Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Longrain Restaurant & Bar, Surry Hills

I'd like to start this post by saying "Immmmm baaccckkk!".....  Yes after a long hiatus what can be more fitting than to sit and share with you yet another fabulous dining adventure with the ever so lovely Gianna. Yes that one girl whom we all love who happens to have an affinity for allergic reactions to coriander at the drop of a hat. I mean what could be better than tempting fate yet again by going to Longrain, a Thai restaurant which has defeated us once before.  Well just as it so happens tonight was a bit of a different story. 
So on the way to a friend's birthday party we were feeling a bit peckish and seeing as though we were in the area we thought why not stop past for a quick tipple and a bar snack before partying the night away. We had not been since Gianna's 2nd 22nd Birthday so why not.  Walking into Longrain brought back fond memories of betel leaves, egg nets and coriander infused dishes that I valiantly ate to stop Gianna from succumbing to asphyxiation. It was a truly Herculean task having to eat all that delicious food. We thought it would be a safe bet to start with only a few drinks but this thought didn't last long as we felt the need to put our names down for a table. Finding an inconspicuous corner we sat and enjoyed one of our favourite ciders (Rekorderlig) and a beer while we mused about the last time we had visited. 
A few things had changed since the last time we had visited. Mainly the fact that I couldn't remember the bar being downstairs. A very nice addition I might add. The bar has a very raw warehouse feel to it with a lot of block-work, concrete, steel, brass and worn out timber. The space is dim with cool looking lights,  a long bar and comfortable camouflaged seating for those wishing to stealthily sip away at their drinks and lapse into a state of chill. It's too easy to get lost in a sea of cocktails and spend your night drinking away in the bar especially because they do bar snacks. One could be content with this and opt to not go upstairs. Having ordered a small snack of betel leaves with prawns, peanuts, roasted coconut and ginger we were contemplating skipping out on staying for dinner but could not resist. 

Sipping away on my beer I thought to myself that this time we had to do things differently, we should both have the chance to enjoy a meal without the possibility of a night in intensive care. We didn't want a certain coriander allergy to come back with a vengeance. As these thoughts were swirling around my head I couldn't help but put it out there in the twitterverse. Then it hit me, the simplest of things to do that we have never done before because of someones 'hero' complex. Why not ask to 'hold' the coriander. No; such an outlandish idea, how can one do such a thing in a Thai restaurant. Well my friends, apparently not. Our lovely waiter for the evening said that they happen to take allergies quite seriously and would do their best to accommodate. Game on. 
Grilled Octopus with Crispy Pork Belly and Watermelon with Cuttlefish and Ginger

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Apertif with Chefs Miguel Maestre & Manu Fidel

"Am I the only chef in Australia who cooks these days?" the firey Miguel Maestre jokes as he spied his other half Manu Fidel demonstrating some suave salsa moves to a group of swooning women. It seems so fitting that over the weekend, Manu has taken the "Dancing with the Stars" crown.  Not that I ever watched an episode but I was definitely engaged in the playful banter that these two chefs were throwing around.
 How can one refuse and invitation aptly titles "An intimate evening with Manu Fidel and Miguel Maestre" yes ladies, let your imaginations run as you wish with that line! Demos and I found ourselves at Aperitif in Kings Cross (or Potts Point, whichever you prefer) which is owned in partnership by both chefs. I was very excited to re-visit this restaurant after it changed hands last year, having only previously stumbled through the front gates after some late night boozing.
 As soon as we walk in we notice the very striking decor - Demos comments that its a far cry from the old late night cafe that also occupied the space, Deans (im told they made the best snickers milkshakes known to man) The space was filled wall to wall with mostly women and poor Mr Demos gave me the distinct "Why did you take me here glare" Fangirls stopped both chefs in their tracks and both Manu and Miguel were so eager to mingle and pose for photos - it was lovely.
 And now for the tapas! 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Look Empty Fridge! Hooray.

It has been painfully cold day today, and so what better excuse to get my geek on. I spent my day changing up the Empty Fridge - so I do hope you like it! Out with the old and in with the new they say! I have been dying to change the look of this blog for so so so long.
Before tequilla.
After tequilla.
"I'll do it when we hit one year.." "I'll do it when we hit 100 posts" "I'll do it when I get my photo in the newspaper.." (hehe, had to throw that in..) Well..all these milestones have in fact passed already! So much change has happened in the last couple of months for me..both great, and not so great (I HATE my new hair colour..) so why not just spend some quality time with my old mate photoshop.
A Blog change is as good as a holiday..and since my last holiday seems like an eternity ago, this should do the trick. Im still going to work on it - but for now, let me know what you think! I really wanted to have a cartoon fridgeman with nothing but vodka inside him and with a top hat, walking stick, bow tie and mustache - but somehow as you can see by my bodgy layout - my graphic skills are very limited. One day, ill find someone to draw me my fridge man.
So yes friends, thanks for dropping by - it is still a work in progress but it's getting there. Its still the same old empty fridge here, nothing fancy - just the same old Gianna and Demos rambling on.. like this photo taken three years ago - some things never change - we eat, we drink, and then we act a fool.
Keep warm and have a great weekend, friends of the fridgers xx

P.S. Let the record show that it was Demos' idea to add the photo of Domo in the luchador mexican wrestling mask. He said the style had a very mexicano feel to it, so then of course I had to add the tequilla. Creative Design Development, he calls it. And apparently - I can't say he doesn't contribute to this blog ;)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Winter Cocktails at Cohibar, Darling Harbour

Doing Dry July wasn't a very well thought out decision. In fact, it was one of the silliest decisions I have ever made..or thought I could make. Im sure you can already picture how this story ends. It was 11:45 pm on the 31st of June.. maybe it was late night trash t.v. that clouded my judgement. I thought to myself "hey, dry july - one month with no alcoholic drinks..I can totally do this!" 
All the enthusiasm and commitment to the cause comes second after my love for cocktails. Silly me thought that being that its the middle of winter.. who in their right mind would be drinking up a storm? Parties are scarce in the wintertime, people go into hibernation mode because the can't be bothered brushing their hair and being social.. all because of the cold. Well dear friends, let me tell you - on Friday, the first of July - I had a glass of champagne in my hand at 4:45 pm. Dry July and I had a great run of approximately 16 hours. 
The fact that there are less pool parties or beach barbeques in the wintertime does not necessarily mean you'd be hard pressed to have a fabulous night out. Recently, I braved the cold for the promise of some delicious cocktails at Cohibar's Winter Cocktail Launch, and let me tell you - it was well worth it! Cocktails "to cure all ailments" was enough to get me to this venue quick smart!
Keeping to a very Prohibition-esque theme, the new winter cocktails held an old-world charm. The expert bartenders were mixing up a storm in their 1920's style outfits - such a fun touch! Cohibar is one stylish "speakeasy" and is a place where nobody would judge you for breaking your dry july "commitment" - if I could even call it that. Since these alcoholic beverages were for medicinal and not recreational purposes, I thought a few drinks could do no wrong!

The night kicks off with the first perscription - the sexy sounding Agua de Jamaica. I cant resist throwing around the "Jamacan me crazy" line when ordering this drink. Based on a traditional Jamaican drink of hibiscus flowers, ginger and all spice flavour mixed with some Appleton Estate Rum by the skilful bartenders - It is a perfect potion to get you going. The spiciness makes for an exotic winter escape and provides a sweet but not overpowering flavour, with a  strawberry to garnish it was a hit with the ladies.
Now for a steamy and equally exotic temporary escape - we try the warm Jamaican Punch. Im taking quite the liking to the Appleton Estate rum and this time it is served with lemon and an orange wheel. The punch is served warm in a double walled glasses and is almost fragrant like a cup of warm tea. This is the perfect winter cocktail to cosy up to and a great companion for a cold night!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Dip, GoodGod Small Club CBD

"Ohh no...not the DIP!!!!"
Children of the 80's and 90's would remember this riveting line being yelled out by Jessica Rabbit in "Who framed Rodger Rabbit?" -  it's one of my favourite movies of all time. Growing up at my grandmothers place in Los Angeles, I always had my betamax copy of that movie on repeat. If I behaved at my Grandma's I would be rewarded with a foil wrapped chilli dog from one of the many outlets around downtown LA. Score!

Sydney has always been light on good hotdog options. I've replaced my Rodger Rabbit betamax with the DVD, but I have always been hard pressed finding the perfect hotdog here. Enter "The Dip".. my inner 5 year old lit up upon finding out that increasingly popular eatery inside GoodGod Small club was not only referencing my favourite movie, but was also a late night eatery.
Now before we delve into hotdog territory, here's the Southern Smoke  sandwich ($12). Now can there be anything sexier than a 12 hour smoked and pulled pork? The super soft and tasty pork was pulled into a burger bun with Barbeque Beans and an Apple and cabbage slaw.The burger is so delicious and in hindsight we should have ordered five of these.
Southern Smoke Sandwich and Lev's Dawg ($12)
"It's hotdog happy hour tonight.." one of the awesome staff members tell us, and was the best sounding news we have heard ALL DAY. Hotdogs make the world a happy place to live in and thank the hotdog gods that The Dip has recognised this. Hot damn these hot dogs were good, the sausage actually tasted like meat - not the rubber that you have to resort to when you have a hotdog craving and head to the nearest Wendy's for a shake and a dog. It happens to the best of us, friends - and this is what salvation tastes like. 
The kosher sausage is smoked, and not sitting in a vat of water and rolled in heat plates like the Shell or Caltex variety. Theres some charred goodness present, topped with fresh tomato salsa, peppers, and the same mustard they use in sidewalk hot dogs stands in the USA. It really is delicious and a fresh change from all the rancid hotdogs that people automatically think of when they see the word. Ladies love the levdog.
Demos smashing the pulled pork sandwich. 
When at the dip, go on an all out comfort food annihilation. 


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