Friday night with friends in the CBD sorted

Imagine the food child of a too cool for school Californian beach dude and a portly, Italian Nonna dressed in black and you’d call it Santa Monica Pizza & Burger Bar.

Taking over an unloved corner on the high end of Brisbane’s Ann Street, Santa Monica oozes fun beach vibes and Italian aromas to a noisy crowd.  They have to be noisy because the open plan restaurant is surrounded by busy city streets, but that only adds to the buzz here.

There’s plenty of Italian love in the Santa Monica Pizza & Burger Bar, and the menu has a selection of pizza and pasta covering all the favourites.  Order the Primavera and you’ll find it comes scattered with an ample amount of prosciutto and a Napoletana sauce handles gooey mozzarella oh so well.
The burgers take their lead from the Californian heritage and include everything from crispy chicken to everyone’s favourite pulled pork.  We’ll forgive them for having a shrimp instead of prawn baguette because this is a slice of the good old US of A.

If you are dining with friends or people you are comfortable sharing with, obviously not always the same thing, the share tower offers a combo taste of just about everything on the menu. It costs $250 but serves six to eight hungry people and saves dividing up the bill at the end.

Dessert town is a happy place filled with a classic threesome.  Your choice is between a light chocolate brownie with Nutella sauce, homemade cannoli filled with ricotta (obviously don’t tell your Nonna if they are better than her’s) and a totally authentic banana split.

Check out Santa Monica for breakfast and you’ll find your favourite smashed avo along with simple, but glammed up, toast and jam plus a range of protein fixes that will keep you going all day.  This includes Italian baked eggs in Napoletana sauce and topped with melted mozzarella plus a smoked salmon option that includes poached eggs and avo.

If you dare, you can add potato rostis to any dish.

If you need it, espresso martinis are available after 10 am.

Santa Monica, Central Building, 192 Ann St, Brisbane City

Ed+bK rating: 3.5 stars. Great for a casual Friday night with friends.
Bottom line: Burgers $11 -$18, pizzas $17 to $24, desserts $12 - $16.
Best tip: Monday to Friday only, so don’t turn up here on the weekend.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Santa Monica.


How to bust your carbs with natural ingredient combinations

Take a fresh look at carbs and keep them in check with recipes from Carbs by Numbers where high carb foods are substituted with natural ingredients.

Authors Sanda Dunbar and Meg Pell spent two years turning the traditional food pyramid upside down creating a cook book that makes cutting carbs super easy. The book won a silver medal in the International 2016 Independant Publisher Book Awards.

Guest reviewer Liza Nuing of Brisbane Experience  found much to like about this new book.

Carbs by Numbers is a book of low carb recipes, the first cookbook written by Sandra Dunbar and Meg Pell who live on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

This cookbook won a Silver Medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2016. At first glance, the cookbook is of medium size, cheerful colour and easy to read print. There are options for meat lovers and vegetarians with a photo accompanying each recipe.

Recipes are also colour coded by how many grams of carbs are in them, with the maximum being 15g in a recipe. It is vital to read the Nitty Gritty section of this cookbook as it specifies essential information such as the weight of ingredients in the recipes is the ready-to-cook weight i.e. peeled and cored for vegetables.

I decided to test the Mexican Eggs recipe, which was written to make enough for four people. I used my digital kitchen scale to make sure I had right weight of ingredients and found it easy to make. The ingredients that I had to buy, such capsicum, cost me under $10 in total. The rest of the ingredients were already in my kitchen, such as olive oil. Once everything was in the pan, it took under ten minutes to cook.

I love that I could cook this recipe in a pan on the stovetop. Nothing fancy was required, and I didn't have to buy any new equipment.

The result was a tasty, filling meal. I mistakenly thought I had no paprika in the kitchen and used cayenne pepper instead, so my dish had a nice spicy kick to it.

I would recommend that recipe to anyone who loves eggs and tomatoes cooked together. I would also recommend this book for anyone desiring to cook and learn about low carb meals in an easy format. I am looking forward to trying more recipes from it soon.

Here’s a recipe to start you on the low carb trail.

Zucchini rosti with poached egg (p13)

A filling 5g carb start to any day. Makes about a dozen rosti, three rosti per person with one poached egg on top.

  • 500g zucchini
  • 200g red onion
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 10g coconut flour
  • 10g chives, fresh
  • 62.5ml olive oil

  • Grate the zucchini and remove all the liquid by pushing through a sieve or squeezing through a clean tea towel.
  • Grate the onion and add to the grated zucchini.
  • Lightly beat 1 egg with the salt and add to the zucchini mix.
  • Chop the chives, add the zucchini and mix in the coconut flour.
  • Cover the base of the frying pan with oil and heat.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture per rosti into the hot oil and cook until browned
  • on one side, then turn and brown on the other side.
  • Drain on paper towel and keep warm.
  • Using your favourite method poach 1 egg per person and serve with 3 rosti as a base.

carbs by numbers recipe options 15g carbs or less per serve is available in softback from the carbs by numbers website , as well as all good retail book stores, both online and in-store. The eBook can be purchased from iBook or Kobo either direct or through the  website. The softback has a RRP of $24.95 while the eBook can be purchased for $9.95.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was gifted Carbs by Numbers