Thursday, May 21, 2009

Little Swan Restaurant

Best Value Feed

Seriously, if you are intending to go out with a bunch of friends and don't mind sharing a big communal hot pot, then try The Little Swan in 333 Liverpool St Ashfield.

You can order lots of different meats and veges and it all goes into the central hot pot. Then you bring them out and dab it in some sauce and eat away to your heart's content. It's inexpensive, and lots of fun. I think it's one of the most fun you can have eating.

PS Watch out for the chili hot pot. It's way, way, way too hot for my taste; however a friend of mine just sat there and devoured it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sonoma Bakery Cafe

Sour Dough Done Right

Sour dough is one of those breads that is hard to do right. it has to b the right density and texture to make that sourness come through in the right way. I've been a big fan of the sour dough thing since I visited the west coast of America a while back and had some amazing breads out there.

Turns out I'm not the only person who thought the sour dough out there is great. A couple of Aussies have gone out to Sonoma County and come back with the expertise to do it right - and opened a shop in Glebe. And the results are pretty damn impressive. I don't think I've had any sour dough taste this good, anywhere else in Australia. So Sonoma Bakery Cafe is definitely a place you should try out.

If there's one criticism I have of the shop, it's that it's a little too small. But it's one of those shops that could fit right in on the pages of 'Stuff White People Like' and not look out of place. So drive up in your Toyota Prius as you listen to your iPod if you must; just don't miss the sour dough bread!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Orleans Cafe

Nawlins Cafe

It's a nice place to just hang and have lunch. The drinks aren't too expensive and the gumbo is definitely good. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Secret Recipe?!

Kentucky Fried Carcinogens

I don't think I've ever believed that KFC really actually had 11 herbs and spice that went into the fried chicken. 11 herbs and spices? What possible combination could they be?

I was once told there was no such thing. That it was:
- Salt
- Pepper
- Flour
- Butter
and that was it.

That radically minimalist recipe sounds unlikely too.
- 2 parts paprika
- 1 Part onion salt
- 1 part celery salt
- 1 part rubbed sage
- 1 part garlic powder
- 1 part ground all spice
- 1 part chili powder
- 1 part black pepper
- 1 part crushed basil leaves
- 1 part marjoram leaves

I think it's almost too spicy to be true.
- Salt
- Pepper, Chili Powder
- Turmeric
- Cinnamon
- Paprika
- Garlic powder
- Mustard
- Coriander
- Oregano
- Tarragon

Not a bad list. Out of these I strongly doubt Coriander. Anyway... The company still insists there is a secret recipe. Here's a story on the recipe.
The recipe is such a tightly held secret that not even Eaton knows its full contents. Only two company executives at any time have access to the recipe. KFC won't release their names or titles, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents.
"We've very comfortable with the security," Eaton said. "I don't think anyone can break into it."
Just how valuable is the recipe?
Thomas P. Hustad, professor of marketing at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, said the recipe "goes to the core of the identity of the brand." The recipe, along with the man who created it, conjure images for the chain that help set it apart in the minds of customers, he said.
"I would say that the heritage value is just as high for this secret recipe as the stories around the Coke formula," Hustad said by phone Tuesday. "I guess I'd put the two of those at the top of the pyramid."
Dietl said the security measures he installed replaced an "antiquated" system. For years, the recipe was kept in a filing cabinet equipped with two combination locks in the vault.
"The colonel could have used a pry bar to open that thing up," Dietl said.
Kind of scary to think what's actually in it.

A KFC devotee who ditched his Wall Street job in a quest to unravel the food giant's best-kept secret says he's finally figured out a recipe that is identical to Colonel Sanders' 11 herbs and spices.

And now a major book house will publish the recipe.

Ron Douglas spent years experimenting with different techniques in an attempt to reproduce KFC's Original Recipe.

At one point, he grew so desperate he tried to bribe a cook at the chain.

"(He) wouldn't tell me," Mr Douglas said.

But while trying to nail down KFC's ingredients, he discovered there were lots of people online trying to duplicate recipes from the US's most popular food outlets.

So Mr Douglas decided to start a
website devoted to copycat recipes, relying on his discriminating taste buds and a growing community of amateur foodies.

It was such a hit that he ditched his job as a finance manager at JP Morgan in 2007 to manage the website full-time.
Weirdness has its merits.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

In Search Of The Best Pho


It might seem like nothing much doing, but I am interested in finding the best pho in Sydney. That's right. If you'd asked me 10 years ago, I would have said, 'Pasteur' on George Street. It might still be the case, but there are some good ones out on Cabramatta way. 
Still, Cabramatta is a long way to go, just for a good pho, so I've been digging around a bit. 

The benchmark pho, I think is at Xiclo. They have a shop in town and in Chatswood and Hay Market. It comes with a good soup, with good basil and meats. It's important they come with the obligatory sundry combination of meats, otherwise it's not a proper pho. The beef comes with 2 different cuts, cuts of beef balls, some tendon and tripe. It's pretty good even with a $11 price tag. You can get good laksa for that price, but you can also get some awful soups for that price too. 

Bertoni Cassalinga

Best Coffee In Sydney

If you believe Time Out magazine, then the best coffee in Sydney can be found at Bertoni's in Balmain. It's such a funky place that it doesn't have enough chairs for the scrum of people who rush to it on any given weekend. Verily, I like it too.

It's a formidable Long Black. The real reason I like going there though, is actually the thing you see behind it: the monster doughnut. It's a clincher. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thai Laksa

It's Hard To Find A Good One

Years ago when I was first introduced to Laksa soups, it was from a place that made this Malaysian style Laksa that just burnt hot chili marks into your innards. But it was great!

That place is now long gone.
Since then I've been ordering Laksas in the hope of finding something as good but I've failed. In the mean time, I've noticed the rise of the Thai Laksa, which is a kind of bastard soup noodle experience that is not quite the same dish but bears the same name.

Thai Laksa are largely less impressive than the Malaysian kind. However, I have found a great place in Crows Nest, not far from Bean Drinking. It's a place called Wok Noodle Bar. The Laksa there has a strong lemon-grassy tang and has a unique flavor. I think it's awesome.