22 December 2011

Eat: Duthy St Deli Cafe

Is it a Deli? Is it a Cafe?

Whichever it is, Duthy St Deli Cafe has been having a hard time of late over on Urbanspoon. Which made me feel overly cautious about choosing it as our Father-Daughter-Brother lunch option. Nevertheless, trepidation aside, we ventured in feeling positive. How can you not when the sky is blue and holidays are well and truly in sight?

For 12.30 on a weekday the place was bustling. In hindsight I should have made a booking but luckily we managed to score the last remaining outside table. We were rewarded with street views and the very popular 'as cars drive by' soundtrack. Lesson learnt. I will make a booking next time. And there will be a next time, all three of us were particularly happy with our menu choices on this occasion.

Haloumi salad with rocket, roast pumpkin, pine nuts and Duthy St balsamic and tahini dressing.

Lamburger with beetroot salsa.

Chicken, pesto and avocado pita.

The only thing lacking was a glass of wine. Or two. And I’m calling it a cafe, but only if you have to get technical.

Duthy Street Deli on Urbanspoon

08 December 2011

Do: Pub Trivia

I like Pubs. I like Trivia. Do you?

Torrens Arms Hotel, aka The TA, runs free weekly Tasty Trivia Tuesdays. Kick off is 7pm sharp. Allow yourself a bit of pregame time to settle in, grab a drink and read through the rules and regulations. Hang on, what? Written rules? Oh yeah, this is serious. There are CASH PRIZES people! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn’t.

Pub Trivia takes the fun elements of Trivial Pursuit, combines them with real prizes plus real drinks and throws away the dice. The result being just you, your mates and a true test of who has the greatest amount of irrelevant knowledge stored in the back blocks of their mind. A little bit of friendly, harmless competition is good for you on a weeknight. And a good test of friendship. Are you sure that is Adam Gilchrist in position 3? Are you SURE?

Quizmaster Lindsay runs a smooth operation and keeps everyone to a tight schedule. Which is important if you want to get home in time for Survivor. Or is that just me?

Topics range from Who Am I to Sports Cars. Something for everyone really. And your efforts will be rewarded. We came a respectable third (ok so there were only four teams) and walked away with a bounty of prizes...

Up for the challenge? Game on.

Tasty Tuesday Trivia
Torrens Arms Hotel (TA Bar)
95 Belair Road
Ph. 8272 9255

03 December 2011

Eat: Arriba Grill

The search is over! Found: Good Mexican in Adelaide. Hello Arriba Grill.

It is without question my favourite cultural cuisine and whilst living across the border I was spoilt for choice when it came to high quality Mexican inspired food. For speed and easability, Mad Mex was where it was at. Like for like, Arriba Grill comes pretty close to matching those lofty heights of grande expectations. Cause for celebration indeed! I’ll bring the Coronas, you bring the blender and margarita ingredients. Deal?

Located a tad north of North Adelaide, you might spot Speedy on the sign along Prospect road. Pull over and step into the world of fresh and tasty made-to-order burritos. Think subway style, but a hundred times better. The choice is yours. In five easy steps. Choose your tortilla (or bowl), meat, extras, salsa, salads, guac etc. And voila!

So what makes this place better than others? It’s about quality ingredients really. These boys have done their research and the proof is in the pintos. All the dets on their use of organic ingredients can be read about here.

My one tiny gripe? The HOT sauce barely registered on the scorch scale. But in all other areas this place is plenty hot enough to make up for it.

Go forth and be happy, fellow burrito connoisseurs.

Arriba Grill on Urbanspoon

22 November 2011

Do: MVBeer Dinner

Here are two things I believe in:
  1. Always having something to look forward to
  2. Beer
I’d been looking forward to attending one of the McLaren Vale Beer Company’s Beer Dinners since they announced their very first dinner way back in March (even though I lived in Melbourne at the time). It took a little bit longer than expected for things to fall into place but, when the date for Beer Dinner #5 at the Vale Inn was announced, I knew this was the one. My expectations were high.

Without hesitation I ditched my regular Wednesday night commitment and signed us up. Yeah there’s a booking fee but even including all hidden costs $75 for four courses per person is serious value for money.

Time from entering the Inn to beer in hand: one minute. Cheers to getting off to a flying start.
Starters were bought out as we stood and made small talk. And drank.

Before long we seated ourselves at the two long share tables. There was a little intro from Head Brewer Jeff Wright including a game of heads and tails, followed by first course being served. As each course was presented, Head Chef Jamie Laing spoke about the food and Jeff spoke about the accompanying beer. Jeff and Jamie’s bromance is clear. They’ve got it going on.

You don’t need beer goggles to make this look good. Oysters poached in smokey master stock and pork belly served on lemon thyme potato rounds. Paired with Vale Dark.

Quail stuffed with (heavily) spiced farrow, sweet potato puree, ruby chard and honey mead sauce. Paired with Sunner Kolsch from Germany.

Beer jelly(!) served as a palate cleanser.

Chef’s style beef wellington, duck liver pate, spinach and congo potatoes finished with dark chocolate. Paired with Lobethal Bierhaus Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Brilliant.

It’s exciting to hear that Jeff and the team hope to hold the next beer dinner (tentatively scheduled for early next year) in the brand spanking new brewery. Already shaping up as a not to be missed beer event.

Passionfruit and vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberries and raspberry coulis.
Paired with Vale IPA.

I second that Great Things Happen After Dark, but I also believe that great things can happen anytime. Especially if great beer is on tap. Luckily you don’t need to wait for the next beer dinner to fully experience the charm of what happens within the walls of the Vale Inn. The taphouse and kitchen are open for beer tasting and food Thursday to Monday.

Connect the dots.

Vale Inn on Urbanspoon

18 November 2011

Eat: Buffalo Wings

Disclaimer: this is not first date food.

But it is delicious food. In all its spicy, tangy glory.

Gilbert Street Hotel hold Bourbon and Buffalo Wing Night every Thursday. There are plenty of people in the know about this special night (judging by the large crowd that gathers here religiously each week) but sadly I was not one of them. With thanks due to The Luxury Pie & Co. for quickly getting me in the loop, I now feel it is my duty to spread the word far and wide.

One kilogram (1KG!) of these beauties will set you back a measly ten bucks ($10!). Please do let me know if you have come across a tastier, value for money, alternative amongst the streets of Adelaide.

If you’re feeling particularly hungry at the moment, may I suggest you look away now.

Book early to avoid disappointment.

23 October 2011

Eat: Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar

I almost walked right past Andre’s. Sunken within the unassuming lobby of the Mantra hotel on Frome St, the restaurant itself is small in size but big on heart. Our party managed to sneak in a last minute booking on a recent Friday night, voluntarily signing up for the full experience.

Brightly greeted by a bunch of trendy host and hostesses, we were seated quickly and had beers in hand not long after. We receive a full menu briefing including suggestions for how much to order and what is recommended by our on-the-ball waitress. After much deliberation we are confident with our choices of two appetizers, two vegetable share platters, one platter of meat as well as the compulsory serving of polenta (it is a polenta bar after all).

Food is bought out in waves beginning with the two delicate starters.

Fritto misto di mare – fried Sicilian seafood with lemon aioli.
Ravioli di formaggio con crosta di polenta e salsa picante – polenta crusted cheese ravioli with spicy salsa.

Bagna cauda – fresh raw & blanched vegetable crudités served with hot anchovy dip and crostini.
Assaggini di verdure – all things vegetable including sweet potato crisps, roasted mushrooms, lightly grilled eggplant and zucchini served with jerusalem artichoke puree.
Designed to share, the food is beautifully presented on the table. You really don’t need to order this much, but you probably should.

Delizie del rè, piattata di salumi misti –  selection of finely shaved Italian salami.
Polenta con salsiccia Italiana e salsa – polenta with Italian sausage and tomato salsa.

And then dessert. Bomboloni – banana donuts.

To think that we weren’t even going to order the chocolate mousse! Thank Dad we did.
Chocolate mousse – with nuts and caramel awesomeness.

Andre’s is the kind of place I wouldn’t feel awkward returning to just for dessert. The vibe is right, the place is buzzing and the staff really do know their cuts of meat.

Andre's Cucina & Polenta Bar on Urbanspoon

14 October 2011

Do: Start Walkin'

Let’s face it, the footy season is over. Which means there are plenty of three hour long gaps to fill on Saturday afternoons. So I’m introducing a new season: Walking Season.

As my main mode of transport, I am a huge advocate for walking. Whilst the city of Adelaide is very flat, the surrounding suburbs, and their various inclines, more than make up for it. The next time some nice person tells you to “take a hike” why don’t you? Trail walking is free, fun and fills your lungs with fresh air.

The Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit walk is an Adelaide must do for physically able visitors and locals alike. While getting your fix of fresh air you can also conduct a free self assessment of your fitness. There are no short cuts here. Cause there’s only one way to the top.

I’d been to the summit before, but not by foot. To be honest I didn’t really believe the signs.. I mean, they’re always overly cautious, aren’t they?

I read ‘VERY STEEP’ and thought ‘slight incline’. I read ‘three hours return’ and thought ’yeah right’.

I thought wrong. But don’t let that put you off.

The track itself is about 8km return. The walk is tough, but ultimately rewarding. Once at the top, the views are pretty special. On the day we went it was overcast and foggy, but I imagine it would be truly spectacular on a clear day.

So now that the season has officially commenced, anyone got any tips on where I should walk to next?

19 September 2011

Eat: Show us your mussels

Spring in Adelaide. It’s a beautiful thing. When the sun’s shining, the closest beer garden’s calling. And on this occasion, it was the Belgians. The Belgian Beer Cafe is neatly tucked out of harm’s way in the East End of the CBD. Why get distracted by passers-by when you can instead get distracted by a detailed eight page beer menu?
Drinks ordered. Thirst quenched. We then turned our attention to the food menu. How does a pot full of mussels sound? I’m not certain I even really like mussels but I’m all for the full experience and if mussels are the staple Belgian dish, then mussels it will be. Not to mention they come served in a massive traditional ‘Belgian Kilo Mussel Pot’. What?

Michelle opted for a much more sensible sausage and beer combo deal. But where’s the fun it that? Merguez ‘N’ Beer – Char grilled French beef sausage, caramelised onion, seeded mustard mayonnaise in a crusty bread roll served with pommes frites and a 330ml Stella Artois.

The Pot-O-Mussels comes served in your choice of six broths. I opted for Paddestoel – White wine, field mushroom, confit garlic, spring onion, cream, truffle oil and cracked pepper served with pommes frites and house made mayonnaise. It’s an impressive sight.

The creamy broth was as rich and heavy as it sounds. And although I’m assured this is indeed a serving for one, I didn’t stand a chance.

Reckon you’re up for the challenge? Mussel up boys. I think I’ll stick to the beer menu next time.

Belgian Beer Cafe Oostende on Urbanspoon

17 September 2011

See: Cheap Thrills

Fifteen dollars doesn’t get you very much these days. On tightarse Tuesday it might cover the cost of a movie ticket or a cheap parmie, but what about the other six days of the week? Last night, a Friday, I got over three hours of quality live entertainment, a lot of laughs and change from fifteen bucks. Wanna know where?
Most Adelaidians are familiar with Rhino Room. An inner city venue that gets a thorough workout during March Madness that is the Fringe. But perhaps you didn’t know that they maintain that support of comedic talent throughout the whole year. Every Monday, Thursday and Friday, comedians and associated visual artists take to the stage, lifting the spirits of the intimately gathered crowd.

During a standard Friday night show you’ll see a handful of comedians, from beginners, youngsters and hobbyists to interstate and international guests. There’s no long queues to get in, just a bar with pretty lights. Every seat’s a good seat and you definitely won’t get lost in the crowd. You get a close up view as the funny people put their best foot forward and test their wares. Plus there are plenty of drinks breaks. And the beer list’s good.

Pre-purchase your tickets if you’re super tight organised or simply make your way down after a few work drinks. When the Fringe Festival rolls around you might even feel confident enough to recommend a local show to friends and family. Get yourself in the know and have a few well priced laughs along the way.

03 September 2011

Mingle: Gin Diligence

If this isn't gin weather, I don’t know what is. Luckily, just in time, the fine people of Hendrick's have taken up shop in the East End of town. Here specifically to teach the young folk a thing or two about refined courtship whilst casually sipping on a G&T.

Get along to sample the Scottish brew, served in delightful little teacups. Workshops are open to any gents wanting to work on their hatiquette and any ladies of society wishing to brush up on the fine art of faniquette. You’ll be welcomed by some lovely lasses, waited on hand and foot and treated to a little behind-the-modesty-screen show (and tell).

The workshop is situated at 3/300 Rundle Street and is open to the public until Sunday. Look for the bathtub in the window.

Saturday 3 September – 12pm til 7pm
Sunday 4 September – 12pm til 7pm

Get all the details here.

30 August 2011

Eat: The Store

Spring appears to have come early here in Rads and sunny skies are conducive to long lunches in the streets of North Adelaide. But don’t be too fooled, always remember to pack your cardigan. Especially if you want to fit in along Melbourne Street.

We headed to The Store. Options were plentiful, with indoor, outdoor, terrace or booth seating available. We slid into a green velvet booth and left the wine choice to the expert.
Hats off to whoever’s hiring. Cute and friendly wait staff make a dining experience much more pleasurable.

All the specials sounded very tempting and from the few we saw on their way out from the kitchen, they looked very tempting as well.

Quiche of the day. Chèvre and silverbeet quiche, green salad with hazelnuts.
Homemade baked gnocchi with roasted cauliflower, Gruyere cheese and walnuts.
Grilled free range pork rib eye with coleslaw and caramelised apple balls.
Prior to ordering our mains, I’d already eyed off the dessert options. It was predetermined we’d be sharing a little something sweet.

Warm brioche custard and apple pudding.

Tick, tick, tick. Lovely dishes. Lovely ladies. Lovely day.

The Store on Urbanspoon

28 August 2011

Mingle: In it to win it

I have a friend who likes to enter competitions. If you’ve got to be in it to win it, she’s in it. The benefit of a friend like this is that sometimes I’m lucky enough to get the call up of being her plus one. As it was this week, when we jumped on board the SAFM Party Bus.

Local radio station SAFM, in conjunction with Central Grocers, recently ran a competition to see who could throw the best party in Adelaide. After submitting their ideas, three entrants were chosen to host a party that would hold up to the scrutiny of a bus load of gate crashers. The winner receiving a grand prize of $5,000.

Any Thursday night is a good night for a party. Especially a themed one. Throw together twenty five strangers, a trio of breakfast radio hosts plus some random SAFM staff members and the guy who chipped in the prize money and off we trek all across the city and suburbs. Albeit on a dry bus with a malfunctioning strobe light.. Though I wasn’t complaining, I’m kept happy as long as goodie bags are involved.
Mel’s party was first stop. An elaborate Halloween set up. Duly noted for the extensive theming, variety of beers on offer, costumes aplenty and a dead body!
The bar had been set pretty high. But with open minds we made our way back to civilisation, phone reception and sangria. Amanda had opted for an outdoor set up, taking us back to a bygone era. A bygone era with flamingos.
Back on the bus and on route to our last stop.

The early odds had been in favour of Sarah’s Hawaiian themed party and hopes were high. We weren’t disappointed. Coronas, tropical punch, a bubble machine, hula girls, interactive limbo and a wet area. Not to mention, we all got lei'd on arrival.

Plus, more flamingos!
Before anyone could get too comfortable, we were ordered back on the bus to cast our votes and head home.

So what makes a winning party? We were asked to vote on presentation, food, entertainment and atmosphere. All vital ingredients in planning a successful function.

And the winner is..
Sarah! Congratulations!

PS. It happens to be Sarah’s 21st next weekend. Who would have guessed the theme is Hawaiian?