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?

19 August 2011

Day Trip: Wine Touring

Taking weekend visitors under your wing in Adelaide can only mean one thing: winery tour. But if you don’t have any visitors of your own in town this weekend, it’s perfectly acceptable to steal borrow someone else’s for the day. Put together a loose itinerary, get some drinks on ice, and then get going. That last part is important. Though not as important as packing good friends and good vibes.

Just a little bit of planning can go a long way. Here’s my handy five step guide to a great day out.

1. Choose your region. The beauty of Adelaide? You can rotate your way through the various regions as you rotate through visitors.

2. Decide on your venues. Just a rough plotting of points on a map will do. Or trust those in the know and from your first stop simply follow the cellar door manager’s tip of where to go next. And so on from there.

3. Book your lunch spot. Confirm your lunch spot. Allow for getting seriously behind schedule. It happens on every wine tour. Especially if you stop at the local taphouse. And then order onion rings, even though they're not on the menu. And inevitably loose track of time while sampling the new brew on tap. Mmmm VALE/DRK..

So program the restaurant’s phone number in your phone and politely let them know just how late you’ll be.

4. Get in the spirit. Ask questions. Taste something you ‘don’t usually drink’. Sign the guestbook. Take a few photos. Your memories toward the end of the day might start to get a little bit hazy.

5. On the way home? Crank the stereo. Break open some salty treats. Don’t be tempted to drink your nice new purchases, finish off the beers in the esky instead. And when you arrive back at your drop off point.. Don’t forget to tip your driver!

17 August 2011

Icons: Double Cut Roll

“Would you like that single or double cut?”

Ahh that’s a question I haven’t heard for far too long. Indeed it was music to the ears of a native South Australian who has lived elsewhere for a significant amount of time. Imagine my dismay when five years ago, I discovered that no one across the border had heard of such a thing as a double cut roll. Something that is standard in every sandwich bar across the city and suburbs of Adelaide.

The concept is simple. And fabulous. Order your fillings as per normal. But if you’re feeling hungry you can upgrade your roll to supersize. Instead of your standard one cut through the middle of said roll, now an additional two cuts are made. Hence, ‘double’ cut. Effectively the roll is divided in half and then these halves are halved again. Now you’ve got two spaces to insert your fillings of choice. Essentially two sandwiches on top of each other. But in roll form. Got it?
What follows is a perfect example, created by the talented ladies at Pat-a-Cake. Double cut roll with avocado and salad.

The answer is always double cut. If you’re in a state that offers it.

04 August 2011

Eat: What's your definition of a burger?

Sadly, father daughter weekday lunch dates will soon be coming to an end. So to go out with a bang we headed for a big pub feed, with Dad wanting to pass his own judgement on SA’s I Love Food Award winning ‘Best Burger’ at the Gilbert Street Hotel. In my mind, a burger usually includes a patty of some sort, so I was in for a bit of a surprise. But who am I to argue with Australia's largest peoples' choice restaurant awards?

Gilbert Street Hotel is a sophisticated pub providing a little corner suited to everyone’s needs. With funky lighting and quirky art works, the decor throughout is cool yet unpretentious. Everyone is welcome and the crowd at any time of day reflects this fact. There’s front bar action with high tables and seating providing a good vantage point, a quaint dining room for the hard core foodies, an urban beer garden and newly renovated function rooms upstairs.

A range of papers and magazines are available for those stopping in for a drink on their own or, perhaps like me, waiting for that certain someone who’s never quite on time.. I settled in out front and soaked up the unexpected sunshine, with a copy of The Age and a Vale Ale.

Dad arrived soon after and with no need to consult the menu, we placed our order for two burgers. We were asked how we wanted our steaks (what?) cooked, and not wanting too many juices to get in the way of the burger experience, we both opted for medium. We headed out the back to claim a table, passing by the kitchen where some great looking dishes were being pumped out.

Our meals arrived, looking promising. MSA sirloin steak, smoky bacon, cheddar cheese, beetroot relish, onion jam and lettuce in toasted white bread roll, served with crispy battered fries.
I’m yet to be convinced this should be classified as a burger, and perhaps I might be the only person who cares (and has ever wasted time thinking about it). Yes, I have a strange desire for words to be used correctly, but I would never let that get in the way of a culinary tale. This is the best of both burger and steak sandwich worlds, and I’m certainly not complaining!
Good atmosphere, good staff, good beer list and good food. I am definitely keen to head back again soon to try some more adventurous menu options on my next visit. Gilbert Street Hotel is setting a nice standard for the so called ‘gastropub’. And Danny Stone’s cocktail list might very well seal the deal.

So, while I can’t cast my vote for best burger in Adelaide just yet, it’s a good starting point of reference. Let the burger (including steak sandwiches?) adventures begin!

Gilbert Street Hotel on Urbanspoon