Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Old school country milk bar

Bingara, NSW, July 2012
Ricey has his sights set on some cows 7 hours west of us so we set off on a road trip last week. We saw so many beautiful old abandoned theatres and cafes along the way. It's so sad that the towns are far from their former glory because they are such beautiful retro buildings. This one had spaghetti on the menu so it was necessary to have lunch there. Peters Milkbar in Bingara, 3 hours west of Glen Innes (where you should stay at the Alpha Motel if you ever go). Old wooden booths, old school counter and big battered milkshake tins. My fingers show 7.5/10 but it was the best meal of the trip, more like an 8.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Noodles, spaghetti, same thing

The Samara, Ubud, Bali
May 2012
This has got to be one of the most amazing spaghetti experiences I've ever had. The Samara guesthouse in Ubud has literally been placed onto rice patties in the middle of a rural area. You can't drive there, you have to get a scooter or walk along a narrow little path through the fields (they are working on getting golf buggies). It's completely open plan and to my delight, is run by a friendly italian man who has created an authentic cucina right there in the middle of Ubud. After a few meals that 'sort of taste alright but not really', I felt like I had won the lottery. We ate there for lunch two days running and I hopped straight from the pool to be eating bruchetta and amazing spaghetti. Ducks help the rice farmers get the patties into good shape so there must have been 60 ducks next door mucking around doing their thing. The meal was outstanding, I gave it a 9 but it's really a 9.5 (pasta could have been harder) and well over a 10 for ambience. I'll definitely be back to Bali now that I realise it's just Kuta that's overrun with bogans and the rest of the island is amazing. The Samara will be at the top of my list!   

Monday, February 13, 2012

Outdoor dining

The Farm, Mullumbimby, 2012
While I consider myself a professional spaghetti critic, the toughest critics are really my chooks. They can tell what lettuce has been bought from woolworths and what's from the farmers markets. Naturally they prefer the more expensive, natural kind. I've learnt they would rather eat bugs than eat lettuce from woolies! Here they are having some leftover spaghetti from Milk & Honey. I think they agree it's pretty good stuff. They can slurp it into their beaks like old nonnas. I'm not sure what rating they gave it because they only have 3 wouldn't really be fair to say it was 3/10. The entire thing was gone in 2 minutes though, a sign that it was good no doubt. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Little Italy San Francisco

San Francisco, June 2011
It's not often that nine friends happen to be in San Francisco on a random Wednesday night. Five of us were about to head to the Napa Valley the next day for a wedding but the others were pure coincidence which was cause for celebration. After heading out to the sticks to 'Tommys Tequila Bar' for some pre-dinner drinks, we found a cute spot in Little Italy. Elicia ate a salad, the boys helped out in the kitchen, the other guests left soon after we arrived and my meal was hot and tasty. 6/10

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ugg boots, hot milo and a little grey cat

Mullumbimby, June 2011
Talking about the weather gets old quickly but it's hard to talk about anything else at the moment. When I lived in Dublin my friend used to say 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation'. Meaning the weather is always going to be absolutely ridiculous so it's your fault if you don't have 5 layers with you.  I think I had 4 layers on when we went for Milk and Honey in Mullum on Thursday. We came back and put the fire on which you can see Buttons enjoying here. She sits so close to it I think she'd be medium rare. The spaghetti was freshly made and delicious as always. 6.5/10

Shanghai Airport Spaghetti

Shanghai, China June 2011
Jeez a 5/10 at the airport is alright. I'm not sure if Australian airports would get that kind of score. I was dubious when I saw the kitchen equipment consisted of 5 microwaves but was pleasantly surprised. I'll be back to China again soon and will stop in at Hope Star on my way out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mr and Mrs Bund

Shanghai, June 2011
When I visited Shanghai 5 years ago we snuck into the hotel restaurant for a steak a couple of times. We just didn't seem to be hitting the good spots and a particular beef soup with floating bits of cow hair is burnt into my memory. This time around, the food was outstanding. We ate like kings every day whether it was chinese, indian, italian or western food. One special meal was at Mr and Mrs Bund - a well designed restaurant by Paul Pairet overlooking the Bund. The artsy meals were tiny but delicious. The middle picture is little restaurant down some stairs that had cute booths and no english (we had to act out cow vs pig). The bottom picture is Ricey ordering 5 meals ( he only ate 1) at Grape Restaurant - if you go to China, look this one up.

Chopsticks Spaghetti

Shanghai, May 2011
The Chinese are masters of imitation. They can perfectly copy something so well you can't tell which one is the original. Lucky for me this extends into italian food. The Taikang Road Art Centre in Shanghai is a grid of alleyways filled with boutiques, bars, galleries and restaurants. It's so cute, all the shops are miniature and often have little ladders leading up to an upstairs section. After eating Chinese for breakfast we felt less guilty about eating at an italian restaurant for lunch. The spaghetti was clearly made fresh and the sauce was divine. I gave it an 8 in the piccy but it deserves a 9 for sure. We went back again 2 days later.   

Friday, April 29, 2011

Real country folk

Mullumbimby, April 2011
We got a good dose of human contact over easter. One of the highlights was showing our little farm to the real country people - Mard and Ross. The things we squeal over they eat up with a big old spoon. Tales of piggin, roo shooting and thousands of acres of red dirt are a long way from our tea and scones. It was great to catch up and we took them to trusty Milk and Honey which was pounding with Bluesfest people. The standard didn't falter despite the crowds. Mard thoroughly enjoyed her pancetta and pea pasta giving it a 9/10 and my pomodoro was damn fine also - 7/10.