Cheeseburger Gothic

Happy, happy hour

Posted May 23, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Who the hell am I kidding? They're all my favourites. Especially the one I'm live blogging right now, from the bar at Claret House while the kids knock over a music lesson. I'm drinking a mystery red, a weird Yarra Valley blend of sangiovese and sav blanc. Yep, the Britney Spears of the wine world. They snuck it past my guard. It smells a little rusty in the glass, but drinks dry and light. I'm thinking of having some pate with it and calling that dinner.

It's quiet here tonight, unusually, perhaps because of the cold weather closing in and keeping people inside. S'cool, more elbow room at the bar for me.

I was very happy in this bar in Sydney. Until Annabel Crabb told me I'd be having dinner with Bob Ellis later that evening.

I like this place for an escape from Planet Parenthood. It's friendly and reliable, and the food is a cut above your standard bar nosh. (Pork belly sliders for the win!) Some of the the burg's will know it from previous meet ups and we will undoubtedly meet her again in the future. I'm thinking of having my birthday here next year, but that's not what we're talking about.
Happy hour. Happy, happy hour.

It's a tradition that seems to be falling away in this fast paced go-go world of ours and that's a shame. I think it's still a thing in the US, because I've enjoyed a few very happy hours in this bar and that at the end of book tour days. San Francisco in particular seemed to be keeping the flame alive. The hotel I stayed in last time I was there on my own had the happiest hour of all. Free drinks for house guests! And not just the sloppy seconds from the previous night's unsold, oxidised rubbish either. They uncorked fresh bottles every day at five, show casing a flight of west coast wineries and providing a few nibblies to go with them.

Claret House, do their happy hour – half price drinks – on Wednesdays and Fridays. But the hour runs for two hours. Huzzah.

No trays of party pies or sausage rolls, however, which I recall from the pubs I rolled through in the 1980s. Man, when I found out they were serving food...

I guess the thing that makes it a bit spesh these days is the fact I can almost never get away from commitments and responsibilities for anything like an hour on any given day. I can always dream however, and I'm sure that some of you will have super secret knowledge of a happy hour I can dream of too
.

24 Responses to ‘Happy, happy hour’

alexmac puts forth...

Posted May 23, 2013

Ermagherd. I'm going to humbly put forward Boulder, Colorado as the world capital of happy hours. Every single bar and restaurant seems to have one. And we're talking serious deals - unlimited food, $1 beers - stuff like that. You're on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, there's craft beer - what more could you want? Oh, it's a college town and one of the fittest places in America, so the eye candy ain't bad either.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted May 23, 2013

That sounds like heaven on Earth.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted May 24, 2013

Boulder is a great place, one of my favorite American towns. Figure out a way to stop there, John. I know you. You will love it.

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alexmac mutters...

Posted May 23, 2013

Oh, and "Prairie Oysters"

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w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted May 23, 2013

I love a happy hour, particularly when they last for 2 hours.

Sauv Blanc. A few years ago, James Halliday wrote an article about S.B.
He said, he had been stunned when a favourite English wine writer mentioned in passing about S.B's well known ability to be be confused with Cabernet Sauvignon in blind tasteings.
!!!????!!
No, Mr Halliday couldn't credit it either.
So he got some mates together, did a proper blindfold tasteing of a selection of S.B.s and C.S.s.
He was shocked and a little embarassed to report that every judge got at least one wrong. Not always the same glass, but every judge called at least one glass incorrectly.
!!

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Bonneth reckons...

Posted May 23, 2013

The Pearl Resort in Fiji - Cocktails were 2 for 1 every 6pm -7pm. And they were already cheap (and 80% liquor). Oof!

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted May 23, 2013

Lordy!

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Spanner is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23, 2013

Wow. A happy hour? The Responsible Service of Alcoboozeamhol (RSA) has killed the happy hour in NSW.

I have fond memories of this mythical beast. Finding a quality pub with mates that isn't stupidly crowded for a cheap beer or 8 while the nibbles come and go. Sigh.

Me and my middle age shall go and get a glass of nostalgia out of that 2 day old oxidised bottle of red and sit down to chat with my imaginary friends on twitter.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23, 2013

I thought happy hour was if someone else was picking up the tab on the business account.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 23, 2013

That's A happy hour, not THE happy hour.

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Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23, 2013

Happy happy hour JB,

Lucky we don't build cars for a living.

Still there is a glut of Treasury money up for grabs now.

I'll split Ford's share with ya and we'll buy everyone in Austrayla drink.

Good time to set up a car plant in Brisneyland. They'll pay ya to do it JB!

Now what is a good name for an Aussie car? The 'Brisney' ?

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted May 23, 2013

I am puzzled why GMH has never put out a long, thin and whiny car and called it the Holden Caulfield.

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted May 23, 2013

w,

Me too. It would look great if the hood ornament was a rotating wire bookrack like you see at the airports.

Ooh and the radio would always play "What about me...it isn't fair..."

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tqft reckons...

Posted May 23, 2013

Once upon a time I used to work in Melbourne. Happy hour at the Someplace Else bar was 6pm-7pm. Working until 6 but on call needed to be logged on at 7. Snacks cheap drinks & free pool.

Later had to move office. There was a pub between office & underground station to get home on Spring St. Quite nice snacks as it was a bit of a posh pub.

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w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted May 24, 2013

My mate was in Las Vegas in about 1980. At one casino, I think Circus Circus, all drinks and all food were free all the time. And, they would give you a dollar for every hour you were there.
My mate said that there seemed no good reason to leave. It was a really good session. He didn't spend a cent and then collected his $24 on the way out.

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted May 24, 2013

I recall being happy for an hour once, in the 1980s, I believe. I had a really good baked dinner. Yeah, good times.

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Quokka asserts...

Posted May 24, 2013

They had happy hour at the REC club at James Cook Uni when I was there as a lass. I vaguley recall there were bands and I drank a lot of half priced cocktails invented by a gay friend called a Dirty MotherFKR. Four white spirits and a splash of orange juice in a 10 oz glass.

If only I could remember it.

BigWillieStyle mutters...

Posted May 24, 2013

Q, that reminds me of a lovely evening I had at the UQ Student's Rec Club back in the early 90s. Midweek night, there was a Guns &/or Roses cover band playing, and they were charging $2 for jugs of XXXX all night. Cheap piss, early-90s thrash metal, flanelette as far as the eye could see. A very Happy Hour Or Several indeed.

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Brother PorkChop would have you know...

Posted May 24, 2013

The Pullman Hotel Olympic Park Sydney has "corporate drinks" on Wednesday evening for inhouse guests. For us it turned into a 5 hour session with the hotel sales manager including a never ending stream of quite delicious snacks from the kitchen. And that was even before we got our bags to our rooms. We had to be "escorted" to our rooms post session as I couldn't even find the bloody lifts.

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Chaz has opinions thus...

Posted May 24, 2013

Yes really like the Claret House.

Most dissapointed in you drinkinga Sauv Blanc blend.

As any fool know the only acceptbale Sauv Blanc is Pouilly-Fume

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted May 24, 2013

I am tired of your hyperbole and outright lies. I am a fool and I didn't know that the only acceptable Sauv Blanc is Pouilly-Fume until just now. I thought Seresin Marama 2007 Marlborough is fairly good, but I'm certainly not a competent judge of such things.

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Kat puts forth...

Posted May 24, 2013

On our trip to Vietnam earlier this year we walked past a bar in Hoi An with a blackboard outside stating

"Happy Hour. 10am - 8pm"

AWESOME!!

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 24, 2013

Rofling now.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted May 24, 2013

One of the best threads about a Birmoverse ever. Not being a magic/orcs/dragons/wizards oeuvre fan I have litle to offer except I just hope that JB caps a few of those smug fucking hobbits.

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Respond to 'Happy, happy hour'

The top 50 BBQ joints in Texas.

Posted May 16, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Because (1) barbecue, (2) Texas, and (3) there are a coupla hundred Amercans roll thru here while the rest of us are abed.

They deserve this.

15 Responses to ‘The top 50 BBQ joints in Texas. ’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted May 17, 2013

Americans love to debate BBQ.

As we all know, Texas BBQ is just one of many styles of BBQ, and it is far from the best. Sure, Texans love it, but they are the most jingoistic bunch you'll ever meet - if the word "Texas" is associated with it, then they will fight to the death to defend its excellence. If the word "Texas" was associated with child molestation, Texans would argue vehemently that Texas style molestation is the biggest and best there is. Senator, back me up on this.

That said, Texas BBQ is fine, but, for my taste, Kansas City style is the best. Murph, back me up on this.

Murphy would have you know...

Posted May 17, 2013

Yep. KC's got it rockin' on the BBQ front. Don't let any Texicans or North Carolianan types lead you astray.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Texas Bob mutters...

Posted May 17, 2013

Everything in Texas is bigger than anywhere else. And Better. If you got it then we got it too and we got it bigger. That's the Texas way and anyone who thinks different can be killed by any mob that assembles around anyone who says anything bad about Texas. Thats legal in Texas. And Montana. But it is more legal in Texas.

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SenatorMckinneyTexas ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2013

I'd say that Texas Bob has it down pretty well and the effete Californicator is letting his state-envy issues get the better of him, which is entirely understandable and something that Texans expect and are ok with. And besides, Texas style pedophilia involves young goats and such and is therefore perfectly normal and natural.

As for the actual article, which is written in English and has polysyllables and whatnot and therefore may be confusing to those not-from-the-Great-State-of-Texas, I've eaten at Opie's in Spicewood and, even though it is IN Texas, it is not so much of a much. Luling City Market is the best I've had.

Given the popularity of and fascination with all things Texan and the world-wide envy of all non-Texans, maybe JB should post more often on this timely and eternal topic.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted May 17, 2013

How far is Luling City Market from your neck of the woods, Senator?

SenatorMckinneyTexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 18, 2013

2 hours, give or take, with a branch in Houston about 10 minutes from the office.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted May 17, 2013

Well, if it was elderly goats, that would be sort of icky, wouldn't it?

I feel I should have declared my conflict of interest. I am a certified KC BBQ judge. But I only got my certification because I thought it would be my ticket to free food.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted May 17, 2013

Deserve's Got Nothing To Do With It!

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted May 17, 2013

Jeebus I just heard the news about the tornadoes that tore through Texas. I hope all you BBQ enthusiasts and your loved ones are OK.

SenatorMckinneyTexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 18, 2013

East Texas got hammered. Bad stuff. Happens every couple of years, or a hurricane. Thanks for the thought.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2013

Aunty Q.

Word is that the tornaode was actually a djenie or malevolant spirit conjured by an ex-marine who learnt some of the dark ancient arts while stationed in Southern Iraq. He allegedly "crossed the streams" of a Middle East lamb marinade with a Texan dry rub. The resulting taste explosion was described as a tornado, but only as a result of the local paucity of vocabulary and the unwillingness to step outside the strict Judeo-Christian gestalt.

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Wayne swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 17, 2013

Complete and utter heresy. BBQ started in the southern delta. It's home is, and always has been, Memphis. This weekend the International BBQ Cooking Contest is being held in Memphis, as it has been for my entire life (37 years), bringing in competitors across the globe in a drunken orgy of BBQ and beer on the bluffs of the Mississippi.

If you haven't had Memphis BBQ, you haven't had BBQ. Everything else is just regional variations.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted May 19, 2013

For Kansas City style barbecue the best resource would have to be Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Episode covering the topic. Of course, he did more than just visit BBQ joints, he also hit The Savoy (meh, great place to get mugged) and sent his traveling companion, some Russian dude, to Stroud's.

Gates, where they scream, "HI, MAY I HELP YOU?" when you come through the door isn't bad once you get past that unpleasant bit of it. Certainly they do well with their sauces. Though personally, the Grand Master has to be Arthur Bryants, where the floor tries to grab the soles of your shoes. Some of the best ribs in town.

Not to be outdone is a newcomer, Smokin' Guns BBQ in North Kansas City (which would not exist at all in the post-Wave universe since it wasn't really a concern in 2003). They've just upgraded their digs and the ribs are first rate as well though they, for some strange reason, have their off days. Guy Fieri covered them in Diners, Drive Throughs and Dives.

Then there is Woodyard BBQ, over in Merriam, Kansas near the railroad tracks. You can buy your own wood there or you can stop in and sample their vittles. Excellent ribs to be had there and the beans are first rate.

Yeah, there are other places. You've got Jack Stack, which is okay but snobby down on The Plah-zah, which is pretty fair.

If one is up for a bit of a drive, heading out to Excelsior Springs for a night at The Elms Hotel (Truman was there in 1948) brings you within walking distance of Wabash BBQ. Set up in an old interurban train station, they've got blues every weekend during the summer and good vittles year round.

Ah, whatever you do, do not go to NYC for your BBQ (or your Mexican for that matter). If there are decent places in California for BBQ, I'm not sure where they are. They do many things well there but BBQ didn't seem to be on the list.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Dino not to be confused with swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 19, 2013

I was planning on going to Austin anyway.

Now'll looks like I'll mosey on over to Memphis then head towards Motown via Kansas City.

Dunno when but I plan to have a full report on your desks ASAP. I can't wait!

Oh to have the BBQ Reporter job or be a judge!

There is a career in journaism for me!

Dino not to be confused with ducks in to say...

Posted May 19, 2013

'Cept I cannot spell journalism!

Ditch diggin' here I come...

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Respond to 'The top 50 BBQ joints in Texas. '

The Oxford Street Tart

Posted May 11, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Hands up everyone whose mind went straight to the gutter. Right. Off to the naughty corner with you, because you do not deserve to enjoy this flaky, eggy little flavor bomb of goodness. My little friend here, the Portuguese custard tart from the Oxford Street Bakery is one of the reasons I get through so many podcasts and audiobooks. If you're going to cultivate a serious hungry for these things, and it's almost impossible not to, you’ll need to be spending some time on the treadmill too. These tarts are the preferred food of the blubber eel which is forever trying to take up residence around my tummy regions.

Two minutes of heady pleasure. Two hours of treadmill pain.

But, one caveat. It’s not really a Portuguese custard tart, is it? Not because it was baked about million miles from the monastery at Santa Maria de Belém, the spiritual home of the Pastel de Nata, but because it’s just all wrong. The pastry is wrong. The egg custard; wrong. The slightly burned skin which is the mark of a true nata? Not even there.

And yet… God help me, I have come to prefer these ones. The sweet, soft crust pastry has a much more predictable consistency and although it lacks the crunch of a properly executed Portuguese custard tart, nor does it suffer from the problems of inconsistency, irregularity and simple shoddy fucking pastry skills which so often ruin the experience elsewhere.

I love these things. They are my treat of the week. From Monday to Friday as I grimly mutter “No bakery treats no bakery treats, step away from the sweet treat cabinet you fool”, it is the prospect of inhaling one on the weekend which keeps me honest. I try to get there early enough to score one fresh from the oven, when they are at their best, with a thin skin barely holding in the gooey just set custard. With a strong coffee they are an almost perfect start to the day.

I’ve always been a fiend for custard tarts. My mother tells me I threw one of my greatest tantrums as a child when I was forced to abandon a half eaten tart to run for a bus, or something. The reason for the abandonment hardly matters, does it? It was principle of the thing.

I still love and appreciate a good, traditional stodgy Anglo tart, with the wide, almost biscuity base and a sprinkling of cinnamon, and I’ll always save room at Yum Cha for the Chinese version – of which there are two types, the Chinese of Macau being influenced by their former colonial overlords from… Portugal. But there is nothing to compare to having one small simple serving of custardy awesome in one hand, and a decent cup of java in the other.

54 Responses to ‘The Oxford Street Tart’

Nick is gonna tell you...

Posted May 11, 2013

As ever your blogging tool renders your fine prose almost unreadable in my RSS thing by inserting seemingly random characters. - you’ll - for example.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 11, 2013

That's tiresome. What kit are you using to access?

coriolisdave asserts...

Posted May 12, 2013

Dunno about Nick, but I'm seeing it on Google Reader (and TheOldReader, given GR's imminent demise). Have been meaning to mention it for a while.

Daniel Young has opinions thus...

Posted May 12, 2013

Same here in The Old Reader, very annoying. Probably the XML in the RSS feed is wrongly encoded.

Nick mutters...

Posted May 13, 2013

I'm on both Reeder on iPad and GR and old reader. Sometimes posts get too hard too read - which is a poor reflection on my attention span.

coriolisdave swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 16, 2013

And it's fixed! Awesomesauce!

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 16, 2013

I thought you were talking about your lack of custard tart.

coriolisdave puts forth...

Posted May 17, 2013

Alas, no. Every time I plan to get over to Bulimba I am stymied by the Spawn.

One day, though, they will be mine. Oh yes. They will be mine.

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Quokka puts forth...

Posted May 11, 2013

Yeah, they're good, but I can't get past the Oxford bakery without taking one of their orange & almond cakes with me. Although the lemon and polenta cakes are good too.

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Mark Duffett puts forth...

Posted May 11, 2013

Two minutes? If they're half as good as you say, I'd be eking it out for at least twenty.

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mondoworld reckons...

Posted May 11, 2013

I guess a worldy gent such as yourself is fully across the Yum Cha warmed custard tart of the type scoffed by the thousand in Fortitude Valley...

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 11, 2013
They the place with the deli out back? Some decent cacciatore to be had there.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 11, 2013

Nah, that'd be Sugo Mi you're thinking of I reckon. Quite decent pizzas. In fact between the two of them and Sushi Mura that pretty much covers your only choices on that strip.

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DrYobbo puts forth...

Posted May 11, 2013

Not a big sweet tooth, but that could convince me to change my ways. About to crack into a pork pie from Who Ate All The Pies, who do excellent work in these parts.

HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted May 11, 2013

chocolate éclairs are her go Doctor!

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted May 11, 2013

Custard, custard, custard.
Bee Sting cake!!!! Yum, yum, yum, yum. yum.

Aaaarggh!! Stop thinking!

.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted May 11, 2013

Oh that looks good. I, too, have a weakness for egg custard pastries. And I simply love the Chinese restaurant version.

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Therbs reckons...

Posted May 11, 2013

Portuguese bakery in Bondi Junction does a very tasty rendition. Coffee is drinkable as well.

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Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted May 11, 2013

Just back from the markets with a couple of salted caramel tarts, some little rum babas and some half and half canolis. Sadly I have to share them and there were no other little tarts there. Except this one who was straddling her bf under the lighthouse . . .

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damian would have you know...

Posted May 11, 2013
Ah well I'm sipping wine to recover from my breakfast not so much of champions, but rather of ruthless hereditary-dictator overlords. This involved turkish buns of the kind that resemble a miniature ciabatta, dijon mustard, leftover salad with garlic-and-yogurt sauce from last night, also leftover "steakette" hamburgers, sliced in half so as to be half rather than inch thick, and slices of a light rennet-free cheese - all grilled (broiled) slowly to warm through the leftovers.

One day this balance between exercise and diet will work out, some way or other.

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Bunyip has opinions thus...

Posted May 11, 2013

If any of you are down here in Bushrangeryland, don't go to the Wesley Hill Bakehouse in Castlemaine.They only make so many baked custard tarts a day, and I don't want to miss out because of you.... itinerant pastry scoffers.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted May 12, 2013

Oh, I can't have one? You're trying to discourage me from getting one? Then I must have one.

It is the American way. I'm not kidding. It is a cultural trait to want desperately what someone discourages you from having and to strive to do whatever someone recommends you avoid.

Bunyip asserts...

Posted May 12, 2013

Oh, PNB. That was just directed at the riff raff from Queensland. We will happily take your foreign currency down here. Tourism dollars yadda yadda...

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JP swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 11, 2013

Remember I said we should do a panel at this year's brissie writers fest about explodey-end-of-the-world stories? Fuck that - let's just sit at this place for an hour and smash these tarts. Like, every one they have. what's the worst that will happen - your eel will turn into the pacific rim? Ye gods...

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drej is gonna tell you...

Posted May 11, 2013

Only time I'll go anything custard is when its brandy-infused and accompanied by whipped cream on a christmas pud. Otherwise, meh.

But have always been a sucker for a good cream filled apple turnover. Yet to find a really good one in Qld.

tqft asserts...

Posted May 11, 2013

I have been sampling the wares from Bumblebee Bakery in Runcorn where the aforesaid apple turnover with cream has been spotted, bought and consumed on a few occassions to repeat the taste tests for science.

Mmmm science.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted May 12, 2013

Our lives are so different, drej. Whereas you havent found a good cream filled apple turnover, I have never encountered a bad one anywhere, Queensland notwithstanding, and I suspect I never will.

drej is gonna tell you...

Posted May 12, 2013

tqft, Bumblebee you say. I shall check this out, thank you.

Paul, I am new to Qld, given time and a lot of research, I hold high hopes of finding the perfect turnover...

Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 13, 2013

You cannot go past a good snot block. Brisbane is a little short as far as I have found but Acland Street St Kilda is snot block heaven.

Lulu would have you know...

Posted May 13, 2013

Brother Porkchop, Acland Street is heaven for all sorts of sweet reasons more exotic than a vanilla slice. Particularly cheese cake, and the pastries with poppy seed filling. Or that cake which combines cheesecake *and* a poppy seed layer ... please excuse me while I drool like Homer Simpson.

Brother PorkChop asserts...

Posted May 14, 2013

Quite true, Lulu but vanilla slice is a good start. I have have the most divine rum baba there as well.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 11, 2013

I knew you meant food, but then I was with you in NYC with the Blueberry drenched Cheesecake of Doom at Carengie Deli.

Tarts are hard to come by in KC, pastry or otherwise. On the other hand, some very fine croissants and quiche can be had at Le Monde Bakery in North Kansas City (yes, from the Without Warning trilogy). I'm partial to the apple crossiant myself. Cindy prefers the quiche. Strangely enough, it is a French-Vietnamese establishment which also serves things with curry in it for lunch.

As for other fine dessert type foods, one probably should visit Aixois in Crestwood (a very small, very snotty, very old neighborhood near UMKC) for their Creme Brulee, which is definitely worth committing a homicide or three over.

Tarts, sadly, are hard to come by.

Or with, for that matter.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted May 12, 2013

Not strange at all. Before the US, the French were mucking about in Vietnam, and they adopted French cooking techniques as well as French food itself. I am willing to bet real money that John, while in Vietnam, could have found a great coq au vin. It doesn't surprise me that your local Vietnamese restaurant makes a good breakfast quiche. I don't eat quiche for fear of appearing gay. Not that there's anything wrong with it. It's just that if people believe you are gay they also expect you to be more stylish, and that just isn't me.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted May 12, 2013

Not only found one, I ate it all by myself.

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted May 12, 2013

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

With apologies to W. H Auden. Kim Than's the Vietnam/French bakery in SthBrisbane has closed. No breakfast ever will be as good, now Those spicy pork buns in Le pastry will never be again.

With similar, but obverse heritage I bring to your attention Domaine de Canton. A spectacular cocktail ingrediant liquor that is brewed in France with Ginger appropriated from the Indochine. Slightly fkn AWSM.

Anthony reckons...

Posted May 14, 2013

The French/Vietnamese connection... It is claimed that Ho Chi-Minh trained for a time in Paris as a pastry cook under Escoffier .

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 11, 2013

Could more attention be paid to making the crust and tart more symetrical in appearance? Is the radius of the tart consistent from week to week? There is a much more subline beauty in the mathematics of the shape then in any prepared sweet.

Paraphrasing Dr Carl Sagan ..if If you wish to make a Portuguese custard tart from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted May 12, 2013

If tart radius is subject to change, then I would suspect being cheated or, at the very least, my snack would be ruined by intrusive thoughts questioning my decision (e.g., "you didn't pick the biggest one, idiot; the ugly bloke with the bow tie picked it, and now is eating your tart; YOUR tart; you should walk over there and grab it; and then run..." and so on). I hate when that happens.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted May 12, 2013
Brother Bunyip you Will regret that. The USAnians are bandits for a little extraterritorial take away. To demonstrate, let’s just take the first ten years of the previous century.

1900 – China. The Boxer Rebellion was about Yum Cha, not about “protect foreign lives during the Boxer uprising” as the justification was put about later.

1901 –Panama. Keeping the canal open to permit speedy delivery of nomables from east to west & vice versa.

1902 – Colombia. – Aijiaco a chicken soup with avocado & cream

1902 – Colombia - Repeat of 1902 & tostadas.

1903 –Honduras A trader @ Puerto Cortes refused to give over the recipe for his marinade used in his special Pinchos Americanos, so the gringos invaded. Seemed reasonable at the time.

1903 – Dominican Republic. “To protect American interests in the city of Santo Domingo” = Access to Pasteles en hojas.

1903 – Syria. Known as the first Kebab war. Allegedly after a lot of beer it seemed like the best idea since sliced baklava

1903–04 – Ethiopia. Coffee

1904 – Dominican Republic. Again

1904 – Tangier, Morocco. Lamb.

1904 – Panama. See 1901

1904–05 – Korea. A Mistake. The DoD thought that it was Thailand and they wanted to safeguard supplies of curry puffs & cuttlefish balls.

1906–09 – Cuba. United Fruit Co.

See a pattern forming?

damian mutters...

Posted May 12, 2013

Brecht innit? Grub first, then ethics.

Bunyip asserts...

Posted May 13, 2013

NBlob, they have already been here, and gone.

Within 20km of where I live is an American Hill, California Gully and Jim Crow Creek. And very few Americans. We are the Antipodian Borg; we assimilated them all.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted May 13, 2013

Damian - I don't know Brecht beyond sitting through the Caucasian Chalk Circle and imagining I was somewhere else. But I do know that Goethe called for "more light" so that he could better appreciate what he was eating.

Bunyip - you will never assimilate me, mate.

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Quokka mumbles...

Posted May 12, 2013

Nup. Paniyiri is on next weekend in Brisvegas, PNB. At which point the entire city will turn out in Musgrave Park to enact your philosophy and swill ouzo slurpees.

too bad you aren't here to partake of the madness.

Yassou!

damian mumbles...

Posted May 12, 2013

I celebrated Paniyiri early by making a killer yogurt and garlic sauce to go with green salad and BBQ chicken thighs for Ildi, hamburger "steakettes" on turkish buns for me, Friday night.

Brother PorkChop has opinions thus...

Posted May 13, 2013

Mmmmm.... honey puffs.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted May 13, 2013

Auntie Q: I wish I were there to partake in the neo helenic madness. I am willing to bet real money that I could and would be intrumental in redefining the madness. Yassou bravo!

Damian or Aunti Q (or Greybeard, for that matter): Please life an ouzo slurpee high and say very loud "for Prof. Boylan!" before attempting to drink it all in one go. Do that for me. I don't care if you succeed. The attempt is enough.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 15, 2013

So I here that Paniyiri is run by Channel Seven these days. Apparently there will be celebrity honey puff eating contests full of Channel Seven "celebrities". I'm afraid my intinctive reaction to this year's Paniyiri therefore is want to nuke the site from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted May 13, 2013

So sorry. "life" = "lift." It is Mother's Day here in seppoland, and I've been drinking mimosas with the mother of my only son, and, consequently, my cognative - if not mechanical - skills are compromised. And it feels great. Fuck typographical errors.

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted May 13, 2013

Hell yeah, happy Mothers day to all the mothers out there.

NBlob mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2013

?I may be a one trick pony, but its a great trick; buy 2 kilos of the best prawn I can find & 2 bunches of flowers, divide into two equal parts, deliver one to my mum and one to SWMBO. Walk away feeling insufferably smug.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2013

A fragrant gift.

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2013

NBlob often carries a packet of prawns around, sometimes for several days at a time. There are those who say that it's an improvement.

damian mutters...

Posted May 14, 2013

On the actual morning, Woollies in Ipswich had bunches of chrysanthemums for $5 each (ie, half price), so I bought all they had left. We ended up splitting this 5 ways, because sometimes that's the right way for it to be.

Prawns, however, are a gift that keeps giving long after the event.

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Pig Night Out

Posted May 4, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a pack of hefty blokes in possession of a good appetite must be in want of a pork fest. Unconscionably protracted in the planning, painfully abridged in the execution, our night of the suckling pig drew together such a team of these greedy yahoos that its like will ne’er be seen again.

The Night of the Pig was a mission from God. A magnificent obsession. Out there with mad Cap’n Ahab’s hunt for the great white whale or the Man of La Mancha’s crazed charges against enemy windmills. And Don Quixote de la Mancha is no gratuitous classical reference cast like a cultured pearl before you beery swine. Well, actually it is. But it segues really nicely into a consideration of Don Quixote’s House of the Suckling Pig, the centre of the pork-loving universe. Familiar to generations of Sydney movie-goers through its cheap, scratchy, Whitlam-era cinema ads.

The Don caught my eye when some pompous twit of a food critic swanned through to nickel and dime the joint to death. As if I give a fuck about the lack of radicchio and tiramisu. For me, the kicker from that review was the clear impression given that these guys could supply you with more pork than you could possibly eat.

Oh baby, I salivated quietly, racking gut cramps here I come.

My original plan called for twelve good men and true to repair to the The Don’s place to stuff themselves insensible on hot, salty pork while drinking so much Mexican beer that someone would accidentally get a tattoo and join the merchant navy And with but one exception every red-blooded son of Anzac I approached felt as I did, to the universal horror of their girlfriends and heart surgeons, whose eyes bulged at the thought of them gorging on pork until they could gorge no more.

Their neediness was even a little scary. One, a lawyer for a multinational arms conglomerate, suggested hiring a private room where we could eat naked whilst dusky serving wenches scurried hither and yon with tape measures to track the expansion of our waistlines: first to enlarge himself by 20 per cent to win.

As word spread through the city hopeful pig brothers appeared from all corners wanting a piece of the action. Captain Barnes, flew up from Melbourne, avowing that he wouldn’t be happy until his fingertips turned grey from restricted blood circulation due to the massive quantities of hog fat congealing in his bloodstream. Sadly we were to be undone by our own appetites.

Meeting in the Century Tavern above Hungry Jack’s in George Street, we discovered that despite brave words to the contrary the women in our lives had not organised some counter pig night (or Teste-Fest ’98 as one dubbed it). A picnic at Shakespeare in the Park had been mooted. Or a Jane Austen video binge. But despite the tantalising prospect of organising five or six bloke-free hours together at that stupid, interminable Cloud Street play, nothing transpired. After copious hits off the Tooheys Old taps we all agreed this had something to do with girls not being good at sums.

While these weighty deliberations took place, yon editor and photographer inspected the facilities. A couple of thin tweedy-looking college boys – looked like a good fuck and some pork crackling might be the end of them–they were escorted through the voluminous kitchens by Manuel, who’s been with the restaurant for about three hundred years. They were introduced to our own specially selected porker, procured from a secret alpine breeding station, the source of The Don’s succulent white meat for three decades.

All around them other little piggies lay happily marinating in their trays or slowly roasting in the ovens, a process which can take up to six hours. Manuel became very excited by the prospect of another magazine review. His only other brush with fame was a cover story in something like Pig Breeders Monthly, a long time ago. The details are a little hazy due to many schooners of Tooheys Qld warring with the San Miguels I switched to on arrival, the chewy over bite of a cold San Mig being the only possible consort to such a repast.

With the team finally in place at the bar, our sixteen big men blocked all access to and from the body of the restaurant, drawing worried glances from the wait staff and other diners. The Don’s place presented a little like the flagship outlet of an upmarket Alamo-themed restaurant chain; lots of weathered oak and brick and, in the bar, what looked like a couple of wooden cannon bookends untainted by the merest hint of irony. It was the perfect site for an all male meat fest, but I gotta say we didn’t understand all the couples who kept arriving for what were obviously to be romantic dinners. The presence of those few Asian tourists still standing after the regional financial meltdown had sent their tinpot economies back to wholesaling sacks of guano and betel nuts was understandable. They were here by mistake. But surely the locals should know better?

Maybe it had something to do with excellent dating facilities; specifically, The Don’s dance floor on which riotously tipsy thick-waisted hipsters punished the macarena while Zorro’s great-grandson tickled the synth with all the dexterity which his famous forebear deployed in carving his mark into the chests of California’s avaricious landowners.

Waiters who hovered with offers of garlic prawns were dismissed to the kitchens with stern orders to start bringing the carcasses and to keep bringing them until our corrupt and bloated bodies lay groaning on the floor, covered in a thick greasy sheen of glistening lard and faintly creaking as the monstrous volume of meat pressed against straining ribs and taut belly skin.

I don’t think they knew what they were dealing with.

Piles of warm crusty bread rolls arrived but any of the eager juveniles who reached for them were quickly smacked back into line. A big trap for young players. Save space for the pig. The first pig which arrived was laid on the table and I do not exaggerate when I say that its bones had been sucked clean before the somewhat superfluous vegetables arrived two minutes later.

It was around about this point that Manuel, who had previously been the very picture of a genial host, became worried.

‘More pig! More pig!’ we cried. More plates arrived and were cleaned off with ferociously efficient despatch. ‘Ha ha,’ laughed Manuel nervously. ‘We normally get romantic couple in here. They don’t eat so much.’

‘More pig! More pig!’ we cried.

The waiters eyed each other anxiously and began to back away from the table. The horrible truth began to dawn on me. A special alpine breeding station. Six-hour cooking time. A restaurant full of diners all tucking into their meals while we denuded the bar.

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

They were short of pig. Or, more likely, they had enough pig for a normal night but this was most assuredly not a normal night.

All joking aside Manuel,’ muttered Robbie, ‘where’s the rest of the pig, man?’

They were sweating by now. We suggested they might care to scrape the plates of the other diners whose eyes had proven too big for their bellies. I don’t know whether they did this but we were about to do it ourselves when a few more plates turned up.

And in defence of The Don let me say that this was magnificent pig. The best any of us had ever tasted. So keen was Adam Spencer for a few more scraps of its golden goodness that he and Barnes picked clean the skull of the first beast Manuel had laid before us. Eyeballs and all.

But… They were short of pig. We had broken them.

As we spilled out onto George Street a raucous argument broke out over whether we should head back to the Century to drown our sorrows and fill the empty spaces in our pig-loving hearts with Tooheys Old, or whether we should go to Hungry Jack’s first.

I think you all know which option we chose.

19 Responses to ‘Pig Night Out’

DrYobbo ducks in to say...

Posted May 4, 2013

Loved this when I first read it - think this opened Off One's Tits didn't it? Have eaten at said questionable Spanish joint myself, after inadvisable numbers of schooners at what I think is currently the 3 Monkeys across the street.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted May 4, 2013

It did. I think it originally appeared in Ralph. They sent three or four of us out on epic meat challenges. One guy had to eat a whole camel haunch.

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 4, 2013

I'm sorry, but talking about pork and not mentioning the German Club in the first few lines made me skip the article... :P

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted May 4, 2013

Quite right, Damian. As the sign out the front says,
"Brisbane's best pork knuckle".

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted May 4, 2013

Twas indeed a magnificent pig, but all in all it was still only ONE GODDAMN PIG!

Have sought to lure JB to the famous Vlados in Melbourne for a similar meat fest.

One day perhaps.

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Abe Frellman ducks in to say...

Posted May 4, 2013

Vlados is on my bucket list. But first I need to drop another 30 kgs or it will kill me.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 5, 2013

Maybe we should think about a Vlados meet up?

Barnesm asserts...

Posted May 5, 2013

oh hella yeah click here

simon bedak puts forth...

Posted May 5, 2013

Yes. Vlados.

simon bedak is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2013

Yes. Vlados.

simon bedak mutters...

Posted May 5, 2013

...and no chicks.

sibeen would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2013

I haven't been to Vlados for about 10 years (sob). This does need rectification.

Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2013

I remember this tale of pig. It made me hungry and has done so again.

Vlados? In Sydney we have heard of this legend. Apparently it has its own coronary ward replete with brand new hearts, top notch transplant specialists and wonderful nurses. I once asked a patron of Vlados about the experience. He cried tears of remembered joy, grabbed me by the lapels and in that fierce voice adopted by religious fanatics, made me promise to go there. I have yet to fulfil my sworn commitment.

Dilph reckons...

Posted May 6, 2013

Ooooh. Only done Vlados once (I don't count the time I went and they weren't doing the meat platters, for obvious reasons). I recall leaving splendidly sated, and thankful for our vegetarian designated driver...

Another worthy meatfest in sunny Melbs is Jim's Greek Tavern - the most surly, uncommunicative waitstaff outside of Greece, but the souvlaki platters... oh, the souvlaki platters. And the saganaki!

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2013

We need one of these in the U.S. ... Boylan, Murph, McKinney, myself. Somewhere in the heartland. Yeah. I know people that hunt feral pigs. Genius, we shall do it in Atlanta. In the shade of Kennesaw Mountain amidst the ghosts of Union and Rebel soldiers.

I decree that this shall happen. So swear I in the memory of Atlanta's Scarlett O'Hara, "If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness,we well eat pig together as men."

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2013

"I'm very drunk and I intend on getting still drunker before this evening's over."

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Brother PorkChop is gonna tell you...

Posted May 6, 2013

Mmmmm.... piiiiiggggg. Geat way to start the week.

I love pig in all its grilled, smoked, braised, roasted, schnitzled, luaued forms. And my eldest is a pig farmer so I get the inside story, and back copies of various pig industry magazines.

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Lulu reckons...

Posted May 6, 2013

"As regularviewers of this show would know, it's not a party until somebody kills a pig." (Anthony Bourdain, 'No Reservations')

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Spicy beef noodle soup, Viet Hoa

Posted May 4, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

There are some places you end up eating the same dish over and over again. Might not even be the stand out feed on the menu. Might be that you alone have trouble getting past this one particular item. Used to be a place up on the north coast did an amazing flash fried spanner crab omelet. They could have just called themselves 'That Omelet Place'. A lot of folks never get beyond the ragout at Enoteca, or the ribs at Crosstown. When I still lived in Darlinghurst, my then girlfriend used to ring Kim Le, a Vietnamese restaurant, every night when she got home from work.

"Hi Kim, it's Heather. Can you send us dinner now?"

And a guy would arrive at the front door fifteen to twenty minutes later with the same order, every night. (Ginger chicken, chili fish, steamed rice, and beef with mushrooms, for the dog).

There's a place in West End, called Viet Hoa, where I never seem to get past the spicy beef noodle soup. It's not that the rest of the menu sucks. Viet Hoa is the goods, and whenever you walk in at least half the customers there are ethnic Vietnamese, which is always a good sign. I first went with young Sam Watson, the poet, shortly after he'd won the David Unaipon Award, and I've always been grateful to Sammy for dragging me into a joint I wouldn't otherwise have bothered with.

It's an unremarkable sight from the footpath. A small corner store, some pot plants to protect a clutch of outside tables. Shiny white tiled floor, in that SE Asian style. Waving cat thingy on the counter. A mix of familair Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, and a bunch of mystery picks. Just one of dozens of nosheries in that part of town.

Ah, but the spicy beef noodle soup. 'Tis a wonder. Worth the drive across the southside for me. It's the master stock that powers this dish, a deep, earthy blend that's been closely guarded by the owner's family for many years. Possibly generations. As you can see from the happy snap there is a generous balance of colour and texture, with lashings of greens as an option for those who swing that way. The beef is soft and falls apart on the tongue, a few spiced chicken dumplings surprise when they pop out from under a basil leaf. The noodles are springy and the chili just the right side of ringing the fire alarm.

But it's the stock which carries this dish. If you're in the mood for hot-n-spicy soup and you're over West End way, you know what you have to do.

39 Responses to ‘Spicy beef noodle soup, Viet Hoa’

damian asserts...

Posted May 4, 2013

Ben's on Annerly Rd is still our favorite of favorites, after maybe 15 years. We stretch to a noodle soup regular order or a mains regular order, depending on the time of year, mood, and how the fuck we ended up over that side of town in the first place -- after all since moving to the horth side 6 years ago we've had Ben's just a couple of times, the most recent only since Ildi started working at the Mater.

Anyhow, for the regular mains, Ildi gets the chicken with ginger and shallots, and I get the pork fat ho. Or actually ho phan, but my version is more descriptive and accurate. We used to always do the noodle soups though. This is a place where if you get noodle soup to take away, they lovingly package the solid ingredients and the broths separately, and also give you a bag full of been shots and lemon wedges. You then combine the ingredients in your own noodle soup bowls at home, a compulsory item for this process. I would typically get the combination long and short noodle (ie, egg noodles and wontons) soup with cha siu, Ildi would get the chicken shredded-bean-noodle soup. This is still even now stunningly affordable, so much so that even as a student it wouldn't have had to be that rare a treat.

w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted May 4, 2013

Come on, Damian. You really go to Ben's for the karaoke.

damian mumbles...

Posted May 4, 2013

Yeah well you know w, one man's pho is another man's ramen

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 4, 2013

Oh, that Ben's. Man, I disgraced myself at a karaoke night there once. All I remember is the horrified faces of the diners. Not the food.

damian mutters...

Posted May 4, 2013

Dude the food there is awesome. I recommend the pork phat ho.

w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted May 4, 2013

Serena Wiliams went to Ben's in January this year after she won the local tennis tourney. She sang Elton John's ''Your song" with some drunk (no offence intended).

And as the story goes...
At one stage they played Gold Digger by Kanye West and when he sings the lyric 'she gonna have an ass like Serena' the whole room erupted in cheers and wolf whistles.

Another magic Ben's karaoke moment.

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Natscanner would have you know...

Posted May 4, 2013

This is my favourite soup. I struggle to order anything else in my favourite Vietnamese joints. Love.

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John Lees ducks in to say...

Posted May 4, 2013

Any serious appreciation of Vietnamese food requires travelling to Inala. Being the dumping ground *cough* melting pot of migrants that it is means awesome food for not much money. Eat pho or a vermicelli salad and buy asian groceries, all in one convenient location.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 4, 2013

True. There was a legendary duck restaurant out there I once heard tell of. Nothing but duck.

Bangar mumbles...

Posted May 4, 2013

Maybe Simon's Peking Duck Restaurant next time your down, it is in Box Hill though (short walk from the station, waddle back)

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 4, 2013

Reminds me that Sun Fay in Taringa (of all places) had a great cold cut chicken. I recall at least a couple of times we were eating in there and Ildi ordered that, the manager can running out with "most westerners don't like that, are you sure you know what it is" and concerns of a similar nature. So after we've given reassurances we're quite aware of that and please, we'd be most happy to trust their chef's judgement but maybe give us an extra serve of minced garlic to go with it if it's that much of a worry, etc, etc. Damn fine dish too, especially with a bit of good quality soy and a lot of minced garlic.

Asia House in the Valley, of course, have cold cut duck. Which is why I thought of it... and which is very very good.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 4, 2013

I used to live just up the hill around the corner from Sun Fay. The Tassie Babes house. Never ate there. Why would I when there was a disgracefully cheap chinese take away even closer to home. Up part Dos Amigos. (Another venue where I can no longer tread. This time due to dope fueled hilarity).

Forget the name of the Chinese takeaway. It may have been eponymous. But I do remember its most famous regulars. Tony Fitzgerald and his bodyguards.

damian reckons...

Posted May 4, 2013

Yeah I had figured that about that house. Over the top of Swan Road, and actually the intersection where there's absolutely no way to see who is coming when you want to turn right, so if that's what you are doing you have to be sure you have reached whatever understanding you need to with your creator, saviour or dog.

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damian asserts...

Posted May 4, 2013

Meskin place in Targina haz always bin teh awesome and stuffs

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Abe Frellman puts forth...

Posted May 4, 2013

Pho Phu Quoc aka 'Phuc Right Off' in Dickson does awesome special beef pho. Worth a try when next in our nation's craptapital.

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted May 4, 2013

I always loved Phuc Quiu in Dickson, just around the corner from the Asian Noodle House

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Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted May 4, 2013

Don't mind Huong's in West End but must try Viet Hoa soon. Going through Mitcham on the train, we can see a place called Hiep Phat. I want to eat there.

damian mumbles...

Posted May 4, 2013

Is the Kim Tanh still going on Hargrave Rd? One of the most important restaurants in my nascent understanding in the 80s... and also the location of one of Ildi and my first dates...

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 4, 2013

Don't think so.

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 4, 2013

No. Kim Thanh is gone (sniff, sniff). Now Linh's restaurant.
Not the same.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted May 4, 2013

This is (*cracks knuckles*) disappointing.

Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted May 4, 2013

Kim Thanh was great. Many crowded nights.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted May 4, 2013

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal that GreyBeard was stooging around with Uncle Ho the evening before the famous French loss of Dien Bien Phu. The story goes that a Gravely mis-informed Garçon tried to palm off some two day old bread as today's early bake on chau GreyBeard. In a fit of pique he then showed Uncle Ho the dream of artillery all observation posts. A little spot that overlooked the teachers college's showers.

damian mutters...

Posted May 4, 2013

Yeah if there wasn't a hald decent pho, I'm not interested.

Darth Greybeard mumbles...

Posted May 4, 2013

All wrong as per usual. Ho had developed a fantastic French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine while in Paris. Information may have been exchanged between the Ca Hap and the Sup Do Bien but after the third bottle of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle I can't really be sure.

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damian would have you know...

Posted May 4, 2013

Medium thread hijack:

"So every time the Nazis did publicly organize since then, I was there to oppose them, not with the force of my intellect but with the strength of my fists."

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2009/winter/a-jew-in-prison#.UYS8_7Vmh8F

NBlob asserts...

Posted May 4, 2013

Nice one Mr D.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted May 4, 2013

"There is no question in my mind that the Nazis ultimately backed down at the last minute not because they were put off by the Skokie City Council when it hastily enacted an ordinance preventing the march, nor because the Anti-Defamation League made the Nazis "irrelevant" by advising people to ignore them, nor because the ACLU helped the Nazis "make their point" that free speech is allowed and this made the march moot. Rather, it was because they were afraid of the Jewish and other anti-fascist demonstrators who organized against them and made it clear that they were going to offer armed resistance."

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Bunyip puts forth...

Posted May 4, 2013

Kim Le... was that on Bourke Street, up near Taylors Square?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 4, 2013

No, Darlinghurst Road, down from Coluzzis

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 4, 2013

My mum took me to a place called Afri-lanka on Oxford St just down from Taylor Square some time in the early 80s. She loved it, however given that even the deserts had at least a handful of chillies, it was a bit interesting for 12 year old me

I would not expect it's still there...

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted May 4, 2013

I think a pr0n shoppe replaced it.

damian mutters...

Posted May 4, 2013

I've no doubt.

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Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 4, 2013
That's ok then.

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yankeedog ducks in to say...

Posted May 4, 2013

Do they deliver to Illinois? Best we can do is Pasteur, or Le Mekong. Le Mekong is pretty darned good-recommended for anyone in the Quad Cities (which actually consists of five cities) up here in the anterior, er, interior, of Septicland (TM).

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Daniel Young puts forth...

Posted May 4, 2013

Ahh Bún bò Hu?!

You've made me miss Brisbane and West End.

Yes, we have Cabramatta down here, but who can be bothered? Waaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Phil has opinions thus...

Posted May 5, 2013

My Sydney picks were always Pho Pasteur on George st haymarket and Pho An in Bankstown. Massive temple of a joint with 100+ seats and 8 things on the menu. Brilliant.

Daniel Young mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2013

Thanks Phil :) Been to Pasteur, but will have to head to Bankstown sometime.

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The Beers of Summer

Posted April 28, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Made the mistake of taking a dip in the pool after my morning workout the other day. The first time I'd done so in about a fortnight. Neither I nor the brass monkey will be doing that again until the end of the year. The first chill winds are nipping at the mornings and it won't be long now before I switch from beer and champagne to red wine.

I recall writing something for Blunty at the start of summer, my annual beer blog, about cheapies if I recall. It was a popular post, as those beery ones always are, but I scored more than the usual fee and the social meeja lovin' from it. A day or two after publication a six pack arrived from the venerable gents of the Burleigh Brewing company. Perhaps because I'd mentioned my fondness for one of their headline brews.

Big Head.

I'd been drawn to it by the artwork on the label. Yes, that shallow. But stayed for the no carb promise. To quote Leonardo Di C in Django Unchained, "You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention". One of the reasons I dont drink much beer is the carb content. A couple of stubs can quickly negate all of my gym work for a day.

Anyway, this summer, I downed more than a few Bigheads without noticable waistline issues, and knocked over a couple of their other tipples for variety. I think Hef, an antipodeon wheat bier, was my second fave, with the '70s style' pale ale, '28' coming in a close third.

I'm also still inching through a mixed carton of James Squire's porters and Amber Ales, left behind after an easter weekend family bbq, which I missed through being in Perth. The remaining porters I'll probably keep for winter, because they go so well with roast pork. The Ambers I quite liked, but once they're gone I'll probably revert to Big Heads for my winter beer needs, which are admittedly modest.

23 Responses to ‘The Beers of Summer’

HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted April 28, 2013

YEAH...the PORTERS are FKN AWESOME..and why wouldnt thye be!

Snagged a slab of BROO BEER the other week, being retailed don here...not bad, its certainly not a lager like Crownies and they aint me fav anyways. Been doing the six pack test thing, I have about 30 beers in the fridge that OTHER people can drink cos I think they are SHIT though.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted April 28, 2013

I've become a local beer snob after drinking a bit too much of the Boulevard Brewing Company's Wheat and 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat Beers. Another good summer beer is the mass produced, far more commercial Dos Equis Lager.

That said, most folks throw a lemon into their Wheat Beer. For the love of fucking all that is Holy, why? Haven't they been briefed on the Man Law concerning fruit 'n beer.

Or beer consumption via straw for that matter? Birmo, I'm looking at you, sir.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted April 28, 2013

With a mouth full of painkillers it was drink it thru a straw or not at all.

HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted April 28, 2013

you were overseas and you

  1. TOOK FKN PAINKILLERS
  2. Drank beer through a fkn straw

HAND YA FKN AUSSIE MEMBERSHIP AND MAN MEMBER SHIP FKN BACK IN YA MUPPET!...FFSAKES MAN!

Murphy asserts...

Posted April 28, 2013

To be fair, he drank through a straw on your side of the lake, Havock.

And to be honest, I saw John drink many things in 2009 but I do not recall him bothering with beer. It was mainly scotch and sangria.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

damian would have you know...

Posted April 28, 2013

I've been washing down painkillers with beer this weekend. Slipped over while washing the dog last weekend, landing with the side of the bath under my ribs. Probably not a break, but you know how that goes... the most tender spot is a good 6 inches from where the bruising came up, will take just as long to come good as if I did crack one.

Must say, much as I enjoy the Weihenstephaner and the San Andreas IPA, I seem to fall entirely back on Coopers and Boags as a comfortable default.

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w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted April 28, 2013

I'm a little surprised. In my life in Brisbane, I have never met anyone who markedly changes their choice of potation due to the season. Except for, perhaps, pulling out a bottle of port for those final dread winter's evening coffin nails.

Though relatvely, Brisbane's weather is not very seasonal.

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted April 28, 2013

Don't get wrong, changing your choice of drinks seasonally seems quite sophisticated. I just wondered, is it common.
In my circles, we don't over-think drink choice, perhaps a little too successfully.

Blake is gonna tell you...

Posted April 28, 2013

W. Clearly we have not met - (amazing considering you can't visit a shooping centre without running into half the city)

I switch beers on a six-pack basis. Admittadly that habit started when i was entrustred by a Norwegeian student who was leaving a share house i was moving into with finishing a beer wall. (The house had a beer sized mantlepeice about half a metre off the ceiling - we had started a challenge to fill it with no more than three bottles of the same type of beer)

Even so i will switch styles seasonally - James Squires used to help by doing a seasonal brew that was just that bit more special than their usual range.

My favorite Burlieigh is "My Wifes Bitter" but perhaps the pun pushes it over the line.

Problem is where I'm living at the moment, the only bottle shop that sells anything that isn't XXXX/New/VB is Dan Murphys and their range isn't as dynamic as the little local i used to frequent in Windsor.

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w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 28, 2013

Thanks Blake. Maybe there is more of this seasonal switching and I just don't notice. And I like that you just change beers, though perhaps you are just keeping on topic (beer).

Burleigh beer : "My Wifes Bitter". Must try that one.
Reminds me of Chilli Willie's excellent range of hot sauces. They are good, produced locally, and have some interesting names.

"Fire in the Hole", 'Aussie Ring Stinger" etc. But the most notable name in their range is possibly their 9/10 heat rated chilli sauce "Smack my Ass and call me Cindy".


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Abe Frellman ducks in to say...

Posted April 28, 2013

I found another cheapie for summer... An import from The Netherlands called Breda. My quasi local bottle -o is not averse to trying whatever the local importer is struggling to move, so I picked up a case of 330ml cans for $30-$35. A great summery beer.

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insomniac mutters...

Posted April 28, 2013

Buy a wetsuit and swim all year round, or get wetsuit shorts. They help with the brass monkeys. I can stride into the cold icy sea with confidence.

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Stevo 73 asserts...

Posted April 28, 2013

No carb beers and low carb beers a bit of a mystery to me.

Most of the time low carb is also sly code for weaker alcohol strength. Check the horse piss that is Pure Blonde as an example.

No carb I imagine would have to mean no residual sugars at all from the brewing process. This is tough work due to the attenuation of the yeast strain being used. Most yeasts used for beer have attenuations around 85 - 90%. To get the no carb perhaps a second wine yeast strain or drying enzyme is used to drive down the sugars.... Interesting I must research this.

If you like Squires, I have recently given the Sail and Anchor range a bit of a nudge, in the same ball park as Squires just a little different.

I loves me the Hefe, oh how I love the Reinheitsgebot, those Germans know how to make beer (and self propelled artillery). However if you are having the local stuff steer well away from Hargrave Hills Hefeweizen. RUBBISH! It tastes like one of my bad batches. Stick to the 4 Pines, YUM.

Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted April 28, 2013

Stevo 73,

Yes 4 Pines German Holsch(?) is divine.

Stevo 73 reckons...

Posted April 28, 2013

I love all the 4 Pines range, those boys and girls know how to brew!

Phil has opinions thus...

Posted April 29, 2013

Hey Stevo, yeah all the low carb beers have additional enzymes added at the mash stage. Means the malt sugars are more easily fermentable, so you end up with a drier beer after the yeast is done. Then add in low alcohol, low colour/body malts to start with and you get practically no sweetness left at all. Voila! No carbs.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted April 29, 2013

Quality varies widely from batch to batch though.

Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted April 29, 2013

Sorry should have written 'Wildly"

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Bangar ducks in to say...

Posted April 28, 2013

I've been quite partial to Fat Yak since the Prof's first visit, though I am fond of the German beers for a treat.

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Jacques Stahl asserts...

Posted April 28, 2013

JB, if you are looking for a tasty dark beer for the winter months, you could do worse than try White Rabbit Dark Ale from Healesville. A very tasty drop.

Haven't seen Big Head around the traps down here in Melbourne, but will keep an aye out.

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Timmo asserts...

Posted April 29, 2013

I too am on the switch from beer to wine - my last case of summer beer has run out and I'm contemplating whether to get another or not. I've definitely made the switch from XXXX Gold to Cooper's Mild as my standard drinking beer - much more flavoursome, same mid-strength alcohol content and similar price. I also usually get a 6 pack of something new every time I buy a case just for variety - often a Monteith's variety or the current cheap European import.

I'm still on the white wines, but will make the switch to the reds as the cooler weather and heavier food makes a comeback.

(I will actually get another case of beer of course, just for choice, but the urgency of having run out of beer is gone.)

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted April 29, 2013

Fat Yak.

That is all.

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