colleagues!

To finish off this entry, let me just note that you might not hear from me for a while. Over the next three weeks, I’ll be travelling with a week in Hong Kong, a week in Shanghai and a week in Seoul. Trust me when I say that I’ll be eating like a king while I’m over there!

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