Tag Archives: vegetables

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

Treat 52: I am home

When I go to Sydney I feel at home. I’m a city girl at heart and I feel at ease among the frenetic pace, busy roads and huge buildings. On my December visit to Sydney I drove for the first time and I was surprised at how comfortable I was behind the wheel. There were moments of nervousness and panic especially on the narrow Parramatta roads. Then there was the time where we tried to avoid a toll on the way to Brighton Le Sands and added forty minutes to the trip. This actually has nothing to do with what I’m about to treat about, I just wanted to boast about my driving. What I did want to talk about is Home Thai restaurant on Sussex St in the Sydney CBD, which I was hinting at in the first sentence. As a frequent Sydney traveller I now have favourite dining spots including Home Thai, Marigold, Max Brenners, Wow Cow frozen yoghurt and the Winery. Ok some spots are chains but you will find me there at least once while I’m in Sydney. I first was introduced to Home Thai back in 2009 and have gone back a few times now. My first impression was how busy the place was, there was a constant line but the food service is so fast that you are sitting in no time. Another cool thing was that they took your orders from iPads, which back in 2009 was quite a novelty before everyone had them (and when I say everyone I don’t mean me because I’m a late adopter). On my recent trip in December 2012, I had just come from a Thai weekend binge in Perth (see Treat 48: Thai time). This is when I had my first papaya salad experience. However, the papaya salad in Home Thai was probably too authentic for us with the black crab leg pieces confusing the cousins and me. Do you eat them? Nat’s friend So-Fun answered this for us, yes you do. The sweet and sour combination also wasn’t as palatable as Saowanee’s Place in North Perth. It was overdosed in fish sauce. Now I’ve tried to make this tasty sweet and sour sauce and have struggled getting the right balance. So I can totally understand with the frantic pace of Home Thai that in the rush extra fish sauce contaminated the balance. Here am I complaining about my favourite Thai restaurant in Sydney, in a way it’s my way to discourage you going so that the place doesn’t get busier than it already is. The other two dishes ordered, the pad thai and the fried rice were hands down amazing. The plates were scraped clean. Packed with delicious vegetables, seafood and chicken we were in food heaven. I also remember fondly of a prawn curry dish here. I am envious of the workers in Sydney’s CBD who can go there on their lunch break. It’s definitely worth making Sydney a home just for Home Thai (another bonus is Max Brenners – I can’t wait to treat about my quirky brunch there).

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Not the best papaya salad - too fishy and the crab legs scared me.

Not the best papaya salad – too fishy and the crab legs scared me.

Fried rice yummy yummy

Fried rice yummy yummy

THE DESTINATION
Home Thai Restaurant 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 23: C’est la vie

I have put spoilers throughout my treating about this French Revolution taking over Perth. In the last year we have seen the birth of the following French restaurants:
o P’tite Ardoise in Highgate
o Petite Mort in Shenton Park
o La Brasserie De Paris in Subiaco
o Bistro des Artiste in Subiaco
o Le Poisson D’or in Fremantle

Unfortunately the wallet hasn’t stretched far and I have only visited the first on this ever expanding list. The first time I went I was so impressed with how French everything was. From the décor, to the service, to having acclaimed French chef Alain Fabrègues from the Loose Box dining behind me made me think I was in a tiny bistro in Paris lost in the Latin Quarter. On that occasion I had the twice cooked duck leg with vegetable tian and orange sauce. The duck meat fell of the bone and was heavenly to eat. The accompanying vegetables or legumes as the French would say helped break the richness. I decided to finish this meal with another traditional French touch, creme brulee. It had a good amount of cracking, I love that sound. Since then I have been waiting for an excuse to go back and was very happy when my friend Kirsty chose to have her birthday celebrations at P’tite Ardoise. Coincidentally, this time last year we were actually dining in the Eiffel Tower (see Treat #2). All winter I had been craving the comfort of a beef bourguignon and boy was I excited to see a blackboard outside with those two words on it. For once in my life I was decisive. As our group of ten was packed into a small area with another group of ten you definitely felt the sardines’ effect. This wasn’t all that pleasant for the claustrophobic amongst the group. P’tite Ardois is BYO so we had about 5 bottles of wine scattered around the table. Warning when you get the final bill not to be shocked like we were, there is corkage of $10 per bottle. So that was an extra $50 slapped on our bill. Our sitting was at the respectable French time of 8.30 and by the time we left it was midnight. The French would be proud of our efforts. Ok finally to the food, another warning don’t fill up on the bread that gets passed around. Don’t go crazy like I do and dip roll after roll in the delicious olive tapenade. Don’t worry about me though I still left room for mains and dessert. My beef bourguignon came out nice and hot in a beautiful copper pot. I was beyond excited. I have spoken about the beef bourguignon in Versailles from this tiny bistro with narrow wonky stairs where I first fell in love with this dish (see Treat #1). I still haven’t found anything to match it and unfortunately P’tite Ardoise failed to hit the mark. It was too salty for me and I know the root of the problem was the bacon pieces. So I barely made a dent in this because the saltiness, mixed with the wine and all the bread from before was much of a muchness. However, dessert saved the day and the chocolate tart I shared with the birthday girl hit the spot. The search for the best beef bourguignon continues, oh what a shame (not sure if you can read sarcasm) I’ll have to keep treating to find it. Overall, I still love the ambience, service and the food despite my salty beef bourguignon because P’tite Ardoise takes me on a journey back to the streets of Paris as I get off the metro at Saint-Michel and find a place to eat in the Latin Quarter. Plus the lollies you get at the end means you always leave P’tite Ardoise with a smile on your face.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Cuisse de Canard a l’orange et son tian de legumes – do you have any idea what that means? Please let me translate – it is a twice cooked Duck Leg with vegetable tian, orange sauce. Don’t ask me what a tian is – google it.

Looks can be deceiving…it looks inviting but it was too salty for my palate.

The creme brulee is delicious with the right amount of crack (one of the sugar kind). How cute is the Eiffel Tower shortbread? Tre magnifique!

The perfect remedy to a salty dish…chocolate.

THE DESTINATION
P'tite Ardoise Bistro on Urbanspoon

Treat 20: Up in my grill

My favourite word at the moment is teppinyaki. Actually that’s a lie, it’s tied with Nusa Dua. I’m still on my search for teppinyaki ala How I Met Your Mother style. Till that day happens I will try alternative versions still using a grill but without the cool flippy chef moves. Today’s treat takes us to Korea, neither north or south but a Korean grill on Barrack Street. Took Bae Kee II was a pleasant surprise considering it was close to the dodgy end of Barrack street. Thanks to a spreets voucher I went with the Myer girls to enjoy a Korean grill price for the cheap and cheerful price of $10 each. This gave us two choices from the dumplings and grill section of the menu. After much indecisiveness here is what we chose:

• Kimchee and a bit of pork seasonal vegetables steamed dumplings (that’s exactly what the menu said – a bit of pork)
• Sweet potato noodles and seasonal vegetables fried dumplings
• Thick sliced soy chicken with seasoned vegetables
• Thin sliced beef oyster blade in special seasoned soy sauce marinade with seasonal vegetables

I am sometimes wary with those cheap internet vouchers but this was a fantastic deal and we enjoyed a great selection of food. The table was set out with a few condiments including soy beans and kimchee. The grill was positioned in the middle of the table and located dangerously near my elbow was a bell to call for service. What an amazing invention! I felt like a naughty kid though because my elbow ‘accidentally’ kept hitting it. This is great for ordering extra water and rice but no so great for ordering extra lettuce, that request was ignored. Besides that minor hiccup the service was spot on and attentive throughout this grilling experience. I am first to admit my knowledge of Korean cuisine is very limited. I have been fascinated with kimchee for awhile now as I have heard it has amazing health benefits because of its fermentation. I had never tried it and I enjoyed the kick of spice that came with it. When I go to the dentist tomorrow I think I’ll buy a jar from the Asian store next door. The kimchee and a bit of pork steam dumpling was seasoned nicely but it did have a rubbery texture around the edges that I discarded. It also needed some dunking in the soy sauce for extra flavour. The sweet potato noodles dumpling was a bit confusing for me because I thought the noodles would be made of sweet potato. I was wrong, it was vermicelli noodles with grated sweet potato. Same same but different. At the same those dumplings were put on the table I got distracted by the sound of grilling. The waitress carefully arranged the oyster mushrooms and chicken mixture in the pan. I got so excited. So by the time I remembered to eat my dumpling it was cold and rubbery. My own fault on that one. The chicken was delicious with the rice and vegetables. Thanks to Kirsty for the great idea of wrapping the chicken in lettuce and eating with our hands. By that stage I was struggling with my metallic chopsticks. I’m not going to lie I struggle with wooden chopsticks as well – I’m one of those people who dart the chopstick in the prawn dumpling at dim sum. The beef was next to hit the grill and we watched this closely because we prefer it on the medium rare side. The chicken we didn’t mind to leave cooking because let’s face it we didn’t want salmonella but unfortunately it left for some hard bits. The beef was tender and my favourite of the two. I think I was in a beef mood though. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this dining experience. Here I was thinking that we would be cooking the food ourselves, which I’m not a fan of because I don’t go to a restaurant to cook. Sorry Arirang (another Korean restaurant on Barrack Street) you lose brownie points there. I would definitely go back there even without a cheap deal. For the amount of food you get and the fun you having ringing the door bell (okay maybe that’s just me) and having food grilled in front of you then Took Bae Kee II is a winner chicken dinner.

THE FOOD JOURNEY

Kimchee and a bit of pork dumplings

The grill

They cook it right in front of your eyes (except without the flippy cool teppinyaki moves)

Now it’s cooked ready to eat

I told you we like our meat rare (ok I lie we cooked it a bit more than that)

THE DESTINATION
Took Bae Kee II on Urbanspoon