Monday, October 31, 2011

Bootleg Bar and Italian Restaurant, Potts Point

Hello friends. Apologies for the brief absence, no excuses here - just be assured that I have missed you friends of the fridgers. Now lets get back to all things boozy, tasty and ridiculously good and forget about me going M.I.A. and slipping into a black hole of bleagh.
 So here we go...  Let me start with a confession. I dont consider myself as bonafide foodie; I don't fit the description of "Living, Breathing and OBSESSING over food" which is quite odd for a food blogger, no? The focus of this blog has always been about the experience - the good times and the fun times involving food. I've had a thinky thinky moment while I've neglected this blog and realised that although I do love a great meal; I'm more about the experience, the stories, the atmosphere... the fun, getting people together, the memories. Queue segway...
Good food experiences shared with a bunch of friends make for a great night out. Along with our friends Lu and E; Demos and I led the way to our venue for the evening. Bootleg was buzzing with the Potts Point crowd and was pretty busy for a school night - we were able to score a table in the back corner and get acquainted with a medium bodied bottle of Negroamaro. Such a thirst quencher on a balmy night and not too heavy to overpower the meal ahead. The lighly battered calamari ($17) could not be ignored on the menu. Light and crispy; we fought over the last few pieces and drowned them in lemon juice. Simple Pleasures really.
The arancini that came next were not your usual standard Italian fare ($10 2/pc). Topped with a tangy and almost relish like tomato sauce with some bitey provolone - it was a taste sensation; especially as we bit into the crunchy coating through to a treasure trove of more melted provolone.
Once inside and away from the hustle of Kings Cross, once can be forgiven when thinking about Bootleg as an escape. Framed photographs with scenes from a very hip circa 1990 New York era put a smile on my face as did the boomboxes and random religious statues. They could be channeling Harlem or Queens or Compton perhaps - without overdoing the kitsch factor and making it feel like an awkward themed Christmas party venue. Comfortable booths and tables line the walls and the neon lights above the bar give Bootleg a subdued the bright lighting for the Coca Cola sign around the corner.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Four ate Five, Surry Hills

There is nothing I love more than writing up a weekend breakfast post. Its kind of our thing here at The Empty Fridge, a weekend just isn't a weekend without a brunch adventure of some sort. Due to so called "society" rules, we often can't mix our love for a good brekky with other passion - boozing. Okay, we are not that bad - promise. 
Enter the Pina Colada Pancakes ($16). 
Yes, you heard right. Everyone's favourite song/girly drink of choice masquerading as a pancake. One morning, Demos and I were travelling along Crown St and just as luck would have it - we got a car space right out front. The food and parking gods were smiling down on us, and just like that - four ate five beckoned us to sit out in the sunshine and order this breakfast special. 
 Fluffy pancakes topped with a dark rum maple syrup, crumble, warm pineapple chunks and ice cream. Shut the gates, this was bananas..(except in this case it was..pineapple) This definitely was a cracker of a brekky dish gets 10 points for originality and fun. How can you honestly say no to Pina Colada pancakes? Im not usually a fan of sickly sweet maple syrup but this tart variation mixed with the pineapple was the perfect match. It is quite a big dish to get through but the chunks of sweet crunchy crumble kept things interesting.

As stated in The Empty Fridge mealtime rule book, section 457 - you can't have two sweet breakfast dishes together, there should always be a sweet dish and a savory dish - otherwise it is offensive to an Empty Fridgers tastebuds and it would be too boring to do a "swapsies" half way through the dish.
Enter the four ate five pulled pork sandwich ($13). 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Toko Japanese Restaurant, Surry Hills

When you say Japanese there are a few places that come to mind. One in particular though stands out above the rest. Toko. One of our favourite restaurants where we have spent many a night eating and boozing away.
Toko is one of those really effortlessly cool restaurants. Moody lights, long communal tables, the large open kitchen and of course the awesome cocktails all make for a beautiful dining experience. More often then not there is a long wait for tables, with their no-bookings policy. This has never deterred us as on most occasions we found ourselves annihilating the cocktail list as we wait on the bar. The cocktail list here is something else - utilising hard hitting but flavoursome japanese sochu and endless sake options. One of my favourite visits involved sake bombs with the staff as G and I perched over the bar.
Throughout the BB years (Before Blog) we frequented this place so much that the hostess started to recognise us and told us she worried about us during the weekends we didn't turn up. Funnily enough, we got seated so much quicker those days! So yes, after many Toko nights we have become quite familiar with the cocktail menu and of course an absolute favourite is the Saru Caprioska $18.00. Pineapple, lemon wedges and lots of clear spirits served in a beaker. It really does go down too easily. On this night we also settled on a Japanese beer - Yebisu $10.00
As well as having really good drinks, the food at Toko is amazing. In particular the sushi. Its the menu that kept us coming back here and the quality of food has remained consistent on every visit. On this night  we ordered some California Maki $15.80 which as expected was amazing. Perfectly presented and super fresh, these small rolls had blue spanner crab and avocado. And its real crab, none of this seafood extender rubbish!
Round One - the Rolls.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We won a 2011 Pedestrian TV Blogger award!! (And celebrated with Tapas at El Bulli, Surry Hills)

What a way to start the long weekend. The winners of the first ever 2011 Pedestrian TV Blogger awards were announced and this little blog took out the "Food Blog" category - yeeeew! Demos and I want to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for us in the final round. We have some ridiculously awesome and supportive friends of the fridgers who spammed their Facebook walls, threatened all their staff and bribed co-workers to get us "like" votes until the last day. Big big thank you to those who voted and just got excited. 
The cool kids at Pedestrian TV made the final call on friday and we could not have been happier, I was ready to stand on my work desk and bust out some confetti from the hole puncher but sensibility kicked in. So yes, shoutout to Pedestrian TV - we do love your work and your daily e-newsletters are actually one of the few that I actually open up and read. We are really cheering that we actually won something to so shake that bottle and make it pop - time for some champagne showers and whiskey sours.

Okay now back to the food.
Yes, the last couple of posts have been of Birthday Celebrations for yours truly and I kid you not, there is still more to come. Here at the Empty Fridge, every night out is a celebration of some sort - its the way we roll. Having a good time and acting a fool is what we are all about here so extending a birthday for a whole month is just the norm, but lets take a short break from birthday posts and celebrate the little blog win.

Last night we got Tapas with dear friends Lu and E, collectively known as the babes. No this was not couples night, we refuse to be cheesy like that. I think Lu and E are our only "couple" friends. Let me pause for a second and think about that one as to not offend any other couples we are friends with and totally just forgot about (sorry.) 
The rule of the night wath to thalk in a thpanish athent like we were having thapas in Barthelona. But that didn't last long of as there was no point in having a conversation... EL BULLI IS THE NOISIEST RESTAURANT IN SYDNEY. With the band playing right next to us we resorted to sign language which proved to be tricky of course, although I've learnt how to sign the word "badonkadonk"
Since conversation fell short of everyones now deaf ears,  I left all the ordering to E. With this food blog, friends automatically expect you to be all day everyday into food and be picky and fussy and wanky about food. For me, dining out is all about the experience, the fun and how delicious food fits into that whole equation. Thats what I get excited about. I mention to E that a boring meal could lead to a lame night, so the pressure was on him to deliver and now our evening rested in E's selection.
He did well with the jug of Sangria ($24) of course, and that kicked the night off as the SUPER LOUD band kept playing. Its very dark inside El Bulli but  very very spacious. The long wooden communal tables across the restaurant is filled with people that look like they were here for a good time. From with rowdy bride to be's that can't hold their alcohol to the birthday celebrants on each table, everyone was getting into the spirit and digging the spanish vibe.

This was my first visit to El Bulli and I have been very keen to try their tapas. What gets my attention from the start is the garlic sauce that accompanies the slices of fresh bread. WOW. Garlicy goodness that would kill any chance of romance. I started craving for some lebanese charcoal chicken because this dip tasted just like toom.
 The Babes have frequented El Bulli and managed to get me super excited about the Patatas El Bulli ($10.50). A restaurant favorite of Crispy Potatoes covered with a creamy tomato aoli. "Like Big Mac Sauce?" Well, not quite - but it was tangy and so very addictive. The serving seemed never ending and we were picking on this dish until the potatoes were lukewarm.


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