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Dining out in Sydney

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 November 2018 at 12:31

As most of you know, The Beautiful Mrs. Tas and I were extremely fortunate in that we won a trip to Australia through a promotion/fund-raiser at her place of work.

We tried to make the most of this trip on all facets, including trying foods that we would not have the chance to sample otherwise, either due to geographical location or financial situation. We did a pretty good job of fulfilling this goal; but in all honesty, we barely scratched the surface. We're already thinking hard about saving up for a return trip to try so many of the things we missed out on the first time.

I took photos of almost everything we ate, and will post them as I am able to on this thread, in no particular order. I'll add as much detail as I can, but if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

Also, as I posted on another thread, this link should go to a photo album of our trip, including the sights we saw and some of the things we did:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/nFvXAX9GmHCxoSPL7

Enjoy, and please feel free to ask questions about any of the photos - I didn't include any captions.

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 November 2018 at 12:53
Looks like a wonderful vacation indeed Ron....glad you both enjoyed it.
Certainly a once in s lifetime adventure!Thumbs Up
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 November 2018 at 13:43
It was honestly the best time we've had, Dave...we already miss it!

One of the tours we took was an excursion to the Blue Mountains on 26 October, which finished with a cruise down the Paramatta River through Sydney. The tour company was Oz Trails Blue Mountains Tours, and I highly recommend this company. Our tour guide, Les Goldworthy, grew up in the very areas that we toured; his love of his home was a huge stroke of fortune for us, as we gained insights of the area including the flora, fauna, history, people, culture and geography that we probably wouldn't have experienced otherwise. I share a similar love for my home territory, and I easily recognised Les's passion as he shared his world with us. If anyone reading this happens to be heading to the area, you will be doing yourself a favour if you got in touch with Oz Trails and planned a tour with them; They can be contacted here:

http://www.oztrails.com.au/

For lunch on the day of our tour, we stopped in the village of Leura in the Blue Mountains, which has a unique history all of its own. We ate at a small diner called Loaves and Dishes; it turned out to be a great choice! Here is their website:

https://www.loavesanddishes.com.au/

Even though it was a lazy weekday, the place was bustling during the Noon Hour, which is always a great sign; in spite of this, we were greeted quickly and they found a table for us right away. We took a look at a nice menu that had a lot of variety:

https://www.loavesanddishes.com.au/menus

Right away, I zoomed in on the Kangaroo burger, which was dressed "Aussie Style." Here is the description from the menu:

Quote 100% Kangaroo meat, handmade relish, caramelised onions, cheese, beetroot, tomato, mixed lettuce and mayo, all on a Bushman's charcoal (black) bun served with chips.


I told The Beautiful Mrs. Tas that we came to Australia to try everything, so we might as well give this a go, and she agreed. We placed our order and proceeded to fall into conversation with a visiting couple from South Dakota who happened to live in the same town as the godparents of our children. After a short wait - not too long at all - our food arrived. Here it is:



The burger was very good - I had of course never eaten kangaroo before, and found it to be very similar to good venison or elk, but also unique in its own right. It was quite flavourful and in all honesty I would prefer it to a lot of beef that I have had. The dressings, many of which were unique to us, were also very good with the burger; The house-made relish seemed to pair perfectly. I'd never had a charcoal bun before, but it went well with the kangaroo, as far as I could tell. The chips were crispy outside, tender inside and well-seasoned with what I assume is a house seasoning blend; I enjoyed them quite a bit. My only gripe is that the burger itself seemed small in relation to the bun, but what it lacked in size it definitely made up for in flavour.

The café also had a nice-looking display of desserts, as well, so we decided to try a local favourite: a citrus tart garnished with kiwi fruit.



This was truly delightful on a warm, Australian spring day and made a perfect ending to our lunch, leaving us ready to enjoy the remainder of our tour of the Blue Mountains.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 November 2018 at 11:41
One "food goal" that I had while in Sydney was to try "real" Fish and Chips; this, of course, is a very common pub, diner and street food in Australia, so there were numerous opportunities to do so.

On 27 October, The Beautiful Mrs. Tas and I toured Sydney's Wild Life Zoo and Sea Life Aquarium, both located at Darling Harbour in Sydney. There are actually two zoos in Sydney, but we did not know this when we left our hotel; as a consequence, our cab driver took us to the Taronga Zoo in the suburb of Mosman. No worries - this turned out to be rather fortuitous, because during the cab drive he provided a lot of useful information about the history, people and suburbs of Sydney, and we had a very enjoyable drive.

When we got to the Taronga Zoo, we considered staying and touring it as well, but time was not on our side. The staff there let us through so that we could take a cable car ride down to a ferry that would take us back across to Darling Harbour; we saw a few animals and birds along the way, so it was not a total loss, and the cable car ride offered some wonderful views. Once we made it to the ferry, we took a beautiful ride across the harbour that was truly fun, and we got to stand at the bow and play "Rose and Jack on the Titanic." After a few brief stops, we arrived at our true destination at Darling Harbour and were back "on schedule." The takeaway from this was that we learned that ferries are a great way to get around to various areas of Sydney - affordable, efficient and enjoyable - so, it was definitely worth the time spent on an erroneous cab drive, in our opinion.

The Wild Life Zoo was really nice; it has 10 "zones" including habitats for nearly any variety of wildlife I could think of as being native to Australia. One experience that really sticks out in my mind was a large area where butterflies of all sizes, shapes and colours are free to flit and flutter about among the visitors. In another zone, we were able to walk with kangaroos, koalas and various birds. Some other animals that I especially enjoyed seeing were wallabies, a kookaburra, a platypus and a very large saltwater crocodile. You can learn more about the zoo by visiting this website:

https://www.wildlifesydney.com.au/

The Sea Life Aquarium - located adjacent to the zoo - was no less spectacular; home to 13,000 animals spread out among 700 different species, the aquarium was an opportunity for the two of us - from land-locked Montana - to see things we would never see otherwise. The aquarium was designed to showcase the sea and water life from all areas of Australia, from Sydney Harbour in the south to the Great Barrier Reef to the north, as well as the eastern and western shores. Some memorable creatures that we encountered included seahorses, jellyfish, clownfish, starfish, and a dugong named "Pig" who had a really amazing story. The highlight of the visit was a series of underwater tunnels that visitors could walk through; here one could observe all manners of fish and sea life, including sea turtles, skates, rays and sharks. Near the end, there was an exhibit of penguins, who seemed to really enjoy playing around both on the land and in the water. You can learn more about the aquarium by visiting this website:

https://www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/

All-in-all, The Beautiful Mrs Tas and I had a truly fun and spectacular day visiting both the zoo and the aquarium, and it was a day that we will not be forgetting anytime soon. For me personally, the best part of the whole experience was seeing the absolute joy and excitement in my wife's eyes every time we turned a corner and saw a new animal or exhibit; I was very glad and consider myself very fortunate to be married to a woman who can - even after almost 30 years - approach this experience with the wonder of a young girl.

We took the ferry back to Circular Quay, an area not far from our hotel that throughout our trip seemed to serve as a starting point for all of our tours and excursions. Here, there are wharves, parks, shops, stalls and three-story buildings devoted entirely to hosting restaurants highlighting cuisines from all over the world. While The Beautiful Mrs. Tas was in one shop, looking for a few souvenirs for friends and family, I sat out on a bench overlooking the wharves; from here, I could see street performers of all kinds, and watch people passing by as they went about their day. Amongst all of this, my favourite thing to see was the antics of the seagulls, who seemed to number as many as the people who were there. They would strut along the promenade, perch on umbrellas and awnings and constantly look for any opportunity to snatch a bit of food; indeed, at times they could be rather aggressive. I watched one fellow walk by with a sandwich of some sort in his hand; as he passed under an awning, a seagull swooped down and pounced on his food, grabbing a large chunk of it and knocking a good portion to the ground, where several other seagulls crowded in to join the feeding frenzy. The gentleman seemed to take this rather in stride; he shook his fist at the seagull flying away with its prize, then started walking again, eating the remainder of his sandwich.

Soon after this, a lady who was a resident of Sydney sat down at the same bench, and we struck up a conversation. She graciously welcomed me to her city and asked me how we were enjoying our visit; before long, we were chatting as if we had known each other for years. As we parted, I told her that we were going to be after some Fish and Chips, and she told us that the best place in Circular Quay for Fish and Chips was - of all places - a small stall at Wharf 2 called Greek Odyssey, and that we just HAVE to try their Fish and Chips.

With a recommendation such as that, how could I refuse? When The Beautiful Mrs. Tas re-joined me, we made our way to Wharf 2 and found the Greek Odyssey. I walked up to the counter and told the fellow there that we had come 8,328 miles to try his Fish and Chips, and he replied that he would give us the best Fish and Chips that he could. We selected our beverages and sat at a table; shortly after, our lunch arrived:



I am not in any way an expert on Fish and Chips, but this looked like a really good representation to me, with great colour and generous portions; the aroma wafting up was heavenly, promising some good eats, indeed. We wasted no time digging in, and were duly impressed; the coating was crispy, and the fish inside was tender-flaky, moist and flavourful. The chips seemed perfectly done, as well, and we were quite amazed with the results that could be achieved with such simple ingredients and methods, with only a sprinkle of salt and lemon for garnish. Regrettably, I neglected to ask what kind of fish was used to make our meal; but whatever it was, it was delicious! We came away confident that no better Fish and Chips could be found, and thanked the friendly and attentive staff at the Greek Odyssey for such a wonderful lunch.

Greek Odyssey doesn't seem to have a website, but you can visit their Facebook Page here:

https://www.facebook.com/Greek-Odyssey-1793173537391897/

None better, in my opinion - if you are ever in Sydney, drop in and try their Fish and Chips!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 November 2018 at 13:19
I must say, I am a really big fan of the way that information is right at our fingertips these days! After a quick note to Greek Odyssey, I learned that the fish used for their Fish and Chips is called Hoki, also known as Blue Hake or Blue Grenadier:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_grenadier
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2018 at 15:48
October 25th was our first full day in Sydney, and what better way for The Beautiful Mrs. Tas and me to get ourselves acquainted with our temporary home than by taking a bus tour?

We booked our tour through Big Bus Tours and had a really nice time; we were able to see all of the major areas of Sydney and learn quite a bit of history as we rode on the open top level of a double-decker bus. As we saw the major landmarks and destinations in and around Sydney, I was most impressed with the mix of old and new that I saw; a building from the 1830s - or even earlier - would look no more out-of-place than the ultra-modern skyscraper just adjacent to it. Three sights that stuck out in my mind were the El Alamein Memorial, the Chinese Garden of Friendship and Cadman's Cottage, which was built in 1816 and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Sydney. Of course, we also had several chances to view the Sydney Tower, which is the tallest structure in Sydney.

As an added bonus, the tour was of a "hop-on, hop-off" nature, meaning that as you went along the tour, you could disembark at an area that you found interesting and then catch another bus later on at the same stop after exploring around. The Beautiful Mrs. Tas did an outstanding job when she found and booked this tour; the rate was quite affordable and the staff was friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. We couldn't have asked for anything more, and it was a great return for such a small investment.

You can learn more about Big Bus Tours by following this link:

https://www.bigbustours.com/en/sydney/sydney-bus-tours/

At the conclusion of the bus tour, we found ourselves in Circular Quay right about lunchtime; we decided to walk around a bit and see what we could discover, intending to choose a place for lunch entirely at whim. Before long, we found ourselves at The Galeries, a major shopping centre in Sydney with a whole section three floors high devoted to a very diverse selection of restaurants, eateries and dining establishments; from what I could see, one could nearly tour the world right there, as far as food was concerned. We learned later that this section was just a food court and that there were many other restaurants located within the centre.

One place that caught our eye was Jimmy's Recipe, a food counter devoted to Malaysian Street Food; it was really hustling and bustling with lunch traffic, and we noticed that the diners seemed very happy with their food. We decided that this might be the best chance for a couple of Montanans to try Malaysian food, so we went up to the counter and took a look at the menu.



I asked the girl at the counter what we should order if we were only going to be able to visit once in our lives; her immediate and enthusiastic answer was, "The Laksa!" The Beautiful Mrs. Tas ordered the combination (chicken and seafood) variety, and I ordered the beef; we also ordered some chicken satay and roti with a curried dipping sauce. We selected our beverages and went to a table, which overlooked a spacious, open-air lobby. It wasn't long before our order was ready, and it looked amazing:



It would be hard for me to explain what a truly unique experience this was for both of us; where we live, this sort of food simply isn't available, and tying to cook it yourself often isn't an option, due to availability of ingredients. I was really looking forward to trying this and dug right in; The Beautiful Mrs. Tas, who is a less-adventurous eater, took a huge leap of faith and tried hers as well. We were both immediately impressed with the absolute symphony of new and unique flavours that filled our awareness; Laksa may be a typical staple of Malaysian street food, but like much of the food in Southeast Asian cuisine, it is a complex work of art incorporating many layers of ingredients and techniques to achieve a spectacular balance. When we ordered this lunch, I was concerned that it might be too spicy for The Beautiful Mrs. Tas, but the beauty of the recipe and the skill of the chef kept the dish gentle and in wonderful harmony for her. Opting for a little more heat, I added a bit of chile paste, which added a nice kick to my experience. There's really no way that I could provide a detailed or in-depth description of the Laksa - because I just don't know much about it (yet) - so here's a link to a fairly-good discussion of Curry Laksa, which is the variety that we ordered:

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/malay-curry-laksa-laksa-lemak

The satay was also very good, mildly spiced and flavourful, with a good textural component provided by the pulverized peanuts in the sauce. The roti was in many ways a highlight of the meal for me; tender, flaky, crusty in the right places and wonderfully complimented by the curried dipping sauce. As for the beverage, I decided to try something entirely new to me: a "grass jelly herbal tea" from Taiwan:



This was quite different indeed! It reminded me somewhat of mild hop teas that I have sampled while brewing beer, with an added element of bits of whatever herbs or grass that were used to make it. It went well with my meal, and I certainly have no complaints, even if I don't have much of a way to describe it.

If you want to learn more about Jimmy's Recipe, you can follow this link here:

http://jimmysrecipe.com.au/

There is also a wealth of information and photographs on the restaurant's Facebook and Instagram pages:

https://www.instagram.com/Jimmysrecipeofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/jimmysrecipe/

In all, our lunch was very, very good and unquestioningly affordable; the large bowls of Laksa that we had did not cost much at all, and were gigantic. I am a large man with a large appetite, but it was nearly too much food even for me; the only reason that I was able to finish it all was because I knew that this could be the only time in my life that I would be able to have this wonderful meal...or perhaps not! The Beautiful Mrs. Tas was so impressed with it that she asked if I could learn how to make it, so I am currently researching and gaining understanding of this delicious Malaysian dish; with luck, I might be able to attempt it before the end of the year.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 December 2018 at 13:53
I do need to post one major correction to a previous dining report: regarding the laksa that we enjoyed at Jimmy's Recipe, the location that we dined at was not at The Galeries on George Street, as I previously posted; instead, it was at 1 Macquarie Place, also known as Gateway Plaza on Alfred Street. There is a Jimmy's Recipe at the Galeries, but that one is on the ground floor. I'm not sure how I managed to commit such an error, but I did. Mea culpa!

October 28th was our last full day in Sydney, and we wanted to make the most of it. The Beautiful Mrs. Tas had booked a whale watching tour that departed from Circular Quay and we also had plans do visit the National Opal Museum before doing some shopping for souvenirs and a few other things. Early that morning, we walked the now-familiar route to the bustling hub in Sydney's Central Business District (CBD). The sky was grey and there had been some rain not long before; we noticed that there was also a bit of a cool breeze, in contrast with the previous days, which had been much warmer. On the whole, however, it was a very pleasant morning, and we enjoyed the walk.

We left our hotel early so that we could have breakfast at Circular Quay, and on our arrival we began sifting through the absolute plethora of options to be found just within the immediate area. We ultimately found ourselves again at Gateway's amazing food precinct and, on the ground floor, spied an interesting offering:

Traditional Turkish Breakfast!

The name of the establishment advertising the breakfast was The Gozleme Co., a small stand nestled between a German schnitzel haus and a French crêperie. Once again, we both noted that something such as this - which we could probably never find at home - would be a great way to fulfill our goal of trying as many different things as possible, so we decided to check it out.



The folks at the counter were friendly, patient and more than happy to answer our questions about the breakfast, explaining that it consisted of a traditional Turkish sausage called Sucuc accompanied with eggs and garnished with mushrooms, feta cheese, olives, cucumbers and tomatoes. This is served with a traditional Turkish flatbread called gözleme - similar to a pita - and homemade jam; cherry, on this day.



We were impressed with this description and ordered two, then chose a table nearby. While we waited for our breakfast to cook, we saw an elderly gentleman - apparently of Middle-Eastern descent - sitting at another table, nursing a cup of tea and reading the morning paper. He had the appearance of a regular there, and his face broke into a huge smile as his breakfast was brought to him. Based on this, we suspected that we were in for a really nice meal.

In a few short minutes, our order was ready, and I was pretty impressed with what we saw:



Once again in Sydney, we were getting generous proportions of very good looking food, with incredibly friendly and courteous service; a wonderful way to start our day!

The Sucuc sausage tasted great, spicy and flavourful with a hearty kick of good paprika, but not hot at all. We both enjoyed it, especially with the accompaniments on some of the gözleme. The tomatoes and cucumbers were fresh, bursting with flavour and wonderfully accented by the savory kalamata olives and sharp feta cheese, which had been marinated in olive oil and herbs.



We also reserved some of the flatbread to try with the cherry jam, which was simply amazing. The cherries were dark, not too sweet and about the same diameter as a dime; the jam seemed to have a warm kiss of cinnamon, but that could have been my imagination.

For beverages, The Beautiful Mrs. Tas went with Coca-Cola, while I tried a wonderfully exotic coffee that was nicely rich and deeply flavoured. It seemed to alternate between slightly sweet and incredibly savory as the breakfast progressed; I have no accurate way to describe it, but it was truly something unique, in a great way.

You can learn more about The Gozleme Co. by visiting their website:

http://www.gozlemeco.com.au/

The Gozleme Co. is also on Facebook, Instagram etc.

In all, it was a terrific breakfast and we both agreed that it was money very well spent. Completely satisfied, we thanked the staff of this wonderful eatery and rejoined the merriment at Circular Quay.

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 hours 1 minutes ago at 06:59


Wow !  Melissa is a lucky charm for you Tas !  

Looks like you both had a Marvel of a time ..

All my best wishes for a wonderful Christmas Holiday just ahead. 
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Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

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www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..
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