See this papaya?
See the little sticker?
What on earth does “Irradiated to protect the environment” even *mean*?
Why was my fruit subjected to radiation? Was it to kill any fruit fly larvae? Was it to speed up the ripening process?
It was lucky we had booked early, as there was a large party scheduled shortly after our arrival. We arrived armed with an entertainment card, giving us a little bit of a discount for the night’s dinner.
Bread & butter:
The sourdough on the left is from Iggy’s. The rye is from grain bakery in Alexandria. Really a rye? Perhaps a half rye, half white mix. The butter was an adorable looking pattie from Pepe Saya. It’s not individually wrapped, but there is a little sticker on top. On Mondays there is no bread delivery from Iggy’s, thereby answering the little question I had whilst eating at Three Blue Ducks.
I was tempted by the corned beef ($36.50), which came with kipfler potato salad & English Condiments – ooh a chance for cumberland sauce? I have had corned beef twice in my life. Once at a friend’s place, and she had home cooked I, and I found it a bit meh. The second time as a random occurrence when we were out at a remote National Park near Broken Hill, and were invited by a local aboriginal family to have lunch (Christmas leftovers), back at their place. Oh my god. That was the best tasting meat I have ever tasted. Perhaps I was lacking in salt, being out in 30 deg C + temperatures daily, but my word it was delicious.
I was talked out of this by my mum, who insisted that I get “fresh meat”, rather than pickled meat. So I went full pescetarian.
Gold Band Snapper with roof top cherry tomatoes and Marjoram ($36):
The cherry tomatoes are indeed from this very roof at 52 King Street, and not from one of the other Merivale properties. There is a combination of red cherry, yellow cherry and some other full sized tomatoes chopped into segments. The fish had nice crispy skin, and I really enjoyed the accompanying ‘tomato’ juices which were mopped up very nicely with the leftover bread. I thought the marjoram tasted like oregano – later research told me that they’re in the same family, and in some middle eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano!
Rump steak ($38):
There was a “parsley and caper” salad, dressed with lemon juice, quite tart/salty in taste.. We had asked for the parsley and garlic butter to be served separate (rather than dripping onto the steak). Perhaps we missed out on some of the flavor by doing it this way…? The steak is perfect at medium rare with a nice crisp edge and red on the inside. It is a nice steak.
Kurobuta Pork Cutlet, Apple Slaw ($38.50):
Kurobuta pork comes from black berkshire pigs, the source of the most delicious (and expensive) ham. I found this pork a tad dry, but there was a little bit of brown juice you could swirl your meat into, as well as a nice peach based relish. The slaw however – radish, apple, spring onion – all fine. But the mayo that it was combined with I found too thick and cloying for my tastes. Perhaps I am too used to my own version of slaw, in which I use yoghurt as the combining ingredient.
Dessert. Can I fit this in?
The honey tart comes highly recommended, as does the brioche french toast. This is the first time that I have seen a book for sale on the dessert menu.
After poking and prodding of our stomachs, we declare that we can possibly share a dessert.
Goats Cheese Cake ($18):
This comes with fresh figs, cured figs, fresh raspberries (1 each), and raspberry puree. This is more like a whipped goat cheese log, rolled in crispy biscuit crumbs. I believe that the goats cheese is from Willowbrae, one of my favourite producers at my farmers markets. The ‘cheese’ feels really light and airy, I could keep eating all day. The cured figs have us intrigued because it isn’t just a simple dried fig, it has been marinated in something else that we can’t quite place our finger on. Our waitress just gives us the hint that the curing process is really involved, and involves balsamic vinegar. Oooh!
An update on my plastic free July progress so far:
This has been difficult, as I’ve spent half of the time travelling overseas. When you get takeaway food, the server chucks in a plastic fork without thinking. So I shouldn’t get takeaway food. I have used the disposable forks more than once.
With coffee, I have either been reusing my keep cup, or getting the takeaway coffee without the plastic lid.
I have used two plastic straws.
I bought these ‘zippable’ bulk produce bags for $15 USD:
Then I realised that I generally take my own reusable containers to the bulk foods shop Alfalfa house anyway, but these will be useful for buying loose items like fruit and veg.
Other than that, I have generally continued on my merry way, buying shrink wrapped meat (sorry). However, I did buy some avocados recently: the ones on the shrink wrapped styrofoam tray were cheaper per fruit, but I bought the loose ones because they weren’t wrapped in plastic.
Post-post note: I have found a use for those single use plastic spoons I get from my addiction to gelato. I use them as seedling markers in the garden.
Here is an update from my friend, Paul:
15 July: So far my plastic free living is going ok. I’ve used a total of 6 pieces. It’s not ideal but it’s far better than I was doing previously.
Piece 1: A chicken to roast (Pre-wrapped)
Piece 2: A block of cheese (Pre-wrapped).
Piece 3: Some bacon. The butcher could pick it up with the plastic or use a plastic glove to pick it up. I admitted defeat.
Piece 4: Was a loaf of bread that I bought in paper only to find when I got home the paper was plastic lined.
Piece 5: A shoulder of lamb (Pre-wrapped)
Piece 6: A bottle of Coke. This is the one that annoys me the most I was out at a work lunch and all the drinks they had to offer were in plastic bottles so I had one.
The thing that I am most proud of is that I’ve not used a single plastic bag or takeaway coffee cup. They are the two habits I’m trying to break.
I have now also found a butcher that will give me whatever meat I want by placing it straight into my Tupperware containers. Knowing this before would have halved the amount of plastic I’ve used so far.
I think he has tracked far better than myself!
On my to-do list for several years, I have finally made it to the one hat restaurant, The Devonshire. A combination of a freed up work schedule, the pre-theatre menu plus a discount using the entertainment card made this excursion possible. The pre-theatre menu gives you two courses for $49, and you’re out by 8pm.
Bread & Butter:
No ordinary bread & butter, the butter on the left is “honey butter”. Being a beekeeper I had to try it. It was crunchy from salt crystals, and sweet from the honey. Kind of like oily sweetness…
Salt fish brandade with caper sauce:
This was a little aperitivo to whet the appetite. I wonder if the salt fish is the Portuguese Baccalao? The caper sauce was like a fancied up tartare sauce without that heavy oiliness or fridge like flavour.
Beef Tartare with kale chips and saboyon 65 deg egg:
My brain no worky. I saw the word ‘tartare’ and thought of thin slices of barely cooked beef, japanese style. It was marinated raw beef mince with capers – quite salty. I was also interested in how the egg would be done – it turned up like a foamy yellow custard (which I suppose is egg), but didn’t really taste like egg at all. The kale ‘chips’ had been coated in oil and fried. Quite salty, quite oily. I prefer my version of kale chip, but I suppose it wouldn’t stay crispy.
Smoked and seared ocean trout:
This one was a gem, with little microherbs, enoki mushrooms and a puff of mushroom cream.
Pork loin, crackling, roast carrots:
This was a dish in earth colours. The crackling was very crispy with no gummy stick in your mouth bits. The port reduction jus quite sweet. The ‘cigar’ on the left reminds me of a chiko roll.
The recipe for the crackling was so involved that the chef came out from the kitchen to explain it to the table next to us. I wonder if I can create crackling in a dutch oven over a fire pit?
Pieces of fish skin had been deep fried until crispy. Oddly, this provided a more satisfying crunch than the pork crackling, possibly because a vestige of flavour remained with the crunch. This dish also had julienned octopus legs and a little squid ink.
Haloumi and greens:
Such a green coloured dish. Charred broccolini, broccoli, raw broccoli ‘noodles’ – which I thought tasted like cucumber. There were four pieces of panfried Aphrodite Haloumi – more salt to my diet, or it could have been lemon juice as I do have very confused taste buds. I really like the little nubbins of parsnip chips on top.
Tea from T2.
There is a lack of interesting non alcoholic drinks apart from the usual multinational soft drinks. I think a quite a few places seem to let themselves down in this area. We did however, enjoy the rest of our meal and the attentive service. I go to the theatre quite often nearby, I’m going to have to make a return trip sometime.
Street: 204 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, 2010
The pledge this time around is to try and reduce the amount of ‘single user plastics’ one uses for the month of July.
The ‘big 4’ single use plastics are:
– takeaway coffee cup lids,
– bags, and
– water bottles.
Sounds good in theory, but I can already tell from here its going to be hard. Even if I took reusable containers to the butcher/fishmonger for my purchased goods to be put into, there’s going to be a bit of a resistance from the perception of food handling hygiene and advertising for the shop. I will probably end up a vegetarian.
It reminds me a little of the plastic bag advert produced for the tv show the Gruen Transfer:
If you go to a bar, and order a soft drink; more often than not the bar person then sticks a straw in it for you. Then what, do I hand them back the straw and tell them I don’t want it? Or perhaps I should tell them at the point of ordering: no straw please.
I already have a bunch of reusable shopping bags that I forget to bring along with me to the shops:
I generally a carry reusable bag around with me in my handbag, but then when I go shopping after work, not all my shopping fits in my bag! So then I have to get 1-2 additional plastic bags.
I tend to reuse single use plastic bags to repackage sourdough bread for freezing and for garbage bin liners. Sometimes if I remember, I take the bags back to the shops and reuse them for fruit and veg.
My reusable coffee cups:
You can see that these get quite a lot of use! I think ‘Keep cup’ changed the reusable cup market. They produce cups in “standard” coffee sizes (for Australia), so that they fit underneath the espresso coffee machine group head. It also means that the barista doesn’t have to ‘guess’ the right level to fill the coffee/milk up to when you bring your mug/cup along for your morning brew. And yes, I used to do that too. The sizes that I usually see are the 8 oz (227ml), 11oz (320ml), and the tiny espresso shot 4 oz (118ml). The size in the photo here is deceiving – the patterned (ceramic) cup on the right actually has less volume than the 8 oz cup on the left.
My reusable sandwich wrap:
This one I like, because you’re not just limited to bread of a certain dimension which a lot of “envelope” style reusable sandwich bags limit you to. You can also use it if you make a ‘wrap’ for lunch. It cost me about $6 from a kitchenware supply store.
If I get some time, I’d like to try making my own beeswax wraps. I have a few doubts about hygiene and reusability, but hey, honey is a natural antibacterial, and my beeswax smells *intensely* like honey. Perhaps I would have to use colour coded fabric for different wraps – fruit, veg, cheese.
I think my biggest challenge will be my partner, who loves his cling film to death and wraps any thing and everything in it instead of using a re-usable container.
So, dear reader, will you be giving Plastic Free July a go? Or will you be targeting your consumption of the top four disposable waste plastics?
No sooner had Ghostboy Cantina opened, then I hear it’s about to finish up its six month lease and move to Tio’s Cerveceria, which, as you can tell by the name, started out as a Mexican themed bar. I just remember some popcorn with chilli sprinkles on it.
Wow, time flies when you’re having fun.
Lucky I just managed to fit in a visit before they shifted location.
Crispy Pumpkin Taco:
My experience with cooking sweet potato in its grated form is that it loses its shape. Here, it wasn’t too firm or too soft and was sprinkled with dulse, a salty seaweed ‘superfood’.
Jerusalem artichoke taco:
This had a good flavour with a topping of mung bean noodles on top. Not too salty.
Beetroot Taco ($5):
The beetroot slices were fried on the grill plate, but not charred. There were two kinds of beetroot puree (yellow & purple) smeared on the taco, and it was topped with pickled cabbage, nigella seeds, and tahini to make it creamy.
Pork Taco ($6):
I think that this is a little different to the pork taco reviewed by goodliving earlier in the year. For one thing, persimmon is a winter fruit. This came with diced onion, a green chilli/coriander salsa (Salsa verde), vietnamese basil and a hot red sauce.
Between the latter two, I think I preferred the pork taco, it seemed to have more complex spices. Or perhaps I just love my chilli.
Ghostboy Cantina, until 27 June 2016
Dixon House Food Court, corner Little Hay Street and Dixon Street, Haymarket
Then from 20 July 2016:
As part of Tio’s Cerveceria
4-14 Foster Street, Surry Hills 2010
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight.
The closest so far I have come to sampling the food at the Three Blue Ducks has been to grab a muffin and a takeaway coffee en-route to the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition.
That must have been a long time ago, because they have expanded the premises and added a little kitchen garden, chickens and beehives out the back. Oh and released a cookbook.
I was looking up what ‘arranchara’ meant from the menu description, and I found this picture on Instagram. Sold!
I still don’t know what the word means. Comes with pureed corn; a salsa of cherry tomatoes, pearl barley, pineapple; and a lavosh cracker. The meat was red inside, and nicely charred and tasty on the outside. I thought the combo of flavours worked quite well, although I am mystified how you can puree corn without any sticky in your teeth bits. I did not mind the pineapple, which I generally hate if it’s on a pizza.
Pork Sandwich ($18):
Today this is served on sourdough instead of brioche. It’s kind of hard to eat with the size of the crust bring 3cm thick. The meat is nicely flavoured (not too sweet), melts in your mouth but also has nice mouth feel crunchy bits. Little shreds of beetroot and carrot mixed throughout but I couldn’t taste if they were especially pickled because of the yumminess of the pork!
There is always a debate as to whether or not I should get a small or a large one. I usually go for the small, because I can always have another coffee. So I did both.
Soy milk is from bonsoy.
If you head to the bathroom out the back, you can visit the bees (in a langstroth hive). Hello! They were in full sun, so would’ve been a little hot. There wasn’t much else going on in the gardening front (I believe the boys source their homegrown veg from elsewhere), but there was a chicken having a little dirt bath in one of the garden beds.
I had wanted to go to Iggy’s bread afterwards, but they are shut on Mondays!!;???!!! I’m going to have return on another weekday.
Three Blue Ducks
Street: 143 Macpherson St, Bronte NSW 2024
Also at Rosebery, and Byron Bay.