Human Brochure – Tea time at A. Baker

While trying to explore the most out of our surrounds, my friends and I opted to go next door to A. baker for some sweet treats after our lunch at the Parlour Room.

Everyone knew their drink orders well, but what to choose from the cake cabinet?IMG_6416.JPGThe boy of the group suggested we only needed three sweets between the four of us, but unfortunately majority rules and he was out voted by the other three women.IMG_6417.JPGCake cabinet~ All sweets were about $5.00 – 6.00 from memory.

Salted caramel Definitely one of the sweeter treats of the day but I did expect a lot sweeter based on the thickness of the caramel. It would have went nicely with a beverage but I prefer variety over having just one thing. Bring friends along so you can share and try more!IMG_6423.JPGChoc orange ricotta I know this combination isn’t for everyone but all the flavours work perfectly together.IMG_6425.JPGPumpkin and maple Ever since my American friend introduced me to pumpkin pies, I must say I’m a big fan! This might have contributed to the fact that this was my pick of the bunch!IMG_6418.JPGLemon meringue a humble classic! The lemon component could have been more tart but still executed well.IMG_6420.JPGYes we almost ordered one of everything…IMG_6427.JPGIt was a lovely way to end a wonderful long lunch, it was just a shame that some of us needed to return to work.

Human brochure – Parlour Wine Room

My first food experience leading into the weekend was without my interstate guests (they were not arriving until later that evening), but I’ve taken my role as a 101 local human to guide not only interstate guests but local ones as well to good eateries with a great atmosphere.

I grabbed a bunch of lunching friends and took them to the Parlour Wine Room to try more of their lunch time special (see my other post here). Now by default because I’m the ‘foodie’, most people just give the ordering responsibilities to me despite my constant plea of ‘I haven’t eaten here/from this menu before’. It’s nice to know that they have so much trust in me.

That day, I did insist that everyone choose a dish and we will dabble in a bit of each, plus if it was up to me I’d just order four serves of popcorn squid legs.

I’ve always loved the decor and feel of the Parlour RoomIMG_7440.JPGComplimentary bread and dipping oil~ (the bread is of course from their neighbour A. baker)IMG_6379.JPGLunch menu special ~ Something from the lunch menu and a drink -glass of wine, beer or soft drink ($16.00).IMG_6373.JPG

Rodriguez chorizo, ham hock, puy lentils, piquin chilli, 62C egg. I felt that this dish was a little watery and it was hard to grab a little bit of each element when sharing with friends, but it had a beautiful chorizo sausage. I must say that this was my least favourite dish of the day.IMG_6392.JPG

IMG_6391.JPGFree range 62C egg, piquillo peppers, jamon, smoked paprika. This was almost like a stir fry topped with eggs. What really stood out the most for me was the jamon, it went well with the sweetness of the onions and there were plenty of onions, unfortunately not enough jamon. IMG_6398.JPGBraised spinach, chickpeas, garlic, cumin, golden raisins, yoghurt. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. I didn’t think I would like it but the juicy raisins went beautifully with the chickpeas, spinach, tomato based sauce and the yoghurt gave it a Middle Eastern feel.IMG_6393.JPGPopcorn squid legs, ancient grains, aioli, pickled cucumber. This was my favourite dish. The squid was crispy and salty, it had delicious aioli to dip with and the fried textures were balanced out by the ‘ancient grains’. I would order this again in a heart beat but unfortunately I don’t think it would fill me on its own. IMG_6408.JPGIMG_6407.JPGCroque Monsieur toasted sandwich of serrano jamon, maffra cheddar (Vic), smoked potato foam ($9.00). Okay, so I threw in a few extra things because I was intrigued by them. The element that made me curious was the smoke potato foam, plus I love a good Croque Monsieur. Again I feel that they were a bit heavy handed with the smoked paprika  (someone in the kitchen must love this stuff), there wasn’t anything too special about this exotic sandwich which sounded good on paper, I was a bit disappointed. The bread was also really hard to chew.IMG_6411.JPGTwice cooked crispy pork belly, px glaze, fried onion, hazelnut ($18.00). I’m finding myself ordering pork belly whenever I can, it is just so delicious when cooked properly and this is one of those times. The skin was super crispy and the glaze gave just enough sweetness to compliment the meat and hazelnut flavours. Pork and hazelnut go well together, who knew! I also loved the unique plate that it came on.IMG_6388.JPGIMG_6385.JPGI was surprised that there wasn’t more patrons at the Parlour Room that day but that made it easier to talk and catch up with friends and the timing from the kitchen and wait staff was perfect.IMG_6405.JPG

Human brochure weekend

Sometimes I look at my drafts and sigh (actually I do that a lot).

So much stuff happened during the Human brochure weekend, I almost feel overwhelmed looking at the list but there was so much to see and do (and eat!) in our wonderful city, I tried to squeeze in as much as I could in one weekend. Despite my many drafts I have to bite the bullet and start somewhere. My Mum and sister really enjoyed their trip here and were spoilt by the Human brochure team with their accommodation and our ‘Human experience’.

IT’S COMING!

Not just any weekend, it’s the #humanbrochure weekend! All of our #101localhuman training has come down to this one weekend where we can show off #canberra (or the more trendy hashtag #cbr) to our interstate guests as well as our social media fan base (hello, is anybody out there?).

My guests and I have been lucky enough to be chosen to participate in a master class on curing and smoking meats at Poachers Pantry (#Poachersway) followed by a Poachers Platter of smoked meats, accompanied by the vineyards Wily Trout wines. I will try to squeeze in as much as possible with them but with so much to see (and eat) and such little time, let’s see if they can keep up! I will be clogging your #instagram and #FB feeds more than usual this weekend, just a heads up!

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p.s. it was not deliberate to see how many hastags I could fit into post, just a happy coincidence.

Human flyer – Ricardo’s

We started off the day with brunch and after browsing Instagram as part of my morning ritual, I knew that Ricardo’s was open that day so off we went!

When we arrived, it was very busy inside and out which was to be expected but we were able to grab a table outside for three people with no hassle. I must admit, we weren’t impressed with having to flag down the waitress and ask for menus after several minutes of being ignored at an empty table after being seated. After finally deciding what to order, we sat and waited again… Hmmm seems like you have to be more forward with your approach as a customer to get noticed around here. I get the waitress’ attention again saying that we were ready to order and she informs us that ‘you have to order and pay at the counter’, well it would have been informative if you had told us that when you eventually gave us menus I thought to myself.IMG_5742.JPGThe beverages arrive fairly fast and the food not long after, so obviously efficiency the problem isn’t with the kitchen.

Salted Caramel milkshake and Peppermint and Oreo thickshake. I must say that the new range of milkshakes looked much better when Ricardo’s took a photo for their Instagram account but the taste clearly made up for that. My friend fell in love with his so much, he was going to order a second one but he instead ordered some macarons. I was fearful that mine was going to be really sweet and OTT like some of the cakes that they have in their cabinet, but it was perfect. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! IMG_5757.JPGThe other milkshake flavours that are available, try not to get too distracted with what’s underneath the sign.IMG_5744.JPGCroque Madame Gruyere cheese, double smoked leg ham, Dijon mustard sour cream grilled sour dough topped with a fried egg ($14.90). I love a good Croque Madame but they replaced bechamel sauce with the Dijon mustard sour cream which didn’t really work for me. It was still tasty but I wouldn’t call it a Croque Madame.IMG_5767.JPG

IMG_5766.JPGBreakfast mushroom bruschetta sauteed mushrooms with smashed peas, mint and ricotta on grilled sourdough ($16.90). My friend really enjoyed his breakfast, he loved the medley of mushrooms that was used and he thought the smashed peas really made this dish.IMG_5762.JPG

IMG_5761.JPGEggs Benedict poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, baby spinach and bacon on toast ($17.90). I’m not a fan of Turkish bread in breakfast dishes, I find it too filling comparatively to a lot of the breakfast items but other than that, everything else was made well and they were generous with their serving of bacon.IMG_5764.JPG

IMG_5763.JPGSalted caramel cronut. We couldn’t resist to order one these since the first one we got from Ricardo’s months ago was really nice. Unfortunately, this was really oily and was not like a croissant nor a doughnut, it was soggy pastry doused in oil and covered in instant diabetes. Not good.IMG_5760.JPGWe tried to finish it, but we couldn’t. It was easy to see from the plate why.

Nothing left on the plate but sugar and grease.IMG_5768.JPGThe delicious food made us quickly forget about the inefficiencies with some wait staff. It was a shame about the cronut, the first one I had from here was amazing but now their cronuts like many of their cakes are just OTT and too sugary to differentiate between different flavours and layers that they try to achieve in complex cakes. Pretty to look at but that’s it.

Breakfast and lunch menu items are good though and I don’t think there was a surcharge for the public holiday (double win!).

You can find my previous Ricardo’s post here.

Ricardo's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Human Flyer

With the weeks leading up to the Human Brochure weekend, I’ve taken my role of showing interstate guests around Canberra much more seriously. There have been coincidental visits, Floriade trips and other Canberra events that have brought visitors to the Nation’s capital in recent weeks and as a proud local, I was eager to show them the best of what Canberra had to offer.

This was just a glimpse of one day that I could show one of these friends around and drawing inspiration from the Human Brochure, I’ve named this series the ‘Human Flyer’. It was a little inconvenient that this one particular day happened to be Labour day and a lot of the spots that I wanted to take him were closed, but because there is so much choice around here, I was able to find a substitution solution pretty quickly.

I hope you guys can find this series helpful for when you have interstate visitors and you want to show them around Canberra.

Mount Majura vineyards #humanbrochure

I must admit I was a little nervous to make my way to Mount Majura Vineyards with all the construction work around the area and I sighed when I saw a long stream of headlights facing in my direction as I was trying to turn right, but someone was nice enough to slow down so I could make my turn (thank you kind local!).  

I didn’t even know that Mount Majura Vineyard existed (this human brochure experience has really opened up my eyes to our local produce and wine) but one of my foodie 101 local humans who is a wine enthusiast said to enjoy the night as it is an amazing winery. Apparently she isn’t the only one to think so as the James Halliday’s Wine Companion have given the winery a 5-star rating.20140702-221637-80197430.jpgFergus McGhie the promotions and marketing manager for Mount Majura Vineyard, is explaining how Canberra and the surrounds has ideal conditions in to grow Shiraz and Riesling as they love the big temperature fluctuations that we experience. He also tells us that the winery consists of four full-time wine fanatics who love experimenting with combinations of grapes to produce amazing wines which regularly win awards.20140702-221638-80198969.jpgWow, I know a few people who would raid this place if given the chance.20140702-221640-80200627.jpgWe were greeted with some Silurian 2010 to start and a table of delicious local produce. We all helped ourselves to some bread and truffled butter as the wine was flowing.20140702-221711-80231677.jpgI love the super cute jars that the butter came in. If there weren’t so many witnesses/people to share with, I would have tried to sneak one in my bag!20140702-221713-80233226.jpgBeautiful thick truffled butter from next door (I need better neighbours!) and fresh bread from A.baker who stock Mount Majura wines. I couldn’t help but put a thick lather of butter on my slice of bread. It was soooo good.20140702-221716-80236381.jpgIt looked like everyone was enjoying their glass of bubbles.20140702-221714-80234819.jpgThe speckled butter reminded me of my black glitter nail polish.20140702-221741-80261707.jpgWhile we were all enjoying the truffled butter, we were introduced to local woman and grower of the French Black truffles in Canberra: Sherry McArdle-English. She tells us about her and her husband’s story going from city dwellers with careers to buying a farm with little to no idea and turning it into a very successful livelihood.

She recalls the time when she went to Fyshwick markets to enquire about this delicacy that she knew little about, she was met with the response that only Europeans know how to grow truffles. Well, spite is a very powerful motivator and she spent 2pm til 3am that day researching all she could about truffles. After a day trip to Tasmania, 80 tonnes per hectare of mined lime and a lot of determination later, she along with her husband started to collect truffles 2.5 years after planting their first trees, which meant that they had the youngest tree producing truffles in the Southern Hemisphere. Fast forward to the present and now the French Black Truffles of Canberra has generated an interest at an international level as well as becoming the largest producer in NSW, one of the biggest producers in Australia, supplying top restaurants in Canberra including Podfood and the Boat house and also becoming the sole producer to supply truffles at the Fyshwick markets.

Who knew all this was happening right in Canberra?!20140702-221743-80263331.jpgAll the local humans sit down to feast on truffled brie and a variety of wine while getting a chance to talk with the local producers.20140702-221745-80265952.jpgI love the place mat that they had given us which very informative. A very simple yet handy thing to have!  They had an older Chardonnay (2006) to compliment the truffled brie as well as a 2012 Pinot Noir.20140702-222101-80461603.jpgA close of up the beautiful colours of Mount Majura Wines.20140702-222105-80465782.jpgTheir very popular T.S.G was also passed around to be sampled.20140702-222008-80408045.jpgAs well as their Touriga (2013).20140702-222009-80409506.jpgI love personalised glassware.20140702-222006-80406581.jpgCheesy porn. I had to balance between not getting too excited in the presence of such a delicacy, taking lots of photos and not drooling on the place mat while taking said photosIt is a truffle infused Small Cow Farm brie.20140702-222102-80462866.jpgYou can see how creamy and soft the brie is which forms a squishy cushion around the delicately shaved truffle.20140702-222104-80464305.jpgI might not appreciate wine but I know lots of wine connoisseurs who would love a bottle and I would love for them to try Canberra’s best. How cute is their wine box (which has a convenient handle that you can’t see in this picture)?! 2011 Shiraz ($32.00), 2013 T.S.G ($32.00) and 2013 Molli ($27.00).20140702-222005-80405097.jpgEveryone that tried Molli couldn’t help but buy a bottle (or 6) and with a limited run I had to grab a bottle for someone who I knew would appreciate it very much. I think it is a super cute name for a wine!20140702-221642-80202039.jpgMount Majura Vineyards don’t sell individually sell the truffled brie as it doesn’t have a long shelf life and you can’t gauge how many you would sell during a weekend but Fergus explained that you can get a taste of this delicious cheese with a matching wine on Sundays. See details below.

Truffle infused weekends at Mount Majura Vineyard 21st June to mid August, Saturday and Sunday only, 10am – 5pm

Truffle season has begun and we’re excited to include truffles at the cellar door as part of our winter tasting experience. We infuse Small Cow Farm Petit Vache, a deliciously rich and creamy brie style cheese, with truffles from our neighbour Sherry at French Black Truffles of Canberra. To accompany this we’re pouring a flight of three 80ml glasses of wine matched to the truffled brie. This winter Frank has specially taken out vintage stock from the museum cellar to match with the brie! The tasting will be served individually and will cost $30 per person.
Bookings on (02) 6262 3070 or info@mountmajura.com.au

 

Venue: Mount Majura Vineyards

Address: RMB 314 Majura Road, Majura, ACT 2609

Phone:  (02) 6262 3070

Website: http://www.mountmajura.com.au/

Opening hoursThursday to Monday from 10am to 5pm

Prices: this experience was paid for buy VisitCanberra as part of the 101 local humans campaign for the human brochure, with the bottles of wines bought by myself.

 

Venue: The French Black truffles of Canberra

Address: Ruffles Estate, 23 Mt Majura Road, Maujra ACT 2609

Phone: 0419 950 207

Websitehttp://canberratruffles.com.au/