The Verdict: Dining Out

Street Feast London. Shoreditch. Get amongst it...

London Street Feast

Combination Munch

I am so excited to be here in London. After only arriving a couple of days ago and completing a full day of new home inspections across the city, I was not looking forward to a long night out with friends at a food festival despite their thoughtful invite. Shocking I know, but his Lordship and I were knackered. So we compromised…we agreed to meet our friends for one…and everyone knows how that story always ends up.

 

I spotted the Smoke Stak Pork Ribs on the way up the stairs drink scouting at #Dinerama and it was a case of love at first sight. When appetites were well and truly whet and we were deciding amongst the denizens of tasty morsels on offer there was no question, I had to go back for a pair of these bad boys.

Smoke Stak Pork Ribs

Munch Munch Munch

Slow cooked and char grilled to perfection. I have NEVER had a better pork rib in my life! For £8 you get two whopper sized meaty as ribs, think class ruler size. I smashed one, his Lordship the other and was completely satisfied. Update: I just wanted say, it’s now been over a week and I am still LUSTING after these meaty morsels. Perhaps I could try a new Street Feast location and  experiment on which Smoke Stak site does it better? All in the name of research.

           With greasy hands and sticky faces we grinned like Veruca and Charlie                               for these ribs I'd cross the Thames any day .

After another round of drinks and more friends arriving we decided to share something else. Unknowingly at the time the next best dish on our list was from Bird Box, a chicken rotisserie spin off (hehehe) from Smoke Stak. The stall smelt incredible and I have to admit the abundance herbs and charred lemons out front promised my buds something fresh and delicious.

 

Bird BoxMunch

We ordered the Bajan Rotisserie Chicken with Roast Garlic Potatoes for £7. Whilst perfectly charred skin and incredibly smokey onions were all on point, however the flavours seemed to get lost or maybe we just had high hopes. Perhaps a little dash of salt and some squeezed bbq lemon over the chook before boxing it up, would enhance the meal? I would definitely eat here again, but not before trying some other stalls.

 

Street Feast London is a pop up catering event across the Summer months at various compass points across London. Venues with various Munch counters are located in Shoreditch, Lewisham and Dalton. Each venue has different opening hours so if you are interested pop online to plan ahead. #Dinerama in Shoreditch is close to the Tube and open from Noon til Midnight. All venues are free entry prior to 7 pm and afterwards cost £3 per person, pass outs are passed out.

*************************************************************************************************************

Grand Central Market II. Los Angeles. Back again for another calorie beating

Combination Munch

As we promised to ourselves we’ve returned to the Grand Central Market, this time with a friend (we’ll call him Nick). We arrived for lunch early at 11, so the Q’s for Los Angeles’s favourite stalls weren’t long & the food was fresh! So many tasty looking options were on our combined lists and it was hard to not go back to things we have already tried. Got Pupusas? Yet we left with so many unexplored options. This place is just fabulous for tourists and locals alike and those with families will love that little fussy eaters will find something to please their tastebuds. 

A wet, blustery morning beckoned for us to begin with coffees. So we parked ourselves at G & B Coffee and didn’t have long to wait for our caffeine fixer uppers. Between the three of us we ordered a standard full cream Latte (no low calorie milks available), an Americano/Long Black and a second Latte with their home made Almond & Macadamia Milk. Each coffee was an average $5. See image for menu exact prices.

Munch

The milk alternative sure is pretty tasty, made fresh daily from just almonds, macadamia, dates and water by the G & B team, not only is it creamy and subtle, it doesn’t take away from the strong coffee and it’s obviously good for you. The Americano was served piping hot and came in a glass bottle to keep your coffee warm whilst you sipped from a second ceramic cup that you could top up at your own leisure. The coffee was strong and not at all burnt. They do have a small selected of baked munchies, but we didn’t try these.

*

It seemed a waste of belly space to order Tacos at this Market when we live in Echo Park and can get great tacos pretty much anywhere. However, the line last week for Tacos Tumbras A Tomas went from the centre of the markets right out to the street door so we knew they were a local’s favourite. Plus, the slow cooked meats on display were simply too good to refuse with only a handful of people (like 20) already in line we Q’d.

Munch Munch

At $3 a taco they’re worth the queue. The wonderfully friendly and super fast service was the little cherry on top of a mountain of slow cooked wonder. We’re glad we didn’t order more than one dispite being so cheap because holy guacamole these bad boys are huge!! I ordered the Goat soft white corn taco and the lads both went with Marinated Pork. The meat and dressing is piled so high that with the three little tortillas they give you, you’ll be glad you only ordered “one”. Simply lay the soft taco in your palm and pile up the goodies. The tacos come with two little home made salsas; a red tomato salsa and a green chilli salsa plus a few spicy pickled vegetables. Tasty, healthy, authentic and crazy cheap.

*

To be perfectly honest, we proooobably didn’t need more than what we just ate, which surprised us however we didn’t wish to only eat at just one vendor, so we tried the Thai Street Food stall Sticky Rice. I mean why not, we can just share a plate…or two.

Sticky Rice

Munch

We ordered the Gai Yang, Marinated Chicken, Papaya Salad and it’s name sake, sticky Rice. Our friend, (we’ll call him Nick) ordered the Kao Man Gai, with garlic rice cooked in the chicken stock, poached chicken and broth. Both were $10 each. The BBQ chicken was cooked to order on a grill right before you and you could see the chicken in a Sou Vide bubbling away. They have a few stools available for customers to sit on and they’re a first come, first serve basis. The staff are all hands on deck with our waitresses also prepping ingredients too. Kate is seen here pounding chilli and garlic in the biggest mortar and pestle for the papaya salad we ate. The food was fresh however it didn’t have that flavour punch we’ve come to expect from Thai Food. As Australians there are so many great Thai places available to eat, I expect that the Chefs have had to tone down the flavours for mass market (pun intended) appeal.

*

All in all, another fabulous foodie funday at the Grand Central Markets in Los Angles. Not only was I able to have lunch, but pick up farm fresh goodies for my meals later in the week. Vegie prices are competitive and everything looks delish.

The Grand Central Market is located in Downtown Los Angeles. There is parking available on site for only $2.00 for the first 90 minutes. Plus it’s close to public transport and right across from the landmark Angel Flight Stairs. It’s open 7 days all day and from Thursday to Saturday it is open for dinner in the evening til 9pm. Address: 317 South Broadway Los Angeles, California USA.

*************************************************************************************************************

Cafe Orleans, Disneyland USA.

Orleans Cafe DisneyLand California

Munch Munch

Once upon a time there was a bowl of Gumbo…

After a full day of Princess spotting and Fairytale adventures our bellies were certainly ready for something warm and hearty come dusk. The Gumbo in Cafe Orleans, Disneyland California is just what this little Mouse needed. With ready smiles and efficient service this is a great spot to rest weary legs and Character spot.

After sharing our bowl of Gumbo I have been inspired to try to make my own version, much to the merriment of his Lordship. So check back again soon to see how I’ve gone.

Just wanting enough to sate to bellies and not go loco on the menu offerings (tripple cheese fried sandwich anyone…) we ordered a bowl of Gumbo stew with Andouville Sausage, Tasso Ham and Chicken, topped with Cajun style Dirty Rice for $9.49. The stew was wonderfully thick, not fatty despite all the various meats and totally finger in the bowl afterwards licking good.

We shared what I’ll call the Yumbo Gumbo between us along with some Pommes Frites, traditional style French Fries tossed with Parmesan, Garlic and Parsely with a mildy spicy Cajun Remoulade (tasted like prawn seafood sauce) for $6.49. These were perfectly seasoned, not soaked in cheese more sprinkled and super garlicy – Yummo! The sauce was a nice addition but these Frites were so good it felt a little sinful to then dunk them in the Remoulade. They weren’t greasy at all and it didn’t feel like we were eating too unhealthily. If you really want Fries whilst at Disneyland than this is the place to go.

All in all a nice dining experience, considering we were sitting in the middle of a theme park. We only spent $15.98 on dinner between the two of us and were glad we didn’t order more. The portion sizes were perfect, they weren’t over the top at all which is refreshing because considering how Munchy the food was my heart could have eaten plenty more even if my belly said no, no no. 

Disneyland really is the Happiest Place on Earth.

The Cast from Act 1 one right through til Act 3 were all so wonderfully smiley and helpful. The good vibes were contagious.

This is my second time to Disneyland Anaheim (I’ve been once to Paris too) and it never fails to please, there are always new things to notice or old ones that  you never had the time to spot previously. If you ever get the opportunity to go please do, it’s a place that can be shared by the young and the young at heart.

*************************************************************************************************************

Guisados. Los Angeles USA. Taco Tuesday!

Munch Munch

Hands down the best tacos I have ever eaten. Several foodie friends told us we need to try Guisados in Echo Park from Texas John back in Sydney to Our Friend, We’ll Call Him Nick just down the road in Silver Lake.

#inTacosWeTrust

Saying we went in with high hopes and expectations would be an understatement…

 

Undeterred by the long queue and wanting to celebrate our first Cinco De Mayo in Los Angeles we waited patiently in line for about twenty minutes before ordering. The kitchen is set up so you can see the cooks prepare everything before you. Including a gun of a woman making fresh tortillas in a matter of seconds, surely she was breaking some kind of Guinness record. I was glad to see that despite it’s fabulous reputation it wasn’t chock full of pretenders to the throne and hipsters from the lake. 

We were unable to decide on which three tacos we wished to order, so we texted Our Friend, We’ll Call Him Nick to see what he recommended…he said eat everything. So we each ordered The Sampler for $7.50; 6 mini tacos of various slow cook concoctions. Everything was just incredible we ate the same flavour at the same time to share our opinions. However because we had so many variations all at once I can’t remember each flavour exactly but I’ll mention the standouts.

The King Pin by unanimous decision was the Cochinita Pibil, shredded pork cooked in a sweet stew, garnished with pickled red onions and habeneros. Sweet, a little spicy and uniquely balanced it was a real flavour kick in the gut. We ate this one in the middle of the Sampler when our taste buds were getting meshed so it shows how fabulous it was. I also loved the Mole Pablano, shredded chicken, topped with sour cream, queso freso, dried chillies and red onion, strong bold flavours but not too much that people who haven’t tried Mexican food before won’t like.

The Steak Picado was quite interesting it actually tasted more Indian in it’s flavours, like if Vindaloo and Madras got kinky this would be their love child, albeit served in a soft tortilla blanket rather than on a bed of basmati.

Not wanting to line up again and afraid the mini tacos wouldn’t be enough we ordered one extra regular sized Taco each. His Lordship ordered the Chorizo for $2.75 and I ordered the Pescado (Fish) for $3.00. The grilled fish taco was incredible, lightly seasoned and fresh in all it’s flavours with cabbage, avocado/ cilantro cream, chile arbol, and pico de gallo it was a nice departure from the really saucy tacos eaten earlier. 

We were fortunate enough to chat with Owner Armando. A friendly chap who went to each table to make sure everyone was satisfied with their meals. Hearing we were from Australia and this was our first visit he really wanted to make it special. He brought us his favourite dishes to try, the Quesadilla con Chorizo and the Taco Chuleta en Chile Verde. Just incredible the Quesadilla was wonderfully balanced with queso panela, grilled – think Mexican version of Halloumi, but not as thick, with chorizo and mild chipotle sour cream. The Pork Taco was actually made from diced pork chop, diced and slow cooked served with black beans and green serrano chilli with a little sour cream to balance the heat. Loved it all. It was great to see he loves his business and is genuinely please when people appreciate and scoff his food down.

Although you need to q curb side, there is dining options available both inside and outback in their fairy lit courtyard with ample seating and heating. Whilst street parking is available nearby (aim for post 7) there is also limited parking available near their mural covered courtyard. We will be back, breakfast, this Sunday from 9am perhaps…

Guisados is open 7 days a week, from 10.30 am til late in the evening most days, the only exclusion being Sunday where they open earlier at 9 am for breakfast but close at 5pm. Address: 1261 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

*************************************************************************************************************

Grand Central Market, Los Angeles USA. Food Crawl your way to make the most!

Grand Central Market

Munch Munch

Since our last visit in 2008 these markets have evolved into a Foodie’s dream. We were delightfully overwhelmed by the various vendors on offer, we decided on three to sample, with promises to come back and try others later. To make the most of our Market experience we sampled something from each vendor and shared it between us. This turned into a wonderfully cost effective way to enjoy unique food and have a wee tastebud adventure.

 

First up on the Hit list was Sarita’s Pupuseria, a traditional El Salvadorian snack stop. We ordered a Pork and Cheese Pupusa, there are plenty of meat options as well as vegetarian, next time I’d love to try the Mushroom and Cheese and perhaps the Jalapeno and Cheese too. Too many choices, not enough belly. Visa facilities available.

Sarita's Pupuseria

A surprise of well balanced flavours hidden in a bland exterior – never trust a book by it cover. Each Pupusa is made to order so they’re super fresh. The dough (made from Corn Flour) was wonderfully soft, something all GF/Coeliac eaters will appreciate. They’re $3.25 each, about the size of your handspan and they also come with a lightly dressed cabbage salad.
*
Next on our Market adventure was Seafood Mexican hot spot La Tostaderia. Reading through their menus and glancing at what the other diners were munching made us salivate but also meant our single decision was a tough one. 

We chose Wild Shrimp Tostadas. Light and spicy with chopped Shrimp in a salad of cucumber, chilli, coriander and avocado stacked upon crispy corn tostadas. Zesty and refreshing and the service was lovely too. Only $6.50 for two it was hard to not try something else. Our bellies were full but our eyes wanted more, the diners next to us couldn’t get enough of the tasty Mexican fare too.

*

I am an absolute sucker for something sweet even if I am not hungry I will find space. So to finish off our three course meal and considering it was such a warm day we thought a scoop or two of ice cream would go down quite well. Undeterred by the massive queue we decided to try McConnellsThey’ve been around since 1949 so we figured they must be onto a winner.

McConnells

The Single Scoop for $4.50 is actually two scoops of Ice cream and there’s over a dozen different creamy flavours, so something for everyone. We settled on a Black Espresso Chip and Choc Coated Strawberries. The Coffee was intense and the Berries not too sweet so a great flavour combo. Although yummy, I couldn’t taste a difference in quality or amazeballsness from any other scoop of I’ve eaten.

*

We had a really wonderful day of trying new foods, all up we only spent $17.50 for both of us (we had a Pupusa each) and were absolutely satisfied until dinner time. I look forward to going back and sampling the Oyster and Wine Bar, The Thai Street Food stall and having a crack at Bombo’s Curried Shrimp.

The Grand Central Market is located in Downtown Los Angeles. There is parking available on site for only $2.00 for the first 90 minutes. Plus it’s close to public transport and right across from the landmark Angel Flight Stairs. It’s open 7 days all day and from Thursday to Saturday it is open for dinner in the evening til 9pm. Address: 317 South Broadway Los Angeles, California USA.

*************************************************************************************************************

 

Carolina Meat Co Food Truck, Los Angeles USA. Meals on wheels.

Munch Munch

For lunch we decided to burst our Californian Food Truck Cherry. With a mutual love of Slow Cooked foods we thought we’d try our luck with the Carolina Meat Co truck.

If you’re in the Burbank area for lunch scope out the Food Truck scene on the laneway off Warner Blvd, near Gate 5.  There’s a variety of trucks that change each day of the week.

 

 

I ordered a Plate, with a Half Hickory Smoked Chicken and complimentary side, I chose Pork and Beans for $12. Wonderfully light and juicy the chicken was finger lickin good without any greasy aftertaste. The Pork and Beans were BBQ flavoured and much sweeter than I was expecting. Really great lunch, I look forward to trying something else on the menu next time. I already have my eye on Pulled Pork Plate with Smoked Corn on the Cob.

His Lordship ordered a Pulled Pork Sandwich for $10. The bun wasn’t gluten free (no option – that’s totally fine) but the meat was tender as can be and not too salty nor heavy on the marinade either. The Sandwich came stuffed with Slaw. He did think the bun was a little sweet. But we’re from Australia and our breads are more savoury to the palate than most of the stuff we find here. His Lordship did say that this is the best Pulled Pork he’s had since being in LA for 3 months and that’s saying something. If it’s on the menu, it’s soon in his belly.

After finishing our meals we chatted with owner August, originally from Carolina, hence the name along with his lady Jane and his best mate Josh from way, way back. All were super friendly and happy to spend some time talking about the food despite looking at it and cooking it all day. It was here we found out that the Chicken is smoked for about three hours and the Pork can be cooked anywhere between 8 to 12 hours. That’s a lot of love right there.

Our only suggestion, and we know it’s street food, would be a little something small to sit on or rest our plates on given the nature of the food. Those wonderful plastic milk crates you can get super cheap would be perfect, load em up with stock and then allow patrons to park themselves. We sat on these crates all over Vietnam and they are a great inexpensive option.

Carolina Meat Co travels all over Los Angeles. There have a Facebook and Twitter page that you can use to keep up to date with their Schedule. Also they have mobile Visa facilities so you’ll never be caught short changed.

*************************************************************************************************************

The Black Cat, Los Angeles USA. Clever Kitty!

The Black Cat

Munch Munch

A trusted friend (we’ll call him Nick) recommended we eat here, so we arrived hoping for something delightful. Seating is available inside the cool & dark restaurant, perfect if you’re nursing a hangover & also on their sunny street side patio. The Black Cat is furbaby friendly, so there’s a seat for everyone.

I ordered the naturally Gluten Free Curried Lentils with Quinoa, Roasted Eggplant, Raita and Fried Shallots for $14, I added an Over Easy Fried Egg for a further $2. Let me tell you. Incredible. So many gorgeous flavours on the one plate, all unique and all complimentary. Wow. Inspired to make my own lentil something a rather at home, and the Quinoa is the best I’ve had eaten in a cafe or restaurant yet. Plus I was super full at the 3/4 mark but really didn’t wish to waste the love that went into assembling the plate. It sounds stupidly healthy and hipster and all that but it really was incredibly Munchy! I also ordered their Cold Drip Coffee, chilled at the suggestion of our Waitress, Jessica.

His Lordship ordered the Shrimp and Grits, accompanied by Bacon, Belle Peppers, Hot Sauce and Celery for $16. Also gluten free and the shrimp or large prawns as you’d say Down Under were cooked perfectly. Again the portion was perfectly filling and wonderfully tasty, with flavours inspired by the South.

It was so refreshing to eat out for lunch & order something unique and tasty.

Our waitress, Jessica but I’m Aussie so we’ll call her Jess or Jezz. Was honest, charming and down to earth. I wish our budget allowed us to tip her more. Jezz hasn’t lost her Tennessee charm and our friend’s dog Pillow was equally enamoured by her.

The Black Cat is open 7 days a week. Address: 3909 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, USA. They have Valet Parking available as Silver Lake can’t be pretty challenging to park at the best of times.

*************************************************************************************************************

Las Casuelas Terraza, Palm Springs

Las Casuelas Terraza Palm Springs

Munch

Would you like a Margarita to start?” said as though it wasn’t 10:30 am. It’s only the start of Spring and Palm Springs is scorching. Planning to eat for a big day of adventuring we stuck our curious heads into the courtyard of Las Casuelas Terraza and were welcomed by the refreshing mist.

Upon seating we were given complimentary freshly made tomato salsa and corn chips to mung out on whilst waiting for our waiter to appear…out of the mist (sorry I had to). After much consideration of the large menu (the Tequila section was almost a page in itself), I ordered Chilaquiles ($8.95); Corn Chips topped with Chipotle sauce and cheese, two eggs cooked to your preference, beans (again your choice) and rice. The serving was massive and mild enough in spice for anyone to enjoy. My only gripe is it would’ve been much tastier if the corn chips with the breakfast were crunchier and not so soft. My Partner ordered the classic Mexican breakfast dish: Huevos Rancheros ($8.95); two fried eggs served over corn tortillas and topped with Rancho sauce, plus rice and your choice of beans as well as corn or flour Tortillas and was satisfied.

The service was friendly and efficient. We never waited longer than would be expected and our icy waters were topped up without needing to be asked. However, we did head back that night for a little night cap…you guessed it Margaritas! Although the wait to be sat wasn’t long and the whole venue was packed with a queue to be sat, the service was rubbish. We finished our little bucket of corn chips and salsa before the waiter even turned up and then was greeted with barely an acknowledgment of us waiting, despite only having a small section with a handful of diners to wait on. Shame really, because the staff earlier were great. Had we gone for drinks in the evening first we wouldn’t have bothered trying breakfast. The Margaritas themselves were plentiful and strong and only $4.95. Plus the live band played golden oldies that everyone could enjoy.

If you’re heading out to Coachella Festival this year, Las Casuelas Terraza is only about a half hour drive. So if you plan to pit stop and refuel before your planned and unplanned shenanigans I would definitely stop and stock up! It’s open seven days from breakfast til night cap drinkies.

Address: 222 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, California. USA.

*************************************************************************************************************

Elmer's, Palm Springs

Elmer's Palm Springs

Munch

Mimosa? For Breakfast? A Diner style restaurant in Palm Springs that had a queue that never slept. An American friend back home who is a total foodie in a non-wanker way but in a nom nom nom way recommended we try Elmer’s, clearly everyone else there was a local or had been recommended too.

 

We actually arrived at 10.30 and was told it would be at least a thirty minute wait for just the two of us, with many other groups and couples waiting, we had the hostess pop our names down for Noon and headed back to our Motel for a quick cool off dip, as it was already in the early 30’s (celsius). When we arrived at 12 pm, the line up was just as big with different faces but we were sat as promised within minutes.

The food servings were plentiful, and the staff were efficient. After hiking through the Indian Canyons that morning we were after something pretty hearty and were totally satisfied. I ordered the Saturday Market Skillet ($10.69), layered with hash browns on the base then topped with a capsicum, onion, bacon, ham, sausage saute jumble, followed by cheesy scrambled eggs. I don’t reckon they could’ve fit anymore protein in there if they tried. The dish also came with a non GF buttermilk biscuit which I didn’t eat naturally, nor was it necessary, the serve was enough to sate but not make me feel ill. I also had a large Orange Juice ($2.49) to help wash it all down. I’d definitely go back again to eat the same or try something else. Elmer’s is else such great value for the flavour you get for the money spent. It’s open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Address: 1030 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, California – USA 

*************************************************************************************************************

Grand Central Cafe, San Diego USA. So nice, we ordered twice.

Grand Central Cafe San Diego

Munch

We took a weekend road trip down to San Diego. We stayed in the worst hostel we have ever paid for (and we’ve travelled around South America and South East Asia so we feel we can say this with much experience). However, attached to the dirty hostel with the worst customer service was this absolute gem of a little cafe with the most wonderful staff.

 

The Service at Grand Central Cafe was so friendly their smiles were infectious (Jill was particularly adorable). We went back the following morning and both ordered the same meal as we were so pleased the previous day. I ordered the Chilli and Cheese Omelette for $9.95 (stuffed with chilli beef and beans and garnished with a little extra for love – main food image). It came with a choice of sides so I had the light and non greasy fresh potato hash brown (the size of the omelette) and as there was no GF bread available they accommodated me with freshly sliced tomato. My Partner ordered the Greek Omelette (mushrooms, onion, bacon and feta cheese – small food image) for $9.95 with sour dough and hash brown. Our coffees were continuously topped up and only cost $2.50. Although we felt sated not stuffed our meals lasted us from breakfast time ’til dinner time with no snacking in between.

For an El Cheapo Brunch spot in San Diego I would definitely recommend, open to the public you don’t need to be a “guest” of the hostel. Cafe Grand Central is open for breakfast and lunch and is convenienly located near the train/ferry and tram stops. Plus it’s only a couple of blocks from the harbour.

Address: 500 W Broadway, San Diego, California. USA.

*************************************************************************************************************

Berlin Currywurst, Los Angeles USA. German style sausages Stateside.

Berlin Curry Wurst

Nibble

For a late lunch, my partner Dave and I decided to try Berlin Currywurst. Back home gorgeous German friends of our’s Fabian & Axel host a bloody brilliant Oktoberfest Sausagefest each year & source a variety of wurst from a German Butcher several hours drive away.  We eagerly await our next invite, though October is quite some time off. 

 

To say we love a tasty sausage is an understatement. However, on this occassion we were both disappointed as the wursts were small compared to what we’re are used to. We both only ordered one wurst each, thinking that it would be enough, it came with a giant nob of bread, not gluten free (totes fine) for $7.00 each. I had the Geflugelbratwurst (chicken, onion, cilantro) and Dave ordered the Paprikawurst (pork, paprika, garlic. The meat in mine was grainier than would be expected and Dave’s was closer to something more meaty in texture. I love beetroot so ordered a Beetroot Salad as a side for $5.00. We both agree this was the best part, even though Dave isn’t the biggest fan of the stuff. Dressed in a light vinaigrette with walnuts, feta and baby spinach I’d make this at home.

Although the price point is inexpensive, the overall experience really felt more fast foody than what we thought it would be when walking past. The fit out of the restaurant is pretty basic as is the food presentation (I plated up the salad myself after giving away my roll thingy). However it was something a little different for our belly’s on a Saturday arvo.

The Verdict: I probably won’t go again to be truthful. It wasn’t rubbish but I know I can cook better at home.

Address: 3827 W Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. USA

*************************************************************************************************************

Photown, Sydney Australia.

Photown Rare Beef PhoMunch Munch Munch

Seriously. The best Pho in Sydney if not the world outside of Vietnam! It taste like the stuff straight from the street of the Motherland and the staff really are the epitome of “service with a smile”. The Owner Mai is such a joy, always ready with a beaming smile and genuinely loves that people adore her food. The Pho stock is so addictive it should come with a warning label.

The restaurant decor is basic, it’s on a busy, industrial road but it’s not about the mise-en-scene because once you tuck in, nothing else matters. My favourite of all the dishes is their Crispy Chicken Pho ($13.50), so crunchy your ears can enjoy the experience too. I’ve also enjoyed their Rice Paper rolls (3 for $7), Rare and Cooked Beef Pho ($10) and their Vermicelli Noodle Salads as well as the Green Papaya prawn salads are light and tasty. My Partner will order nothing other than the Lemongrass Beef with Vermicelli ($13). They also do Bahn Mi (fabulous apparently though not GF, $5). And if you’re a fan of Vietnamese style coffee they also have this option available to espresso. And finally it BYO only. But with Dan Murphys around the corner that’s hardly a set back.

The Verdict: The best Vietnamese in Sydney, just like the street food from Vietnam.

Photown is open 7 days a week all day until late. As the Dilmah guy says “Do yourself a favour, do try it”.

Address: 94 McEvoy St, Alexandria  -Sydney. Australia 02 96900718

*************************************************************************************************************

Rainbow Restaurant, Hanoi Vietnam.

Rainbow Restaurant, Hanoi

Munch

Sometimes when you’re traveling you get a little tired of eating dinner with dirt in your skirt so you opt for a local restaurant rathe than the cheap and tasty offerings from street vendors. The Rainbow Restaurant in the Hoan Kiem district in Hanoi is a great little spot to rest your weary legs and chow down on some tourist friendly food. I have to admit the entree was so fricken delicious we smashed it so quickly there was no time for a photo op :( Seriously the best Satay Chicken Skewers…ever! Plus the usual goodies like spring rolls with dipping sauce were also on the tasting plate.

It got a rather low Munch rating more because the food was, excuse the pun pedestrian, so a good spot to chow down but it won’t blow your taste buds away. In addition, the service was friendly and attentive.

For mains with we had 5 Spiced Duck and Beef & Chilli Lemongrass (citronella), both mains served with rice. The Duck was unfortunately dry and the beef was okay but not particularly spicy (good if you’re not a huge fan but like a little tingle). I washed my meal down with a Rainbow Cocktail, although I love the taste of cherry cough syrup it’s probs best if you ruin the pretty layering of of flavours to get a more balanced tasting drink, my partner had the local Hanoi Beer and all up the bill came to $20.00 AUD, so not bad for drink, entree and main, but you can eat cheaper elsewhere if you’re on a budget.

The Verdict: Tourist and Budget friendly, the mild dishes will appeal to most people so if you’re delving into Vietnamese cuisine for the first time, it’s a safe bet.

Address:  37 Hang Hanh, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi. Vietnam  

*****************************************************************************************************

Medallion Hanoi, Hanoi Vietnam.

Hanoi Medallion Hotel PhoMunch Munch

I was quite surprise when concluding our trip around Vietnam that my phavourite pho would be found in Hanoi (The Medallion Hanoi, 11 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi), in my hotel restaurant at breakfast no less. Only because if you read the guidebooks, the south has the best reputation for food.

 

 

I tried Pho in hotels, on the street with the locals, and in popular tourist spots and comfy looking Vietnamese restaurants. But I guess in the end it came down to love at first sight. I actually ate Pho approximately 10 days out of 12 and the stock of this soup was incredibly balanced and tasted it tasted really light but the more you ate the stronger the flavour grew so for a noodle soup junkie like me this was great. The meat was pork and the fresh chopped herbs (green onion and coriander) were added by the chef (not like in the south and mid coast where you add your own herbs and spices, something I prefer to do). I had seconds on my first day and ate it again the second morning we were there, and even though there was a different Chef on the quality and taste was consistent.

The Verdict: The best pho tried in along the coast of Vietnam.

Address: 11 Mã Mây, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

*************************************************************************************************************

Cafe Bones, Sydney Australia. The friendliest doggiest cafe

Cafe Bones Naked Beef BurgerMunch

I love hounds. All my nearest and dearest know I just adore the four legged creatures so when our friends Mia and Dave invited us along to Cafe Bones (Leichardt, Sydney Australia) for Brunch, I thought why not, it’s about time I did a wee review on this blog.

 

 

 

 

Cafe Bones a small kiosk cafe by a canal in inner-west Sydney and its pooch friendly! Dogs chase there own tales under the shady trees while their two legged friends munch out on tasty snacks and drink great coffee. And if your best mate is feeling peckish they sell a variety of dog treats, PupMuffins and you can even treat them to a Pupaccino!

I had a Naked Burger, pretty much what you’d expect on a standard Burger minus the buns. The meat patty was thick and juicy and the salad was fresh, it was only $8.00 so it was a great snack to tie me over til afternoon tea time.

The Verdict: Basic and cheerful with fur baby love everywhere.

Cafe Bones is open seven days, Ph. (02) 8086 2433

Address: Hawthorne Canal Reserve, Leichhardt – Sydney. Australia

Advertisements

Feel free to comment on this post or ask any questions about the recipe!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s