Thursday, December 15, 2011

Apart from my previous philosophical rantings about my life direction, I've fallen woefully behind in updating this blog! And, like a large percentage of people, I am going to blame 'this time of year'. For me it's been a combination of the crazy at work, and the crazy that is my studies (in horticulture). Plus hitting on a pretty fab idea to make a (possible) living... but I'll divulge all that at a later date!

Have I been eating out much the past few weeks? Well, the answer to that is both yes, and no. I have at lunch time (HELLO CENTRAL MARKETS FOOD COURT!!!) and a smattering of times for the evening meal in the usual haunts. This does include the most favourite of favourite comfortably cheap(ish) eat haunts, The Seacliff Beach Hotel. I am pretty lucky to be able to call this place 'my local'... and when you see the view, you'll understand why I bold-type lucky...

If I was ever to compile a list of the most picturesque pubs in the world, this place would be vying for a spot in the top 10. Even in winter, it's divine sitting inside, by the window, watching the dark clouds become one with the tempestuous ocean. The only thing that possibly could ruin the atmosphere of this divine place is the fact that the local Surf Life Saving Club have plonked a hideous shipping container smack-bang in the middle of the view! And no, painting it with a mural which looks as if it would be more at home on the wall of a high school gymnasium does not endear it to the diner who wishes to gaze upon the infinity of the oceanic horizon. If it must be there (and I believe this may have to do with providing temporary storage until the club has been refurbished) why not have some local artist produce a pseudo-Turner seascape?

Anyway... I digress.

Not withstanding it's current view-fail, The Seacliff is pretty tops when it comes to fairly decent gastro-pub fare. There are the usual offerings of an Australian pub such as The Parmi (Parmigiana), Schnitty (Schnitzel) and Sul N Pippa Skweed (Salt n Pepper Squid). But then they throw in a few interesting ones like Green Chicken Curry, Pork Belly and Pasta Bosciola (which tries so hard to be a good, solid pasta dish but just lacks that little bit in flavour). One item off the menu you MUST try however, is their towering Beach Burger! As all good monsterous burgers should be, this one is chock full of patty, salad, egg and beetroot... all secured together with a skewer. The fries they serve are decent, and don't have that 'frozen' taint that so many eateries can't seem to escape (unless they make their own). The one dish I will have to steer you clear of however, is the pie. Look, it may have changed since I last had it (mid-winter), but back then it was a sort of Four-And-Twenty affair with a crust that could repel bullets. The meat was a gelatinous gravied mess of snouts, tails and other unmentionables. A definite disappointment.

Having said that though, the price is right with most fare sitting around the $15-$25 mark. And the wine list is hardly disappointing (hello D'Arrenberg Olive Grove Chardonnay!). The decor in the main dining room does border on the slighly tacky with a carpet that is dating fast, flat-screen TVs silently spewing out their radioactive commercial glare and a Keno screen constantly ticking over in the corner (let's keep that sort of stuff in the bar, hm?). You also get the occasional ne'er do well who wanders through the dining room blearily looking for the front bar. But the view... it's worth all that just for that perfect (bar the current shipping container!) view of the sun slowly sinking into the sea* ....

The infamous Beach Burger... film noir style. With a 'schnitty', chips and mushroom gravy, lurking deviously in the background.

*Yes I know it doesn't literally sink, but let me have the artistic license to finish on a poetic note.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So What If....

So what if one Monday morning you woke up and realised that you really were tired of your day job. And I don’t mean the usual Monday morning malaise that comes with the weekend come-down. The feeling of wanting to drown oneself in the cup of English Breakfast tea staring blandly back at you. I’m talking about the sudden realised that you are getting nowhere fast. You’ve known it for a while, been half-heartedly planning ‘The Great Escape’ by ways and means both fair and foul. But this particular morning it’s like the lilghbulb of life has appeared and ‘AH-HA!’... by jove you’ve finally got it!

This so happened to me this morning. Not in some dramatic way that had me calling my boss, telling her to stick my job and burning my suit-skirt and stilettos, and giving all my unused bus passes away to passing senior citizens. Instead it crept up sneakily, and cracked me over the head while I sat on the train surrounded by the mass of miserable weekday commuters. It certainly made me drop what I was reading, pick up my phone and make hasty notes, that now manifest themselves as this blog entry.

So what to do?? Where to go from here?

I can’t pretend to not be slightly jealous of The Wife, as ‘she have skillz’(in the words of the kids and incarcerated rap artists). She is a consummate textile artist with a business that is taking off and very set career goals. But myself... I have skerricks of dreams and visions that flit in and out of my consciousness. Dreams such as spending my days sitting at a sun drenched desk, writing down my thoughts and ideas on food and living – to impress my views, professionally, upon the world. Tending to herb and ‘Native Noms’ bushfood business, which will bring the simple pleasures of fragrant greenery to the masses. Milking my very own cow.... (Yes. You heard me right!) Life as it is meant to be lived - enjoying every moment, living every minute as I see fit... and eating some really kick-arse food while I'm at it!

What happens next?... Watch this space!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Something that really does NOT impress me is over-complicated culinary WANK. That fussy food that is so (f)artfully arranged on the inner 5cm diameter of a dinner plate the size of Bert Newtons head.

for those of you who aren't au fait with Australian Z-Grade celebrities...
(note, head is so large it doesn't even fit in the frame.)

And foam. Foam is my other pet hate. Herein known as spittle. I've also heard it referred to as 'air'. Such a stroke of genius to decide, "We need to raise more revnue in this establishment... Hey! Let's get the kitchen hand to hock a loogie onto the side of the plate!" Voila! An excuse to lob an extra $20 onto every item on the menu. The saddest part about all of this is that there are actually even sadder people who will cough up the bucks (pardon the pun!) for the opportunity to be a part of this absurd gourmet charade. It's almost as bad as British cook Heston Blumenthal, and his ongoing 'quest' for perfect food. Interesting to watch, but (at the risk of sounding over-sentimental) I think that the point of food is that it is the basic, simple, fresh ingredients that maketh a meal... not wether its molecular structure has been amended to a point that it should, by laboratory standards, taste 'perfect'.

It does give me this awesome idea for a restaurant though. Or... sorry... a gastronomic venture. Basically, instead of serving food, people are served 'tastes'. They sit at the table, and are presented with a menu. From this they select a range of dishes that they feel they would like to sample. They are then given some sort of hose like contraption with a nozzle on the end which they place in their mouth. Like a hookah pipe, the 'diner' sucks in a puff of flavoured air which in essence is their 'meal'. Sort of like a culinary fart.

I think it would be a go-er.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

food obsession #1

Let me introduce you to one of my food obsessions...

BEHOLD! The humble doughnut (or in this case, 'donut')!

There are two genus of doughnut:

1) the iced and filled variety
2) the plain old 'hole-y', freshly fried cinnamon-sugar variety

The latter is by far my favourite. Perfectly simple, in all it's tooth-achingly-sweet-burn-the-roof-of-your-mouth-off glory. The fine specimen in the above photo was purchased from the Donut Inn, which has been a mainstay of the Adelaide Central Railway Station since I can remember. But then, I've noticed in my travels that the natural habitat for the doughnut stall seems to be railway stations.

Besides being fantastically unhealthy, cinnamon doughnuts are indiscrimnatory when it comes to the mess they make too. I have seen many a well dressed businessman in such a state of deep-fried sugary bliss, that they fail to notice that their doughnut has left a powdery finish over their Armani suit pants; something akin to a bad bout of confectionery dandruff. I wonder if whoever does their laundry tutts to themsevles when they turn the pockets of these pants inside out, and half a kilo of sugar dumps itself over the floor...
(Sort of like my daughter's socks after she's spent a day in the kindergarten sandpit.)

My final word on doughnuts is this - they are deceptively filling. This is why I greedily bought 3 today, and still have one left sitting in its paperbag. The question is, is it worth reheating the doughnut only to be left slighly disappointed by the inability to recapture the moment when it is fresh out of the fryer. The crisp edges are now soft, soggy. The sugar has soaked into the flaccid skin. No longer a luscious doughnut... more of a depressive dough-not.

NB: I make no excuses for bad food puns

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So, how to start... it's kind of like when you go to a new eatery for the first time. You're not quite sure where you should go, and you sort of mill around the entrance checking out the lay of the land. What sort of people eat here, what sort of food do they serve, how attentive are the staff, where the hell is the toilet... Sort of like a restaurant voyeur. A new blog is sort of the same: wondering what sort of people might frequent here, what I should write - being that I'll write most of these posts from home, I thankfully do know where the facilities are.

To give you a better understanding of what this blog is all about, I should probably fill you in on what has bought me here. I had long thought that I didn't have that much to contribute to the online community: I am neither a new dark age model or lolcat, Twitter seems pointless and the new Facebook scares the pants off of me. However, The Wife was insistant that I blog to the world. So what does one talk to the world about!? Then it became obvious... I like food. I like eating. In fact I've been involved with both for close on 34 years, so I feel I'm fairly knowledgable on such things. And so, OM-NOM-NOM was born. A blog where I will discuss food. I'm not talking about indepth, soul-searching, philosphical dissection on what food means to me. Nor self-important reviews on the latest and greatest restaurants. Just about food and how it fits in with my every day life... with possibly a few witty photographs of my cat (because let's face it, the internet is run on lolcats).

To get things started, I'm going to let you in on a freak-ish ability I have... my internal, food-seeking GPS. Like some crazy culinary sixth sense, I will finds you good foods. Monday (which was a public holiday), my spidey-senses told me that we must head south. So off we headed - The Wife and I - to the fast evolving new food-mecca of the south, Port Noarlunga. There, I honed in on The Fleurieu Pantry. A hidey-hole of a place at the end of a passageway, thick with beaded curtains. We sat amongst the antiques (of which many are for sale), wedged between a stone well and a bamboo screen in what feels like a cross between a flea-market and a summer-house. Sounds bizarre, but it works. And so does the food... sourdough rolls delicately spread with garlic butter, spinach and cherry tomato lasagne with a piquant spinach and rocket salad and dukkah chicken with all the trimmings. And although the meals did take a little while to come out, you have to take into account that the kitchen was pretty much a one-woman operation. Nom-factor of close to 5... but I'll let the photos speak for themselves:

Mini sourdough loaves - anything mini is immediately more appetising.

Spinach and cherry tomato lasagne

There just isn't enough purple food in the world as far as I'm concerned!

There isn't a lot of wine by the glass available - we went for the Leconfield Syn Cuvee Blanc - however what is available is good quality. The staff were incredibly friendly, despite being under the pump on a holiday-Monday which all together means that we will be returning soon to sample more of this amazing fare!

That evening, not to be outdone, I did actually cook up two monster steaks with mushroom sauce and lightly steamed asparagus....

And just to prove that I really did cook this meal... as well as prove that I really am a lush...

All class. And I wouldn't have it any other way!