Tag Archives: mushroom

Treat 56: The North Star

My friend Louise is moving South of the River and though I am sad to see her leave us Northies behind, on the bright side it means branching out and trying new places that aren’t in my local radius. I do apologise to my followers that are south of the river because I knowingly neglect you. I also apologise for making jokes about needing road trip CDs to get to Fremantle. I’ll be honest I won’t stop making them (sorry Louise and Neha). So in the next couple weeks you will notice new brunch locations and I’ll mention suburbs where I probably have never eaten before. However, I couldn’t let Louise cross to the dark side without one last supper or brunch in this case at one of her former haunts, Hobart Deli in North Perth. This was actually my first time at Hobart Deli. I find myself continually surprised by these random corner cafes in the suburbs. Recent discoveries include Lincoln’s Cafe in Highgate, Piccolos Cafe in West Leederville and West End Deli in West Perth (see Quick Treat: The Slap). Hobart Deli was packed to the rafters on this Monday public holiday. I was lucky to nab a table so quickly. I’d like to think that was because for the first time in my life I was actually on time for brunch. Hopefully this experience will motivate me to become more punctual but I am naturally a late person and I can’t fight genetics. What I like about the Hobart Deli menu is that it has brunch options that you usually wouldn’t eat let alone make at home. The small space inside and out means you are almost practically sitting on the person next to you. It’s not arms distance apart more like a pinky finger space next to you. The advantage in this is that it is great for food watching (and eavesdropping but that’s neither here nor there). Unless you have already ordered then the advantage becomes a disadvantage because then you have food envy staring a pinky distance away from you. I ordered the full vegetarian, which didn’t sound as fun as the full playground (the title for the meat-eaters option). I’m not vegetarian but I like vegetarian options at brunch. You will notice me choosing the mushrooms and feta or anything with poached eggs really. This was a vegetarian’s dream – zucchini and haloumi fritter, roasted tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and poached egg on rye bread. They should rename it the Full House because it really has all the vegetarian favourites. The standout item for me was the zucchini and haloumi fritter. I loved the texture of the shredded zucchini and the punchy herbs made it memorable. The letdown was the overcooked poached eggs and hard rye bread. The bread choice was my fault. Rye is notoriously hard to cut but for some bizarre reason I like the sour taste that comes with it. The hard poached egg makes me sad because it’s gooeyness would have helped soften the rye bread. I won’t remind you about the last time my heart broke when I got hard poached eggs (see Treat 49: Foam Home ). I won’t give up on this place though. If I take your mind back to food envy, I had that from the lady next to me who in her own words was staring at the ensemble on my plate. In turn, I was staring longingly at her brioche with berries. I can’t wait to go back there just for that. The coffee was decent. When I looked at my coffee connoisseur friend Louise, she did not seem that impressed. She’s only moved in across the river five minutes and she’s criticising the coffee on the northie side. We will see about that. I really mean that….I have a long list of places to try including Ootong & Lincoln, Harvest, Barque, Aubergines….the list goes on. To sort of quote a wise man, Ali G….North side is the best! The crowds at Hobart Deli, Tuck Shop Cafe and Sayers are testament to that. But as a ‘foodie’ who actually eats food (not just take photos of it) I am excited by the prospect of finding the south of the river version of these brunching options. Watch out southies I am coming and I have an awesome road trip CD all ready to go.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Breakfast is the only time I'm vegetarian (except when I eat bacon)

Breakfast is the only time I’m vegetarian (except when I eat bacon)

THE DESTINATION
Hobart Deli on Urbanspoon

Treat 46: The day a carnivore became a herbivore

I am a meat eater. Give me a hunk of steak, a slab of ribs, a pot roast, a chicken schnitzel…I could go on but I won’t. However, growing up my mum always made sure there was two days per week when we ate seafood or a vegetarian meal. The older I get the more I embrace vegetables. For two days a week I’m like the shark in Finding Nemo – animals are friends not foes and I attempt to be vegetarian except technically not because I’ll still eat seafood. So really I’m nothing like the shark but more like forgetful Dory. Though my cousins have nicknamed me Nemo. Did you know there’s a Finding Nemo 2 coming out in 2014? Sorry for the major sidetrack -I’ll get back on topic now. On this beautiful hot Saturday my sister and I braved the crowds at the Beaufort Street Festival. Though there was countless food stalls, there were no comfortable places to eat. Instead I saw Veggie Mama open doing a roaring trade and luckily a table of two was free. I have wanted to try this place for awhile because my friend Fran raves about it. She works across the road and this is a handy and healthy lunch option. Not only is it vegetarian and vegan friendly, Veggie Mama also embraces the gluten free and has well displayed signs indicating what you are getting. My sister got the mushroom and walnut pattie with salad. For $13 it’s great value and as you can see from the photo – it’s a vegetable rainbow. The patty had an earthy taste with the walnut providing a nice crunch. The array of salad transformed a boring patty into an exciting and filling lunch. Now someone needs to get taste testers from Sumo Salad to try the Veggie Mama salads. You won’t find the preservativey taste of Sumo Salad in the Veggie Mama salads. Instead you will taste fresh vegetables lightly dressed. I chose the burger option with a chickpea and quinoa patty. The only disappointing element of this dish was the bread. Next time I will get the patty by itself. I was surprised that white bread was used when the place prides itself on healthy options. It wasn’t even tasty white bread. The relish was also a miss – it tasted more like ketchup than a relish. Instead of the token chips that it’s rival across the road, Hungry Jacks would supply with the burger you receive a rainbow salad. I was a happy camper diving into the array of broccoli, carrot and beetroot coleslaw and rice pilaf. The banana yoghurt smoothie was also a hit and helped cool us down on this hot day. Sorry I couldn’t give you a review of the Beaufort Street Festival food but the cool air and bright vegetarian options at Veggie Mamas won my stomach on the day. I will definitely go back there for the tasty vegetarian and gluten free friendly options.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Note to self - get the burger without the bread.

Note to self – get the burger without the bread.

It's like a rainbow!

It’s like a rainbow!

THE DESTINATION
Veggie Mama on Urbanspoon

Treat 40: Taken 3

I recently watched Taken 2 and I barely made a dent in my Cadbury popping candy chocolate before the credits were rolling. That must be the shortest movie in cinema history. Liam Neeson gets taken, then he gets found, then he gets taken and then he gets found and celebrates by eating ice cream. Good on Liam Neeson for celebrating with ice cream, I would be doing the same thing after a near death experience probably with a Maxibon. So what does Taken have to do with anything besides me venting about the duration of the movie and the tired formula. This is not a personal attack on Liam Neeson who I actually find charming especially in Love Actually. This treat is about disappointment. My cousins and I try to catch up once a week for breakfast before work. Each week we take turns choosing the breakfast location (for an example see Treat 31). Today was my turn. I love trying new places and I was so excited to try the new Small Print Baker & Roastery in the popular Print Hall. So after driving around trying to find parking we finally arrived at Brookfield Place and I couldn’t wait to see what house baked goods were on offer. Here comes the sad part…we couldn’t find it. I don’t know why I was too stubborn to ask someone. So while we were standing outside Print Hall I had no idea that we were actually standing on top of it. It was right under our noses this whole time. Why did we not think of going down the stairs? Well it was early in the morning, we were hungry and a stair climb wasn’t on the cards. So unfortunately we did not get to try Small Print today. We settled for Basilica, which was the more prominent café in Brookfield Place. I’ll be honest I was in a deflated mood. You know when you want to wear an outfit and you can’t find it but you had your heart set on it and you look all around your room and you can’t find it. That’s how I felt so poor Basilica had no chance to wow me. I ordered the vegetarian breakfast, which included grilled haloumi, sautéed mushrooms, baby spinach, vine ripened tomato, avocado, served on sourdough but I added protein with a poached egg. For $17 I was wishing we were at Sayers instead. One of my pet peeves in life is bad poached eggs. I have attempted many times at poaching eggs at home to no avail and it’s one of my major reasons why I love brunch so much so I get a trained chef to poach an egg for me. This poached egg was not runny and my bad start to the day got worse. The rest of the components of the breakfast did the job with Basilica providing a generous amount of avocado and tomato. The sourdough wasn’t amazing and the halumi was rubbery, not enjoyable to eat. I had a similar dish at Voyager (see Treat 29) which knocked my socks off. The Basilica version did nothing to improve my morning. They also got my coffee order wrong, I asked for a large flat white and I got a regular latte. I was too much in a mood to argue. So unfortunately Basilica won’t be seeing me again anytime soon mainly because I don’t work in the city and finding parking is a nightmare. My friend Neha did recommend the panini she had there. My cousins and I did enjoy the cherry danish and wished we kept our breakfast short and sweet with the pastry options. My good mood might have been taken but my spirit is not broken. Now that I know where Small Print is I will be back. Sorry for all the negitude in this treat, I promise to be more upbeat next time.

THE FOOD JOURNEY
Basilica on Urbanspoon

The hard yolk ruined it for me.

Next time I’ll keep to a pastry option.

THE DESTINATION
Basilica on Urbanspoon

Treat 34: Talkin’ bout a revolution

Before you think my head is stuck in the 90s (well I’m not going to argue with you I do quote Friends in high frequency) I don’t mind me Tracy Chapman and this song I think represents the revival of William Street. I have already treated about my increasing visits to catch up with William (the street not the Prince) to eat waffles and drink coffee (see Treat 28). Today I caught up with a couple friends bright and early before work at Little Willy’s for breakfast and the much needed coffee especially as I am not a morning person. Today I will test your psychic abilities…what do you think I ordered. If your answer was poached eggs you would normally be right but not today disco lady (or man) as today I took the road less travelled and ordered a breakfast burrito. This healthy option of scrambled eggs, mushroom, spinach and corn salsa was tasty and filling. I only stomached half the wrap and took the remaining in a doggy bag for morning tea. The only criticism is that I wish the burrito had more relish because I found it a little bit dry. My friend Nush ordered the bircher muesli and was very impressed with the fruit offering of rhubarb and grated apple. This has inspired her to make her own bircher muesli and knowing Nush’s cooking her version will taste amazing if not better than Little Willy’s. Thanks Nush for the instagram photo. I might have to ask my neighbour’s nine year old granddaughter to teach me how to use it. She taught me how to use Face Time the other day. I know she puts me to shame. Kids these days are to techonology advanced for me. One of the manager’s at work brought their three year old in and I excitedly printed out Dora colouring in only to be upstaged by an iPad. I digress, back to treating about Little Willy’s. I was excited to see Little Willy’s offers Fiori Coffee and my cappucino gave me the caffeine hit I needed to wake up. This chic little cafe has cute little booths, fancy mint and lemon infused water and there are copies of the newspaper for your reading enjoyment. It’s these little extra touches that make Little Willy’s a fantastic addition to the William Street stip. The Northbridge revolution continues with the growing number of cafes replacing bodycon dresses for poached eggs instead.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Say hola to a breakfast burrito (instead of poached eggs).

Instagram really does make photos look better. This is the Bircher muesli Nush ordered and instagrammed. It’s on the to do list for me to learn.

THE DESTINATION
Little Willy's on Urbanspoon

Quick Treat: One day I will stop talking about Sayers (when it closes down).

I have mentioned Sayers in a number of my treats; it is my favourite brunch spot though Tuck Shop has been leading lately in the competition for my heart and wallet. I always am indecisive when ordering at Sayers and I will have perused the menu for a long time while waiting for the line to die down at the register. However, on more than one occasion as soon as I get to the front I get blinded by the offerings in front of me. On this day it was no exception and I went from ordering cinnamon donuts to choosing a mushroom quiche. Don’t ask me how I changed my mind so drastically but it was worth it. I wish there was more relish on the side not because the quiche was not tasty but because the relish was delicious by itself. I would buy a jar. The side salad wasn’t a player on the sidelines but rather that player you bring on that is guaranteed to score goals like a non injured version of Mark Le Cras. The raw ribbons of carrot and zucchini added crunch and the dressing added zing to the earthy mushroom in the quiche. I loved this experience so much that on the next couple of outings at Sayers and their new sibling Sayers Sister I have went for the tart option and every single time it was a last minute decision. This option has not disappointed me…yet.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Don’t ignore the salad.

THE DESTINATION

Sayers on Urbanspoon

Treat 26: D’oh!

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.

Don’t bother.

Parma = delicious

The chicken salad is a winner because it has a lot of chicken.

THE DESTINATION
Dough Pizza on Urbanspoon