Monday, September 26, 2011

Miss Piggy vs New York

After booking my New York holiday with my friend Miss M nearly nine l-o-n-g months ago the we day fly out has FINALLY arrived!

I think the below poster summarises fairly well what my plans are when I'm in New eat and eat some more. Oh and maybe a little sightseeing and shopping...and brunch!

I won't be blogging when I'm away, but I hope to return with a tonne of great photos (or just a tonne of photos) and some great tips on fantastic places to eat in The Big Apple.

See you all in a few weeks.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

1945 Dutch East Indies Cuisine, Pyrmont

1945 Dutch East Indies Cuisine is an Indonesian restaurant located in the apartment-dense suburb of Pyrmont that specialises in authentic Dutch East Indies cuisine.

Dutch East Indies cuisine? Say what Willis?

Back in the day colonial Dutch living in Indonesia would serve an elaborate feast of epic proportions knows as a Rijsttafel (aka Rice Table). Traditionally a mound of rice was served first followed by a plethora of small dishes (sometimes up to as many as 40 dishes) with the aim of showcasing the abundance of exotic spices and variety of cuisines throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

My intrepid workmates (from jobs of yesteryear) Mr American and Snooze accompany me to Pyrmont for our adventure into Dutch East Indies cuisine.

At first, perusing the menu at 1945 is a little overwhelming until we “get” that the idea is to order lots of small dishes to share between us in order to get a taste of many different flavours - similar to the concept of Spanish Tapas. Many of the items on the menu are priced per piece so I guess if you’re with a big group it might be better to go for one of the available banquets to keep your wallet happy.

Our waitress Lenny is super helpful in helping us pick some dishes and we start our banquet with Ajam Boemboe Roedjak ($5.00 per piece). This is quite a mild dish of aromatic grilled chicken simmered in exotic blend of spices. A nice way to start the evening.

Lenny also suggests we try Oerap Sajoer ($7.00) a small dish of blanched vegetables tossed in spices, grated coconut served jauntily in a coconut shell. This is a fairly simple dish, however the crunch of the vegetables and grated coconut are a lovely combination - the dish feels light, fresh and healthy.

Snooze was insistent that we try the Rendang Daging ($6.00) and she met with no resistance from Mr America and myself. This dish was lovely, tender beef braised in aromatic spices and rich coconut cream. I think I remember Snooze saying this was her favourite dish.

My absolutely 100% favourite dish of the night (that I cannot stop thinking about) was ordered from the specials board – and man was it special! The Odeng Saos Padang ($24.00) is an AMAZING tasting dish of King Prawns cooked in an aromatic sweet and spicy sauce. The prawns were big and juicy, but it was the sauce, reminiscent of the sauce that comes with Singapore Chilli Crab, that had me hooked. I’d be happy just eating a bowl of the sauce with rice to be perfectly honest with you.

Another winner (for me anyway) was the Igar Bakar ($15.00) - grilled marinated pork ribs that are drizzled with fried garlic oil and served with and served with a shrimp chilli sauce. Seriously, if you're into ribs this is the dish to have...forget Tony Roma's or Hurricanes.

The last of the dishes for the night is Kangkoeng Tjah Odeng ($15.00) – stir fried water spinach with tiger prawns in shrimp paste.  A simple and mild dish that is a nice counterbalance to some of the more meaty dishes of the night.

To go with our meals both Snooze and I order a Nasi Bakar Wangi ($5.00) - mini whitebait coconut rice grilled in banana leaf. We’d noticed whitebait appearing on the menu quite a lot so this seemed like a good chance to try it. The whitebait was rolled inside the rice and gave it an interesting texture – a bit of salty crunch.

Mr American chooses the Nasi Koening ($4.00) as his rice dish - turmeric rice cooked with lemongrass and bay leaf. Don't you think Mr America would make a great hand model?

We received an Assorted Crackers Basket (normally $8.00) as a complimentary side – oh the perks of being a famous blogger! This was actually a great little side dish and so much better than your standard Prawn Crackers. As well as the standard prawn cracker the basket hide a plethora of cracker gems such as Bitternut crackers, Soybean crackers AND (drum roll please) BEEF CRACKLING! The beef crackling was great – puffed up pieces of deep fried skin – drool.

Because we're all clutching our belly's by this stage we decide to share just the one dessert and we finish the night with an Es Tjendol ($7.00, plus $2.00 for the addition of grass jelly).  This is basically the same as Ais Cendol I've had in Malaysian restaurants, however the ability to add "extras" such as Grass Jelly, Jackfruit or Durian was unique.  The sweet mix of condensed milk, pandan jelly "worms", palm sugar and the simple tasting Grass Jelly is the perfect note to end our feast on.

Our night out at 1945 was great. Not only were both the food and service exceptional, I really enjoyed trying a totally new cuisine. I’d love to come back here for a family dinner and order the banquet – a little something for everyone.

1945 Dutch East Indies Cuisine is at 2/42 Harris Street, Pyrmont.

1945 Dutch East Indies Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2012 Foodies Guide to Sydney

I've been published! Or my name is in a book that has been published.

In a bit of exciting news from Miss Piggy Land I was asked to be a contributor to the 2012 Foodies Guide to Sydney which is due to hit bookshops at the beginning of October.

Contributing to this book was both incredibly exciting and frightening all at the same time.  It was an experience that really pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

I was thrilled to be asked to write a few small reviews for the publication however I was hyper-aware that I was being published alongside qualified journalists and writers who have been writing as professionals for years. I felt myself under a bit of pressure to write something...readable. Was my writing good enough?  Would the spell check on my little ole laptop work properly so that I didn't submit writing that looked and read like it was from a four year old?  Should that comma go here...or there?

Writing a blog, where you can blather on for as long as you like, is a whole other ball game to producing a succinct and eloquent piece of writing.  As well as learning how to say what I had to say in only 50 words (yes 50 words - I can't even order a meal in under 50 words) I had to present myself to the businesses being reviewed and ask questions which is completely the opposite to the anonymous type of blogging I've been undertaking for the last year.

I have to say the thing that I most enjoyed about contributing to this book was meeting and talking to small business owners in my local area. This is A LOT of great food in Parramatta  from Artisan Bakers, Persian Grocers and Spice Shops that will awaken your senses the moment you step across the threshold.

All in all it was a great experience to contribute in my small way to this guide and I'm as pleased as punch to see my name in actually print for the first time EVER!

Thanks Hardie Grant Books for the great opportunity - it's been challenging and greatly rewarding!

Saucepan Cafe Restaurant, Darlington

I've been walking past Saucepan Cafe Restaurant in Darlington each work day since it opened last year thinking it was just a "regular cafe" know, the ones that serve sandwiches, burgers and the like.  Not very interesting really.  Infact downright boring.

Little did I know that this cafe, which is just a hop skip and a jump from my office, also has a large range of interesting Indonesian meals on offer. Lucky for me the ever-intrepid Miss Chicken and Mr Shawn have done the reconnaissance work for me and unearthed the delights on offer here.

Miss Chicken is keen for a return visit so we rendezvous for lunch. I’m excited to find such interesting food in the deep dark depths of Abercrombie Street, on a stretch of street that has ample cafes on offer (not that that is a bag thing mind you).

Miss Chicken orders the Nasi Goreng with Chicken ($10.00),  Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian Fried Rice, quite dark in colour due to the addition kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and it is delicious.  The dish comes topped with a fried egg, the runny yolk oozing over the rice when pierced with the fork.  I have to admit I have food envy.

I'm overwhelmed by the selection of dishes on offer - everything sounds so amazingly tasty.  I make a hasty decision to order the Gado Gado Ulek ($11.90) as the Waiter is standing in front of my wanting to take my order.   The Gado Gado comes with the largest prawn cracker I've ever seen - yay!  The dish is a medley of fried tofu, boiled potato, hard-boiled egg, choko and Kangkung (aka Morning Glory) topped with peanut sauce.  It's pretty nice and feels like a healthy feed. 

Saucepan Cafe can be found Shop 6/ 245-249 Abercrombie Street, Darlington.

Saucepan Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sushi Hon, CBD

It's a sign of the Miss Piggy times that a trip into the city is met with more excitement about where I'm going to eat lunch, rather than where I'm going to shop and what I want to buy. These days I covet food more than clothes...mostly.

In my dream world I had envisaged Niecy Poo lunching at one of the fabulous new restaurants on Level 6 of the new Sydney Westfield, but it was between pay weeks and my car rego is due so we were relegated downstairs to Level 5 to eat at the food court with the regular folks.

Not that the Level 5 food court is anything to be sneezed at. This is the foodcourt to end all foodcourts with not a McDonalds, KFC or dodgy Indian takeaway to be seen. This place puts the fancy back into schmancy - with black marble and posh (foodcourt) nosh as far as the eye can see.

There is an overwhelming choice of eateries here, but in the end we settle on Sushi Hon - a sushi train that  urban legend (or Urbanspoon to be more precise) says has the longest sushi train in the southern hemisphereere...or something like that. Whatever, I just want sushi...on a train...then in my belly.

Like everything at the new Sydney Westfield Sushi Hon is sleek, modern with lots of dark marble.  It's hard to tell how long the sushi train is as it snakes its way around three separate seating areas.

There are quite a few fancy looking plates of sushi doing the rounds - these cost $8.00 a pop and they are hard to resist as each looks more tempting than the last.  In the end we decide to share one fancy plate between us and opt for the Tuna Tataki.  The tuna is super fresh, meaty yet tender, and sits atop of mound of mashed avocado that is almost guacamole like in flavour and texture.

Although there are a few cheaper plates on offer non of these are circulating when we visit lunch so I order a Tuna Ship ($2.80).  Unless they are REALLY badly made Tuna Ships never fail to put a small on my sushi loving face and the offering at Sushi Hon does just that.

Whilst we had the attention of the waitstaff/sushi girls both Niecy Poo and I order a Soft Shell Crab Hand Roll ($5.80). The good thing about ordering your sushi from the staff is that arrives at your table fresh and pipping hot...just like our delectable hand roll.

Next up is the Red Cap ($5.80) which I suppose garners its name from the reddy/orange cap of flying fish roe that sits atop this inside out roll. Beneath the red cap sits a crunchy deep-fried crab stick surrounded by crab salad and avocado.

We had plans to head to Din Tai Fung for dumplings (also at the Level 5 foodcourt) after our turn at the sushi train but I just had to have one more plate of sushi which basically filled me enough...too full for dumplings (but not too full for a dash to my beloved Mappen later in the afternoon)!  The tuna and avacado roll ($4.60) was simple and fresh tasting. Enough said.

All in all the sushi at Sushi Hon was lovely, fresh with some interesting plates doing the rounds.  I did feel some plates were a little pricey - as is most of the food at Sydney Westfield, but the quality was there to justify the more expensive plates.  Would I go back?  Absolutely.

Sushi Hon can be found on Level 5 of Westfield Sydney (86-100 Market Street), Sydney.

Sushi Hon on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 19, 2011

Orange Grove Markets, Lilyfield

The last time I went to Orange Grove Markets was with my friend Sue atleast eight or so years ago. The markets back then were fairly small and nothing to write home about. Sue was just ducking in to grab a few fruit and vege before we went off to do more exciting eat brunch.

The Boy and I were really only visiting the Orange Grove Markets this weekend as we knew that Jackie M had a stall there and we needed to stock up on her rendang frozen dinner packs ASAP! And perhaps indulge in some of her fabulous Char Kway Teow for a brunch. Oh and we bumped into Sue - still a loyal market shopper eight years on.

I was completely gobsmacked by how much the markets had grown.  Orange Grove Markets has EVERYTHING you could possibly want to eat - and if they sold cleaning products and loo paper well, you'd never need to visit a supermarket again. How blissful would that be?  There were stalls selling bread, cheese, meat, yoghurt, dips, chips, fruit, vegetables, plants, clothes, drinks - you name it, it was probably at Orange Grove Markets.

Although we were on a Malaysian food buying mission, we really could not help buying a heap of other tasty morsels. The Boy was quite taken with the offerings at Thistle Dew Meats (one of the many organic meat suppliers at the markets).  Although we both gave the Haggis and Black Pudding a wide berth we did come home with some lovely sausages and free range pork chops.

I decided that we needed some fruit and vege to go with our haul of meat as a gal can't live on pork chops alone. I grabbed some lovely salad items from a few stalls, as well as a handful of sweet Blood Oranges and Passionfruit from some other friendly stallholders.

All this shopping and food ogling can sure make a girl (and boy) hungry so we grabbed a drink during our market strolling - a fresh Orange and Raspberry drink - so lovely.

Orange Grove Market is a hive of activity. Whilst it bustles with adults, children, prams dogs are allowed! We spotted quite a few pooches tied up at the Dog Parking Area out the front (aka "the fence") waiting patiently for their humans to return...maybe with a tasty morsel for them to sample.

The Orange Grove Organic Food Markets are on eac Saturday between 8 am - 1 pm at the Orange Grove Public School, Cnr Perry Street and Balmain Road, Lilyfield. Bring your kids, prams and small ponies, but please park your puppies outside.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield

After our lovely lunch at District Dining recently to celebrate my Niece's birthday she suggested we head to Haberfield for dessert as she had a craving for Cheesecake. Pasticceria Papa in Haberfield is reputed to have the city's best baked ricotta cheesecake.  The birthday girls wishes are therefore our command!

There is no table service at Pasticceria Papa, and as far as I know no menus.  You simply grab a table and join the queue (or vice-versa if you have no-one to mind your table for you). We decided what we were going to eat as the queue snaked its way along the counter.  I also have no idea how much anything cost as there are no prices displayed - but who cares! This is the Willy Wonkas of cake shops...knock yourself out with a sugar coma.  We did!

Big Brother decided to have Gelato...a scoop of chocolate and also choc-chip.  He was a happy camper, if not a bit eager to get eating!

Niecy-Poo had a delectable slice of  the famed baked ricotta cheesecake. I had a bite of this and it was fantastic. The ricotta filling is rich, creamy but not too sweet. Truth be told I had about four spoonfuls of this - it was hard to stop eating it once I'd started as it was just so moreish.  Actually, if I'm totally honest, I've been thinking about this cheesecake a lot since we visited this place.

The Boy wanted a "slice of something yummy" so I brought him back a huge slice of caramel mudcake from my voyage to the cake counter. I had quite a bit of this too (oink) and it was great. We both agreed the cake was quite light, and not as heavy or dense as other mudcakes we'd had before.

As I was feeling quite full from lunch I opted for something small and the chocolate sponge ball was just the ticket.   The sponge cake was studded with a nutty outter and had a whole hazelnut nestled inside.

Whilst we all had drinks it was Big Brother's cup of Earl Grey Tea that gave us all a chuckle...a cup of hot water with tea bag...on the side.  Fancy.

Pasticceria Papa is at 145 Ramsay Street, Haberfield.

Pasticceria Papa on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 15, 2011

District Dining, Surry Hills

Lately whenever someone asks me for a restaurant recommendation I simply refer to the ever growing wish list on my blog and pick somewhere that I really want to go to. 

Sometimes this results me to being invited to the dinner which is how I ended at District Dining about two months ago.  I’d recommended this restaurant to a friend of mine who was celebrating a birthday. As there were so many of us we ended up with the banquet – which is incredible value may I add. 

I didn’t blog that dinner as:

a) it was at night and the restaurant was too dark for my old Canon G11;
b) there was so much food (16 different dishes to try) that I think my head would’ve exploded trying to write about them all;
c) I was a bit ill on the night to didn’t end up eating all that much – what a waste of a banquet; and,
c) I only knew the birthday gal at the dinner so thought it might be pushing the friendship making 10 of her friends wait to eat their meals whilst I took photos.

I ended up at District Dining a second time as Neicy Poo was looking for somewhere to go for a birthday lunch with the family. As I’d missed my opportunity to blog about District Dining last time I suggested it as a possible birthday lunch venue – and she happily agreed.

We decided to order a few small share plates to start with and then each have our own mains.   On my last visit here we’d had both the crispy pigs ears with Szechuan salt ($10.00) and the crispy school prawns with lime mayonnaise ($16.00) and I was keen to have them again – the others didn’t need much convincing. 

We all loved the crispy pigs ear - it's just like eating the most crunchy of crackling; and the school prawns are always a favourite with The Boy and myself - they are so crunchy and moreish, and because they are so small there is no problem eating the head, tail, shell and legs.

I’d not tried the crispy quail eggs with tarragon mayonnaise ($14.00) on my last visit so was really happy that the others suggested we order them.  You’ll notice a lot of “crispy” with our starters which is why I quickly deflected Big Brother’s desire to order French Fries – too much fried my friend!

The quail eggs were lovely - a firm white surrounded by a crispy outer with a runny, oozy yolk waiting to surprise you when you bite in to the delicate egg.

I already knew what I was going to have before we arrived at the restaurant. Last visit I LOVED the mushroom risotto with truffled marscapone and parmesan crisp ($25.00).  The risotto was a veritable Aladdin's Cave of mushroom delights - I counted about five different types of mushroom including bunches of stringy Enoki (my favourite).  There was a lot of marscapone, which tasted quite buttery, so I mixed a little through the risotto and pushed the rest aside - for the sake of the waistline of course.

The Boy orders the crispy pork belly with an Asian style salad and chillli, peanuts ($24.00) which he said was fantastic.  The pork and crackling were very obvioulsy deep-fried making it absolutely delicious (I was allowed a bite or two). Any guilt was offset by a fresh, zesty salad.  I have to admit, I had food envy.

Niecy Poo ordered the kingfish with wasabi pannacotta, quinoa and ponzu.  This is one of District Dining's starter dishes (for $19.00) that they served as a main for the birthday girl (no idea how much, but around $25.00 like the rest of mains I'm guessing).  This dish looked very dainty and I can attest that it is a  lovely, light and fresh dish from my earlier visit.

Big Brother ordered the parmesan gnocchi, broad beans, veal shoulder, pangrattato ($29.00).  He said the dish wasn't overly warm when he tucked it, but I had to remind him that I'd snapped quite a few photos before he started eating...the downside of eating with a food blogger.  This dish was also really nice - I had a mouthful of the gnocchi which was pan-fired at the end of the cooking process giving it a nice crunchy skin. The lamb was tender and flavoursome.

The service at District Dining was second to none - very friendly and attentive.  We were really well looked after and the food was a perfectly special way to celebrate a birthday. Although located above a nondescript pub in Surry Hills the dining room feels really quite...fancy with its dark wooden floors and table and modern fittings.

District Dining is at 17 Randle Street, Surry Hills.

District Dining on Urbanspoon

You Might Also Like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Free Blog Template by June Lily