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Having friends over for dinner!

October 24, 2014

After so many months of talking about getting together for a catch up, we finally did it! Bing came over for dinner and we agreed on preparing a 3 course meal between the three of us. Unfortunately, I, of all people, forgot to take a group photo! :( Instead, I only have photos of our meal.

Bing prepared the entree – Perfectly cooked mussels in beer with Asian flavours. We prepared the main dish (Banh Tam Xiu Mai) as well as the dessert – Vietnamese Flan. My first time making flan with over-the-phone-directions from my mum, turned out way better than expected!

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Felt like we could’ve kept talking through the night. Had a great time and can’t wait to do it again!


October 27, 2014

Being able to get to know Sam over this year was definitely a treat, especially during our Obstetrics & Gynaecology rotation. Lots of laughs and assistance with keeping sanity were provided on his end. I was lucky, I even got to hear stories of his relationship, including his plan to propose! If you know me, you know I get super duper excited for other people when it comes to things like this. Both Mike and I were very happy to learn of their engagement while we were back in Canada! Unfortunately, we didn’t attend Sam & Kim’s engagement party. But… we finally got the chance to catch up and more importantly, meet Kim!

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We invited them over for dinner and without thinking, decided to make Thai green curry with rice for dinner on a super hot day. The heat and spice may have been a little overwhelming, our bad! Sam & Kim brought equipment over to make hotcakes for dessert. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know ahead of time is our microwave is broken and can only run for a total of 4.5 minutes before it dies. These hotcakes that were meant to be a simple dessert because they were prepared in advance and only needed cooking in the microwave ended up having to be steamed over the stove. Sorry guys!

Delicious though! Full of citrus flavours with a dollop of cream balancing out the sweetness.

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Thanks for coming guys!

 

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Dinner with friends at Capri Bar Cafe

October 19, 2014

With a very pleasant previous experience at Capri Bar Cafe in Emporium in the past, we invited a few friends to join us for a revisit. A 50% off special was being offered through Dimmi at our time of booking, which made the experience more worthwhile.

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We were a group of 5 and similar to our previous visit, service was excellent. Staff were attentive, friendly, and happy to accommodate any requests – thank you!

For wine, we ordered a bottle of 2009 Solar Viejo Tempranillo from Rioja Spain ($49). It was the first time any of us had tried a Tempranillo, a black grape variety, and quite enjoyed it.

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Our friend Xuan decided to try out two main dishes while the remaining 4 of us decided to order a variety of entrees to share. This worked out really nicely as the share plates were perfectly sized and portioned.

Our share plates!

Mediterranean Bruschetta – House made olive tapanade with roasted pumpkin and grilled haloumi ($13). Really tasty and definitely an easy inspirational dish to try out at home!

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Mediterranean Koftas – Mediterranean lamb koftas served with a chick pea and rocket salad, tzatziki and Turkish bread ($17). These were moist, flavourful and delicious! Loved the freshness of the tzatziki sauce as well.

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Chicken & Haloumi – Grilled chicken served with roasted beetroot and rocket salad finished with grilled haloumi ($16.50). Salad was nicely dressed but as you can guess from this photo, the chicken was a little dry and unfortunately not very seasoned.

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Arancini – Baked beetroot and walnut arancini, served with a rocket salad and a side of marinated fetta ($16). One of our favourites. In addition to the taste, the colour from the beetroot really makes this dish stand out!

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Chicken Fritters – Oven baked sweet potato and zucchini fritters, with grilled chicken strips and house made tahini yoghurt ($18). The fritters (and the sauce) were great, another dish I’d love to try and recreate at home, especially when they’re baked and not fried. Unfortunately, this dish also contained the same unexciting chicken strips!

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Capri Pizza – Air dried beef rib fillet, semi dried tomatoes, olives and roasted eggplant with mozzarella and fetta cheese ($24). With all our food coming out at once, the pizza was a little cooled by the time we got to it but still good! Thin crispy crust and a good mixture of ingredients, would’ve never thought to add roasted eggplant to any pizza but it works well!

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Xuan’s first main was Prawn & Calamari Spaghetti – Local prawns and baby calamari, marinated in chilli and garlic with Italian parsley and extra virgin olive oil ($28.50). Nicely balanced dish with a flavourful sauce and good quality seafood, although perhaps frozen as opposed to fresh prawns.

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His second dish was NT Barramundi – Grilled Barramundi fillet served on sweet potato Roman gnocchi with parmesan roasted cauliflower and avocado salsa ($33). The fish was fresh and nicely cooked but he didn’t find the ingredients worked well together which made the dish overall not memorable.

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Sharing small dishes is great because it leaves room for dessert ;)

Xuan and Yung Howe had a slice of Flourless Chocolate Cake – Warm flourless chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache, berry coulis and vanilla gelato ($13) – mmm yummy!

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Yoni really enjoyed a Macadamia Brownie – Dark chocolate, roasted macadamia brownie served with white chocolate ganache and vanilla gelato ($13).

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We all agreed that plating of the previous 2 desserts, in particular the sauces, a little… tacky :)

Mike and I had an exceptional Sticky Date Pudding – Banana sticky date with butterscotch sauce and vanilla gelato ($13) – the perfect hot and cold, salty and sweet dessert combination!

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We had a great dinner, with many more hits with our food than misses. Lots of fun catching up and sharing stories and the night ended on a high note with a surprise – some port on the house! Thanks to the staff at Capri Bar Cafe for their awesome service and good food! Total bill came to $150 which was definitely a steal! Looking forward to visiting again :)

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Capri Cafe Bar on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in The Daily Sands

 

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Breakfast at Pig ‘N’ Whistle

October 18, 2014

After a failed attempt to have breakfast at a (what we learned to be very) popular bakery in New Farm, we decided to instead enjoy a meal at the new Pig ‘N’ Whistle in Fortitude Valley.

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Taken from their website:

Opened in mid 2014, the Brunswick Street venue is the newest addition to the iconic Pig ‘N’ Whistle family.

Situated in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane’s main entertainment hub, this venue has prime position in the heart of the city’s most popular nightlife spots. Pig ‘N’ Whistle Brunswick Street boasts two outdoor beer gardens, stunning high ceilings and exposed brick heritage listed architecture – all combined to make it a celebrated venue for local residents and visitors to Brisbane.

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Downstairs, the venue has a large and open modern kitchen, which focuses on local produce and simple and delicious pub food. Local craft beer and British ales frequent the many taps throughout the venue and are complemented by an extensive wine list. Pig ‘N’ Whistle Brunswick Street is the newest offering in Brisbane’s nightlife and the ultimate ‘local’ for people looking for a great, non-pretentious, atmosphere and good quality food and beverages.

It was a quiet Saturday morning with a few other patrons scattered across the different dining areas.

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After placing our orders, we opted to sit outside. Really liked the accent mirrors on the old brick walls!

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Our orders came out quickly which was great because we were starving!

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Mike ordered the Eggs Royale – Tasmanian smoked salmon, poached eggs, spinach, avocado, sourdough toast ($16) and a flat white ($3.70). Today was the day I learned the difference between Eggs Benedict and Eggs Royale… they’re the same, except Eggs Royale uses salmon in place of ham. Eggs were nicely poached, generous amount of decent smoked salmon with a nice Hollandaise sauce. Coffee was good too!

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A softie for Haloumi cheese, I decided on the Greek Breakfast – Grilled haloumi, eggs your way, mushroom, tomato, avocado, spinach, sourdough toast ($18). As you can see from the photo, Mike’s poached eggs and mine were like night and day. Mine were a stringy hot mess, with nearly naked yolks and the whites tasting too vinegary. If this were my restaurant, I would be upset if someone served those eggs to customers. Good quality (not too salty) Haloumi and nicely ripened, buttery avocadoes partly made up for my failed eggs.

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We had good service and really liked the day time atmosphere of Pig ‘N’ Whistle but think the night vibe would be even better. The food (aside from my eggs) was better than anticipated. Would definitely return at night to check out the bar and non-breakfast menu!

 

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Romantic evening at Baguette Bistrot & Bar

October 13, 2014

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Our first experience dining at Baguette Bistrot & Bar on Racecourse Rd in Ascot! Greeted by a cozy bar at the front, we were directed to the dining area which exuded great ambiance with a variety of seating arrangements and dimmed, romantic lighting.

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“Are you celebrating your anniversary?” Ricky asked as he showed us to our table.

No, we weren’t :) But we certainly love a nice evening out! And our 50% Dimmi Special reservation was just a prelude to a lovely night!

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We were seated at a spacious table for 2, given menus, and left alone to peruse.

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Even though it was only Monday night, we gleefully decided to share a bottle of wine. Uncharacteristic of us as we normally only have a glass. We picked out a bottle of 2009 Leeuwin Prelude Cabernet Merlot ($58.80). Unfortunately, I’m writing this over a month after our visit so other than remembering we really enjoyed it, I can’t tell you for exactly what reasons… :P

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After having a look at the menu, Mike and I decided to order a number of entrees to share instead of going the typical route of entree, main, and dessert.

First up, Handmade artisan French sour dough baguette, salted butter (for two) $7.80. Love the simple but different presentation. A nicely warmed, crispy baguette with good quality butter – one of our favourites!

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Scallop carpaccio, shaved fennel, finger lime, citrus dressing (gf) $22.00. Scallop carpaccio (raw scallops) was a first for the both of us. Scallops were sweet and although we would’ve liked more acidity (even with the slices of blood orange) this dish definitely met our expectations.

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Escargots à la provençale, sour dough bread $20.00. We love escargots but have never tried them this way. Cooked perfectly, not chewy at all, these were delicious! Nicely seasoned and the garlic really shone through the tomato base without being overpowering. Adding a slice or two more bread would be perfect.

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Ricky and the other staff checked on us through out the meal and made sure we were enjoying ourselves. Ricky tried more than once to convince us that a second (and even third) bottle of wine could only make our evening better but we really couldn’t handle it! :P

Pepper mill steak tartare, quail egg, fresh truffle (gf) $25.00. Steak tartare is a dish Michael only recently discovered (and really liked) so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try another version. Loved the presentation with the quail egg served in its shell and being able to pour it over the tartare ourselves. Although I’m not a fan of the consistency of raw egg whites and would’ve preferred just the egg yolk. The tartare was really nice in flavour and texture, we only wish there had been some frites/crisps/bread as an accompaniment!

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Twice baked fromage – soufflé (v) $18.00. Mmm, this dish was so delicious. Super fragrant and fluffy, I want some now as I’m writing this! When we ordered souffle, we expected to see something tall and risen, so the plating seemed a little… flat – literally! Nevertheless, tasted amazing.

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Triple cooked potatoes, truffle aïoli, parmesan (gf) $9.00. These were sinfully delicious. First of all, they are cooked in duck fat. If you haven’t had duck fat potatoes before, you are missing out. You just can’t get the same great flavours using oils! When we asked how they were triple cooked, we were told first steamed, then twice fried. Yum! The truffle aioli and parmesan topped it off really well.

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Despite getting pretty full, we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity for dessert. Especially when the option of Jasmine tea crème brûlée with spiced lychees (gf) $16.00 doesn’t leave your brain. A nice generous portion served in a tea cup, how appropriate! The delicate jasmine flavour came through really nicely and the dessert was not overly sweet. The lychees were indeed spiced and an added treat!

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The other creme brulee flavour that night was tonka bean, which sounded very intriguing as we have never tasted that flavour before – described to us as somewhat similar to burnt caramel. We’ll definitely have to try it next time!

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We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Baguette. Not only were the atmosphere and service great, the food was spectacular. We tried a variety of dishes, each one offering unique flavours and textures. Special thanks to Ricky for his sense of humour and service throughout our meal! We’d definitely recommend a visit to Baguette Bistrot & Bar, especially for a special occasion or romantic night out – albeit on the pricier side at regular price! :)

Baguette Bistrot + Bar on Urbanspoon

 

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Thanksgiving brunch

October 11, 2014

A tradition since moving to Australia, Mario hosted the Canadian Thanksgiving meal yet again this year. Interestingly, most attendees were Australian but who can resist a get together that revolves around delicious food and over indulgence?

The Canadian crew with Mario, Stacy, Yoni and Mike

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Selfies!

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Some of the food spread:

Tender and fragrant roasted leg of lamb with creme fraiche, courtesy of Mario

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Butternut squash soup and chicken pesto salad from Mike and I

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Yoni made savoury beef filled crepes

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The rest of the food including: scalloped potatoes, pumpkin, beet and quinoa salad, mini quiches, and tacos. There was an array of desserts including sticky date pudding, pumpkin pie, and chocolate cake.

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Didn’t take too many photos of food or people but good meal nonetheless! Likely our last Thanksgiving meal at Mario’s since we will be moving away in January. Happy to have held on a small aspect of home but it has never been the same celebrating Thanksgiving without family (and a stuffed turkey).

 

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JC Wang – Talented busker from Taiwan

This is a long overdue post, but I wanted to share with you a talented artist I met in Brisbane months ago. Her name is JC Wang, from Taiwan, and she busks in the CBD – click HERE to check out her Facebook page and HERE to check out her Instagram.

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She uses water colours and specializes in beautiful portraits, bringing out one’s most beautiful features in a colourful splash.

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I happened to walk by her set up in Queen Street Mall a few months ago. Like many passersby, I paused to admire her completed portraits on display. After seeing the simplistic resemblance captured in all her subjects, I decided to commission her for 2 pieces to give away as gifts.

A close up of one of the completed paintings – my grandparents! Given to them as a gift during their 60th Wedding Anniversary celebrations!

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JC holding up both my pieces, the other is, if you can’t tell of Mike and I. A birthday gift to him earlier this year. We are planning on getting it framed and displayed once we move into our new place in a few months :)

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Thanks JC for the 2 beautiful works of art!

Stop by to say hello and check out her work if you’re in the city! She is super friendly and creates portraits of different sizes and prices – something for everyone :)

 

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Catching up with friends at Bread & Meat Co

October 10, 2014

After months of hearing about not only the amazing sandwiches served at Bread & Meat Co, but the fact that they served Canadian poutine, Michael and I were super excited to suggest a visit to this eatery for a catch up with our friends.

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We were told that most of their sales occur by early afternoon and were pleasantly surprised to find the place not packed with seating available on a Friday evening.

Bright and rustic, loved that everything was on display and open to our viewing.

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With the 5 of us, we made sure to try all 3 regular sandwiches as well as their weekly special.

Beef Brisket Dip – 36 hour roasted beef brisket topped with Swiss cheese, horseradish aioli, and a side of jus for dipping ($9.50). Packed to the brim with brisket and perfect with the jus, it’s easy to see why this is a favourite among customers.

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Corned Beef Sandwich – New York style corned beef with gherkin aioli, topped with poached cabbage and a side of spicy dijon mustard ($8.50). A tad on the salty side but goes well with the dijon mustard! Those who ordered this sandwich thought pickled cabbage or sauerkraut would make a better condiment in flavour and texture over poached cabbage.

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BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich – Smoked pulled porked with a BBQ hickory sauce, topped with fresh coleslaw on 2 toasted brioche slider buns ($8.50). This was my order, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The pork melts in your mouth, good crunch from the coleslaw and the brioche held together nicely. I did, however, find the BBQ sauce a bit too sweet and overpowering the smokiness of the pork.

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Xuan and Alexis

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Lastly, the weekly special Porchetta – Juicy pork loin with an herb stuffing, crispy crackling, topped with a salsa verde on a warm ciabatta roll ($9.50). Porchetta is something I learned for the first time tonight and it was true to its name – fatty and moist, boneless pork roast.

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Cool salt and pepper shakers

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And of course, how could we pass up the opportunity for a taste from home – Canadian Poutine with golden fries, fresh curd cheese smothered in hot gravy ($6). The good news is, the gravy was well seasoned and not crazy salty as some of our friends who’ve already visited warned us. The sad news is, this is not real poutine. The salty, squeaky cheese curds of real Canadian poutine is irreplaceable. And unfortunately, the chopped up bocconcini served at Bread & Meat Co is an admirable replacement, but simply not good enough.

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We wouldn’t order the poutine again. Instead, we look forward to trying their Sweet Potato Parm Fries ($6) or their Chili Cheese Fries ($7) next time.

The sandwiches were all delicious and massively filling. Look forward to visiting again and would definitely recommend to our friends. They even offer free weekday lunch delivery in the CBD for orders more than $18, how awesome is that?

Good to see you guys!

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Catch up soon Sarah!

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Bread & Meat Co on Urbanspoon

 

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