Wayfaring Chocolate http://wayfaringchocolate.com adventures in chocolate, travel, cooking, and living Fri, 25 Mar 2016 02:01:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Monster Kitchen and Bar, NewActon http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/03/27/monster-kitchen-and-bar-newacton/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/03/27/monster-kitchen-and-bar-newacton/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:03:37 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12486 IMG_3672A few weeks ago, back in the midst of blurred days and uncertain nights, my brother came to town for a friend’s buck’s night and my mother cleverly used the excuse of her birthday to ensure we saw him at least once during his trip.

And because my mother is not just clever but, you know, really really clever, she chose Monster Kitchen and Bar for her birthday dinner.

We definitely like Monster.

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Mum and I started off with two intriguing cocktails from Monster’s changing seasonal cocktails menu, and good golly Miss Molly, were they ever a treat for the eyes and senses. I went for the Autumn Fling: West Winds The Sabre gin, violet, elderflower, lemon ($16), which tasted at first like a lolly I can’t quite remember but soon segued into a complex layered delight that I downed way too quickly.

Mum chose the Piná Borracho: cachaça, pineapple, burnt toffee, lime ($18) – seen behind-right of my blue drink in the photo – and the burnt toffee note against the tangy-sweet pineapple was marvellous.

IMG_3678Monster’s menu takes the share plates approach that so many mid-to-fine-dining restaurants are adopting these days, and it’s a testament to the kitchen’s skills that every single dish we ordered was a winner.

We started with the above Gin-cured ocean trout, pickled plum, jalapeño ($18), which delighted with meltingly soft trout, tangy-sweet plums, and decidedly spicy jalapeños.

IMG_3677I’m a terrible daughter and pleaded for the Boxgum Grazing beef tartare, miso cured egg yolk, avocado, horseradish, crisp black rice ($23) to appear on our table, knowing the whole while that the birthday girl is allergic to beef.

Sorry Mum. But this tumble of zesty dressed beef with cured egg yolk and avocado puree, combined with the magically salty and ethereally crispy rice cracker, was worth the betrayal.

IMG_3676But don’t worry, we made it up to Mum with a serving of the Handcut chips with housemade ketchup ($10) that she got to call dibs on.

Oh bollocks. Mum’s allergic to ketchup too.

Hmm.

Thankfully, the chips were perfectly crispy yet fluffy inside, retaining heat throughout and dusted with a lively seasoning. I’m sure Mum didn’t miss the tomato accompaniment at all.

IMG_3675Our first dish from the “larger plates” section of the menu was this Daintree barramundi, lap cheong, funghi, coriander and Sichuan pepper vinaigrette ($31), which tasted like the soy-ginger baked fish dishes we make often at home… but a lot better.

Note to self: add Lap Cheong to all my Asian-influenced dinners from now on.

IMG_3674Praise be to Monster for stepping away from the ubiquitous pairing of beetroot with feta or goats cheese! This Roast beetroot, shankleesh, onion, almond, dill ($19) introduced my family and me to a brand new cheese (shankleesh) and I still can’t decide whether it, or the smoked roasted almonds, were my favourite component.

IMG_3673Have I mentioned before that I really don’t like duck? Well, shame on me, because this Dutton Park duck breast, fresh figs, amaranth, radicchio ($28) made me a (momentary) believer. (I’m guessing the amaranth was the purple leaves?)

IMG_3669Dessert time! Dessert time! Dessert time! Thankfully my family agreed to extend the share plate mentality to dessert, at which point I wheedled my way into ordering us the three desserts I wanted most.

My heart beats wildly for chestnut desserts, so as soon as I saw the Chestnut cream, walnut brittle, Earl Grey ice cream, grapes, meringue ($18), I knew it had to happen. Unfortunately, this was my least favourite dessert as the chestnut flavour was barely discernible. The meringue shards were glorious, however, and my Dad loved the Earl Grey ice cream.

IMG_3671Mum voted for the Figs and oloroso, fig leaf ice cream, toffee ($18), and happily scooped up most of this while the rest of us went to town on the banana dessert she had no interest in. The figs were soft and sweet, the sherry flavour apparent but not overpowering. Quite lovely.

IMG_3670That said, the absolute champion dessert was the Caramelised banana, dulce de leche, peanut ice cream, burnt marshmallow ($16), which, just, you know, GAH, words, so good. I mean, look, give me a toasted marshmallow and I’m yours for life (or for eternity if it’s a campfire-toasted marshmallow with the outside black and the inside goo), but I promise that the caramelised-but-fresh bananas, the super toffee-salty-roasted peanuts, and crumble and ice cream and dulce de leche were objectively GAH so good.

Happy birthday, Mum. I’m so glad I was finally in the right country to celebrate with you.

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Ona On The Lawns, Manuka http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/03/06/ona-on-the-lawns-manuka/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/03/06/ona-on-the-lawns-manuka/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:00:25 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12469 IMG_3139Has life calmed down? No. Not a bit. Is it going to? No. Not for a while yet. Is that okay? Yes. Yes it is. Because I’m learning a whole bloomin’ lot about how imperative it is to take care of yourself when you feel like you’re holding onto a feather in a tornado (the last time I was this exhausted I ended up with shingles at age 24 – not again no thanks move along nope good day sir I said good day).

The great part about how busy life is right now is knowing that this madcap intensity is a step towards a future I’m genuinely excited about. And while I may not have left the house (except to go for walks in the forest) in four days, I at least have the memory of this brunch to hold to – and the promise of many more to come.

IMG_2969Ona On The Lawns is a new café in Manuka that forms part of the Ona trifecta (the other two havens being The Cupping Room and Ona Coffee House). Situated diagonally across from Urban Pantry (a place I’ve had many coffees, breakfasts, first dates, and dessert-dinners in), Ona On The Lawns is a gorgeous, open, sunshining spot for brunch, that most glorious of meals.

IMG_3142My mum’s brunch choice was the rather beautiful Wild Mushrooms: sautéed mushrooms, walnuts, roquette pesto, pecorino and watercress with toasted sourdough (which she subbed for gluten-free toast).

I enjoyed my few bites, and Mum liked it despite finding it a bit salty for her tastes. That said, she fully admits to coming from the generation that rejected salt the way my generation is (idiotically) currently rejecting sugar, so take her comment with a grain of salt.

SEE WHAT I DID THERE.

IMG_3141Dad picked from the lunch section of the menu, ordering the Lamb Kofta with fig, goat feta, Israeli couscous, harissa-spice hommus, roquette and grilled flatbread. I absolutely adored the combination of feta, dried fig, and crisp-yet-moist lamb kofta, and would’ve stolen far more than I did had not my own choice been a sweet one.

IMG_3140Disclaimer: if this plate of Dutch Pancakes with fruit salad looks a mite bare, well, it was, but it’s my fault, not Ona’s. The dish originally came with an orange sorbet, and all of you who know me know that I can’t even smell the devilfruit without feeling nauseated. However, had I known that there wouldn’t even be any syrup on the plate, I would’ve either requested the fig ice cream (from the hotcakes menu option) or ordered something different. Lesson learned.

With that out of the way, though, I did enjoy this poffertjes special. The melon cubes and pomegranate were sweet and juicy enough to brighten up the pancakes, and it was a gorgeous dish to behold.

I really should have asked for some maple syrup, though.

IMG_3138Do you want to know what definitely was sweet enough? The incredible Salted Caramel and Popcorn Milkshake. I pestered my dad into ordering it because I wanted to try it but can’t really handle that much straight dairy myself*, but gosh was he glad I did. And gosh was I glad he did. This was very, very, very good. So good. All salty caramelly and deliciously popcorny and… other words.

* If you’re about to point out how often I eat cheesecake… SHUSH YOUR FACE. Cheesecake is worth the lactard pain.

IMG_3144We finished with a couple of lovely coffees (my first piccolo, above) and a piece of biscotti (that took ten hilarious minutes to be brought to us from the glass cabinet a mere six steps away from our table in the nearly-empty café).

All in all, it was a lovely brunch, and I look forward to visiting The Cupping Room next.

But just remember, my darlings: when in doubt, ask for fig ice cream.

IMG_3143P.S. Ona cronut!

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N2 Extreme Gelato, Melbourne http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/24/n2-extreme-gelato-melbourne/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/24/n2-extreme-gelato-melbourne/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:00:07 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12457 IMG_2928

One day I’ll tell you about the mind-boggling roller coaster week of topsy-turviness I just experienced but, until I work out exactly where the cards have fallen (or, more correctly, where I want to place those cards), let’s instead marvel over the mind-bogglingly delicious N2 Extreme Gelato I managed to sneak onto said topsy-turvy roller coaster.

IMG_2924Remember my terrible first experience with liquid nitrogen ice cream at Sub Zero? (I still love you, Cedar City.) I certainly haven’t forgotten, and so I approached N2 Extreme Gelato with a mix of excitement and trepidation.

Excitement because N2’s innovative take on liquid nitrogen gelato has received the tick of approval from many of my blogging friends. Excitement because, well, look at that menu. Pork Floss and Shortbread Gelato? Deconstructed Vegan Choc Lava?! Hello. Hello there.

IMG_2925Trepidation because fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Trepidation because I was so tired the night I dragged my friends into this parlour of gelato wonder that I feared I’d fall asleep in my cup if it didn’t crackle with flavour.

IMG_2929Did someone say crackle?

You in the back there, you said crackle, right?

Ten points to Gryffindor. Have a cup of crème brûlée gelato, made in an instant from a magical mix of liquid nitrogen and all the, you know, things that make gelato (cream? sugar? vanilla? fairy dust?).

IMG_2927The vanilla custard gelato base was gorgeously smooth and rich while the thick layer of burnt sugar on top, lit aflame before our very eyes, was so good I would’ve stolen the lot from my friend had I not dozed off on the fake grass as I attempted to lunge at her*.

* This is a lie. I fell asleep after lunging at her.

IMG_2926As for me, I couldn’t go past the Chinese New Year-themed flavour of Lychee and Ginger Sorbet, which came as a veritable mountain of the smoothest, ginger-zingiest, refreshingly-popping-with-lychee-est, energy-giving-est fruit-based dessert I’ve had in a long while.

So gingery. So vibrant. So spicy. So sweet. So surprising. So tantalising. So too much but also not enough. So delightful. So overwhelming.

A bit like life, really.

Heel click,
Hannah

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The Flute Bakery, Fyshwick http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/16/the-flute-bakery-fyshwick/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/16/the-flute-bakery-fyshwick/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 19:00:06 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12443 IMG_2749

One of the benefits of currently working from home as a freelancer is the freedom to grocery shop, run errands, and visit fancy bakeries on weekdays when most people are tucked away, squirreled away, fluorescent-lamp-lit-glowing away in their offices. (I should admit this is also a benefit of currently job-hunting, because one freelance project — even if a project with a friend that sends your soul dancing to the stars — does not a future mortgage make.)

At no point has this freedom and flexibility been clearer to me than during last week’s cakespedition to The Flute Bakery in Fyshwick with my dad. This lauded superstar of a bakery, long held as a rival to if not champion over the much-loved Silo Bakery, is only open weekdays from 8am to 3pm, but its dizzying plethora of high-quality and inventive sweet and savoury treats is such that Canberrans are clearly playing hooky regularly to visit, thus keeping it in business.

(It’s that or all the car dealerships, brothels, firework shops and furniture stores in Fyshwick have very discerning sweet-toothed clienteles.)

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Last week’s cakespedition to The Flute was my present to Dad, and I will kindly ask all of you considering making comments about me giving gifts that I also profit from to kindly shush your pie-hole.

Instead, plan a trip here to fill your pie-hole. Because, my loves, The Flute is spectacular. It deserves all the accolades heaped upon it and more. There were at least a dozen different individual patisserie treats, a whole heap of laminated pastry delights (I hear the almond croissant is amazing), larger cakes to feed multitudes, diverse flavours of macarons and eclairs, savoury pies and rolls, and baskets of artisan bread.

What did I choose from this extravaganza? Behold:

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The Pistachio and Almond Meringue filled with lemon curd and berry mousse, topped with fresh strawberries. I’m powerless to resist pistachio desserts (unless, of course, there’s a chestnut or black sesame dessert nearby, because chestnut/black sesame > everything), and this was wonderful. Chewy and crispy and nutty (and quite gorgeously green inside) with a bright lemon curd (which I do wish had been tangier) and a fresh berry burst – it got a tick from me.

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Dad started out in a reserved fashion, picking out the delicate red wine-poached pear galette. Upon taking a bite his eyes lit up with glee, for The Flute had snuck some cardamom into the buttery flaky croissant-esque dough. It got a tick from him.

But heck, birthday cakespeditions shouldn’t involve just one mere treat each, should they? No.

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This gorgeous layered creation of spectacular goodness was the Flute Lamington, comprised of dark chocolate mousse, vanilla sponge, raspberry jelly, vanilla bombe, coconut macaroon and a macaron to garnish. I’m vehemently anti-jam in traditional lamingtons, but I will admit that the layers in this opera-cake-esque fancypants lamington worked perfectly together.

The coffees we had were smooth and delicious, thus ensuring The Flute is a place I must and will revisit again and again and again and again.

In fact, who wants to meet me there tomorrow? I’ve got my eye on the berry violet cheesecake, the lemon meringue pie and, of course, that gorgeous almond croissant.

Heel click,
Hannah

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What matters (to me) this week http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/13/what-matters-this-week-2/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/13/what-matters-this-week-2/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 18:00:09 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12427 IMG_2638

— reinstating cakespeditions with my dad (remember those?), my partner-in-crime for searching out and glorying in the magical treats that Canberra has to offer (full review of the above to come). Realising how lucky and grateful I am to have these one-on-one moments with my father.

crying laughing.

— “If she is a writer of colour, compare her skin to food: chocolate, caramel, coffee, raisins, tater tots, brown bread. If she is white don’t worry about it; your readers know what that looks like.”

black swans canberra lake burley griffin

— walking around Lake Burley Griffin with friends, sometimes getting horribly sunburned, sometimes losing the battle to finish the ice cream before it melts onto our fingers, sometimes finding flocks of black swans but staying many many metres away because they can be aggressive little buggers when they want to be.

— finally reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

— wishing that the story of the elves and the shoemaker was instead the story of the elves and the me-who-wants-this-cake-waiting-freshly-baked-in-the-kitchen-in-the-morning-please-and-thank-you.

— taking far too many screenshots of everything, always.

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— poached eggs on toast (and requesting butter and vegemite alongside, because #mandatory).

— still coffee, always coffee.

this song, which my brother played for me during our road trip to Lake Eyre (the one where it took us three days to get to Lake Eyre and then one day to drive the 1,500km back because we are insane and stopped for only half an hour for lunch between leaving Maree at 8am and getting to Melbourne at 1am). My brother described it as one of his favourite break-up songs, and I will never forget, I will never forget, I will never forget the stars blazing against the dark black night in the empty yet seething outback as I pressed my face against the window and, over the course of two minutes and forty-six seconds, felt my hands tremble and the breath catch in my throat.

— actually, I need to re-watch the magician to recover. Excuse me a moment.

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— the dizzying, breathtaking blurring of art and reality at In The Flesh at the National Portrait Gallery. (If you’re in Canberra and haven’t yet been, it closes early March. Go now.) A part of me still can’t believe these babies weren’t real; you could see the intricacies of faint veins under their skin and almost feel their breath. Incredible.

— the joy and strength of shared secrets, held deep within hearts and minds.

What matters to you this week?

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The Boat House by the Lake, Canberra http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/09/the-boat-house-by-the-lake-canberra/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/09/the-boat-house-by-the-lake-canberra/#comments Sun, 08 Feb 2015 19:00:06 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12406 The Boathouse by the Lake Canberra

My family is no stranger to The Boat House by the Lake, one of Canberra’s fine dining stalwarts, and yet it had been long enough since our last visit (four years, in fact) that I felt a little nervous walking through its doors last week. Would it live up to the magic I remembered? Had it changed in the intervening years? Had I?

The answer, on all counts, is yes. And while I may not be ready to express how my years in Canada changed me, I can say that The Boat House has definitely only improved with time.

Egg Custard Olive Shortbread Fried Whitebait The Boathouse CanberraThe Boat House by the Lake offers a degustation for $100 a head, or an a la carte option of four courses (with the first being the ‘chef’s choice’) for $80. As my mother has a few allergies to juggle, we chose a la carte, and barely had we placed our savoury orders when the above dazzling plate was set before us.

This wasn’t even the first course. It was a bonus appetiser platter, and sweet holy heavens did it set a brilliant tone for the evening. Clockwise from top left:

— olive shortbread, so divinely buttery that it almost crumbled to the touch
— fried whitebait, miles tastier than potato chips (I’m classy, yo)
— pork and veal terrine, soft and meaty with a lovely pop of herbs
— beetroot jelly, with layers of tangy jelly and sliced beetroot
— egg custard, presented almost too adorably to eat

IMG_2392The main reason I took this photo of my Kir Royale was because five rabbits were hopping and playing on the lawn outside, but somehow I didn’t get a single Thumper in shot. INVISIBLE WILD BUNNIES.

As a side note, I must mention how great The Boat House was in adapting the menu to my mum’s allergies. The servers noted what she needs to avoid, then for the rest of the night explained how each dish had been altered (where necessary) for her. It makes a huge difference to be treated kindly rather than made to feel a nuisance.

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Our first course was the chef’s choice of cured kingfish with cucumber noodles and shiitake consommé. Ohhhhh yes. The consommé was deeply savoury, the whisper-thin kingfish melted in the mouth, and the cucumber noodles were a cooling contrast.

Quail The Boathouse by the Lake Canberra

Dad’s second course was the quail with witlof, pear, and blue cheese, while Mum and I both opted for the watermelon gazpacho with pickled rind, radish, and fetta:

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This gazpacho was less sweet that I’d expected, and I’d love to know how the chefs coaxed such savoury tones from watermelon. The pickled rind was terrific, crisp and almost apple-like in flavour, and I loved that the radish was watermelon radish. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE CHEFS, VERY CLEVER.

Lamb Rump Peas The Boathouse CanberraBlue Eyed Cod Ajo Blanco The Boathouse CanberraMum next went for the lamb rump with peas, mint, and beetroot, and Dad chose the blue-eyed cod with ajo blanco, grapes, and herbs. Both were thoroughly enjoyed.

However, I only had eyes for my blue swimmer crab with avocado, tomato, and potato:

Crab Avocado Millefeuille The Boathouse Canberra

This blew me away. Imagine fresh crab bathed in avocado and (I think) remoulade, interspersed with carved petals of tomato, layered between freshly-made potato chips that, I’ll admit, were even better than the fried whitebait I previously said was better than potato chips. When the server came to clear our plates, I couldn’t help but rhapsodise over this dish, only to be told it’s a brand new menu item and this was the first night it’d been served. Fingers crossed it sticks around.

And now, of course, we come to the best part of any night: dessert.

Raspberry Marshmallow Coconut Iced Vovo The Boathouse CanberraDescribed as The Boat House’s take on an Iced Vovo, Dad had the ‘Raspberry Textures: coconut, biscuits, marshmallow’. While the presentation made me giggle, the springy raspberry marshmallows and quenelle of coconut ice cream were lovely.

But my dessert won.

Deconstructed Pavlova at The Boathouse by the Lake Canberra

Isn’t it gorgeous? This deconstructed pavlova pulled together chamomile jelly, basil granita, cream, a myriad mini meringues, and everything from tiny fresh banana and kiwi slices to plump glowing blackberries and raspberries.

Just divine.

Whiskey at The Boathouse Canberra

At this point I pulled the marvellous manager of The Boat House into a conversation about whiskey, as one of my 2015 goals is to become Someone Who Likes Whiskey. I was steered towards a ten-year-old Glenmorangie that was surprisingly light and almost floral, and then the manager brought over a taster of an Ardbeg Islay malt whiskey, which tasted like pure smoke. It was fascinating.

Oh, and did I mention it was my dad’s birthday? We finished the night with a surprise gift from the kitchen: three chocolate ganache truffles, made mere moments before with ingredients safe for my mother to eat (I’m guessing they were nothing but dark chocolate, butter, and a little sugar, and by golly were they good).

Looking back on the night, I know that I wouldn’t have changed a single thing, a single dish, a single giddy moment. And Dad? Happy Birthday. You’re swell.

Heel click,
Hannah

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What matters (to me) this week http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/06/what-matters-this-week-1/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/06/what-matters-this-week-1/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 19:00:51 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12388 Doubleshot Sign

— kindness

— hugs

this song

— salted butter

— salted butter melting into sourdough toast

— salted butter melting into sourdough toast alongside a mug of coffee

— coffee

— my friend’s puppy

cute puppy

— listening when someone needs to talk

— really listening, though, really really listening, listening with your heart and your eyes and your soul and your whole darn self

— choosing to replace the sense of doom that clatters in your chest when the birds and their trills wake you at 4:30am (because you know you won’t fall back asleep) with the giddy joy of deciding to buy an almond croissant for breakfast because take that beautiful yet annoying birds I get to eat almonds croissants and you don’t

Almond Croissant

— feminism

— encouraging conversations around the fact that feminism is about equality for everyone everywhere, and that it needs to acknowledge race and class and privilege and sexuality and fluidity and body image and self-image and courage and gender expression and voices and beliefs and all the unspoken tethers and ropes and suffocations and terrors and invisibilities and moorings and unmoorings and clouds and silences, yes, but also all the strengths and triumphs and blazing lights and realisations and witty quips and giggles and joinings and solidarities and knitting-selves-back-togethers and kisses and songs and hopes and small steps and large leaps and

— rainbow paddlepops

Herself-Aniela-quote

— Skype and FaceTime calls with beloveds all over the world because even though it rips your heart to shreds to be so far apart, at least, at least, at least, for an hour, maybe two, you can see each other’s faces and it’s like your sternum is a candle flaring up anew with fresh white-hot sweet gorgeous oxygen

this recipe

— laughter

— having family nearby, so nearby, after so long so far apart

— rediscovering the place that has always been, yet now finally and truly and deeply feels like, home.

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Fox and Bow, Farrer http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/02/fox-and-bow-farrer/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2015/02/02/fox-and-bow-farrer/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 19:30:27 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12359 IMG_1816

When my family and I first moved to Canberra’s 2607 postcode seventeen years ago (side note: ten-year-old me would be devastated to know that 27-year-old me still doesn’t have a fluffy puppy or squillion-dollar book deal, but I’d like to think she’d be pleased she moved to Canada for two years and frequently eats cheesecake for breakfast), there was a dearth of spectacular dining options in the area.

For a short and glorious period, the Isaacs shops were home to Megabite, where I’d always order the same thing: a white baguette with salami, roasted capsicum, and marinated artichokes, followed by the greatest chocolate caramel slice that has ever existed. RIP Megabite and the greatest chocolate caramel slice that has ever existed.

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The Mawson shops had a few lacklustre Italian joints and a Domino’s Pizza, and Farrer had… nothing that I can remember. Nothing of note. Nothing to make the heart skip and the smiles soar and the soul dance.

Flash forward to late 2014, and Alex Piris opened up Fox and Bow, a charming seven-day-a-week-all-day-brunch-and-lunch-menu-hyphenated-live-music-colourful-mural-ever-bustling-joyful-café-restaurant that my parents and I (and my Melbourne-based brother) have fallen head over heels for.

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It must be said I’m keeping some of my love in reserve until Alex puts waffles on the menu, but it’s always good to have something to hope for, right? Right.

Fox and Bow’s modus operandi is freshness and deliciousness (and friendliness) in equal measure. In fact, they only have one teensy tiny fridge in the back, so almost everything is brought in and made on the spot daily.

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Further testament to how dedicated the place is to listening and adapting to local tastes is the fact the menu has changed three times since opening, finally settling into a cohesive selection that mixes the tried-and-true with by-golly-whizz-bang-that’s-exciting! flair. Take the French Toast (called “Passion Pop”) which comes with passionfruit gelato and popping candy, for example, or the “James Bond”, described as “marinated octopussy, cucumber, mint and roasted capsicum salad with toasted baguette”.

Sometimes I want to order items for their names alone.

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But that’s enough of an introduction (I haven’t written here in almost a year; did you really expect me to be succinct?) – let’s take a peek at the epically magical menu items my family has tested out.

The dish you see immediately above is the new “Flapjack: bean and ham hock ragout, corn and herb flapjack, two fried free range eggs”, and what an innovative take on the Melbournian corn fritters epidemic it is. The photo preceding that is the pulled pork tacos that are no longer on the menu, and the photo at the top of the post showcases the “One for the Lads” burger with a beef shin patty and crispy-crunchy thick-cut chips as well as the “Mr Fox”, a take on the big breakfast concept packed with bacon, hash, chorizo, morcilla, mushrooms, eggs, and sourdough toast.

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My mother often gets the “My Sweet Little Pecan”, which tosses together honey-roasted sweet potato, avocado, grilled haloumi, barbecued corn, toasted pecans, and lime, but this weekend opted for the new “Senorita Fox” of poached eggs, avocado, Tasmanian smoked salmon, asparagus, lemon, parsley, and grilled haloumi. She rhapsodised over it, and I found myself staring longingly (and somewhat forlornly) throughout our meal.

I’m getting it next time.

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As for me, I tend towards the “Plain Jane”, though I’m considering asking for its name to be changed to the “Frizzy Hannah” on account of how often I order it. It’s eggs how you like them (poached, always and forever) on buttery sourdough with bacon and, because I simply can’t love bacon no matter how good it is (for the record, my parents adore Fox and Bow’s bacon), I always add an order of morcilla to my plate.

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Alex sources award-winning chorizo, bacon, and morcilla from nearby food magicians (I might have forgotten the producers’ names and which awards they won), and it shows. The morcilla is intensely umami-y without having any metallic or bitter twinge, and it’s cooked to perfection, crispy and moist and crumbly.

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The coffees at Fox and Bow never fail to impress, the juices have names like Mike Wazoski and Oh Darla!, and there’s a new espresso and date smoothie named after George Clooney (personally, I think they should’ve gone with Amal Alamuddin). The treats cabinet is a mix of house-made desserts and locally-made cronuts, and so far none have failed to impress.

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Is this entire review effusively glowing? Yes, it is rather. The only thing that makes me pout even a little bit is the aforementioned lack of waffles, but you know what? The menu in December had thick pancakes topped with berries, maple syrup and caramel popcorn, so I can survive.

I can survive.

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P.S. Please excuse the inconsistent photo sizing. I’ll find my rhythm again eventually.

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Hiatus http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2014/03/27/hiatus/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2014/03/27/hiatus/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 23:10:07 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12347 Dear lovely ones,

As you may have noticed from my recent pause in posting, I’ve decided to take a step back from blogging for the time being. At one level, this is the result of a myriad factors swirling together, but at another it is simply because I’ve been blogging constantly for over four years, and in recent months I’ve lost the ability to feel joy in it.

I hope that, by giving myself permission to live and breathe freely now, I’ll find my way back here sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you can catch me on Instagram. (You can take the girl away from WordPress, but you can’t take ridiculous snacks away from the girl.)

Thank you so much for your years of support. For reading, laughing, commenting, tasting, and baking along with me. It means more than you could ever know. Thank you.

I hope to see you again soon. Until then: love, hugs, giggles, and cheesecake forever.

Heel click,
Hannah
xoxo

CheesecakeFactory-KeyLime-WhiteChocolateMacadamia-Original

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American Snack Reviews: Chewy Chips Ahoy! Root Beer Float Ice Cream Creations Cookies http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2014/03/15/american-snack-reviews-chewy-chips-ahoy-root-beer-float-ice-cream-creations-cookies/ http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2014/03/15/american-snack-reviews-chewy-chips-ahoy-root-beer-float-ice-cream-creations-cookies/#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2014 02:09:47 +0000 http://wayfaringchocolate.com/?p=12318 IMG_4858If you thought the Marshmallow Crispy Oreos I reviewed recently were the strangest thing I tried during my brief vacation in the US, you’ve got another thing coming.

That other thing, of course, is the star of today’s review: the brand-new Nabisco Chewy Chips Ahoy! Root Beer Float Ice Cream Creations Cookies. Root beer-flavoured cookies! Root beer flavoured-cookies! Seriously, can you believe such a thing exists? I hadn’t even tried root beer — the drink — until ten days ago in Kansas City, when Amber took me to McCoy’s and their house-brewed root beer was second only to the incomparable magic of their hot pretzel baguettes with caraway sea salt, beer mustard and Merkt’s cheddar fondue.

I could live on those beer pretzels forever. However, could I live on these chewy cookies crammed with root beer- and vanilla-flavoured chips?

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The honest truth is: almost.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, but these cookies were rather amazing. I mean, not amazing in the sense that I’d choose them over a Mont Blanc or black sesame ice cream or Point Reyes blue cheese or a really big long squishy cuddle (always choose cuddles over cookies, people), but amazing in the sense that the little blighters really tasted like root beer.

IMG_4885In fact, Nabisco’s new cookies tasted pretty much exactly like a root beer float (in Australian-speak, a root beer spider). The flavour was pure sweet sarsaparilla and creamy vanilla, somehow encapsulated in a chewy packaged cookie (that I’m sure I’d otherwise find quite mediocre).

Nabisco should make a Shirley Temple-flavoured cookie next. Now that’d be a flavour sure to take me back to childhood.

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