cuisine

Tao Tao House

Sometimes the best planned ideas go awry. I often talk about my insane love for egg tarts (I’ve even baked my own before!) and I had plans for an egg tart tasting. A group of egg tart lovers would buy an assortment of egg tarts, get together, and then we’d EAT THEM ALL. After some chatting back and forth, it was decided that we have lunch beforehand at Tao Tao House, thanks to an excellent suggestion made by Allan.

However, unexpectedly several people had to drop out, causing us to cancel the egg tart tasting. Boo hoo! At least we kept the plans to go to Tao Tao House for yum cha.

Tao Tao House opened early this year on Glenferrie Road and is run by a father and son team, Jason and Eric Au. Jason Au was once the head dim sum chef at Flower Drum for nearly 20 years, and more recently worked at Donnie’s Golden Dragon Palace for 5 years. Impressive resume!

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La Petanque

How did people decide on places to eat and activities to do before the internet? When I started planning our Mornington Peninsula weekend a couple of days before heading down there, I looked at blogs, websites, checked out menus, and I even made restaurant bookings online.

One place I booked was La Petanque, located in Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula. It’s a casual, southern French style restaurant seating 60 that’s located in a rustic wooden building with rose and herb gardens leading to the entrance. Inside, it’s all wooden floors, wooden ceiling beams, tables with white tablecloths and large windows.

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Cooking The Books 3: Thai Street Food

I’ve had lots of great eating experiences in the past couple of weeks, but I need to mentally digest them and sort through the photos. So here’s a terribly delayed post with pretty food pictures to start off the weekend instead. :)

You may remember a previous Cooking the Books post where a group of us food bloggers caught up and cooked a meal using recipes from Bill Granger’s Holiday. This post is about Cooking the Books 3, where we all cooked recipes out of Thai Street Food. (We’re already planning CTB 6, which just goes to show how far behind I am.)
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Omah’s: Crab, crab, crab

When we want crab, we’re serious. Recently, I was in a group of 10 that went to Omah’s Restaurant in Port Melbourne on a very cold evening with one aim: eat crab until we could eat no more.

Omah’s has been in Port Melbourne for several years, selling Malaysian cuisine (they recently opened a branch in Hawthorn). The restaurant’s decor is inspired by 1950’s Malaysian tea houses, with dark furniture on the floor and wooden birdcages hanging from the ceiling. During the day it would be bright and airy as there are floor to ceiling windows looking out to Rouse Street, however in the evening the lighting was turned way down low – always a food blogger’s nightmare.
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Cookbook Challenge 2011: Fortnight 12, Spice

Theme: Spice
Recipe: Spiced red lentils with cucumber yoghurt
From: Ottolenghi’s Plenty

Do you ever have those instances when you have a very firm idea of a dish in your head? You know the ingredients you want, you know what the texture should be like, and you know what it should taste like. It sends you off to find a recipe to try and create it, hoping that it will meet your expectations.

The theme for this fortnight’s Cookbook Challenge is “spice” and I knew immediately that I wanted to make dal. And I *knew* what this dal was going to be like. I could see it, I knew the texture, and I could almost taste it.
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Universal Restaurant

Disclosure: My meal was courtesy of Food Pampering and Universal Restaurant.

Recently I was invited to a lunch at Universal Restaurant by Ashley of Food Pampering, along with a small group of other food bloggers. Located on Lygon Street, Universal Restaurant was established in 1969 – I’m sure that Lygon Street has changed a lot in that time! Alfie, the executive chef and manager, introduced himself and told us a bit about his restaurant, which was started up by his father. Alfie took over several years ago, and it’s still a family business – I’m pretty sure he told us that his brother also works there.
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Provincial Hotel: Porkfest

Pork is very common in Chinese cooking. And when my mum cooks, she puts pork in almost everything. When she’s cooking a vegetable dish she will normally add strips of pork, even when she’s already serving a couple of meat dishes. When making Chinese soups, she normally adds pork meat or bones. It would be pretty hard to be a non pork eater (or a vegetarian!) in her house.

I, however, very, very rarely cook pork. It’s not that I don’t like it – I just don’t like to cook it! So when I see an offer for a pork dinner, I’m all over it like a donkey on a waffle.

Kimberly organised a mini porkfest dinner recently at the Provincial Hotel with some fellow twitterers/bloggers – for $50 we had three courses of pork followed by dessert. The Provincial Hotel surprises me. I’d never eaten there before, despite walking past a thousand times (Alastair and I lived in Fitzroy years ago). It’s the large, beige-yellow building with a terrible case of peeling paint, on the corner of Brunswick Street and Johnston Street. Inside the building is a pub, but also a rather good restaurant.
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