Catch of the Day- Sydney Fish Market

 

Fish markets don’t stand a chance next to Sydney’s. The Sydney Fish Market is the second largest fish market in terms of variety outside of Japan.   It is unlike any fish market I have ever been to and my dad as well which says something.  The Sydney Fish Market is a warehouse with one main isle down the center and shops on either side.  One thing that makes it special is that it sells more than just fish.  There are six seafood retailers, a bottle shop, fruit and vegetable market, bakery, sushi bar, restaurant and gift shop.  I finally stopped in the gift shop this time and got a kangaroo cookie cutter.

You walk down that main isle and you are stunned by everything you see around you.  It’s busy and you want to go in everywhere and you don’t know what to choose.  Once you have chosen the venue you want its time to buy the seafood.  You can either buy cooked things like prawn and lobster or there is a bbq that has standard seafood or you can choose from the raw seafood and have them barbeque it for you. If you are an oyster lover like myself they have many oysters to choose from and at a very good price for Sydney.

There are all different kinds of fish; whole fish, small fish and everything in between.  One thing I found that I had never heard of before the market was a Moreton Bay bug or also known as the Bay lobster. They are named after Moreton Bay in Queensland Australia.  They look the just the tail of a lobster.  They are similar to taste as a lobster but not as rich and sweet and they are missing the melt in your mouth goodness.  Definitely try them but if you are as much of a lobster fan as I am I don’t think you will be switching over.  Sorry bugs.

After a delicious meal on the picnic tables by the water, I always head down to the fruit market and get a chocolate covered strawberry.  It is the perfect ending to the perfect, fresh, right off the boat seafood meal.

 

 

 

 

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Dumpling or Dragon Egg!?!

With the celebration of the Chinese New Year yesterday, the Year of the Dragon is upon us.  This is a special year because the Dragon is one of the most powerful and lucky signs in the Chinese zodiac.  This year the Dragon is the Water Dragon so it has calming influences on the dragons temper.  There are many different traditions for the New Year but I just kept up one tradition I have… eating dumplings.

I have an intense love for dumplings.  You will rarely ever find a time when I am not craving them.  My favorite dumpling place is in downtown Sydney so I couldn’t think of a better time to plan a visit for myself and my friend who has never tried them.  I originally found this place because my favorite magazine, Time Out Sydney, rated them ‘the best dumplings’ in Sydney and I had to find out.  Let me tell you they weren’t only the best dumplings in Sydney but the best dumplings I have ever had, and my opinion didn’t change the second time around.

Din Tai Fung thinks the key difference in their dumplings versus the rest of the world is precision.  Each dumpling is exactly the same size whether you are eating it in Japan or in Sydney on George Street, which is the 41st restaurant to open.

The soup filled dumplings are simply divine.  If you successfully get the wiggly dumpling to your spoon without accidentally poking them open, you must create a little hole to let the juice slip out so it’s not too hot.  Take a little sip and let the juice slip down the back of your throat.   Add the soy sauce, vinegar and ginger mixture to your spoon and you are ready; now you eat the whole thing.  It’s hot but not too hot anymore. You taste the rich pork then the savory juice and a ping of the ginger and you taste it all the way down, sinking deeper into your chair.  The only thing that makes you ok that the bite is over is that you realize there are more.  We ordered the pork dumplings and the crab meat, crab roe and pork mixture dumplings that are both delicious.

We also tried dessert.  We got a bun that was called the Golden Lava and the steamed red bean dumplings.  The Golden lava had a sticky rice, almost cake like texture on the outside with a frothy orange sweet filling.  The steamed red bean dumplings taste exactly as they sound but sweet.  The grainy texture of the bean with a deep sweetness that is rich and earthy and unlike any other dessert I’ve had.

After dessert we realized we needed more so we got another order of the pork and soup filled dumplings.  These dumplings are too good to be anything but lucky.  I think its safe to say we started the New Year off right.

       

Crab dumplings (above)

Pork dumpling (below)

Desserts

Golden Lava

Steamed red bean dumpling (Below)

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In The Land Of Oz

I made it to Australia with only a little bit of trouble of being delayed one day, and my friend got on her flight on her first try so things were looking good.  She’s a flight attendant so she flies stand by as well so that fact that we both made it here was pretty awesome.  I’m not holding it against, however my tone may sound, but she got first and I didn’t.  Add to that a room that is awesome, basically on the beach, celebrating my birthday down here, enjoying the food and of course getting started at my internship I would say I’m things are off to a good start.  In the pictures below you will see our place, the Thai we had, the egg yolks that are an incredible bright orange from our eggs benedict and views from Coogee beach.

Here are a few pics from the first couple of days.  Stand by there will of course be much more!

 

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Are We In Texas or Vietnam?

Living in Dallas the past four months has been great.  It is the first major city I have ever lived in and with major city brings awesome restaurants.  I come from a small town in Michigan where there are still dirt roads and I can hear cows mooing from my house in the summer.  So I was so excited to try the food in Dallas and one evening, my sister treated me to a restaurant called Rise where they serve soufflé for their mains and desserts.  It was without a doubt one of the most heavenly delicious meal I have ever had. A restaurant with only soufflé, that screams I live in a city. I didn’t even know what a soufflé was until I left Lapeer to go to college.

Another one of my favorite parts about working in a city, as silly as this sounds, was getting lunch.  This was my first job in the corporate world so anything relating to the “work world” was super exciting for me.  I quickly found a favorite and everyone knew the restaurant I would suggest for lunch, Pho Colonial.

The first thing I ever tried were the dumplings and I was sold.  They are one of the best dumplings I have ever had.  You bite into the doughy outside and are instantly overcome with the flavorful filling of the pork and shrimp mixture.  To top the perfectly handcrafted dumpling off, it is served with the Chef’s dumpling soy dipping sauce that is amazing.  It is smooth as satin with hints of salty, spicy and sweet that lingers on your taste buds.  I dream about these dumplings, and what is a better partner to dumplings than traditional phở?

Phở originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam in a city called Hanoi.  It was created to appease the locals and the French who had migrated to the area because the area had a textile market.  The way the broth is cooked uses a French method of adding charred onion to the broth for color and flavor, making phở distinguishable amongst other Asian noodle soups. Vendors first sold it from large boxes, then the first restaurant opened in Hanoi in the1920s.

I have never been to Vietnam so I don’t have the real deal to compare to Pho Colonial in Dallas but I would have to believe it is pretty dang close.  The phở ga (chicken phở) comes just as it should with the broth noodles and chicken in a bowl and a plate with bean sprouts, Thai basil, fresh jalapeno and a lime wedge.  The broth alone is so delicious you could eat it plain.  Then you bite into the chicken that is perfectly cooked from the hot broth and you just melt.  There are flares of fresh flavors from all the toppings swirling in your mouth and your senses are taken over.  Simply put, it is delicious.

Pho Colonial has an energy that you feel as soon as you walk in.  You place your order at the counter and then find a seat at tables that you could possibly share with strangers, which is an exciting twist to lunch. Your food is then brought to you. Be prepared for a little wait if you go during the lunch rush from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., I’m not the first person to love this place.  But take out is a great option, if you order ahead you jump up to the take out line and get in and out in no time. The prices are great and the portions are good sized.  The regular sized phở ga my sister and I easily share or I would order it for myself and have leftovers for dinner.  I truly suggest this restaurant to anyone who is living in Texas or is visiting.

As you walk out you will be thinking of the next time you can come back, guaranteed. Pho Colonial is addicting.

  

 

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Meal From The Land Down Under

 

If you have been following my blog you should be no stranger to the term the “no plan plan”, but if you are new let me explain.  It has basically been an idea or outline of a plan I had for the next year of my life after graduating.  So far I have been right on track and everything I hoped would happen has.  I just finished up my internship in Dallas and with this internship ending I began to walk on the path labeled unknown on the “no plan plan” map. I’m going to share two details with you before I tell you the final no part of my “no plan plan” as the final detail is the farthest I ever planned, I guess you can say I think like the Mayans.

My older sister Kara introduced me to the wonderful country of Australia when I was 18 when I visited her on her study abroad.  It was my first real experience with a foreign country as an adult, or someone who could start to really understand the different culture.  I fell in love and have been back every year since.  So of course I wanted to have going back to Australia as a part of the “no plan plan.”

Now this brings us to the magazine Time Out.  When I was taking my food writing class in New York the Editor of the Eat Out section of Time Out New York came and spoke with our class.  I immediately went out and bought the magazine and just loved it. I knew instantly I wanted to work for this magazine.

So I knew I loved Sydney and I knew I loved Time Out so I began my search of attempting to intern at their company.  I applied a year ago and since then have been in touch with four different people and different departments.  I would get enough of a response to stay faithful but nothing strong enough to have confidence that it would work out.  Then my sister told me the best advice; call them! Stop emailing and pick up the phone.  So I planned out the time difference and skyped Time Out Sydney and what do you know they answered.  The next thing I know I was having an informal interview and setting up the dates I would start.  I got off the phone and couldn’t keep my feet on the ground!  The final piece fell into place for me with this internship.  I’m so excited and nervous to start.

To end this post I am including a recipe I received from one of my friends in Australia, Lucy Bardwell.  I’m calling in Australian Bolognese.  Make it for dinner it is simply delicious and your kid’s will like it as well.  It has grated carrots in it because Lucy hated carrots as a kid so her mom hid them in the sauce that way.  Oh and don’t worry it does not have vegemite in it.

 

 

 

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Australian Bolognese

I’m including the amounts I used but I made  this for three people and there was a good mount of left overs so use your best judgment and factor in the amount of people you are serving.

1 lb Minced meat- (aka ground) turkey, lamb, beef- this was a special dinner so we bought filet mignon and then my uncle cut it into tiny pieces- see pic below

14 ounce can of tomato sauce

14 ounce Can of diced tomatoes

Little can of tomato paste

1 Onion

3 Carrots

8 ounces of mushrooms

15 basil leaves

2 capsicum- pepper- any color works

¼ cup red wine of choice

Chop the onions and sauté on medium heat for about five minutes then add the pepper sand sauté together for another 10-15 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 more minutes.  Remove the vegetables and set aside.  Brown the meat then set aside, leaving the juices in the pan.  Put the vegetables back in the saucepan and then add the graded carrots and the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and the tomato paste in.  Cook for a few minutes stirring together.  Add the meat back in and the basil.  Add some wine and bring the sauce to a boil then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.

I served this Bolognese with fettuccini and simple garlic bread! Enjoy mate!

Lucky Duck

Its fun to win no matter what the prize is.  It’s a stretch to say I’m super lucky but I would say I’ve won a few random times.  Whether it was winning a manicure at the Daddy Daughter Dance in the fifth grade, or winning the audience prize on Live with Regis and Kelly, it’s always the most exciting thing.  To top the Regis and Kelly win off, the prize was $500 worth of All-Clad pots and pans; yes I know I was ecstatic. Now that I’ve won a few times I am positive every time I enter a contest I will win. With that said though, I don’t go around entering all contests, only a few special ones.

Since I’ve become a blogger I’ve been exposed to all the giveaways and this year I decided to finally test my luck and enter.  One of my favorite food blogs, My Fare Foodie, did a giveaway; it was a $25 gift card to Whole Foods. I’m sure you can tell where I’m going with this, but I tested my luck and it proved strong. I won the gift card!  It was literally the most exciting thing to me, I found out at work and I had to call everyone.  So of course I had to have a fabulous meal with my $25.  I wanted to get lobster, but they didn’t have any fresh ones, so I decided on lamb.

My sister and I got the royal treatment, because my sister’s boyfriend cooked for us; I know she’s one lucky lady. I guess it runs in the family. We had a fabulous lamb, potato and green bean dinner.

Moral of the story, take a chance and enter…you never know what you could win :)

 

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