Flying Fajita Sistas, Glebe, for Taco Tuesdays

$3 tacos and $3 tequila shots – who could say no? Definitely not these eight hungry food bloggers who were intent on taking full advantage of Flying Fajita Sista’s taco platters. These platters allowed everyone to have one taco of each flavour with complimentary sides at the princely sum of $12pp.

Strawberry and White Wine Sangria (1 litre) – $19.50

We start off with some strawberry and white wine sangria which has brandy soaked strawberries, white wine, pineapple juice and ginger ale. This is sweet and refreshing compared to the heavier red wine sangrias and I particularly like the boozy strawberry chunks in the drink.

Trio of pepian, queso fundido and frijoles – $14.90


It’s 8.30pm and we’re all rather hungry so we order a trio of dips to share while we wait for our taco platters. The dips include pepian, queso fundido and frijoles and come with lightly salted blue, white and yellow corn totopas. The green pepian dip is made from pumpkin seeds and green chiles although is not too spicy. The frijoles (partially obscured by the corn chips in the photo) is a mashed pinto bean dip with Mexican spices, topped with grilled cheese. But the one we can’t get enough of is the queso fundido which is a charred tomato and ancho chile salsa melted with cheese. It’s oh-so-cheesy and Suze in particular takes delight in having a ramekin full of melted cheese in front of her.

Tacos with sweet chipotle chicken

The taco platters arrived there was a flurry of photo taking before we dug in. The sweet chipotle chicken tacos have chunky chicken pieces with melted cheese wrapped in soft tortilla. The chicken tastes good but sadly is a bit dry and stringy. This is solved by the sides of guacamole, salsa and sour cream which we dollop generously on our tacos.

Complimentary sides with taco platters – guacamole, sour cream and salsa

Tacos with ropa vieja

The ropa vieja tacos contain a mound of shredded beef which are flavoursome and not too dry.

During this time Helen also goes downstairs to visit the Wall of Pain which holds a shelf of hot sauces. Some of ones she came back with had interesting names to say the least…

I’m not particularly good with chilli so even a little tiny taste of the XXX + 1/2 rated Rectum Ripper had me gobbling a few corn chips to lessen the burn. These ones were only from the middle shelf, so I hate to think how hot the top shelf sauces would be.

Tacos with frijoles

The frijoles taco has the same filling as the frijoles dip, a spiced bean paste topped with melted cheese. It is quite difficult to eat since the beans ooze out the sides of the taco and it has quite a different texture – a bit grainy but mushy at the same time.

Tacos with achiote pulled pork

My favourite taco flavour of the night is without a doubt the achiote pulled pork. The finely shredded pork is very tender and not dry at all like some of the other fillings. After eating the pork taco I kept wishing that all the other tacos were pork-filled since it was so delicious!

Platano frito: Fried banana finished with fresh coconut creme, toasted coconut and white chocolate – $11.90

No meal is complete without dessert and it’s absolute music to my ears when we say “Can we have one of everything please?” Ah the joys of eating with a bunch of food bloggers =) I was quite excited about fried banana dessert but unfortunately it turned out to be one of my least favourite desserts of the night. The description and the appearance of the bananas held so much promise but as I bit into it I knew something was not quite right. The banana tastes floury and bland and is on the verge of being crunchy. Most of this dessert is left behind.

Orange, coffee and caramel creme brulee: Rich orange and coffee custard with caramelised sugar – $12.90

The orange, coffee and caramel creme brulee is much better with a satisfying crack as the spoon hits the toffee. The combination of flavours is interesting with the bitterness of the coffee coming through quite strongly but when eaten with the toffee it balances out quite nicely.

Mexican bread pudding: Brioche, spiced pecans and chunks of Mexican chocolate baked in a rich custard, finished with cinnamon anglaise – $13.90

I’m not a big fan of bread and butter pudding so not surprisingly the Mexican bread pudding doesn’t take my fancy either. It is harder and not as moist as I expect it to be although there are some nice cinnamon flavours in the pudding.

Chocolate mousse cake: Chocolate genoise brushed with Kahlua topped with a rich Mexican chocolate mousse, finished with espresso anglaise and creme – $12.90

The chocolate mousse cake is one of my favourites and whenever the plate comes back to our end of the table I take another spoonful of the light-as-air sweet chocolate mousse. I find the Kahlua soaked sponge base a bit too strong in alcohol but I simply can’t get enough of the fluffy mousse.

Banana and chocolate chimichanga: A flour tortilla wrapped around banana and chocolate then lightly fried. Served with cinnamon anglaise, caramel sauce and a coconut creme – $13.90

Lastly I try the banana and chocolate chimichanga which is a combination which can’t go wrong. Chunks of banana and chocolate are wrapped in a tortilla and fried to produce a combination of chewy pastry and a rich banana and chocolate filling.

We are the last people to leave so we quickly pay the bill which only amounts to $30 pp for tacos, drinks and desserts which is great value. I’m definitely planning on hitting up Taco Tuesdays again soon!

Flying Fajita Sistas
65 Glebe Point Road
Glebe NSW 2037
Ph: +61 2 9552 6522
Open 7 days from 6pm


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Belgian Beer Cafe, Cammeray, for Half Price Mussels!

Did someone say mussels? With Belgian fries? For half price??

I’m always on the hunt for a bargain and one that included a huge pot of mussels and Belgian fries was not one that I was going to pass up. Sir D and I waltzed up to Belgian Beer Cafe in Cammeray one Wednesday afternoon for a late lunch. The place was still buzzing at 2pm but we were seated promptly.

We were given huge double-sided A3 sized menus with food on one side and beer on the other. My eyes zoomed into the section entitled “Mussels” to check out all the flavours – there were so many to choose from! I couldn’t decide between 3 of them so I said, “Let’s get all three!” (out comes my greedy side). Sir D suggested we start off with two and if we were still hungry then get the third one. A wise decision, since we were so full after two pots that we had to sit and digest for a while before we left.

Provençale Mussels – $13.45 (normally $26.90)


In the end we decided on the Provençale and the Poulette flavoured mussels. The provençale was cooked with tomatoes, herbs and garlic and had a lovely garlic aroma when it was brought to our table.

We dug in with gusto, slurping the mussels out of their shells and then using the mussel shells to scoop up some of the delicious sauce. The mussels themselves were cooked just right and none of them were overcooked and chewy. Unfortunately there was a lot of celery in the pot and we spent a lot of time picking out because neither of us like it haha.

Poulette Mussels – $13.45 (normally $26.90)

To our dismay, there was a lot of celery in the Poulette flavoured mussels as well! This one had a creamy white wine sauce with bacon and vegetables and was a lot richer than the Provençale. We enjoyed the bacon flavour in this sauce but towards the end it got too rich and Sir D decided to abandon the Poulette flavour in favour of the Provençale. Again, the mussels were perfectly cooked and I wondered how they managed to cook them en masse without overcooking any of them.

Belgian fries (included with mussels)

Both the mussel pots came with a side of Belgian fries which is served with mayonnaise. These golden fried batons of potato were one of the best I’ve had with a crunchy exterior and fluffy insides. They were so good that even though we were really full from the mussels, it felt like such a waste not to eat such delicious fries so we managed to plough our way through most of them. As a result, we were so full that we could barely move and once we hit home we promptly fell asleep in a food coma of sorts.

A sign of a good meal? I think so.

*Half Price Mussels are available every Wednesday from midday – 10pm at all Belgian Beer Cafe locations. Bookings recommended.

Belgian Beer Cafe (Epoque)
429 Miller Street
Cammeray NSW 2062
Ph: +61 2 9954 3811
Open 7 days from midday. Closed public holidays
$4pp surcharge on Sundays

Belgian Beer Cafe (Heritage) 
135 Harrington Street
The Rocks NSW 2000

Belgian Beer Cafe (Balmain)
82 Darling Street
Balmain East NSW 2041


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Brasserie Bread, Banksmeadow

Ok, I admit it. I’m not a morning person. Call me out for breakfast and I’ll probably turn you down in favour of sleeping in. But there are some places that I will make an exception for – and this is one of them. Tell me you’re taking me to Brasserie Bread for brekky and I’ll gladly leap out of bed to join you.

Walking into Brasserie Bread we were greeted with the smell of freshly baked bread and a whole wall full of artisan breads, including their famous garlic bread. There were also various pastries and cakes on display, as well as preserves and olive oils. But more about that later – first, breakfast!

Brasserie Bread is split in half with one side being the bakery and one side being the cafe. We headed over to the cafe side of the establishment and made our selections from the menu board. Luckily it was still early and there were plenty of seats available but half an hour later the place was starting to fill up quickly.

Sourdough pancakes with stewed berries and honeycomb cream – $12

The sight of the sourdough pancakes made us glad that we ordered two servings of them! The sourdough pancakes are made with Brasserie Bread’s 14-year-old sourdough starter in the batter, making them deliciously light and fluffy. The mixture of stewed raspberries and blueberres are slightly tart and go well with the smooth and sweet honeycomb cream.

Sourdough pancakes with banana and maple syrup – $12

The other variation of the sourdough pancakes are banana-flavoured with maple syrup and flaked coconut. These pancakes have chunks of banana in them and are flooded with maple syrup, sprinkled with flaked coconut and dolloped with cream. It’s a little bit sweeter than the other version but equally as delicious.

Slow cooked lamb, potato and spinach hash – $14

We also order two savoury dishes to balance out the sugar and also so we don’t feel like we’re having dessert for breakfast (although there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?) The slow cooked lamb, potato and spinach hash comes with two toasted slices of bread. The bread has a wonderfully crunchy crust and a chewy inside, and is amazing when slathered with butter. The lamb is also nice and tender although a bit on the salty side.

Tasmanian smoked trout with cucumber salad on rye bread – $12

The Tasmanian smoked ocean trout with cucumber salad on rye bread is cool and refreshing compared to the rich slow cooked lamb and is also drizzled with the olive oil sold in the bakery.

(left to right) Strawberry tart, chocolate caramel tart, lemon tart

After a satisfying breakfast, we head over to the bakery side to make our selections to take home. Apart from the big loaves of bread, there are also small bread rolls and seeded buns which you can sample. The pastry cabinet also contains some beautiful eclairs and tarts. Here, I also met the lovely Mei who writes In The Dough, the Brasserie Bread blog.

 
Coconut Teacakes: (left to right) strawberry, Jaffa, lemon and summer berries

There are 4 flavours of coconut teacakes and we buy one of the lemon ones. It has a layer of sweet icing on top and inside the moist light cake is a lemon filling which is wonderful citrussy surprise.

(foreground to background) Rhubarb tart, chocolate brownie, raspberry and pistachio friand

We also buy one of the flourless chocolate brownies which are made with Callebaut chocolate and have Californian walnuts studded in them. These are dense and rich and even a small piece is enough to satisfy my chocolate cravings. It doesn’t stop me from scoffing the whole piece though.

Apricot and frangipane tart

I can’t resist a fruit tart so we select the apricot and frangipane flavour amongst several other fruits (rhubarb, apple, and sour cherry). I love the buttery shortcrust pastry and the frangipane and the apricots have been baked just so they are starting to caramelise at the edges.

Last but not least we buy a loaf of the garlic bread to take home. The whole roasted garlic cloves hidden inside the bread are sweet and caramelised – it is honestly unlike any other garlic bread I have ever tasted. Sorry guys, no pictures of this because it was gone in a flash! But take my word for it. Best. Garlic. Bread. Ever.

Brasserie Bread
1737 Botany Road
Banksmeadow NSW 2019
Ph: 1300 966 845
Open Monday – Friday, 7am-3pm
Saturday & Sunday, 8am-2pm
Closed on public holidays


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Richard’s Party and Peach & Vanilla Panna Cotta

A lunch with food bloggers always means food. Lots of delicious, mouth-watering, and interesting food. The awesome Richard opened up his home and a gaggle of food-bloggers descended upon it bringing bountiful plates of meat, desserts and other waist-line expanding goodies.

Luther burgers by Suze

Perhaps one of the most intriguing foods was Suze’s almost-lethal Luther Burgers. Hidden inside a sticky Krispy Kreme donut was a beef patty, oh-so-crispy bacon, cheese, pineapple, and a fried egg. So wrong, yet so tasty!

Gourmet sausages by The Ninja

Cheese, ham and cherry tomato bread by Shez


The Ninja brought along some tasty gourmet sausages, while Shez contributed some fresh, home-made ham, cheese and cherry tomato bread. Leona also brought along some Indian snacks purchased from Newtown, but sadly I didn’t get a photo of these.

Potato Salad by me

I made a simple potato salad, using some boiled potatoes, whole-egg mayonnaise, sour cream and chives, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Chicken Surprise by Simon

Simon contributed a plate which he called Chicken Surprise. These were deep-fried balls of chicken with a literal surprise filling inside, including cheese, asparagus and ham. The other surprise was that one of the crumbed chicken balls was filled with wasabi, which The Ninja was lucky enough to consume.

Pork belly by Richard

When it comes to food bloggers, one plate of pork belly simply isn’t enough. Richard and Billy provided two types of pork belly to satisfy our tastebuds – Richard’s was sweet and sticky whereas Billy’s was more like the chinese “siu yuk” but with the most amazing crackling and hoisin dipping sauce. Both of them were delicious and I would have just kept going back for more if I wasn’t getting really full!

S’mores Cheesecake by Steph

Of course a meal would not be complete without dessert – or several desserts! Steph made a melty, gooey S’mores Cheesecake which she toasted at the table with her nifty blowtorch! The chocolate cheesecake filling was slightly bitter which went great with the sweet toasty marshmallows.

Momofuku cookies from Teresa

Teresa brought some cookies that were flown all the way from Momofuku in New York! These chunky cookies were massive and crunchy with some interesting flavours including chocolate, peanut and pretzel.

Strawberry and balsamic cupcakes by Helen

Helen made some strawberry and balsamic cupcakes which had strawberry jam in the middle and balsamic icing sprinkled with some popping candy which made for fun times indeed :)

Tea-ramisu by Lisa

Lisa’s green tea-ramisu had a fantastic matcha flavour to it. Sir D liked it even more than the classic coffee-flavoured tiramisu.

Sadness – I forgot to take a photo of Shez’s orange sponge cake which had whipped cream sandwiches between it, and also the chocolate fruit pudding with whipped cream. I was probably too busy eating them both; the orange cake had a wonderful citrusy rind flavour to it and the chocolate fruit pudding was like a Christmas pudding only better with the addition of chocolate ;)

Makoto sushi platters from Yas

Yas and Lex came later but still brought more food! Yas bought two sushi platters from Makoto (who doesn’t love sushi?) and Lex made some amazing grilled king prawns with garlic and anchovy butter which were gone in a flash! Hence no photo of those either.

Peach and Vanilla Panna Cotta by me

I also made a Peach and Vanilla Panna Cotta which turned out surprisingly well for my first attempt. I was worried about using gelatine but I had no problems with the recipe and the pannacotta was smooth, creamy and wobbly, while the jelly with peach halves on top was made by poaching the peaches for that peachy flavour then adding gelatine.


Peach and Vanilla Panna Cotta
from Donna Hay Modern Classics 2

For the peach jelly
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
3 peaches, halved and stoned
1 tbsp powdered gelatine

For the panna cotta
2 tbsp powdered gelatine
1/3 cup water
3 3/4 cups cream
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peaches and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Remove the peaches (reserving the poaching liquid), slip off the skins and set the fruit aside.

2. Place 1/4 cup of the peach liquid in a bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the gelatine mixture to the remaining liquid in the saucepan, stir through and simmer for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Place the peach halves, cut-side up, in a well greased 26cm x 8cm x 7.5cm loaf tin and pour over the liquid. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

3. To make the panna cotta, sprinkle the gelatine over the water and set aside for 5 minutes. Place the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and stir. Add the gelatine mixture and simmer over low heat for 4 minutes or until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature then pour the mixture over the set jelly and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. To serve, dip the tin into a baking dish of warm water and invert onto a plate. Slice and serve immediately. Serves 6-8.

Baroque Bistro Patisserie, The Rocks

 

Recently, I raved about the beautiful cakes at La Renaissance Patisserie, so it comes as no surprise that I got just a little bit excited upon finding out that a new French bistro had opened down the road, which was run by the same people as La Renaissance. I promptly booked myself and Sir D in for dinner and headed out one balmy evening to the shiny new glass building in The Rocks that is Baroque Bistro.

Of course, I had done my research before arriving and had perused the online menu at length to decide what we wanted to order. But all of that went out the window when I saw the blackboard specials for the day. There was bouillabaisse, and confit pork, and the desserts! This was going to be a difficult choice indeed.

Achacha!

In the end we settled for two mains and two desserts, since the restaurant’s connection to La Renaissance surely meant that they did their sweets well. While we were waiting for the food to arrive, we spotted people carrying out large boxes of Achachas from the adjoining bar area. One man overheard me mentioning the Achacha and kindly offered to give us one each to taste! Upon piercing the orange skin, a white flesh was revealed which tasted mostly sweet with a little bit of sourness. We were told that the fruit was similar to mangosteen, but having never tasted mangosteen before I can only liken it a lychee, albeit with an entirely different texture.

Ocean trout fillet, carrot puree – $24

The ocean trout was divine with the fish being cooked to perfection, producing a soft, just-cooked piece of fish. The carrot puree was smooth and creamy, and it was so good I was tempted to take the whole plate and lick it clean!

Bouillabaisse (blackboard special) – $25

The bouillabaisse came with prawns, squid and pieces of John Dory. Although the prawns were slightly overcooked, the squid and fish were perfectly tender. The rich seafood broth was heady with the smell of the ocean and tasted particularly of prawns. Sir D found the broth a bit too fishy but I loved it and appreciated the small bucket of bread which was brought out to mop up all the broth.

Rouille and croutons (comes with bouillabaisse)

Accompanying the bouillabaisse were some croutons and garlic rouille which were crunchy and very moreish.

Breton shortbread with apple and nougatine, apple coulis – $15

The breton shortbread dessert with apple and nougatine was a marriage of caramel and apple flavours. The nougatine in the foreground resembled a florentine minus the chocolate and the fruit, and was earth shatteringly crunchy – a nice contrast to the gooey caramel and soft apples. The two caramel sticks were topped with gold leaf and were deliciously melty and paired well with the apple and shortbread crumbs. I was so tempted to lick this plate clean as well, the caramel slick on the plate had just the right balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Peach coulis, fresh peach, peach granita, mandarine champagne, creme de fromage blanc, pop rocks – $16

The peach dessert was almost the complete opposite of the previous dessert – cool, refreshing with some pop rocks thrown in for some fun! The dish arrived with a spoonful of pop rocks on the side, and we sprinkled them over the coulis where they started crackling away. The dessert was wickedly peachy with the inside of the peach having been hollowed out and stuffed with the granita and the fromage blanc which tasted like yoghurt. This one is definitely for your inner child, I was having so much fun just putting the coulis + pop rocks in my mouth and letting them snap and crackle on my tongue heehee.

We left the restaurant feeling not too poor and quite satisfied. I was reasonably full but Sir D was contemplating getting a late night snack on the way home. The portions were quite small so if you’re a big eater you might need a second dinner ;) but don’t miss out on the desserts – they were definitely the star of the show!

Baroque Bistro Patisserie
88 George Street
The Rocks NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9241 4811
Open 7 days, 8am – midnight


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