Tag Archives: beans

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.

Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taqueria Northbridge on Urbanspoon

Treat 43: Happy Turkey Day!

I love thanksgiving.  It brings back so many happy memories for me – from my first thanksgiving with my host family in California where my host mum went all out decorating the house for turkey day to my second thanksgiving with my college roommate Rachel’s family in Carmel, Indiana.  Now the thanksgiving tradition lives on back in Australia with my friends and I getting all turkey ready for that one time of the year. It’s all about spending time with loved ones and….EATING!  Emphasis is added because really that’s all you do all day.  I could talk about the history of thanksgiving of Pilgrims and Indians but as it has no context in Australia then let’s focus on the food.  So instead I will give you a collection of all the different foods that I have experienced so far in my Thanksgiving career.

Appetisers are aka as fillers in thanksgiving because let’s face it bacon wrapped sausages is a lot of protein and fat that fills you up.  This little treat quoting my host mum is called Trailer Trash.  Other appetisers to fill the stomach can vary from pretzels to devilled eggs and Spanish dip.  My friend Kirsty fancied up our appetisers with cute cherry tomatoes stuffed with basil, feta and olive, fresh Turkish bread from a local Serbian bakery, prosciutto, beef sancho bows with coleslaw and the always welcome cheese board including blue vein and camembert.  This first round of food can be a killer of appetite so it’s all about self-control, which less face it we will automatically fail if the food is on the table.
Let’s get to the star of the show… Mr Turkey.  The hunk of meat and all the preparation involved was first evidenced in 2004 when I saw my host mum Lulu slave over this ‘damn bird’.  But the result speaks for itself – succulent white fleshy meat that will be your leftovers for a good week.  For smaller audiences you can do a simple turkey roll with creative stuffing like pistachio and cranberries.  This is what me and my friends had in our first celebrated thanksgiving in 2010.  This year we went full kilter and had a 6kg turkey to share amongst 4 people.  Could we eat more than 1kg of turkey each?  Of course not, so the leftover tradition lives on unlike Joey in Friends who had a whole turkey in one sitting and still had room for dessert.  This is just proof that there is always room for dessert thanks to the safety dessert stomach. My friend Nush did the turkey justice by bathing it in a Nigella Lawson infusion of maple syrup, honey, mustard seeds, caraway seeds, fresh parsley… there’s a lot of ingredients required to make a turkey moist and tender. Nush’s first attempt at bathing and cooking a turkey was perfection – you can’t fault a juicy turkey.
The next big tradition of Thanksgiving is sides and lots of them. The key here is whatever vegetable is on the table it must be coated in cream or at least butter.  So for this thanksgiving I made garlicky green beans that I usually coat in olive oil with his evil brother butter instead.  My favourite side is candied yams – oh how sweet potato is made a whole lot sweeter with sugar.  In thanksgiving of 2008 with my Indiana family I first learnt about canned yams and the magic touch of marshmallows on top – don’t be shocked because it’s actually a delight to eat.  In 2011, my friend Fiona made the side of the year with a smooth sweet potato bake and crunchy caramelised pecan topping.  Remember Thanksgiving happens in the USA in the fall (Autumn) so the food is warming and very orange and brown. Therefore, it’s no surprise that dessert is also orange with pumpkin pie.  I had a lovely pumpkin pie cheesecake for my Indiana Thanksgiving.  If there’s one thing the USA do well besides movies is the assortment of pumpkin things – pumpkin bread, pumpkin lollies, jack-o-lantern pumpkins…I could go on for days but I won’t.  The best part of the day is going around the table and saying what you are thankful for so I will end the treat the same way. I am thankful for family, friends and food, put these ingredients together and you have many happy memories.


The appetisers

Trevor the Turkey!

I love Thanksgiving!