Red Ginger, South Brisbane

Skippy dim sims was the first thing that jumped off the menu (pun intended) when I visited the newly opened Red Ginger.


Share a pastry with your pooch

More than 60 per cent of Australian’s are pet owners, yet unlike our European counter parts we are prohibited from taking animals to caf├ęs and restaurants.

On the back of a recent report, the Federal Government is planning to overturn the current local and state laws prohibiting man’s best friend having access to outdoor dining areas.


Cool dining when it's hot, hot, hot

Where can you find cool dining when it’s hot, hot, hot during Brisbane’s summer months?

Here's some suggestions from top Brisbane foodies - Alison Alexander, P.J McMillan, Martin Duncan, Alastair McLeod, Ryn and Cordie and Tony Percuoco - on where to find your cool.

Add your suggestions in the comments below.


9 top tips for restaurant dining that will make a lighter you

Feeling as though you have over indulged in festive fare, tired of leaving the table feeling over full or can not resist ordering dessert?

Unfortunately, these are all things of which I'm often guilty.  I blame it on the job, I am a food writer,  but I've learned there are ways to lighten the load and  a few easy choices that could make a world of difference.

Here's some tips for dining out from Troy Thompson, author of Guide To The Younger You.

  1. Limit weekly restaurant meals to one or two. Studies show women who eat out more than six times per week tally up the kilojoule equivalent of one kilogram per month. 
  2. Plan what you’ll eat in advance. Choose a healthier-style restaurant or healthier meal option. Check out the restaurant’s website beforehand—these days restaurants often have their menu online.
  3. Be the first to order—you’re less likely to be influenced by others’ choices.

  4. Ask the waiter to bring the bread out with the meal, not before. Or, take one slice and ask for the basket to be taken away. Trade butter for a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

  5. If you do order a main meal and it is indeed too large, share it with a friend.

  6. Ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side, then practise the ‘dip and drip’ technique. Dip your fork in the sauce, then lightly drip it over the food to enjoy the most flavour for the fewest kilojoules.

  7. When it comes to dessert, think light and luscious. How about sorbet with fresh berries? If you really want to indulge in a decadent dessert, order one serving and ask for forks all around.

  8. Look out for low-fat cooking techniques such as baked, steamed, grilled, poached and stir-fried dishes, and avoid fried, crisp, crumbed battered and creamed foods. 
  9. Above all, as you dine, focus as much on the people as the food. Whether for business or pleasure, enjoy the opportunity to connect with family members, friends or colleague.
These are wise words Troy and I'm taking them onboard. Thank you


I went to a butcher shop and this is what I saw - Bundy Chop Shop

Ever wondered what's behind the rows of sausages, the cabinets filled with chops and steaks and lovely lamb roasts at the butcher shop?  On a recent trip to Bundaberg I got to find out at the Bundy Chop Shop.

Amanda Hinds who runs the deliciously decadent Indulge Cafe in Bundaberg took me on a tour to meet some of her favourite suppliers. Amanda introduced me to Rick, who she described as 'a saucy number' and I went behind the counter at The Chop Shop,  Bundaberg.

The Chop Shop is no ordinary butcher. Cold cabinets at the front of the shop are filled with a great array of smoked meats all hot smoked out the back without the use of chemicals.  This is bliss for me as I am sensitive to the sodium nitrate commonly used in smoking.  I've just finished eating a smoked turkey hind quarter which I mixed into a green salad with some grapes. It had a wonderful smokey flavour.

When Amanda wants something unusual, like duck ham, she gives Rick a call and they work out how to do it. I tasted the duck ham with eggs for breakfast - superb! There's some of Rick's bacon in my fridge waiting for a decadent Sunday morning breakfast.

The Chop Shop is the sort of butcher I wish I had down the road - unfortunately Bundaberg is a little too far away. Sigh...

The Chop Shop
68 Mount Perry Road,  Bundaberg QLD 4670

(07) 4151 7944


Feel like fish and chips with a fabulous beach view?

There's something deeply satisfying about eating good fish and chips overlooking the ocean. But it has to be good!

When it comes to pointy end of Mooloolaba, that bit of land sandwiched between the river and the sea that locals call the Spit, the choice for fish and chips is clear in my mind.

Years of experience have taught me that the longest queue usually means the freshest and best food and the queue outside the Mooloolaba Fish Market is the one to measure all the others against.  And it always wins, that's if you are looking for the longest.

Step inside to order and you may be swayed by the piles of prawns and crabs.  We stuck to our guns ordering the daily special, beer battered barra and chips for $9.  It was a fabulously fresh and moist fillet with fairly good chips - they could have been just a touch crisper.

Our lap was the dining table and the million dollar view was as entertaining as it was beautiful with plenty of families soaking up the sun.

Bottom line:  Enjoy your fish and chips
Disclaimer: Ed+bK paid for her meal


Willow and Spoon, Alderley

There's something very Queensland about sitting in cool, dim light on a patchy concrete floor surrounded by a forest of white painted concrete stumps and rabbit warren of multi-level, makeshift rooms.

Generations of Queenslander's have grown up appreciating this ambiance, not because of its stylish appearance but for the sheer practicality of creating an extra space without much cost which is so much cooler in hot, steamy weather.  Throw in an old comfy lounge, a laminex table and vinyl chairs and  a downstairs loo and it's home sweet home.


Straddie sojourn

Just on Brisbane’s doorstep, North Stradbroke Island is one of those golden hidden gems locals would prefer to keep to themselves.

 Here's a story I wrote for the January edition of Brisbane Where Magazine.

Marinara, Paddington

It's so new it doesn't even have a sign yet, but a Italian casual diner called Marinara has opened on the town end of Latrobe Terrace, Paddington.


Get in quick for Noosa Food Festival top tickets

The Noosa International Food and Wine Festival 2012 food and wine program from May 17 to May 20 will see some of the world's best chefs, Australia's celebrity chefs, and Australia's best wine makers descending on Noosa bringing their star power from the S. Pellegrino World's Best Restaurant Awards and Good Food Guide Hats to South East Queensland.

You'll need to get in quick for tickets to the most popular events, which include some of the Food Trails, as they sell out very quickly.


Six things you'll wish you knew about eating Street Food.

It's that feeling, accompanied by a tummy rumble, that you really shouldn't have eaten that tasty meal from a street stall that will make you more careful next time.

Years of dining under flyovers on busy roads has given Tom Vandenberghe and Eva Verplaetse, authors of Bangkok street food, cooking and travelling in Thailand, a rare insight into South-East Asian street food.

Tom has a list of street food dos and don'ts, simple rules which make a great list for any traveller who wants to enjoy all their holiday.
  • Do choose a street vendor based on the buzz around the place. Local people queuing up means the dishes are sold regularly and quickly, plus ingredients are usually fresh.
  • Don’t eat from a food stall where the cook has dirty hands or fingernails or where fish or meat is stored unrefrigerated.
  • Do look at the cook, check how they handle the food and how they preserve and store their ingredients. 

  • Don’t forget to avoid ice. There is no label on ice, and no way to judge the freshness or determine its origins.”
  • Do choose vegetables or fruit that have been peeled.  Select fresh fruits and vegetables in preference to older ones and take your time to pick the most shining, bright ingredients.
  • Don’t eat at a street stall unless you are completely happy with the food on offer and the way it is prepared.
Do you have other great tips for finding great food on the street?

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was gifted a copy of Bangkok street food


How about a high tech, super flash luxury den right on the river?

Do you fancy Charles or Arthur, or perhaps Brett is more your style?

You can let your dreams run riot at Mona Pavilions, located next to the absolutely fabulous Mona museum, where the dwellings are named after famous Australian architects and artists.

I think this is the coolest place to stay.  Not only are you within spitting distance of one of the most fascinating art gallery/museums I've ever seen, but you get to have an original piece of outstanding Australian art in your room!

If you haven't visited MONA in Hobart, Tasmania, put it on your bucket list now. The privately owned and funded Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) consists of a vast antiquities collection currently on display alongside a collection of new art, most of which is very recent.

The whole collection is the property of maths wizard David Walsh who made his fortune in gambling.

Here's a mini tour of Charles (Blackman) pavilion

Allow plenty of time to view the museum and do yourself a favour - stay in their high-tech, super flash luxury dens on the River Derwent named after Australian architects and artists.

Each pavilion has a kitchen, laundry, wine fridge, wireless touch panels (climate,lighting, info and entertainment), wireless internet access, safe, phone, TV(s), and personal security camera. And bathrobes of course. Charles, Arthur, Sidney and Brett each has a painting by its namesake, as well as antiquities and a collection of ancient coins.

Guests share a gym, sauna and heated infinity pool and have access to Mona's avant-garde art restaurant, micro-brewery and winery. The eight pavilions sit on a 3.5 hectare private peninsula that curves into the Derwent River with panoramic north-facing views.

Great view of the Derwent River

Bath with a view
An original Blackman on the wall.
The Do Not Disturb sign :)
Mona's very cool casual dining area
Great antipasto
Outside the museum

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK stayed and travelled with the support of Tourism Tasmania.


Ole, Southbank

I think I've found my perfect breakfast and it's Spanish.

What do you think about poached eggs, freshly shaved jamon, spinach and a homemade hashbrown?


North Stradbroke Island - 10 top things to do

One of the largest sand islands in the world, the relaxed bliss of North Stradbroke Island is only an hour's drive from Brisbane.

The trip from the mainland to the island takes 45 minutes by barge, which also takes your car, or 25 minutes by fast water taxi but it's more of a journey into a different realm where it's really hard to work up the energy to get stressed about anything.


The unhappiest hippie town in Australia

It's the sort of place you must visit said our hosts - its the unhappiest hippie town in Australia.

We were leaving our overnight accommodation at Silk Pavilions at Mount Burrell located almost in the shadow of Mount Warning in the Tweed Valley for the second day of our New Year's Eve motor bike ride. Yes, my alter ego is a bad-arsed biker pillion passenger on K2's BMW K120GT.

We headed off for a coffee at Nimbin with our American friends and fellow bikers, John and Nancy, through the wildly scenic valley, almost iridescent in its greenness, past fields packed with cows and their calves, mares and foals and the odd goat.

Surprisingly for New Years Day when most country towns are still asleep, Nimbin was buzzing with locals and visitors in the main street.  Some of the inhabitants were worse for wear including a spaced out woman who asked us "Are you smokin' today?", offering three different illegal substances in less than 10 minutes.

We settled for a coffee and sat down to watch the passing parade of hangovers. It was a sad collection of deeply lined and drawn faces. Living in Nimbin does not seem to be good for your health.

Despite the plethora of tacky tourist t-shirts and stickers, of which I bought several, there's little welcome in the town with most locals suspicious of strangers. I suspect they are worried about undercover cops.

Nimbin started as Australia's home-grown haven for alternative subculture, growing from communes that sprouted in the hills in the 1970s and 1980s.  They flouted flouted most of the rules of contemporary Australia and although the hippies are now well past their prime, the place still reeks of non-conformity.  It's interesting and well worth a look but don't go to judge.

I think the signs say it all in Nimbin.