Sunday, June 19, 2011

Le Monde, Surry Hills

Last friday I had brunch with Cleony from i eat sweet. We didn't know where to eat but a Sydney Morning Herald article on the best coffee in town, had Le Monde on it. Since we needed to go to the CBD afterwards, we made our way there. She picked me up and we drove to Surry Hills, little did I know that the cafe is actually so close to my flat that it would have been faster if we were walking there. Oh well, now I know where to go for a quick coffee run.

You're not crazy, the letters are the other way around... I took this picture from the reflection in the mirror

2 skim mochas

I really liked the cafe and on Friday morning, not many people were there so we got a table right away. We made it easy for the waitress as we ordered 2 skim mocha and 2 mushrooms sauteed in garlic and lemon with toast and ricotta.

Close up of the mushrooms and garlic lemon sauce

Side view

The mushrooms were perfectly cooked through but it wasn't soggy and it was still firm. Oh and the portion I love the garlic lemon sauce but after a while it tasted a bit too sour. The ricotta was smooth and subtle. I felt healthy... hahaha I don't want to think about the butter there... The coffee was nice too. Its cafes like this that makes me really enjoying Sydney.

Le Monde
83 Foveaux st
Surry Hills, NSW 2010
9211 3568

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mama Sita, Melbourne

If you know that I'm going to Melbourne and you really need to catch me but can't reach me, chances are you will have a good chance to see me at Mama Sita. I discovered this amazing Mexican restaurant on my 2nd trip to Melbourne, introduced by my high school bestie, nicknamed Babian. She knows her food. That is one of the reason why she is my friend. I don't think I have friends who don't love and know their food...

Their homemade salsa is one of the best things in life. On my second visit, I think we had about 3 or 4 of these... The staff thought we were behaving badly... But they were just TOO good!

Anyway, three things you MUST order when you are here are: elotes callejeros (street style chargrilled corn with cheese, chipotle mayo and lime), tostaditas de pollo (fried tortilla topped with chargrilled chicken, avocado, fresh cheese and chipotle mayo), and tacos de camarones (soft taco with marinated prawns, habanero chillies and chipotle almond salsa). Ohhh God, I am drooling as I typed those!

Nachos dip: red salsa and guacamole

I raised my eyebrows when Babian raved about the grilled corn on the cob that we just have to order - but she said to trust her and despite my doubts I did and was totally blown away. It is simply the best chargrilled corn on the cob ever. I think it has to be the combination of the chipotle mayo and the cheese. Sweet, sour, savory with that crunchy corn.... yummmm

elotes callejeros (street style chargrilled corn with cheese, chipotle mayo and lime)

Babian ordered me (she did not let me order) tostitadas de carnitas, which was slowly braised pork shoulder, encurtidos and jalapeno. I liked it, it was spicy, but my favorite was tostitadas de pollo. Considering chicken is my least favorite meat ever, it's definitely amazing. On my second visit to Mama Sita, we ordered 2 servings of tostitadas de pollo and a mixture of others as we had new people. I made sure I had 2 of the chicken one tho hahahaha, benefit of hindsight ;)

Tostitadas: pork (left) and chicken (right)

Here, they only serve soft tacos. So don't go in ordering crispy tacos. Again, I never had prawn tacos. I usually go with beef or pork. And again, I was blown away. The prawn tacos were simply the best kinds of tacos I've ever eaten. Light and fresh, it killed my hunger without making me feel like I just stuffed myself with a whole cow. On my second visit, the boys and Babian ordered a 2nd round of the prawn tacos... I would too if I didn't have such a late lunch that day. It's that good, trust me.

Pulled pork tacos

(i heart) prawn tacos

On my first visit, I had the sangria which was yum. However, on my 2nd one I had margaritas which was also amazing. I had 3 of those. I can't decide which one is better, I think it will depend on what you feel like having. I didn't bring my camera with me on the 2nd visit, but we tried the helado de maiz (sweet corn ice cream cone and caramelize popcorn) and frituras de manzana (apple fritters and vanilla pear sorbet). Both were yum.

Sangria =)

All I can say is that I am currently plotting another trip to Mama Sita... that's right, NOT Melbourne, but to Mama Sita. Oooooopa!

Mama Sita
Level 1/11 Collins St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
+61 3 9650 3821
Click here for website

Mamasita on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pasteur, Haymarket

Our spread at Pasteur

What could be more soothing and comforting than a bowl of teeming hot pho on dreary, rainy, cloudy winter days that we have been having lately? Well, curling up in bed with a good book or watching a good movie I suppose.

Veggie for the pho, tea and dipping sauce for the spring rolls

Pasteur is my go-to Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney because its close proximity and my family recommendation. I need to check out Cabramatta soon though. So anyway, my recommendation for these winter days: meatball and sliced beef pho with a side dish of spring rolls.

Sliced beef and beef ball pho

I love the fact that the sliced beef were so tender and just nicely cooked as it was sliced raw and cooked just as the hot soup is poured to the bowl. I love how the broth is fragrant, nicely balanced and not oily nor fatty.

Spring rolls

The spring rolls, in my opinion, are the best in Sydney so far. I love the mix of flavors and texture inside: minced pork and prawn, mushrooms, yummmm... These kinds of food definitely make this wintry days bearable...

709 George St
Haymarket, NSW 2000

Pho Pasteur on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Brunetti, Carlton (Melbourne)

People watching and drinking coffee is the best way to catch up with an old friend

With 2 weeks away from my first exam, I went on a study break to Melbourne. I thought about this long and hard, pondering if I would have enough time to study, procrastinate and if it's worth the stress. Then I remembered my 2 years stint working where my vacation days were limited to 20 days a year and at the mercy of my boss. That decided it. Hello Melbourne.

Cakes, cakes, cakes and oh, more cakes!

A friend gave me a list of a top 5 must go places for coffee but I only managed to go to this one with a childhood friend. I was blown away when we first enter the shop. Rows of cakes, everywhere my eyes could see! Did I die and go to heaven? Did I go to Wonka's chocolate transformed into cake factory? Thank God I didn't lose my cool and drool.

Our two mochas

I love the expansive space, windows, and choices of cakes in Brunetti. We decided on a couple of mocha while we wait for our lunch to settle and make room for dessert. We sat facing the street to people watch and play a game. The mocha was really nice and balanced. I love it when I don't have to add sugar. I think that is how I judge the baristas' skills - if they can make coffee that is just right where I don't need to add anything. I always take my coffee as is, so if I don't like it, I don't go back.

A nice sweet stuff that I forgot the name of...

An hour and a half later - almost fully caught up with our lives stories and had fun at playing our game, I trawled the cakes display in search for our dessert. Still feeling my lunch up to my neck, but feeling guilty as one of the shop lady already explained every single cake to me, I ordered this canolli like dessert. I apologize I forgot the name! If you show this picture though, I'm sure they can tell you what it is hahaha... It was tiny but good. The custard has some rum in it (love it!), the pastry light, crumbly and savory. And! There was some cherries on it! I love cherries.

The space inside

I really wish they have this in Sydney. I could soooo see myself having regular coffee with my books and people watch when catching a break. Oh we also saw Chelsea from Masterchef when we were people watching. We saw this girl walk by and we were like, why does she look so familiar? 3 seconds later it dawned on us that she was from Masterchef. A quick phone call to my Masterchef fanatic friend revealed that Chelsea is supposedly working in Lygon st, just a stone's throw away.

194-204 Faraday St
Carlon, VIC 3053
Click here for website

Brunetti on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 6, 2011

Diving for food

Amazing viz, underwater landscape and a cute seal

I've been MIA for a while. I realize that and I do feel guilty about it. It's a good thing that I went to Chocolatesuze's birthday party/food blogger gathering last May 21st as I got to meet new food blogger with whom I could go eat out with and enforce me to actually blog. Fingers crossed this will work. Thanks for the invite btw!!

Lately, I've been into scuba diving and underwater photography (click here if you wanna check out my photos). So that has been taking up my spare time. Also, this year thus far I have received 6 or 7 wedding invitations. Hence the pressure to fit on my dresses and keep the calories away are on. Anyway, I'm gonna share with you the food related part of scuba diving.

Last Easter, I went on a dive trip with a group of photographer divers, one of them is a food diver or hunter gatherer diver. Whatever the term you prefer, it basically means he dive, he takes food. Good right? Fresh seafood! Mmmm.... Mind you, if you do wanna try this make sure you have proper fishing license and know your catch limit. You don't wanna get in trouble with the department of Fisheries.

We wanted some crabs, but there were none. So we ended up with abalone (black lipped) and sea urchins. Yay uni sashimi! It was definitely one of the freshest uni I've ever had. I am so glad that I didn't have to crack it open though haha...

Sea urchins in their original form

Collecting the roes

And the final products!!

Plated... Not the best, but it's not Masterchef here! We just care about taste, taste and taste!

The abalone was so fresh too. It was boiled for a bit, sliced up then sauteed with butter, salt and pepper. We had some thinly sliced grilled eggplant to eat it with. To say it was really good would be an understatement. Freshly caught and prepared, enjoyed with some good cider and cool people...

Sauteed abalone in butter, salt and pepper

Mmmm... I wish I can turn back the time...

Grilled eggplants that we used to wrap the abalone before unceremoniously plonking them in our mouths!