IHOP – Hawaiian Series

After what seemed like the longest flight ever, we finally got to our hotel only to be told our rooms were not ready yet, fair enough considering it was very early in the morning but that meant it was breakfast time! We dumped our bags and headed straight to IHOP (International House Of Pancakes) across the road.

It was my first trip to the US of A and I was excited to see all the franchises that I had only seen or heard about through TV and movies. I was overwhelmed to say the least. It was my first American meal, it was too early in the morning, the menu was massive and I didn’t know what I wanted to eat. On top of all this, I found a few things unusual which would apparently be the norm as I learnt throughout my trip.

  1. I would have to get used to tipping, luckily most bills have it calculated on the bottom for you and you choose a percentage
  2. The wait staff are really nice, helpful and attentive, I guess that’s because of point #1
  3. A lot of soft drinks come with refills
  4. So many meals come with a side of pancakes

Breakfast~ (I didn’t take photos of the large menu because I assumed they have one online but they don’t have prices)

Breakfast Sampler with our sampler, two is the magic number! That’s two eggs, two hickory-smoked bacon strips, two pork sausage links, two pieces of ham, two fluffy buttermilk pancakes and our golden hash browns. Being the indecisive person that I am, this is what I ultimately ordered, a little bit of everything. To be honest, I did not enjoy the savoury side at all. Everything was cold on my plate, the potato hash was oily and tasteless and everything else was a bit rubbery. The only saving grace were the pancakes, they were big and fluffy and I loved their whipped butter.Chicken Florentine Crepes two crepes filled with grilled chicken breast, mushrooms, onions, & Swiss cheese on a bed of spinach topped with White Cheddar Sauce, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. This was served hot and was ten times more delicious than my savoury plate.

2 x 2 x 2  two eggs with two signature buttermilk pancakes served with two crispy strips of hickory-smoked bacon or two savory pork sausage links. For the people who want a little bit of sweet and a little bit of savoury. I love how they have so many ways to serve an egg as well!Strawberry Pancakes our stack of four pancakes crowned with cool strawberries and creamy whipped topping. 

The service was friendly and attentive, unfortunately the food was a bit of a hit and miss. I will just stick to pancakes.

It was nice to have a variety of syrups available but my favourite was good old fashioned.Venue: IHOP

Address: 1850 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI96815-1602

IHOP Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate 

We enjoyed our lunch at Pialligo Estate Farmhouse so much that before we left, we made a reservation for breakfast at the Garden Pavilions. They have gorgeous views and we thought it would be a great way to start the weekend.We were lucky to have beautiful blue skies and great weather during our visit.So picturesque, you would not think you were 10 minutes away from the city.Flat white coffee ($4.00) and a chai latte ($5.00).Breakfast set menu (2 courses $32.00 per person).

To start~I love their personalised cutlery.Selection of bakery goods with breads, rolls and croissant served with cultured butter and new season jams from the Estate’s orchard. I really enjoyed their bread and I won’t say how much butter I smeared on it but I will tell you that I moved the butter aside so I could also use it in my next course. I didn’t get much of the baked goods because I was busy eating my pancake but I thought the croissant was very flaky but not as buttery as I would have liked. This was my first choice until TimmyC decided he wanted it, I could see this as one of the more popular choices.TimmyC really enjoyed his galette while I was tempted to ask for more bread.Ricotta pancakes with a reduction of our Sangiovese grape juice, peppered peaches and whipped cream. When they wrote plural ‘pancakes’, I did expect more than one but by the time I finished this I was glad that there was only one because it was rather quite filling. I really enjoyed it because it was simple and sweetened by fruit so not OTT.To follow~ I must say, TimmyC and I were rather quite content after our first course, but I was very much looking forward to my savoury option.

Award winning Pialligo Smokehouse bacon, poached eggs,  and open-fire sour dough. A great classic breakfast made even better by the fact that they use their amazing bacon.Baked beans with our own chorizo and bacon, potatoes, poached egg and just harvested vine tomatoes. I was slightly taken back by the size of the bowl that this was served in; even if I skipped the first course I’m not sure I could have finished the whole dish. I dipped my fork in quickly to taste the baked beans and it reminded me of the filling of supreme pizza pocket with a chili hot aftertaste. Despite being full, I don’t know how much I could have eaten because I found the sauce so hot. I ended up picking out all the bacon and chorizo and ate it with buttered bread.A nice thick baked bean mixture with bacon and chorizo pieces mixed in.We really enjoyed the views and the food but I found the service that we experienced was a bit lacking. I’ve come to expect great service based on my previous visits from Pialligo Estate but I’m hoping it was a once off. Definitely worth going to visit for a casual breakfast, I just wish they had smaller breakfast options.

The view from within the pavilion.Venue: Garden Pavilions at Pialligo Estate

Address: 18 Kallaroo road, Pialligo, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6247 6060
Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

California cafe

TimmyC has had a deep love for waffles ever since he came back from his America trip, so when I heard that there was a ‘takeaway diner’ in Mawson I took him there immediately. California Cafe has joined the many other cafes that have popped in recent years which has made Mawson a hive of activity and a location full of choice. Not as many cafes are open on a Sunday but luckily the diner was. TimmyC is a bit of a snob when it comes to waffles, he dislikes pre-made rock hard ones (but who doesn’t) and would prefer them to have deep wells so all the syrup and ice cream catch in the pockets.

There were waffles and pancakes on the breakfast menu served with bacon, banana and maple syrup, so TimmyC was set; although it was early I felt like a cheeseburger from this diner. We went to order at the counter and TimmyC’s first question was “do you make the waffles in-house?”, the waitress answered no, “do you make the pancakes from batter?” which I thought was a stupid question until it was also met with a ‘no’; he opted for an eggs benedict instead.The cake cabinet should have been my first clue not to eat here, can you see the huge chunks of carrot in the carrot cake?While we were waiting for our food, the woman next to us had ordered the waffles and she was super excited when three thick store-bought waffles topped with bacon and banana was placed in front of her. I had noticed that she shared some with her Mum and even then they only finished half a waffle each which meant there was plenty still left on the plate after they left.Caramel thick shake ($7.00). We watched them make this and it had tonnes of ice-cream in it and there was just enough topping without making me feel sick. YUM!Coffee (lge ($4.00). TimmyC said it was okay coffee. They also serve a ‘jumbo’ size here.Eggs benedict eggs with bacon on a sour dough roll with hollandaise sauce ($14.90). The hollandaise was nice enough but still tasted like it was bottled sauce and I’m a bit confused as to why there were unseasoned chips on the plate. A very underwhelming breakfast when I promised TimmyC waffles from a diner. I don’t see exactly what the kitchen is cooking when the sauce is from a jar, the waffles and pancakes are store-bought and the chips are from frozen packets.The plates that they serve on are massive.Cheeseburger with fries ($8.90). I was really disappointed with my burger, it was an okay patty drowned in tomato sauce and mustard topped with a plastic (at least melted) slice of cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love plastic cheese but I couldn’t taste much of anything other than mustard and tomato sauce. The chips were hot and seasoned with something that I couldn’t pick, it reminded me of mamee noodle snacks. The thick shake helped with washing the acidity of the sauces from my mouth.

I couldn’t taste anything other than sauce.  The diner was getting busy with lots of staff from neighbouring business coming in for takeaway so some people obviously enjoy the food here but with so much better choices in the area, I won’t be coming back.

Venue: California Cafe

Address: 4 Southlands Shopping Centre, Mawson ACT 2607

Opening hours:

Monday – Friday 7:30am – 8:00pm

Saturday – Sunday (and public holidays) 8:00am – 3:00pm
The California Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pancake trial #1

The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that I broke the #1 rule when it comes to cooking in the kitchen- don’t do too much at once. So it probably wasn’t the best day to start frying up something new in the kitchen but it was Shrove Tuesday, I just told everyone about my New Year’s resolutions and I had to eat something for breakfast anyway. Simultaneously, I also had to make two different types of lasagne to feed 6 people and two separate lunches all before going to work, not to mention I had also slept in. A work friend had given TimmyC his favourite pancake recipe, so that’s where I started first. The recipe is from the Queen of food porn herself, Nigella Lawson and because I had zero idea, I followed it to the tee (to the best of my ability).


Nigella Lawson’s American Breakfast Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 30 grams butter (melted and cooled)
  • 300 ml milk
  • 225 grams plain flour
  • butter for frying

Method

  1. The easiest way to make these is to put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz. But if you do mix up the batter by hand in a bowl, make a well in the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, beat in the eggs, melted butter and milk, and transfer to a jug: it’s much easier to pour the batter into the pan than to spoon it.
  2. Heat a smooth griddle or pan on the stove.
  3. When you cook the pancakes, all you need to remember is that when the upper side of the pancake is blistering and bubbling it’s time to cook the second side, and this needs only about 1 minute, if that.
  4. I get about 16 silver-dollar-sized pancakes out of this.

I had thrown all the wet ingredients in my mixing bowl before remembering to make a well in my dry ingredients, which might account for the small butter clusters that I had, or maybe I didn’t cool it enough? I transferred my pancake mixture in a jug to allow for easy pouring and less mess, this is one thing I learnt from all the ‘pancake shake’ bottles. I found that I had to constantly change the heat of my pan to avoid burning my butter or pancake, although there was one time I was not paying attention and my pancake was a little browner than I would have liked. For me, this made around 10x 10cm diameter pancakes, which was good because I didn’t want to be eating pancakes of the next few days. I was amazed about how well this mixture cooked and made flipping the pancake super easy. I would definitely try this recipe again and maybe pay more attention next time. The yellow lumps don’t look promising but I’m frying them up anyway!IMG_9788Bubbles are forming, that’s a good sign.IMG_978750 shades of brown, all the various pancakes that I made that morning, you can tell which one I left on a little too long. I don’t love the look of the crispy edges, but sure do love the texture of them.IMG_9822 Of course I did the foodie cheat thing and put the prettiest pancake on top of my stack and instagrammed it immediately. 0:)IMG_9802 These pancakes tasted pretty good with just maple syrup but next time I might make cinnamon mascarpone, because everything tastes better with cimmon mascarpone. The first thing I needed to do was prove to myself that I could flip a pancake without it breaking into a million shards (the last pancakes I made were from a recipe I saw on instagram; tasted delicious but looked like I was trying to pan fry sloppy soggy oats. Recipe: 1 banana, 1 egg, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, and some cinnamon. Blend until smooth, fry spoonfuls of batter in butter) I can only improve from here.

Brunch at Poachers Pantry

I was very keen to head out to Hall and make a return visit to Poachers Pantry not long after my two 101 local human experiences. Brunch is served from 10am – 11:30am and it was very easy to book a table on the website for 10:30am and it was noted that we would have to vacate our table at 11:45am in time for the lunch time service. Instantly I receive a text and an email confirming my booking, I couldn’t help but feel that Poachers Pantry had been burned before as they also then sent me another text which I had to confirm my table the day before but it gave me peace of mind that I had a table after I drove to the other side of town.IMG_4275.JPGIt was filling up fast inside for the brunch service.IMG_4280.JPGSides~

Parmesan and chive hash brown ($5.00). After being housebound for a few weeks, I might have been a wee bit over excited and ordered two breakfast choices as well as a side but this sounded really interesting. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, I don’t know what they made the hash brown out of but it looked very orange. I think it needed more salt despite supposedly having parmesan cheese in the mix.IMG_4293-0.JPGIMG_4304.JPGBaked farmhouse eggs served with bacon, roast vine tomatoes and potato roesti ($21.00). TimmyC didn’t really go out of his way to share his dish, but I guess I was busy with my two plates of food. He really enjoyed the eggs which had a herby creamy sauce that he could spread over the bread and went very well with everything else on the plate.IMG_4283.JPGA close up of the baked eggs.IMG_4286.JPGButter croissant with Poachers ham and Swiss cheese ($9.00)IMG_4289.JPGHuevos rancheros with smoked lamb, fried egg and an avocado chipotle sauce ($22.00).IMG_4290.JPG

IMG_4291.JPGPumpkin and ricotta hotcakes with maple bacon and cinnamon sugar ($21.00). I thought the pumpkin would be pureed and used to create a moist dense hotcake but there were actual chunks of pumpkin giving sweet pockets within every few bites. Not the most ‘normal’ sounding breakfast but the sweet and salty flavours went really well together despite the fact that it looked like someone went a bit crazy with the cinnamon sugar. IMG_4295-1.JPG

Injectable doughnuts with salted dulce de leche ($17.00). My failed attempt of injecting the doughnuts left TimmyC commenting that my filling only went ‘pimple deep’ :/ The filling was more liquid-y than I thought it would be, so it really just soaked into the doughnut rather than being a thick sweet paste. I think it would  have worked better if the doughnuts were slightly smaller and there was more filling.IMG_4298.JPG

IMG_4302.JPGWe weren’t rushed out after our meal even though my slow eating caused us to go a little over the time limit. People were very happy with their brunch choices and I left feeling overly full and greedy, maybe next time I’ll stick to just one menu item.

It doesn’t really feel that you’re in Canberra any more when you drive out to where the air feels cleaner but conveniently it isn’t that far away from the city as long as you don’t drive past the turn off.

Brickworks- Spendelove Bistro & Bar

—–31st Dec 2013 —–

A wonderful cafe; chocolate sweets store; coffee shop that sells aromatic beans from around the world; a trendy store that sells all my favourite brands like elk, polli and Aesop; a florist; fresh seafood store with a Japanese sushi store attached; a butcher; a baker; (a candlestick maker?) a deli; an ice-cream store and Wheel and Barrow all in one area. Needless to say, if I lived in QLD I would be at Brickworks all the time.

The first stop before we bought all the essentials for a NYE BBQ was breakfast at Spendelove Bistro & Bar. It is best not to buy food when you’re really hungry, so it is the smarter way to shop. I browsed for something a little different on the breakfast menu and our friend reminds us all before we order that we are going to Sizzler for lunch so this was just to whet our appetites.

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Chai latte ($4.20). A really smooth and creamy chai latte topped with a lot of nutmeg.

20131231-172500.jpgBanana pancakes caramelized banana, maple syrup ice cream ($17.90). I don’ know how long the pancakes had been sitting at the counter for, but needless to say it was a while judging by the melted ice-cream puddle.

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20131231-172520.jpgZucchini and haloumi fritters with lemon, smashed avocado on turkish bread ($16.90) mushrooms ($4.00 extra).20131231-172531.jpg

Cheese souffle three cheese souffle tomato chutney, spinach, chargrilled bacon, crispy speck, confit tomato ($19.50). I have never in my brunching years have ever seen a menu item like this. The soufflé was warm, delicate and cheesy. Mixing the soufflé with spinach and some salty pork was a really good mouthful. I preferred the speck over the bacon because it was something different and was much crispier. Even though the aim was not to get full, I would expect to at least be a little full after paying almost twenty dollars.

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The cheesy interior.20131231-172556.jpg

Kids pancakes buttermilk pancake topped with maple syrup and ice cream ($12.00). The pancakes were nice and I would probably prefer the kid’s pancake over the OTT adult version which was $5 more for some banana.

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I really love the space here and while I was at the cafe, the staff were really friendly. They had a great extensive breakfast menu but some items will fill you more than others.

Venue: Spendelove cafe

Address: Shop 11, 107 Ferry Road Market, The Brickworks, Southport, QLD

Phone: (07) 5527 0255

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

Spendelove Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon

The Pancake Place

The Pancake Place might seem like an unusual choice for dinner but they have an extensive savoury crepe menu and then there are some people who still act like they are five and choose sweet pancakes for dinner *looks at TimmyC*.

This establishment has been in Port Macquarie for more than 20 years and it brings much nostalgia to those who used to come here for a treat as a kid, not because it is still open and serving delicious pancakes, but because the decor, friendly hospitality and uniform have not changed much since.

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If we are going to do a kid indulgent meal, we may as well complete it with an iced caramel ($6.50) and iced coffee ($6.50). It is very nicely decorated with cream, ‘tv snacks’ and sprinkles.
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Large stack of 3 pancakes ($14.90) with extra ice cream ($1.50) and extra syrup. Thick fluffy pancakes that have never disappointed. I’m glad that we got an extra scoop otherwise I don’t think they would have gone far enough for three pancakes. I also like how if you want extra syrup they leave it with you at the table.

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Gourmet crepes~

Each savoury crepe comes with a soft roll with delicious butter. The meals came out at lightning speed, drinks and water came out within minutes of ordering and in less than 10 minutes all meals were on the table.

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Bologneseprime ground beef with onions, mushrooms, garlic, tomato and red wine, topped with a mild cheese sauce (lite bites $16.90).

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Chicken and asparaguschicken, mild cheese and asparagus with our creamy wine sauce (lite bites $18.90).

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Mexicanprime ground beef with chilli, capsicum and beans topped with melted cheese (lite bites $16.90). Obviously not authentic, just an Australian Mexican version complete with Doritos corn chips. I chose a small one so I could fit in sweet pancakes for dessert but even after eating the small one I was stuffed. Lite bites just mean there is less filling. The salad was very bright filled with unusual things such as kiwi fruit, watermelon, zucchini, red cabbage, pretzels, tomatoes, pineapple, canned fruit and fresh strawberries.

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Always fast friendly service here at the Pancake Place, but I think that the savoury crepes lacked a bit of salt and flavour having only used very mild cheeses and the ‘cream of the crop’ choice on the menu would be their sweet pancake options.

Venue: The Pancake Place

Address: Clarence Street, Port Macquarie, New South Wales 2444, Australia

Phone: (02) 6584544 They apparently don’t take reservations during the peak holiday season, it is a first come first serve basis but we didn’t have any trouble getting a seat for dinner.

Pancake Place on Urbanspoon