A tasty catch Breakfast at Chouquette

December 17, 2014

It’s silly that it’s taken me so many months to share such a gem – but here it is! Now that we are living in Rockhampton, I can only daydream of having delicious French pastries again soon!

Founded and managed by Lara Sample, Chouquette opened in 2006… I didn’t visit until 2014, what a shame! At least we got a few visits in before moving away.

With the skills of French-born and trained bakers and pastry chefs, alongside Australian staff, Chouquette consistently produces authentic and high quality delights. It’s easy to see why customers return again and again.

In 2013, Chouquette’s sister business, Crust & Co, opened in Wilston as a wholesale business that also caters to the public. If you know me, then I’ve definitely told you how much we love Crust & Co! Chouquette is no different, with the bonus of more options and atmosphere!

The small bakery in New Farm opens at 6:30am Weds-Sunday. Get in early for the best selection of goodies, as well as a seat! There are a handle of seats indoors and a few more outside on the sidewalk. Definitely not a place to set up shop and study for the day, but a bite to eat and catch up with friends is perfect! You will also notice a consistent stream of customers come in for take away goodies through out the day.

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The variety makes the selection process difficult. Do I want cakes? Or pastries? Or bread? It often ends with, “I’ll have a bit of everything!”

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Service has always been fantastic and one of the few opportunities I’ve had to hear and speak French since moving to Australia!

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Prices are definitely on the higher side than what I’m used to, especially compared to back in Canada. But once in a while is definitely worth it 😉

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One of my favourite breakfast options are their filled baguettes! Fresh, delicious, crispy baguette with a variety of toppings. They are max $9.00 and one of my favourites is salami, provolone, basil, lettuce and tomato.

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We love all the pastries, although haven’t had the opportunity to try many of their cakes yet.

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Here a few yums!

Mille feuille – good cream but the pastry is a little too dark.

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Canele – beautiful and tasty! Although the ones we’ve had at Macarons et Madeleines in Ottawa will always be the best!

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Good coffees

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And of course, can’t forget to mention the good company! 😉

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Definitely worth a visit, I know I’ll be coming back when I have the chance!

Chouquette Patisserie & Café on Urbanspoon

Sydney: The Dough Collective

May 04, 2014

I came upon The Dough Collective on George St. by chance while taking a walk and looking for some food/snacks during my short stay in Sydney. I remember checking into my hotel and immediately thinking, “I need to find something delicious to keep me going if I plan to be studying for the rest of the day.”

And if you know me, you know I absolutely love bakeries. Delicious breads and pastries, does anyone not like that?

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A small shop with assorted breads on display typical of a self-serve bakery. I also liked the look of the bread behind glass displays within the walls, added a nice elegant touch. Wish I had taken some photos of the shop but I was trying to get in and out as quick as I could. Also, lots of different samples to try, taste to your heart’s content!

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As I was traveling solo so I couldn’t buy too much… even though I wanted to!

Ended up getting a Chocolate Surprise – filled with Belgian chocolate and a Brown Sugar Roll with brown sugar, walnuts and raisins.

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Both were delicious! Such fresh, soft, delicious, chewy bread. I am not a fan of raisins, but these ones were so big, plump, and juicy I thought it went really nicely with the walnuts in the roll.

And I also got the Gangnam Crown, I believe. Five individual buns with kimchi, cream cheese, and condensed milk. The combination of flavours may sound odd, but I assure you this was delicious. Spicy, creamy, salty and sweet – mmm!

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I know, I should’ve also taken photos of what the inside looked like to show you!

I still think of the awesome textures and tastes of the breads I tried, and prices were very reasonable as well! I really wish there was a Dough Collective here in Brisbane… maybe one day soon? Will definitely visit again when I have the chance though!

The Dough Collective on Urbanspoon

Delights at Crust & Co. Artisan Baking

Located on the side of the historic Red Brick Bakery in Newmarket, Crust & Co. Artisan Baking emits tantalizing smells of freshly baked breads and pastries. Open Friday to Sunday from 6am to 12pm, owners Sebastien Pisasale and Lara Sample are sure to have something tasty to please!

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Taken from their Facebook page: Sebastien draws on his French and Italian heritage to produce a delicious range from crusty sourdough to flaky croissants while Lara, of Chouquette Patisserie Boulangerie (New Farm), brings her experience running a successful artisan bakery business. 

Be sure to get there early! Although most likely there will already be a line up when you arrive 😉

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Once inside, there is a small counter lined with all the available delicacies, including traditional baguettes, sour dough loaves, multiple types of croissants, brioches, danishes, tarts, quiches, biscotti, muesli, and more. And yes, there is even coffee!

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We got a number of items to try, and none of them disappointed!

Savoury breakfast brioche with mushroom and egg

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All the croissants were amazing, I believe we picked up one of each.

The plain croissant – flaky and buttery

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Pistachio croissant with spiced syrup. Subtle, yet flavourful and decadent!

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Chocolate hazelnut croissant… mmm.

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Trio: Pistachio, plain chocolate, and hazelnut chocolate.

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They have a selection of fruit danishes, our favourite – blueberry

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Traditional baguette ($3) that we finished before the day was over. Next time, we are definitely trying the sour dough!

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The best part? Crust & Co. is definitely an affordable, regular treat with items ranging from $2.50 and up! It has become a favourite for us and we certainly look forward to every chance to visit!

Stop by Crust & Co. in the early morning Friday to Sunday for a delicious breakfast and stock up on beautiful breads and pastries for the rest of the weekend! 😉

Crust & Company Artisan Baking on Urbanspoon

Long overdue catch up with Sareda at Art Is In!

December 14, 2013

By long overdue, I mean three years. Really.

Needless to say, it was great to see her and finally catch up. So much can happen in such little time, you easily don’t realize it until actually sitting down and having a chat.

For lunch, Sareda chose Art Is In Boulangerie. What a delight! And thanks again for the treat my dear!

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Unit #112 of the industrial loading bay at City Centre Ave, Art Is In has a very unique atmosphere. You walk through a black door to be greeted by high ceilings, minimal decor, shared seating in a large open space. And surprisingly, it’s very warm, inviting and cosy.

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Being first time visitors, we appreciated that there wasn’t too much of a line when we arrived shortly after 12pm on a Saturday. We had the opportunity to ask questions regarding what was available and take a moment longer to make up our minds. I really liked how there was an employee taking our ‘hot food’ orders while we waited in line. By the time we got to the front of the line, ordered any additional pastries, breads, or other items from the bakery, paid and sat down at a table, the food took only a few more moments to arrive.

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We both decided on a sandwich and a pastry.

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Sareda chose the Thai chicken with apple, curry mayo, and havarti sandwich ($10.95)

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I got the Buttermilk brined chicken caesar sandwich ($10.95, tender chicken pieces with bacon, havarti, tomatoes, arugula and our homemade Caesar dressing. Served on our Dynamite Cheddar, jalapeno & chive bread).

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Both sandwiches were delicious, served such amazing crusty bread and filled with fresh vegetables and flavourful meat – yum! Although they were great, they are not the biggest sandwiches and I wish for the price, they came with a small side. Even if it was just a few greens.

For dessert, a danish with lemon curd and berries (I believe) for Sareda

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And a Chocolate Almond Croissant ($2.95) for me!

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Again, both extremely tasty! We each saved half to share with Sareda’s partner, Calvin, later.

We were definitely impressed with our first visit and left making plans to each come back in the future, yay!

December 17, 2013

And so, when Mike came up to Ottawa, I took him there for lunch!

He couldn’t pass up the same sandwich I got last time and ordered the chicken caesar, along with a coffee.

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We also bought 2 pastries to try:

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Sticky Bun with Pecans, Raisin & Caramel ($3.25). Delicious but extremely rich, especially as it is not technically a bun but more of a croissant. It is quite sweet, although the caramel is hardened, would’ve been nicer if it was slightly warmed!

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And the Maple Dipped Old Fashioned Potato Donut ($3.25). The donut had very lovely texture but otherwise quite bland, which is not technically a bad thing depending on what you are looking for! Or it could be because our taste buds were overwhelmed by the sticky bun 😛

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❤ him!

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During the second visit, there were a few minor things I noticed that could be improved.

Although I don’t drink, directions for where to get self-serve coffee would be useful. There was confusion as nothing was labelled and wasn’t sure if the big dispensers contained other beverages like tea or hot chocolate.

Additionally, you are given pastries you order at the cash to take back to your table. Hot foods arrive when they are ready. However, there is no self-serve cutlery for those who would like to enjoy their pastries first or while they wait. A stash cutlery where the self-serve drinks are would be great and save the trouble of bothering an employee! 🙂

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Otherwise, the food is delicious on many levels. The atmosphere is great with a variety of clientele including families, elderly couples, and those on break from work. Turnover is quick and although it was quite busy both times I’ve visited, we never had trouble finding space to share and dine with others. Service is quick and friendly. My only regret is not buying some fresh loaves of bread to go! I guess that means I will just have to return soon… 😀

Art Is in Bakery on Urbanspoon

Evening catch up with friends @ The Burrow

Finally had a catch up this past Friday with Kee Ping, Amanda and Xuan at The Burrow.

With a great drinks menu and nice atmosphere, The Burrow was an easy choice and luckily we could make reservations so didn’t have to wait in line for a table.

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Beers for everyone! And of course, food. We got a few dishes to share:

Unfortunately, some of these dishes are part of their Oktoberfest menu which isn’t online so I can’t give you the full dish name and all its components.

Pretzels with Pepe Saya butter. I love Pepe Saya butter but the pretzels were unfortunately quite tough and definitely not worth $7/each.

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Main component of this dish was the crispy pork belly, which was lovely! Also had roasted peaches and something-I-can’t remember wrapped in filo pastry. Tasty dish!

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Dip-ah-dee-do-dah – A selection of fresh house dips, crisp bread, ciabatta, zattar and flavoured oils. The selection was different than what Mike and I have had before but still very tasty! Very generous portions of dips, and so would do with a bit more breads!

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This dish’s main component was slow cooked venison with spätzle, apple and berries. When we asked what spätzle was, our server said her best description would be “similar to gnocchi”. Unfortunately, although the venison was tender and nice, the spätzle (that we were all trying for the first time) tasted more like stale deep fried batter. We’re still unsure if it was meant to taste that way, or if we just got a bad batch… And why make the pieces so tiny? So difficult to eat when they just roll around on your fork and then onto the table.

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We also got some Gnarly fries (curly fries) and Chips Ahoy! (beer battered fries) with aioli sauce. On a good note, the fries never disappoint.

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We’ve been to The Burrow many times and love the service, drinks selection and quality of food. Unfortunately, we found our food hit and miss tonight but will still be back again in the future 🙂

The Burrow on Urbanspoon

Next Door Kitchen & Bar – Our best meal so far this year

We had an important mission on Friday (April 05) – to pick a random restaurant in South Bank and have some delicious food.

This might sound easy, but there are tons of restaurants to choose from and so many sound good! The second restaurant we stopped at, Next Door Kitchen & Bar had a menu that invited us in immediately. All tapas styled dishes that sounded amazing and the best part: no lining up on a Friday night.

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The restaurant was quite busy, but the staff joined 2 small tables together and we were seated almost immediately.

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Cocktails on the menu were quite appealing but we opted for wine instead. Mike and Meaghan shared a bottle of Dalrymple Pinot Noir and I got a glass of Kiss Chasey Rose.

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It’s not often when you look at a menu and think, “You can order whatever you want, I would be happy to eat it.” But that was the case!

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Because the dishes are meant to be shared, the restaurant recommends 2-3 plates per person. We decided on 7 plates to share, as we also had full intentions to finish the night off at Max Brenner for dessert – needed to save some room!

FRESH BAGUETTE, PEPE SAYA BUTTER & HOUSE MADE SARDINE BUTTER ($9.50) Baguette was nice and crispy on the outside, chewy and dense on the inside – just the way I like it. It was my first time trying sardine butter so I was a little apprehensive, but it was quite tasty!

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GOLDEN FRIED POLENTA CHIPS, SALSA VERDE, SOUR CREAM, PICKLED EGGPLANT ($14.50) The polenta chips were fried beautifully! 6 sticks, a perfect portion to share between 3 people. I especially liked the pickled egglant, yum!

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PEA ARANCINI, GOATS CURD AIOLI, CORIANDER OIL ($14.50) Arancini (fried rice balls coated in breadcrumbs) is something I’d never had until last year. I’ve only had it a few times since and it was delicious this time as well 🙂

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GARLIC PRAWNS, GREEN ONION PILAF, GREEN BUTTER & SNAIL BEIGNET ($16.50) Succulent prawns on a delicious bed of rice. The snail beignet was not strongly flavoured but very nice with the crisp crust.

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CURED OCEAN TROUT, PICKLED BEETROOT, KATAIFI CRISP, DILL MAYONNAISE ($16.50) I normally don’t like cured fish, but the trout was delicious and worked nicely with the beetroot. The kataifi crisp (made from shredded phyllo dough) tasted like a delicious vat of crispy butter. I’m glad it was shared between 3 people! 😛

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SEARED QUAIL, TRUFFLED WHITE BEANS, RAISIN & PINE NUT VINAIGRETTE ($22.50) The most tender quail I’ve ever had! It’s a hard decision but probably my favourite dish of the night! 😀

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TRUFFLE PARMESAN FRIES ($8.50) We couldn’t resist! Such a generous portion of delicious, crispy fries – you could smell the parmesan from across the restaurant and the aioli just made them even better. Nom nom nom!

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Service was extremely attentive throughout the night. Mike and Meaghan had their wine glasses continuously topped up. Plates were promptly cleared off the table and we never had to wait long between dishes. The only thing we would change: To serve the fries first rather than last so we can enjoy them alongside the other courses.

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Thank you Meaghan for treating us to a wonderful dinner! We will definitely be back and be recommending this restaurant to our friends 🙂

Next Door Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

FADU: Rugby Union and Park Playing

Gosh, I’m nearly a month behind… how embarrassing. I now have to base my memories on pictures we’ve taken, thank goodness I have those!

July 14, 2012

Checked out our first Rubgy Union game – St George Queensland Reds v New South Wales Waratahs! And we won! Dinner? Chicken tacos and drinks – yum.

July 15, 2012

Hit the Windsor Park close to home with Tan and Christine for lunch and some fun in the sun! Too windy for badminton but soccer certainly had us panting for air! Such a gorgeous day! In other news, my brothers toe nails are blue courtesy of my mom and sister.

Dinner at home: Gnocchi with garlic bread and eggplant tempura – mmm!

Cooking Update!

A few dishes over the last few weeks I was too lazy to put up:

Chicken tandoori masala with pappadums and rice

Sweet and sour chicken stir fry

Crispy lemon pepper pork (with red wine/soya sauce chicken stir fry in background)

Rustic baguette with homemade garlic butter and topped with cheese

Springrolls! I made them on my own! For the first time! From scratch! And they tasted good!

Seasoned seafood tempura with fish, mussles, calamari and shrimp