Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ms G's - Potts Point

Its been a while in between posts here at The Empty Fridge - but rest assured we have not been starving or participating in a pre-easter lenten fast. It's been a crazy few days in our non-food related work life; which is why come the weekend, we can't help but get our Rebecca Black on and be so excited, we we so excited. 

A few weekends ago we found ourselves boozed up as a result of the NSW Cellar Door Wine Festival in Hyde Park. After having spent much of the afternoon tasting some delicious wines; we found ourselves a nice patch of grass and ignored the "not to be consumed on the premises" sticker on our bottle. Great start to the afternoon and no doubt it was bound to get better.
Since we were in the vicinity; quick thinking and a fast cab led us to Pott's Point, with nothing but  Ms G's on our mind. We were seated straight away and true to form the cocktail list was carefully studied. We we we so very excited to try every "packaged" cocktail on the menu.

Fact - I am a bubble tea fiend, and while others dream of whiz bang expresso machines in their kitchen - my ultimate appliance is a bubble tea drink sealer - purely for cocktails and maybe early morning milk teas. A few cocktails are served in heat sealed plastic cups with chunky colourful plastic straws. Im not sure who came up with this idea - Ms Gs Chefs Dan Hong and Jowett Yu or the Merivale Maestro himself, Justin Hemmes. Could it be that Merivale head sommelier Franc Moreu is a bubble tea feind too? Who ever it was that executed my bubble tea dream is a living legend, 10 points for the cool factor.
So yes, i'm a simple girl with dreams of alcoholic beverages in these sealed cups - the idea in itself has me waxing lyrical about Ms Gs - and we haven't even got into the name, decor and most importantly the food yet. Ms Gs, a reference to everyones favourite food additive MSG. I really like the name because back in the days of jigging school and roaming the streets of Ashfield with my bubble tea, my year 12 jersey had Miss G emblazoned on the back. How can you not like a namesake restaurant? We were meant to be.
The cocktails we ordered were very refreshing after a day spent sinking down wine. We were eying the lethal sake list, as well as the paddle of shots however our first tipples (ha-ha rhymes with nipples) had to be the Pina 'Pearls' Colada and the Green Iced Tea. My Pina Colada had little tapioca pearls which i lovingly refer to as goob. With Appleton VX, Havana Club Blanco rum, pineapple, coconut, yogurt sorbet, green pearls it was a fresh and zingy drink that got the party started. Demos' Green Iced Tea had Zubrowka vodka, Cloud & Mist tea, grapefruit bitters, green apple, soda - now whoever said Green Tea was always good for you?
Clockwise from L-R - Communal Cutlery, 6-2-1 aka scientific code for MSG, the front bar with the shot paddles hanging, stairs to the multi levels of fun.
Mini bánh mì- crispy pork belly or chicken katsu ($6 each)
These bite size burgers/rolls/sandwiches was the much needed hit of 'naughty' food we needed to line our stomachs! Having one pork and one chicken variety we were only able to have a bit of each but my goodness it was delectable. The crunch of the meat and the tanginess of the sauce was enough to make you want to order 6 more and we had to restrain ourselves from doing just that.
Of course there was some hidden sneaky coriander in between the buns, but we'll get to that later. Demos is addicted to the chilli sauce and proceeds to cover his serve of the bahn mi - he refers to this as 'Napalming the jungle' with epic sriracha rooster sauce.
We step outside for a breather and run into some familiar faces. The lovely Bianca of Eat Drink and Write blogging fame and her boyfriend Anthony Soprano - a mate of mine from way back are also wanting a piece of the Ms G's action. The place had already filled up with hungry diners waiting for a table. We managed to hustle and swap our lonely table for two and scored a table with our new eating buddies and hi-jack their romantic date.
Above: The front bar and the middle dining level with overhanging ropes and a peek a boo view of the harbour bridge.
Fried baby chicken, Kimchi Mayonnaise (half serve) $15.
Fried chicken seems to be a staple order when we see it on the menu. Just as well as it is because this was really tasty. Crispy and seasoned well minus the super oily headache. It was a shame that we only had the smaller serve as they also do a whole chicken with more pieces. Gives a reason to go back again. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Braza - Brazilian Churrascaria, Leichhardt

So this is where we begin our story, handkerchief in hand dealing with the dreaded meat sweats. Ah yes, we have all experienced a similar scenario in one way or another; eating various kinds of animals cooked and salted to perfection, taking its toll on our feeble human bodies that can't help but try sweat it out.
You get those days sometimes where there is an overwhelming feeling to eat meat, or at least a few different types of animals. Well I do anyway. On this day we decided to head to Norton Street Leichhardt and hit up Braza Churrascaria to deal with these meat cravings. The mind was willing to partake in this activity of all you can eat meat eating; however as you can see the flesh is weak, with the stop serving signs applied and the manly handkerchief out. This is the tale of the defeat of one man and his journey to eat the animals set before him. All the animals.
Pao de Queijo
It all started with the cheese stuffed breads served as a starter. Coupled with the fact that you can pick as many sides and starters you can eat, you just can't lose. This was the first mistake of the evening as the cheese stuffed breads were scrumptious and full of cheesy goodness and went down one after another in succession. You could easily eat your weight in these breads. 
 Salada Três – Heirloom Tomato & Palm Heart w/ Black Olives & White Balsamic
To accompany the pickled chillies, crumbed and fried polenta chips  we ordered a side of heirloom tomatoes and a rocket & blue cheese salad. By this stage you can see how you are set up for failure from the outset, there are that many starters that you could satisfy your hunger just by eating them alone. 
Pimentas da Malaguetta – Brazilian Chillies ; Salada Dois – Rocket Salad, Brazil nuts, Orange, Beetroot & Blue Cheese
Admittedly all the side dishes are quite tasty. The vegetables are fresh; the pickled chillies have a nice kick and you simply cant beat fried polenta chips. We also ordered some wine and beer to help things track along, Argentinian wine & Brazilian beer more specifically.
á Fritos do Braza: Mandioquinha, Banana & Polenta – Cassava Chips, Crumbed Banana & Polenta
Skol Brazilian Beer and a glass of El Origen Reserva Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
Frango con bacon – Chicken Breast with Bacon & Sobre Coxa – Chicken Thigh
The premise behind the Brazilian bbq is that meats of all kinds are brought forth and paraded in front of you to be picked and placed upon your plate with little metal tongs. To kick off proceedings what could be better than the mythical pighen. A beast that is half pig half chicken; sorry no such animal exists but chicken breast wrapped in bacon is just as good. BBQ'd chicken thigh was next, smoky and salty. Very nice.
Fraldinha – Thick Flank and Coração de Frango – Chicken Hearts
Pork was up for grabs as well as chicken hearts. Japan was the last time we had chicken hearts so we jumped with excitement as they came to our table. They were very chewy but oh so good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taste Of Sydney 2011, Centennial Park - Round I and II

Hello everybody - it's our favorite time of the year! The taste of Taste of Sydney outdoor food festival is on this weekend and we Empty Fridgers were lucky enough to attend a preview session on opening night. We wanted to share some snaps and some favourite dishes with you. So hopefully; if you are heading there this weekend, we can help you plan your path of eating and drinking. 

If you remain undecided on wether to go or not; we hope we can sway you that little bit more into heading on to Centennial Park - we dare say this post is part one for us; as we are definitely heading back for round two!
Now in its third year; Taste of Sydney is a deliciously fun outdoor drinking an dining experience. Favourite Sydney restaurants such as Balzac, Bilson's, Cotton Duck, Etch, L'etoile and many more all within metres of each other - serving delicious signature dishes en masse. 

With exhibitors, local producers, wine tastings and informative sessions - could you ask for anything better and more convenient for hungry patrons?

"Crowns" ($1=1 crown) are the official currency for the day - and are used to purchase dishes from restaurants and the producers. Most dishes are priced from 8-10 crowns and drinks start from 6 crowns; but some producer stall gladly take cash too. If you ever find yourself low on crowns - lookout for staff in pink shirts roaming the grounds to top up your stash.

Our tip is to print out the "menu" on offer from each of the restaurants and literally circle each one you want, then make sure you have enough crowns. Although; they sell them throughout the venue - you just  wouldn't want queues cutting in on your eating time. Prioritise.
First stop is the Victor Churchill Stand for some tasty sampling. Victor Churchill in Woollahra is a happy place - its home to amazing produce and is the probably the only butcher where you can spend hours in and not smell like meat. They are all about quality and lucky for us we were able to sample some delicious meats they had on offer.

The photo above shows the amazing "melt in your mouth" David Blackmore Wagyu Bresciola. With a super high marble score of 9+, it is the cotton candy of wagyu - and as the friendly staff told us - you do not need teeth to eat this. 
The impressive slicer they have on display is a hand operated Berkel machine - quality meats deserve quality machinery to cut; this quality machine costs a whopping $70,000. Thats roughly 3 Toyota Yaris's.  
The Berkel slicer is very kind to the small good in question as it does not generate heat which in turn affects the quality of the sliced meat - therefore it is worth its weight in wagyu. 
The 'Tartufo' salami above was indeed a winner. Kurobota pork with truffle - wow. The truffle flavour was generous, but not overpowering at all and it really worked well with the saltiness of the pork. We were told that this has actually become a favorite with kids that visit a shop! Ah, the kids of today with their fussy palettes!
The crowd favorite was the Biltong, a South African staple of air dried beef. This Biltong was made with Blackmore wagyu topside and is salted for a day then rolled in black pepper and coriander (!!) seeds. It is not tough at all and would be perfect with an ice cold beer.

Drop by Victor Churchill Stand and have a chat with their super friendly and informative staff. They have Charcuterie Tasting Plates for $12 and delicious desserts for $8 as well.

Cocktail time! Our next stop was the Sensology Session, an iteractive and simple lesson to teach each and everyone the art of cocktail making. As we walked in, we herd that very familiar tune - "If you like Pina Colada's..and getting caught in the rain..." and you guessed it - we had a lesson on mastering the art of Pina Colada!
The session was so much fun and full of handy tips to keep in mind for the next cocktail party. If you are like us, are a professional at drinking but a novice in making - then get on down to the Sensology session With only a few ingredients and some muddling, mixing, shaking and of course drinking, we had a delicious and refreshing Pina Colada that can easily be re-created at home.
For 10 Crowns you can master the Mojito, Daquiri, Breakfast Martini, Cosmopolitan or Pina Colada plus you get your cocktail too, to quench the thirst from all the hard labour!


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