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Showing posts from November, 2009

Search for the best brekkie – Café San Marco

If you are looking for a breakfast with a river view, it’s hard to go past Café San Marco on the board walk at Southbank.

It’s a bit of a South Bank institution, having been opening its doors for more than 15 years.

Located a little upstream from Southbank’s famous beach and just across from the CityCat stop, this café has outstanding views across, up and down the river.  We sat on the outdoor terrace and watched a parade of craft, from jet skis to ferries, work their way up the river. The passing parade of people jogging, cycling and strolling showed just how well loved this part of Brisbane is.

A CityCat would be the perfect way to arrive here plus you’d avoid paying South Bank parking fees, although we managed to find street parking for just $4.

We were here for breakfast, but the house specialty is seafood.  Their special Sunday offer of Moreton Bay Bugs and champagne for two persons @ $45 each would be worth checking out.

Today’s breakfast was also on the specials list and include…

Search for the perfect cupcake - Vampire Cupcakes at Cafe Le Net

If you don't understand all the fuss about New Moon or think Twilight is just a time of day your

Lift your street cred with a quick trip to the movies to catch the latest vampire flick and satisfy those unnatural cravings with a vampire cupcake from Cafe Le Net at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown made by the lovely Lisa Magnus, priced at $3.50.

Like the movie, these cupcakes have a soft marshmallow exterior icing with the touch of otherworld fangs. Bite in deeply and you'll discover a luscious red berry centre hidden in the moist sponge cake.

Bottom line:  good cupcakes with a red twist (probably better than the movie)

Find them at Cafe Le Net next to the cinemas at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown, 318 Moggill Rd
Indooroopilly. +61 7 3878 1679

Hunter Valley Chateau with style

I lunched at 1889 Enoteca in that quirky top end of Logan Road at Wooloongabba last week and the meal was outstanding. However the credit goes this time to Executive Chef of the yet-to-open Château Élan at The Vintage, Tony Maher.

Set in the Hunter Valley, Château Élan is a new, five-star golf and spa resort opening in February 2010.

And if I wasn’t sold on features like special menus to entice teenagers, sky walk ways that provide a less public way of entering and leaving the spa, and beds that move at the flick of switch, I would go for the food alone.

Tony whipped up two courses that had everyone at the long table in the Enoteca cellar commenting on the flavour. Generously, he is sharing the recipes (see below) so do give them a try. I was most impressed.

The $30m development, just two hours north of Sydney, has been co-conceived by the group behind the prestige Château Élan brand in Atlanta, Georgia.

Offering luxury retreats for up to 200 guests, the resort comprises a new ‘Des…

Beaujolais Nouveau Day at Belle Epoque

It is the law…French law. Corks will pop, snails will race, music will sound and French cuisine will be plentiful when Brisbane’s Belle Epoque French Bistro at Emporium stages a celebration for Beaujolais Nouveau Day. 
Each year the new Beaujolais is ceremoniously released on the third Thursday of November, beginning one of the most frivolous and animated rituals in the wine world.

Thanks to fine tuned logistical precision planning, Brisbane’s Belle Epoque French Bistro has 11 cases (132 bottles) of Beaujolais Nouveau winging their way from Paris at exactly one minute past midnight on 19 November to arrive less than 33 hours later in time for the venue’s own Beaujolais Nouveau uncorking celebrations - "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!".

The party on November 20 from will feature free flowing Beaujolais Nouveau available from multiple bars plus food stations dishing up Black Pearl cheese and charcuterie, freshly shucked oysters and other seafood along with a patisserie stati…

Read this and weep

Read this and weep! 

Bar Barossa’s Triple Treat Dinner with Hutton Vale, Radford & Spinifex is on tonight and fully booked says Darren Davis. And at $90 per person that’s no surprise.

Here’s the menu -
Freshly shucked Coffin Bay Oysters with lime & lemon
Fresh local Prawns
2008 HuttonValeEdenValley Riesling
2008 RadfordEdenValley Riesling

Salt & pepper Quail on shaved cucumber and watercress salad with Barambah yoghurt
2009 Spinifex Barossa Grenache Cinsault Mataro Rosé
2009 SpinifexLuxeBarossaValleyMataro Grenache Noir Shiraz Grenache Gris Rosé

Kassler (smoked Pork loin) on baby potatoes with sauerkraut, Dutch carrots, baby balsamic
onions & jus
2008 Spinifex Barossa Papillon Grenache Cinsault MataroShiraz
2007 Spinifex Barossa Taureau Tempranillo Carignan Cabernet Sauvignon Graciano

Braised lamb shank pie with Careme sour cream pastry on potato mash with green
pea puree and shiraz jus
2005 HuttonValeEdenValley Grenache Mataro
2006 HuttonValeEdenValley Cabernet Sauvignon


Search for the perfect cupcake - Mountain Larder Deli

A yen for a bike ride saw us heading to Mt Tamborine on Sunday.  It was a great morning with blue skies although a little hot.

Find for the day was the newly opened Mountain Larder Deli owned by ex chef Michael Taylor. Although eating options are plentiful on what's known as 'Gallery Walk' on Tamborine, there are few places where you can put together your own meal to take out and enjoy in the the wonderful World Heritage listed surrounds.

Mountain Larder Deli has got it sewn up with a great range of meats, cheeses, sandwiches, wraps and other speciality foods. Michael really knows his cheeses and his range includes imported items you won't find elsewhere. He's happy to offer a taste as well.

I'd love to go back when I have an esky to try some of the locally cured bacon. Yum.

Another great idea of Michael's is the picnic packs that he has available for hire for the day or free with food purchased from The Mountain Larder.  I would certainly go one of those f…

FBI expands hospitality

Sometimes it’s all about who you know and a great example of the power of connections is FBI, the Queensland Food and Beverage Industry (QLD FBI).

QLD FBI is an independent organisation created by chef, restaurateur, business owner and industry identity, Martin Duncan. It aims to provide opportunities for like-minded professionals and encourage beneficial business relationships. The organisation generates events within the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast regions which provide attendees the opportunity to get together, meet, network, share information and resources in a relaxed, fun environment.

The ongoing philosophy of the QLD FBI is that strong industry relationships encourage professionalism and stability which provides longevity for businesses. Great things can happen over a beverage and conversation.

I've attended many FBI events and can only agree that the sharing and contacts have been more than worthwhile.  Many of my media colleagues also attend.

Martin Duncan is relaunching …

Low stress cocktails

I’m the sort that likes to keep options open, so friends dropping in for a drink or a sudden urge to picnic at the beach are often on my agenda.  That’s one of the reasons why I’m liking these new cocktails from Smirnoff.

Die hards will say they are not as good as the real thing, but given that they take a fraction of the time, I’m prepared to compromise (and it’s not much of an ask).

With one or all three of these bottles in the fridge, I am ready for a Friday night drink on Monday or Tuesday or Sunday.

I reckon I could hide the bottle and impress some of my friends with my cocktail making ability as well.

There are three flavours:
Vodka Mojito –a  blend of Smirnoff Vodka, Kaffir Lime Liquor and natural mint flavour.(my fave)
Grand Cosmopolitan  -Smirnoff Vodka, Triple Sec Liquor and a splash of cranberry juice.
Pomegranate Martini - Smirnoff Vodka, pomegranate juice, Meyer Lemon Flavoured Liqueur, and natural lemon flavour.

Here are some comments from my testing panel of seasoned…

Search for the best brekkie - Seafood Lovers Cafe, Margate

It sounds a bit silly to send you to a seafood cafe for bacon and eggs, but I can tell you it's worth it.  

This place is a little gem with well priced food and great ocean views. At $9 for a 'big brekkie' I was not expecting the world, but when it arrived I was amazed at how much there was on the plate.  A little inspection showed that careful arrangement created the illusion of abundance and there was no more food than normal, but it certainly was good value for the price.  My only criticism is that they used cheap margarine on the toast instead of butter or something that tasted like butter, and the sausage - not my sorta thing at all. The rest of the meal was great and the views, despite the cloudy, sometimes rainy day, were of the sandy shore of Moreton Bay. 

For the uninitiated, Margate is near Redcliffe, about 50 minutes' drive from the centre of Brisbane. It is a coastal strip which features one of Moreton Bay's longest mainland stretches of sand beach. It a…

Best burgers - Freestyle Tout

On a recent visit to Freestyle Tout I discovered their Freestyle burger special which includes a gourmet burger, chippies, alioli and a beer - all for $15. If you don't want the beer, you can have a soft drink instead.
I loved the burger and the chippies (I am something of an expert on chippies) were just as I like them - crisp, hot and not at all fatty.

Freestyle's menu has quite a few things I would like to try including Chilli salt calamari served on an Asian style salad $18.90 and a Peking Duck Salad with watercress and bean sprout salad $17.90.

If you have a late start on the weekend but still crave a real brekkie - Freestyle Tout at Emporium and West End do all day breakfast from 9am on weekends. There's nothing more disappointing than being unable to get a bacon fix when you need it - thumbs up to all day brekkie!

Of course Freestyle is best known for it's desserts. I've tasted many of them but my favourite is the chocolate macadamia brownie which comes…

Search for the perfect cupcake - Dukes Deli

My eagle eye spotted this cupcake while I was shopping for lunch on Sunday at beautiful Sunshine Beach, just south of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

This area is the world's best kept secret. Great coffee shop, great deli, several very good restaurants and a welcoming bar all in one strip of shops in Duke Street.

If you feel adventurous, just wander down the road a bit to the Surf Life Saving Club for above standard club food and views to die for.  On Sunday arvos there's even great live music.

But back to the really important stuff - the cupcakes!  The cabinet included both small and large cupcakes and they were well priced - just $2.90 for a large one.  From experience, I was not expecting much at that price and was very pleasantly surprised.  The cake was moist and flavoursome, despite coming from a cold cabinet, and the icing was shiny, hard and sweet - like royal icing. There was a jaffa on top and a touch of yummy chocolate under the jaffa.  

Bottom line - A good cupcake…

Belle Époque Duck Liver Parfait

This Duck Liver Parfait recipe from new Belle Époque Head Chef Trent Robson could be just the thing for the silly season when we tend to do rash things like entertaining large crowds of people. It would be perfect served with condiments like confit onion, cornichons and warm French bread.

Well travelled, Trent has spent time at The Firestables in Wimbeldon Village, UK and also at Kew Gardens working at two-Michelin-starred restaurants, The Glasshouse and The Trompette under Chef Antony Boyd. Trent won several Gourmet Traveller red stars at establishments like Double Cream in Coorparoo and Luxe on James St and then went out on his own at Noi on Brunswick St; a tapas and wine bar, before becoming Executive Chef at Pier Nine. In 2009, Trent put his stamp on 1889 Enoteca creating some innovative Italian cuisine. He now calls the French Bistro Belle Epoque home, where he creates authentic, inventive French bistro food.

Duck Liver Parfait
Makes 2 large terrines

2kg duck livers cleaned
¼ bun…

Play and stay

If you are planning a big night in the Valley tonight but have a Cinderella side, The Limes is the place to be at midnight.

Guests on their roof top bar until closing time at midnight can stay the night at for $99 – the price of a nice bottle of wine or a CBD parking fine.

Guests and Cinderellas must visit the front desk in person at midnight to make their booking which is dependent on room availability.

It's another of the quirky differences on offer at Limes. (I'd be tempted to stay the night just to eat the Dello Mano brownies on offer in the rooms.)

You also get to wake up in plush ‘Ploh’ beds and breakfast under blue skies on the rooftop – all inclusive.

I've enjoyed the roof top ambience of the Limes several times and can report that lounging under the cabana is an enjoyable way to pass the time - especially with a few hot chippies (the food kind). When it rains they drap the cabanas with tarps and it's just like having your own cubby house again - true!


What are you doing for Christmas - Kingfisher Bay

Kingfisher Bay on Fraser Island is another of my top spots to stay. I've been there several times with family and just as a couple and had delightful experiences. I would highly recommend a full island tour with one of the rangers who will take you to places you never would discover on your own.

I like the idea of escaping Christmas madness and heading to an island for the silly season – if only I could take my dog. (Note to my nearest and dearest – I would take you too!)

Kingfisher’s Seabelle restaurant has a six-course Christmas menu featuring fresh produce with a bush tucker twist. Traditional turkey breast will be served with pepperberry and illawara plum stuffing, and the Christmas ham will be glazed with honey – that’s me.

There are several more casual restaurants at the resort and they are serving up local seafood amongst other menu items.

Christmas Day lunch sittings start from 11.30am. Christmas prices start from $90 per person (or $45 for children 8-14 years) and incl…

Unleash your inner Vinyl Star

Have you ever mimed into a hairbrush in front of the bathroom mirror? Been caught dancing and singing at the top of your lungs to your favourite track in peak hour traffic? Wondered what your face would look like on the cover of a bestselling album?

Add a twist to your visit to the Good Food and Wine Show (6 – 8) November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and unleash your inner Vinyl Star at the [yellow tail] at the Vinyl Bar.

At their Vinyl Star photo booth you can choose your favourite music style, get your picture taken and wait as it is immediately transformed into your very own album cover. Whether it’s Bob Marley’s dreadlocks, Madonna’s purple leotard or Bono’s trademark sunglasses. You will get a photo of your cover to take home, and the best covers of each day will be displayed in [yellow tail]’s very own Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame at the Show. The album cover will also be available for download at

Search for the perfect cupcake - Oliver & Co

I first stumbled across these cupcakes when investigating Jimbour Wine's new city cellar door which also is housed in the Oliver & Co premises.

Oliver & Co is a great foodie find. There's plenty of parking underneath (how rare is that in South Brisbane?) and the store is filled with all the sorts of goodies you might need for a great meal - lamb roasts marinated in native mint (got to check that out further), pre cooked duck breasts, a nice selection of quality fruit and veg, pantry staples and gourmet treats.  Just about anything you could want really.  There's also a row of old fashioned lolly jars where I found sour ears (don't ask) which my little boy likes.  I got both kiddies a lolly bag.

Food options are extensive and I saw a good range of pizzas on the menu but my mission was cupcakes and coffee, a very necessary refuel after a big Melbourne Cup day (thank you Kimberley and the Brisbane Hilton).

The cupcakes here are made by Lulu, according to the very h…

The meal that feeds twice

The 2009 StreetSmart Australia ‘Dine Out to Help Out’ campaign kicks off from November 9.  Now in its sixth year, the campaign makes it easy for anyone to get involved and raise vital money for grassroots charities supporting homelessness.

For six weeks leading up to Christmas, diners at restaurants across Australia can support Streetsmart by making a voluntary donation of $2 to their table’s bill to aid StreetSmart.

Highest StreetSmart fundraiser for 2008, Andy Georges said that Il Centro is backing the cause 100 percent.  One of Brisbane’s favourite CBD restaurants, Il Centro was named National and Queensland Fundraiser of the Year 2008, for raising $6,542.00 in last year’s campaign.

“StreetSmart is a unique bridge between the community and small, grassroots agencies that assist people experiencing homelessness.  I encourage people to make the choice to dine out at participating restaurants and contribute to the campaign.  It’s a simple action that really has big impacts for those o…