Saturday, 29 October 2011

The perfect night

It doesn't get better - really!

A lovely dinner - quick and easy - at one of our favourite places in Leichhardt - Martini Bar and Restaurant.
We were running late for the movie, so tonight we shared the Prosciutto e funghi pizza. 
The pizza was heaven - carefully sprinkled with black pepper only on my half. And perfectly complemented by my Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio and sweetpea's Peroni.

We followed this with a choc top each (a glass of bubbles for me!) and Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris.

We both now want to go back to Paris - ASAP!

The movie was quirky, funny, light-hearted. Some might say plotless; but we found it just right for a lazy, sultry, chickadee-free Saturday night.

Walking along Norton St afterwards we could almost imagine ourselves somewhere exotic and foreign. Chatting about what our Golden Age would be to time travel back to and just how long we would really need to stay in Paris to feel like we had done it due justice.

Good food, good wine, great company and a dream - it doesn't get better than that.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Exotic Pleasures

On a recent family holiday to Vanuatu we visited L'Houstalet Restaurant. The write-up in Lonely Planet prepared us for the unusual items on the menu. We had also met a couple at Mele Cascades who had eaten at L'Houstalet the night before and raved about the flying fox.

We decided that we were brave enough to try it too.

The restaurant itself was a little shabby to look at - no French chic here. But everything was clean and all but one staff member was happy and friendly.

Entree was an easy choice - escargot! What else would you order in a French restaurant?
We had already been told by locals that the Ni-Vats imported French shells and inserted the locally bred snails into them as the tourists expected the shells to look a certain way (ie French).

My last escargot experience was in 1991 - also cooked in garlic butter - with the same result. I managed to eat one without really looking at what I was doing. But the second little sucker, slipped off my fork and onto the plate and looked at me exactly like a snail would. End of entree for me!

However sweetpea and both chickadees happily divided the remaining 11 pieces between them.

Big chickadee was determined to have the flying fox. The red wine reduction, rice and vegetables on the side did not deter him.

Sweetpea and I got a taste. It was a huge flavour - very rich and gamey and I'm not sure I could have eaten a whole meal of it.

But chickadee devoured the lot and declared he was still hungry!

Sweetpea went for the wild pigeon in mushroom sauce.

This was rather like a serving of quail and tasted rather like chicken.

I decided to try the local crab - coconut crab in garlic.
It was huge, juicy and messy to eat.

I'm never quite sure that crab is worth the effort involved in extracting it from its shell!

Fortunately big chickadee was more than happy to help me finish it off!

And what did the little chickadee eat, I hear you ask?

With all those wonderful, exotic options to pick from on the menu? After having a go at escargot for the very first time and loving it...what could he possibly choose?

Margharita pizza of course!

This was not one of the best meals we have ever eaten. But it was interesting, exotic and a little bizarre. The kind of experience that overseas holidays are made of.

We all had a memorable night and we'll be dining out on this story for a long, long time to come! Hearing the "ohhhh yuk"s and the "urgghhhh"s from unwarying listeners makes us feel like brave and fearless culinary explorers.

P.S. There were no aubergines to be seen anywhere on the menu!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Qantas Flight QF490 To Sydney

My dinner on this flight home was one of the least enjoyable meals I have eaten for a long time.  Originally I was going to make the entire post consist only of the phrase "no comment" under the picture but then I remembered that I am a self-obsessed show-off who loves to rant and rave so I thought it would be better to discuss the pros and cons of "penne with peas, chicken and pumpkin" at greater length.  I'll do the pros first: 

1. The peas were actually moist and fresh tasting. 

2. It was warm enough to classify as "above tepid".

3. It was free.

Now on to the cons:

1. It tasted like airplane food.  That pretty much sums everything up. You only eat the meal because it is plonked in front of you at no charge and you are physically unable to leave the "restaurant" and find somewhere else to eat.  

I had some delicious snacks and meals while on holiday in Melbs, some of which were photographed and will be written up in the near future but I couldn't resist posting this immediately as a crazy contrast to Aubergine's amazing hatted experience!