Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Fine Breakfast

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Didn't Know Such Places Existed

There aren't any Starbucks stores in Perth. It's fantastic. And refreshing.

Incidentally, as ubiquitous as Starbucks elsewhere would be Dome, the local coffee chain. Since it was new to me I found it quite pleasant, but I will say it was was more fun exploring other local independent coffee shops.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nine Days

I just realized I've eaten something fried every day since my arrival on this far-flung continent. Neither Oreos nor Coke made the list, but instead there were chips (fries), fish, crab, prawns, corn fritters (the only awful selection during this week of friedness), duck, bread, onions, potato croquettes and chicken. To be fair, not all items were deep fried, but a shallow pan fry certainly counts in my books.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Midnight Snack Most Unwelcome

The cousins and I landed at Grandma's because our best efforts to find a cafe open at midnight failed. And that's when things took a really bad turn. They decided it was time for my Vegemite toast. I thought I could get out of it when George burned the first slice of toast, but when he offered to toast up another slice I knew that I was doomed. While I pulled all sorts of weird faces, he prepared my snack and slathered a ridiculous amount of butter on the bread which grossed me out on its own. And then the Vegemite. Since I was acting like a kid, he cut up the toast into kid-friendly shapes. And because I was making such as fuss by now, Andrew agreed to let me eat just half the slice. Here's the shocking thing. It's palatable. Terrifically salty, and not something I'd ever crave, I managed to eat my half of the toast by taking large bites (they proved less torturous than the small ones) and chewing very, very quickly.

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Afternoon with the Aussie Works Burger

The only thing that tops watching Crocodile Dundee II in Australia (particularly awesome because it was being shown on TV) is watching it while simultaneously listening to a single off the Paris Hilton CD and flipping through a trashy magazine. It's been a week of high culture in Perth. But I digress, this is a food blog.

The Aussie Works Burger appeared after two hours of fussing over the grill and griddle. As sous chef, I had to start with the basics - chopping up onions. And then tomatoes. And then cheese. And thereafter I ceased my cheffing duties and had only to observe the executive chef in action. My most insightful contribution to the meal was the observation that the fried egg resembled Australia, complete with the red (well orange) center. But back to the food. Twelve ingredients, all goodness, a bit difficult to eat as the finished product was nearly as tall as a can of soda
. Mine collapsed before I was able to take single bite. Start with a great roll and slather with tomato sauce and mayo, or in our case, Bearnaise sauce because the cousin is very picky about mayo and didn't approve of the store selections. Add a scotch fillet cooked to a lovely medium. No mince for us - this was the premium works burger. Then top with local cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, a fried egg (cook the yolk unless you like egg running everywhere), lettuce, avocado, and the very best part - canned beetroot. It was decadent. It was delightful. I laid on the couch completely incapacitated for the next few hours.

P.S. I do not own the Paris Hilton CD.

P.P.S. While lying on the couch I watched Marie Antoinette which has a fantastic montage sequence that's all shoes and pastries.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Caught up with my cousin who greeted me with a share pack of Tim Tams (thumbs up) and a jar of Vegemite (major thumbs down). There's no escaping Vegemite Sandwiches this time.

Happily, have managed to stave off the sandwich horror with a series of post-breakfast breakfasts. How does this work? Breakfast # 1 is with Grandma. Sometimes a bowl of soup, followed by some fruit, perhaps washed down with some passion fruit yogurt. At least there are no cakes and biscuits this time around. Breakfast # 2 is with my cousin and includes coffee and today, a jaffle meat pie. I still don't quite have a handle on what a jaffle pie is, suffice to say that the crust is a bit less substantive than a standard meat pie, and it includes mashed potatoes wrapped in the crust - quite like a cornish pasty, but shaped like a flying saucer. Better yet are the humorous double-chambered tomato sauce (or TS, as I'm supposed to say) packets so you can control how much TS to have with the pie.

On tomorrow's Aussie barbie (not a doll) featuring a works burger and other grilled delights....bring on the beetroot.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Billy Kwong

I walked by the restaurant twice before I found it. It's pretty unassuming. Dark interior, modern backless stools and the barest of candlelight illuminating the food. I arrived at 5:30 PM fully aware that with 35 seats I'd have to fight for my meal. When the restaurant opened at 6 PM there were at least 45 people in line. Happily, I got a cozy corner table that was seated next to Kylie's party. I don't think I've ever seen a chef dine at her own restaurant, but it being Mother's Day here, it appeared to be a gathering of family and friends.

A proponent of organic, sustainable foods, Kylie's ingredients starred in the meal. I don't think I've had such nice bak choy before. Simply steamed, it just tasted fresh and good. Scallop wontons were lovely in a chili oil vinaigrette that burned the lips but when well with the filling. And then the crispy duck with orange sauce - less a sauce than a simple syrup infused with orange essence and anise. The dish arrived with cinnamon sticks boldly crisscrossing the tender pieces of duck. I made the mistake of ordering steamed rice with the mess. My meal definitely would have benefited from the addition of a few more people to maximize the tastings.

So, the question is, with all they hype, is Billy Kwong worth a visit? I'd read about the restaurant in the New York Times, The Washington Post and Bon Appetit. It's pricey, but the portions are reasonable. It's also Cantonese-style cooking, but definitely not traditional. Though glad I paid a visit, I'd probably try something new on my next trip to town.

Curious How Meals Happen

I had dinner before I got on the plane Friday night. At about midnight, they served a full-on dinner on our flight. It was yummy. I applaud Quantas. And then I alternately slept and pretended to sleep for hours upon hours during which they offered hot chocolate and apples as snacks (sadly no ice cream). And at about 4AM Sydney time, two hours before we landed on Sunday, it was breakfast.

What have I done since I got here? First order of business - more brekkie. Poached eggs on toast and a beautiful flat white. Walking over to The Rocks, the only thought I could concentrate on was coffee. And it did the trick and kept me going on my walk about the city for the next six hours during which I scoped out my dinner spot and celebrated the warm fall weather (this is a strange place) with a passion fruit sorbet and getting sunburned.

I'm hungry. Off to eat.

Friday, May 11, 2007

And Miles to Go Before I Eat

9162 miles. Thankfully, there is a plane involved. And passion fruit yogurt when I arrive. And (crossing my fingers) passion fruit ice cream on the plane. I'm off to the land of fish & chips, meat pies, and Weet-Bix for a few days. Wish me luck that Grandma has forgotten about my devotion to Tim Tams (she bought a dozen packets for my last visit...)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bring Your Own Fork

The photo really doesn't do the cake justice. Two days after its arrival via special delivery, the cake was lovely. Cream cheese frosting. Mmmm.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Maybe not.

Just made a breakfast date with Jem. On the menu: Red Velvel Cake from the Doughboys Bakery.

I never thought I'd say this...

...but I think I'm sick of dessert. Five days, nine desserts. 'tis true, some were shared. And apparently there's one more slice with my name on it courtesy of Jem...