It is time to give kudos where kudos is due and that is to William Street in Northbridge for embracing a laneaway culture similar to Melbourne. Walk down William there is now an abundance of retro stores, new small bars like Mechanic Institute, burger joints like Flipside and Jus Burgers taking up residence and for those with a sweet tooth there is now Superstar Waffles. Now I love waffles, it’s been awhile but back in my uni days you would find me on a Tuesday at Gelare for half-price waffle day. I wouldn’t even skimp for the small, I would get the large waffle with cookie dough ice cream. It’s exciting to see the smaller guy, the David to Gelare’s Goliath take battle in the war of the waffle. The flavour combinations on the Superstar Waffle menu is very extensive. As always the peanut butter option won me over. Imagine a waffle topped with peanut butter mousse, Oreo crumble and a Oreo biscuit to top it off. As always I had my share buddy Rochelle to help me polish this sweet decadent waffle off. My favourite part of the dish was the peanut butter mousse, I wish there was more of it. In terms of peanut butter desserts for 2012, this would be nominated but it would not have won the category. I think what let it down is the actual waffle. I blame Gelare for the soft buttery waffle that I know and love. The couple we were dining with ordered the Berrylicious, which was plated like a deconstructed crumble with its berry compote, oats topping and cream. Berrylicious was not so delicious and I think we had a little food envy from them. I have been critical about Superstar Waffle but when you give yourself such a name you better perform otherwise it’s false advertising. On my first treat to Superstar Waffle it did not live up to its name BUT that’s not to say I won’t go back there. For Gelare has disappointed me at times but I still go back there plus I am a sucker for the little guy, which explains why I’m a big fan of Captain America. At the end of the day it’s the little guys that are making Northbridge stand its ground, bringing diversity and an abundance of hipster coolness to what is normally a seedy scary part of town. Props to the cafe next door, Love thy Neighbour for an excellent Toby’s Estate coffee that I also had that day and to the shop across from it that had a DJ playing fantastic tunes including a Coolio favourite of mine, Gangsters Paradise. There is a lot to love about this laneaway off William Street. Another shining light about Superstar Waffles is that if you get a late night sugar craving then it’s late night opening hours are just for you. Superstar Waffles I will be back…next time I hope you live up to your reputation and namesake.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Focus on the right hand side for the peanut butter mousse.
If I was stuck on a desserted island (get it dessert) and I was only allowed one thing to eat without doubt it would be chocolate in all its forms. That’s cheating I know because there are endless options…brownies, cupcakes, fondants, cake, tart, ice cream and even in savoury accompanying kangaroo and venison (yes I’ve eaten those combinations before). This treat is dedicated to the humble brownie as another challenge of mine is to find the best brownie in Perth and then after that the world. I will give a high commendation to Greens & Co in Leederville for its tasty nutty brownie but I would argue they are guilty of false advertising because I don’t think it is best in Perth let alone the world as the sign says. My favourite so far is the brownie from Five Bar for its ooey gooey goodness. The brownie melts in your mouth and the cherries on top provides the much needed tartness to break up the sugar overload. Just a minor criticism, I wish the decorative chocolate sauce was thicker and more of it like a pot of chocolate from San Churros. The biscotti on top are more of a garnish and I would not miss it if it wasn’t there. Warning this dish is shareable, you get a good size brownie but considering you pay $12 for it then it better be good. Don’t worry it is.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
mmmmmm oooeey goooey chocolate goodness
Dude food is the latest trend in the food world and has hit the sunny shores of Perth with The Merrywell at Crown Perth. While I write this treat I am listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA because the food that was rolling out took me back to College life and the American dream… hamburgers and hot dogs. My last blog was about hot dogs (the aussie breed) so it’s fitting that I continue with this theme and celebrate the dude food trend. The definition for dude food from the dictionary of me is any morsels of food with high fat content that you eat with your hands and make a mess with. Think hot dogs topped with chilli corn carne, wagu beef hamburgers with pickles in them, fancy quesadilla triangles, lamb chops with a chilli rub and mint jelly and my personal favourite deep fried cheese cubes. The Merrywell is a concept born in the USA and is the brainchild of King of Casual, Sammy D and his mate Grant MacPherson. Both have over 50 years of experience in the restaurant industry including stints in the casino capital of the world, Las Vegas (well technically Macau has taken over but Las Vegas is Las Vegas…what happens there stays there except in this case with these chefs bringing their knowledge from Las Vegas to Australia). These 2 chefs have delivered The Merrywell concept first to Crown in Melbourne and now Perth is able to feast on dude food. I was lucky enough to attend the launch party with an open bar and a continuous flow of food as the menu was shown off to the Perthonalities in attendance. My advice for future punters going to The Merrywell, go with an empty stomach and an open mind. Do not think of calories, fat content, sugar, weight, heart attacks or anything health related. The day you eat at The Merrywell should not be the first day of your detox and is not for those on a mission to lose weight. No The Merrywell is for people who want a taste of the USA in their backyard. Especially with Perth being the most isolated city in the world, it’s easier just to drive to Crown Perth then get on a jet plane to Las Vegas for these indulgent treats. So what’s my take on the food that I ate at the launch. The dish of the day goes to the wagyu burger, succulent meat cooked medium with a fantastic pickle surprise inside. Other highlights was the lamb chop cooked to perfection at medium with a nice pink inside. Another favourite was the deep fried cheese, who thought cheese could taste better but that melty goodness really is magic. The lobster roll and the barramundi wings failed to hit the mark for me. The sauce of the barramundi wings in particular was quite grainy and overpowered the fish. Give me bdubs anyday (see Treat 24 for futher explanation). In terms of dessert the Polish donuts made no sense to me but I still ate it. I’m not going to lie, I prefer Krispy Kremes over that. THe desserts in shot glasses were very rich. The rice pudding I barely could eat a spoonful and the chocolate was very decadent and thick so I managed to eat a couple more mouthfuls. The puzzling thing for me was the food we were eating didn’t in my opinion match the interior. The decor is very similar to the Brisbane Hotel and the Boulevard with it’s dark walls, wooden features, artistic wine display and huge bar area. The food however is closer to Tony Roma’s style, very casual and almost dinerish (yes dinerish is a word as of now). Then again this is Perth afterall so you aren’t paying USA prices and a fancy decor automatically jack up the prices. I will have to go to The Merrywell again and test out this theory to see if this dude food gives you bang for your buck. I also want to try their ribs. I have a feeling though when I am craving the USA, The Merrywell might be a new place I will visit besides Tony Romas unless of course I win lotto and buy a private jet and fly to the USA willy nilly. Don’t let this negitude fool you. I am so excited that Perth is getting developments like The Merrywell and I was very impressed with the renovations of Crown Perth. I am well and truly on the Perth bandwagon, there is a lot to be excited about and dude food is just one of them.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
I loved the toppings! It’s like a hot dog Mexican style…very different to a Bunnings sausage sizzle that’s for sure.
lamb chops…not going to be eating that for a week or two thanks to wisdom teeth surgery.
wagyu hamburger…meaty cheesy pickle goodness
It’s no bdubs…but I like the celery touch.
Dessert in shot glasses aka diabetes.
Finishing off my meal with fairy floss…take that dentist!!
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Tagged barramundi wings, buffalo wings, burgers, celery, cheese, corn, Crown, Crown Perth, donut, dude food, fat, fried, hamburgers, hotdog, Merrywell, pig, ranch, salsa, shot, southern, USA
My dad loves Bunnings, he goes there for one thing and comes back with too many things. I’m a little bit different because when I go to Bunnings, I go for one thing and that’s the sausage sizzle. So while my dad is like Tim the toolman Taylor from Home Improvement, I am more like Homer Simpson except I’m not bald and yellow. So today is a very short and sweet treat because basically it’s all about a sausage in a bun and really you can’t go wrong. The money goes to charity so you feel like you’re giving back to the community. You give the money to the cute little kid with a huge grin who passes you over a simple bun with a snag in it. I like to have caramelised onion in mine and then I top it up with tomato sauce and mustard. In a world where white bread is foe, this is definately a guilty pleasure. My mum made a good point today while we feasted on Bunnings sausages for lunch (you can feed a family of five for $10), it really opens up the appetite making you want more. It just shows how powerful a sausage in a bun can be and can also explain the obesity epidemic in Australia as we continue eating after indulging in pig fat. All I know is that I don’t go to Bunnings often so the once or twice a year guilty pleasure is made all the better because it’s for charity after all.
It’s not a pretty picture but it tastes great. Definately worth the trip to Bunnings.
My favourite is Bunnings Balcatta.
191 Balcatta Road, Balcatta
When I like a place I really like it. Since belatedly discovering Dough, this cute little pizza joint in Northbridge on Tuesday night I ended up visiting three times in the same week. This behaviour is repeated in history. When I first discovered San Churros I pretty much lived in their Leederville outlet and now I am experiencing similar loyal patronage to the Tuck Shop that I am up to a free coffee. I put it down to sharing is caring. If the place tickles my fancy I am so excited to show friends and family. This however usually leads to disappointment because I have talked up a place and then something usually goes wrong the day I take them there. For example the first time I took my friend Fran to Sayers, the steak sandwich massively disappointed with a chewy steak and lacklustre bread. You have read a couple glowing treats about Sayers but even I admit it let me down on this day. Dough did not give me a d’oh moment. I took Fran there to celebrate her birthday on a Tuesday night and Dough was packed. I felt so sorry for the waitstaff, the poor lady running around serving and seating. It seemed there was only three staff on the floor to a full house of hungry customers. Service was pleasantly smooth considering the volume of people. I love the décor, the black and white photos on the wall and the open wood fire oven give this place an authentic touch making you almost feel you were at a small pizza bar in Rome. Now that the introduction is over we can now talk food. We ordered the arancini and Regina pizza. The arancini had a ooey gooey cheesy centre and the Bolognese sauce was spot on. It reminded me of a miniature version of my neighbour Anna’s arancini except Anna’s is more generous in size and is a meal in itself. It was awesome seeing Fran’s face when the pizza was served on our table. The first thing she noticed was the thin base and she approved the simple toppings of ham, mushrooms and creamy ricotta. She said back in Genova where her family is from this is the pizza you would get. Fran is normally hard to please and so I was ecstatic when I received her tick of approval. It was risky as I myself had not dined at Dough previously but at least I didn’t give Fran a raving review only to be left disappointed like the sad Sayers situation. Warning, don’t bother with dessert. We ordered the crepes, which was a special that day. The crepe itself was fine but the frozen berries used made the dish too sour and inedible for me. I had a few bites and then put the fork down. I would have preferred a simple nutella and banana combination (not that Fran does banana desserts) but the tart berries did not justify the $13 we paid. This won’t stop me from going back there. It is safe from my blacklist while Sumo Salad and Zambrero are not so lucky. Don’t judge me but I did end up at Dough again the next night so obviously I have forgiven and forgotten the bad dessert from the night before. I told you I was loyal. I worked at Myer for 2 years and though I haven’t worked there since 2008 I still have this weird loyalty towards it over David Jones. Now Dough is experiencing this commitment. On this night my dining companion and I indulged in the fried calamari and Capricciosa pizza. There was a bit of indecisiveness over getting a red or blanche base but the red won in the end. My dining companion highly rates the signature Dough pizza but I will make sure to put his opinion to the test and try it for myself. It’s the least I can do for my readers. The only minor criticism I have with the Capricciosa pizza is the olives had pips in them, which defeats the purpose of putting them on the pizza because I was picking them off and eating them instead. However, now that I think about it this criticism is actually a positive because I love eating olives on there own anyway. I’m just grasping at straws really. The pizza had a good amount of artichokes, which is a favourite of mine that I unfortunately don’t eat often. A fond artichoke memory for me was my first College football experience in the USA at 16; my host family took me to the Rose Bowl where UCLA got demolished by USC. Google those acronyms for yourself but in a nutshell it’s pretty much the western derby for College football. So we were in Pasadena for this game and we went to this cute Irish pub, which name I can’t recall (it was a long time ago). All I remember is that there were a lot of autographed celebrity photos dining there including Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. Anyway the point of this story was about artichokes, we had one for the entrée and it was GIGANTIC. I tell you those Americans really do everything large. I had never eaten an artichoke like that before but it was so much fun peeling back the layers and sucking out the flesh from inside the petals. My love affair with artichokes continues to live on whenever I get a continental roll from Re Store (it’s been awhile I must go back there). It’s weird because I don’t really like the artichokes in the jar when I buy them but I like them when restaurants use them. Case in point is at Dough because I really liked the artichokes on the pizza and I didn’t get that preservative taste that usually accompanies the jarred versions. This is not the end of my Dough experience because I was back there on Saturday night. In my defence I had a friend visiting from Kalgoorlie and I couldn’t let Carly leave Perth without a great dining experience. The responsibility for choosing the restaurant was left to me and I knew Dough would not let me down. It didn’t. I was able to book us a table so no waiting and it’s BYO with no corkage. This time we ordered the Parma, a favourite combination of prosciutto, fresh rocket and parmesan all hit the spot. The chicken salad was a standout and we were all impressed with the amount of chicken in it. Don’t you hate when you order a chicken salad and you get a few pieces but really it’s all lettuce. This is mainly targeted at the extra $5 you pay to add chicken to a Caesar salad but you are never left satisfied with the amount of chicken you get for the extra you pay. The Dough chicken salad was colourful, tasty and generous in chicken. It was everything you want in a chicken salad and more. Before this treat turns into War and Peace, I will finish off with my broken Italian. Dough is bellissimo and you should do what I do, go molto times.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Arancini similar to how my neighbour Anna makes them.
The Regina pizza had Fran’s tick of approval – bonus marks for the authentic thin base.
Parma = delicious
The chicken salad is a winner because it has a lot of chicken.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged arancini, artichoke, BYO, calamari, chicken, crepes, dough, ham, italian, mushroom, Northbridge, parmesan, pizza, ricotta, salad
So here is another cheap and cheerful especially for those who get hungry at non-dinner times. On this balmy wintery night (it wasn’t too windy or rainy) we went for a drink at the Brisbane Hotel. Get the joke – Brisbane and balmy. No? It must have gone over your heads. I won’t bore you with my other Brisbane joke then. So we had our drinks and then at 10pm one of us cracked saying they were hungry. Then the rest of us were in chorus that we didn’t have a proper dinner and were getting the munchies. Why would we do this to ourselves? 10pm on a Saturday night we wanted food in Perth! It would be easier to win lotto with the exception of Asian cuisine or hipster food at The Moon Café both located conveniently in the party district of Northbridge. Tonight we were craving something from China town, in particular my friend Kristen recommended Hawkers Inn (real name Hawkers Cuisine but Kristen has christened it Hawkers Inn and the name has stuck with me). I ordered the Chicken Ho-Fun with my share buddy Rochelle. It is very handy to have a share buddy at times like this when you are not confident in your ability to finish a meal. In a way I’m saving the world by not wasting food. I was first introduced to Chicken Ho-Fun in my first year of uni and yes I had an immature giggle at the time (I still laugh when I order it). I love the egg white sauce and I have never been disappointed by any of the China town establishments including Hawkers Cuisine, Billy Lees and my personal favourite Singapore China. I usually have the egg white sauce over crispy noodles, which makes them all soft and delicious. I was also ordering this wrong calling it Kway Teow but pronouncing it koo-ey too-ey when this is actually a completely different dish. So I have learnt my lesson and now ask for combination crispy noodles with egg sauce. These dishes are shareable so for the price you pay you get fantastic value. All the dishes were $12.90 and I was completely full after sharing the Chicken Ho-Fun. One of my friends who didn’t share was so hungry that she planned on demolishing their dish but it was a disappointing effort. If that’s demolishing, they barely made a dent on the roof. In her defence she did drink a Kopi (Malaysian coffee) prior to her meal. Now Kopi was new to me and I learnt that this style of coffee involves pouring boiling water through grounds held in a cloth “sock” filter with its strong and bitter taste mellowed by sweetened condensed milk (yes I googled it). I don’t like drinking coffee at night so I didnt get a chance to try it but it’s on my to do list. Overall Hawkers Inn (thanks Kristen for ruining the name for me) is a brilliant cheap and cheerful and will curb that fourth meal hunger (I stole that from a Taco Bell marketing campaign – it’s that meal after a night out) as it’s open till 3am. I’ll have to eat a couple more times at Hawkers though for it to claim title as my favourite restaurant in China Town. At the moment that title deservedly belongs to Singapore China mainly for its cool name and kooey tooey (which we now know is not the real Kway Teo – see above). When you tell people you are going there they think you are really treating except you are eating without the travelling but don’t get bogged down in technicalities. That gives me an idea…watch this space for a treat off between Hawkers Inn and Singapore China. I’m hungry just thinking about it!
THE FOOD JOURNEY
This is so fun to order and that egg white sauce is delicious.
Kopi in a cool mug
This treat takes you to a far and distant land…Fremantle to test out a Moroccan/Middle Eastern style restaurant, Kaza Blanca Grill. This was another discount voucher, for $20 you get a glass of house wine, entree and main. In celebration of the mezze style of eating we shared all the entrees and mains…there was a lot of food. I did not have high expectations for this meal, I never do for Middle Eastern restaurants. If you lived with my mum you would know why. Her hummus is famous with friends, family and at my work. For entrees we had the mixed dips, it is essential to do the hummus test. I found this hummus lacked the garlic I’m used to and it was ok as in edible but look I have high standards and it was never going to impress me. I was happy to munch away at the olives. The manager kindly offered us a complimentary tabbouleh, which actually was not bad at all. I know I should be less cynical but you have to understand Perth has minimal middle eastern food and compared to Sydney or Melbourne dining establishments it doesn’t always make the grade. If you were to blame anyone, blame my mum for giving me these high expectations. Here is the menu of items for the night:
-Mixed dip platter with hot bread, olives and pickles
-Dolmar (my family calls them warak inab) – vine leaves stuffed with rice and mince.
-Malfouf (one of my absolute favourite Lebanese dishes) – cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and mince
-Beef Tajin Royal – slow cooked beef topped with dates and banana
-Kazah Mussels Tajine – chilli mussels in a spicy tomato charmoula served with bread
-Mixed grill – chicken shaslick, lamb shaslick, mergez sausage and morrocan kefta served with Kaza Salad, couscous and garlic sauce.
-Black Fez (eggplant tajine) – crumbed eggplant on fried potato with couscous and stuffed tomatoes topped with tomato charmoula.
The vine leaves seemed to be of the canned variety, it had that very lemony preserved taste. The cabbage rolls (malfouf) seemed fresher and the meat and rice stuffing was generous. To be honest we would have been satisfied with the entrees but we still had mains to go. I will give Kaza Blanca this, there serving sizes are almost of american proportion. The beef tajin royal was by far my favourite. The tender chunks of beef with the sweet bursts of dates and banana was such a pleasure to eat. A party in the mouth dish. The eggplant tajine was like a morrocan take of an eggplant parmigiana. The eggplant was huge but the crumbing was cardboard flavoured and overall dry. Where was the sauce? The mussels were probably not the freshest from the sea, tiny sized meat from the shells but it still had a nice kick of spice in it to compensate. Lesson learnt I probably wouldn’t order seafood from here. Stick to the meats and chicken especially the mixed grill, which is a meatlovers heaven on a plate. From the photo you can see there was a lot on the plate. The chicken was nice and moist and the beef also had great flavour but the sauces did help break the meatiness. For 4 people there was a lot of food. Next time I go (if there is a next time) I would go on a Friday or Saturday night when there is belly dancing to add to the atmosphere and I would be going more for the experience then the food. I know this treat has a lot of negitude in my tone (I am imagining you can hear my voice when you read this) but I still recommend dining at Kaza Blanca. The food offerings are huge so be careful not to over order. If you love chicken and beef you can’t go wrong at Kaza Grill. Two of my friends from this treat actually went back with a group of ten and said it was a great night out and value for money. If you do find yourself in the Fremantle area and want to try something different please give Kaza Blanca a go and ignore my negitude.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
The more the merrier…dips, olives and tabouli.
We love our bread, we love our hummus, but most of all we love each other. (I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself I love Madeline)
Cabbage rolls…not the way mamma makes them.
VIne leaves/dolmars/dolmades/whatever you call them they are delicious when they are fresh.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged belly dancing, bread, cabbage, chicken, cous cous, grill, Hummus, Kaza Blanca, lamb, middle east, moroccan, mussels, olives, tabouli, tajin, vine leaves