Monday, August 15, 2011

We have moved!

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy 11th Birthday Blogger!

Over the past year, I've been going to many birthday parties for the significant two-oh but never did I imagine myself at a 11th birthday party. In fact, I never thought I'd be at the birthday party of an intangible product. Coming home from work today, my father's first response was, "You mean the birthday of an engineer who created the product right?" "No, Dad...I mean the birthday party for a product...the Google product - Blogger."

So yes, today is the 11th birthday of the blogging platform that we've been using here at nomitlikeitshot. The gathering was casual with a mix of Googlers (the name for Google employees) and members of the public who used the Blogger platform. I walked in mid-way after a quick game of table tennis with a colleague and managed to get in on the 'Five interesting facts about Blogger' the most interesting of which was..."The creator of Blogger is also the inventor of Twitter". This was then followed by a couple of questions fielded from the audience before I heard someone from behind me say, "The cake, the cake!" He was merely voicing my thoughts for me out loud!

There was a bit of everything - sushi, quiche, champagne (yes, a tad random) but the item that this post is dedicated to, and I sincerely apologise for the poor quality of this iPhone photo, was the birthday cake(s)! 

It was a massive cake and I loved the little cupcakes around it. Definitely passed the aesthetics test! I had to quickly dash home for dinner so only managed to try a little bit of the cake but it was moist and chocolate-ty - always a great way to celebrate a birthday, no matter how old you are! Or in this is. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: Japaz, Neutral Bay

Chorizo with Veal Cutlets and Pesto Mayonnaise

So, where do I start?

For as long as I can remember, SK and I have spent many a days in the office and at uni simply compiling a list of all the places we would like to visit around Sydney. I believe the last time I checked, the list rather resembled an ad hoc extended version of the Good Food Guide than a "list". I believe we may be onto something...

Either way, Japaz has been one of those places which we had been dying to visit, but simply never got around to - and when the occasion finally arrived, I think we were so excited that Coca Cola could've bottled our excitement and used it as fizz in their soft drinks.

Mixed Plate: Coriander Crab Puff, Barcelona Salami, Chicken Yakitori

Japaz has an intriguing menu. The name of the place is pretty self explanatory - Japanese Tapas. Did I ever mention that there's nothing more I love than hanging out with friends over tapas? And beer? And more tapas?

Since AY was joining us for the evening, it meant that SK and I could happily order away at our favourite dishes without having to worry about wastage. (And AY says, "what wastage?") First up was a beautiful Mixed Plate. I absolutely fell in love with the deliciously crunchy crab cakes. Seriously, I have no idea what the bedding of the crab cakes were, but they were absolutely divine. I think they may be been egg baskets that were lightly fried. We also ordered the roasted eggplants which were soooooooooo melt-in-your mouth. I could've licked 2 plates clean happily.

Left: Pork Belly with Sauteed Rocket, Sweet & Sour Piquillo Capsicum; Right: Oven-roasted Snapper in Mustard Jus with Braised Fennel

The pork belly was also another melt-in-your mouth addition which was just so flavourful. Fat rendering is seriously man's second most awesome invention after sliced bread. I don't know what I would do in a world without flavournoids.

Fun fact: most flavour-molecules are hydrophobic and hence dissolve in fat. That's why fatty things tend to taste good. Yum!

The oven-roasted snapper with mustard jus was also a fingerlickin' delight to tuck into. The fish was a tad on the dry side, but it wasn't anything that a good slashing of the delicious jus couldn't fix.

Left: Wagyu Steak on a bed of Sauteed Chinese Cabbage and Red Wine Jus; Right: Wagyu Meatballs & Seasonal Vegetables in Tomato Salsa

And now as I am trawling through the photos and attempting to find the names of each individual dish on the menu, I've come to the epic realisation that we may have ordered every meat dish on offer minus the lamb (since JL doesn't like lamb). I blame SK for the lack of dietary fibre. I'll get on to that in a little more detail in the future.

Wagyu meatballs and wagyu steak. Seriously. I love meatballs. I scoff down Ikea meatballs at a pace that makes JL hand me a stack Jenny Craig brochures. I also drooled onto my table as I watched Tiffany make her smackalicious ballpark meatballs in this week's Top Chef.

I nearly faceplanted into the meatballs at Japaz.

Did I mention that I love meatballs?

Left: Wagyu Steak on a bed of Sauteed Chinese Cabbage and Red Wine Jus (served); Right: Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks & White Almond Puree

Another special mention goes out to the braised wagyu beef cheeks. I think AY may have mentioned on the night that this was a recommended dish from all the other foodblogs out there. I must say I'm jumping on that bandwagon and furthering the recommendation because seriously, this is something I would come back to Japaz for. The meat was soooo beautifully tender and moist, and the sauce was rich and flavourful.

Left: Torrijus (Spanish Style French Toast) with Poached Apple & Brandy Ice Cream Pedro Ximinez Honey; Right: Raspberry Tart, Nut Semifreddo & Raspberry Coulis

Last but not least, dinner with SK just wouldn't be dinner with SK unless we desserted the night away. I wouldn't say that these were Japaz's strong points - especially after the incredible braised wagyu - but they were refreshing and satisfying as a way to tie up all the loose ends in the evening. Needless to say, the Raspberry Tart looks smashing as it arrived at the table, and the Torrijus was definitely something different to tuck into and explore. Lightly sweet with a lingering aroma...

"Please sir, may I have some more??"

165 Wycombe Street
Neutral Bay, NSW 2089
Tel: (02) 9904 0688

Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Cafe XXII, Pyrmont

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so you shouldn't skip it. It helps the kids learn better at school, it sets the right tone for your day at work and overall just keeps people happy so it should never be missed. But these days, everyone is rushing around with little to no time on their hands, preferring to sleep in that extra bit than to grab a bite to eat in the morning. Fortunately for me, where I work now, I can eat as much free breakfast as I want to keep my healthy self going through the day so that's not much of an issue for me. But when it comes down to it, if given a choice, no matter what time of the day it is, I'd usually opt for breakfast. It's the most important meal right? They just never said when you had to eat it!

So begins the tale of my first visit to Cafe XXII with SK on a Sunday morning. A short stroll from my temporary apartment and my work, the relatively large cafe is always filled with people - business people on weekdays, relaxed locals on the weekends. We were offered both breakfast and lunch menus but the two of us naturally gravitated towards the former option. 

Being the greedy one, I chose the XXII Big Breakfast which I did not regret in the slightest (with the exception adding to the many trips I owed to the gym since I started my new job). It was a brilliant start to a Sunday with creamy scrambled eggs, succulent tomatos, crispy bacon and hash browns, golden brown toast, mushrooms, spinach, feta and sausages. If you've skipped this paragraph and started looking at the photo, the answer is "Yes, it really is as good as it looks - if not better!"

XXII Big Breakfast $16.50

SK decided to be a bit more experimental and tried something neither of us had heard of. The waitress herself said in response to our query, "Well, I've never tried it before but all the customers I've seen eating it seem to love it!" Not sure how convinced we were but it was definitely worth a try! The Egg Al Forno was an interesting baking dish of spinach, eggs, chorizo sausages served with a beautifully golden slice of sourdough on the side. When I was younger, my father used to bake eggs in an Asian way but it was a sweet treat; nothing like this. The flavour combination was really quite delicious, warming and just oozing with goodness. 

Eggs Al Forno $16.50

Finally, to wash it all down we both go organic juices (which looked almost exactly the same). I played the safe card and went for the Orange while SK went for the Peach & Mango. Just my luck that the latter tasted yummier - the orange was just a tad sour.

Organic Orange, Organic Peach & Mango Juices $4.50 ea

I'd be lying if I told you this place wasn't worth visiting. Especially since I came back with my team from work within the week to try their Spanish Eggs which was smaller in size but so exquisite! I'm definitely coming back a couple more times to this joint!

22 Union Street, Pyrmont
Sydney NSW
Ph: (02) 9552 3092

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Aperitif, Kings Cross

Well, because we're both foodies, long story short, earlier this year both JL and I decided that we would celebrate our anniversary twice - once at an old favourite, and once at what could potentially be a new favourite. Not quite restaurant Battle Royale in any sense, but we were just so torn over whether we should start visiting the "Good ol' favourite" every year, or cherishing our youth and explore around some more.

But because we're Gen Y and proud to be, we happily decided to have our cake and eat it too!

So we arrived at the beautifully romantic Aperitif, situated in a quieter part of Kings Cross. I've read some great reviews of this place over the years - especially the extensive exotic wines on offer. As someone who really knows close to nothing about wines except the fact I love drinking it, this was really something different on offer at Aperitif which attracted my attention.

Seared Wild Sea Scallops with Carrot Puree - $18

I love the idea of sharing food. There's nothing I love more than a place where I can have some Tapas and a glass of wine/cocktail with a few friends in a cozy environment. Aperitif is exactly that. The Mediterranean - French mix on the menu provides some inspiring offers and robust flavours. The Seared Wild Sea Scallops were an absolute delight to start the night with. The smooth creamy texture of the lightly curried carrot pu
ree was simply divine! I would happily eat a dozen of this if I had the choice.

Salted Cod Croquettes - $18

Next up we tucked into the Salted Cod Croquettes which were incredibly moist and soft. I love croquettes - one of my staple afternoon "buy-before-you-hop-on-the-train" type foods that I simply cannot live without. The Salted Cod simply provides a touch of elegance, and let's be honest here for a minute - who doesn't love the beautifully soft texture of a well cooked piece of cod anyway?

Confit of Duck with Puy Lentils - $22

The annoying thing about eating with just 2 people is that as a foodie, it's almost impossible to finalise what you actually want to order. Our incredibly helpful waitress gave us a rough guidance of perhaps ordering 2 small plates and 1 large, but when faced with so many options on offer, well, a foodie's gotta do what a foodie's gotta do!

"Are we done selecting?"
"Erm...hold on..."
"You're eyeing the duck aren't you?"
"No, I'm just looking around and see what else we could order..."
"You're eyeing the duck. I can see you eyeing the duck."
"Oh fine. Canwepleaseordertheduckpleasepleaseplease???"

So that's the tale of how the Confit of Duck ended up on our table. Which I must add was cooked beautifully. JL wasn't such a big fan of the lentils, so I happily ate all the lentils which were soooo incredibly tasty. I think it was some point here that I informed JL of how confits are actually done. I also think that it was some point here that he wanted to hand me a carton of Lean Cuisine and the number to Jenny Craig.

But it doesn't stop there...

Roast Pork Belly for 2

The big mama of all dishes was still yet to come. The Roast Pork Belly came in a ginormous serving size which really took us by surprise. There were generous serves of carrot and fennel (which I absolutely adore - Asians simply don't use fennel enough), along with lavish chunks of pork belly. Fat was beautifully rendered and sweet and I daresay almost gelatinous - for all those who are interested in maintaining a youthful complexion.

But it doesn't stop there...

Creme Brulee (2 x French Vanilla, 2 x Strawberry)

Lastly, as we were finishing up our last bites, another waiter walked up and informed us of the desserts available on offer for the evening.

"Creme Brulee!" said he, "And in Vanilla and Strawberry flavours!"

I think I nearly shed a few tears of joy at the sound of this.

I loved the way that the creme brulee was served - it definitely had the "art of sharing" firmly ingrained in its design. But what I loved more was the Amelie-style *crack* which each of the 4 tubs produced as we tucked in.

Here's a little demonstration:

First you crack it, then you scoop it, and then you scoff it!
But my mother told me chocolate wasn-....

Ha, just kidding!

All in all I think this is one of those places where one would walk in and straight away find something that they love. Whether it be a glass of wine with a few friends and dessert, or a glass of wine over a romantic dinner with a loved one, or even just as a place to grab something to eat and relax after a long week, Aperitif is just one of those places that has a warm and inviting feel and will turn even the cloudiest days around.

7 Kellett Street
Kings Cross, NSW 2011
Tel: (02) 9357 4729

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Rise, Darlinghurst

So, like. This post is totally like...3 months overdue. Gosh.

For those of you who may remember, JL and I visited Rise for a very special dinner last year for our anniversary. So smooth and memorable the night had been, that when the same question of "where should we go?" was asked again this year, the only natural response was, "well, let's go to Rise again".
Steamed chicken, tofu & tomato salad with sesame miso sauce (1)

So off we went to visit one of what would perhaps be one of Sydney's most underrated restaurants to enjoy once again its beautiful omakase.

Grilled polenta, prawn tempura, Chinese sausage & chunyan chilli sauce (5)

There were slight changes in the menu - for one, our beloved potato soup was no longer there, instead replaced with an equally satisfying tempura of prawn on a soft cube of polenta. Alas, I miss their potato soup!

Assorted sashimi (3)

The thing I love about Rise is not only the fact that there is plenty to smell and taste, but this time we sat at the counter, meaning that we could watch the chef methodically plate up the sashimi dishes ready for the next sitting. It was really incredible watching the sheer precision and thought-out system of setting everything up.

Behold. The German Sushi Army!

Seasonal Plate - Rice paper roll with cured tuna & avocado, soy milk flan with Shitake sauce, Cured ocean trout with "yuzukosho" tartare (not pictured) (4)

The taste profile here at Rise remains nevertheless on the side of umami (at least for the first few courses), intricately balancing the delicate taste of fresh produce with the occasional burst of bold flavour coming from a tiny something on the plate. It almost always catches one offguard.

Some things don't change so much. I.e the fresh spring rolls and the Chawanmushi.

Tom Yum with Scallop Tortellini and Mussel (2)

An interesting addition this time round was the Tom Yum soup. Taste-wise it was incredibly refreshing. Perfect #2 plate to get the tongue salivating. I see how it works on the menu, but I must admit a question mark did go off in my head when I first noticed it on the menu.

Roast duck breast, grilled witlof , mushroom, french beans, mash with Hoisin sauce. (6) My favourite protein in the world! Here at Rise they sure give serve you some finger-lickin', fork'n'knife-lickin', plate-lickin' duck. The breast was cook beautifully (as you can probably tell from the picture), and the fat rendered just enough to give it a touch of sweetness. The bed of potato mash beneath it is also to die for. Brilliant supporting act - smooth, creamy and so full of flavour. I was almost sad to see it slowly disappear from my plate.

Amaretto granita, pink grapefruit jelly, panna cotta. (7)

Lastly, as a brilliant palate cleansing way to finish off the evening, came the refreshing pink grapefruit jelly, panna cotta with amaretto granita. Amaretto? Yes. Amaretto. For someone who generally dislikes the taste of amaretto, I was really surprised to see myself wanting this by the bucketload.

'Nuff said. I'll most definitely be coming back sometime soon.

Rise Restaurant
23 Craigend Street
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9357 1755

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Because Everyone Loves a Discount!

Hello all you gorgeous readers out there!

The lovely people over at Menulog have offered all the readers here at Nom! a $10 voucher for all takeaway orders put through their website! This is on top of any existing discount offers which the restaurant may have on the website, so effects are stack-able!

Menulog is home of over 20,000 restaurants in Australia, and you can get your take-out delivered straight to your home from over 1000 different places!

All you have to do is head over to their website, make a takeaway order of over $20 with one of the participating restaurants (it'll display an "accepts voucher" sign) and have it delivered to straight your door.

Interested? Here is the code m'lovelies!
Voucher Code: 889D88

Valid until 31/12/10

Have fun nomming away!