Saturday, 1 December 2012

Shark Fin Soup?

With the Chinese influx upon us just a post to divert any readers to a blog by Mike at An imaginatively titled blog on shark fin soup at Chinese restaurants in Cairns.

Some of the best blog posts don't need opinionated comment and such is this ......

Monday, 15 October 2012

Food, Sex & Mussels

Kitchenslut has been somewhat perplexed by the controversy and political upheaval following the comparison by the now parliamentary ex-speaker of bivalve molluscs to female genitalia. 

What has confused is that beyond the context of the legal and political implications, whic are indeed real, the descriptions themselves have been regarded as too “vile” or “disgusting” to even report: Mussels off the menu at the ABC.

Food and sex, sex and food, have long shared an intimate association. KS recently acquired an anthology of food writing by Clarissa Dickson Wright (half of the two fat ladies) where she relates advice from her mother that you could assess someone sexual abilities by the way they ate asparagus. Personally, an image of how one devours oysters freshly shucked from the shell is a preferred indicator! Damn, there’s the shellfish again!
Bivalve molluscs, including mussels, have been associated with female genitalia since at least the ancient Greek civilisation. There is no absense of links to comparisons of mussels with female genitalia so rather than dwell on that perhaps some more contemporary and obscure references. A food blogger is most eloquently erotic when posting her recipe for drunken mussels linguine:
‘What kind of woman has to seduce her boyfriend?’
The kind of woman who, right before dinner, asks her man (who hasn’t eaten all day), “Don’t you want to sex me now?”
The kind of woman who says during dinner, “Don’t the mussels look like vaginas to you?  Look, there’s the labia.  Eat the labia!  Eat the vagina-mussels!”
I’m a good seductress, don’t you think?

A more naive lad has responded in comments at ASK Yahoo: What does a vagina look like?

The entry of the inner labia looks like a mussel after cooking it (the shellfish, not the vagina lol), different color obviously. I never noticed that until my girlfriend showed me at a buffet.

Leaving unclear precisely whether his girlfriend had shown him the mussel or her labia at the buffet??

I did also stumble upon a comment that critics of the description as offensive may not have read enough erotic lesbian poetry. Darn those misogynist lesbian poets! 

However, it must be acknowledged that the comments from Mr Slipper related specifically to de-shelled brined mussels in a jar. Not an image which rocks my boat but hey! Was it this which actually caused offense in either a culinary or metaphorical sense? At least Slipper's texts were meant to be private and not Posted on Youtube!

We are privileged in this era to now enjoy mussels more than ever. The vacuum packs of live mussels in salt water are an exceptional innovation and quality, the uncertainty once associated with mussels removed. Also no longer the tedious task of de-bearding the mussels! Note that ironically this last feature also parallels contemporary pubic fashion in recent times!

It is to be hoped the current prudery does not taint the image of mussels! Perhaps it is the mussels which should also be offended?

Friday, 7 September 2012


Kitchenslut from his reclusive bohemian Esplanade abode this week for a mid-week rendezvous with good friend the English Rose. A diminishing quantity of Table 52 cards dictated Splash as the venue for a seafood fix.

We chose the Mahi and the bugs. There is only one thing you can really do wrong to such quality seafood and that is to overcook it.

The service was exceptional.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Yak's Vomit on Fetta's

The state member for Cairns has facebooked a glowing PR release congratulating Fetta's "on receiving a coveted 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence". Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed a Greek night out at Fetta's and it previously received a positive post at Kitchenslut.

However, I wonder at such advertorial style spruiking of a single restaurant by a politician when I understand there are "stacks" of these awards around town? This is really a commercial marketing tool developed by TripAdvisor:
Certificate of Excellence honorees can showcase their achievement in multiple ways, including prominently displaying their certificate that they will receive in the coming weeks, exhibiting an award widget on their business's website, and celebrating their award with a press release. The array of promotional items can be downloaded through the TripAdvisor management Centre.

TripAdvisor PR acknowledges that with regard accomodation "Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award." Neither is it the "top TripAdvisor honors" claimed: "The Certificate of Excellence program does not replace the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice® Awards"

The irony is that it was King who was cynical of the value of awards in his infamous Yak's Vomit rant. A further irony is that he then naively proposed an official rating system for every eating place in town.

Fetta's is today rated at #41 in Cairns on TripAdvisor and reviews include some scathing criticisms of service. I would prefer to defer to FoodVixen who is currently doing the best restaurant blogging in town than to TripAdvisor.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Return of the Star Apple

A while ago now Kitchenslut was a sad attendee at the final night of A Lemonade Tree, hosted by Ray and Arpid. This delightful small Asian influenced restaurant was next to the jelly babies (now the jazz music bar). Despite a low profile this was one of the best places in town!

Wandering around today KS bumped into Ray and Arpid who are now back in town and have re-opened the Star Apple at Golden Sands resort in Yorkey's, which was their initial restaurant location in Cairns some years ago. A return visit is not required for an immediate place in my top ten, but will get there when I can ......

Star Apple at Golden Sands, Yorkey's Knob

Friday, 18 May 2012

Worst fish & chips ever!

Kitchenslut has spent a week or so traversing the east coast on return from his annual southern vacation. It's several years since I had sidetracked into Airlie Beach so was looking forward to a stopover there. A monday night may not be appropriate to make a judgment but the place did seem very quiet and a touch drab.

The food choices in Airlie are not really very inspiring either. The couple of good restaurants seemed expensive for their offering. Hog's Breath was closed for renovations. The sailing club is a good place for a sunset drink but was also expensive for club food and that club-genre puke inducing kitsch carpet is almost a feature in itself.

I did flirt with Fish D'vine, the rum bar which has previously closed in Cairns. The fish display was typically enticing howver my recollection of Cairns was that what came out of the kitchen didn't quite match the expectations from the display. There isn't much competition in its price and quality range in Airlie which may explain why it has survived there and not in more competitive Cairns?

However, inspired by their fish display and a clear starry night I decided the best option would be fish & chips with a bottle of wine (in brown paper bag) down on the beach. There are two fish & chip shops in Airlie and I can only guess that I chose the wrong one?

At $8 for the special perhaps I should have expected to get what I paid for. The chips were edible, as was the batter, but chips and batter do not make a very satisfying meal I found. I had to toss the fish which is my only experience with inedible simple battered fish. The flesh was sort of wet and slimy, completely unappetising, and didn't really taste of anything.

There were some other good food experiences along the way however. The Gladstone Yacht Club  is always a good place on a fine evening for some decent club food in an industrial city. The spag bol with chips, which made an impression on a previous visit for high-carb quantity, is no longer on the menu but has been replaced with lasagna and chips. They did seem to have some problems with what the fish of the day actually was and this changed on the blackboard a few times in the hour or two I was there. Local fish is now somewhat controversial in Gladstone with advertisements on local radio to reassure consumers that it is safe to consume!

The steaks from the good people at Yongala Lodge in Townsville are also recommended, along with the Wirra Wirra shiraz.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

2012 discount deals

A quick note on a couple of offers currently available.

The Entertainment Book for 2012 is now available online and can usually be purchased also through charities such as the Cancer Council.  This offers a number of discount deals at restaurants in North Queensland.

Also, the Table 52 cards have returned again this year with two for one main meals.

As previously discovered with such locals deals if the place changes ownership there is no guarantee the discount will be honoured.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management

It is true, says Liebig, that thousands have lived without a knowledge of tea and coffee; and daily experience teaches us that, under certain circumstances, they may be dispensed with without disadvantage to the merely animal functions; but it is an error, certainly, to conclude from this that they may be altogether dispensed with in reference to their effects; and it is a question whether, if we had no tea and no coffee, the popular instinct would not seek for and discover the means of replacing them. Science, which accuses us of so much in these respects, will have, in the first place, to ascertain whether it depends on sensual and sinful inclinations merely, that every people of the globe have appropriated some such means of acting on the nervous life, from the shore of the Pacific, where the Indian retires from life for days in order to enjoy the bliss of intoxication with koko, to the Arctic regions, where Kamtschatdales and Koriakes prepare an intoxicating beverage from a poisonous mushroom. We think it, on the contrary, highly probable, not to say certain, that the instinct of man, feeling certain blanks, certain wants of the intensified life of our times, which cannot be satisfied or filled up by mere quantity, has discovered, in these products of vegetable life the true means of giving to his food the desired and necessary quality.
- The Dictionary of Victorian London

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Yet another round of restaurant awards

With the year barely a few days old the Australian Good Food & Travel Guide has jumped in with their 2012 restaurant awards. Their chef hat awards were handed out to 517 restaurants around Australia. Queensland is generally also well represented with 104 restaurants compared to Victoria (117) and NSW (133). 

The Far North has 13 restaurants awarded, with ix of those in Port Douglas, which is quite a strong showing when compared with  the Gold Coast (18) and Sunshine Coast (16). That places us among the leaders in regional dining with most restaurants awarded concentrated in the Capitals.

The list of Far North winners includes: NuNu, M Yogo, Salsa, Tamarind, Sassi's Cantina, Bistro 3, Bucci, Harrisons, Zinc. Which, if you can count only adds up to 9? Strangely the list on the agfg website seems to have now changed and some that were on the list are no longer there: Cest Bon, Reef House, Bale, and Cafe China.

Kitchenslut has sent a query to agfg and will await a response?

Update: Response from AGFG: 
Thank you for your enquiry regarding our 2012 awards.
We noticed that there was a glitch in our system regarding some of the award winner and we have rectified the situation as of yesterday.
What you will see currently on our website are the accurate and correct awards.
The current display is the 9 listed above. Well at least that is still ahead of Townsville with only three!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Rainforest Bounty

The Rainforest Bounty cooking school program for 2012 kicks off this weekend with a middle eastern theme.
The day begins with a delicious home baked morning tea accompanied by locally produced tea, coffee and juices. We then don gumboots and commence foraging in the orchards and garden for seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs. Other ingredients are sourced from local organic farmers and markets. Once harvesting is complete, we commence cooking in the modern kitchen to prepare a seasonal feast. 5-6 dishes are usually prepared and the day will culminate with lunch including premium wines and ales.
Funghi, and particularly straw mushrooms, are best to be avoided while foraging following the recent poisoning incident in Canberra. The Rainforest Bounty people however are experts at their rainforest foraging so your survival can be assured.

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