Friday, July 29, 2011

Digi.Kaf (2) - Glebe

It was a rare Saturday morning with no commitments. My partner asked me where I wanted to eat and immediately, Digi.Kaf, an awesome brunch place we went to in previous years floated into mind. Hence - to Glebe we went.

First - coffee. We both wanted Cappuccinos. It was made nicely here. The coffee is almost strong enough and almost creamy enough and hence, almost yummy enough :) Just a tad short of Melbournian coffee.


In terms of food, my hubby picked the baked beans with sausages ($14.50). This was a substantial pile of cafe baked borlotti beans, onion and roasted capsicum submerged in a rich herbed tomato sauce. My hubby asked for the sourdough toast on the side so it wouldn't be crazily soaked in it. The sausages were very rich and aromatic - chewy and yum. And the poached egg was cooked to perfection... the yoke oozed out. My hubby said that this was probably one of the better baked beans he's had for a while.

baked beans with bacon or sausages - $14.50

I opted for the green eggs and ham ($16.90). This was three eggs made super scrambled and creamy with basil pesto stirred through it. This was served on top of a crusty sourdough toast, wild rocket and plentiful generous rashers of crispy grilled prosciutto. The creamy scrambled was really YUM. Soooo creamy - sooooo pesto-flavoury and deliciousness~

Green Eggs and Ham - $16.90

There's a reason why I wanted to come back - great food, good coffee, good service, great atmosphere.

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 8/10
Overall - 31.5/40

174 St Johns Rd

NSW 2037

Tel: (02) 9660 3509

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Eastwood BBQ Kitchen - Eastwood

In the past few months, a place we've always gone to for awesome red bean grass jelly icecream float drink had been replaced by a popular honky-style cafe branched off from Chatswood. This place, most probably due to it's newness in the suburb, was packed out both times we visited. The service was variable on the two occasions, likewise the food.

Eastwood BBQ Kitchen

They have special "lunch sets". We ordered their lunch set on both occasions. One time, it was a cream of pumpkin soup with a baked Portuguese chicken rice and drink. The soup was interesting - not your average pumpkin soup. This was pumpkin soup with an asian spin. It had a seafoody taste to it, kinda like your creamy seafood or chicken soup with a hint of pumpkin in it. The Portuguese chicken rice, however, was very yumminess indeed. Potato cubes, carrot, peas and chicken bits with wonderfully creamy tasty sauce which was all on top of some rice.

creamy pumpkin soup
baked Portuguese chicken rice

Another lunch set had been a Russian Borsch with a Baked pork chop rice. The russian borsch was super tasty and delicious and the baked pork chop rice was a wonderful surprise. The fried egg on top adds an additional wonderful texture and taste to the whole dish. The sauce is pretty much just tomatoey enough and the pork chop is wonderfully tender. YUM.

russian borsch
baked pork chop rice

The noodle here are slightly average and slightly expensive compared to what you can get elsewhere. There's their signature rice noodle soups. The one I opted for here was with a deep fried fish puff with rice noodles. This was... umm... average. Not too much taste. Not really my favourite type of noodle. But meh.

rice noodle with fish ball puff soup

The stir noodles with 2 kinds of bbq meat options fared a bit better. The bbq stuff is awesome! Really tasty tender soya sauce chicken with crispy skinned juicy fatty duck. Mmm... The stir noodles were ok... but I've had better.

Stir noodles with duck and soya sauce chicken

Likewise their drinks. This was a milk tea coffee blend and it came out really quite bland. Not enough tea flavour. Not enough coffee flavour... Hmmm..

coffee with milk tea

As I mentioned before, the service is variable. Depends on your luck! Try and come on a non weekend day for better service and food I guess :)

Food - 7/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 26/40

Eastwood BBQ Kitchen
1 Trelawney Street
NSW 2122
Tel: (02) 9858 1366

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shake Shack - New York City

Before going to NYC, I had done my research regarding burgers. One of the highly recommended places for a burger was 'Shake Shack'. Amazingly for us, there was one right underneath our hotel (wasn't intentional I swear!).

Shake Shack

Because Shake Shack was right underneath our hotel, we were able to go multiple times :) We tried their chocolate shake and that was simply superb - rich, thick, creamy and chocolately. On a different night, we opted for their "concrete". We tried one of their specials - the chocolate coco-loco concrete. This was chocolate custard blended with coconut dulce de leche and brownie chunks and this was like... omg thick and super super rich. I think we got through around half of this and we both gave up - it was too crazily thick and rich~

chocolate coco-loco concrete

One time, we tried their Shackburger and a Shack-cago Dog. The Shackburger, though small for American sizes, was packed filled with flavour. Super juicy and delicious beef patty with melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato and their special "shacksauce". This was soooooo good - we were both reminiscing the flavours the whole time we were in NYC (and also now, that we're back). The Shack-cago Dog was a Vienna all-beef sausage dog in a really soft yummy potato bun. This was topped with Shake Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickles, tomato, pepper, celery salt and mustard. This was amazingly deliciousness too!!! Mmmmm.... Amazing. I'm salivating just at the thought :)


shack-cago dog

The fries here were crinkle cut. This time - we chose to have cheese melted on top - resulting in a cheesy deep fried starchy heap. So yummy but sooo sooo sooo unhealthy feeling :)

cheesy fries

Upon our first visit, we eyed our neighbouring tables who seemed to have this huge stack in their burgers and hence, that was definitely on our agenda for our next visit. The Shack Stack was a cheeseburger and a 'shroom burger combined. The Shroom burger is a crisp-fried portobello filled deep fried patty with muenster and cheddar cheese melted throughout it. So this cheesy mushroom patty plus a juicy beef patty was combined with lettuce, tomato and shacksauce to give us a monster of a shack stack. It was extremely tasty - a little too big to put into your mouth all at once - but yum nonetheless. My partner preferred the normal shack burger to this, but both were good.

shack stack

Shake Shack is one burger joint in NYC that is definitely worth a visit :)

Food - 9.5/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 30.5/40

Shake Shack (the one under Intercontinental)
691 8th Ave,
Southwest Cnr of 8th Ave and 44th St
New York City
Tel: (646) 435 0135

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tosung Firewood BBQ - Homebush

Upon high recommendation by our Korean friend (repeatedly), my partner and I decided to check out Tosung Firewood BBQ which was around the area where we lived. Our friend said that the smoked duck was to die for - and hence, we were all up for a duck night! To our disappointment, duck was sold out for the evening >.< Hence, we had to settle for our usual favourites at Korean BBQs.

First to come was a range of sauces and condiments. We each got a salad and a cold soup. The cold soup was vinegary and filled with veges - I think it's meant to be a healthy thing to drink following unhealthy bbq stuff, or maybe it's to cool our burning mouths down (as we tend to eat the meat straight off the hot plate without waiting for it to cool down properly). There were only three other varieties of side dishes - a sweet potato mash puree type thing (which I didn't really like), pickled onions, and pickled chinese cabbage.


We opted for one side dish to complement all the meat - Jap Chae ($12). This was a good array of veges with beef all tossed in super yummy potato starch noodles. This was quite delicious - the flavours were all there, it was hot and steamy, the noodles were nice and soft, there was just enough sauce.... Mmm.....

Jap Chae - $12

In terms of meat, we had the ox tongue ($18) and the pork belly ($17). My partner claimed that this was probably the best pork belly he has had in Sydney - and given the number of Korean bbq places he's been to and his love of pork belly - it was a pretty big claim. It was soft, tender, juicy and you could tell that the meat was "fresh", like it wasn't the type that has been sitting around for days before they served it out. There was a good meat to fat ratio - just enough so that the meat kind of just melts in your mouth. The ox tongue was also good. Thinly slices, tasty and chewy but not too chewy - just the way it's meant to be.

Pork Belly - $17
Ox Tongue - $18

As we were in a firewood bbq place, it made no sense to not order any smoked stuff. Hence, out last choice was the firewood pork rib ($25). Coming out pre-smoked and firewooded, you're meant to heat it back up on your stove... and... this was heavenly. Smoky flavour infused throughout the meat, super super tender - the meat just falls off the bone... and it was just amazing! Really yummy ribs - I ate so much of these :) If the firewood ribs are this good - would the duck be even better?

Firewood Pork Rib - $25

All up, it was a good recommendation by our Korean friend. The restaurant seems to be a bit in the middle of nowhere - but there's a big carpark and a lot of Koreans who dine here (which is always a good sign). Definately worth a re-visit :)

Food - 9/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 30.5/40

Tosung Firewood BBQ
17-35 Parramatta Road
NSW 2140
Tel: (02) 8756 5252

Monday, July 11, 2011

Casellula - New York City

On recommendation by a friend, we had decided to dine at Casellula, a Cheese & Wine Cafe in the Hells Kitchen area of NYC. Being quite a small, cozy yet popular cafe, the place was packed full of people and we had to wait a little while outside in the dark and cold.

Nonetheless, when seated, we could see the charms of this place. Cheese cabinet in full display, lots of people chit-chatting over a glass of nice wine. The whole thing made the place comfortable - like your just chilling at a friend's after work.

For the night, we decided to order 2 entrees and 2 mains. My partner's pick was the Spanish white anchovy fillets which were served with fennel fronds and pickled shallots. Small crusty bread accompanied the salty/sour combination which really, kind of opened your appetite to try other things.

Spanish White Anchovy Fillets

The entree of my choosing was the chistorras in a blanket. Super yummy sausages wrapped in a soft tortilla like pastry and topped with slices of raddish. Not bad... but so far, the dishes were quite small - leaving me wanting.

Chistorras in a Blanket

The first main was the seafood taco. Lots of seafood - calamari, squid, prawns - with red cabbage slaw and a lime cilantro dressing. I have to saw, of the night, this was my least favourite. Not because the flavours of the seafood was wrong. But because the "taco" wasn't really to my liking. Although I am a fan of soft tacos, the consistency of this flour wrap just didn't seem right.

Seafood Taco

My partner's favourite of the night was the Pig's ass sandwich. Super yummy ham thinly sliced, with 5-spoke tumbleweed and fol epi cheese, pickles - all pressed together in the toasted turkish-style bread, with super yummy chipotle aioli on the side. Kind of like an upscale ham and cheese toasty :)

Pig's Ass Sandwich

Being a tapaz style cafe, it was kind of weird seeing food in normal proportions once again (as opposed to American sizes). I have to say, I miss American sizes - but only when it super yummy good food.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 29/40

Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe
401 West 43rd Street
New York
Tel: (212)315-2121

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New York Slice - New York City

We had done our research and noted that the New York Slice is one of the 'must eat's in NYC. Instead of just jumping into any pizza joint (which are everywhere in NYC), my hubby decides - NO! Let's go out of our way to find a net-recommended one. So at the risk of missing the sunset views on the Empire State Building, we went pizza-slice hunting.

It was a tough trek, made tougher by the fact that my hubby forgot to bring the name and address of the joint. We almost didn't find it. We almost missed it, and gave up after 1/2 and hour of walking. Just as we were about the run back to the Empire State Building, we saw it! Bleeker Street Pizza.

Bleecker St Pizza

There was a window full of yummily ovened "pies" (ie. pizzas). Some with very tempting toppings. But to be traditional, we had to go with the margherita. A large, wide, thin, foldable pizza topped with tomato sauce and stringy mozarella. The base is what makes the new york slice a new york slice. It's thin and chewy in texture, yet crusty and crunchy all at the same time. How can something so thin and simple be so yummy?

Margherita pizza slice

The New York Slice does not disappoint. Yumminess to the core.

Food - 9/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 6.5/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 29.5/40

Bleecker Street Pizza
69 Seventh Ave South
New York, NY 10014-4043
Tel: (212) 924 4466

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lukes Lobster - New York City

So we were talking around, casually exploring NYC and trying to look local. It was lunchtime and we were hungry and just as we were debating about what to eat, we noticed this HUGE line that extended pretty much the whole block. What were they lining up for?!?!?

My partner's theory - if there is a line, join it. And so we joined. After joining the long long long line, one of us scouted out what in the world we were lining up for and bingo! One of the thing's we had yet to try - the lobster roll.

We were informed by others in the line that a recent fad in NYC was these pop-up lunch spots where food trucks would just park somewhere in the city selling specialised foods - be it lobster rolls, cupcakes, icecream or anything! Foodies from all around NYC would track down these trucks (line up for ages) and try their foods.

epic line of foodies lobster truck

The line was epic. By the time we got to the front, anticipation for this lobster roll had sky-rocketed. We ordered a Schooner meal each. This comprised of a drink, a packet of chips (cos everything comes with chips), and a lobster roll (or a crab roll or a shrimp roll).

schooner meal

The lobster roll was massive!!! Served "maine" style, there was a heap of chilled lobster chunks, coated in mayo, lemon butter and some spices sitting ontop of a freshly toasted and buttered new-england style split top bun. ZOMG YUM~ It was like eating a whole lobster in a bun! Hahaha. The lobster was super fresh, the meat was so subtly sweet and the buttery soft bun was a perfect accompaniment.

Lobster roll

So they have actual stores around the city - but who want's to buy this from an actual store when you can chase it's mobile truck around the city and eat like a bumb in the nearby park?

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - ?
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 23+?/40

Lukes Lobster
follow the truck:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blue Lantern Restaurant - North Strathfield

Wanting to check out the food around the local, my hubby and I decided to test out Blue Lantern Restaurant - a Korean joint at the beginning of the Bakehouse Quarter. We weren't that late - only around 8.30pm or so - but we pretty much had the whole restaurant to ourselves.

What surprised me more was the menu. Extremely specialised - just beef soup, a choice of three hot pots or a seafood pancake. Hmmm.... OK - beef soup it is!

The appetisers were also non-a-plenty. 2 Kimchi varieties, noodles for you to dunk in your soup (I think), and a salad. Although there wasn't plentiful options, everything tasted good enough.



Now onto the beef soup. We had an option of either soup with sliced beef, soup with ox knee, soup with ox tail, or soup with all of the above. Being just slightly greedy, both my hubby and I went for soup with all of the above ($18).

The soup looked milky white, shallots floating and beef slices, ox tail and ox knee all hidden below the broth. It also smelt amazingly rich. Only problem is... the soup is tasteless. There is a nice bowl of flaky salt on your table which I can only assume you use to tailor the saltiness to your liking. After consulting one of our Korean friends, we believe that this is the norm. The milky whiteness is from bonemarrow that is used to generate the aromatic rich broth and salt is purposely left out. I can only guess that you can put the noodles in yourself so you can adjust it to how soggy or non-soggy you want it. The beef in the soup is spectacularly tender. One of the most tender beef/ox things my hubby and I have ever eaten.

boiled beef soup with Ox Knee, Ox Tail, sliced beef - $18

So the verdict? It's a pretty decently large restaurant, nicely and simply decorated. Staff are kind enough - English levels to be questioned. Food choice is definately limited, but what we got was appetising enough. However, unless I have a craving for just beef soup, there's probably other Korean restaurants around the Strathfield area for us to try.

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 28/40

Blue Lantern Restaurant
1 George Street
North Strathfield
NSW 2137
Tel: (02) 9746 8746

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bills - Surry Hills

For his birthday, my friend decided to round everyone up for a nice chillaxy brunch at Bills. Whilst Bills is super famous for it's breakfasts, this was one place I have not been yet - maybe I didn't want to try and find out that it was anything but awesomeness.

Although there is a 'no-bookings' policy, we only had to wait around 15-20 mins for a table of 9. Being seated, we were met with a small yet adequate brunch menu and slightly over-busy staff. Waiting time for the food to come out, however, was a different story - we waited and waited and waited, and looked around at the other patrons in the restaurant who likewise waited and waited and waited...

My partner opted for a cappuccino whereas I ordered my usual skim mocha. The coffee was decently good. They give you real chocolate buds for the chocolate bit of the mocha (as well as in the hot chocolates), which I thought was a nice touch.



In terms of food, a few of us ordered breakfast-type food, some ordered lunch foods.

The wagyu beef burger ($21.50) was a tempting option. It came served with a small bowl of fries. The salad bit of the burger (ie. the beetroot, lettuce, tomato, tomato relish, and zucchini pickles) was served on the side of the large patty of meat. Unfortunately, this was not up to my friend's standards. She described the burger as meaty, but lacking in kick. No real outstanding flavours - relatively bland tasting. Her fries were also luke-warm when she got them.

wagyu beef burger - $21.50

Another of my friends decided on the free range chicken schnitzel ($22.50). Lightly golden brown parmesan crumbed coated chicken served with a kohlrabi slaw and "green goddess" dressing, it didn't look super impressive. My friend did not mutter any good words about it nor did he seem to dislike it in any way. I can only infer that it was OK.

free range chicken schnitzel - $22.50

One of the best smelling dishes of the day was the prawn and chili linguine ($24). The aroma wafted from this dish - albeit a kind of small dish - and it seemed fresh and light and aromatic. It came served with rocket and lemon juice was drizzled for taste. Perhaps because of the size of the dish, or because he had waited so long for the food, his plate was cleaned up in no time.
prawn and chili linguine with rocket and lemon - $24

The birthday boy wanted ricotta pancakes but also the scrambled eggs with toast... and hence, to solve the problem, he made others order ricotta pancakes so he could steal off them. The ricotta pancakes ($17.50) came served in stacks of three. The pancakes were super light and fluffy and was served with honeycomb butter and banana. I'm not a pancake fan... my friends seemed to appreciate it just fine... but by the end of the three pancakes, my friends were still hungry.

ricotta hotcakes - $17.50

My hubby ordered the calamari ($19.50). Super lightly crusted in semonlina and served with a lemon, parsley, green beans and fennel salad, my hubby said that the whole dish was a bit too light - encroaching the bland side. Salt and pepper had to be heaped on for taste. I guess this is as healthy as deep-fried calamari can get~

semolina-crusted calamari - $19.50

The birthday boy and I ordered the same thing - scrambled eggs with sourdough toast ($13.50). And ofcourse, we didn't stop at simply the super light fluffy creamy scrambled eggs with yummy toasted crunchy bread, we added stuff to it. My friend added avocado salsa ($4.50), cured ocean trout ($5.70) and ricotta cheese ($4.50) whereas I opted for the avocado salsa and button mushrooms with garlic confit ($4.50). The scrambled was excellente - as was the avocado salsa. The mushies were just so so. All up, the whole thing felt fresh and healthy.

scrambled eggs with sourdough toast - $13.50

All up, Bills seems to offer a light healthy feeling to brunch - at times, at the expense of taste and spice. It was an alright meal but I think for the same price, the same items can be purchased at better tastiness elsewhere.

Food - 7/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 27.5/40

Bills (Surry Hills)
359 Crown Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9360 4762