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Food trips

Food trips

Harry’s Tiger

When I arrived in Australia, I noticed that rather than hotdogs, people here have meatpies at every corner. I haven’t tasted a meatpie at all so I was curious what kind of mystery meat concoction this was.

Now, I remember my Bourdain episodes well. I particularly remember that every time he visited Sydney, he always visited Harry’s. Harry’s has been around Sydney since 1945 and possibly the most notable ‘food truck’ Sydney has. ‘Food Truck’ because Harry’s doesn’t exactly move around as it used to, but it’s still physically truck-ish in nature. Harry’s has a pop-up diner feel to it. In fact, apart from the meat pies, they have the usual fare of hotdogs and rolls. But I suppose meat pies is much more loved in Australia hence it’s the specialty of Harry’s. In this case, their specialty was Harry’s Tiger.

Harry’s Tiger is a meat pie topped with mashed potatoes and peas. On top of this, they create a well where they pour in some gravy so that you can have a bit of everything in a mouthful. If Bourdain would feature this on every Sydney show, then it must be something awesome, if not, at least something interesting. I love mystery meats and fast food so I gave this Sydney institution a shot and ordered myself a Tiger.

It is surprisingly large than what I had expected. In fact, I didn’t expect to even finish it but it was so good that it did. I don’t bloody know what meat I ate but I love the flavors of the peas and potatoes sucking the juices from the gravy and the mystery meat pie. At the very least, I can say it’s a beefy flavor and is probably close to a stew. It wasn’t a completely awesome experience but it was a filling and enjoyable meal that I don’t mind eating this again should I be in Sydney. Next time, I’ll probably try the curry meat pie!

Food Food trips

Dinner for transients: Leura Garage

I’ve been avoiding restaurants in Australia because they are damn expensive. In Sydney, a restaurant can cost around $25-40 dollars on an average. Some even demand reservations. It’s crazy. Even New York is starting to look cheaper.

In Leura though, I had my worries that we would be out of a table for dinner because there was hardly any restaurant in the area. Fortunately, Leura Garage was open and they had a nice cozy space with awesome food at a reasonable cost. It’s actually a renovated garage opened up to curious transients like me. If there’s such a thing as clean grit, then I suppose this restaurant has it.

Parched from going around, my friends and I started with some drinks. I ordered a capirinha, a drink I had no idea how it tasted but the idea of cachaca, lime, and muscovado sugar delighted me immensely. I honestly haven’t tasted cachaca before but figured that what I don’t know won’t hurt me. And boy was it good. I could drink it everyday and never tire of it.

Choosing what to eat was a lot difficult because there were tons to order. We’d order everything but our stomachs had its limits. Considering our diets, we had an Ocean Board, a tray of seafood, then roasted heirloom vegetables, and some pork ribs. We thought it was a modest selection but wow… didn’t think we’d get a lovely treat for its price.

The Ocean Board arrives first and I started to hate the world. Just how can you eat Β such a beautiful platter of food? Seafood fresh and glistening, wobbling slightly at the slight nudge, an unexpected tease that we couldn’t resist. To this day, I still suffer thinking how awesome that food. If I wasn’t hungry, I would have savoured her more. Maybe sang songs and poems. Danced a little. Maybe treasured those flavours a little more in my mouth.

But just when I was letting that oyster slide in my mouth, here comes the pork with the roasted vegetables. Well… that’s another thing. The thing with pork ribs is that you expect it to have particular flavours. It isn’t exactly a barbecued rib, but the braise had enough tartness and sweetness that pork just makes me sing with joy. It also had bacon flakes on top. Not the bacos kind but paperthin bacon flakes. Or chip in this side of the world. It was such a harmony of flavor that I regret forgetting the Ocean Board.

Dinner at Leura Garage was a good introduction to the awesome food found in Blue Mountain. Not that I managed to taste others during my trip, but it’s set such a high standard that I’ll probably be expecting nothing but the best from other restaurants in the area.

 

Food Food trips Updates

Crocodile Burger at The Rocks

So my friend came over Sydney and we decided to hang around one afternoon around the harbour area.

By the time dinner came, it was hard for me to choose a restaurant because I realize that on Sundays, most restaurants close quite early in Sydney. So we chose a random restaurant at the Rocks which had the most Australian flavors I can imagine.

Now what makes Australian flavors? I have no bloody idea. Maybe it’s aboriginal food? It’s not like Master Chef has taught me to properly assess what makes Australian cuisine. If anything, it has shown me how diverse it has become. So to find an Australian restaurant was quite daunting.

As we sat down for dinner, we thought why not take something crazy, at least? That night, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a crocodile. They’re mean animals anyway. No one would cry if the world lost another croc. Maybe.

Anyway, we gave it a shot expecting a profound or new flavor or texture.

Instead, we got chicken. Croc tastes like chicken. Now I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to be but yeah… I guess we had higher expectations from a croc.

Food trips ramen no tabi

Third time lucky with Ramen Bar

It took a while for me to write this review because it was quite hard to assess my emotions with this restaurant. When it comes to talking about restaurants, I always have two reactions. First, the restaurant is great and this reaction is always something that’s clear to me after the first bite. Second, it’s horrible and it’s possibly something I’ll never recommend to friends or even spend some time writing about. Again, that’s a reaction garnered from the first bite.

Somewhere in the middle was this restaurant which everyone who had gone with me, and everyone who has blogged about it were singing praises for and for me… I just couldn’t seem to sing the same praises.

I’m not saying Ramen Bar is bad but if it claims to be an authentic Japanese ramen and put it against the best ramen in Japan, it’s not good enough to cause a Ramen boom.

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Food trips

A true New York bagel

I was never a big fan of bagels. Back when I worked in Starbucks, bagels were items that were thrown out of our pantry because they quickly grew stale. And by stale, I mean rock hard. I’ve had my fare of eating stale bagel and I swore I’d never touch the damn thing after 10 a.m. It would take more than the help of an article writing service to convince me then how awesome bagels can get! However, a trip to the Big Apple and a strong recommendation of a friend prompted me to give it a try — especially when she’s actually pimping me a Zagat approved bagel: the best in New York.

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Food trips

Thank you, Mr. Sugawara.

I first met Mr. Sugawara when he invited me to join them for a family dinner at Kikufuji. His daughter and I had been good friends by then and while our brand of fun seemed to have finished early (and they had room for one more) I would assume that he thought it was possibly nice to join them for dinner. What happened afterwards was a mouth-opening experience as he showed me a whole new flavor palette for Japanese food. Fresh fish, a great balance of rice, wasabi and vinegar makes amazing sushi. Of course, there was also balance in terms of textures, colors, and flavors that by the end of the evening, I could never imagine myself eating at any other Japanese joint.

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