Monthly Archives: February 2013

Treat 55: The Local

My local pub is literally 2 minutes down the road. I have lived in the same suburb for 23 years and not once have I stepped foot in the Odin Tavern. In the last month I have been there three times. My dad has been there 5 weeks in a row. So what has the Odin Tav done right to gain our local patronage. It’s all about value for money. For $15 on Sundays you get 2 courses – either soup or dessert to accompany your roast main. It’s truly bang for your buck. Last night I saw the comedian Danny Bhoy complain about an $8 glass of juice. It’s no secret Perth prices are obscene. The Odin Tav restores your faith in the concept of the Local. Pubs in Perth are serving pub food at ridiculous fancy restaurant prices. I don’t think paying over $40 for a main is true to the definition of the Local. However, this seems to be the reality at most local pubs. The Odin Tav is making fun of these restaurants with their $15 Sunday roast deal. Let’s talk food. The soup changes per week and so far I’ve experienced chicken and corn and another time was tomato and pancetta. Both times you will be pleasantly surprised to find real ingredients in the soup and not the canned variety. My mum found the soup salty but my mum has one of the healthiest palates on the planet. This is the woman who uses herbs and spices for flavour instead of salt. My house is not a salt and pepper house, it’s a parsley, cumin, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil house. Our spice rack takes up most of the bench space in the kitchen. So whenever I say anything is salty, it probably isn’t. The hero of the meal is the roast beef. Odin Tavern gives you a generous serving. I normally can’t finish the beef. My brother uses the bread from the soup course to make his own beef sandwich. If you wanted some carbs you can get a roast roll and chips for $7.50. It truly is a bargain. The surprise package is the generous serve of steamed vegetables. Your plate is colourful thanks to broccoli, carrot, potato, green beans, pumpkin and squash. For some reason they are very generous with the squash. I think I had ten pieces of squash last time. It’s quite a random vegetable/fruit depending on your definition to have with a pub meal. Wikipedia says squash botanically is a fruit but in the culinary world it is considered a vegetable. The steamed vegetables are probably the main reason why the parents like to come back here. Oh and the friendly price. The dessert is usually your stock standard chocolate mousse. Look there is a reason this meal is $15 – it’s not fine restaurant quality but it is fantastic comfort food. Wednesday is $14 steak night where you can choose from a T-Bone or Porterhouse including chips, salad and a choice of sauces. You can’t go wrong. I had my steak medium rare and I couldn’t fault them. It was on the rarer side but that’s how I like it. I am so happy that I finally met my Local. Odin Tav I am sure I will be seeing you more and more to make up for lost time.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Sunday Roast

Generous and delicious!

THE DESTINATION
Odin Tavern on Urbanspoon

Quick Treat: I do not pay $18 for a burrito

The title of this treat says it all. At the moment Perth is going through a Mexican phase. There is a flood of Mexican influenced franchises popping around Perth including Zambreros, Mad Mex and the newbie Guzman y Gomez that hails from the East Coast. These places are quite reasonably priced but then again they are no Taco Bell 99 cent menu. Gosh I miss my USA college days where Taco Bell was a staple. There is a reason why Taco Bell isn’t in Australia. I learnt that in one of my early law classes. It’s similar to why Hungry Jacks is not Burger King in Australia…someone else has bought the naming rights. That’s your fun fact for the day. So unfortunately for expensive Perth the 99 cent menu does not exist. While cheaper franchise Mexican restaurants pop up in Perth there are also the expensive ones where a burrito, which is your stock standard wrap with rice, beans and salsa could cost you more than $18. Let’s face it; a burrito is just a glorified sandwich. It doesn’t require chef training. Last time I checked rice was one of the cheapest staples going around and beans don’t carry caviar prices. So I question why the Flying Taco in North Perth has $18 burritos. Apparently they taste great but I ask this fundamental question…do they taste better than the $12 burritos you can get at the franchise outlets. Could you go to Coles and make something similar and feed a family of 4? I’ll put my money where my mouth is. Watch out for the $18 feed a family of four burrito challenge in an upcoming treat. Now as we all know I don’t wait in line so I missed out on a free burrito on Guzman y Gomez’s opening day. I did venture there a couple days later and was impressed by the industrial interior design, which screams Melbourne. The menu is quite extensive and I was so happy to see 2 tacos for $8. Guzman’s neighbour, La Cholita charges $5 for one taco and they are tiny. You definitely get bang for your buck at Guzman. The tacos are full to the brim with filling and flavour. I recommend the steak chipotle. The next time I went there I tried the barramundi burrito for something different. I tried to healthify my burrito with brown rice and whole wheat. It costs $2 extra to go healthy so my burrito was edging to $18 but still only $13. The $5 breathing room counts, that’s sixteen 30 cent cones you could buy instead. The burrito would benefit from chilli sauce, I like it hot. I won’t use the dreaded B word (bland) but it was borderline. Let’s face it, the brown rice probably didn’t help it. While the Mexican phase continues to sweep Perth and Australia at large, we still have a lot to learn about this cuisine from our good friends in the USA. Mexican food shouldn’t be expensive to be tasty. I hope one day one of the USA chains; Taco Bell, Chipotle or Qdoba makes its way to Australia’s sunny shores so that our wallets can be heavier and our mouths burn on fire with flavour.

Disclaimer: Sorry for not taking any photos. Both times I went to Guzman y Gomez I was starving.

THE DESTINATION
Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taqueria Northbridge on Urbanspoon

Quick Treat: I’m corny

Hola amigos! Como estas? Can you tell I’m going through a Mexican phase. It all started on my Melbourne trip over the Australia Day weekend where I finally got to try Mamasitas. Now this restaurant is meant to be the bees’ knees of Mexican food in Melbourne. I’ve tried Mexican before in Melbourne at the Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda and was very impressed with their quinoa salad which I have now replicated at home. The food at Newmarket for a pub was on another level. It was by no means pub grub. The dishes were packed with fresh flavours and the pub’s fit out had that whole Melbourne industrial look going on. Now it was Mamasitas turn. Last time I was in Melbourne this was a failed expedition because the waiting time was so long and we ended up eating at Chin Chins at 11pm instead (so so so so delicious). Now I know why there is such a long wait…the space is tiny. This time round I learnt my lesson and had lunch at the awkward afternoon time of 3pm. The service was fantastic. The waitress patiently answered all our questions (and there were a lot of them). She recommended we try their signature dish….corn on the cob. I know such a simple dish is their signature. It was bang on delicious. The parmesan cheese and buttery corn with a squeeze of lime was amazing. The meal was off to a great start. Next were the tostadas aka Mexican canapés. Imagine a corn chip topped with chicken, avocado and cheese. To be honest for the price you pay it’s not worth it. Get yourself a taco instead. The chicken also had a weird tuna like texture and taste. It did not win us over. The soft shell tacos with the pork filling were delicious. We should have stopped there. The mushroom quesadilla was bland with a capital B. No amount of salsa or spicy sauce could redeem it. So Mamasita was both a hit and a miss. I would still go back just for the corn and the caramel popcorn ice cream. Even though I was about to catch up with a friend at Hopetoun Tearooms, I could not stop myself from ordering dessert at Mamasitas. There were more ice creams going around then drinks. It probably was the time of day, possibly too early for tequila o’clock. I’m just relieved that I finally got to try Mamasita. Another Mexican that I walked by in Melbourne was Guzman y Gomez, which has recently opened with much hype thanks to a free burrito day. As you all know I don’t wait in lines so I was happy to wait a few days and pay to try it out. Watch out for my next treat as my Mexican love affair continues.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

I'm corny...corny, corny, corny

I’m corny…corny, corny, corny

Tostadas = Mexican canapes = waste of stomach space

Tostadas = Mexican canapes = waste of stomach space

Pork tacos with a squeeze of lime...delish

Pork tacos with a squeeze of lime…delish

Don't bother with the quesadilla.

Don’t bother with the quesadilla.

I'd come back just for the corn and popcorn icecream!

I’d come back just for the corn and popcorn icecream!

THE DESTINATION
Mamasita on Urbanspoon