Tag Archives: eggs

Treat 67: I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since my last treat!

It’s blogging time finally. Sorry for the delay in treats but I have a decent excuse. I just packed my bags and moved to the other side of the country. So the treats will take on a different flavour. You’ll hear me rave or rant about restaurants in my new home town of Sydney. In terms of ranting…price might not be one of them. I had brunch the other day including coffee…set me back $15. That’s double in Perth. Happy hour with half price drinks besides Carnegies on a Wednesday then you are dreaming. Besides eating out I’ll also post recipes (I actually mean it this time). My mum is an amazing cook but me I cook like my teta (grandma). I’m always in a rush. My problem is I cook when I’m hungry so I’ll eat along the way or rush so I can eat it sooner. However by living at home I became complacent. To quote a wise man (Hugh Jackman)…you can either stay complacent or grow. I decided to grow, not in height though that would be handy but in cooking ability and independence. For example, hummus is a staple of my house but not once did I attempt it. Why? Because my mum does an amazing job. When she tried to teach me it was in one ear and out the other. But I gave it a go and besides making too much (you only need one can not three for one person to last you a week). I made enough for a small army. So another challenge is cooking for one because I’m naturally engrained to cook bulk. Now I will use this post to talk food and not just update you on my life. Let’s talk one of my fave meals of the day…brunch. I alluded to it earlier when I was having my usual rant about Perth prices. My first brunch in Sydney was at Cowbell 808 in Surry Hills. I initially wanted to go to Bourke Street Bakery but at 11.30 on a Sunday I had no chance with the line bending around the corner. As you know I don’t wait (see Treat 44) My friend Patrick recommended Cowbell for its bacon ice cream…yep you heard right. How was it? Well I couldn’t tell you because they took it off the menu. I almost threw a tantrum like the 2 year old next to me. She too was obviously upset about the lack of bacon ice cream. Instead I got an egg and bacon wrap, which was delicious! The relish that went with yum! It was an alternative version of a bacon and egg roll…I was impressed. Their version of shashuka also looked a stand out. I say looked because I was eye dropping the table next to me. It was a couple on a date and the girl got the bigger meal. I was proud of her. My friend Alisha opted for the traditional scrambled eggs on toast. Just a couple negatives…table numbers were a bit disorganised. There were three table 13s, which became 13 1/2 and 13 3/4 by the end of it. The food was slow to come out but in Cowbell’s defence the place was heaving. We were lucky to get a table straight away. All in all this was a fine introduction to the Sydney brunch scene. I’ll continue searching high and low for the best brunch in Sydney. Tuck Shop and Sayers jointly took out the title in Perth. So watch this space…

THE FOOD JOURNEY
Good news…I have upgraded to an iPhone 5. No more dark and blurry photos.
Bad news…I’m so out of touch that I forgot to take a photo.

THE DESTINATION
Cowbell 808 on Urbanspoon

Quick Treat: Shhhhh it’s a secret

It looks like the only meal I’m eating out and about at the moment is breakfast. Or if it is dinner it is limited only to sashimi. What is going on? I have no idea. Just another phase I’m going through. It’s like the time I went to Jennifer Lopez’s concert and her six-pack inspired me to get fit again. So before I go on a Japanese food bender I’ll give you a couple more breakfast treats. Then after that I promise to spice it up, quite literally as I stumbled upon a Chinese chilli restaurant in Victoria Park that my dad has been wanting to visit. Today I was breakfasting before work with the Myer girls who now all have government jobs in the CBD. We checked out the Secret Garden Cafe on Murray Street in the West end of the city (not to be confused with the Secret Garden Cafe in South Perth which you will meet in an upcoming treat). I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few brekky options under $10. It’s actually a relief to see eggs on toast on the menu for under $10. They also do breakfast specials everyday where you can get a toastie (eggs, mushroom and spinach on sourdough) with a coffee for $10. What a relief! On Wednesdays you can get eggs on toast any way you like with a coffee for $10. Warning these specials are on the second page of the menu so don’t ignore. I chose the toastie and coffee special and was pleasantly surprised by the generous filling in my sandwich. It wasn’t anything difficult and I know I could easily make it at home but it’s the social aspect I love the most. Getting up early to get a good coffee and have a catch up with friends really is a great way to start my day. I know some people go for runs, I go to cafes. This morning we did have an engaging debate on whether the vegemite should be applied on the bread or come separately so you can spread yourself. Lazy me thinks it should come spread so I was disappointed when I went to Toast in East Perth and had to do all the hard work myself. However, when Kirsty’s vegemite toast was served we all grimaced at the thick level of vegemite without any butter to absorb the rich flavour. The waitress didn’t even have to wait for Kirsty to say anything, she apologised and took the plate away. It was replaced with the vegemite in a bowl ready for Kirsty to spread to her liking. Even simple things like vegemite on toast can be ruined. Let’s open this up for debate. Do you think vegemite should be spread or come separately? If you are looking for a breakfast option under $10 with great coffee then give Secret Garden Cafe a go. Just walk through the alley, walk past Tiger Tiger and there you will find the Secret Garden Cafe with their secret breakfast specials where all you need is a blue note.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

$10 for coffee and a sandwich (that's rare in Perth)

$10 for coffee and a sandwich (that’s rare in Perth)

THE DESTINATION
Secret Garden on Urbanspoon

Treat 54: The Buffet title goes to…

My cousins and I give each other titles similar to royalty that claim a special skill/talent. Actually it’s not like royalty because this title is not a birthright…it is earned. For example I have the title of being the baby whisperer. I have this knack of getting kids on planes to like me or stop them from crying. Exhibit A is 4 year old Ryan on the long haul flight from LA to Sydney back when I was 16 who laughed at all my jokes. However, my title is on the line with my cousin Nat winning the affections of a 2 year old on our recent flight to Sydney. I also have stolen the title of beach person from my cousin Nen by going to the beach every day for 2 weeks but she took my title of being the person that attracts free stuff. So as you can tell these titles are taken seriously, you work hard to claim them. So what does this have to do with treating? Well as my followers would know by now my cousins and I meet regularly for breakfasts before work. We take turns deciding where to go. This time round Nen decided we be daring and branch out to Crown Perth for a buffet breakfast at Atrium. So not only do we have to wake up an extra thirty minutes early we are also competing for the title of the best buffet person. The criteria includes how many laps you can do, how much of your plate you actually eat and how many different food combinations you can make. My problem is I fill my plate to the brim and pick at things and only eat what I like. Most things on my plate have only one bite taken out of them. For my first lap I did the traditional scrambled eggs, bacon, mushrooms and hash brown along with some random breakfast options like steamed fish, roasted vegetables and glazed ham. The fish was discarded quite early on…my mind couldn’t comprehend fish for breakfast. The ham made me feel like it was Christmas again but it is no match to the wonderful glazed ham efforts of my Aunty Georgette and the Nigella inspired ham that my friend Nush made for Thanksgiving 2012. I was disappointed that for the premium price you pay for this buffet that poached eggs are not an option. They do make an omelette in front of your eyes but for a majority of the time this was left unattended so I didn’t benefit from this. Another criticism is that they only offer percolated coffee. You have to pay $5 extra for your standard cappuccino/flat white options. You could end up out of pocket by $45 for breakfast. It’s not the best way to start the day. Round 2 I tried the Asian offerings like gai lan, dumplings and stir fried noodles. I’m not afraid of such savoury options around 10am dim sum time but at 7am I was struggling. This round was left mainly on the plate. After the overwhelming savoury options I went for sweets in Round 3. Think waffles, hot cakes, pastries and fruit. The highlight for me was the snail raisin pastry. It was light and crunchy. The hotcakes were slightly cold…unlike the freshly made ones you get at a Hyatt High Tea buffet. Same issue with the waffles. The strawberries were out of season and sour. Overall, the Atrium breakfast buffet has a lot of options. Maybe too many because the execution and quality isn’t always there. It’s that small attention to detail that can raise a buffet from ordinary to exciting and worth the premium price. Would I go back to a buffet before work? No. I should have learnt my lesson after the Miss Maud experience (see Treat 31). But my philosophy is at first you don’t succeed pick yourself up and try it again…and again. I was wrecked for the rest of the day. I think I was in a food coma that required intensive care (a nap) rather than work. Congratulations to my cousin Nen for her five laps of the buffet tables and for scraping her plates clean rather than my poor attempt. I also liked what she did with her pancakes…great choice with the berries. She has officially been crowned the Buffet Queen of the cousins (well between Nat and I at least). If you have time on your hands (before work is not recommended) and want to enjoy breakfast at a leisurely pace with a variety of options then head down to the Atrium buffet at Crown Perth. It is a guaranteed food coma especially with a title up for grabs you will be doing a lot of laps to win. Yes the competitive Monica (from Friends) in me comes out and a buffet becomes a competition. Except I lost…I don’t how to feel. I’ll have to steal back my getting things for free title from Nen or my baby whisperer title from Nat.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Round 1

Round 1

The sweet round - shame about the sour strawberries

The sweet round – shame about the sour strawberries

THE DESTINATION
Atrium on Urbanspoon

Treat 32: Lola you’ve got me on my knees Lola

Yes I know it’s meant to be Layla but I’m sure Eric Clapton won’t mind. I’ll be honest I’m not the best at remembering song lyrics and on my walk towards La Lola I was singing the wrong lyrics. Don’t judge me. Anyways let me tell you the story about the first time I met Lola. It was 2010 and I had a feeling that this restaurant would be the beginning of my career as a restaurant suggester. You know that person that everyone asks where to eat…that’s who I wanted to be. To make it challenging I took my Italian mate Fran to an Italian restaurant of my choice…as you can guess that was La Lola. Fran was very impressed and I think it’s been my biggest achievement to date with her in terms of my restaurant choices. In the beginning of La Lola’s life it was doing amazing pizzas, pasta and other Italian favourites with crazy long queues as La Lola does not do bookings. The pizza is no longer there with the Chef deciding to focus on the main menu. Even though I loved the pizza and don’t get me wrong I do miss it, I do understand the hard decision that the Chef made. I wish more restaurants made this wise choice of simplifying their menu and doing less things amazingly well instead of lots of items poorly (not mentioning any names or pointing at anyone Modo Mio in Crown Perth but yes that’s a criticism directed at you). A few years later and the waiting remains…just shows it has become a favourite in the peoples’ hearts of the western suburbs. I have been there a few more times since feasting on freshly made pappardelle with duck ragu, one of La Lola’s signatures. It had been awhile between drinks, in particular a fine Sangiovese cutely named Pinocchio that I traditionally order when I am visiting Lola. This time I introduced my friend Louise to La Lola, greeted by a charming Italian waiter who gets brownie points for making a big deal about my name. He told me how his family in Italy celebrate the feast of Santa Rita but he couldn’t remember the date. I gladly reminded him it was May 22. Not sure if my treats have revealed yet but I am a twin so I have to share a birthday. But May 22 is all mine and without fail my dad always buys a mud cake to celebrate my name day. Sorry for the tangent but as usual I couldn’t help myself. There was about a fifteen minute wait so the friendly waiter took down my number and recommended my friend and I get a drink at the Byrneleigh across the road. So we did. As promised, fifteen minutes later we got the phone call and back to La Lola we went. In past experiences at La Lola the portions have induced me into a food coma so I was very happy that Louise agreed to be my share buddy. We ordered the arancini with spinach, ricotta, silverbeet and gorgonzola and for mains we had the pasta of the day, which was tagliatelle with pancetta, swiss brown mushrooms and a poached egg. All I can say is La Lola gets me; I love poached eggs why do you think I go to brunch all the time. To go with the meal we of course ordered the Pinocchio Sangiovese. The arancini was delicious with the complementing flavours of spinach and ricotta. It’s a nice change from the Bolognese or pumpkin arancinis that frequent Perth. What can I say about the pasta….it was cooked al dente. La Lola has yet to disappoint me. The simple flavours of the mushrooms and pancetta matched perfectly with the yolky goodness of the poached egg. Such simple flavours with such powerful taste. The service here is like a well oiled machine. But like any machine there is the occasional break down. You have to understand that this place is constantly busy and are limited by space so sometimes there are service slip ups. In saying all this, on this night there were no problems. I normally don’t like small restaurants but as the warm weather rolls in, the doors have opened up and the alfresco seating makes the place feel bigger. Next time you feel like Italian that won’t let you down then visit Lola…she’ll have you on your knees. Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Carbo loading at its finest.

THE DESTINATION
La Lola on Urbanspoon

Treat 31: Missing the mark

On this random Wednesday morning it was time for a long overdue catch up with the cousins. Today’s breakfast adventure was at Miss Mauds in the city for an all you can eat feast. Now at 7am it might be hard to stomach a buffet. That’s what I thought till I got there and all of a sudden the hunger pains hit. For $26 you get a decent spread. I’ve had better. In terms of hot food there is fried and scrambled eggs, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, sausages, baked beans, hotcakes and French toast. Another section included a variety of boxed cereals, pastries, yoghurt, fruit, bread and spreads. On my first trip to the buffet I went straight to the hot food. The scrambled eggs were a favourite, nicely salted which I ate on rye. The hash brown was a let down, there was one bite where I had a nasty hard piece of bacon. One of my favourite hash brown/potato cakes is the one at Ikea which I normally get with the salmon. I normally get disappointed because I keep going to Ikea on the day when they have chips or boiled potato instead. I really have to nut out what day they do the potato cake. On my second lap I tried out the French toast, slightly dried out from sitting out on the buffet table. The star of the show was the custard pastry ignoring the tired looking fruit. I love good danish. My local IGA makes this awesome apricot danish, with a crunchy yet soft lattice and jammy fake apricot taste. Don’t ask me why but I have fond memories walking with my mum to buy this danish. It’s obviously just a frozen pastry that is baked in store but it tastes delicious when it’s warm out of the oven like most things do. The fruit offering was extensive with your standard fare including strawberries, melons, pineapple, banana, apple and oranges. Unfortunately the strawberries were quite tart and not enjoyable. I think the most disappointing feature of this buffet is the drinks. Even Ikea gives you a real coffee; the beans are even fair trade. At Miss Mauds all you get is the percolated kind. Disappointing Darren. I felt like I was at a diner in the USA but at least the waitress pours it for you. I think for the amount you pay you are better off going to brunch spots like (sorry but I can’t help it) Sayers, Tuckshop, Mrs S and Boucla. In saying that though buffets are a lot of fun, getting to do laps of the buffet tables and having competitions to see who can eat the most. Yes I know I’m immature at times. I am going to test out another buffet breakfast, the Atrium at Crown Perth to see if you get better bang for your buck. Miss Mauds breakfast buffet still packs a punch, it was crowded this morning. If you feel like doing something different and you conveniently work in the city then say hello to Miss Mauds for a random all you can eat breakfast adventure.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Round 1 – great scrambled eggs!

Round 2 – get a pastry.


THE DESTINATION
Miss Maud Smorgasbord Restaurant on Urbanspoon