Monday, June 30, 2014

Ponsonby Central - Auckland

It's my first trip to NZ - and I have to say that Auckland certainly has that super chillax feel to it. Barely able to sight people, barely crowds and yet, restaurants and delicious-looking cafes abound. One such restaurant-dense area is Ponsonby Central - a market full of delicious looking food! I have to say, our indecisiveness on our visit left us walking up and down and back and forth for the better part of an hour. Tasty looking meatballs? A delicious looking burger? Super yummy crepes? Inject-your-own donuts? At the end of a long deliberation, we opted for 'el sizzling Chorizo' - an Argentinian BBQ place.

After choosing the place, our next dilemma was to figure out exactly what to order. The chefs/waiters at this little joint were nice, friendly and luckily, patient enough with us. Should we get a platter? or one of those awesomely juicy short ribs that the man next to us were eating? Or maybe a pork belly? After much umming and ahhing, we opted for the deliciously looking chunk of beef short rib and a chorizo.
The beef short rib was delicious! The meat, particularly that close to the bone, was medium rare and super duper tender and tasty. YUM!!! Hubby did eat a lot of it, but if it were in front of me, I would be picking up the bone and devouring it! (loosing what ever little lady-like manners I have). The chimichurri sauce was also really tasty :)
beef short rib
My chorizo was not what I expected. The sausage was full of flavour, but it was a bit pink in the middle. Being pork, I was a bit hesitant, but the waitress assured that the pork was pre-cooked and that it was meant to be a bit pink. I took a dive, ate it anyway, and didn't get sick :) The bread was also cooked on the grill - it was a bit dense but it went well with the meats. The toasted almond slices on top of the salad was also heaps delectable.
After the meaty meal, we walked by 'the Dairy', the shop next door and couldn't pull away from their ice cream cookie sandwich. This was two fresh cookies of our choosing, sandwiching a large scoop of icecream, also of our choosing, all topped with fairy floss. ZOMG sugar overload!!! We had the anzac cookie and the choc fudge cookie with a butterscotch icecream... and between the two of us, we were unable to finish it. It got a bit messy to eat though, as if you bite the freshly baked cookies, the icecream gets squeezed out of the sides.
icecream cookie sandwich
Loved the food aromas here at Ponsonby Central. Would not say no to another trip here just to try the other stores.

El Sizzling Chorizo & The Dairy
136-138 Ponsonby Rd
Ponsonby Central

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Element 6 - West Ryde

Being hungry on a Saturday morning but with only a limited amount of time landed hubby and I at Element 6 at West Ryde, a hipster trendy-looking cafe joint not too far away from home. There was crazy amount of people here already when we got there around 11am, all seated around tables that were relatively too small, and with chairs that look cool but aren't altogether comfy. But that's IN, right?

There were too many things on the menu that we wanted but we finally settled on a couple. Hubby settled on a way-too-healthy smoothie - the 'green with envy'. This green concoction had kale, celery, spinach, mint, cucumber, and apple all whizzed up, sweetened naturally with agave syrup. He really enjoyed it, and amazingly, I did too. My skim capp was decent too.
green with envy smoothie
skim capp

When our food came out, I experienced ultimate food envy. Lucky for me, hubby allowed free access to the source of my envy. The crazy looking and smelling dish comprised to rosemary garlicy mushies of all kinds. It was served with two perfectly poached eggs, squeaky yummy haloumi, baby spinach, roasted tomato and sourdough. Hubby also added bacon to it all. SOOOO awesome.
Garlic Mushrooms

I probably would have loved my meal too if it wasn't overshadowed by the garlicy mushies. I got the chorizo roll with egg, cheese, tomato and delicious aioli. The chorizo was tasty, same with the egg and cheese...Unfortunately, the sauce and the tomato made the bun a bit soggy and unsavoury.
Chorizo roll
We had a pretty tasty meal at Element 6. Probably would come back some time for some more tasty garlicy mushrooms.

Food - 8/10
Service - 6.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Element 6
65 Ryedale Road,
West Ryde
NSW 2114
Tel: (02) 8021 2838

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ribs & Burgers - Rhodes

I was starving. And I had a burger craving for some reason. Logical outcome? Finding the closest burger joint possible - which in this case, was at Ribs & Burgers at Rhodes. There was just a small crowd there but the service was relatively quick. Whilst in line, hubby eyed the signage for a Milo thickshake. Milo? who can resist? Not us!

The Milo thickshake did not disappoint. It was super thick and quite milo-y - meaning that it was absolutely delicious! However, due to the thickness of this, if I was to chug down the whole drink, I would not have enough stomach space to eat anything - even though I was starving! I would definitely order this again though - soooo tasty :)
Milo thickshake

Burger-wise, hubby got the original with beetroot whereas I got the cheeseburger (with swiss). The sesame seed bun was good but nothing really to write home about. The patty was juicy but not super tasty, and the rest of the ingredients were fresh. Overall - the burger hit the spot, satisfied my cravings, but it was probably not the best burger we've had. I would come back if I had another burger craving, but if the craving was not there, I might order the ribs here instead.
hamburger with beetroot

Chips on the other hand, was amazing! Crispy, golden, deep-fried, fluffy perfectly cooked chips. YUM! Chips here are a must!
I have a feeling I will be back - even if its just for the shake and chips :)

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

Ribs & Burgers
Shop 53-54 
1 Rider Boulevard
Rhodes NSW 2138
Tel: (02) 9743 0880

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Smoky BBQ foods

My hubby loves BBQed stuff. He loves all different types of barbeques - korean, jap, charcoal, steak on the barbie, Bunnings sausage sizzles... everything! Recently on our trip to the US, the smoky BBQ was a 'must visit' (many many times) type of venue.

In Chicago, there was Blackwood. It was smoky and simply delicious! You could smell this place from a mile away! On our visit, hubby had the pulled pork in a bun. My choice? The beef brisket - on the platter. It comes with a variety of side dishes to chose from - the pickles and radishes were complimentary. The other stuff - baked beans, coleslaw, baked mac and cheese, were all worth it's price. What I also couldn't draw myself away from was their housemade lemonade - love that stuff! Super refreshing and not too sweet :)
The pulled pork was tasty and tender. You just bite into it and loads of smoky, porky flavour just fills your mouth. The bun was good - but clearly, the meat was the hero of the dish. Hubby also loved their baked beans.
pulled pork in a bun with baked beans
As good as the pork was, I think that the beef brisket was our preferred meat. It was juicy and tender, slow-cooked for like 16 hrs or something like that! I got this awesomely smoky, hint of chilli, and tomatoey sauce on top. Deliciousness! It was 'melt in your mouth' goodness. And the mac and cheese? More please!
slow cooked beef brisket with mac&cheese
There are other BBQ joints around the USA. One other was Mighty Quinn's. Here, I couldn't resist but order their pork ribs. This was AMAZING. Pork ribs v Beef brisket? I'm a fan of the super smokey super tender pork ribs! :) Hubby also really liked this. As we were eating sooo much that day, we only ordered the one meal.
But would hubby let us leave the states without trying the beef brisket from here? Of course not! So one night - pretty late... like 11pm... we ran from our previous commitment back here, just to line up and order their brisket. I know that my photos are pretty poor (given that it's just from my phone and with really little lighting), but honestly, it was delicious! It's hard to say which briskets were better - the one from Blackwood or the Might Quinn's. All I know is that hubby would die to have places like this back in Sydney :P

slow cooked beef brisket

Blackwood BBQ
305 W Lake Street
Chicago, IL, 60606
Tel: +1 312 621 9663

Mighty Quinns
103 2nd Ave
NY 10003
Tel: +1 212 677 3773