Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pendolino Restaurant

OMG my blog posts are sooooooo out of order! I really need to be more organised with my photos. It wasn't until recently when I saw a few blogs post about Pendolino that I realised I had lost my photos from when I went! It took me about 20mins trawling through all my folders before I found it.

I can't even remember when I went, I think it was some time end of last year? Its been awhile but I can still taste the food in my memory!

Complimentary baby olives with olive oil for bread dipping

Olive bread and sour dough bread

Pappardelle con Ragu di Vitella e Maggiorana

Organic Hand Cut Pappardelle with Braised White Rocks Veal Sauce, Veal Marrow and Marjoram

Oh this how proper hand made pasta is supposed to taste like? Where have I been and what have I been eating?!? I've tried dried home made pasta and supposedly fresh handmade pasta, but nothing comes remotely close to this. This was soft and silky, yet still had a bit of a bite to it. And the deep fried bone marrow was utterly moreish. I could do with a whole bowl of fried marrow.

Spaghetti Chitarra con Pesce D'Acquadolce

Freshly-made Chitarra Spaghetti with Barramundi, Wild Prawns, Chilli, Capers, Garlic and Pinot Grigio White Wine.

This was my favourite of the day. Although the pasta was rougher than the parpadelle, the flavour was amazing. I wish I had more crusty bread to mop up all the leftover juices in the plate.

Near the end of the meal, suddenly my friend goes "OMG! IAN THORPE IS BEHIND YOU!". And lo and behold, he's sitting on the table right behind me! I tried to convince my friend to take a photo of me that conveniently would have Ian Thorpe in the background, but she was too shy to do and I didn't want to interrupt his meal. But atleast now I can say I had lunch with Ian Thorpe! hehe

Shop 100, Level 2, The Strand Arcade
412-414 George Street
Sydney 2000
(Ph) 02 9231 6117

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rosso Pomodoro

When a pizza place is highly recommended by an Italian, you know its going to be good. She's been trying to get me to go for the last 3 years. Yet every time they've organised an outing to Rosso Pomodoro, I'm either on holidays or have something already planned. This time, I was determined to go! Everything is going to be cancelled so I can go get some pizza into me!!

There are only 2 seatings a night at Rosso Pomodoro, 6pm or 8pm. We chose the 8pm seating since most of us didn't get off work til about 6pm. This meant we were STARVING by the time we got there. Didn't help we had drinks before hand and was in desperate need for some booze munchies!

We left the ordering up to our resident Italian, although I had already told her ones I wanted to order. hehe Actually, she was really really keen on knowing my opinion on the pizza as I can't stop raving about that one perfect slice of margherita pizza I had in Venice. Which is why she ordered every pizza I wanted! Woohoo!

Diavola - Tomato, Italian mozzarella, hot salame, capsicum

This was one of the first pizzas that came out and got placed infront of 3 boozed up boys. I almost lost a hand trying to take this photo! Vultures I tell you! VULTURES! I managed to get 1 left over mangey slice before I got stabbed with a fork. No wonder the boys refused to share! Hot, spicy and cheesey. The exact thing you need after 2 hours of non stop drinking! *squawk* *squawk*

Gorgonzola - Italian mozzarella, gorgonzola, ham, mushrooms

One of my favourites of the night. The salty stinky gorgonzola, ham and my favourite vegetable, Mushrooms!

Patate e Salsiccia - Italian mozzarella, Italian sausages, potatoes, rosemary

I love potato pizza. I never knew you could have potato on a pizza until my Italian teacher took us out for dinner one night and its become one of my favourites since. This version is beautiful. Soft fluffy potatoes, chunks of italian sausage and the lovely aroma of rosemary that has crisped up in the oven. Heaven!

Charred base

A photo of the famous "lesbian art" inbetween pizzas

If you ever go Rosso Pomodoro, you'll notice quite a few paintings of naked women. I didn't realise there's a second half to this painting since there was a table sitting right infront of bottom half. The BOTTOM half... *cough*

Prosciutto - Tomato, Italian mozzarella, prosciutto

Simple classic italian pizza. The prosciutto is placed on the pizza after it comes out the oven. All it needs is the residual heat from the pizza to release the fatty aromas. So good! I would love a whole plate of just prosciutto to munch on whilst waiting for the other pizzas to come out.

Capricciosa - Tomato, Italian mozzarella, ham, olives, mushrooms, artichokes

My absolute favourite pizza of the night! I've always ordered capricciosas whenever I go out for pizza anyway. Its got all my favourite ingredients. Ham, mushrooms and olives. This one had the addition of artichokes. I've never liked artichokes much, especially italian artichokes because they're usually marinated and too vinegary for me. These ones were divine! They were soft and almost slightly creamy....I was actually picking off extra artichoke when no one was looking! hehehe

Special of the day - Zuchinni flower, pancetta and brie?

This was the special of the day that cause my friend to jump up and down in excitement. She had this about 2 years ago and absolutely loved it. But every time she went back, they never had that pizza again. I'm her lucky charm ;)

The boys were still like vultures swooping in on the last of the pizza, so we ordered 2 nutella calzone pizzas to shut them up. *squawk*

CALZONE alla NUTELLA - Calzone filled with Nutella and almond flakes

OoOoOozey nutella calzone

Ugh.....we really didn't need those 2 calzones. I was in a pizza coma by the end of the night. (Mind you, I was full, not bloated like cheap pizza will do to you). What is my verdict? Molto Buono! Some of the best pizza I've ever had and even better than alot of the ones I had in Italy. Mind you, I always order mushroom pizza and I was in Italy in Summer. This meant most places were serving pizzas with pickled mushrooms. Even if I take out the mushroom factor, Rosso Pomodoro's pizzas were supreme. I can't wait to go back!

Rosso Pomodoro
Shop 90-91, 24 Buchanan St
Balmain (White Bay)
(02) 9555 5924

Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab...NOT.

Before I start, let me say that I went to Harry's a week ago. And it took me a week to write to post. Not because I didn't have time, but I needed a week to calm down and let the fury within me die down a bit. Anyone of my friends on facebook would've experience the wrath of my fury on Saturday night and I didn't want to unleash that to the rest of the world just yet.

I was so SO looking forward to going to Harry's Singapore Chilli crab ever since I found out about it a few years ago. Its around the corner from Spice I am and I've always wanted to go, but have always been tempted by thai more. When Amz said she was organising her birthday party there I did a little cheer inside me. Especially since PP had visited Harry's a few times and always said it was good and would invite me the next time.

We arrive at the restaurant and we're seated at a table for 10 even though there's 8 of us. Usually I wouldn't complain, but they didn't have a lazy susan on the table. Meaning we had to practically climb onto the table to get anything on the other side. This is also why I there's not many photos as it was impossible to get decent photos from the other side of the table.

Most of the people weren't huge crab eaters and only wanted 1-2 pieces to taste what Singapore chilli crab tastes like. We ordered 2 mud crabs at $64/kg. This is after I had to convince the waiter that no, we don't need 4 crabs. We want TWO crabs. TWO. NOT FOUR.

We ordered a few other dishes as well so the non-crab eaters didn't starve.

San Choy Bao - $5.20 each

This was.....disappointing. A good san choy bao should be dry and crunchy with a lovely breath of wok aroma. This was soggy and sloppy. The fried vermicelli noodles they added had turned to mush. They also put the filling onto a very wet piece of lettuce which basically watered down the whole dish and causing a huge mess when eating.

Chicken and vege with cashew nuts

We had a few other dishes that came out before this. Salt and pepper calamari was nice, but nothing to write home about. This however, is something to write home about. In blood. This was.......wrong. The vegetables, carrots and celery, was bitter. It also had a tough chewy texture which is usually the result of using old leftover veggies that have been sitting in the fridge for too long. The carrots weren't peeled and had a dark skin on it which further confirms my "bottom of the veggie bin" theory. This dish wasn't touched much. And if it wasn't $20 for this, I wouldn't have forced myself to eat it. I would actually rate this dish BELOW food court food which has been sitting in the bain marie for too long. BELOW.

"Singapore Chilli crab"

OK, this was the only decent photo of the crab I could get from my side of the table. Compare that "Singapore Chilli Crab" with the Singapore Chilli Crab I had in Singapore:

1. Notice the lack of sauce in Harry's
2. Harry's sauce contains NO tomato sauce

Not only was the sauce NOT Singapore Chilli crab sauce, it was OVERLY salted. There was 2 taste in the sauce. Salt and chilli. This was a huge disappointment, especially since we had invited people hoping they get to try authentic Singapore style chilli crab.

We had ordered 2 serves of Roti because they told me they had sold out of the Man tou that you use to dip into the Singapore Chilli Crab. And honestly, what place that serves real Singapore Chilli crab will sell out of Mantou at 7:30pm on a Saturday night?

The waiter convinced us to order the roti instead, which we did. $5 for 4 serves. Or rather, $5 for 2 pieces of roti cut in half. And it wasn't even fresh made roti. The roti, although crispy, was dense and compact. The exact same texture of the frozen roti we buy from the asian grocery store.

Ontop of this, we had ordered 5 bowls of boiled rice (As they only serve them per bowl) at $2.80 a bowl, thinking we wanted something to soak up all the sauce with.

1. there was no sauce.
2. they only gave us 3 bowls.

When I asked for the other 2 bowls, the waiter said he had already given me 5.

Me: " You gave me 3 bowls."
Him: "No, I already gave you 5 bowls."
Me: "No. You gave me 3 bowls. 1. 2. 3." *pointing at the only bowls on the table

He gives me a look as if I had hidden the other 2 bowls. I was so close to screaming that he only gave me 3 bowls and I didn't shove the other 2 bowls down my top. My boobs really do look like that!

I was so angry by this stage I didn't even want dessert. ESPECIALLY when I saw that they were charging $9 for a fried ice cream. I basically had the mentality I didn't want to let them earn another dollar off me.

My friends went ahead and ordered fried ice creams and chocolate cake. The order was, 5 fried ice creams. 3 with caramel 2 with chocolate. What came out was 3.5 caramel and 1.5 chocolate. Yeh. They had put caramel onto the 4th order. And instead of going "oops! lets make another one or atleast scrape the caramel off", they proceeded to pour chocolate ONTOP of the caramel which resulted in topping overdose.

Then there was the ice cream. Or what we though was ice cream. It looked like a banana fritter, but when you cut into it, the whole thing collapses and starts oozing white stuff. The batter itself was incredibly doughy and chewy, almost like stale chinese fried dough sticks.

And just to make the night worse, the people eating the fried ice cream started digging up corn kernels. a fried ice cream!?

Chocolate cake

Our friend had ordered a chocolate cake, was starting to think he was the only one to get out unscathed. That is until he realised the $10 slice of chocolate cake he ordered was from Coles! It still has the ridges from where they peeled the baking paper away from the cake.

By the end of the night, most of the table was a ball of raging fury from being so openly ripped off. For 2 crabs, 4 main meals, 5 bowls of rice, roti, soft drink and dessert, we paid $420.50. And that is exactly what we paid. $420.50. No more, no less. I then wrote on the receipt that "THE ICE CREAM IS CRAP!!!" and handed it back to the waitress. I probably would've written a much harsher note had there been room on the receipt.

I can't remember the last time I have ever walked away from a restaurant feeling so angry and ripped off. If you think this post is harsh, you should've seen how I was saturday night and will understand why I didn't blog straight away.

How it has such a "good" reputation I don't understand. I guess being endorsed by The Veronicas might have something to do with that. And the wall of photos with celebrities visiting will probably contribute to that. But I can tell you, none of the celebrities were asian and must never have had an authentic Singapore Chilli crab. Because if they have, they would not endorse this place.

I will NEVER, EVER go back to this place. EVER.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

MasterChef Prediction?

There's been sooooooo much talk as to who will win MasterChef the last few days I thought I'd give my own 2c. There's quite a few people that I know who wants Poh to win. From their point of view, she's a great cook and creative with her dishes. From my point of view, she's playing the asian card well. A lot of the asian dishes she cooks that impresses the judges does not impress me at all.

Why? Half of them are very standard Asian dishes presented nicely. I.e. her "funky century egg" with congee is you stock standard century egg and pork congee every asian household knows how to make. You walk into any yumcha place and they also serve this. Yet the judges were blown away by the dish simply because they've never tried century egg before and automatically labelled it as "inventive", "daring", "creative" and a fantastic dish. I can bet any money that if you took that dish and gave it to an Asian person, the reaction would be "Oh, that was nice". Not "OMG THIS IS THE BEST FRIGGIN THING I'VE EVER EATEN! HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS IDEA?!".

Another example, her "mochi" dessert with ginger milk pudding. The "mochi" is actually something we make at home every few weeks. Its something you can find at yum cha. Its also something you can buy frozen at the grocery store and found on every corner in Hong Kong. The same goes with the ginger milk pudding. Its a poor version of the dessert that is found everywhere in HK.

If she had cooked an asian dish and I went "Oh hang, that's actually a really good idea! Why didn't I think of it" then I'll give her points for creativity. But so far, a lot of the dishes are very typical asian dishes. The only reason she's got such a raving from the judges is because its something that a non-asian will order at a restaurant, or its home cooking that you won't find at a restaurant. And I think that's a real unfair advantage that she has over the other contestants.

So by default, I want Julie to win. Actually, I wanted Chris to win, but since he's out, by default I want Julie to win. But I think Poh will probably win. *SiGh*

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ventuno Pizzeria Enoteca Birreria

We had a catch up at Ventuno after I got back from Houston. The place is warm and cosy yet sophisticated. We had a lovely waiter who was helping us with all our cocktail selections whilst we studied the menu.


Tomato, mozzarella, ham, mixed porcini mushrooms, grana cheese, truffle oil.

I was soooooo undecided whether to go with pizza or the seafood risotto. I randomly blurted something out when the waiter came and pizza it was! The crust was soft and chewy, reminding me of the gorgeous pizza I had in Venice sitting by a canal.


Tomato, mozzarella, hot salami,mushrooms & black olives. I swapped a slice to try the Rustica pizza and it was also delicious.

Apologies for the blurry photos beneath, but SOMEONE was refusing to let me take photos of their meal! *GASP* So I took the photos for spite, and I'm blogging it for spite! haha

Pesto pasta

Seafood risotto

Roasted pumpkin penne

Chocolate and hazelnut semi-freddo

The semi-freddo was actually closer to ice cream. It was still delicious, but not really a semi-freddo.

We had a fantastic time catching up over beautiful food. I would love to go back again and try the huge pizza that came served on a board the size of a lazy susan!

Ventuno Pizzeria Enoteca Birreria
21 Hickson Road
Walsh Bay NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9247 4444

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The White Cockatoo - 1 Dish, 4 meals??

I've previously blogged about The White Cockatoo at Petersham. My friends having seen my blog really wanted to go try it out. I prewarned them to size of the meals, even sending photos of the schnitzels I've had there. I did 2 days prep for this one meal. Gym and Volleyball the day before, another intense cardio workout the day of our dinner. I was ready to eat the table by the time I got there.

I had a quick scan of the menu, spotted prawns and calamari in the same sentence and immediately ordered the Marinara schnitzel.

Marinara Schnitzel - $19.90

This looks fantastic and smelled absolutely heavenly. Taste depends on how you eat it. Basically the king prawns had been cooked in a garlic butter, which all got poured onto the schnitzel. And I mean prawns, garlic and all the butter. Whilst parts of the schnitzel basically sat in a pool of oil, the bits I managed to lift up from the oil was delicious. The gorgeous garlic bits, plump prawns and thick juicy chicken was amazing. I'd stay away from the calamari though. My ones were severly overcooked.

Veal Mexican schnitzel $18.90

This was almost as thick as a steak. It was smeared with a layer of refined beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. The bite I tried was delicious! I didn't have more than one bite since I had to tackle my own schnitzel.

I've learnt to always bring a container with me (Although the pub provides them as well), and the first thing I do is cut off any piece that isn't covered with sauce. This gets packed away to stop them going soggy. It also gives me more room on the plate to actually cut the schnitzel.

With the leftovers, I managed to make 3 additional meals!

Chicken Katsu Kare

I made a simple Japanese veggie curry. Basically chop up some carrots, potatoes and capsicum. Simmer with water until almost tender. Add a cube of Japanese Curry Roux that come in a box. I got the S&B Brand (You can find them at all asian grocery stores and super markets). I put this on a lettuce up to stop the rice soaking all the sauce up and stop it staining the container. Here's a tip, if your container does stain, put it out in the sun for awhile. It magically "de-stains".

Schnitzel with Garden salad

I love this Fit & Fresh lunch box. My sister gave it to me for xmas, but I haven't had much of a chance to use it yet. Mainly because I lost 2 months of my life to Houston. But it comes with a cold pack that sits right inbetween the 2 layers keeping the food nice and cold. I didn't use the cold pack on this occassion since its winter and I didn't want to crush my salad. I heated the schnitzel up and ate it with the cold salad with a side of spring onion ranch sauce. I also found a mystery cake lying around the house which I packed as well.

I still had 2 pieces of schnitzel leftover which I ate for dinner one night. To me that's a damn good deal. $19.90 for my Marinara schnitzel which I managed to stretch into 4 meals! That's $5 a meal!

I raved about The White Cockatoo to my workmates, and we've now set up a Schnitzel Challenge that will take place in 2 weeks time. I won't be participating in the speed eat-off, but I'm certainly going to be there to take photos and laugh at the poor sod who tries to eat the entire schnitzel.

Here are a few more photos from the various times I've tackled the schnitzel. I've NEVER finished the schnitzel and have always walked away with heaps of take away!

Boscaiola topping

Closeup! Bacon, peas and mushroom in a cream sauce

Another Boscaiola, but look at all the extra pieces they give you!!!

Peppercorn gravy

Grilled chicken with mustard sauce

I opted to try something else from the menu and got the grilled chicken. You know, grilled = healthy? Not sure how this works when there's 1/2 a chicken on the plate. The sauce was really nice, but I didn't enjoy the chicken that much. It had a charred taste very similar to portugese chicken, which I DO NOT like at all.

One of my one lunch boxes crammed with schnitzel

White Cockatoo Hotel
Shop 30, Terminus St (Directly opposite the train station)
Petersham NSW 2049
Phone (02) 9569 4675

Finally we're getting somewhere!

We've been sooooooooooooooo lazy about our Europe Trip. With less than 1.5 months til we leave, we've barely booked anything except our plane ticket and tour! So me and Moishii got together on the weekend and spent the whole day planning our trip.

Maybe because we've been on holidays so many times, and we know how disasterous it always is. Or maybe we're just getting old. But searching for accommodation in Paris took us almost 3 hours! THREE HOURS! We used to pick up a book, look for the cheapest price and just went with it. This time, we went on 10 different websites, looked at over 50 hotels, cross checked the website with other websites in terms of price, reviews, photos and location. And even then, we umm'd and ahh'd over which place we wanted to book. In the end, we basically went "Screw it! Just book XYZ. I don't care how much it costs or where it is anymore! JUST BOOK IT!".

Ahhhh.....our famous last words. "Just book it". How much trouble has these 3 words caused us EVERY TIME! Lets see what happens this time. Especially considering the notes we made on our "shortlisted" accommodation. Of course there's the usual notes, price, location, free internet, breakfast included etc etc. But with most hotels offering similar facilities, it all drilled down to the following:

"Reception looks like a porn set"
"Room has pole for pole dancing"
"Dining room has chairs that looks like it'll poke an eye out"
"Hotel has weird metal wall thing we should get a photo with"

I won't tell you what hotel we booked, but porn set and dangerous chairs featured heavily in our decision.

By the end of the 3 hours, we were both exhausted! We don't know why, but it was tiring! I guess we try to think too much and plan too much. There's no point really. No matter what we plan, how many back up plans we've got, shit still happens! Things will get cancelled, we'll get ripped off, stranded somewhere, freaked out by weirdos, things exploding in our face. I guess we realised this when we were faced with trying to find accommodation in Madrid.

Moishii had sent me a link to some Palace in Madrid ages ago. We were faced with 2 choices. Book his PALACE, or spend another 3 hours researching Madrid. I honestly couldn't care by this stage, so the Palace was booked! Woohoo! 2 down many more to go? *Sigh*

Atleast we're making progress! hehehe Now, should we go to Ibiza or not??? It'll be our new Mykonos, but our schedule is really really tight. Hmmmmmmmm.....

If anyone has been to Ibiza or knows of a good cheap accommodation in Barcelona please let me knowwwwwwwwwwww!! Thankies! :D

Friday, July 10, 2009

Recipe: Po Tak Soup

There was a while back when I was sick, and all I ate was Thai Po Tak soup with boiled rice. Po Tak is a hot and sour soup very similar to Tom Yum Gong,. The main different is Tom Yum Gong uses Nam Prik Pow, a thai chilli paste/oil, which gives it the lovely red hot chilli glow.


- 1 Stalk of lemon grass (Only use the bottom white part)
- 3-4 slices of galangal
- 1-2 birds eye chillis
- 3-4 Kaffir lime leaves
- shelled prawns
- white fish cut into chunks
- Coriander
- Mushrooms
- Fish sauce
- Lime

In a pot of boiling water, add a few slices of galangal, torn kaffir lime leaves, the roots of the coriander, lemon grass and the chilli. You can throw the chillis in whole, or take a knife and make a small incision on one side. This lets out more heat, but isn't a blow your head off type heat.

Let this simmer for 10-15mins until the broth is fragrant. If you bought prawns with the shell on, you can opt to add the shells into the broth for extra flavour. Just remember to strain the shells and that it'll also turn the soup slightly orangey. Otherwise, add the prawns, fish and mushrooms into the pot. Season with fish sauce, sugar and a very generous squeeze of lime. Serve in a bowl with coriander sprinkled ontop and extra lime.

The resulting flavour should be hot, salty, sour and sweet. To control the heat, serve with or without the chilli. If the person likes it hotter, ask them to squish the chilli with the back of their spoon. This means the one pot can cater for people who don't like chilli and those that live for it. I love this soup and it goes so well with a bowl of boiled rice or some vermicelli added to it.

To turn this into a Tom Yum Gong, add a few spoonfuls of Nam Prik Pow and some tomato (optional).

Gordon Ramsay - The Good Food and Wine show

I enjoyed last years Good Food and Wine show so much, I bought tickets the day it was released to see Gordon Ramsay. Although I had front row seats last year, they increased the size of the theatre half way through selling the tickets. Meaning what had originally been first row centre seats became seats on the side of the theatre. Luckily, this year our seats were right infront of the stage, and on the main side of the kitchen that Ramsay was cooking in (There was 2 benches).

Alistair Munroe - Picked on by Ramsay...surprise suprise.

The man himself

Someone said he botoxed his chin? Is it true?

Lucky winner!

This girl had gotten up onto stage before Ramsay came out to participate in a dancing contest. After walking away with a gift, she was also sitting in the lucky chair that contained a $1000 Breville voucher!!!

Ramsay interviews his guests

4 lucky people were invited onto the stage to enjoy the food he cooked. This kid was some national cooking champion. Talk about luck!

Tracey was safe...Kevin wasn't.

Ramsay giving everything away again

This years Good Food and Wine show was noticeably different from last year. Numbers were down. Last year the theatre was completely packed out. Maybe it was the Sunday morning session, but less than half of the theatre was full. The prize Ramsay gave away was also much more cost efficient than last year. Last year was food processors, blenders, pots, pans etc. This year was toasters, kettles, wine and books. I did score a nice wine cooler bag off him (the black bag in the photo next to the wine).

I didn't take any photos of the show this year. I was kind of on a mission to taste test everything and buy everything. So armed with bags filled with groceries made it really hard to handle my camera. I still had a fantastic time and walked away with heaps of goodies! Plus I also FINALLY got to meet the lovely ChocolateSuze after stalking her last year from the shadows ;)