Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mezethes Greek Taverna, Hobart

I have to thank fellow blogger Bizzy Lizzy for recommending nearly every restaurant we ate at in Hobart. Mezethes Greek Taverna (and Da Anegelos at Battery Point - but we'll get to that later) is one of her best recommendations - a fantastic Greek Taverna in our favourite part of town, Salamanca Place.

The restaurant is located in one of the old sandstone buildings in Salamanca Place but the interior has a definite Greek vibe.  From the white washed stone walls and pictures of Greece it's pretty easy to imagine we're having dinner on a sunny Greek island and not in chilly Hobart.

We start dinner with drinks - a diet coke for The Boy and I decide to splash out with a glass of Greek wine which is delicious, dry and crisp.  I'm not normally a wine drinker but this was really a lovely drop.

We start dinner with some Orektika (that's Greek for appetisers). The marinated olives ($6.00 per bowl) are delicious, super plump and served warm with a sprinkling of fresh herbs.  Warm olives seem so simple yet really make a flavourful punch. We devoured these in seconds.

Tasmania has a plethora of amazing fresh seafood on offer. Every restaurant has a mind-boggling choice of seafood and Mezethes has a great selection of seafood on its menu. I choose the Oktapodi Sti Skara ($18.50) - tender succulent Octopus that is BBQ'd over a bed of white hot charcoal and served with potatoes and a crisp green salad.

The Boy chooses the Garides ($26.50) which was my second choice! His plate is heaving with fresh grilled prawns seasoned with a dash of garlic and lemon. His meal is also served with a green salad and chunky roast potatoes as well as his choice of dip. I have to admit I have a bit of food envy - especially at his choice of skordalia dip - pureed potatoes with garlic, olive oil and vinegar.

Our meal at Mezethes was FANTASTIC! I'd go back here for a meal in a heartbeat...if only it wasn't a two hour flight away *sad face*.

Mezethes Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brasserie Bread, Banksmeadow

The Boy and I decided to brave the 70 minute drive from our 'hood over to Banksmeadow (traffic!) to suss our the cafe at the legendary sourdough bakery Brasserie Bread. After we figured out exactly where Banksmeadow is (it's a REALLY long way from Parramatta, that's where it is).

The huge warehouse located on Botany Road houses a bakery (best bread EVER), a cooking school (filled with little kids making a mess/cookies on the day we visited) as well as a very very popular cafe.

At the recent food blogger conference I attended I received two vouchers for some free bread, so whilst we waited in the queue for a table at the cafe we loaded up with bread - a sour cherry loaf (our favourite), a sourdough loaf and a caramalised garlic fancy type bread.

It doesn't take too long to get a table and as The Boy and I have been studying the online menu for weeks we already know what we'll be having.  The Boy, being the true gentleman that he is, sends me up to to the counter to place our order.

In true brunch style we start off with coffee...mmm, coffee. The Boy goes for a cappuccino and I opt for an soy iced coffee sans cream and ice-cream which is the way they serve iced coffee in NYC and I really prefer it without the dairy overload.

The Boy ordered the crispy bacon with poached egg, avocado and tomato on wholemeal toast...Brasserie Bread toast of course ($12.00). He was pretty happy with his brunch however was a bit disappointed that the egg wasn't soft and runny. I went for the Quinoa and Soya Bread with avocado, tomato and goat curd ($11.00).  This was a really simple breakfast and a perfect example of how to whip up the perfect brunch at home (I've got three loaves of Brasserie Bread to experiment with after all).

And despite being an hour from our house The Boy and I are back at Brasserie Bread the following weekend to stock up on bread for our Christmas Day lunch...and then we sit down for brunch.  You didn't think we'd drive all that way with sitting down to eat did you?

Like last week The Boy orders the crispy bacon with poached egg, avocado and tomato on wholemeal toast, but goes for a side of Hollandaise Sauce this time.  He's beyond chuffed that the poached egg is super runny this week - second time lucky.  I decide I'm in the mood for something sweet and the Sourdough Pancakes with stewed berries and honeycomb cream and beyond perfection.  I love that the pancakes that look more like a crumpet than a pancake yet are still super fluffy and not at all dense. The berries still retain their shape despite being stewed and are only just slightly tart. And honeycomb cream...enough said really. YUM!

Brasserie Bread is at 1737 Botany Rd, Banksmeadow.  Phone them on 1300 966 845.

Brasserie Bread on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 26, 2011

Penelope, New York

I have Richard Elliot to thank for introducing me to the delights of Penelope via a twitter plea from me asking for good places to eat in New York.

Turns out that Penelope was just a short stroll from our hotel so Miss M and I ended up there for dinner on our last night in NYC (too dark to take photos) and again for our last breakfast in New York.

Penelope is a cute as button little cafe that is a hugely popular brunch spot for locals in the Murray Hill area where we were staying. The cafe serves "homestyle" cooking in a setting that is a little bit country, a little bit farmhouse, a little bit rustic and totally cute!

Weekend brunch is a BIG deal in New York.  From what I can gather brunch is only served on weekends (though breakfast is served all of the time). Brunch seems to be a bit unique as it comes with coffee/tea and your choice of a cocktail (yes alcohol before noon on a weekend in New York is de rigueur). Because the wait for tables is SO long and we are on a deadline to be at LaGuardia to fly home we nab two spots at the bar as soon as we walk in.

The Night before Miss M had ordered Ellie’s Spinach Pie, and it was delicious. I'm thrilled to see it making an appearance on the brunch menu as it's lush cheesy centre is hard to go past.  The cheeses are rich, flavoursome and moreish and the flaky filo dough is perfection.  The green salad is surprisingly huge and dotted with bits of granny-smith apple which is tart counterbalance to the rich spinach pie.

Miss M goes for something a little more traditionally more brunch-like and orders the Salmon Wrapped Poached Eggs - two farm fresh eggs wrapped in smoked salmon on toasted black bread with green goddess dressing.

All in all Penelopes was the perfect New York way to end our last super in the Big Apple.  Totally cute, totally yummy and totally American.

Bye bye New York...til next time.

Penelope on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cascade Brewery, Hobart

Even if you don't like beer visiting Hobart's Cascade Brewery is worth it just for its spectacular location. Nestled into the hillside the old brewery building is a stunning sight - it just feels old and looks beautiful.  On the day The Boy, Ms Irish and I visit the brewery there is mist hanging low on the hills behind the brewery - breathtaking.

Whilst I'm gobsmacked by the stunning location The Boy is more excited about brewery tour we're about to embark on. He also goes a bit mad in the gift shop after the tour - leaving with a Cascade hoodie and about 7 different types of beer as X-mas pressies.

The tour goes for about 90 minutes and costs $22 per person which I think is pretty good value. We start with a talk from our guide on how beer is made and the history of Cascade. 

After the introductory talk we then get onto the good part of the tour - visiting the actual brewery. We get to see the fermentation tanks as well as the bottling plant. It's all pretty noisy so a bit hard to hear what the guide was saying...oh well.

After the tour we head back to the bar to sample some of the fine brews that Cascade has on offer. The tour price includes three free tastings and The Boy goes wild trying different types of beer. I'm not much of a beer fan so sample some ginger beer, apple cider and raspberry cordial - all brewed by Cascade and all delicious.

After the tour we had planned to have lunch at the restaurant however we'd spent too much time beer tasting and missed out on the lunch menu. Lucky for us there was a snack menu on offer as we were both starving by this stage.

We shared a Damper with Dukkah as well as a Beer Battered Fish and Chips. The fish and chips were fantastic - the beer flavour in the batter really stood out, but not in a overpowering way. I wasn't such a fan of the damper with dukkah though - mainly as the damper had chilli in it which I didn't think married too well with the spices in the Dukkah...The Boy however loved it.

And as we always say it's not a proper meal without dessert. The Boy ordered a small tasting serve of Stout Ice-cream ($3.50). Bloody hell, this was FANTASTIC! The Stout gave the ice-cream a really unique flavour, definitely a hint of beer but more of a rich caramel flavour really.  The ice-cream was very creamy, and quite "chewy" short it was FANTASTIC!

Cascade Brewery is at 140 Cascade Road, South Hobart, Tasmania. Phone them on (03) 6224 1117. Even if you don't go for the tour it's worth a visit just for the Stout me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bar Kodama Sushi, New York

Bar Kodama Sushi was a bit of a random find but it was a real highlight of our trip.  Miss M and I were off to see a Broadway Show (that was technically a bit "off Broadway" being somewhat west of Broadway) and needed a bite to eat beforehand. We thought we'd head over to the theatre and see what was in the area. I was craving Sushi but didn't fancy my chances.

Oh ye of little faith! Right across the road from the theater was a great little Japanese restaurant that satisfied my craving and made sure I had a full belly for the show.

The sushi counter was staffed by three Latino looking chaps who churned out some fantastic tasting sushi. If I was a local I'd be pretty happy to have this place in my neighbourhood.

We start off with a seaweed salad  (US$4.75) which was fresh and zingy.  I really love seaweed salad but it's one of those foods you need to make sure isn't stuck in your teeth after you eat it...not a good look!

Next up is one of my all time favouirtes - Edamame (US$4.00).  Served warm and with a smattering of rock salt it was another great dish.  This was just as good as anything we'd get a great Japanese restaurant in Sydney.

Next up is Nasu Miso (US $6.00) - eggplant cooked with miso paste. This was a great dish.  The eggplant was really "meaty" and quite toothsome. The miso gives the dish a slightly salty taste but this wasn't an overpowering flavour which can sometimes be a bit of a risk when too much Miso paste is used.

And last but by no means least were our two sushi rolls - Salmon-Avo Roll (US$5.00) and a Manhattan Roll aka Tempura Prawn Roll ($6.50). I'd be craving sushi and this was perfect. The rolls were freshly made and the seafood plump and fresh and really reasonably priced thanks to the great exchange rate, and once again comparable to our great sushi back in Sydney.

And the Broadway show? We saw How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Mr Harry Potter himself and it was FANTASTIC! It helped that we knew nothing about the show (other than it had Daniel Radcliffe in it) so we had no expectations. The show was funny, fast paced and the script was superb. If it comes to Sydney anytime soon I'd love to see it again...and you should too!

Kodama Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bloodwood, Newtown

Niecy Poo and I first attempted to go to Bloodwood in Newtown for her birthday about 18 months ago. As they don't take bookings we put our name down at the door and went and had a drink. By the time they called us two hours later our stomachs had gotten the better of us and we've found sustenance else where.

This time around Niecy Poo, Mr Scotland and I agree to meet up for a Saturday lunch. I arrive bang on the dot of noon - before Bloodwood is even properly open. There is no way I'm missing out this time, no way! Mr Scotland suggests perhaps we go for a wander and let them open up properly. Ah, no way mister. I'm convinced the moment I turn my back a queue will rapidly form with me at the end of it. Plus I'm starving...I'm not going anywhere til I've eaten.

Of course we are the first people in the restaurant and there are still a few empty tables when we leave an hour or so later. Maybe I need to learn how to relax...but that could mean missing out on a table somewhere so it's never going to happen. Ever!

We start things off with a Bloodwood Mocktail ($8.00) and let the barman concoct his favourite mocktail for us. We end up with a refreshing blend of apple and lime juice, fresh limes and a splash of ginger beer.

After falling in love with the Polenta Chips at Jamie's Italian I could not go past Bloodwood's offering - Polenta Chips with Gorgonzola Sauce ($9.00).  Pretty darn good - the chips have a super crunchy outer shell with soft fluffy innards. The Gorgonzola sauce is wickedly rich...a moment on the lips and all that business.

Next up is a beautifully fresh and flavoursome Kingfish and Ocean Trout Ceviche ($16.00) which is definitely the highlight of the brunch for me. The plump Kingfish and Ocean Trout pieces were molded together in a perfectly delicious oval of Ceviche. The dish was served with a side of crunchy crackers and a smooth avacado dip, both of which added a textural element to the soft Ceviche.

And last but not least Spanner Crab with Green Asparagus ($21.00). On first viewing the Spanner Crab looks like scrambled eggs, but one mouthful sets that misconception straight.

I could've easily eaten one (or two) more dishes but the others had committed the fatal error of eating breakfast before brunch - d'oh (though so had I but I've had more practice in competitive eating/food blogging outings so I was in for the long haul).

Bloodwood is at 416 King Street, Newtown.  Phone them on (02) 9557 7699.

Bloodwood on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Machine Laundry Cafe and Doctor Coffee, Hobart

Our brunch at the groovy Machine Laundry Cafe was our only brunch/breakfast during our entire stay in Hobart. For the rest of the time we dined on English Muffins from Coles and hotel coffee in our room in an attempt to save some money...and some inches off our waistlines (I failed at both I'm said to say).

And with only one brunch to our names I think we picked a winner with Machine Laundry Cafe.  The cafe shares its space with a Laundromat, though I wonder how many people sip their coffee whilst watching their smalls do a few laps in the dryer?

The cafe is really popular so it's a short wait before we can nab ourselves a table. We start things off with coffee - a soy cappuccino for me which was perfect.

The cafes interior is quite quirky - a mix of retro decor (laminate tables, vinyl chairs and the like) and industrial chic - hard concrete floors in keeping with its second job as a Laundromat.

The Boy opts for an Eggs Benedict ($15.00) - his other great breakfast love when a Big Breakfast isn't what he's hankering after. We're both pretty impressed by the ooziness of the eggs - perfection.

I'm swayed by the Thom's Thing ($14.00) breakfast and the promise of grilled haloumi cheese!  As far as vegetarian breakfast offerings go this is great - garlic sourdough toast, squeaky haloumi cheese, tomato, basil, chic peas, baby spinach and an avocado salsa. This was a really filling breakfast that kept me going until mid-afternoon.

Later that afternoon - after a visit to the Farmgate Markets and wandering about Hobart - we find ourselves back at Salamanca Place and feeling a bit peckish.

We decide to rest our weary feet at the cute Doctor Coffee which is located in one of the many arcades at Salamanca Place.  The Boy orders a coffee and I go for a Charlie's Blood Orange Juice - a great thirst quencher.

The Boy opts for a HUGE Tuna Sandwich.  I was keen for one of these too but The Boy nabbed the last Tuna Sambo of the day - d'oh!

In the end I choose a savoury muffin - cheese and herbs. It's pretty tasty and fills the spot nicely.  The food at Doctor Coffee is fairly simple, but tasty - great flavours.

We finish off with a delectable meringue that is topped with a berry coulis and cream. The Boy is a huge meringue fan, me not so much - but the addition of cream and coulis is fantastic. The coulis has a slightly tart taste that helps cut through the sweetness of the crispy meringue.

These are just two of the many cute cafes that Hobart has on offer. If you ever get to Hobart I'd highly recommend both of these places...but also make sure you visit North Hobart - we didn't eat there, but there are SO many great cafes and restaurants in this quirky, slightly alternative suburb.

Machine Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Doctor Coffee on Urbanspoon

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