Wednesday, 31 March 2010

romance sarcasm math and language

I couldn't help but love the comics of xkcd. Described as a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language. Funny, clever and whimsical they are worth taking some time to browse.

No, not food related except maybe for this one :)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

99 out of 100?

Australian Traveller magazine has released a list of the 100 greatest Australian gourmet experiences. As reported today by the ABC the only North Queenslander on the list was Flames of the Forest (near Port Douglas) at #99.

I find that a bit sad which is no reflection on Flames but rather on our low profile and quality of experiences generally. We are off the pace compared with other food regions when we should be regarded as the premier tropical food region of the world. KS recently attended a regional branding workshop as part of the current program to promote our regional food. This is belated catch-up but at least a promising start.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Palm Cove Sunday @ Vivo

The sun emerged and the wind abated to make for a beautiful Sunday sojourn to Palm Cove. Oh, how I wish there was a ferry service from the city out to the Palm Cove wharf on days like this. It would make for a great day out for a long lunch and a few vino's at the beach followed by a sunset cruise home.

Palm Cove certainly now has a good diversified offering of places to eat. Nu Nu has been regarded as the choice fine dining experience in the Far North, however the current lunch offering doesn't really grab me. So I wandered down to the ever popular Vivo which also seems to pull the patrons in for lunch

The Vivo building has a lovely tropical ambience and a table on the front deck is a great place to enjoy the sea breeze and colours over a relaxed lunch or even the entire afternoon with friends. A great touch at Vivo is the art room currently showing works by Robyn Baker, Barbara Dover, and my pick of the three Anna Holan (love the high heels theme but can't find a link!)

I went for the blackboard special as usual; char grilled lemon pepper tuna w baby squash, tableland beans, snow peas, wasabi potato croquettes, & dragonfruit vinaigrette for $25.

I prefer tuna seared on the outside but still pink and moist at least in the centre. This tuna was cooked all the way through and was perhaps too 'well done'. I didn't let that otherwise spoil the chilled demeanour and ambience while washing it down with a glass of chardonnay. 

KS is looking forward to further Sunday sojourns to the beaches and Port Douglas as the seasons change in coming months. Palm Cove has some good offerings but my fave is still the Salsa Bar sunday in PD?! 

The Eat and Go Theatre Show

Kitchenslut was at the CoCA centre last week for the Jute production of Macbeth and discovered a pamphlet for The Eat and Go Theatre Show from centrestagescripts. We posted a link previously to a Ted Talk on food education by Jamie Oliver and this program looks like an innovative approach on a similar theme:

The Eat and Go Theatre Show is an integrated studies program designed to reinforce the message of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. With the national increase in childhood obesity, diabetes and related illnesses, the need to address these issues in schools is paramount.

This program allows students to explore the issues through play acting and performance. Since a child's greatest instinct is to play, explore, imitate and create, a theatre program is an effective teaching tool. While facilitating learning, it develops a range of other skills, attitudes and behaviours.

Hanuman slips

After previous rave reviews and annointing of Hanuman as number one in Cairns I would have to say I was a little disappointed with a return visit last Saturday night.

The service had slipped from the previous exceptional level. Perhaps we just had an inexperienced waitress who wasn't able to clearly tell us what was on the tasting plate. Looking around we also noted that for other diners being served the crispy whole fish that this was no longer filleted at the table by the waiters as it has been previously. This was a reason we decided not to choose the whole fish which had been a highlight for it's theatre and ease of sharing.

My dining companion and I chose a selection of four entrees to share. All the selections were well presented and high quality without inspiring the previous rave reviews. The standout were the trumpet mushrooms, topped with a fine mince of pork, prawn & spices warmed with coconut cream.

On this experience I really can no longer say that Hanuman is a standout ahead of the pack. My lovely dining companion however ensured an exceptionally enjoyable evening. Good shared company is as important to a dining experience as anything else!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

What's a Shawarma?

"What's a shawarma?" is a question that may be asked by many more familiar with the humble kebab, souvlaki, or gyros. YOFI is at the corner of Shields and Grafton on a site previously occupied by a somewhat down-market greasy spoon with dubious clientele. I didn't even notice it for a while being used to briskly walking by enoute to more salubrious destinations.

Walking by this week I stopped, after a recommendation from a friend, for a look at the offerings of 'food from the holy land'. Yofi was doing great business this night with all its footpath tables filled with diners, includiing byo wine. The small inside area is also warm and inviting.

Kitchenslut wandered off with a take-away lamb shawarma which was fresh, tasty and worked well for a quick evening bite on te streets. Must revisit for a more leisurely experience in the coming weeks ......

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Lilypad leaps again!

Yes, after a short lived previous foray the laidback Lilypad has again leapt into the night. Lilypad is now open in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. The simple menu is not as adventurous as previously but still does feature some interesting selections such as the Georgian-style quail.

Wednesday nights also brings live music from Paris Texas providing Lilypad with an ambience unique in Cairns .........

.......... but ....... it has once more had a short life and Lilypad by night is again no longer *sob*

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

feast of the senses

The 'feast of the senses' kicks off in Innisfail next week on Friday, 19th March. I have just stumbled on this after listening to an ABC radio interview with Clare Richards from Tropical Cuisine. Clare is to be a judge in the Ultra Tropics BBQ Recipe Competiton as part of the Festival of the Senses in Innisfail, which starts the 19th of this month.

This could be an opportunity for any aspiring foodies out there to show their style however entries close this Friday so you will have to be quick! There will be a final cook-off at the market day on Sunday, March 28.

The Kitchenslut is famous for his pyrotechnic seafood bbq, however as I have never learnt to follow a recipe, this is more a process outline than a defined recipe which would meet the competition criteria.

Kitchenslut seafood bbq process:
1)Open wine bottle.
2)Mix n match various combinations of quality seafoods, lime, garlic, ginger, mint, chilli, coriander, nahm jim, green mango or whatever else seems like a good idea at the time while consuming vino.
3)Do not commence cooking until at least half the bottle is consumed.
4)Limit extra virgin olive oil sprays during cooking to short bursts to reduce possibility of distracting explosion (note: ignore safety warning on can)
5)Don’t overcook!

The only other critical factor is a secret, well seasoned, stainless steel mesh seafood grill which is a family heirloom acquired many years ago now and passed down by my dear old dad.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Theatre deadlines @ The Edge

Some of the Kitchensluts more prominent dining angsts in Cairns have revolved around theatre deadlines. These can be tricky! A 7.30 or 8pm start for a show doesn't leave much room for great night to enjoy both food and entertainment.

Consequently some memorable experiences include leaving cash on the table and just running from Naked Nut; cancelling desserts; and dashing from Khin Khao Thai down Grafton St to Civic to arrive breathless as the doors are being closed. ALL after being absolutely assured that they would feed us get us out of their restaurant in ample time for the show! Did they lie to us!

Tonight KS was scheduled in for the Little Theatre at Rondo and by rights this night should have turned into a disaster. Almost an hour late for dinner (our fault after drinks elsewhere) we even considered scuttling the show to give time to at least enjoy the food.

Had wanted to try Yama at The Edge for a while and finally getting there, timepoor, there was no disappointment with the food and especially the service! The urgent timeframe kicked in fast with advice on what they could get out of the kitchen to still get us to theatre on time.

The sushi kitchen was loaded with orders so that was out! The hot kitchen delivered with more time to spare than any of the other previously mentioned restaurant failures and rescued the night to have as the show with time to spare! Will even have to check out the menu on what we had for more detailed food comment sorry. A tasty chicken dish, some beautifully presented light seafood and vegetable tempura, and the standout was the dumplings ..... exceptional!

How good is it to be able to write about such a wonderful experience in Cairns for a change!?

A sign of the times

The small French Cafe Lumiere, on the boardwalk in front of Harbour Blights, has ceased tradingfor dinner. This precinct has never taken off and remains half vacant with just Dundee's and Olano's now trading for dinner.

My only experience at Cafe Lumiere last year was excellent and included a delicious Coquille St Jaques and a tasty rabbit dish. Its menu wasn't cheap although I couldn't complain about the value for money.

The shame is that Lumiere was one of the few in town to openly promote local produce on the menu board. So, I didn't get to try their braised Atherton Pig's trotter and instead wandered along to Olano for some OK mussels with not enough crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Update: I did drop by Cafe Lumiere at the weekend and shared a vino with some delightful company. A discussion with the owner confirmed that it wasn't worth their while opening in the evening with business so slow. More disappointing was her comment that some had criticised their most recent menu as "too adventurous for Cairns" while the plethora of franchises and pizza shops continues to grow.

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