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Showing posts from July, 2013

Margaret River Region– Pullman Resort Bunker Bay, hotel review

Western Australia’s Margaret River Region has a legendary reputation for its wineries, food, scenery and surf, but where to stay to take it all in?

Stretching from Busselton, about two and a half hours south of Perth, and extending to 138km to Augusta which is four hours south, the places you’ll want to see are all within easy reach once you are in the area.

Staying at the ‘top’ of the region at Pullman Resort Bunker Bay, gave us a chance to relax in beautiful beachside surroundings and access the northern end of the region with ease.  And because we were only there two days, that was a perfect solution.

Cascading down towards the ocean, this resort certainly has wow factor. My partner said to me when we checked in ‘You did well’.

The resort offers studio and one, two or three bedroom villas positioned in groups heading down the sloping site to the sea. From our room right at the back there wasn’t much hint of the beach but the up side was that it was only a short distance to the car…

Top Cuts – the best bits from Brisbane’s food news and beyond +$199 Italian wine and food giveaway

Be a steak judge, find a new bar, discover new cupcakes, find out about delectable seafood, more steamed buns + give yourself a chance to have $199 of Italian wine and food from Ballandean Estate Wines arrive on your doorstep. Grazie!

Quick bits
* Don’t blink or you’ll miss the very new, very small Foundation Espresso & Bar at 42 Warren Street, Fortitude Valley. This micro bar, 20 people all up, is big on attitude with the plenty of personal of service from owner Neil Isserow and entertainment from local artists, comedians and musicians. It’s open Thurs/Fri/Sat from 5pm onwards. Check the website for news on events.
* Double enjoyment as one of Brisbane’s oldest Chinese restaurants, the Cheung family’s Enjoy Inn, has announced it will open in Hamilton Harbour, opening late in 2013 Don’t fret, they are not closing the Fortitude Valley store which has been there for 30 years.  
*Jocelyn and Gerard's one day stand (think Jocelyn's Provisions and G…

Smiling at a crocodile at Cockadoodle Cafe, Red Hill

There's always something that surprises when I walk into Cockadoodle Cafe on Enoggera Terrace at Red Hill.

Today it was a life size (although on the small side) stuffed crocodile guarding a reserved table.  All Aussie kids know 'Never smile at a crocodile' but it was all too hard today.

Apart from the quirky decor which includes an assorted 'hens and roosters' made from all types of materials, this cafe also has a great indoor garden feel enhanced by some hanging plants, of which I'm very envious, and colourful whirly gigs.

All decor aside, the food here is good too with some extra twists, like a choice of light or dark shaved chocolate on your cappucino, that just make dining a pleasure. They've been offering the chocolate option for a month now and reports are that it's very popular.

Our mission was breakast and, although intrigued by the concept of a Argentian-influenced Choripan Special, we stayed on the straight and narrow with simple, lower fat an…

Top 10 - Brisbane’s best burgers unwrapped

Make any excuse you like… “It’s winter/summer/autumn/spring and I need comfort food, simple food is best, burgers just look great”… What ever! Just go an eat one and leave the guilt for tomorrow. It’s all about the burger!

My top ten has been selected from restaurants and cafes around Brisbane city and burger prices range from  $13.95 to $25 at the top end.

Please leave suggestions for great burger places in the comments section at the end. What's the most unusual combo you've found?

Here’s where to find your burger fix- updated Jan 2015 They had me at the mention of a charcoal bun (photo above), but when I realised it was inspired by one of the Queensland Art Gallery's works on display, the deal was sealed. So that's how I came to eat a Wolken Burger -  black bun filled with a black angus meat patty, a layer of jamon plus obligatory burger basics such as lettuce and tomato, all brought together with black mayo and Monterey Jack cheese at QAG Cafe. It's call…

Alfredo's Pizzeria, Fortitude Valley

It's 6.30 pm on a Thursday night, hardly prime dining time, yet most of the tables at Alfredo’s Pizzeria in Brisbane's inner city Fortitude Valley are already occupied.

And they stay that way for the duration of our meal, filled with rotating groups of happy diners tucking into some seriously good food.  With Limes Hotel and Roof Top bar, a collection of eateries and bars in Alfred & Constance and now the new Alfredo's next door, he is certainly well on his way.

Star of the kitchen is the wood fired oven topped by a ’sexy pizza’ sign. The decor is rustic warehouse with plenty of exposed brick and a ceiling height bar bar that oozes drink appeal.

The menu has some interesting share plates. We tucked into arancini balls with a parmesan crisp which were tasty but a little dry and a full flavoured char-grilled eggplant and feta bruschetta.

From the wood fired pizza oven come pizzas t…

DinTaiFung, Taipei, Taiwan

No visit to Taiwan is complete without a stop at DinTaiFung Dumpling House, the restaurant and now chain which fuelled the world’s obsession with the exquisite fillings wrapped in delicate, wafer-thin skins that we call dumplings.

For a company that started out selling cooking oil, DinTaiFung has come a long way. Ranked No. 1 in US-based food web site, The Daily Meal’s ‘101 Best Restaurants in Asia’ list and with a Michelin star (2010) to its credit, DinTaiFung offers a true taste of Taiwan. These accolades have been earned through their high food standards, insistence on hygiene, commitment to customer relations, and did I mention the exceptional food?

Their strict hygiene rules meant our group of journalists had to ‘suit up’ for a backroom tour of the dumpling making process. This is the sort of place where the toilets are cleaned after every visit and the cleaners use duct tape to clean the carpet.

I’ve never seen hands move so quickly and the skilled dumpling makers turn out a pr…