Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eveleigh Markets, Black Star Pastry, Pastizzi Cafe (Newtown Food Tour Part 1 - 31st July)

        After the Food Tour of Cabramatta, a group of us decided to get together again and explore another suburb. It was decided that John would play host this time and show us around his neighbourhood, Newtown. The first stop is Eveleigh Farmer's Markets.
        Ryan and I were running late so we had to try and catch up with the group inside the markets. I was mesmerised by all there was to see so kept getting distracted on the way to look for the others - look at the gorgeous fresh produce!

        Ryan was also hungry as we hadn't had breakfast yet so the only thing on his mind was food so this is where I found him. Nothing gets in between a hungry Ryan and his food. He wasn't all selfish though and picked up two pastries from Shepherd's Bakehouse.

        This was my Thai Chicken... "Pie". Ryan had already eaten almost all of his beef one by the time I finished taking a photo of mine. The pastry was luciously flaky and buttery, the filling was piping hot, and well seasoned, a nice curry gravy with tender pieces of chicken. It was soooo good.

        Oh look it's Kylie Kwong! Ryan didn't seem interested though so it was a quick point and shoot and move on to look for the others.

My other love in life.

        We finally catch up with the group but then Ryan is still hungry so wonders off in search of food, he catches my eye and I come over to see what has caught his attention. It's a blini bar (crepes).

Blini's made to order.

        Ryan gets a lemon and sugar blini. I take a bite and managed to get hot lemon and sugar dripping all over me and somehow all over my handbagbag too. Such a messy eater I am.

Pretty ornament next door on the Indonesian food stand.

        Richard mentions that the lady from Gumnut Chocolates is very fond of bloggers. All I heard was chocolate and went looking for the stand. She let me sample some of the chocolates and short bread. All pretty scrumptious.

        I can't walk past and sample and not buy any chocolates. The two on the outside are lemon myrtle and the one in the middle is wattleseed. The chocolates are beautifully coloured, I discover that the middle one is also coloured on the underside when I eat it later at home. Ryan and I eat the two lemon myrtle ones as we walk away from the markets.

Oh look it's The Biscuit Tree! - Hi chocolatesuze's Mum.

        Thirsty Ryan finds a pineapple and mint juice. Was really refreshing and delicious. And I somehow manage to spill some of this on myself too.

        We pass by the Eumundi Smokehouse stand (review from Not Quite Nigella) and the smell and sight is just alluring. As we keep losing the others there is no time to stop, Ryan quickly picks up a sample of something and hands it to me and I happily snack on it. I seriously am just down the road from these guys. Have always walked pass the store front which is all blacked out wondering what is inside. I've either never been home or am too lazy to leave the house to get there within their limited trading hours. Will have to make it a mission to visit one day.

        Ohhh giant meringues! And jams and spreads! Rhubard and plum jams were good here at Bird Cow Fish.

Giant Meringues.

More flowers!

We finally leave the crowds and make our way to Newtown.

        We follow John along mainstreet Newtown not really knowing where we are being taken. We turn into a small street and end up at Black Star Pastry. I take a sticky beak inside. It's a teensy weensy little shop, with some (minimal) seating in a bay window and stools lining outside the front of the shop. It feels very cosey and homey inside and the counter takes up most of the space, displaying an array of different goodies on offer.
        As there is barely any room to move, a few of us stay outside awaiting for the goodies to be brought out. These four are pretty much the signature items, chocolate caramel tart, watermelon cake, persian fig, quince & orange cake, and a meringue pyramid. So that everyone could have a taste, we try and split each cake into 7, a hard task it was and they just looked too pretty to eat. I think the favourite was the watermelon cake, it was so light and refreshing. Next favourite would probably be the lemon meringue pyramid, there was a pleasant suprise of basil infused into the lemon curd and I just love how the pyramid has been constructed. The chocolate caramel tart is interesting with a hint of salt added though was quite messy to be sharing around. The fig & orange cake was soft and delicate, reminding me of spring.

        So we finish shooting and eating and get lead down to the south side of King Street. I must admit that I rarely ever think about coming down this way. Even though I live close by to Newtown I have an image in my mind of weird people, traffic jams, and parking chaos so rarely ever visit. Public transport to Newtown is easily accessible right outside my  front door but my dislike for public transport and crowds means I drive to most places.
        Our next stop is the Pastizzi Cafe. I LOVE pastizzi. I never knew though that Pastizzi originated from Malta, you learn something new every day! We also get our first (and last) crazy Newtown encounter here at this cafe, I think there was a huge sigh of relief all around when the slightly crazy lady got up to leave.

        When dining with food bloggers, this is what happens. Everything gets cut up so that everyone is able to sample it all. There are 12 different savoury flavours available, we don't get to sample them all though as they were not all available at the time. I can't remember all the flavours we tried but I was pretty impressed. The pastry was just gorgeously flaky, the fillings were all well seasoned and I loved all the different flavours on offer.

        Now comes the sweet pastizzi. They have 3 sweet fillings available, apple, cherry cheese, and chocolate & ricotta. We only get to sample the apple and chocolate & ricotta. They look so good dusted with the icing sugar, salivating right now as I am looking at the photo.

        Look at the mess we're making. The apple is cooked perfectly, not too sweet and the flaky pastry compliments the filling perfectly, can't go wrong with a classic apple pastry. The chocolate and ricotta combination is a nice suprise too, can't quite describe it but they two flavours blend really well. Apparantly the coffees are really good here but I pass on the caffeine hit as I'm not in a coffee mood.
        In addition to the pastizzi, a range of pasta's and other meals is also on offer, but you can't come to the Pastizzi Cafe and not have any of the pastizzi. They also sells bags of frozen pastizzi for $12 a dozen which I think is quite decent for some quality pastries. Will have to keep this place in mind when I next need my fix of pastizzi.

There is so much to show from my little trip around Newtown so there will be 2 more parts to this tour, stay tuned.

Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon
Pastizzi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mamak, Lindt Cafe, Pasticceria Papa - A day out in the city (30th April)

        I love working for a company which gives us "You Days", a day off every month, or you can save one and have two consecutive days off in a week, think 4 day weekend every once in a while! I generally take mine as they are due, planning it with Ryan so that we can spend the day together if I don't have any errands to run that day. Ever since he's started working night shift, his time is so limited that we rarely ever get to spend a day of a weekend together because he's always busy with other things.

        On my day off in April this year we had planned to visit the fish markets for some nice brunch. Being Friday and knowing how hard and expensive it is to park in the city we decided to drive down to Lilyfield and catch the tram in.

Testing the capabilities of my camera gear.

Artistic no? =p

On the tram.

I love weekdays off, you don't have to deal with the crowds.

There was this strange white cat sitting on one of the platforms.

        The day ended up being absolutely grey and wet so plan B had us in the city, first visiting St Peter Julian Catholic Church at Haymarket and then having lunch close by. As I had read so much about Mamak and all the foodies/bloggers seem to rate this place I mentioned it to Ryan and asked if he wanted to give it a go. We managed to beat the crowds arriving just before 12 but it didn't take very long for the place to fill up.
        This is pretty much our first time eating Malaysian food. We're very suprised by the super fast service. Our drinks are the first to come out, Ryan orders the Teh tarik (I think?) which is a Classic Malaysian sweetened tea, ‘stretched’ for a frothy topping. I order the Teh ‘O’ ais limau which is just an iced tea with a splash of lime. Ryan's tea is nice and comforting for such a wet day outside. My ice tea was refreshing.

        The food almost instantly appears as soon as our drinks are set on the table. Heard great things about the Roti so we decide to try the original Roti Canai served with two curry dips and sambal sauce. We both enjoy the Roti, the sambal is suprisingly not hot as I expected it to be. It was a great combination when combined with the curry sauces. I love the stretchy fluffy texture of the Roti.

        The first of our mains is the Rojak - a Malaysian-style salad with prawn and coconut fritters, fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs, freshly shredded yambean and cucumber, topped with a thick spicy peanut sauce. Loved the textures in this salad though found the sauce a little too sweet. The yambean and cucumber was a nice refreshing cooler when eaten in combination with our spicy curry.

        Our second main is the Kari Kambing - spicy lamb curry slow-cooked until tender. Definately spicy and packed a punch. The lamb was not as tender as we had hoped. It was an experience for our taste buds which have only ever experienced Thai, Vietnamese and Indian curries. We found that this curry was a bit too spicey for our liking, and thought it wasn't quite balanced. The dish was nice but nothing that wowed me.
        Overall, we had a good experience at Mamak, perhaps because we're not used to Malaysian food we wern't all too blown away by it. I'm glad that we did have our Mamak experience though. Maybe next time when we're in the area and there isn't a big queue out the door we will give Mamak another try.

        After lunch the rain has stopped so we wonder down to Darling Harbour. Iron Man 2 poster on the IMAX building.

        Mr Johnny Depp Mad Hatter looks absolutely freakish blown up so big.

        Typical touristy shot, was just testing my zoom capabilities on the larger lens.

Pretty good for a kit lens.

        Was mesmerised by the water fountain wanting to capture the beads of water falling.

        I love the Lindt Cafe, even though we were still full from lunch with no room for dessert (just yet) I just had to stop by and grab a couple of items to take home.

Love the seal.

        Ohhh I havn't seen these Lindor flavours before - Raspberry and Stracciatella. They were yummy!

        Two macarons for a treat later on - Peach and Strawberry. I love the classic flavours of the Lindt macarons, and the technique/finish is done well, they always looks so perfect and taste pretty perfect too. I'm yet to go back and try out their two new flavours, Salt Caramel and Oliv.

Heading back home, or to Lilyfield on the Tram.

        As Haberfield is on the way home I manage to convince Ryan to stop over at Pasticceria Papa so we can try out what is apparantly Sydney's best cheesecake.

        I fall in love with this cheesecake, served with a bit of cream on the side. The cream is suprisingly sweetened and delicious to eat with the cheesecake. The cheesecake itself is smooth and creamy, perfectly flavoured. The pastry crust is a nice and tasty contrast to the cheese filling. "Oh yeah, it's good" is the murmur that comes out of Ryan's mouth. I almost want to lick the plate.

        We had to try the Ricotta Cannoli too. I'm suprised at how crispy the shell is as we've had a fair few cannoli, some have been good, whereas some were just soft and soggy. The ones from Papa's are awesome. I've always wanted to make my own but these are so good I don't think I would bother. Stopping over at Papa's I think was a fitting end to our day out.

Mamak on Urbanspoon

Lindt Chocolat Cafe on Urbanspoon

Pasticceria Papa on Urbanspoon