Category Archives: Uncategorized

Queenies at The Forresters.

queenies 003

What I’ve learned in the last few weeks. That eating a day old Zinger burger can be more pleasurable than eating a fresh one. That bacon in cocktails isn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. That Lance Armstrong makes for great table conversation, and that as one door closes another is almost always bound to open.

For the past year or so I’ve been spending a lot of time dedicating said time to one of the most important things in my life, that being myself. There’s an episode of Seinfeld where George dodges a bullet when his fiancé passes away from licking stamps. Feeling the relief from not having to commit himself to anything other than himself, he then embarks on a journey of self discovery called the ‘Summer of George’. There was a sense of that when I began the new year hoping to conquer things that were only ever out of reach in my past. Of course much like George, a summer of self discovery for me invariably leads to a summer of laziness. After awhile I forgot what my goals were and found myself more often than not lying down on the couch gorging on pizza pockets and sitting through OC marathons.

My love life wasn’t faring much better either.  With each passing week I was out there looking for new targets, honing my charms and being the romantic that I am, falling in love with someone new every Friday night. Eventually I tried focusing my energies on one lovely lady however, a few slaps and unanswered calls later I found the door getting shut with my face pressed firmly against it, but hey even I knew how that one was going to end (can we be friends?).

For Lance Armstrong things may be a little trickier at present but as I mentioned earlier as one door closes, another will surely open and it always helps when there’s someone on the other side whose willing to put up with and sometimes even laugh at your lame jokes, that may or may not include repeated references to Jamaican cuisine with cries of ‘jamaican me crazy man!’, ‘we be jammin’ and ‘rectecp!’.

This dear readers is not how I found myself at Queenies (Jamaican jerk Shack) on its opening night. I received an invitation from Jamie Thomas (executive chef of the Drink and Dine group) to have a sit down dinner with a few other food loving bloggers and being a fan of his  food by way of The Carrington, I made my way over there as fast as I could. Like all Drink and Dine establishments there’s a kitschy cool to the fitout and without having been to Jamaica myself I’d have to say it was feeling very Jamaican inside from the thatched ceiling, the Rastafari colours and the constant reggae bouncing out of the speakers.

We’re sent out an obscene amount of food and by meals end I can only think of unbuttoning the top buttons of my jeans and heading straight into an extended belching session. Now I’m going to do abit of a cop out here and just post the photos without proper descriptions but you’ll find far better extended reviews here and here. I will make mention of my highlights which were the bammies (which are similar to Mexican tostadas), the curried oxtail patties and the goat curry.

queenies 002Pulled Pork and Prawn Bammies

queenies 004Soft Shell Crab with Hotstepper (turn around, I’m the lyrical gangster) Sauce

queenies 005Curried Oxtail Patties

queenies 007Calypso Coffee Ribs

queenies 006Jerk Corn

queenies 008Goat Curry (with Dirty Rice hidden underneath)

queenies 001Jerk Pork Neck with Sweet Potato Fries, Slaw, Salsa and Bread Rolls

queenies 009Pina Colada Dessert

I have to give a special mention to Jamie as he was extremely generous and even though he is an Arsenal fan he’s a pretty cool/ nice guy to boot. I guess if I never embarked on my own ‘Summer of George’ then I wouldn’t be presented with such opportunities as this and for that I’d have to say this year has been pretty awesome. Pizza pockets included.

I DINED AS A GUEST OF JAMIE THOMAS. How’s that for a disclaimer?

Queenies at The Forresters

Corner Foveaux and Riley Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9212 3035

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Jamaican, Surry Hills, Uncategorized

The Long Goodbye

It’s never easy saying goodbye, whether it be a long drawn out affair or short and sweet, there’s sure to be certain shared memories that are evoked that may lead to tearful moments and an occasional feeling of despair and hopelessness. Sometimes there’s the comfort of a return date to let you know that the goodbye is merely an intermission but when it’s indefinite it can be especially hard to take.

Of course goodbyes are always made easier with alcohol as is life in general (I’m kidding kids), and what better way to signal the end of something then with a few pints of beer, a few shots of something on fire and a bunch of stupid ideas. It can turn something that is potentially sad into something fun, and if the few turns into a car load then it can be wildly ridiculous, just like the time I may or may have not made advances on my boss’s wife at a work function… but that’s a story for another time.

When I heard the news that the Sydney monorail was being taken down I was hit with an immense feeling of sadness. I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day thinking about the glory of an eyesore that was those blue rails, about the automated voice that got you all excited that Sydney had a Spanish Quarter, about the monorail stop in Chinatown that never was, and all this accompanied by the constant soundtrack of ‘monorail, monorail monoooraaaaaiiiil… mono-doh!’. Later a friend of mine and I decided that the best way to say goodbye to this dear old friend of ours was with a monorail pub crawl, the idea being that we’d get off each stop and have a few drinks at whatever bar was close. The only thing we needed was a name.

monocrawl-coronationClockwise from top left – Hello front door; Yes I’m sad too; Oh look its the inside; fatty fries and a surprisingly good aioli.

And this, my dear readers is how I found myself out on a mildly chilly Saturday night embarking on #monocrawl2012. We start our evening at the highly trendy Hotel Coronation which sits right near the Galleries Victoria stop. Ok so it’s not the coolest place in Sydney and a place that attracts drunkards at a highly disturbing 7am on a weekday doesn’t scream inviting to non-locals, but it’s this diveyness that I find so appealing. We kick back with a few beers and, some gloriously fried in not canola oil fries and what’s great for me and not so much my company, F1 qualifying live on one of the TV’s. If sticky carpeted floors and memories of an 80’s Irish pub/ sports bar aren’t your thing then you could try going to The Arthouse Hotel.

monocrawl-monorailClockwise from top left – It’s the monorail; Psychedelic seats and bored passengers; Poignant shot; What I see when I’m drunk.

From here our night begins in earnest and we jump aboard the monorail. Now those of you from Sydney would be fairly familiar with how expensive a monorail ride can be ($5.00 for a single ticket), but if you’re smart about this then you’ll go and get yourself a day pass at $9.80 which allows you unlimited access for the day.

At our next stop – the aptly named City Centre – we encounter our first hiccup of the night with the closest bar Kulabar looking to be no longer in business. We try going to St. James Hotel which is further up on Castlereagh Street only to find that that too is sadly closed. Realising we’re behind on time anyway we decide to get back onto the monorail.  If you come across the same problem that we had then I might suggest that you try City Tattersalls, which is directly opposite the station. This sadly wasn’t an option for us as several people in our group lived within the 5KM radius that forces them to become members should they want to go inside.

monocrawl-helmbarLeft: The view from Helm; Right The view outside of Helm. Hello ladies.

Never one to be down after a minor setback we kick on and head towards Darling Harbour, with the first stop of this precinct being Darling Park. Here we head into Helm Bar. It’s remarkably quiet for a Saturday night and lacking in character, but with its views of the harbour and an empty bar we weren’t about to start complaining. By this point I’ve switched to Gin and after buying a round of shots I find it amusing that due to a tequila aversion by one of the girls she decides to sip on it using a straw rather than knocking it back. It is an odd sight. If drinking in an overextended tin shed isn’t really your thing then you might want to try Pontoon around the corner, Cargo Bar on the other side of the aquarium, or if you’re feeling a little classy then at Coast above Cockle Bay Wharf.

monocrawl-pyrmontbridgeA quiet moment of reflection outside the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. Memories.

The closeness of the next stop reminds us of how redundant the monorail is. At only a few hundred metres away it would have made more sense to walk across the Pyrmont Bridge (affording us time to get sober), but what’s a monocrawl without a monorail? Like the good sports we are, we get back on and head to our next Destination the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. In the past I’ve always avoided this pub as I always saw it as the seedy 24 hour joint in Darling Harbour. I’m pleasantly surprised to be greeted by friendly bouncers (going beyond their call of duty to find extra chairs for other patrons) and an interior lifted straight from the 1920’s that wouldn’t look so far removed in uber trendy Surry Hills/ Darlinghurst. If however, you can’t get past these reservations then you may want to try heading inside Harbourside and going to Cohibar where you can sit back with an excellent cocktail while puffing on a very fine cigar.

monocrawl-charliesClockwise from top left – The Flaming Charlie; Larb so good from Mrs’s Chans, Being creepily served by me; Larb so good I had to throw in another shot.

With the next stop being even closer in proximity – Convention – and with us running behind on time and being fairly intoxicated we decide to bypass it and head towards the Paddy’s Markets stop where we stroll towards Charlie Chan’s. Ok so technically this isn’t the closest bar and if you wanted to stick to the rules then you may want to try going over to the Market City Tavern, but Charlie Chan’s (or Chacha’s as I affectionately call it) happen to serve one of my favourite drinks in Sydney, the amusingly named Flaming Charlie (fits in with the Simpson’s theme as well), a layered shot of drinks that I can’t remember that’s set aflame and further ignited using cinnamon powder. Feeling overly tipsy we order some food from Mrs Chan’s (by Crocodile Senior), a lovely plate of larb gai and some vegetarian spring rolls. The food sits well in our stomachs and perhaps I’m a little drunk at this point as I believe it to be the best larb gai I’d ever come across (will have to go back and retry it in a sober state). I guess the cute waitress didn’t hurt either (although the rejection kind of did).

Unfortunately we spend a little too long inside and therefore miss the last monorail and with it our last monorail stop, World Square. Had we made it we could have tried going to Shark Hotel and ordered some fried ice cream from Holy Basil, or we may have walked on over to Mr B’s where we would have experienced a little bit of Bangkok in Sydney.

From there the monocrawl was over but my night had only just begun. Begun to get stupid that is. A brief summary would include karaoke, copious amounts of something alcoholic mixed with green tea, a drunken meal of bibimbap at 4 or 5 am and an all day vomiting session the day after, by which point I had fallen completely off the rails. So just like any other farewell then.

Ok so I realise that alcohol isn’t for everyone but I suggest a monocrawl is something you should do before the monorail gets taken down. Perhaps you’ll want to try a monorail food crawl which would also be a brilliant idea. If it were me then my itinerary may look something like this; katsu cheese curry from Ichi-Ban Boshi at The Galleries, a Reuben Sandwich from Reuben and More inside Westfield at City Centre, a mini tsukemen from Menya at Darling Park, a scoop or 2 of ice cream from Movenpick at Harbourside, nothing from Convention, a Chinese Lamb Burger from the Northern Chinese vendor in Dixon House at Paddy’s Markets and finally that fried ice cream I mentioned from Holy Basil inside Shark Hotel at World Square. Go on, I implore you. #monocrawl2012

Hotel Coronation

5-7 Park Street, Sydney
(02) 9266 3100

Helm Bar

Wheat Road, Sydney
(02) 9290 1571

Pyrmont Bridge Hotel

96 Union Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9660 6996

Charlie Chans

635 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9281 4299

10 Comments

Filed under CBD, Pub Crawl, Pyrmont, Sydney, Thai Food, Uncategorized

Kura – Pyrmont

kura - kura

Did you know that Sydney has some secret underground tunnels? Right underneath Hyde Park, around St. James station lies a criss cross of unused tunnels that were slated for use with lines that never went into commission. Later it was used during world war II as some kind of bomb shelter or something and more recently in 2008 when Sydney was going through a drought crisis there were plans to access water in a 10km long section of tunnel for recycling purposes. Even more recently however, there’s been some kind of monster/ demon lurking in there. Nobody knows what it really is (although I suspect the government may know more then they’re letting on) as the only footage seen of it looks like some shady zombified version of an Eastern European male that was of course captured in darkness.

I found all this out the other night when I was watching ‘The Tunnel’ (don’t worry I haven’t revealed too many spoilers), which just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity is based off real footage meaning everything you see actually happened. During the course of the movie I may have been heard ragging on the film in order to lighten the mood, because secretly I may have been a little scared.

Later that night while asleep I dreamt of demons with sharp teeth,  wearing red jumpsuits breaking through my bedroom door and lunging towards me. I dreamt of them trying to claw at my face and I dreamt of myself grabbing them by the necks and pushing them out the door. I also dreamt of myself having somehow ripped off one of their legs and beating them with said leg. I woke up a little sweaty, but with a kind of relief. Relief mostly because I always thought that in these kinds of situations, my inner George Costanza would come shining through, and I’d be the first one running out the door leaving everyone else behind me. The dream suggested there was some hope for me yet.

I don’t know what it is but when I think of fighting monsters and whatnot I usually think of Godzilla, and thinking of Godzilla leads me onto thinking of Japanese food; so after a night of fighting demons what better to way gain my strength back then with a steaming hot bowl of Japanese curry and rice; and this my dear readers is how I find myself at Kura.

Most people know of Kura’s other branches in Chinatown (near Market City and 1 Dixon Place), but I recently discovered their other outlet here in Pyrmont and what a little gem it is. The menu here is slightly different to the others (from what I can remember) but it’s all the better for it.

kura - tunatatakiTuna Tataki

The tuna tataki here looks good enough to get my non sushi/ sashimi loving diners into giving it a go. I’m kind of sad that they do as that means there’s that much less for me. Seems like my plan of ordering something that no-one else would like has backfired on me on this occasion. The tuna is clean and the salad bed it’s presented on provides a pleasing crunch and zinginess.

kura- deepfriedoysterDeep Fried Oysters

I love anything deep fried. There’s something so right about a food item that’s been crumbed and scorched in hot oil till it resembles something the Colonel would be proud of, no matter how wrong everyone else is telling you it is. The deep fried oysters here are one of my favourite things to eat in Sydney at the moment. I could do without the nanban sauce though and go for some Tabasco instead. Believe it or not the oysters are incredibly juicy and soft inside their coating.

kura - katsu curryChicken Katsu Curry

The Katsu curry here is one of the better ones I’ve had in Sydney and reminds me of the curry houses you find scattered around Tokyo train stations. The curry has been stewed with carrots and other veggies and the coating on the chicken is satisfyingly crunchy. The portion size itself satisfies one diner’s wish of eating something bigger than his head. The chicken itself remains tender and goes down really well with an ice cold glass of Asahi…. Or 3.

kura - asahi

If there is anything this dream has taught me is that monsters/ demons have no emotions whatsoever so there’s little point of running away or reasoning with one. It’s not like an argument at a bar where it can easily be dealt with by offering to buy the protagonist a drink or by simply blaming it on someone else; no, when faced with the supernatural its best to take your chances and tackle them head on, and when fighting the forces of evil you need to have the necessary sustenance that a few lettuce leaves and heirloom tomatoes will not help you with in this carb conscious world. Deep fried with a side of carbs is the way to go.

Kura
141 Harris Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9518 7944

11 Comments

Filed under Japanese, Pyrmont, Sydney, Uncategorized

A New Beginning

pig-post-1

Well I’ve finally done it.

5 years after I first toyed with the idea of starting a food blog I’ve gone and done it. I’ve come close on a few occasions but the furthest I ever got was claiming to my workmate that ‘Today I’m starting a foodblog’. It was around the 7th or 8th time I said that without anything coming to fruition that she began to shrug off any of my claims. Well today… the joke’s on her ‘cause guess what…. Here I am. And you know what, maybe I’ll do this for awhile.

So why now you ask? It’s a number of factors really.

–          Recently my daily work life has been getting slightly monotonous so I’ve been looking for some new inspiration.

–          It seems as though the only things I take photos of these days are of food, cars or drunken shenanigans…. Cars I already have a blog for and drunken shenanigans, well let’s face it some things are better not shared.  

–          I’ve been stalking foodblogs for a longtime now and I’ve come to realise the power that they can potentially have in todays dining scene. Thanks to blogs such as grabyourfork I’m not at such a loss as to where to eat when I really can’t think of anything to eat anymore. Over the years I’ve felt like I’ve built up a sizeable little database of goodeats and now I’d like to share some of those experiences with fellow ‘I don’t know where to eaters’.

–          I’ve come to realise how damn charming I am and how criminal it would be for the world to not hear my thoughts.

Who am I you ask and why should you read my blog? Well check out my about section first, and if that hasn’t offended you and you’re still here, just know that I love food, I’m willing to share and I really am quite a nice guy once you get to know me. The pig in the opening picture says it all really.

You’ll have to bare with me for awhile as I don’t have the best camera in the world, and even if I did my picture taking quality leaves a lot to be desired that the words ‘take the camera away from him’ are ones I hear being said often. So please stick around with me. They say that if you go to a restaurant and you have a good experience you’ll tell 3 people about it, but if you have a bad one you’ll 10. Basically by this logic the less hits I get the better I’m doing.

And since this is a foodblog I might as well throw in a photo of food. Here.

yakitori-post-1

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized