Friday, 30 September 2011

Shoot the chef

Last night's Crave Sydney International Food Festival cocktail party launch at Zeta Bar also showcased the winning images in shoot the chef.

Sleeping around - Hilton Surfers Paradise

The Gold Coast was bathed in the warm glow of a setting sun as I drove in to stay at the newly opened Hilton located right in the middle of Surfers Paradise's throbbing centre.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The colour of purple... asparagus

It wasn't long ago that we were bemoaning the lack of variety in fruit and veg and presented with shelves of sameness at the supermarket.

Things have changed and there's some new kids on the block that not only look interesting but taste great as well.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Corner Store Cafe, Toowong

One of the highlights of visiting my Grandmother in Ashgrove was the close location of the corner store.

We thought it a treat to walk up the hill and purchase meat at the butchers for dinner and then pop into the corner store for a few lollies in a paper bag.

The Corner Store Cafe replaced a corner store in suburban Toowong but still has a few staples on the shelves, including milk, for locals to enjoy.

Looking around the cafe on a busy Friday morning, I got the impression the only locals where my friends who walked down the street to with me for a coffee.  The place was packed with people tucking into food and enjoying it immensely.

We were only here for coffee and cake, though after reading the menu I did regret my stomach wouldn't stretch to lunch. Reef fish taco, Tiger prawn nasi goreng and Shepherds pie were just a few of the lunch items that caught my eye.

I'd also like to try their Quesadilla, Colcannon potato cake and Belgian waffles on the breakfast menu. It's great to see a breakfast menu with options different to standard fare.

Our order was just coffee, a smoothie, a raspberry muffin and chocolate brownie, which all exceeded expectations.  In fact I'd rate the brownie as very good.

I've seen comments that the service here is patchy, especially when they are stretched, but everything was running very smoothly during my short visit.

There's a large amount of covered outdoor seating in the cafe which is great at this time of the year but is subject to weather variations.  

The Corner Store also gets a big tick for their well tended veggie garden at the back which helps preserve the suburban look.  They also have a worm farm to recycle waste matter - commendable!

The only issue with this cafe seems to be getting a seat, as they don't take bookings, and parking in the local area.  My friends who live close by have experienced people parking over their driveway and so have their neighbours. Nothing explains this boorish and selfish behaviour so I hope the City Council parking inspectors take note.

Oh, and the lilies are very well priced and look great.

Corner Store Cafe is open seven days from 7am with last meal orders at 2.30pm.

Corner Store Cafe
113 Sylvan Road, Toowong. 07 3670 2223

Corner Store Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kerry Heaney

Monday, 26 September 2011

I went to Spicers Canopy and this is what I saw

Tucked up in bed at night in my safari-style tent I'm feeling at bit Katharine Hepburn, minus Spencer Tracey, the gravelly voice, the lions, Africa and any angst.

In fact I'm actually feeling really relaxed and happy with a stomach stuffed with delicious food, several glasses of wine, a fill of good conversation and another day full of promise tomorrow.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Top contenter in the Brisbane Melbourne Cup event stakes is ...

It's odds on that this will be the hottest Melbourne Cup Day event this year - the AEIOU Foundation lunch at Stokehouse at The Parklands, South Bank.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

First date with a foodie

It was only after we had been dating for several months that my partner revealed his dilemma when faced with trying to choose a restaurant for our first dinner date.

Where do you take a food writer for dinner?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Salt Grill opens in Surfers Paradise

Luke Mangan describes his food as 'simple but well excecuted' and he's right.

It's the sort of food where the true flavours of the produce shine through, enhanced by clever combinations and a minimal presentation - a style that especially appeals me.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Brisbane food Tasty Bits from bmag

Catch up with the latest food news - New foodies guide to Brisbane by Karen Reyment, new chef at the Sofitel, new bar and dim sum house Dragonfly in Rosie's Tavern and more...

Read it in bmag

Monday, 19 September 2011

Short Order - PJ McMillan

Nice to see Brisbane local PJ McMillan on the back cover of The Australian's Weekend APlus section where they now hide my fave food columns.

Finding the now slim section in the massive Weekend Australian edition puts a whole new new slant on Saturday morning entertainment, but it's always worth it to discover Michelle Rowe's Food Detective gems for the week.

PJ  is the owner chef of Harveys Bar and Bistro in busy James Street.  I recently lunched there and enjoyed some wonderful food with a stand out dessert that deserves to be sampled again.  (note to self).

Don't read this post with a hungry stomach!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Baguette Bistro celebrates 35 years

Thirty-five years is a long time the restaurant industry when days often start early and finish late for weeks on end.

It's also no small stretch to keep a business of any sort, but particularly in the volatile hospitality industry, running for half a life time.

So it's a big congratulations to Marilyn and Francis Domenech who last night celebrated 35 years of trading at Baguette Bistrot + Bar in Racecourse Road, Ascot. They are one of a very select group of restaurants who have lasted the distance.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Modern Lebanese at Rouj

Spoilt for choice is probably the best way to describe the dining scene at Nash Street, Rosalie.

There's Indian, Thai, Mexican, Australian, Asian, Indonesian, Japanese, burgers, seafood, ice cream, pasta and more, plenty of seats and some restaurants more popular than others. So when you find a restaurant where there's consistently no vacant seats you know they've got it right.

Monday, 12 September 2011

A taste of luxury - Hayman Island

I'm sitting in a perfectly positioned deck chair gazing out onto palm trees, a sweep of blue sea and one of the biggest pools I've ever seen.

It's the new improved revamped and regenerated Hayman Island in Queensland's Whitsundays, post cyclones Anthony and Yasi.

The gardens are a tropical visual feast filled with bromilides, unusual palms and more designed by garden guru Jamie Durie, but that's only the beginning.

Everything has received a major spruce up and the resort feels like a lux Asian getaway (with distinctly Aussie tones) all just a couple of hours from Brisbane and no international airport hassles.

In less than 10 minutes the Air Whitsunday sea plane whisked us from the airport near Shute Harbour over the azure sea to Hayman Island with an oh-so-smooth flight. We appreciated the extra 30 minutes the flight saved us over the launch and the scenic view of the Whitsunday Island group islands along the way.

The greeting at Hayman was impressive with smartly dressed staff waiting in attendance to guide us to the check in desk. It was a first taste of the luxury to come. 

Walking along the sweeping marble covered walk ways en route to my room I was swamped by memories of lux Asian resorts, but all this luxury is not new, it just looks that way. It's hard not to stop while walking to dinner and admire the gardens which, according to my press release, include 33,000 new plants and 327 new plant species.  To me they look like they've been there for ever and I only wish I had their landscaping budget to buy established plants!

I'm just here overnight on a three night exploration of the Whitsundays but it's enough to put Hayman up there on my 'must return to list'.  Normally my budget doesn't stretch to this sort of luxury but there are some pretty fabulous opening specials out there.  Check the website for deals.

I stayed in a Pool View room which was on the second floor with views over the pool.  With a spacious balcony, plenty of room space and an open bathroom it certainly gave me the holiday feel.  A visit from the resident cockatoo was all the invitation I needed to kick off my shoes and relax before dinner.

Dinner was a very special affair - a Chef's Table - which deserves it's own blog post.

I'll skip to breakfast which was a full treat in itself.  I've never been to a breakfast buffet where wine was included as a standard item.

Nor one where there was an ice cream bar.

The range and quality of the breakfast offering was mind boggling and my only problem was finding space to fit in everything I wanted to try. In true international style there was plenty from several different cuisines to choose from.

When I could drag myself away from the food and the breakfast view, we did a quick tour of the resort and saw some of the rooms.

There are eight fabulous Kerry Hill-designed Beach Villas, overlooking the sparkling Coral Sea. Each features a large private pool in an open air gallery with a day bed, a private terrace and outdoor shower, and a vast bathroom. Villa guests receive a dedicated Butler service and exclusive dining experiences including Chefs’ tasting menus.

All too soon it was time to leave, but even leaving Hayman was done in style.  I've never been greeted with a drink of choice when boarding a boat transfer either but then I haven't been on the Sun Goddess before.  And then there was the little selection of sandwiches and more that appeared to keep us from hunger on our journey home.

But the surprises didn't end there.  On the way back we saw two whales slapping their tails in the sun so joyously their exuberance was infectious.

During the next few weeks, the presence of whales and their young in the warm Whitsunday waters, promises more unforgettable sightings.

Hayman Island

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK stayed as a guest of Hayman Island.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Cooking, eating and my iPad

I think I'm what's known as an early adopter - I just love to get new gadgets when the first come onto the market, so it was paining me that I couldn't rush out an buy an iPad when it first came out.

But I've got one now and I can't tell you how much I love it.  It's a reader, offers easy access to the internet and a much faster way of accessing email on the run plus it's the source of heaps of fun.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Latest foodie news

What's new - grazing plates at Cloudland, Tastes of the Gold Coast (until 18 September), Culture Shock Food Festival (16 -18 Sept), Early bird Cup specials, Tasmania Unbottled.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Tasmania unbottled at Ecco Bar

The Tasmanians are in town and and they've brought with them 150 new release and award-winning Tasmanian wines for you to sample.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Peasant scoops Savour Australia awards

Peasant Restaurant, famed for its authentic Spanish menu with nods to the wine and tapas bars of Barcelona, Seville and Madrid via Buenos Aires, was last night named Brisbane’s Best Overall Restaurnt as well as winning Best Speciality Restaurant at the 2011 Savour Australia™ Awards for Excellence, hosted by Restaurant and Catering Queensland.

After swooning over the pork belly on a long Sunday lunch recently, the award comes as no surprise.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Mushroom madness at Libertine

While you are reading this researchers are busily working to find out if mushrooms hold the key to alleviating diseases such as alzheimers and cancer.

Just to be on the safe side, I'm adding three mushrooms a day to my diet and keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Uncommon ground - top coffees around Oz

Frequent traveller and coffee connoisseur?  Want to know where to find the best drops around the country?

I interviewed Peter and Penny Wolffe of Dandelion and Driftwood, recently voted as home to Brisbane's best coffee, to find out where they like to stop for a coffee while travelling.

Here's their top picks in the September edition of Tiger Tales which has a circulation of 60,000 in Australia and Asia.

Read the full story here 

If you have any favourite places for an outstanding coffee around Australia, please add them in the comments below.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Garden cooking class at Tukka

Sunday, September 11, is shaping up as a foodies dilemma with three events that deserve top attention.
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