30 June 2010

One Six Nine Cafe: Sydney's Best Cafe Opening Soon, Randwick (18 June 2010)

169 Alison Road, Randwick NSW 2031

New cafe on the way

It's a bold statement to claim "Sydney's Best Cafe" but time will tell for this new cafe in the making still to be opened, located right next door to Tum's Thai — perhaps in Randwick to start with. The owner is aspiring to have a quality cafe with great food and staff serving the local community with an emphasis on sustainability ie 'paddock to plate' promoting quality, traceability and freshness. There'll also be fair-trade organic coffee and free range eggs. The proposed opening is around late July to early August if all goes well. I look forward to seeing what prevails and I hope they make a good big breakfast with some decent hash browns like Baffi & Mo Espresso, coffee like Pigeon and hot chocolate like Caffé Due Mondi so I don't have to travel so far.

Other visits to One Six Nine Cafe:
30 April 2011 - Mixed berry smoothie, Hot chocolate, Omelette with
goats cheese and basil,
Royal Apple pancakes
25 Sept 2010 - Chicken Club Sandwich, Eggs & Toast with Bacon and Haloumi, Fresh juice
19 August 2010 - Cafe opens
18 June 2010 - Promotion

Hiring notice

Located next to Tum's Thai

Home Cooking: Cold Oil French Fries (28 June 2010)

Cooking with cold oil

This is one of the most simplest and safest ways I've come across in cooking hot chips at home. I've always thought that it had to be hot oil when you cook potato chips but apparently not after first reading about this cooking method on The Stone Soup. A further Google search revealed a couple of other blog links of Domestic Agenda and RV Goddess that have used the Cold Oil method as well. Simply cut your potato chips, place in a pot, cover with cold cooking oil, then turn on the heat and watch them cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and serve with your favourite sea salt or seasoning. You can sift the oil after it's cooled, store in a glass bottle and reuse later.

PROS: No nasty oil splattering, Simple recipe which seems to work
CONS: Chips can stick to the bottom of the pot, Not as crispy and crunchy as perhaps other methods, Can make your home smell like oil and chips if you don't have a kitchen exhaust
MUST TRY: Remembering to get some Peanut Oil to try

Cut your chips and place in a pot

Cover your chips with cold oil. I used vegetable oil but I think I should try it with peanut oil as I believe it has a higher burning point which might be a lot healthier.

Turn the heat on full and watch your chips cook

Be sure to turn your chips. They started sticking to the bottom of the pot so you have to possibly loosen then a bit.

Watch them brown up and take them out when cooked to your liking

Drain your chips on paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt

Eagle Boys Pizza: There's a new pizza in town, Randwick (29 June 2010)

202 Alison Road, Randwick NSW 2031
Phone 1300 324 532

Pink is for Pizza

Yet another franchise pizza place opens up last week in Randwick and this time it's Eagle Boys Pizza shining like a pink beacon. There's plenty of competition already in Randwick like Base Pizza Bar, Doughboy, Pizza Man, Old Castille Randwick, Moseley's La Bussola Pizzeria Restaurant (which I think now may have sadly closed) and towards The Spot there's Arthur's Pizza and Pizza Hut down on Botany Street. A little bit further is Sven's Viking Pizza on Carrington Road, Dominoes on Coogee Bay Road, Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar on Clovelly Road and Cellini's Pizzeria on Frenchman's Road. In an already saturated local market Eagle Boys must be pretty confident that they have something different to offer or perhaps they just think Randwick is the centre of pizza lovers.

It's the first time I've had a chance to try this place and tonight I spot a Cheap Tuesday deal of $5.50 (pick up) for their traditional pizzas — bargain I say which makes it half price although I guess this does tend to match those shop-a-docket deals from Pizza Hut and Dominoes if they still exist. I always go for a Super Supreme ($5.50 usually $11) as a tester and the Eagle Boy's version is quite tasty with the thin crust. The base could be a bit crispier to hold the slice against gravity for my liking but it's not too bad. The base wasn't quite cut through all the way so had to use a knife at home. It should have taken 10 minutes from ordering as per the docket but they were running a bit slow tonight and took an extra 15 minutes. The staff are young and still finding their feet in the new store but they do seem to be taking extra care of making sure it's prepared properly and are friendly. There were a few people waiting for their orders and to pass the time it would have been good if they had a plasma tv to distract the wait time — I was missing MasterChef :-(

PROS: Plenty of topping choices and styles of crust, Friendly service, Quite tasty and seems a bit less processed than the standard Dominoes and Pizza Hut varieties.
CONS: Still finding their feet so service a little slow it seems, Take away only
MUST TRY: I have my eye on trying their Loaded Potato Skins — Gee they look good yet so bad for you loaded with cheese and bacon.

Super Supreme: Pepperoni, Beef, Mushroom, Red Onion, Capsicum, Pineapple, Kalamata Olives, Cheese $5.50 (Cheap Tuesday Price)

Cheap Tuesday Large Traditional Pizza $5.50

Box packaging

29 June 2010

Sel et Poivre: French, Darlinghurst (1 Dec 2009)

263 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Phone (02) 9361 6530

French bistro in Darlo

As you sit down in this cosy restaurant you can hear spotted conversations in French from the customers and waiters which is a comforting sound for a French restaurant. The menu is equally enticing with so many classic French options to choose from. The decor is a little more casual than Tabou and Onde and the seating is a bit more squeezed together. The Country style paté with cornichons and baguette ($14.50) was more rustic in texture than Onde's Duck liver pate and quite filling. Crispy Galette of Fresh Swimmer Crab, Leeks and sauce a l'americaine ($15.50) sounded intriguing but didn't quite deliver for me as I found it a bit dry and it seemed to lose the taste of the delicate fresh swimmer crab — perhaps served with a crab or prawn bisque might have given it more flavour and moistness.

The substantial serving of Seared Veal Liver with a French Shallot sauce and Frites ($23.50) will certainly satisfy the offal lovers — not really my thing though. Duck leg confit with lentils and salad ($25.90) was nice and simple. Homemade sorbet with raspberry coulis ($13.90) is perhaps a little on the pricey side considering there's Messina Gelato just down the road but it was refreshing. Tabou has been my long standing benchmark for a good crème brûlée in Sydney and Sel et Poivre's Authentic Crème brûlée with fresh vanilla beans ($13.90) came pretty close with noticeable vanilla bean seeds and a very good hard caramelised topping. Wines were nice and service pretty friendly and helpful. I'd like to revisit and try other things on the menu.

Other French restaurants visited:
Tabou - Surry Hills, 27 June 2010
Sel e Poirve - Darlinghurst, 1 Dec 2009
Tabou - Surry Hills, 9 Oct 2009
Onde - Darlinghurst, 25 Sept 2009
Chez Pascale Cuisine Francaise - Sans Souci, 8 July 2009

PROS: French speaking waiters and customers, nice and cosy decor, Interesting menu
CONS: Can get busy so book ahead, Limited parking in the area
MUST TRY: Crème brûlée

Basket of Freshly Baked Baguette $5.50

Crispy Galette of Fresh Swimmer Crab, Leeks and sauce a l'americaine $15.50

Country style paté with cornichons and baguette $14.50

Seared Veal Liver with a French Shallot sauce and Frites $23.50

Duck leg confit with lentils and salad $25.90

Homemade sorbet with raspberry coulis $13.90

Authentic Crème brûlée with fresh vanilla beans $13.90

Tim Adams Pinot Gris, Clare Valley SA 2009 $9.50, De Bortoli Vat 2 Sauvignon Blanc NSW 2008 $8

L'Opera de Villerambert Shiraz Grenache, France $9.50, De Bortoli Vat 2 Sauvignon Blanc NSW 2008 $8

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Cafe Sel Et Poivre on Urbanspoon

Scots on the Rocks Chaotic Ceilidh, Millers Point, Sydney (26 June 2010)

Abraham Mott Hall
17 Argyle Place, Millers Point NSW 2000

Chaotic hall of fun

If there's one thing I would add to a list of things to do before you die it would be going to a Scots on the Rocks Chaotic Ceilidh. It's seriously one of funniest things I've ever done and I can't help but laugh at the craziness of it all when so many people are trying to remember the dance steps. Don't be afraid to join in because they'll talk you through all the steps and if you get a bit lost that's all part of the fun and there's sure to be someone around to help guide any lost dancers in the right direction. It's great exercise and for only $20 it included lots of simple party style food for supper at around 9.30 pm along with some true Scottish IRN BRU energy drink to keep your energy levels high. The organisers are very friendly and usually the ones wearing the kilts. Be sure to wear flat shoes and lose clothing to keep you cool from all the fun dancing. The chaotic ceilidh is open to anyone but keep in mind tickets sell quickly once they go on sale so you have to be quick. Check out their website for more details.

Next Chaotic Ceilidh:
When: Saturday, 25 September 2010
Time: 8 pm ‘til 11:30-ish
Cost: Tickets $25 per person
Includes supper, BYO alcohol

Other visits to Scots on the Rocks:
26 June 2010 - Chaotic Ceilidh
26 Sept 2009 - Chaotic Ceilidh

PROS: Lots of fun, Good exercise, Friendly atmosphere, BYOG, Learning Scottish dances
CONS: You'll laugh until your head hurts, You'll get a bit hot and sweaty
MUST TRY: Participating in all the dances

Dancing in the hall

Musicians and dance caller

Supper time

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