Monday, November 12, 2012

Jazz City Diner, Darlinghurst -- or -- Happiness = philosophy + time

Found a review for a great-sounding raw vegan cafe in King's Cross. Made plans for dinner. Told friends about it.

"Vegan places disappear almost as quickly as lesbian clubs," one commented.

The latter is out of my jurisdiction. I can confirm, however, that the vegan place in question was no longer there when we arrived the next day.

When you can't make lemonade you gotta make other plans.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Young Henry's at Blancmange -- or -- Inner West beer degustation dinner (a food cycle)

I am not an expert on beer. I have spent time 'tasting' and 'appreciating' other things like wine and chocolate and food in general. But I'm really only a beginner at beer. Truth be told, I only developed a taste for the stuff a few years ago in preparation for a trip to Europe and UK. 

I am, however, a stout local. And we now have our own brewery, Young Henrys. I saw a chance to drink their beer and eat fine food in my own jurisdiction. I took it.

This is that story.

Context: There is a musical called "The Last Five Years", which charts the course of a relationship. But, while we see his story from beginning to end, her side of the story is told from the end to the beginning.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Higashi Japanese Restaurant, Leichhardt -- or -- The Glitch

I found a restaurant that almost doesn't exist on the internet. No website. No facebook. Urbanspoon has a few reviews (and 100% approval rating), but no menu, and fake contact details.

How weird is that?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Three Blue Ducks, Bronte -- or -- Dining, religiously

It's not often I can walk into a restaurant, look at the menu, and say "One of everything." And a bottle of wine. But, except for one entree (oysters), that's what I got to do at Three Blue Ducks.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hartsyard, Newtown -- or -- Noisy neighbours

Hartsyard. There was a buzz about it even before it opened. Perhaps in part because of their own blog on the development phase? Whatever it was, bloggers and print media alike flocked.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eat.Drink.Blog food photo competition -- or -- A Detective's Dilemma.

I'm entering a food photography competition. It is part of Eat.Drink.Blog, an annual conference for Australian food bloggers.

The entry criteria limits entry to photos that have been used in a blog post published between 1 March and 1 September. Which kind of sucks because I have photos I'd like to use which were published outside of those dates. Oh well.

I've been through my posts for that 6-month period and have a shortlist. But now I have a problem, because my shortlist is seven and I'm only allowed to enter three photos. Which is more of a problem because there are no judging criteria -- at least, none that I can find.

My initial thoughts are:
* they want something striking -- an image that immediately captures your attention
* the photo should be interesting -- try to tell a story or invoke emotion/curiosity.

I have done some digging into the judges to see if that sheds any light on the kind of thing they're after.

"Grant has been a newspaper and magazine photographer for 40 years working around Australia and abroad." His bio is incredible. He knows his stuff. Not much about what he'll be looking for, but his profile photo is artfully shot, and his photography website has arty photos, mostly of people.

"Sky loves working with food stylists and photographers to ensure Sumptuous recipes are not only beautiful to look at but also inspiring to readers." See above re striking, capture attention.

"Sneh Roy is a designer, illustrator, photographer and food stylist from Sydney, Australia." She won last year's competition. I took a quick look at her blog and saw one photo of Billy Law (for an interview), three nicely-styled food photos (two from the same vantage point), and this photo of a chocolate-smeer moustache.

Putting all this together, I figure my best bet is to enter artfully composed photographs including interesting people and well-styled food that inspires readers.

A pity that they're not the kind of photos I take.

So, here is my shortlist (also at Flickr, with descriptions).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Orange, NSW -- or -- Wines and Truffles and Nuns (oh my!)

Around this time last year, cheese blogger Claire at You're So Blue Vein came back from Orange with a tale of truffles and wine and food. Jealousy reigned. This year? This year it was my turn.

Disclaimer: Detective Chow paid for everything out of his own pocket. But, gosh, he'd be pleased to be invited somewhere on a press junket. So if you own a country town, regional centre, capital city, tropical island etc he's just an email away...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Goblin Cafe, Summer Hill -- or -- Day Watch

Well. It's not often I go out for brunch. It's something easily made at home. Usually paid-for brunch is reserved for times of travel. So, something of a treat to eat brunch in my own neighbourhood.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Momofuku Seiōbo -- or -- The toughest meal in town

I had never heard of Momofuku before they opened a restaurant in my town. But it seemed they came with their own reputation. And a lot of hype. Thought I'd try to get my hat on their stand and see what all the fuss was about. That's what I thought. Turns out that was one hard nut to crack.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Overheard in Food #1 -- or -- What people are talking about when they're talking about food

So, this week F.S.I. online turns one. I'm actually quite surprised this has come around so quickly, but then I suppose I have been neglecting things a little of late. Somehow I managed 52 posts (53 including this one, and 54 including another one I later deleted) in 52 weeks, and a little over 27k page views in the year. An average of one post and 500 views per week is not bad for someone who does this in spare spare time. And when you consider that a 'quick post' usually takes around 3-4 hours to write. (Some, like Marque, took around 12 hours.)

If you're interested in stats there are more below the comic.

I thought I'd try something a little different this week. Yes, I have reviews to write (about Momofuku and about truffles) but, gee Molly, I'll get to it soon OK?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Three eats to the Windy City -- Wellington on a Plate, New Zealand

A whirlwind trip to Wellington on a Plate begins with arriving at late o'clock on Friday and departing at shhh you'll wake the rooster on Monday. And in between is a whole bunch of decadence and silliness.

Disclaimer: Detective Chow's trip to New Zealand was completely privately funded. If anyone wants to sponsor him for future visits to Wellington or any other city/township, he is totally up for it. (I hope you're reading this, Tourism NZ and Air New Zealand.)


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Black Star Pastry truffle weekend -- or -- That time I dropped the $15 jar of truffle dessert

I am not, when it comes down to it, particularly punctual when it comes to filing F.S.I. reports. I had intended on one per week. Refined that to once a fortnight. For the past few months I have been especially slack. Eating yes, reporting no.

But, look. Black Star Pastry is doing a truffle weekend RIGHT NOW and if I'm quick about this and you're quick about this you can still get down there in time.

Stop reading. Go now!

Alright, so now that you're back and have truffle anglaise dripping down your chin, here's my report. (And a napkin.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pavilion Restaurant, Berry -- or -- Who's that Chef?

A couple of disclaimers for this report, Molly:
1. In the week before I visited Berry I was sick. Real sick. So my tastebuds were not at their peak.
2. My party of four received complimentary champagne, a shared entree, and dessert wine.

This story begins with me arriving for a nice, quiet 'recovery' dinner with friends...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Restaurant Atelier, Glebe -- or -- How to get the best restaurant experiences in 4, or 6? no wait, 12 easy(ish) steps

Been wanting for ages to write a "10 things" type of report. (List-style, that is, not the movie with Julia Stiles.) Finally found an opportunity. When someone comes after me for defamation, this is the post I'll point to as an example of differentiation between 'fact', 'honest opinion', and downright silly fiction. Can you tell the difference?*
* Here's a hint: They're generally in different fonts.

Disclaimer: although we all paid for our meals, Atelier knew we were bloggers and went all out to impress. They waived BYO charges on a Friday night and I think we scored an absolute, never-to-be-repeated bargain on the fixed menu price.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sardine Room, Potts Point -- or -- If you're good to Mama

Lots of restaurants closing. Lots opening up. So much pressure to go to the new ones. Be on trend. But... nah. Here's an oldie but a goodie.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Buttermilk Express

Today, 17 June, is Icelandic National Day, celebrating the formation of the independent Republic of Iceland in 1944. It's interesting that such an old country only achieved independence so recently. I mean, their language is thousands of years old and so well-preserved that they can read ancient texts. Can U say teh same 4 English, m8?

I'm learning Icelandic. This is why I haven't posted in a while. Homework.

Anyway, a slight deviation from the usual restaurant reviews (of which there are several waiting to be written -- it's just hard to throw one together quickly) to bring you some home-cooked treats. In honour of Þjóðhátiðagurinn.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Becasse, Westfield Sydney -- or -- Leaf and Stone

The setup
My birthday. A special occasion in anyone's books. But especially mine. A short list of special occasion restaurants narrowed down to one. A reservation was secured. It was going to be expensive but, according to the reviews and reputation, worth it.

Get ready for some mixed up metaphors.

How it went down

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oscillate Wildly, Newtown -- or -- They grow up so fast

I first visited Oscillate Wildly about three years ago, shortly after Karl Firla took over the kitchen. It was mostly good, though a couple of dishes missed the mark for me. (Gnocchi with coffee grounds on top was a bit too weird at the time.)

I went back a year later to give it another chance. It was very good on the second visit. A little less experimental, or perhaps just having had the benefit of a year's experimentation to get things right.

After visiting Sixpenny in Stanmore a few months ago it was time to go back to Oscillate and see how they compared.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Newtown Burger Grudge Match: Dean's Diner, Newtown

Last month three Newtown Burger Joints -- some called them 'chains' or 'franchises' -- went bunno-a-bunno in a food fight to the death. "But wait," the crowd called. "You forgot someone. The little guy. The local favourite. The place with the arcade game tables and the funny burger names. Go on. Give Dean's a chance."

Detective Chow is listening.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Greek Special: Nostos, Leichhardt and Steki Taverna, Newtown

The Greek Financial situation means a lot of people there are doing it tough. In fact, a lot of countries' economies have been hit hard. Australians are comparatively doing well, but even here people are trying to cut back on spending. Like eating at restaurants.

Unfortunately rent is not getting any cheaper so a lot of restaurants are struggling. I think I should be supporting my favourite restaurants to make sure they stay afloat. Unfortunately I seem to be cursed, with a few places I really like closing (or selling) shortly after my reports were filed.

Still, there are bargains to be had if you want a cheap night out. Here are two:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wine Library, Woollahra -- or -- Browsing in the Decadent section

This visit to the Wine Library was at the end of March, so you probably can't get the fig salad anymore, but the rest are very compatible with the colder weather coming up.